A Minor Pentatonic Scale
pentatonic scale: a five-tone scale used often in rock music
He'd seen the article that morning, glancing at the laptop screen as he was getting dressed for work.
Pink Floyd co-founder Syd Barrett Dies, Aged 60
It had stopped him in mid-motion, hands frozen in the act of buttoning his shirt as he processed the news.
Another giant gone, he thought. Except this giant burned out far too early. Flew way too close to the sun and fell, long and hard.
He thought about it all the way to the hospital, and was still thinking when he limped over the whiteboard and wiped it clean.
Uncapping a black marker, he wrote.
Books and music had been the two constants of his young life.
They moved around so much -- Navy base to foreign embassy to Marine air station ... Germany, Egypt, Japan, Podunksville, U.S.A. New schools, new people; sometimes in six months, sometimes not for a couple of years, but always changing. Eventually he'd just stopped making the effort to win new friends -- they'd be gone soon, anyway. His friends were his books. They stayed with him. So did the music.
He'd tried the guitar first. It was an easily transportable instrument, and he learned quickly. Chords, counting, the minor pentatonic scales -- they seemed alive under his fingers, and he soon left the beginner's songs (Amazing Grace, Froggie Went A'Courtin') behind. He liked the Spanish classics -- de Falla, Villa-Lobos, Isaac Albeniz -- and he played these to please his mother.
His father was not pleased by any of it, and Greg knew he'd confiscate the guitar (if not break it over his head) if he ever found out his son's true love.
In secret, he'd practice the power anthems of Jimmy Page, Jack Bruce, Eric Clapton, David Gilmour, and anyone else he heard that he thought interesting. He listened to Led Zeppelin, Cream, Pink Floyd, The Who, the Stones -- everyone who could give voice to what he was feeling -- the raw emotions that poured through his adolescent body and mind.
And then with the next inevitable move, the guitar was left behind. He never really found out what happened; perhaps his father had finally prevailed in his desire for his only son to pay more attention to sports than to music; perhaps his parents truly had just forgotten.
He took up cross-country running, and started piano lessons. Later he discovered the blues, and the memory of his earliest musical love slipped into a small, tidy place in his mind, mostly accessed when he wanted to pull off a perfectly executed riff of air guitar.
At least, it had been until this morning, when he'd seen that headline.
Cameron saw it first, when she and the other Fellows arrived.
"'Shine on you crazy diamond.'" She blinked. "Huh. What does that mean?"
Foreman shook his head. "Who knows? House wrote it, it could mean anything."
"Or nothing," Chase said.
"O, ye of little faith." House, behind them. He did this occasionally -- appearing silently even though with the cane always in hand he should've made some noise. "It means something. Or ... I should say, it meant something once to somebody." He thought for a moment, then added, helpfully, "A long time ago."
Foreman rolled his eyes.
"Well, glad that's cleared up," he said. "Do we have a case this morning?"
"What?" Cameron asked.
Their boss looked at them and carefully lowered himself into the nearest chair.
"What does ... did it mean?"
House opened his mouth to tell her, then closed it. He shook his head.
"You're the whiz kids, hired by the Great Me. You figure it out."
Foreman sat back in his chair, exasperated. Chase and Cameron looked at each other.
"It's an anagram," Chase volunteered.
"It's a song," said Cameron.
"It's one of your weird jokes that only you get," Foreman growled.
"No, yes, and ... probably," House admitted.
There was a soft knock at the open door, and Wilson walked in, carrying a thick patient folder.
"Sorry to interrupt, guys. House, here's the file you asked for -- thought I'd go ahead and walk it over."
He caught sight of the whiteboard and stood still.
House watched his friend; he could almost see the gears turning as Wilson studied the five words. Would James recognize it? House honestly wasn't sure -- he knew the younger man's musical tastes had been formed during what House regarded as the "Lost in the Wilderness" years -- the 1980's.
Wilson looked at him, and House couldn't tell if he knew or not. Damn it, sometimes the man was unreadable, even to him. He frowned. This was not acceptable. He'd have to work on this; follow Wilson around more, poke at him, push more buttons. The thought of this new plan pleased House, and his expression brightened.
His Fellows flinched.
Wilson pulled a mini-pad of Post-Its from his lab-coat pocket. Tearing one loose, he stuck it to the front of the folder and quickly scribbled something on it with a ballpoint from the same pocket. Handing the file to House, he turned and headed for the door, then paused, looking back.
House waved an assent. Wilson nodded and left.
"So it's a song," Cameron said. "I was right."
"He also said it was a joke," Chase said.
"Yeah, well -- you were the one who said it was an anagram," Foreman replied.
"What's that got to do with anything now?" Chase was mildly perturbed.
House sighed. "Children, children."
They all looked at him.
"Daddy's getting a headache with all this bickering. I'll be in my office if ... oh, sorry, when you kids come up with the answer."
Levering himself up, he took the patient folder with him into his office and shut the door.
Searching through the small CD collection he kept at work, he found what he was looking for and popped it into the player next to his PC. The opening notes of "Breathe" from Dark Side of the Moon filled the room, and he turned up the volume, not really caring who heard.
Only then did he permit himself to look at Wilson's note.
It took him a moment to decipher Jimmy's left-handed chicken scratching, but when he did he had to choke back a snort of laughter. Oh, Wilson had gotten it, all right.
"Which one's Pink?" was all it said.
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Legal Disclaimer: The authors published here make no claims on the ownership of Dr. Gregory House and the other fictional residents of Princeton-Plainsboro Teaching Hospital. Like the television show House (and quite possibly Dr. Wilson's pocket protector), they are the property of NBC/Universal, David Shore and undoubtedly other individuals of whom I am only peripherally aware. The fan fiction authors published here receive no monetary benefit from their work and intend no copyright infringement nor slight to the actual owners. We love the characters and we love the show, otherwise we wouldn't be here.