There was a gibbous moon up in the black winking lazily and I timed my ideas to the sounds of shovels scooping earth. It was cool and there were insects laughing their lurid laughs and I was sweating, I was afraid. I didn’t know how long I’d been sitting there, watching, but it felt right. I couldn’t leave until the last of them was gone, a shadow in a shadow world, walking away from me and the freshest of his wages with his shovel slung about both shoulders.
I stood, finally, holding the drum sticks and stretching my legs. I yawned. It looked comfortable, that new mound of dirt. I walked closer and kneeled and stuck both sticks deeply into it, like antennae. Then I walked away from my brother’s grave for the first and final time, away from darkness toward some darker mystery yet.
Saul laughed and told me to keep my pants on this time.
“That was my brother, man. Not me.”
“Oh, that’s right. I forget. I can’t tell the two of yous apart unless you’re up there,” he said, nodding to the small stage. “Or, I couldn’t tell yous apart before. Jesus, kid. I’m sorry.”
“It’s okay,” I said.
“You sure you’re up for this?”
“Yeah, yeah. It’s good.”
“Because I’ll pull you out and take the rap, myself.”
“No, it’s cool,” I said, breathing deeply and looking at my trumpet up there on its plunger, gleaming golden scales of color. Reflections of light and sound.
“I’m gonna go check on the kitchen. You need anything? Bourbon, a beer?”
“No, thanks, Saully,” I said, and stood to greet the band. I’d played with the piano and bass players before many times, but never the drummer. He was sitting off alone at a table going over the sheets. I walked up and shook his hand. He was just a kid.
“It’s a pleasure,” he said. “No, it’s an honor. I’m sorry about your brother, I was a huge fan of his.”
“Yeah,” I said.
“I’m a huge fan of yours, too.”
“Thanks,” I said. “You ever play any of my tunes before?” I noticed he was drinking ice water.
“Yeah,” he said. “Just practicing. Nothing at a show, or anything.”
Shit, I thought.
“But it’s cool,” he said. “I got this.”
“Listen, I’m gonna talk to the other fellas. We’re going to change it up a bit tonight. I just wanna lay down one cut, the first sheet there. The blues in minor. I’m gonna shift a lot, might even end up dismantling the chords as a whole. I’m not sure what’s gonna happen or how the music’s gonna progress. You’ll have to listen for the changes. You up for that?”
To read the story in its entirety, you’re gonna have to buy the book when it comes out.