“Music 101” by Erik Doughty

She makes the notes squeal, dark and giddy like her laugh.

He strums, tinkers with his amp to match her sound, but it’s beyond treble and bass.

“I feel nothing,” she says.

“How should it feel?”

She wraps her arms around him and digs nails into the back of his neck; their guitars crash between their bodies.  Distortion rings.

“Like a harpoon,” she says.

From the history of his hands, he picks a minor scale.  But she yanks the cable from the jack and his guitar goes quiet and tinny.  He feels arthritic and deaf.

Before meeting her, he could only play from the page.  He told her he wanted to write a simple song with this repeating phrase: Is there a place to put my things?  Then she lit a strike-anywhere match against her teeth and set his sheet music ablaze.

“I give lessons,” she said.

She drags her nail down his jugular vein, like a needle in vinyl grooves.  He pulls her ear with his teeth, sucks it for its secrets, that perfect pitch.

In the morning, they wake in a pile of steel strings and splintered sticks.  He reaches for the acoustic.  She covers her breasts as he plays something new, so gentle it peels the tattoos from her skin.

More fiction at Used Furniture.


  1. amazing

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