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Chapter 2

Rufus said goodbye to his mum early Saturday morning because there wasn’t any school and he was armed to the hilt with a huge bucket full of car wash liquids, wash cloths and window cleaner pump action bottles. He could attach the bucket to the handle bars of his bike and usually after washing 20 cars he would ride home and put the $2:00 a car into a big tin his grandad gave him that use to be full of fish hooks. He was saving for a musical instrument. A Guitar. On a recent trip in the car with his parents to the local shops, counting telephone poles on the way there like he usually did because shopping to Rufus was sooooo boring, his parents took him to a new shop that was a down a laneway at the back of a huge shopping complex once they got their shopping.... and this shop changed Rufus forever.

This was a music store the likes of which Rufus had never EVER seen before. It had musical instruments of all shapes and sizes, metal and wood, amplifiers, Personal Address Systems and things that really caught his attention as he scanned the shop at the beautiful assortment of guitars. There were nylon and steel string acoustic guitars, there was electric guitars of all sorts of colours, shapes and makes and he stood next to his mum and dad with an incredulous look on his face and wanted to try them all.

The shop had a smell of newness about it with all the shiny instruments matched with the smile from the attendant standing behind his glass cabinet counter it almost lit the room and the street outside with white light and a neon sign that said “YOU NEED ONE OF MY GUITARS” pulsing from his teeth. Rufus turned to his dad as if asking for permission to look around and this voice came across the counter in front of them all......

“Have a look and let me know when you need help” and Rufus moved away from his parents and looked at everything.

There wasn’t an instrument he didn’t look at and memorise, its colour, its shape and smell. Yes there is a smell about instruments that are brand new and rufus spent more time looking at the guitars than any of the other instruments.

“Excuse me sir would you like some help, have you ever played a guitar before?” asked the shop attendant as he looked from Rufus to his mum and dad who were standing next to the glass counter watching their son.

“No he hasn’t ” said Mr Tripp to the attendant.

“Then I would suggest a nylon string guitar to start with sir as the steel strings can be a bit hard to press down and someone of his age if it hurts his fingers it might make him give it up after you spend a lot of money on a steel string”

“Ok, what guitar would you suggest then mate?”

“I have a few that vary in price but as a beginners guitar these ones here are the best to start learning on sir”

And he pointed to 4 different nylon string guitars hanging from side of the shop wall. Rufus came over and sat on a small chair that look like it had been out on the road for a drummer of a heavy metal band because the top of it was held together with black gaff tape and it wasn’t very stable to sit on but Rufus sat down any way. The shop attendant handed Rufus the first guitar and he wrapped his arms around it. This was a feeling he would never forget for as long as he lived. The feel of it in his hands and the weight of the guitar upon his right leg.

Rufus looked down and along the neck at the strings and he was in love with it. Then as if like greased lightning the shop attendant whipped that one out of his hands and placed another one in his lap. This one was heavier and seemed a bit bigger than the first one....and it was a bit dearer to buy as well.

“What do you think son?” asked his mother who was watching him hold these beautiful instruments in his lap with such joy in his face just as the third guitar was handed to him and he went through the process of holding it and feeling this beautiful instrument all over again.

“There is a 12 month guarantee on each instrument sold” stated the attendant with righteous defiance.....and a smile.

“Rufus how much money do you have saved in the tin at home son?” asked his dad as he reached for his wallet in his right back pocket.

“I have 128 dollars dad” said Rufus holding the 4th and final guitar in his lap marvelling at the sound this one produced. He could feel it in his rib cage and it seemed to travel all over his body.

“Your son has fine taste sir, this one is $180 dollars and I will throw in a few guitar picks, a strap and guitar bag for free with it as well”

Rufus used his thumb to strum downward on the strings and he broke out into goosebumps. He could feel his heart beat faster and he really didn’t want to give this guitar back to the attendant. It was a beautiful clear light brown varnish colour with white plastic machine heads to wind the strings and tune the guitar with and it wasn’t a brand whose name that he was familiar with but that didn’t matter to Rufus.

It sounded unbelievable.

While he strummed his father walked to the attendant and beckoned him to follow him to the glass counter while Rufus strummed away on the guitar. His father paid the 180 dollars for the guitar and the attendant gave his dad a receipt and all the extras he promised as well. Rufus was still strumming along and was being transported away and into the clouds with each note he plucked. He was truely happy. His dad came back into the room with his mother and said to Rufus....

“Ok son we have to go” and he watched Rufus change instantly from having the face of elation to one of dejection in the wink of a blink. Rufus handed the attendant back the guitar and watched him walk away with it.

“....tell him you got it” whispered his mother to her husband as they walked to the shop door.

“.....in a minute, just want him to learn a lesson here” said his dad as he cupped his sons shoulders to usher him through the front door and he didn’t have to say a word, the attendant did it for him...

“....DONT FORGET YOUR NEW GUITAR YOUNG MAN” yelled the attendant to the depressed Rufus Tripp who was about to walk onto the footpath and back to the car and he spun around and looked at the attendant holding the guitar in a black shiny guitar case. He looked at his dad and mom and leapt into their arms to cuddle and thank them. Now he had tears in his eyes and was the happiest kid in the whole world.

“...Good luck with this young man annnnd if you practise a whole new world will open up to you” and the attendant handed the new guitar to Rufus who could feel the strings through the neck of the guitar bag and it was like it was Christmas in the middle of April.

“Come on son... let's go home and you can start practising” said his dad and they were all smiles walking back to their car.

Rufus reached down and with all the certainty in the world and confidence he grabbed the handle of the guitar bag and walked back to his mum and dad and said, “Thank you so much” then there was a short spell of leaning into his parents tummy's and sobbing with so much joy he couldn’t hold back any more.

This was the very beginning of the adventure and the quest......

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