So I'm waiting for my morning class a few days back, stealing a little time to read something that doesn't require I slap a grade on it when I'm finished, and there's some dudes huddled campfire style in the college lounge.
They have a guitar, a slicknew Ovation. They're playing a hiccup of a song here, another hiccup there, and handing it around. They are bent on impressing each other and anyone within ear shot. That's fine and good. But I wasn't paying much attention to these guys and their perfect Ovation, their desperate craving for audience.
The security guard I'd often passed in the halls had moved from his usual spot by the elevator and was now just outside this circle of hip cats.
So now I'm watching this guard, a sixty-something man standing quiet as a church mouse and listening. Whatever strange radar I have activates, and I make my way over to him. No introductions, not just then. We cut right to it. Music. He plays mandolin, I play guitar. He grew up Old Regular with only singing and no instruments and I grew up watching my old man play a 1967 Silvertone in church bands with as much amplification as he could find outlets for.
He tells me he's Chester Moore. I introduce myself. Then he tells me he built his own mandolin. It's in the trunk of his car. Would I like to see it?
Merry Christmas to me.
While my students waited five minutes into class for me to show up, I stood in the parking lot and listened to Chester play. I listened for as long as I could.
"What’s got you down?” he asked her. “Tell me the story—I’ll give it a happy ending."
I've published for the last couple of years an online journal called The Airgonaut . I've placed a submission closed update there t...
Best Small Fictions 2017 Guest Editor Amy Hempel Series Editor Tara L. Masih Braddock Avenue Books (September, 2017) $13 (Braddock Av...