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The Last Gig Ke Astor Played (standard:drama, 4579 words)
Author: Bobby ZamanAdded: Jun 20 2002Views/Reads: 2001/1637Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
Done with the trumpet, on to a woman.
 



THE LAST GIG KE ASTOR PLAYED 

by Bobby Zaman 

“You got what you wanted, now what?” 

“Now what? Now we begin.” 

The trumpeter named Ke Astor sat huddled in one corner of his studio,
the only spot where a pool of light streaming in through the window on 
the opposite end of the room was keeping his face visible to the figure 
perched on the window ledge. 

“We begin nothing,” Ke muttered, and blinked from the bead of sweat that
rolled down his forehead and seeped into his eye.  The figure shifted 
uneasily. 

“You’re being very childish,” the figure grumbled.  A series of sounds,
arms and legs cutting air, quick gasps of space being disturbed, and 
the figure dismounted from the ledge. 

From two soft thumps on the wooden floor, Ke knew that the figure was on
its feet.  Ke’s eyes were bad, and getting worse.  Each night he played 
he came away with less of his vision.  At first he thought it was the 
glaring stage lights night after night.  Then he faced the fact that 
his eyes really were trotting towards eventual full-out blindness, a 
hereditary blemish passed down with an invisible shrug from his 
mother’s side.  People often thought he was a writer.  Ke despised the 
assumption, and disliked writers even more. 

“Stand up,” the figure commanded.  “This whimpering all the time is
tedious and it’s getting old fast.  This is not why I picked you.” 

“Why did you pick me?” 

“Stand.  You want a proper answer, you have to be man enough to look it
in the eye.” 

Ke’s father was a Baptist minister, and Ke had heard every sermon in the
book (literally,) before a short stint with agnosticism and diving into 
all out atheism, without the preaching bit. 

Whatever breath he could’ve invested in ramming godless ideologies into
the heads of the few listeners that may perk their ears after a 
drinking binge, he blew instead into his trumpet, and let words become 
airy wails.  His mother was a blind (also literally) follower of every 
step of his father.  That life began and ended in Biloxi and didn’t 
find a latch to tow itself along with Ke’s music-sniffing blood to the 
north. 

The figure, with his purposely aggravated tone, was conjuring tedious
flashbacks, where Ke was sitting at the breakfast table, jaw stretched 
and stuffed with sandy cereal and watery milk running down his throat, 
and his father’s massive un-preacher-like hand weighing down his 
shoulder and tilting him while the man bellowed in his ear about The 
Book of Revelations, and all the time his mother mumbling amens and 
hallelujahs as she scampered back and forth from the stove to the table 
to the table to the fridge. 

The figure made a movement. 

A large hand with fingers that looked like they’d been flattened
carefully and proportionately at the same time that the palm had been 
pulled from all sides peeked out of the screen of darkness. 

“Stand, and you’ll know the answers,” the figure announced, then
tumbling his voice down to a somber and almost comforting bass, though 
not without proud authority, said, “I only speak to man if I respect 
him.  I don’t respect cowering sissies.  Come on.” 

Ke strained his eyes at the movement in front of him.  “You should’ve
thought of that before finding me.”  He closed a fist around the 
figure’s palm. 

It felt like the prickly back of a hedgehog.  Ke winced with pain. 


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