“Bones”–flash fiction, Difficult People




          Bones. That’s what they called me. Trombone. Old name. I don’t care.

          Get some education, my Daddy always said. What if’n your lungs and lips they blow out?

           Shit. They mostly never did. Mouth, lips, lungs…bones…blowin’ soft and slow. New Orleans sound, you got it? Uh huh, that’s what I hear when I wake up. Work wid me, brother. Soul. The voices are in your head. Can’t be afraid. Just blow. Stiff upper lip. That’s a joke, okay. I been all round the world. People got the beat everywhere. I’ve found friends in every nook and cranny. You can’t be afraid. Gotta just go…and blow this old horn. Some guy in Japan had all my stuff…professor of mathematics. Said he thought we was soul brothers, another life. I give him a big old hung, you know he cried. Still get letters from his wife…he passed. You get to my age…you been to a lot of funerals. I got a whole funeral thing I do…gets people in the mood. Feel good for the spirit of the deceased. Funny thing ‘bout death, folks get closer the longer they’re gone.

          You know an old black blues horn player, ol’ Bones…what does he know anyway?

          That’s why I blow. That’s the only honesty I got. Words get all slippery, crossing up, get yo butt in a pickle, yep, my repertoire’s ‘bout the same after all these years. I’m holding back on the high notes, cutting a few corners. Got to, breath runs short. When I was young, my Daddy kept warnin’ me I’d get old, run outta breath

          Get yo self an education, son, they can’t take that away from you.

          Daddy was a good man but he was a scared man. Life frightened him. He was afraid to take a chance. Afraid for me and my failure but you know, I feel every night I play that I been blessed, taking that chance don’t scare me—

          …well, it does but I use that fright, to blow the blues right outta my soul, right outta my horn.



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