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By Mel Bosworth
Dingo Corduroy, blind bluesman, made the harmonica squeal and chug for
the Evangelicals inside Rapture Bar. Dressed in the sweat of a
Mississippi summer and burnished black boots, Dingo writhed on the
sawed-off stool as the pasty white men and women stomped and clapped
in the aura flushed from the hot reeds.
The small shack shook and the floorboards spit nails beneath the jive.
Dingo sucked a breath and broke his embouchure, webs of red saliva
vibrating in the gap between lips and brass.
Eyes closed, head snapping to a visceral rhythm:
“Do the walk
Talk the talk
Raise your hands up
A hushed electricity, like the silence that follows a lightning
strike, pulsed through every soul in the room. They raised their hands
obediently, expectantly. Someone screamed, but Dingo stayed steady. He
lifted a boot from the floor.
“C-o-o-o-o-m-e with me now!”
“C-o-o-o-o-m-e with me now!” the room called back.
“I said come!”
“Coooome with me now!”
The heel of the boot came down and the room exploded once more.
Dingo's harmonica pierced their fear with notes like needles, and one
by one they were lifted. Cotton dresses, white shirts, and black pants
piled on the floor as if they'd slipped from a clothesline.
When at last came Dingo's turn, the cool breeze off the bayou pushed
through the open door and dried the beads that gathered on his brow.
It took a chipped tooth, a splash of blood, and a broken rib, but when
Dingo's harmonica bumbled on the floorboards beside his hollow boots,
the single note, which managed to crack the chambers and shatter every
window in Rapture Bar, resonated long enough to make the devil shiver.
Mel Bosworth lives and breathes in Western Massachusetts. Read more at
his website, eddiesocko.blogspot.com.