Monday, April 8, 2013

DSC 13 Redux: Blues Man (or Jimmie Watkins' Arrangement)

When I first started doing these DSC drawings I was really into writing short back stories that went with the art. I lost most of the back stories to the digital gods. But something about this piece has really stuck with me. So I wrote a short story inspired by it. It's still kind of rough. I just ran out of time with it, the tome i should be putting into getting stuff done DSC has gone into this story. so for now i think it's in a good place that i can put it away for awhile and I may come back to it soon. Let me know what you think, maybe I'll do more.

Meet Jimmie Watkins.

He started playing the blues at age ten when he picked up a guitar left by his estranged father.

At fourteen he started sneaking out of his house to play at a dive nite club called The Cat's Eye. He walked five miles there with the orphaned guitar slung over his shoulder in an old potato sack.

By Fifteen he had quit school and started touring the blues circuit with
"Broken" Joe Coleman. Where gained notoriety for his fast loose style.

At age eighteen he married a waitress named Naomi that he met in club called the Blue Moon in Kansas City, Missouri. They divorced two years later due to the toll of his constant touring, and rumors of infidelity.

By age twenty-five Jimmie settled in Memphis. He got work as a studio musician.

He met a woman named Erica Devereaux who was a receptionist he had met at Beale Street Records.

They were very happy together, it was the opposite of any relationship he had before. They married and were together for thirteen years until she died of leukemia.

Jimmie was devastated. He spiraled out of control for almost five years abusing alcohol, then up a sliding scale of drugs. Those years ravaged both his mind and body.

On the eve of his fiftith birthday he annouced to his bandmates that after the show he going to quit. Everyone thought that he meant "the business", until they found a note under the strings of his guitar that was sitting in the corner of the stage. The note said that he no longer had any intrest in this world.

They went looking for him on the streets, they called the police, and the hospitals, they checked the morgues. He was no where to be found.

It surprised his bandmates when when he showed up at the club the next night. They were certain he had succeeded in killing himself, but instead he strolled up to the stage carrying a new guitar looking calmer, at ease.

The guitar was beautiful and a glorious deep red enamel. On the back of the guitar sealed under the finish in a large chrome brush script was the name Erica.

That night when he took to the stage he played with the emotional rawness of the abandoned child who had found the guitar with the deft skill of a man who had been honing his craft for decades.

His band mates often asked him about this transformation and the appearance of this guitar. For years he had said nothing. Till one night at an all night coffee shop Jimmie was sitting with Samuel "Slim" Simmons, the piano player of the group.

Jimmie told him about the night he left his guitar behind and walked away with every intention of jumping off the bridge that they had passed over when they came to town.

On the way to the bridge he had come to an intersection. There was a thin man in a expensive tailored grey suit leaning against the street light.

"Hey there Jimmie..." Said the well dressed man.

Jimmie assumed that the well dressed man had just seen the show and had no where else to go, or possible was just waiting for a ride. He was just going to ignore him and stroll on past, he had no time for fans tonight.

"So Jimmie, what do you think will kill you? Will it be the fall from the bridge , or will you drown? You never did get around to learning how to swim."

Jimmie stopped, turned around and looked back at the Thin Man not knowing how to respond.

The Thin Man smiled and lit a cigarette, he took a deep drag from the cigarette, tip glowed brightly. Jimmie could of swore that the man's eyes had also glowed. Maybe it was a trick of the light, but it looked like the Thin Man's eyes glowed a deep ominous orange, the color of fireplace coals. The color that would match the walls of Hell.

Then just like that the glow diminished as the tip of the cigarette faded.

"It's a shame for you to kill yourself. You were good..." Twin jets of smoke erupted from his nose as he spoke.
"You could of been great. You could still be great."

Jimmie shook his head.

"Who cares. There was a time where I did care, but what now? Money, Fame, they can't-"

"Bring her back?" The thin man interrupted.

"What..." Jimmie asked.

"Jimmie-there is always a Her, or a Him. Who am I to judge, the heart wants what the heart wants.

It is true you cannot bring her back. The universe is full of strange, wonderful, and dangerous things. But it cannot bring someone back from the great Roadhouse in the sky.

There are other things you can do."

"Like what?" Jimmie asked.

"Come with me and find out, what is there to lose?"

Jimmie followed the man, they walked about a half a block to a parked black Cadillac. The Cadillac was the deepest black he had ever seen. The only thing giving it shape as the unnaturally bright chrome and the stark white of the convertible top.

The Thin Man walked to the rear of the car and popped the trunk.

"You see Jimmie. What is so special about love is that there is nothing like it. Even love it's self is unique. Just because you loved one woman, it will not feel the same way if you love another woman. Unless..."

The Thin Man lifted something out of the trunk wrapped in an old blanket.

"Oh Jimmie. When I saw you, I knew that this was so you."

He carried it like a small sleeping child.

In front of Jimmie he unwrapped the blanket. The first thing Jimmie saw was a flash of red as the fabric of the blanket fell away. It was a guitar, the red enamel finish seemed to glow under the street lights. The Thin Man handed the guitar out to Jimmie and without even thinking about it he reached for it. It was warm to the touch even though it had been sitting in a cold car in the middle of September. He flipped the guitar over and saw in large chrome brush script letters was the name Erica.

He flipped it back over and slid hand up the neck over the frets and the other strummed the strings ever so gently. The sound raised goosebumps over his flesh and made the hairs on the back of his neck raise up.

It was all there in a flash of images and sensations. The nervous anticipation of the first kiss, the sweeping ecstasy of passion, the warm blanket of the certain unconditional love. His whole body for a fraction of a second went slack and he tried to catch himself.
But he couldn't stop his legs, his knees hit the asphalt hard and caused his whole upper body to jerk.

His hands gripped the guitar harder fearing that he would drop it. Fearing that it if hit the ground and cracked in half he would hear a scream, he would hear Erica's voice.

He pulled the guitar close to him, feeling its strange warmth wash over him. He then began to cry a horrible wail. A gasping, hiccuping, staccato fit with tears streaming, mucus flowing from his nose into his mustache. He had not cried like this since the woman he loved had died left him all alone.

Jimmie looked up at the Thin Man through swollen, red, tear filled eyes.

"What do you want for it?"

The Thin Man smiled. "It's a pittance-" He said." You'll never know that it's gone."

And that is what he told Samuel "Slim" Simmons. Of course Slim's next question was: "What was the cost?"

Jimmie swirled the small remnant of coffee left in his bone white ceramic mug and set it down on the counter. He looked over to Slim and smiled at one of his oldest friends.

"It's nothing I'll ever miss." He said with one hand caressing the guitar case leaning against his leg taking in it's unnatural heat.

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