Maybe that’s when David began wondering.  Wondering about where he was going.  Wondering if he was on the right path.  And that time in prison—that time as a prison guard and meeting Schultz—was what he needed.  It was what his faith needed.  He needed to know he hadn’t made a wrong turn somewhere.  And got lost.  Because you see you don’t know you made a wrong turn until you made it.  You don’t know you’re lost until you are lost.  And sometimes you need a little distance, a little time—to see that, and feel what you have to feel.  Because what happened before determines what happens after.  And what maybe felt good before doesn’t feel good later.

            Maybe it was what happened in New Orleans.  Later, after the war.  After David returned a war hero.  After he defeated the Goliath and saved Johnny’s life.  When his star was up, and rising.  When he was living over on the West Bank, by Algiers, and played the blues in the city.  In bars in the French Quarter.  And Popovitch again.  Retired now, an even older man.  Living in New Orleans because he had relatives there.  This 1945—David twenty-seven then.  And Popovitch in the audience one night, in some hole in the wall on Bourbon Street, watching him play that Gibson ES-150 he stole from Mississippi the first time he came, and how it came back to him the second time, after Nina’s murder, absent a string.  This was after his first record, David’s first album cut.  Johnny Tribout on the album, playing harmonica.  Maybe David knew someone would be watching.  Someone from the audience.  Maybe he knew he would have to meet an old friend from Mississippi again—Popovitch’s story not really over, needing some final resolution, some final act of revenge.  In how Popovitch almost had Johnny killed, and in fact ending them playing together—David and Johnny—and how David didn’t get another record deal.  Not after being busted growing a crop a reefer in the vacant strips of the Algiers railyards in the fall of 1946, this thanks to tip from Popovitch to the police.  And it makes you wonder, or at least it made David wonder.  Because David never made it big after that.  Later on he made more records—sure—and his name was known, but he never made it big.  His music only providing him a modest living.  And looking back, it wouldn’t have happened if he never met Johnny that night Nina was killed, playing an electric guitar he got in Mississippi the first time.  All that needed to happen so these things could happen later.

            So was he on the right path?  Prison gives you time to think.  And maybe David’s time as a prison guard in Biloxi, Mississippi, meeting Schultz, gave him time to question it.  Not the morality.  Not morality issues or thoughts of repentance.  Not in habits lost and how new habits form.  But in feeling good.  Feeling good in where you are based on where you’ve been, and that hint, that hint in it of the future you imagine.  When you keep doing the things you’re doing…

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