Jack froze in horror. It was a bad dream, it couldn’t be happening, it wasn’t fair.
The evening had been going so well up to that point. He had managed to befriend the locals at The Crofter’s Arms in Annan, Scotland, good going for an “effete English wanker” from down South with a quart Scotch ancestry. Alcohol, jokes, self-effacing attitude and a downplay of his public school tones helped, certainly better than the last place where the nationalistic local brethren had run him out to the sounding of breaking glass and unintelligible curses.
But The Crofter’s was different, they were at least willing to give him a chance, rare enough for a visiting Southerner on an IT contract and no friends above London. He figured a good jukebox selection would seal the deal, enough for him to pop in for a pint and a wee dram after work when the hotel room looked too forlorn in future nights. Jack calculated an aperitif of The Proclaimers, followed by a dash of Teenage Fanclub, washed down with a wee dram of Big Country should at least set him on the right track. Bland, but pleasingly Hibernian without being condescendingly so. Yep, he knew what he was doing alright.
He even told the crew that as he got up and sauntered over to the surprisingly modern digital music machine. “This’ll show you who I really am lads,” he had boasted.
His money was in the slot, his finger was on the button, when the unthinkable happened. The jukebox burst into a life of it’s own, the patriotic cheese of ‘Three Lions’ blared out the speakers. An English football anthem, quite possibly the worst song that could possible play at that moment, at that place, with those people.
The sound of a pint glass smashing, chairs scraping and Celtic growling threatened to drown out The Lightning Seeds, but didn’t. It just kept on playing. Jack didn’t want to turn around, he could feel the hot breath of the bar crowding around him, fists clenched, blades out. His throat was dry. “Uh, listen guys, I don’t know what happened here, but I really, really didn’t put this on…”
His screams of protest went unheard under the red mist of punches, kicks and bottles. When ‘Land of Hope and Glory’ came on next it revitalised the mob into a fresh round of assault, Jack the only one who couldn’t hear it, his ears being a bloody pulp atop a slushpile of shattered bones and grue that would stain the carpet so deeply the landlord eventually replaced it. His last thoughts were… Why?
Several hundred miles away, down on the despised English South Coast, Liz Croft chuckled to herself as she played on her Samsung Note 4. This Soundjack app was just so much fun. The download offered the ability to play the pub jukebox without getting her ass up from the chair. Even better, there was the resource of selecting music at a venue anywhere else in the country. Now that was a game changer alright.
She’d settled on The Crofter’s Arms for a hilarious burst of inappropriate nationalism because it was close to her surname. However, it was amazing how addictive the genius game of wrong music in wrong location was. “Glad to be Gay” by Tom Robinson for a ghetto rap joint in Stratford, Asian Dub Foundation for a BNP stronghold in Bermondsey. The possibilities were endless. It was a pity there wasn’t a webcam to see the reaction, but that would probably be coming soon.
Free from responsibility, empathy or regret the digital assasin selected track after track, each one funnier than the last. By the time her free credits were used up she almost considered paying for it.