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Gertrude was fuming now. She was like a granny on coffee and Red Bull, ready to charge. She pulled out another bottle of vodka and looked around before taking a couple of swigs. Then she stashed it behind a rod of clothing. She glanced around at her treasures with a sense of panic that Judith would send them to the land of unwanted, decomposing junk of lives that are no longer wanted. She had to find them homes.
She looked up to see a group of young people approaching. She studied them with hawk eyes, noticing their all black clothing, concert t-shirts and piercings before calling out, “Do any of you young people play the guitar?”
She continued on, as if it were not their turn to answer yet. “I’ve got a bass guitar that used to belong to John Paul Jones.”
The teens stopped in front of the garage, communicating with one another without words. One teen spoke up. “Does it come with an amp?”
Gertrude, whose back was to them now, was trying to wrestle a hold of the long neck and lift it out from behind a table.
“You can use it at camp if you want, “ she told the speaker, who might have been fifteen.
He tried again, this time speaking slowly and enunciating his words, “I said, do you have an amp for it?”
“At the end of the Red Zeppelin concert, that young man Jones just tossed it into the air and my Edward grabbed it. He said it was the best concert he went to. Well, after the accident…” Gertrude said and then stopped talking, unsure if someone would want a dead boys’ guitar.
“It needs to make music again. You boys got your own band?” Gertrude asked, but then continued on without waiting for a reply. “You know Edward was in a band too. Used to play right here in this garage, that is until the uh…” Gertrude trailed off again.
A long-haired teen spoke up. “They are,” he said, motioning to his friends. “How much are you asking for it?”
Gertrude beamed as she handed the dusty instrument with the broken string to the boy. “It’s yours. Just don’t tell Wanda,” she said to the perplexed teen.
When he stood there, saying nothing, she went on. “Go on over to the guitar fixing store up on Lincoln. Ask Jeff to help you get what you need. He used to play in the garage with Edward. Tell him Gertie sent you,” said Gertrude.
She once again sat down in the lawn chair, content to have found another home for her treasures.
The teens didn’t leave. The boy with the long hair didn’t feel right about taking the guitar without paying for it. What if someone wanted it back, or worse, thought he had stolen it from the helpless grandma.
“Um, I can’t take this and all I got is thirty-one bucks,” he said while trying to hand back the guitar.
“Can you play?” she asked him, while ignoring the instrument.
“I’m still learning. Sometimes Joaquin,” he gestured to his friend, “let’s me have a turn on his,” the boy said.
“Well, you better get that fixed so you can practice with your friends,” she told them.
The long-haired teen said “thanks’, and then they left.
Gertrude rose from the chair, found her booze and took a few big swigs. She patted her mouth, stashed the bottle, then went to find Judith and Myron. They were in the kitchen speaking, but stopped the moment they heard her come in.
“Judith,” began Gertrude. “I need to talk to you.”
Judith looked at Myron, then back to her mother, as if trying to decide what to do. “You must be tired from being in that stuffy garage all day. Can I get you some water to drink?” she asked her mother.
“I know what you’re trying to do. You are trying to retract me so that I’ll forget what I want to say,” Gertrude said.
“Oh Mother, of course I’m not trying to distract you,” Judith laughed nervously, “Right , Myron?” she said, trying to get her son to help her out.
“I heard you outside earlier and I’m telling you I am not going to some home down south. I’m staying right here, near, near, ….Edward,” she breathed out looking back and forth from Judith to Myron. “He wouldn’t want me to go far away,” Gertrude said.
Her eyes had grown wet at the corners and her chin shook. She looked frail and pale at the moment and Judith thought her mother might faint.
“Myron, help your Granny sit down,” Judith told her son. “Now Mother, we’ve been through all of this before. Let’s be reasonable and…”
Myron interrupted her and said, “Mom, just tell her the truth!”
The room was silent, except for the fan spinning in a rhythmic motion. Their breaths rose and fell in rounds, like a song that was out of tune.
Stay tuned for the final week of Fiction Friday and find out “the truth”.