Sunday, March 11, 2012

86. Songs

What a mess. We were spending the weekend at the farm and, as usual, I awoke early and stumbled in to make coffee. As I switched on the kitchen light, I realized that there was already half a pot of coffee made. I heard sounds from the living room and made my way there. You won’t believe what I saw.

There, amidst a pile of papers, coffee stains, and cats, sat—get ready—what appeared to be Woody Guthrie with my secondbest guitar in hand and seated at my wife’s piano. He looked at me and smiled.

Of course, it was C.W., not Woody Guthrie, and before I could say anything, he waved me in. “Glad to see you, Big Dope. Come on in and sit.”

I tried to collect my thoughts.

“Come on. It’s all right.”

“C.W., what the …”

“I’m writing music,” he interrupted. “Watched one of them talent shows on TV the other night and figured anybody could do it, and guess what?”

I stared.

“I’m good at it,” he said, picking up my guitar and sounding a chord.

“When did you learn to play guitar?”

“I just know a few chords,” he said. “That’s all you need.” He leaned the guitar against the wall and made a run on the piano. “Did you know that Irving Berlin could only play piano in the key of F Sharp?”

“You’re going to die,” I said. “Nobody touches the wife’s piano but her.”

“We’re all gonna die,” he said. Then he struck a pose. “Excuse me,” he picked up the guitar.

“We’re all a’ gonna die,

It’ll happen by and by.”

He grabbed a sheet of paper, fished a pencil from the coffee table and started to scribble, ignoring me completely.


“Woody, please,” not looking up.

“What’s up?”

“Oh, nothing. The Falloonian Elders like a little showmanship with their reports, so I’m writing some songs for them.”

He stopped writing and looked up at me. He had a thought and then rustled around in the pile and came up with a crumpled sheet of paper. “I’m writing one about you. Wanna hear it?”


“It’s called ‘Eternally Confused.””

At that point, a cat jumped onto the piano seat beside him and began to nuzzle his arm.

“Oh, and the cats and I are writing the first musical ever about cats. Won’t that be somethin’?”

“I think that’s been done,” I said.

“Not the way we’re doing it.” He stroked the cat and she purred, looking at him with adoring eyes. “The cats are militant and take over the world.”

“Take over the world?”

“Yes, the theme song is “A New Moon Over Felinia.”

The cat purred again.

“I write topical songs, too,” he said. “Want to hear my latest?”


He fumbled through the stack. “Here it is. It is called ‘Your Womb Belongs to Daddy.’”

I was trying to absorb it all when he broke into song.

“You can speak of all your choices,

And the power of your voices.

But your womb,

Your womb,

We'd love us some Woody
- Sarah and Hillary
Your womb belongs to …”

“Enough,” I said. “I get the picture.”

“Well then, leave us alone,” he said. “We’ve got work to do.” Another cat joined him and they looked at me with true menace in their eyes.

I waddled back toward the bedroom

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