Dex learns to play the guitar
The first time Dex lied about his guitar playing prowess was in high school when he told Edith Snell that he’d played on stage with Def Leopard at the Shreveport Civic Center.
“Joe Elliot called me onstage by name,” he said excitedly, “he said ‘Dexter Mann, Shreveport’s greatest guitar playing fool… get your ass up here!’ I got on stage and we riffed for fourteen minutes. It was awesome!”
A few minutes later and he was trading wet kisses with Edith and awkwardly fondling her very large breasts. His relationship with the guitar began that night. Realizing the sex potential in the six strings, he stopped by the nearest music store the following morning and bought his first electric guitar. He taught himself the basic chords and within a few weeks could play a passing “Stairway to Heaven”. His skills never progressed much past that.
The last time Dex lied about his guitar playing prowess was when his daughter suggested he play at her wedding reception. “I once opened for Def Leopard,” he said. “I’m sure I could play a few tunes for you but my arthritis has the better of me most days. We’ll see how I feel,” he said, squeezing his hands into fists and grimacing.
Later that night, driving home, feeling bad about his lie, and satisfied that it had worked, Dex heard Joe Elliot speak to him over the car radio. “You can play at your daughter’s wedding reception if you want to, Dex.”
“Joe. I can’t play for shit. You know that,” he responded.
“Sure you can. You just need the right tools.”
“What are you talking about?” Dex asked.
“Just an edge, really. You’ll do all of the playing yourself.”
“I don’t know. It sounds fishy.”
“Do you want to play at your daughter’s reception, or not?”
“Of course I do, but wanting it isn’t going to make it so.”
“A magical guitar will make it so.”
“Magical guitar? You’re kidding, right?” Dex laughed nervously.
“Nope. How do you think Meatloaf sold so many albums?”
“I’ve wondered about that.”
“I’m serious as sin.”
“Shit. How do I get a magic guitar?” Dex asked.
“That’s pretty easy. Just turn left at the next light and stop at the music shop. I’ve set one aside for you.”
“Damn Joe, I don’t know what to say! I’m sorry that I lied all those years about us playing together.”
“I’m over it,” Joe said.
“You’re not really Joe Elliot, are you?”
“Don’t spoil the night, Dex.” Joe Elliot’s voice humorously admonished.
The guitar was cheaper than Dex expected. “You don’t want my soul?” he asked, a little disappointed.
Joe laughed. “That little thing? I already have it, I’ve had it for awhile. I just want you to hurt a little.”
“Touch the strings, you’ll see what I mean.”
Dex touched the strings and felt them bite into his fingers. Blood greased the strings and he started playing, each note cutting deeper into his finger flesh until the strings rubbed against bone. He played for two hours, although he would have stopped sooner if he could, but that wasn’t a choice. He played better than ever before and two weeks later, at his daughter’s reception, he played even better than that.
D.L. Martinez lives and writes in Denver, Co. He maintains a website (continually under construction) at www.dlmartinez.com.