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Music Man

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After the way he’d cornered me into drinking that moonshine until I couldn’t see straight, I figured turn-about was fair play. Hutch never expected to find himself up onstage at the Back Woods Inn. He’d only brought his guitar as a prop, to make us look more countrified.

It was karma that it happened to be amateur night. C.W. Jackson, he’d billed himself, and I was his manager. He climbed the stairs to the stage with trepidation. I knew he played a mean guitar, but usually in the privacy of his own apartment, or sometimes at a departmental picnic. The last time he’d had to sing on stage he was so nervous, he’d forgotten the words. It had been painful to watch. But this time it was just him and his guitar.

He started out slowly, his long fingers finding the rhythm on the strings. Then picked up the pace as the music flowed. Even the backup band got into it. It may sound corny, but his face lit right up. A golden sun after rain. And after seeing him so tense these past few weeks, it was a joy to behold. I wanted to give him this every day.