‘At the end of each song he lays the saxophone on his lap, leans over and spits into a tin bucket. The floorboards under his chair are worn from years of heels tapping syncopated rhythms. His toe breaks through the sole of the boot, yet the shine remains jet black and sharp…’
Paul Rabinowitz reads his flash fiction piece ‘Syncopated Rhythms’ for Long Exposure Magazine.
Art by Karen Boissonneault-Gauthier.
At the end of each song he lays the saxophone on his lap, leans over and spits into a tin bucket. The floorboards under his chair are worn from years of heels tapping syncopated rhythms. His toe breaks through the sole of the boot, yet the shine remains jet black and sharp. Droplets of blood attach to his saliva like red delta mud after a storm. His face is stoic—skin stretched tight accentuating his angular features. Sometimes his body remains motionless as he bends over the bucket and looks through it.
A herd of tourists clap and quickly head for the exit. He shifts his weight and slowly turns to his bass player and drummer, and in a raspy voice says, “’Round Midnight in E flat.” As he settles into the melody his blood and breath combine to form notes that emanate from his gut and spiral outward. Swirling melodic riffs that grab at the fibers of my soul, filling it with primordial offering.
After his solo he spits into the can again. A small stream of blood remains on his upper lip and hangs there momentarily. He wipes it with the back of his hand and flings it downward. The saliva lands on his boot, his eyes connect with mine. With a trembling hand he lifts his whiskey flask to his lips, takes a swig and winces. My cell phone vibrates. “Dad, how are you? Great news! I just got word from The New England Conservatory and they’re offering me a full scholarship. You’ll need to rent a white tuxedo and bow tie for parent’s week.”
For more flash fiction like this, purchase Issue 4 of Long Exposure Magazine here.
Paul Rabinowitz teaches creative writing to senior citizens in New York City and New Jersey. He has self-published a chapbook: Renewal (2015). He hosts The Platform, a literary open mic series in Madison, NJ, and collaborates with local and international artists, mixing his writing and photography with other mediums including animation, dance and visual art. He produces mixed media performances that have appeared on stages in New York City and New Jersey. Paul currently resides in Morristown, NJ.