A live concert separates the real musicians from the wanna-bes. Cledus appears visibly nervous as he steps onto his first stage; it does not surprise his onlookers, who consider his long hiatus and problem finding a creative vein, as well as consider his recent inability to sing.
Once Cledus works his way through the first song, he finds himself feeding off crowd enthusiasm that surrounds him. Pyrotechnics shoot flaming fireballs all around him. Cledus knows he can’t afford to be careless, he can’t afford to be placed under the scrutiny of a hospital emergency crew. The microphone on his body feels awkward. He dances, gyrates his small hips, and makes come hither gestures to several women teasing him in the crowd. Some of his admirers begin to throw roses onto the stage. It is an act that Cledus Beaumont never seed in his previous life. Loudspeakers rain down on a swaying audience. And the chant begins.
Cledus quickly deals out a well-perfected smile. He is a mirror image of Sammy, excluding a rabbit’s foot missing from his waist. Sammy Moore would have worn such an item. Cledus believes rabbits are easy targets and far from good luck symbols. I would rather bite the head off a live rabbit, than carry that varmint’s foot.
Cledus never guessed putting on a show could be so much fun. Sweat cakes his forehead, until he wipes it with a grip hand-towel. His heart races as overhead lights make him a red and blue spectacle. The gunfighter’s mind returns to a conversation he had with his (long) deceased wife. At the time, he played the harmonica.
“You should pluck music or be an apprentice and give up lying and thieving.”
“Music…Fix on us starving to death!”
“How do yu know—unless you make a lay?”
“Singing harmonica seed around a campfire.”
“Or to lur me into bed.”
Cledus remembers pulling Margaret close to him. A funny thing occurs to him. He no longer has to lure a female into his bed, because few of them resist his newfound success. A pyrotechnic pop brings him back from these thoughts, as sparks and flames just miss him and slightly heat his left ear through the depth of their intensity.
Sometimes, Cledus finds the ease with which women succumb to him unnerving. At other times, almost on a suicidal bent, he hopes some disease marks him to die. At other times, with differing frequencies, he never wants the roller-coaster ride he is on to end. It is a different fleshly motivated world as compared to the late 1800’s. A well-endowed young woman exposes her perky flesh to him, Cledus thinks he finds heaven, and he begins to fixate on just how much sexual drive is linked to hero worship and fame.
Often, when Cledus lay awake at night, he thinks about horses and how he misses befriending such a graceful, powerful animal; one that carried him, swiftly, over sagebrush plains. Now, the man finds himself thrust into modern city life. Pollution, expensive gasoline, and noise can’t compare to the quiet solitude of living out on the open prairie. Suddenly, it sounds as if the acoustics deliver a vibrating channel straight from hell. A horrific noise sent to torment Cledus back to his previous world, explodes from a high-tech sound system covered with a multitude of red and white illuminated diodes.
The gruff hombre freezes for a moment, until his guitarist goads him to continue. Afterwards, Cledus puts on the best acrobatic stage performance many fans will claim to have ever seen.
Georgia finds herself breathing heavily, as she takes the good book out onto a veranda. A cool evening breeze pushes back her hair. The night is Georgia’s, thanks to the availability of a sitter.
The young woman opens the large tome to the book of Mark. Immediately, the breeze stops, and the air falls still and motionless. At chapter six, she finds a couple of diary pages. The paper they are on looks old and increasingly fragile. Georgia lets the familial words slip into her gut and cup her soul. She thinks the entry appears to be a purchase order issued to a family member from one George Washington. Georgia peruses the list of items purchased: a rifle, a dip pen, rubber galoshes, and two hardy slaves. Down below the items are full descriptions of the slaves’ physiques, their teeth, any deficiencies they have, their religious convictions, children they possess, their temperaments, and any likes that could be used to motivate each of them.
She questions how much the purchase order is worth, if it proves to be original and authentic. If so, it is in great shape for a document over one hundred years old. The print is legible, and in an elegant format. Upon taking it all in, awareness of the history of the items overwhelms Georgia. To think…I may actually hold a part of thee George Washington in my hands! Could there have been more than one? Georgia wonders. If not… Why have I been given this?
Initially, she thinks of photocopying the form; then, she wonders if the sudden intense light will fade the old print. What a tragedy that would be! Georgia can’t help but wonder how much such an item, with a scan, would bring on E-bay? Or how much would be charged for a closing fee on such a historical item? What bidder would believe such a thing even exists?
In flipping through the pages, she notices a second sheet has been signed by George Washington—himself! She knows a signature expert could tell her if it is a forgery; he or she could make it one of the most valuable pieces of American History ever unearthed. Instantly, Georgia thinks of those powerful and long assumed words…In God We Trust.
She holds the old paper up to the light, as if she expects a water mark somewhere. Georgia can only imagine a flame igniting the old paper faster than a pile of dry timber. She had always loved old historical items. It wasn’t every day she got the opportunity to hold an ancient document of monetary significance.
What mysteries did George hold—beyond being our founding father? What would be the dirt on him, if the National Inquisitor existed back then? Georgia thinks about a woman who sold twenty-six million copies of her latest album, and was thought to be a member of a No-Sex Cult. She didn’t have slaves, although she paid hired hands that served her hand over foot. They all made her feel like an idol.
Georgia wants to put the document between two pieces of glass, although she knows it has been perfectly preserved between the pages of the tome. Like eliminating a member of a food chain, she wonders if totally removing the item will somehow affect the bible? Perhaps, the glue holding the giant carcass together will break apart and the binding will separate from its steadfast hold of the books within? I would like to believe the bible is held together by a higher power or force beyond man’s ability to comprehend.