For Mark

I just sold a multitrack recorder on Craigslist. The guy who called had the strongest Texas drawl I’ve ever heard. He met me at the library in a pickup truck with Texas plates and Harley stickers. Long-haired guy, beard, home-made tattoos on his hand, dressed in a sweatsuit. He looked like he’d been around the block and then some, and he looked like he played music. I showed him some features on the multitrack. He was friendly enough but intensely focused on the machine. I actually had to grab a part for it and hesitated a moment before leaving this complete stranger with my item, but in the end I did. “I’ll be here,” he said, and he was. When he examined it to his satisfaction we made a deal and he paid me a fair price in cash.

“You’re a musician, I take it,” I said.

“Oh yeah. Guitar, keyboards, saxophone … you name it.”

“What are your plans for this thing?”

“Well, probably do my last recordings on it.”

“Your last? You getting out of the game?”

“I got a couple of things wrong with me. So I’m lookin’ to do my last recordings.”

So, his name is Mark and he’s a Texas musician far from home, dying in Portland, Oregon. That may be all we ever know about him but I thought I’d tell you.

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