They Don’t Make Rain Like They Used To

We all knew what was coming next, all of us apparently, except for me. It all started when Jeremy S. bought a flute at a yard sale. After taking to playing it rather well, he thought it would be a gas if the rest of us in the Tuesday night AA meeting each bought an instrument in and we could play as an orchestra, during the last ten minutes of our gatherings.

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Mickey D. grabbed an old trumpet from the garage, dusted it off, polished it so it looked new, but when he placed his soft lips around the mouthpiece, the very first, single, solitary note that came out sounded as though something was leaking from a pipe, rather than the smooth, wallowing sound we all expected. “Clearly, he needs to practice”, I thought.

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Marlena L. also purchased a violin from a yard sale. It was a small, student’s model, but she knew she needed to tune-up her abilities, for it had been more than 30 years since she played in her high school’s band and she didn’t want to slip-up, because she knew how a violin could sound like fingernails scratching a blackboard if the wrong strings were played. Slowly, but surely, each of the thirteen of us took up an instrument and we thought that we could use the ten minutes each week to practice for a recital we could perform at the Holiday Party we have every December.

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I was getting rather good at playing the autoharp that had been leaning on my wall the past twenty, or so, years, as I practiced solo, without ridicule or being disturbed after I got home from work everyday. And it seems that everyone else had been doing the same, for each week when we played together as a group, we sounded better than the week before, although we still sounded like a bunch of musical misfits.

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After rehearsing for nine weeks, we were getting close to that December 20th date to debut our motley crew. Yes, we were a gang of wanna-be’s, but no one was hiding the fact that we really weren’t musicians and took it all in stride. We all went along for this ride, but this is where the story goes awry.

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With less than one week left, we had decided to gather at Marcus B.’s the Saturday before the party. Marcus told us that he had enough room, but lacked the seating and asked us each to bring a chair. After arriving, I popped the latch and walked around to the trunk of my car to pull out the folding chair, when it began to rain. This was no ordinary rain… it poured! Rain that pelted sleet as though it came from someone’s slingshot! And I was it’s target. I was barraged so fiercely and hard, I was struck down, face in the dirt, one arm holding the leg of the chair, the other cradling my autoharp.

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When I came to, I was inside Marcus’s living room, soaking wet and sore on my left arm, all the way to my index finger. No one told me how badly it looked. No one told me that I appeared differently, and until we began to play Greensleeves, I hadn’t noticed that something was very wrong, or so I thought. Greensleeves was a song that had a solo part I played, so when it was time for the refrain, I just froze… but the autoharp played itself. “What the…?”, I asked while watching my finger direct the strings to be strum. It was dumbfounding, but there it was, right in front of my eyes, I became nervous and stood up, all the while, the music played on!

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Nothing was obvious to me, not at this point, and because I had been unconscious, I have no recollection of anything happening, but it seems that I was now a conductor of electricity or something similar. Marlena L. said to me, “You were out like Sonny Liston in the ring, but things began to move around the room, it was eerie but also very magical. You were like a devil playing, things were thrown about the room, instruments were chasing people. We didn’t know what to make of it! Rather than get you to the hospital, we thought we could have a little fun with you first.  Hon, are you feeling okay?”

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That night, I shrugged it off and made like I was, but I knew something had changed inside of me. Needless-to-say, I came here to the Mayo Clinic after our Holiday Bash. They say that I was stuck by lightning and a surge of energy wreaked havoc on my nervous system. That much they know for sure, what they don’t know is how to fix it. Two hours ago, I made a phone call asking for a cab, I’m going home. I decided to use this “power” to my advantage. Since I’ve been here for six weeks, I decided soon after getting here, that I wished to change my job and after about seven phone interviews, I finally got the call – I will be the next Conductor for the Boston Philharmonic, I start tomorrow.

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-dld January 15, 2011-

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T10 prompts: We all knew what was coming next – in the garage – single, soft, slip – something leaking – the trunk of the car, above Canvas Image

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