a bitter end

…as he plucked the strings on his old flattop guitar, it gave him time to think. At first he was glad that they let him bring it in here, but lately he was beginning to regret it. As he played his tunes, memories filled his mind. Memories about the life he once had, his loves and his kids. He thought about the way he handled his troubles, often turning to the bottle before turning to the woman who loved him. At first, booze made everything alright, but that didn’t last long. Eventually the booze brought its own problems, and then where did he turn?

His music used to be a way for him to get away from his pain, but here, locked behind those bars, he had nowhere to run. The others in Cell Block 13 all waited for Roy to pick up his guitar and sing, but if they really listened, they would hear the hurt, confusion and pain in the words.

That damn night! If only he could relive it, everything would be different. Too much to drink, her cheating, the gun; before he knew it, the deed was done. He finished the bottle and turned himself in to the police. Who would have thought that Big Roy Canning, a celebrity in this little town would sink low enough to end the life of his sweet little Madeline?

The trial was quick, his lawyer tried to get him off, but Roy threw himself at the mercy of the Lord himself and pleaded guilty. An angry and disappointed judge sent  him in for good. At 57, a twenty five year sentence was as good as a death sentence anyway.

Now the world has forgotten  him. All the gold records, all the fans…all gone. The man who hid behind the music was all that was left. His kids never forgave him, and aside from the occasional fame hungry reporter, Roy never had a visitor. These four walls were his only friends. Cold, damp and lonely, he sounded like a line from one of his hit songs.

When he had days like this, he sat on the floor next to the dingy cement walls. With a small hook that he created from a broken fork, he scratched lyrics from songs he had written in to the walls. Writing always gave Roy a release from the harsh reality of the world outside, and for the last few years of his life, a release was just the thing that kept him going. The old crooner lived  out the rest of his days in this old brick building. His body cremated, his ashes spread on Music Row by a few loyal fans who remembered him in the good old days. A few speckles of dust in the wind and Roy was gone.

As for the many songs he wrote, so many of them brought joy and happiness to those who listened. While he lived out his life in prison, his songs hit the tops of the charts. Roy may have given up on himself, but his fans didn’t. The lyrics and music that he had written, especially the ones that he left for his fans…scratched on the prison walls were recorded by the newest artists, all proceeds left to his kids and their families. This was the last request that he made to the world; a way to hopefully repay the world for all the trouble the old singer brought into their lives.

3 thoughts on “a bitter end

    1. Thanks! My dad used to play guitar when he was younger. He and mom used to play and sing at parties in their younger days. Nowadays I see my dad glance over at his guitar, from time to time with a tear in his eye. All those years of working, damaging his fingers, and minor arthritis setting in, he can’t make his fingers work well enough to hit the chords like he used to. And of course I had to be born tone deaf…couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket…thanks for your comment.

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