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Be Prepared

A baby grand piano appeared after Billie moved in with her son. Fourth-rate elegance. Plywood garbage.

The stroke took away her walking bass. Billie couldn’t trust her left hand to play the blues, even after two years of physical therapy. Drinking a glass of water was hard enough. Her sense of humor was flat too. She blamed retirement.

Her son begged her to play. No matter how noisy or wrong.

Billie’s screw jar had survived the move. Rusty nuts, thumbtacks, nails, and a pretzel spilled themselves among the piano strings.

With loose fists, she waited for the house to sleep.

JR Walsh is the Online Editor at The Citron Review. His writing is in beloved publications such as The Greensboro Review, New World Writing, Juked, Litro, The Hong Kong Review, Hobart, Flash Frontier, FRiGG, Blink-Ink, Bull, B O D Y, and Esquire. For more:

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