I've lost my cowbell.
This is a serious problem. I bought my cowbell when I was in my first year at university (well, two actually, but I gave one to Rebecca) and, for the rest of my three years, when I needed it, my cowbell was always there for me.
While I was perfectly aware that there's less you can do with a cowbell than you can with, say, a guitar or a violin or any other chromatic instruments, there's still a lot you can do with it. With a drumstick in hand and my computer playing whatever music I happened to have on, I could tap out the beats on my cowbell. Softer sounds came from hitting the key at the top. Harder sounds came from the metal at the top, and then on the sides, on the main body or inside the bell.
I loved my cowbell.
See, I've never thought of myself as particularly attractive. I'd been dumped by Rebecca (shortly before I have her her cowbell), and I was in a creative slump. At an all-time low. There's a certain attraction to musicians - I mean, it's a talent, who doesn't like talent? - and, without a music society, my university didn't really cater. I could scratch out a tune on my violin, or strum out a few basic chords on my guitar. But I wasn't any good at either of them (I'm still not; the idea that I'm still making music is outrageous). I was good with a cowbell. It was something unusual, but which required talent and skill and something that was uniquely me.
With cowbell in hand, I felt attractive. I was untouchable, insanely talented, and even if anything went wrong, I was the one holding the big wooden stick.
One evening I left the flat in student hall to find a congregation of people outside the flat opposite. They were knocking fruitlessly at the door, aiming at attract the attention of the people inside, but not getting anywhere. I think we were all going out clubbing that night, and really needed to gat ourselves together and go.
"I know what to do," I said suddenly (causing a few people to jump; they'd forgotten I was there). I quickly returned to my room, and returned with my instrument.
"I play the cowbell," I explained. "This is very loud. It'll get the attention of whoever's in the flat."
I put the vessel of the bell against the door and played a short percussion solo with my drumsticks, hammering against the door and making the bell reverberate. It may not have sounded great, but the door opened... so I guess I was doing something right.
People started getting into their glad rags while I twirled my drumstick like a majorette's baton. Somehow, I found myself in a room with all the other boys.
"Why did you interrupt us, dude?" I was asked. "I was... you know... busy."
"You can have a wank any time," I pointed out. "We're meant to be going out."
"I wasn't having a wank, I was getting a blowjob!"
"I'll be back once I've put my cowbell away," I whispered, and scuttled away, suddenly much too aware that I was chewing the end of my drumstick and it looked far too similar to fellatio. Or maybe it didn't, but it was on my mind now, and besides, I really wanted a blowjob myself.
A few months later, I joined a band. Then that summer, I started one. By the end of university, I was at points on the verge of starting some vestige of musical career. And, through all of it, I had my cowbell with me. Whatever else I was doing. Always ready for me to give it a rhythmic tap. I even bought a new set of drumsticks when I realised how badly I'd ruined the old ones.
And so today, in preparation for a new spate of music-making, I looked for my cowbell.
And it's gone.
This is a serious problem.
I loved my cowbell.