I woke up at around eight the next day, and took a bath and stuff. I checked my e-mail, and sure enough, classes had been cancelled. I pulled up the blinds, and there was snow everywhere. The trees looked beautiful.
I made myself a breakfast of scrambled eggs, stupidly wondering if chickens really laid brown eggs, or if they were goose eggs.
I worked on my graduation project until around 12, and by then it had stopped snowing. Grabbing a scarf, and a double jacket, I quickly went down to get my bike.
It took me around seven minutes to bike the 3 miles to Blooming Soul, probably due to the adrenaline rush I had. "So this is what it's like to be in love." I thought. "I'm gonna have that guitar, even if it kills me, or castrates me."
I walked in, and Rainn was sitting on a stool, with a fat guy wearing a bucket hat, slumped on the couch. Fatty looked middle aged. He was wearing Dockers and a shirt that had a shark on it. The smell of cigarettes assaulted my delicate sinus, but I resisted the urge to bolt. I hated strong smells in general, even if they were good.
The fat guy got up and crushed his cigarette in the tortoise ashtray lying on Ryan's desk. He looked up at me and smiled. "You're Rob, right? Rainn talks about you a lot. Ah, look at the bastard, he's blushing. Somebody has a crush on somebody."
"Uh, yeah. Hey Seal, you wanna hear a joke?" Rainn said, coolly.
"Sure." Said Seal. The guy really was obese, and aptly named.
Rainn paused, for dramatic effect. Then, he said "Go f--k yourself."
Seal chuckled. I said "Dude, you ripped that off Catch Me If You Can."
"You got that right." He said. "Anyway, Robster, this here's Seal. He plays keyboards in my band and does some other useless crap."
"Hey, Seal." I said.
"Pleased to meet you, young one." He replied.
"So what's up?" Rainn asked.
I turned to Rainn and burst out "Where's the red guitar?"
Rainn was perplexed. "Red guitar? I have a whole bunch. Which one d'you want?"
"I." I said. "Want." I looked around. "This." I found the guitar hanging at the display window. "Guitar. For keeps."
There was an awkward silence.
"Are you sure you can afford that thing, bro?." He asked.
"Sure, how much does it cost?"
"Roughly 3 grand..." said Seal. "That's a 1962 Fender Stratocaster. Not even a reissue. This is a 48 year old guitar right there, a piece of history."
I was taken aback. There was no way in hell I could afford this thing.
"I think it's kinda out of your league, man." Rainn said. "Besides, it's got a sparkly cherry red finish. This is the only cherry red strat I've seen in my life. I've seen plenty of candy apple red strats, and some other variations of red, but never this precise hue." I took a deep breath, and sighed. "Okay. Maybe some other day."
Rainn gave me a guilty look. "So....are we still cool? No sweat, right?"
"No. It's just a guitar.."
"Well that's great, because I have something you might be interested in." He went to the back of the store, and a few moments later, he came back with a Kramer gigbag. "This might shock you a bit." He said.
He unzipped a gigbag and pulled out a beautiful Sakura pink guitar.
"Pink? Cherry blossom pink? Dude, are you serious?"
"Appearances can be deceptive." He said. "Besides, chicks dig pink. This thing will get you LAID!"
"That colour is f--king brilliant.You did it yourself, eh?" Seal asked Rainn.
"Hell yeah, bro. Best paintjob I've done yet." He said, smiling proudly. He then turned to me. "This, my friend, is a Kramer Focus 211s. Finding it was a pain in the ass. It's remarkably cheap for something of its calibre."
"Uh huh." I said, as I took the guitar from him and adjusted the strap on my shoulders. "So how much does it cost?"
"250 dollars. I'll throw in a second hand fender 15 watt frontman for ya'. And a bunch of accessories." He replied.
I plugged it into one of the amplifiers, and turned on the overdrive. I played "Smoke on The Water" by Deep Purple, a song everyone and their grannies has heard at some point in their lives. I had mastered the riff, but the solo was kinda hard. It sounded awesome, and nothing like the Squiers and Epiphones I had tried earlier at the guitar center. It had its own, distinct sound. This thing was unique, right down to the colour.
"Dude are you sure this thing is only worth 250 bucks? It sure as hell doesn't sound or look like it is."
"That, son, is the beauty of the whole thing." Seal said. "It has a certain hybrid-ish vibe to it. It's shaped like a Stratocaster, but it has a damper, crunchier sound and a fat bridge pickup. Very versatile."
I couldn't lie. I loved it. I loved every inch of it. I almost forgot about the Cherry red strat. I figured I would use this thing for now and buy the strat after saving up some dough.
"This is fantabulous, bro." I said. "I'm buying it."
"Congratulations, my man." He said.
I handed him the cash, albeit reluctantly, seeing the significant weight loss of my wallet. "It's worth it, and it'll pay off." I thought. He gave me the gigbag, and a box that had a bunch of heavy picks, a weird spring thing, and a tremolo bar inside it. He handed me the Fender 15w.
"Dammit. I biked here. How the hell will I get this shit home?" I said. Seal laughed.
Rainn shrugged and said "I dunno, I could give you a ride, but try taking the bus. The nearest stop is like three blocks away. Do yourself a favour and buy some lunch at Brightleaf Square. Most importantly, feed on the stares. A guitar never goes unnoticed. Interesting things happen around one."
"Alright, let's see how this works out. Little Robbie is gonna go on an adventure, armed with a piece of wood with strings on it." I said. "Peace out, guys."
I got out of the shop, all guitared up. I was now the proud owner of a Cherry Blossom Pink Kramer Focus 211s. I walked to Brightleaf square which was just across the street, with my head in the clouds. I went to El Rodeo, ordered myself a chicken fajita wrap and took a seat on a table outside the restaurant.
"Life's alright." I thought to myself as I waited for my wrap to arrive and present its deliciousness to my starving taste buds.
A black guy with dreadlocks walked out of the restaurant. He was wearing a shirt that said "Maiden Japan". He walked over to me and asked "D'you play guitar?"
"Kinda." I replied.
"Mind if I sit here?" He said.
"So. Are you into metal much?" He asked.
"Eh. I like Metallica. And a little bit of Pantera. Does that count?"
"Yeah, that counts. Ever heard of Iron Maiden?"
"Not really. I've heard Flight of Icarus, but that's about it."
"Ahh, okay." He said, a little disappointed. "I like a whole lot of music, bro. Reggae, Hip Hop, Metal, you name it. And a little bit of Rock too."
"D'you like classic rock much?" I asked.
"Nah, I haven't heard much of it." He replied. "Hmm. There's something about you that seems extremely familiar, man." He said, looking at me with squinted eyes. "What's your name?" He said.
"I'm Rob." I replied.
"Yeah, how did you..."
"Oh, my, God, bro. We went to Panther Creek High. You were that kid who never talked. We were in the track team."
"Wait a second. Yeah, now I remember. You're Jordan Barnes! The dude with the dreads!"
"I'm still the dude with the dreads." He said, smiling. "This is awesome. Are you at Duke?"
"Hell yeah." I said.
"Dude, I'm at Duke Law School. You?"
"I'm at the Fuqua school of business."
"Are you staying in a dorm?"
"Nah, I have an apartment in Poplar West."
"What a freaking coincidence! I live there too." He said. A busboy bought a fajita wrap and a quesadilla and set it down on our table.
"D'you wanna split? I love wraps."
"Sure, I love quesadillas." I said.
We ate for a while, and talked about random things, and music. He was a big fan of Kid Cudi, old school rap, Bob Marley, Metallica, Slayer, Iron Maiden, and a whole bunch of other artists. Our tastes in music had only one connecting link: Metallica. It was the only band he liked as much as I did.
We finished the quesadilla and the wrap.
"It's been awesome talking to you, man." I said.
"Same here, dude. Shit, I forgot to tell you. I play bass." He said.
"You play bass?"
"Yeah! I'm pretty good too. I've been playing since the 7th grade. We should jam sometime."
"Eh. No, I don't think that's a good idea." I said.
He sighed, and his expression was grave. "It's cuz I'm black isn't it."
"No! Jesus, no. It's just that I'm a noob. I don't play that good."
He laughed and said "Dude, playing with other musicians is the best way to improve. Meet me at the laundry building at 6."
"The laundry? Are you shitting me, man? It's minus 10 or something, we'll freeze our asses! That place is a slab of concrete."
"Grow a pair, man. It isn't that cold. Look at me, I'm wearing a shirt. You're way overdressed. It's friggin February man."
"The two I already have will shrink like f--king raisins!" I said, concerned.
He laughed again, and said "Imma wait for you, Rob. Dissapoint me and I'll bust yo' ass, gangsta style."
I gave him the "wtf" look.
He laughed, and said "Nah, I'm just playing. If you don't feel like you're up to it, we'll wait for a sunny day or something. See you around."
I smiled. "Peace out, man. I'll be there." I said.
I put on my gig bag and picked up the Frontman. He picked up his bookbag.
"I'm gonna head to the library. Gotta finish an assignment. Damn procrastination."
"Mkay. I'm gonna head home." We bumped fists, and parted ways. He crossed the street and headed to the parking lot. I walked to the bus stop 2 blocks away.
"Rainn was right." I thought. "A guitar never goes unnoticed."