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Gerald

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He was the best. Every single night, he would walk into the Waffle House and play his tunes with his trusty saxophone. Well, 3 nights a week. He walked into that restaurant (if you could call it that) every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night to perform his heart out. It was great, so he thought. The second he started playing his songs, the patrons of the Dalton, Georgia Waffle House would cringe in disgust and horror. It was the worst saxophone playing that they had ever heard. Well, not nearly. They would all go to the Waffle House every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night to celebrate their work at the local nuclear power plant. Unfortunately for them, they had to hear the ear-murdering sounds of his performance every time they went. On the rare occasion when they would show up at 7:30PM and he wasn’t there, they all cheered for joy. But sadly, he would always show up just a few minutes later. When they saw his 1976 Chevy Impala pull into the parking lot and then a large, round figure appear from the shadows, they knew there was trouble. He would stumble in, with his trusty dog, Alfred, always right in front of him. He always had someone open the door for him. The kids thought it was just because he was like the king of the Waffle House. The real reason was unknown to all but some. He was blind. His name was Gerald.
The second he started playing his saxophone, he could imagine the happy faces of the patrons of the Waffle House. He played whatever songs he wanted, whatever was on his mind. If he was in a happy mood, he would play carnival music. If he was feeling dark and gloomy, he would play dark or scary tunes. He played what he wanted, just because…well, he could. In fact, most of the time, he didn’t know what he was playing. He didn’t really know it, but he was hard of hearing. In reality, he had lost nearly 90% of it, but he had no idea. He thought he was the best saxophone player in the South. When he started playing the saxophone in the third grade, he was, according to his teacher. He hadn’t heard himself play since he was 46, when his hearing started going downhill. He just never let that compliment go. That’s so Gerald.
Well, at least that explains his attitude towards, well, everyone. He talked to people like they were a level below him, like he was “a god among men.” This was especially true among other saxophone players. When he went to the annual Georgia Saxophone Convention in Atlanta, he would trash talk the other players there like they had never played in their lives. He didn’t know how bad he really was. When he got up to play at the competition at the GSC, he would play the same way as he would at the Waffle House. He would sit down, close his eyes. And play like there was no tomorrow. The way he was playing, the audience thought there was no tomorrow. Gerald could imagine the happy faces of the audience, their smiles, their synchronized hand waving, their lighters in the air, the cheering. Of course, that wasn’t happening. After 24 excruciating minutes of music from Gerald, the security guards pulled him off of the stage because the crowd was booing so much. As he was being pulled off of the stage, he waved to the crowd, smiling, as happy as could be. Gerald thought that he was being pulled off of the stage so that his fans wouldn’t attack him for pictures and autographs. “How nice of them,” thought Gerald. After he was off the stage, a man came up to him, telling Gerald how good he was at playing the saxophone. Gerald was appalled about how much this guy was bragging about his skills. “Shut up!” yelled Gerald to the man. “I hate when people brag about their saxophone playing skills to me!” After an offensive and lengthy speech about how bragging is gauche and makes him angry that is too offensive to put on paper, Gerald would go on to tell the man how good he was at playing the saxophone. Gerald, with his lack of sight, did not realize that the man had left after only a few minutes into Gerald’s monologue. After a few hours, Gerald finished talking about his saxophone playing skills, not realizing that most of the people had left the convention for the night.
As he walked out of the convention center with his dog Alfred, he walked out into the parking lot and waited for his mom to pick him up. Soon enough, his 1976 Impala pulled up and Gerald’s mother got out, opened the door for him, and then went back to the driver’s seat. They drove away. After being on the highway for a few miles, they heard a beautiful sound. It was a saxophone. It started to get louder. Just seconds after they first heard the sound, a pickup truck pulled up next to them. The sounds of the saxophone were soothing to Gerald’s mom. It made her eyes start to get heavy. She suddenly had the urge to just relax, and take a snooze. She closed her eyes. Her head dropped onto the steering wheel, which made the horn honk. She woke herself up. “Wow!” she thought, “That was close!” After about a minute of the soothing saxophone playing from the pickup truck next to her, she saw a crumpled piece of paper fly into the car. She opened it and read it aloud. “Listen to this saxophone playing, Gerald.” Gerald then realized who it was. It was the man from the convention! Then, he looked into the now open window of the pickup truck, and recognized that the man was playing the saxophone! After hearing some snores loud enough for him to hear, he then realized that his mother had just fallen asleep. The car was speeding up, as she had fallen asleep while her foot was on the gas pedal. He heard cars whooshing by, but then he realized that he was zooming by them! He felt the acceleration as he was being pushed back in his seat. He knew the end was near. He was right.





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