OLWG · writing

OLWG# 181- Bluegrass Anonymous

Written for OLWG#181

Martha could hear it from halfway down the block, maybe even further but she became conscious of it when she was abreast of the Burton house, halfway down the block.

“Damn him,” she hollered as she broke into a run. She had to stop it before it got out of control. It was unmistakably ‘Bluegrass Music.’ It was loud, and that could only mean one thing, Cooper had fallen off the wagon, and he’d been doing so well.

As she neared the house, Martha began yelling for him, “Cooper? Cooper? Are you here? Are you all right?” She turned up the front walk to the house that she and Cooper had shared for the last eight months. Bursting through the front door, she was shocked by the number of people in her Living Room. Most of them were sitting around the perimeter of the room on furniture that had been pushed away to the fringes. The ages of this group ranged from pre-teen kids to grandmas and grandpas in their sixties and seventies.

The elderly women wore paisley print, or flowered, house dresses, sensible shoes, and “cat-eye” glasses. Some had their glasses hooked to rhinestone chains that wrapped around the backs of their necks. The old men primarily wore black or khaki trousers over their boots and long sleeve white shirts; tucked in and buttoned high. Some sported western hats, but most were bareheaded.

The younger men and boys wore three button shirts with white piping around the neck or button-down shirts, but the trousers they had chosen were the same as what their elders wore. Young ladies and girls wore pastel blouses with Peter Pan collars. They had skirts, cut just below their knees that would flare out if they twirled. Flat or low heeled Mary Janes completed the young women’s attire and provided a solid thump when they danced.

They were all clapping and stomping their feet as they watched two young men clog dancing in the middle of the floor, where Martha’s couch used to sit.

The sliding glass doors to the deck were all open wide. There was a band playing out there. They were playing loud. This was what Martha had heard from down the street. The band consisted of an elderly gentleman, wearing a string tie and playing a brass body National Guitar. Next to him a thirty-something-year-old woman pounding on a dog house bass, you could almost see smoke coming from the F hole, the music was so hot. A middle-aged fat guy with only a couple of teeth visible was picking a four-string tenor banjo that was traditionally tuned to provide that punch, that twang, that sound that could cut through the band’s mix. The fourth guy: Martha had seen at the market a couple of times, she didn’t know his name but knew he must live around here. He had patchy white hair and a white fiddle to match.

She looked around and spotted Cooper leaning against the deck rail and wove her way through the crowd to confront him.

“Goddamnit, Cooper! What the hell are you doing? You promised me. You promised, No more bluegrass. Remember?” Cooper couldn’t look around her, but it still took him some time to realize that she was there.

When he did, he smiled that lazy smile of his. That smile that was probably the reason Martha had fallen so hard for him in the first place.

“Coop,” she said, “Are you going to throw all your hard work out the window? The Rehab Centre? The twelve-step program? The meetings every morning? You’ve come so far Coop – you can’t backslide now! Not now.”

She saw clarity bounce back into his eyes. “This is my group, Martha we’re having one of our meetings now. We’re having it here, at our house. See that guy leaning by the kitchen sink? He’s my sponsor. I called him when I began to feel the mountain music coming on. Do you know what he did? He started clogging. I could hear it over the phone. He’s good too. I’m not going to fight it anymore, Martha. I love bluegrass. I think you do too.”

This week’s prompts were:

  1. bluegrass
  2. the center of my world
  3. seeking Amrapali