Peter wasn't carrying one of the music toys for kids. As a member of the Matawan Elementary School String Ensemble he walked into the East Room of the White House. He pulled a handkerchief from inside his navy blue jacket and wiped his sweaty palms. His stomach muscles tightened as he listened to the noisy chatter of the guests.
“My program works. It isn’t one of the music toys for kids.” Peter’s fingers poked the hard keys of his mobile phone.
“I hope so. We want to make a good impression tonight.” John peered over Peter’s shoulder at the output generated from the special effects program on Peter’s mobile phone display.
“I have one more test to be sure.” Peter pointed at the sprinkler system with his mobile phone.
Water descended from the ceiling leaving a dank, musty odor in the air. The cold water soaked Peter’s shoulders. He used his handkerchief to wipe the wet device and pointed it at the ceiling. His arm muscles relaxed when the water stream stopped.
Peter clapped his hands and stepped backwards without looking. Excited, he bumped into an expensive vase that fell off the pedestal. Peter’s attempt to catch the shatterproof vase failed when the slippery vase rolled out of his hand. The vase hit the floor with a thud and continued bouncing around the room leaving an odor similar to a mixture of rubber and mildew.
“Careful.” John pointed at the vase. “President Ellory might not choose us for the world tour in 2042 if she found out we broke her vase.”
“Don’t worry, John. The concert will go as planned.”
“It’s not our playing I’m worried about. We need to stay out of trouble. We aren't playing one of the music toys for kids.” John set his violin case on the ground next to his seat.
“Isn’t this new futuristic technology fun?” Elise skipped after the bouncing vase.
Peter bumped into Elise as she caught the vase in midair. He lost his balance and sat down on the nearest empty seat. He wondered why beads of perspiration poured down John’s face. They weren't playing with music toys for kids.
“John, why is your face so red?” Elise placed the vase back on its pedestal.
Peter didn’t wait for John to answer and addressed the audience. “Good evening ladies and gentlemen. We have selected Antonio Vivaldi’s Four Seasons as our opening concerto and have added some seasonal special effects that we hope you will like.”
The young musicians played violins and violas. The birds warbled in time with the musical notes. The queasiness in Peter’s stomach disappeared and he tasted the fresh peppermint he had slipped in his mouth. He smiled reassured that the audience was enjoying the music. His right toe tapped on the plush carpet with each measured beat. He smelled the fragrant scent in the air wondering what it would be like to be a bird singing in a duet.
Rosebuds appeared on the wall behind the row of bass violins and cellos. As the musicians played, the rosebuds blossomed into vibrant colors of red, rose, and yellow. Peter took out his mobile phone from his pocket and pointed it at the sprinkling system. Large drops of water fell on the audience from the ceiling. Some of them opened up umbrellas for protection from the cold rain.
John stood up to play his violin solo and the rain stopped. The music inspired Peter’s imagination and he quickly punched in commands on his mobile phone device. The performance was going better than he expected. The infrared waves coming from the ceiling chandelier warmed the air temperature in the room. The musicians played the second concerto for summer.
Gold, orange, and red leaves tossed and swayed on the back wall flowing with the musical notes of fall. Dozens of cicadas the size of cantaloupes began crawling down the same wall. A steady droning noise accompanied the musical notes. Peter’s eyes popped as he felt rough wings and legs crawling behind him. He tasted a dry pretzel going down his throat that left a knot in his stomach.
“I wonder what is going on. Why is the audience laughing?” Peter frantically pounded on the keys of his smartphone. "I'm not playing with one of the music toys for kids."
Snowflakes swirled in the cold air as Peter tapped the device keys in time with the winter melodies. Dancing snowflakes landed on the shoulders of the audience. The audience shivered and brushed away the cold, heavy, and wet snow from their shoulders. The falling snow interfered with the chandelier infrared waves.
Peter failed to stop the falling snow with his mobile phone. The snow caused an electrical spark that shattered the chandelier. Fragments of white glass intermixed with falling snow landed on the floor. Red flames danced with swirling snowflakes around the base of the chandelier.
“What’s wrong with the special effects program tonight?” John whispered in Peter’s ear after he left his seat.
“I’m investigating it now.”
Peter anxiously punched a few buttons looking at the smartphone display. He took out a handkerchief from his right coat pocket and wiped the sweat away from his brow. He smelled smoke and swallowed trying to alleviate the acrid taste on his tongue. He pointed his device at the chandelier, dispelling the smoke and flames. The tension in his abdomen muscles disappeared.
“The special effects program is working now.” Peter showed John the mobile phone display. "I have proven that it isn't one of the music toys for kids."
“I hope so! President Ellory has announced that she has chosen us to represent the United States around the world in 2042.” John put away his violin in its case.