Miles was a trumpet player at the Philharmonic, in fact lead trumpeter. Miles practiced practically everyday by the Central Park Reservoir. Some days he attracted a large crowd and sometimes only two or three people.
Lately, Max, who played the kittle drums, had started showing up and commenting and making suggestions. Miles did not like percussion players; he did not consider them musicians. Worse, for the last week Max started showing up with Elvin, Art and Roy, the rest of the percussion section.
During the first couple of days, when Miles would start playing a piece the five of them would start shouting suggestions and making loud comments. Lately though, they brought their sticks and started playing trashcans and tree trucks; sometimes even changing the rhythm on Miles.
But worse, many times the people strolling by and listening barely noticed Miles when one of the percussionist really got going.
Miles was disgruntled. Miles was not happy. So he decided to play a joke on the percussionists. Early one morning Miles nailed up a sign by the reservoir: “On the morning of August 4th The Great Trumpet Player* will raise from the lake and fly to heaven.”
Miles snuck back to his apartment, picked up his trumpet and headed for the reservoir at his regular time, and on the way ran into the four percussionists. When they arrived Miles went over to his customary bench and took out his trumpet to start playing. Elvin though had spotted a group of people gathered around the sign and walked over to read it and he excitedly called the others over.
The four percussionist ran back to the Philharmonic Hall to tell the rest of the musicians and the townspeople ran out of the park spreading what they had read.
Miles was overjoyed and could not play for about five minutes he was laughing so hard. Miles could not wait until the end of the month when the day would arrive and the percussionists would be standing there waiting and waiting with their mouths hanging open.
Miles would arrive every morning and watch the crowd grow larger and larger everyday. Miles started to worry that his little joke was getting out of hand, but how could he stop now? He tried several times to tell different musicians but no one would believe that the sign was not real.
About four days from when the great event was to happen his Uncle Charles, who was Miles’s first teacher and Miles considered his musical godfather. Charles was very excited about this event; the rising of a Great Trumpeter was considered a auspicious event. Miles kept trying to find a way to tell Charles that the sign was a joke. However, Charles was too excited and Miles could not find the proper time or proper words.
The day of the Great Rising Miles arrived before dawn to try and remove the sign but there was already a very large crowd musicians, many ballerinas, opera singers and people from the surrounding streets. The park kept filling; people spilled over as far the Great Lawn and Sheep’s Meadow.
Miles was scared and nervous. What was going to happen when the rising did not happen? Miles tried to tell Charles but Charles was standing on the bench to get view reservoir over the crowds. Charles and many of the musicians were playing their instruments.
About five minutes before the appointed time clouds began to roll in from the south; big dark cumulous clouds. The wind picked up. Waves began to raise on reservoir’s surface. The sky darken so much because of the think clouds that cars had turned on their lights, and it became impossible to see the water surface.
In the darkness of the clouds and the swirl of leaves and papers blown by the wind Miles thought he saw a man holding something shiny rising from the reservoir. Miles swore he hard the opening notes of West End Blues. This man seemed to be floating upward, soaring with the notes coming from the trumpet. This lasted about five minutes and then suddenly all was calm and the sun was out again.
Charles jumped down fro the bench and slapped Miles on the back and went back to monastery with the rest of orchestra; all except Miles.
For days Miles wanted to tell someone but he knew no one would believe that he had put the sign up.
* In old Tibetan myths a Great Trumpet Player was considered a omen of prosperous year.