I had just finished making a new guitar. I enjoyed making guitars. And not just any guitars, and certainly not standard guitars. I made them of non-standard widths and unexpected shapes. Nothing out of the box. But always aesthetically pleasing.
I w0uld have been easy for me to use commonly available parts; I have done that many times. But I was different, my drive had changed. I was expressing myself in both wood and song, my muse wanted to sing. So every guitar, everybody, was carved by hand. Sanded and shaped, my eyes and my soul guiding my hands on the wood.
So it should come as no surprise that my creations had a bit of a following. Locally at first, but word got around. They not only looked unique, but sounded incredible. There were a lot more people asking me to build them a guitar than I had time to work. So I was choosy about who I took commissions from, and who I wanted to work with.
I had just finished my latest piece. It was not really much to look at, it was sort of anti-design. But I liked it, and I had made it for one of my favorite people, Jon Bon Jovi. He was coming by today to look at the new guitar, and take it home.
As I handed it to him, I could see it was not what he expected. Most of my guitars were wildly unique. Most had multiple cutaways, fluting, bindings; they were there to be seen, and they made a statement.
This guitar, on the other hand, was the other hand. There was nothing extra to it at all. No frills, no wild color schemes. Just wood and strings. There was no body to speak of; the neck just continued down past the bridge a bit, and ended. In fact, the neck and the body were the same piece of wood. The neck had a good swath of lacquer on the back, but after it transitioned to the body, I used only a light coat. The grain was readily apparent through the varnish.
And this is what I handed to my friend Jon. He took it, turned it over in his hands a few times, and seemed at a loss for words. I rarely see Jon searching for what to say. He may have been shocked, he have wanted to make sure he did not offend me; he was numbstruck.
“Play it,” I told him. “You won’t know it until you play.”
Jon shrugged, and played. Even unplugged, he could tell this was a special guitar; it resonated his inner self. Jon smiled, the biggest smile I had ever seen him display.
“I call it ‘The Plank’,” for obvious reasons.
Jon no longer needed the words, now he searched for the song.
We had spent the night up at Jim’s house in Farmington, we had an early start today. I was excited, it was Jim’s first 5K. Oh, Jim had run them before– we all had. This was the first race Jim was hosting. I was here to support him and his new race, and to have fun.
We got up and went out to the starting area. There were a lot of people around. Good. I had not seen Jim yet. I sat down and put on my shoes.
The announcer called the racers to the starting line. There would be a staggered start, with different groups starting at different times. The men were called up first, but I was not in that group. I was in Men’s B, and we started later.
The gun sounded and they were off. Women lined up next, and they were started. Finally, the kids were sent. Jim came up to me. I was surprised to see he was not running. Then I realized that it being his race, he had to supervise.
“So, would you like to out and check out the course?” he asked me.
I had some time until my start. “Sure.” I did not want to mess up my running shoes, so I took them off and put on an old pair.
We hopped in a golf cart, and headed along a path that fronted the course. The runners would start off through a gate and run in a park on the other side of the chain link fence. At the first corner, they would head to the right; we sat at the corner and watched them pass. The children were running past now; I recognized Clara as she waved and passed us by.
While I had thought I had plenty of time– Jim had assured me I did!- I heard the call for my start. We raced back to the starting line in the golf cart. I went to where I had removed my race shoes, and they were gone.
“That’s just great,” I fumed, looking around some more. The harder I looked, the more I knew they were gone. I resigned myself to race in my regular shoes, but even that presented a problem. I had taken one of them off in anticipation or changing my shoes… and now even that shoe was missing.
The only shoes I could see at all were a pair belonging to Jared; they were his referee shoes. Big, think, heavy and black; not what I would choose to race in. But they fit, and I only had to wear one… and, as Jim reminded me, it was only a 5K.
So I ran in one of my shoes, and one of Jareds’. I had no intention of winning; I would not even come close. I just needed to finish. And I did.
I woke up.