When Nightmares End
Awakening from bad dreams, a blues musician does his thing.
|The first day after the nightmares are over, Paul’s music comes purer and so much sweeter. On this morning he made a deal with a pawn shop owner who lent him a chair and an electric extension cord for his Pignose. All he had to do in return was play well enough so that people would pause in front of the shop’s display windows where fake Rolex’s and sometimes-real engagement rings were on sale, alongside boomboxes, gold neck chains, and other items young people might be interested in buying. Paul sucked in a deep breath of cold air, diagnosing the scents and tastes of the waking street, then removed his tired old Stratocaster from its battered case, plugged it into the little amp, and began gently stroking the strings, running a few chords and adjusting the tuning for the morning chill. From years of experience—lessons learned on mean streets of many cities and towns across America—he placed a couple of folding dollars and a few cents change in the open guitar case at his feet; a small amount of seed money was important to tease passersby to ante up even more; it was Paul’s living. Soon enough, his eyes were closed against the bright winter morning sun just edging over the building across the street, and from self satisfaction in the riffs and chords flowing from his Pignose, coursing along on ragged air currents and flowing like water across the sidewalk and pavement. His socks didn’t match but his blues were real; he played his soul and his heart, he played the sunshine and the warming air, he played the smells of the city and rustle of an old newspaper blowing by his feet, and most importantly, he played the emotions of the people who stopped to listen. Music, life, world, all perfect; it was always thus the first day after the nightmares ended.
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