by Rebecca Hendricks
Ran cloth final time over smooth wood, hollow body, long neck. Admired delicate inlay. Master claims teeth of tigers slivered and tucked into geometric designs, matching tiger-stripe grain, white on battle between honey, shadow. Extinction of tiger makes story unlikely, but suffering Master’s whimsy first order of business.
Considered strings, fingers hovering. Whether energy own or instrument’s, palpable. Tiger striped vessel will translate important news to music, song: Local baker’s wedding; birth of new Teacher; summer's kudzu crops damaged by rains; alliance.
Capitulation, more like. Outsiders in heart of town. Outsiders setting up shop, adding vocals to worship, government.
Why carry latest song? Why share, why spread misfortune?
Brushed fingers softly on strings, causing slightest breath of sound. Rich, full of promise. Brows knitted in frown. Temptation strong to deny transaction! Town's recent decisions poor, dangerous. Put to song, events legitimized. Perfect vessel of tiger’s hide, white teeth too strong, too fine to be carrier of illegitimate choice. Master would agree.
Master would beat senseless, if were here.
Plucked single note. Tone rang out. Ear disagreed. Fingers of left hand stretched angrily to tuning key, slowed, touched lightly. Tone dropped subtly, matched frequency, came to agreement with ear. Tone sang freely. Tension in own shoulders likewise eased. So fine, this hollow form. Just… needed tuning.
Storyteller --newsmaker-- called from outside shutters. Allo, est-ce qu’a guitarra prêt? Fingers lingered, though hesitation passed. Then lifted away.
Tiger’s teeth may bite. Story at least will carry on clean tones. Future will decide importance.