The Legend of Rock
Excerpt from 1.11 “Sir Duke”
“I finished my song,” Isaiah blurted suddenly—hollowly, as if he hadn’t quite realized he’d said it.
“Oh, yes?” Francis asked. In truth, he hadn’t remembered that the boy was writing one. Maybe it never came up, or maybe Francis had been told such by so many hopefuls throughout the years that he no longer put much stock into it.
“Yeah, it’s—uh—I mean, I’ve been playing and jamming with people and sometimes we mess around and make up words for what we play, but this one—It’s all me. I wrote it about the journey. It’s like about this highway that’s pulling me and like this storm that feels like it’s following me.” He paused, and Francis half-expected to hear thunder in the distance to accompany such a description, but there hadn’t even been a lightning strike all day.
And then Francis realized exactly what he was supposed to say. It was the kind of comment that had been worn out of him after years and years of hopefuls fishing for opportunities to demonstrate their talent. By now, he was mostly numb to it, but he didn’t want to be—especially when such a song came from Isaiah, aptly named after a prophet, and, as far as he was concerned, the most likely candidate for music’s new hero. “Will you play it for me?” Francis Duke asked the boy.
“Yeah—Yes, sir,” said Isaiah, breathless in his eagerness. “I mean, it’s not—Well, I only just finished it, and I dunno—Oh! Is there—” The boy’s eyes darted around the room. “Do you have some…thing Davy can play on? He—Well, he keeps my beat.”
As if to answer the confused look on Francis’s face, Davy produced a pair of drumsticks.
“Oh, I see!” Francis exclaimed. “Wait just a moment.” He was up and bustling again, but this time to a cabinet as tall as he was, in which resided all manner of musical instruments—at least to Isaiah, it looked like every single instrument he could think of.
Francis returned with a free-standing snare and a hi-hat. Davy liked the feel of their vibrations even if he didn’t know their names.
While Isaiah frantically tuned, Francis set up his amplifier, adjusting the volume way down so as not to disrupt the other guests. Besides, Francis felt that the occasion was all the more special if he was the only witness. Francis resumed his seat, and propped his leg up on his knee, assuming a posture that looked politely intrigued—at least he hoped it did.
The boy was muttering to himself, probably checking to see if he could remember all of the lyrics. He glanced up at Francis, shot a quick, nervous smile, and then closed his eyes to say, “Okay.”
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