Mudcat Café message #2429484 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #113933   Message #2429484
Posted By: Lonesome EJ
02-Sep-08 - 11:52 PM
Thread Name: Fiction : The Dead Man's Guitar
Subject: RE: Fiction : The Dead Man's Guitar
Once more, with the proper line spacing!


Michael was walking rapidly through the cold October sunshine that fell on the sidewalk of 2nd South. In his pocket, he felt the cell phone vibrate with another incoming call. He stared at the caller id. Kasladek again. "Shit," he shook his head, rubbed his eyes and answered "This is Michael."
"Where are you. The Omaha office says you weren't on the plane this morning."
"I'm sick, Rich. I was up all night with the stomach flu or something, finally fell asleep and missed my flight."
"Are you going to be ok?"
"No. I mean, I'm sure I'll be better soon. Maybe I can reschedule for tomorrow."
"You could have called, Mike. Did you get my messages?"
"No. I saw you called but I haven't had time to pick up my voice mails."
Michael was approached by a shabby-dressed black man with a sign saying 'LDS-Legion of Demons of Satan' who said loudly "the way to Heaven is not through Brigham's Temple. Those are no saints who go in there!" Michael clamped his hand over the mouthpiece as he heard Kesladek say "what was that? Where are you?"
"I'm outside the Doctor's office. Listen, I'm losing signal. I've got to go, Rich." He pushed the man aside, saying "back off!", and continued down the street. The man stood pointing at him and shouted "get behind me Demon!"
At West Temple, Michael turned north. He scrolled through the messages on his phone. There were two business calls, four from Sheila, and one from Dave Ruben. Temple Square was crowded with tourists and pilgrims. Michael felt the cool breeze chilling the sweat on his forehead. He found a bench and sat down, trying to pray, saying in his mind "help me in the hour of my need. My soul is troubled. I don't know where to turn." He was conscious of a deep hypocrisy. Maybe he had believed when he was a child, but not for a long time, and his prayer seemed pitiful, self-serving, and ridiculous. Laughter burst from his lips, and he opened his eyes to see the frightened stares of those who passed nearby.
He pushed Dave's number and Dave answered immediately. "Mike, what the hell? Sheila said you left in the middle of the night? You're scaring the shit out of her."
"Where are you, Dave? I feel like I'm in some real trouble. I may be having a nervous breakdown."
"Are you still in Salt Lake? Where are you?"
"I'm in Temple Square. I'm at a hotel near here."
"Listen, Mike. I've got rounds at the hospital down here in St George, and I'm flying back tomorrow. I could change my reservation..."
"No, David. I'm overstating this. I'll be fine. It's this damned insomnia is all."
"Sheila said you scared her near to death last night with the guitar. Whatever you're doing you need to stop it, man! Leave that fucking guitar alone, lock it in the trunk of your car."
"Look, can we get together and talk tomorrow?"
"Sure. I get in at 7:15. I could come over to your hotel."
"Look, Dave. I need to get in touch with something real. Let's meet at the old place in Emigrant Canyon."
"Oxbow campgound? Should I bring a twelve pack of PBR like the old days?" Mike laughed and said "sure. But I might have a hard time coming up with a joint by then."
"That's alright man. I'm a doctor now. I'll bring some prescription meds." Dave paused as Mike's laughter continued, and then he said "there you go. That's my Mikey. Meet you about 9 or so. You sure you'll be ok."
"Yeah," said Michael. "Thanks, Dave. I knew I could count on you."
"Every time, Mikey. All the time."
Michael walked back to the Peery and up the stairs to his room. He lay down on the bed, pulled a pillow under his head and turned, his eye falling on the black guitar, and he mumbled "you're going in the trunk of the car, my precious, just like Dr Dave prescribed." He tried to lift himself, but his body was heavy, his mind numb with weariness. Soon, he had fallen fast asleep. Outside in rush hour traffic, the cars were just flicking on their headlights as the gloom of the October night came on.