“The threat of the Tarborg is near,” the elderly blues guitarist said, weighing the words. The words had the weight of a solid body electric Les Paul after a five hour gig at the Checkerboard Lounge on East 43rd Street.
Sonny “Blu” Waters, Blues Legend, was on edge all day in anticipation of his meeting with Rip ‘N Time—the Goddess of Guitar had put them on his schedule late last night and he hadn’t slept at all. “What to do?” he thought. “How do I get to these kids to understand?—they’re smart, sure . . . but do they understand the seriousness? Life and Death– Future of the World!” Sonny was really struggling with these thoughts.
His Mississippi Delta roots, the trek to Chicago, switching from acoustic to electric, the recordings, the highs and lows of touring–these were the things Sonny was going to inspire Rip’ N Time with. Now he was sure that wasn’t going to cut it. He then slowly got out of his chair and went over to his guitar case and opened it. In the compartment of the case, lying beneath a couple of needle nose pliers, a tuning fork and some guitar strings, was The LEGENDS MANUAL. He took it out of the compartment, shut the case and sat back down in his chair. He flipped through the pages absent-mindedly and sighed.
He had always been hesitant to use the Manual. In fact, he had never used the Manual. But today… today is the day. He turned to page sixteen. ‘Do not take more than 6 Time Travel Trips* in any 24-hour period unless directed by a certified Guitar Legend.’ Sonny stared at the words for a moment and thought, “I wonder what that asterisk means.” Sonny’s eye’s shifted to the bottom of the page. He looked at the impossibly tiny print and said, “Looks like I’m going to need the half-moons.” He took his reading glasses off the small end table and while he was putting them on he muttered something like, “Guitar Legend– and I can barely see.”
What Sonny did see after the little asterisk gave him pause, ‘*6 Time travel trips can be combined into one trip, for one individual only, to create an exponentially intense travel experience. In a one individual Time Travel Trip, the distinction between reality and the make-believe is indistinguishable. Limit intensified Time Travel Trips to one individual only!’
Sonny read further; ‘MEMORY WARNING-severe memory damage can occur. Symptoms such as dizziness and disorientation may occur. These could be signs of a serious condition.’
“Oh Lord,” said Sonny.
Sonny didn’t think of himself as a religious man—at least not in the sense of a church-goin’ man but he did pray –a lot. He never prayed for anything for himself, however, “The Man upstairs is busy enough without old Sonny askin’ for stuff,” was Sonny’s position.
Sonny did pray for others. Somehow it just seemed fine to ask the Man upstairs for stuff if it was for somebody else. From time to time, Sonny would make up a special prayer to suit a particular situation. This was just such a time. Sonny prayed, “Dear Jesus, please keep Riley safe on the journey that I am about to send her. Thank you Dear Jesus.” Short. Sweet. Sonny was not about to waist anyone’s time –especially the Man upstairs.
By this time, Riley, Mr.Snugglewhumps and the other members of Rip ‘N Time were at Sonny’s door. He welcomed them in and explained to them all what had to be done regarding the Time Travel trip. Riley was apprehensive but accepted the risks — she knew what she had to do. The other members of Rip ‘N Time were disappointed that they couldn’t go with Riley; but they also understood Sonny’s position.
Sonny did give Riley some succinct advice, “Always keep your guitar with you as if you are about play and try to speak as little as possible.”
Sonny reached for his ES-335, turned on his tube amp and was about to flick his toggle switch when Riley asked, “Sonny, would you play me one of your signature licks as a send –off?” Sonny, with his sly sense of humor, then played a passage from a platinum selling album by a famous, white British blues guitarist. The lick was rendered perfectly.
”I love doing that,” Sonny said.
“Hey, but wait that’s from . . . oh, yeah . . . I get it,” said Riley.
Three clicks and Riley was gone.