Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Bobby and the Fretefyer 5000

None of Bobby's friends thought it was a good idea, but he had made up his mind and he didn't see that there was even a choice to be had: risk it all, or never even have a chance of acquiring his dream. Once Bobby makes up his mind there is nothing stopping him and he had his heart set on the Fretefyer 5000.

Bobby is a unique kid. Not many people have the virtues Bobby has; some people would say it's because he is still just a kid, but I think it is more. Ever since Bobby was little he set himself apart from his peers. He would often be found in school by himself painting or playing make believe during recess. As Bobby progressed through school so did his hobbies. Bobby was never an athlete and got decent grades, but I don't think he would have even stayed at school if it weren't for Mrs. Richardson, his high school music teacher. Bobby had been taking lessons for guitar before he made it to high school and really took a liking for the instrument, but it wasn't until high school music where he was inspired by Mrs. Richardson and found a band that fit his taste that he really became passionate about his instrument.

The summer after freshman year came around and Bobby had already put $50 of his own savings down at Music Mayhem toward his Fretefyer 5000. He got a job packing groceries and had a payment plan set up with the manager of the store, Paul. He would have his new guitar just 3 weeks before the battle of the bands was to occur- late September of the next school year. Bobby visited the Fretefyer 500 at Music Mayhem once a week throughout the summer and as it came to an end he visited even more frequently.

With two weeks of summer left and just four weeks before he would claim his prize, Bobby stopped by Music Mayhem like he had many times before. This time was going to be different. As Bobby stood in awe in front of the Fretefyer 5000, a well-dressed man entered the store without interrupting Bobby's trance. The nicely dressed man's name was Thomas. Thomas, a man with no respect for money, wasn't even in the store for himself. He came to purchase a guitar for his girlfriend, who decided to pick up guitar. Thomas' girlfriend, like Thomas, also knew nothing about guitars and it was just another one of her silly whims that she had the privilege of practicing because of her boyfriend’s parents.
Thomas approached the store manager, Paul, inquiring about some guitars. After a short amount of small talk, it became very obvious to Paul that Thomas did not know very much about guitars and was prepared to spend a healthy dime in his store. Paul led Thomas to the guitars and was showing him the most expensive. Some were even signed by well-known artists, but there was nothing Thomas really liked. As Paul led Thomas down the isle, Thomas' attention moved from the wall of guitars to a boy -- Bobby. Thomas caught sight of what held this teenager's attention and knew he needed to have it. Bobby fell out of his trance as his Fretefyer 5000 fell into the hands of Thomas.
"Hey guy! That's my guitar."
Thomas, ignoring Bobby, turned to Paul and said, "I'd like to buy this one."
Some people would see a problem with this scenario, but not Paul. All Paul could see was opportunity. After five minutes, Paul already had the price bumped up and a battle for the highest bidder took place. Thomas and Bobby both knew what would happen if this went on any longer. At the current price Bobby would be hard pressed to get the guitar a week before the Battle of the Bands. Bobby needed to do something drastic.
"You don't even know how to use it!"
"Why would I be buying it kid!? You would just break this fine guitar."
"Prove it then. Prove you can play better than I can"
"Sorry kid, I don’t have time for games." Thomas turned to buy the guitar.
"It's Bobby, and I'll buy it for you if you can play it better than me." This started to pull Thomas' attention
"Now, Bobby," Thomas said "You've put me in an uncomfortable situation. I could take you up on the offer, and most likely beat you, but you don't even have the money to buy it."
"He's right Bobby, don't do something you'll regret. I can give you store credit on any other guitar with the money you've already given me." Paul said,
"No thank you Paul, you've been too helpful already. I'll work it off and buy it for you over the next 3 weeks. So what do you say Thomas?"
I think Thomas knew better, but his ego couldn't let this slide. "Alright, one week from now, this parking lot?"
"Don't forget to keep paying, I don't want you be short on the money."
"It's not my money you have to worry about." Bobby attempted with an aggressive air guitar in Thomas' direction.

One week later Bobby’s friends were at his heals urging him not to go. Even his band mates told him to use the money for another guitar. When Mrs. Richardson found out she even offered to drive him anywhere within 100 miles to find the guitar, but Bobby couldn't back down. Thomas on the other hand was slightly worried. He told people he played guitar once when he was in college, but even in his prime he wasn't all that good. The bell rang at 2 pm like it did everyday and like most days Bobby headed off in the direction of Music Mayhem, only today he wasn't alone. Neither was Thomas, as he cruised through town in his BMW with his girlfriend. Bobby and his friends arrived first to find Paul setting up equipment outside his shop.
"What is this?" Bobby asked
"If this is going to happen it's going to happen right."
"No Paul, I'm talking about these ropes."
"It's two dollars admission." Paul stated as he approached the mob with an open hand. Mrs. Richardson started to pay for a few of the kids who didn't have money, but most of the kids just walked right under. Paul would have stopped the whole operation if it were up to him, but Mrs. Richardson shot him the look only a mother could give to a child that freezes them in place. Paul didn't mind letting a few kids slide by.

Thomas rolled up slowly from the far side of the parking lot. He came to a stop across two parking spaces got out of his car and opened the door for his girlfriend. A nice gesture, but if you ask me it looked rehearsed. Many of the kids are booing and hollering names at this point but their heckling is cut short by the overpowering sound of Paul’s voice.
“Ladies and gentlemen, gather around for the one and only guitar-off! The winner of this guitar-off gets to take this beautiful piece of craftsmanship, this instrument of the gods, home on Bobby’s dime! There are plenty of deals going on inside so when the show is over stop on in. Now would Bobby and Thomas step up here? Which one of you two would like to go first?”
Bobby stood still saying nothing.
“Let the kid go first.” Thomas said ass he caught eyes with Mrs. Richardson and threw her a wink, which wasn’t well received.
Without saying much of anything at all Bobby stepped forward and Paul tried to hand him a guitar but Bobby past him with purpose. Bobby went to the stand where the Fretefyer 5000 was on display for the crowd and took it off.
“Hell, even if I lose I’ll still get to play it live once.” He reasoned with his previous actions that squeezed him so tight he could barley breath.
After Bobby got all plugged in he took a 5 second pause, which for him was an eternity. Just long enough for Thomas to get it in his head that he Bobby cracked under pressure. Bobby then strummed one slow upstroke on an open G chord. At first only Mrs. Richardson recognized what was about to be played, then his band members, then the majority of his friends. It was a song that he wrote before he came to high school as a classical piece that Mrs. Richardson really helped bring to a new level. Bobby then took this song to his band where it became more of a pop song. But no one had heard this version of the song before despite being indistinguishable to the ear. Bobby brought the mood of the song from tranquil to chaotic and back again. It was as if Bobby was telling a story with just the guitar. All his fans had heard him play but not like this. The fans moved from cheering to silence to a roar. Bobby laid down a masterpiece. His peers were cheering and Bobby’s eyes scanned out across the crowd and his eyes fell toward the makeshift stage and he gave a small bow before handing the guitar to Paul. When he turned Paul had a calm but serious face on and Paul said to Bobby.
“I am sorry I was going to sell that behind your back.” Then Paul raised the megaphone to his mouth and triumphantly announced.
“Bobby is the winner of the guitar-off!”
Bobby couldn’t believe his ears. His eyes frantically looked for Thomas’ rebuttal but he was nowhere in sight. Bobby had scared Thomas away.
Paul continued, “The Fretefyer 5000 is yours to take home! The crowd loves you, take a bow!”

And so the Fretefyer 5000 was finally Bobby’s. It’s rightful home. Bobby and his band went on to win a gold ribbon at the battle of the bands and last I heard they were regularly booking gigs around the area, they usually save Bobby’s song for the encore.

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