Day 13Yesterday, in a blinding rainstorm, I found myself driving down a dark, undeveloped dirt road that wound ever more distant from civilization into the snarling New England woods. Orange pine needles littered the road as the Jeep splashed through deep, boggy puddles. All alone, I nervously tossed bagel crumbs out the window to mark my path as I dove deeper and deeper away from civilization. Suddenly to my right, the woods cleared and I saw what creature lurketh in the deep, dark forest.
...an instrument repairman.
A neat, gray house emerged from the darkness. Its perfectly manicured, thick green grass was edged with sinister impatiens, dancing forebodingly in blood red, teeth-gritting white, and eye-burning pink. A lush rhododendron glistened a warning from the heart of the front lawn, its pointed leaves like fingers beckoning my reluctant heart into its evil lair.
Come, come, it whispered. Spend, spend.
The perfect garden belied the evils that lurked within. I hefted my hoard to the front door, and knocked. A great beast snarled from within, a sharp-toothed Sheltie who scratched and howled toward me as the door creaked open. Tethered to that beast was that most insidious of villians, that Cheshire-smiled scoundrel: a retired band director . . . Darker still, a clarinet player.
He lured me into his dungeon. He pointed a finger at a creaky chair. "Sit," he intoned. He then inspected my stash... the lithe and bouyant Yamaha alto sax, and the gnarled, lumbering Martin baritone, both quaking in his grasp. He turned them to and fro, and all at once, he dashed to a great cauldron in the darkest corner. In a great cloud of smoke and spray, he concocted a potion and grabbed the alto by its neck. He poured acid down its throat and plunged a drill into its gizzard! It sputtered and sprayed, quivered and shook ... and what emerged was the darkest grime from the dankest, slime-infested lagoon.
The torture had only begun, but I could take no more. I ran from the place, leaving my blessed horns behind. "These are saxophones, not your children!" he cried, laughing madly as I ran from the threshold. My fear burned a grey trail in the grass as I rushed to my mud-soaked wagon, desperate for escape.
Home! To home, I must again. As I drove back down the dusty road, his evil lair disappearing in my rear view mirror, my heart clenched. I made one solemn resolution, that it should follow me all the days of my musical life: Guinness is Guinness, and saxophone is saxophone, and if you value your musical life, my friends.... ne'er the twain shall meet.