I was supposed to go to the Sled Island music festival in Calgary that weekend, but the trip was cancelled because of flooding that Summer. I’d already booked off [More…]
There had been two large bags of fan mail waiting for him beside the piano bench after the accident. At first, he had little interest in being prayed for. But at four in the morning when his hand throbbed and his absent thumb, by now decaying in some medical dump, ached and itched uncontrollably, he found them an entertaining distraction.
Charlie had always loved the night and the city. At one time, albeit many years before, he had taken part in every night out, every silly escapade. In his recollection, though, that era seemed very brief, and he had quickly turned the page and landed a serious job, to which he had chained himself in a frenzy to succeed, becoming in his friends’ eyes an aloof and calculating person, constantly in a rush.
I spotted him like you might a bird through the top of a windshield; a man perched like a shooting gallery duck on the rail of an overpass. He looked like an easy target, or at least easier to hit than my car doing eighty, if you stop to think about the weight of a man, that specific correlation between velocity and mass. Measure that weight of probability, and if he’d aimed right, tried harder, thought longer, even practiced on a grassy verge before he’d jumped…
But I never got very far each week before the telephone would ring, and Fred McKenna—a slightly stooped man with sad eyes—would leave the practice room, his own trumpet in hand, to answer it. Or a customer would come in, ringing the little bell attached to the front door, and Fred (as we called him) would go out to attend to business, leaving the door to the practice room wide open so I was quite conspicuous in there, feeling naked with my trumpet across my lap, like someone caught in the outhouse.