I didn't even see him at first, the pupils of my eyes slowly opening,
adjusting to the darkness.
Everything was either old or older, and in the middle, in a chair that
seemed to be swallowing
him, was a gnome-like old man, not moving. Asleep or dead, probably asleep I
my usual lightning precision. The guitar was wrapped in plastic, a bag from
the dry cleaning
store quite naturally, and the strings were very old, it hadn't been used in
An F-hole, arch top Ephiphone; I recall it needed repair work, maybe the
neck was slowly
coming off the body at the heel, something. I tuned it up tenuously, working
the strings into
some relative of standard tuning, a couple of steps down. Five feet away the
the gnome hadn't moved, neither had it's contents, still dead or asleep.
"Whose guitar is this?" I asked...
"Oh, it belong to him, but he don't play no more." came the reply. It
belonged to the gnome,
and I began to hope he was just asleep, cause then I could probably wake him.
"Uhh, oh I see.." slowly picking out a tune from the 1930's..."Does he play
"Oh yeah he play it, but he don't play no more, and anyway you can't get him
to play cause
it's Sunday." (So, it was on Sunday) I thought I detected signs of
breathing coming from the
"Well, does he maybe play this one.." I tried picking out a local favorite
from the 20's,
backing up 10 years. A slight wheeze from the chair.
"Oh yeah, he know that one too, but he don't play no more, and besides it's
Sunday, and he
don't never play nohow on Sunday." There it was, syntax and all..
"O.K., I understand, but does he know this one?" Backing up again, to the
turn of the century,
to pre-blues tunes, I picked out a rough version of Spoonful, in John Hurt
Again the answer came, as inevitable as the ticking of a clock, "Oh, he play
that one too, but
he don't play cause it's Sunday. You like the guitar?" Sure.
"It's real nice y'know, but I'd really like to hear him play, uhh maybe I
could come back
another time and we could play some. I'll leave the guitar for now and maybe
buy it later on."
Call me eccentric, call me worse, but I swear their was definite movement,
from the chair. No voice though, no comment, no question, and no affirmation.
"Why sure, come on back when you want to, we'll be here." I went back a few
and they had gone, moved out.