Guitar in hand and nowhere to go. This dusty road is barren and the sun is high. My body aches to rest but I am a wanderer of my music. I am in search of my muse, the siren that will call me. Leading me to my death, but not before exposing me bare to the wonders that hide within me.
My feet are sore, my boots are wearing thin. My beard is holding this dusty air and my throat is parched. It has been three days and I know not which way I should walk. Each path has appeared similar, dark, dusty, and desolate.
There have been no signs, no lights to signal a turn, a stop, or a cautious disposition. What have I done? Am I but another poor musician taken to the madness of his music? Never to find the glory that will give breath, life to my words, my songs?
Wait, what is that, that in the distance, between the waving waves of heat and the gritty plumes of dust? I see a light, a beaming light of red in the distance. It is faint, but it must be reality, it must be real. It shines like a far off star burning in the glaze of midnight.
I am weary and pray this is a refuge for wanderers or, at least a place welcoming of the a passerby. My guitar is well contained in its holster. My fingers begin to itch for a chance to play, to serenade the soul. To bring calming to the wild storms that seek to dismantle any hope, any faith.
I can taste the music, I can taste the notes surge from its strings. Its wooden belly wishes to blossom with amusement with, charm. I can hear its voice whisper in thirst to be heard. To be caressed by the sounding hearts that surround it.
Closer, I am closer, I can see the red light as clear as the sun. It is a sign, a signal for my rest. It is a clear red light beaming with a beautiful fluorescent tone to catch my eye. My feet, I drag them ever so painfully across theses dusty grounds.
I cross the arid landscape and reach this unsubtle glaring sign of red. It sits centered, but crooked, hanging from old steel cables. As my feeble body reaches this sign held too an old log building, I hear voices.
I hear, what I pray is music and laughter. Closer, yes, closer, I can truly hear it now. I can feel everything about this place. It resonates with wandering souls, with temptations of music. But how I long for water to clear this parched throat.
How I long to remove these worn boots and rest my feet upon a bed. So much so, I may rest my guitar for another night. My eyes are shallow in sight, I can feel my skin tightening around my face. Constricting from dehydration. It may be best to let this body rest, to dream, to feel the comfort of a pillow against my heavy head.
Closer, I have reached the steps. They too are worn and crooked, I can see numerous nails forcing these old steps to bare harsh frayed splinters.Like a mans hair from from unyielding stress. I place my foot upon the first step and an excruciating shriek creaks the old wood. I become motionless as I do not want to draw attention to myself, at least not yet.
But I fear it is too late, the walls that were bursting with noise have become silent and I hear foots steps approach me. Looking up to the entrance of this no name place, a man reveals himself from the other side.
He stands looking down upon me. His arms covered in tattoos, he wears a leather vest with a white T-shirts and blues jeans and boots similar to mine. Black cowboy boots. His face is hugged in a handle bar mustache and he stands at least six-four.
We lock eyes, my heart skips as I fear his broad presence. He says nothing at first, we merely examine each other in great detail. He then turns away enough to lean back into the building and notifies someone of my presence.
A lady in the shadows holding two glasses of beer looks at me from behind the man. She looks back at the man and nods. He looks back at me while clasping his hands on the edges of his vest that cover his belly.
He nods and I nod back, unsure what I have accepted, I wearily make my way up the few steps of the building. The man sees my sluggish attempt to walk. He steps forward grabbing me firmly under my right arm and pulls me up.
He says nothing and guides me into the bar. We enter together and there, in silence sits over thirty people, staring at me. Each as rough as the man holding my arm, each with looks one only gets through years of life.
I don't smile, I carefully remove my arm from the man's grip, nod and say,
"Hi, my name is Rustle."
No one says a word, they merely turn back to their respected tables and talk among each other. A piano starts to play, I turn my eyes toward the piano and there sits a man of roughly sixty, portly in shape. He is playing songs you would here only in the days of the wild west.
I look up at the man who was holding me and ask his name, he looks down at me with a grizzled look and replies,
"Names Randy" He points to the bartender, "I can see you look thirsty, talk to Mary, she'll get you squared away."
I walk over to Mary and as I do, I take in the view, inside is the stereotypical saloon. Everything is made of wood, old beer signs hang at just about every corner. Cigarette and cigar smoke fills the air and the smell of yeast seeps between the smokey aroma.
I get to the bar placing my guitar on an empty stool next to me. It is only me at the bar. I ask Mary for a drink and ask her what happen to the band that was playing. Mary hands me a cool beer which is in frothing form in an iced over glass. I immediately feel the cold temperature break the heat around my hand as I wrap my hand around the beer.
I hold it as I keep conversation with Mary. She passes a few more beers to a waitress and says,
"The music, you just missed it. It was the last show for our long time musician Anthony. His daughter is being born today so he skipped town to go live with his family permanent. He said he got asked to play in the big city as an opener for some big country band."
I sip my beer and thank Mary for the information. She then looks at me and over at my guitar and asks if I play. I nod my head yes a few times as I drink my beer. "Why don't you play for us." She asks as she pours more beers from the tap.
Sipping my beer my eyes grow wide, I put down my drink and respond, "I would love too but I have been walking for the past three days. Where I was headed I do not know, but I found this place and I am just looking to rest."
Mary, passing beer to the waitress again, she steps up in front of me with a stern but friendly look,
"We have beds, those are going nowhere, we have beer, food, friends, and a jukebox that can play music. Those are going nowhere. But here you are, alone, guitar in hand and a crowd ready to listen. This crowd won't be here forever. Tomorrow morning is the Rooster run, a hundred mile ride. They won't be back for three weeks. And the nearest town is forty miles north."
Looking at Mary I think about what she said. I stare down into my beer and see a reflection of me. I see my face gently sploshing back in forth in the lightly tinted beer. I look up at Mary with confidence,
"You know what Mary, I will play, I am freaking exhausted but as you said, this crowd won't be here forever. As much as I would love to rest, I love playing music more."
Mary smiles, raises a glass and we cheers. She then points with the glass toward the stage behind me. I look back, grab my guitar, chug my beer and walk up on stage. The roaring crowd of people suddenly grows silent. I look over at the crowd. They look on with anticipation.
Pulling my guitar from its case I feel my heart racing. I become a bit nervous, I rest the guitar on my legs and strum. I adjust the strings and look at the crowd once more.
"This is a song I wrote for the weary traveler such as myself. May those who walk lost hand in hand with their passion find what they are looking for."
I start to play and not a single person talks. All eyes are on me, I am thrilled at the participation of the crowds attention. I play for three hours straight. Not a single person got up and left, except to use the bathroom, can't blame them for that. I have never seen so many beers downed in three hours in a crowd this size.
I finish playing, thank the crowd and they cheer wildly. I bow and give more thanks, packing up my guitar a gentleman approaches me on stage. "Hi, my name is Rouled, I am the owner of Rouley Records."
We shake hands,
"I would like for you to come to my studio and possibly sign up for a record. I am not looking to change your sound or your soul. You music is truly passionate, all I ask is you play as well as you did today and follow me for at least one year. What do you think?"
I ponder the thought for a moment....."Rouled, I would love that!"
Rouled smiles and shakes my hand one more time and asks, "Aren't you going to ask what the payout is?"
I look at him with a moment of ah ha.
"The money slipped my mind, it has never been a thing I care for. I try to see money as a bonus to the enhancement of my passionate."
Rouled smirks with pleasure, "Well, you show up tomorrow at ten am and you have yourself a million dollar deal. Oh, and have one of these gentlemen here give you a ride in. As I can see you did not come by car."
My heart fills with elation, "Yes, I will be there tomorrow, thank you for the opportunity Rouled, I look forward to our relationship and my expansion of music into the world."
When have you felt tired and instead of doing what you should do you rested instead?
We are defined by the stories we write in our minds, A Man;s Traveled Heart
Coming soon, The Bleeding of Words
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