Feb 7, 2005

The soundman

What I remember is his hair. Long, over his shoulders and down to the middle of his back, blond with streaks of brown, scary strung-out-on-something hair.

The edges of his jeans were frayed stringy over his black boot heels hooked on the braces of the stool he sat on, squatting there back of the county fair pavilion at the board of knobs. He closed his eyes, bent his head and rocked and swayed with the noise of the white boy plugged-in blues, flicking burnt out cigarettes into the cut short grass.

Daddy, I said, pointing what’s that guy doing?

Him? That’s the soundman, he said, or yelled because it was really loud, too loud for four kids with one in a stroller.

Mom never liked the blues but she was humoring dad, who never really listened to music when I knew him, letting him enjoy it and he’d talked about the one thing he wanted to see at the county fair was the guys playing the blues. We sat in the back on the grass and dad got a mmm mmm mmm look on his face and started swaying and mom said maybe she’d take the stroller and walk around a bit. I watched the soundman.

He talked to a guy wearing a guitar and a girl came by, leaned on the table for a while and sat on his lap. The next band came out, white guys with long hair and blue jeans over boots, and when they hit the first electric chords the soundman shouted oh yeah! He put his foot on the ground, resting one hand on his stretched out knee, bouncing his boot to the beat.

He recalibrated the turning of the knobs, and flicked a flame from his lighter to start another cigarette.