Mudcat Café message #2433701 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #113933   Message #2433701
Posted By: Amos
07-Sep-08 - 08:28 PM
Thread Name: Fiction : The Dead Man's Guitar
Subject: RE: Fiction : The Dead Man's Guitar
He finished the short version of the story of his life somewhere short of Perryville, and she listened contentedly to the familiar threads--hard times, bad luck, rough romances, happier times, steady work and a better romance...they meant the world as he knew it to the driver, and Tam tried to honor his good, plainspoken heart. But in another corner of her mind she was tallying the times she had heard--or lived herself--each of the sorry subchapters. Dane's story petered out, finding its tail-end in the cab where she had found him, peering into the West Virginia night over an outsized steering wheel. He ran his hand through the shaggy brown curls that ran down to little gray tips around his collar, and smiled in her direction.

"So...how about you? How the hail did you end up walking along that two-lane road by yerself?"

"Oh, I had a boyfriend, where I was living back up behind, but I left him yestiddy morning. Left a note and walked. Been walking most since then."

"Well, was he a drinker?"

"Jess? No, no such thing. Good man, worked hard when he could, decent."

"Run around?"

"No, neither that. HE allus said he never wanted to after we got together. Sweet talker."

"So why...?"

She sighed. "I was called."

"What's that mean?"

"I couldn't stay. Kept hearing a certain music, from somewhere far off, and I couldn't do nothing unless I went after where it came from. Dunno why."

"What kind of music could do that? I like music, ya understand, but, hell, if I get tired of it I turnt he radio off."

"No--it wasn't radio music. More like a song a ghost might play or sing. I dunno. I never heard anything like it except once before."

"What was that?"

"My Grampa played music like that on his old black shiny guitar, with the Gypsy drawing on it."

"Was he playing it then? In the house or something?"

"No, not likely. He died when I was eleven. But it sounded a lot like him, except it was telling me to come to it. So I left....".

The big Mack headlights cut through the early evening dusk, splashing light among the close-grown forests on either side, and the thrumming diesel growled behind them in a deep, regular time-keeping. But the instant seemed to stall in his mind as he tried to appreciate what the thin towheaded woman beside him was telling him. The warmth of a summer day was still seeping from the blacktop, and the cab was still warm, but he felt some trace of winter running its finger down his backbone.