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Being Sax - Short Story by Jim Meirose


And, impressed with his able recovery from complete confusion, Stannie leaned on the counter loosely and limply, as he imagined the up and coming bright star of a virtuoso he would someday be would do. Doctor Sax replied stonily, Before we discuss this further, I need to ask the primary pertinent question I ask all prospective students, what level of experience do you currently have with the saxophone? As a matter of fact, as percentage, what is the probability that it will not rain on Saturday? Perfectly trained like Blackie the dog anal gland discharge Stannie ranting and ranting to Nora in bed—Tell me why Nora help me understand why; What, Stannie? Facing more money than ever dreamed of, do not dare pull nose up from the dirt. I have never played any instrument at all, ever before in my life, also have at home a small rotting balsa wood box containing an exact account of that extraordinary affair; interspersed with letters and other original papers. I see, I do. Let’s move on to the next question then—what level of mastery do you wish to attain, and in what genre of music? Oh dear, my God, why’d that pop it is inappropriate Doctor Sax where did my head go—please overlook my lapse I think I may periodically go through a dark cloud of mild Tourette’s. I wish to attain virtuosity, in all genres of music, completely. What?

This; I wish to join the ranks of the greatest saxophonists who ever lived.

That is most ambitious. Let me ask an additional fact—what is your age?

Eustace Budgell, English writer, died. I’m forty-nine.

Put quite bluntly, are you unaware that all known instrumental virtuosos began their instruments no later than during the first fifteen percent of their overall lifespans?

Wait, wait wait—everything means something. Think.

Later than that first fifteen percent, the fresh cement of mental and physical beinghood is too hard set to bend itself around to meet the required configuration to be recognized as even potentially likely to attain virtuosity.

—gee whiz flash damn, I don’t have the answer but—

The event is witnessed during the evening hours, by the amateur astronomer John Bevis, at the Royal Greenwich Observatory.

I will be one of the exceptions to the rule.

All through this exchange Doctor Sax’s face and voice had set cast in the stone of his responsibility to be the wall hard enough to crumble the ambitions of students with nothing more than wannabe desire who came in all hollow empty of any capacity for level of hard work he would require—those not worthy would look away from him down toward sudden slowly rising voices coming from their guts murmuring murmurs as, How about we go to sleep—no, I can’t—here, how about this apple—on Saturday, there is a thirty-five percent probability of rain—no, I can’t—Doctor Sax would see the light in their eyes flicker and state to any still standing like Stannie, What have you been doing with your life up until now, and what has caused you to decide so late, that you have the grit and beans it will take to play sax? We need to get to the bottom of this.

I have been a mechanic for twenty-five years. To stay in that field takes grit and beans also.

Ferdinand Kettler, Duke of Courland and Semigallia, died.

All right, all right—that may be true—hey listen, here’s a sure predictor of success for one like you; will you continue working full time as a mechanic and practice your instrument on the side? You can have nothing but sax on your mind if I am to invest time in you.

Will you devote every available hour to the instrument?

I, uh, no, I’ll—

No? Then you will never attain mastery starting at your age. You will barely have enough hours in the day to even have a slim chance of getting where you think you will be, just like the four previously rejected spiritual directors.

Wait, no—I was going to say, I’ll be on sax full-time. As a matter of fact, after I leave here I will be going to the garage intending to do everything I can to cause them to fire me, so that then I can collect unemployment and all—

Cold bit deep into Stannie’s bare bony fat free kneecaps.

I have this all planned out, Doctor. It is no snap decision.

That’s damned good, uh, say—what is your name, my man?


Emperor Nakamikado of Japan died.

Okay, that’s damned good, Stannie. Welcome up to the wide world of sax!

I’m in?

Okay, Stannie yes yes yes I do—okay can we go to sleep now? Yes, you are yes you are—all right let’s talk turkey—have a seat here. Here next to me where I pat my hand.

Stannie sat and the cold slab seat of the chair at once sucked down through his thin pants’ seat the surge of energy waiting and building from the moment he stepped in to being told he was in and the energy surge dissolved the seat and the halo of time and light and basic existence of matter and time and the fact of being at all either living nonliving born or dead.

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