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Music Never Dies
The story of how Polly Leigh found love
Time, the theme song for Music Never Dies, is written and performed by Marina V.
At 3:30 a.m., Polly Leigh sipped hot tea in the 7-Eleven’s cramped break room, a personal brew made from three dandelion flowers, a teaspoon of honey, one mint leaf, and two cloves, as she listened to Elvis Presley’s Can’t Help Falling in Love. She had first heard that song a decade and a half ago during a high school dance, when Albert Green, who’d been arrhythmically gyrating to rock and roll, wrapped his arms around her for a slow dance—Polly’s first and only slow dance.
She took another sip of tea, closed her eyes, and rode the memory. She recalled Albert’s sweat against her breasts and his minty breath. Polly gasped when she remembered his soft, blond hair tickling her neck and his fingers intertwined with hers while Elvis crooned, “Take my hand….”
A white flash of lightning exploded in her head. The chair spun like a playground spinner caught inside a tornado, whirling faster and faster. Polly held on tighter and tighter.
When the spinning stopped, Polly opened her eyes. She was in Albert’s arms, dancing amidst a sea of high school students, her skin tingling all over. Elvis’ baritone filled the gym.
Balloons adorned the walls. Red and black paper streamers crisscrossed the ceiling. From the other side of the gym, Polly’s high school best friend caught her eye and winked.
What happened? Is this really 2007?
Polly vaguely remembered that kissing at school dances was against the rules, but she kissed Albert anyway.
Whatever happened, I like it.
When the song ended, there was another flash and spin, and Polly snapped back to the break room. She reached into her bag for a tissue but instead found a wedding photo of Albert and her.
Polly taught Albert how to combine music and her special tea to travel to the past. Albert told his best friend, who told his cousin, who told his coworkers. How to time travel spread like dandelion seeds in the wind.
Chunks of history fell off their moorings. The planet was ablaze in contradictions, anomalies, and peril. Governments reacted with unprecedented urgency to stop time travel.
Because banning dandelions, honey, mint, and cloves wasn’t feasible, governments stomped out the other ingredient in Polly's time travel formula: music.
By the end of 2022, every country had banned music, incinerated music books, and destroyed all instruments, including John Lennon’s guitars, Beethoven’s pianos, and Louis Armstrong’s trumpets.
Children’s violins were recycled into toothpicks (though that didn’t seem to cause distress.)
Nations enacted laws prohibiting—under penalty of death—phones and other digital devices that played music.
Flouting the laws they were responsible for, Polly and Albert buried an old-style, wind-up phonograph in a waterproof box in their backyard, along with Presley's Blue Hawaii album on vinyl. This would be their escape hatch. Though confident about their future together, they agreed that if their love faltered, they'd be happier never having been married and would use the box’s contents to undo their union.
A century later, while planting tulips in her yard, Claudia Marklin, thirty-one years old, unearthed an old box and brought its contents inside. When her husband returned from work, Claudia cranked the gramophone's winder, freeing a melodic voice into their living room.
“What’s this?” he asked.
“It’s what’s been missing from our lives.” Claudia wrapped her arms around her husband, nested her head against his chest, and danced to the music.
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If you enjoyed Music Never Dies, I think you’ll also like my story, How Hallie Discovered Time Travel.