30 Days Meme: Guitar (weird)

Day 10 of 30 days of Fiction: “10) Write a scene focused around a musical instrument.” Tir na Cali, and a bit weird.

Jolene had never thought that her passable skill with the guitar might end up being her downfall.

Her daddy’d given her that guitar on her sixteenth birthday; it was a very pretty, very expensive instrument, to replace the one he’d tripped over and broken. She cherished, it loved it, and learned to play better than she had ever before, to be close to worth it.

She played in seedy bars and clubs for what money she could earn, doing that as a sideline to stripping in even seedier places, saving up for college, saving up for a real musical education. She wasn’t bad, and she got better every night, but she wasn’t the best, not by a long shot.

So when the handsome man with teeth too smooth and white told her he thought she was the best he’d ever heard, she figured it for a come-on line and didn’t get her hopes up, kept the flirting light and didn’t give him her real number.

That didn’t keep him from drugging her in the alleyway and kidnapping her, of course, but at least she wasn’t disappointed by a fictional record contract.

He dragged her away to a foreign land, locked a collar around her neck, and sold her to a man who demanded that she dance, and demanded that she play for him.

Dance she would do, finding him no more obnoxious and quite a bit cleaner than her former audience, but as for play…

“Not without my guitar.” Beat her, starve her, threaten her, it did not matter. She would not play without her guitar.

“Your instrument is far away, back in America,” her new owner coaxed. “This one is fine, is expensive, cost more than you did” (which was a lie, but she did not know that).

“I won’t play without my guitar,” she insisted. Beaten again, starved more, threatened and cajoled; they could not make her play.

“We will give you your freedom if you will play,” he offered. Another lie, of course, but she did not know that.

“Now without my guitar.” By now, it was a mantra, an echo of the girl she had been, a song of its own.

They looked, then. She hadn’t come cheap, as pretty girls don’t, in Tir na Cali, and she would soon waste to nothing. Pawn shops, music shops, junkyards; they could not find the damn thing. Finally, one of her master’s slaves thought to ask Jolene where she had last seen it, and she laughed, a small and hacking thing.

“In my locker at the club,” she told the hapless servant. There was little left of her; her wounds had become infected. But her master’s agents had finally found her guitar; they paid the club owner fifty dollars for it, and brought the damned thing to the emaciated slave.

“Was it worth it?” her master asked her, as she wrapped around her instrument. She looked up at him with sunken eyes and smiled.

“It’s my guitar,” she told him, and played.



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10 thoughts on “30 Days Meme: Guitar (weird)

  1. This makes a certain kind of sense. They took horrible care of her though. She’s going to die, isn’t she? But she did get her favorite possession back.

    • I really really had to work to keep her alive to the end of the story. She wanted to die about 50 words before the end.

      • I can see that. She’s contrary, and she’s going to keep that one part of herself. I like that about her. Now someone needs to get her out of there. And beat that guy up. Does his mother or sister know what he does to his slaves?

        • <3 Setting-wise success <3. I don't know. That might be a fun … ooh. Do you remember that Ap Gwydion story from a couple months back?

          • Maybe? They are the cocky ones. It would explain how he could get away from that. In a more matrilineal house, his female relatives would find out eventually and string him up. There are limits to what one should do to slaves…. I mean, all someone had to do was ask where it was, as opposed to beating and starving her. I hope he gets what is coming to him in the end.

          • I’m sort of 50/50 on this. I believe that, in setting, the expectation was that she would learn to obey. After all, slaves are supposed to obey. That being said, he did push her further than is responsible or right (same thing in Cali parlance) But I don’t think indulging a really expensive whim would have occurred to almost any Cali owner right off the bat.

          • You have a point in terms of the expense and the expected obedience. Still, he crossed a line. She’s far too gone at the end there. He could have stopped before that. Also, after a while, asking why that guitar is so important might have helped.

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