The kid with the gayest haircut in the world was playing......well.....doing something to the guitar. The noise cut through the my brain. The pain growing with each pass of the plectrum across the strings, the amplifier set to warp-buzzy-fuzz 9, the sound of the entrance bell snapping the salesman back to reality.
"Dude." said the Kid.
"Dude." said Malachi (looks exactly like Malachi from "Children of the Corn.")
"Uh..dude. "said Skittles (who prefers his drugs to be of the OTC variety.)
Malachi grabbed a guitar from the wall and plugged in. "Dude, man show me that shit, it fuckin' rocks."
"Show me too." Skittles said as he reached for an axe. Malachi stopped him short." Shut the fuck up you fuckin' dumbass, you fuckin' suck, go play with your mama's dick you queer.
Kid laughed. Malachi laughed. What the fuck? Skittles laughed too.
The phone began to ring. I was more than happy to get away from this conversation. "Music Store. This is the Salesman. How may I be of service today?"
I recognized the voice of Skittles' Mom. She sometimes called to tell him to come home, but not today. Today she was reaching out for help, for help from a semi-professional musician and guitar salesman. "You got to help me with my boy, they done told me he's eating them cough pills to get high. Do you know if he's doing them pills?" I calmly answered. "I know that he tunes his low E string way too high and it breaks. He buys about four strings a week. He thinks it's the guitar, but he's an idiot."
Mom stayed on point. "I know you musical types have done all these drugs so he might listen to you if you tell him it's dangerous. His grandpaw's a famous bluegrass star. If only he would've played the bluegrass. Then he might go to church. Do you think you can get him to go to church? His daddy won't even pay his child support no more because the boy told him I was buying liquor with it, but I only did that once, and I paid it back. I ain't got the strength to hit him no more since I had this stroke and my boyfriend can't hit him no more cause of the restraining order and I just can't tell his Grandpaw, it would just break his heart. So please talk to him, and get the rest of them to talk to him too. Y'all are role models for these you know."
I contemplated my dilemma and wanted say just the right thing to express the correct amount of empathy for her situation. "I've got another call. I've got to go. Thanks for calling the Music Store."
I hung up and refocused on the situation at hand. The kid had managed to teach Malachi thing he was doing to the guitar and somehow they were fucking up the same thing together.
Skittles had joined in on a flattop and was attempting to play along when a cell phone rang and sent the Kid scrambling for the door. Malachi followed. Skittles stopped him before he made out the door. "I think I got it but why don't it sound right?"
Malachi listened for a moment before replying. "Because you suck."
Skittles put the guitar up and looked back at me. "Huh, Huh, Huh, he thinks he's funny."
I made eye contact with Skittles and said sincerely," Have a great day." As he walked out the door I felt our heart to heart would surely make a difference in this young man's life.
Outside Skittles picked up his skateboard and lumbered down the street to catch up with Malachi and the Kid with the gayest haircut in the world.
I sat down at my desk to check email but soon drifted into a dream. Nancy Reagan was running for her life. Ronnie was trying to put his needle in her, screaming, "Mrs. Reagan, tear down your sugar walls!"