“You gotta get righteous again…”

“What’s that, Pop?”

“You need to get righteous.  I ain’t sayin’ you didn’t fight for your girl, but that’s just one battle—the first of many—and not just fights for her, but with everything!  Look around you!  What is your basic response?  Your response to fear?  You need to get angry!  You need to get righteous.  Ain’t nothin’ wrong with righteous anger.  It’s just how you use it.  Use it at the right times…  If you’re gonna work in my pawn shop you’ll have to get to know your people, not to fight against them, but for them!  With them!  Nothin’ wrong with a fight if it’s for a good cause..”

“What if I don’t see it as a fight?”

“Then you’re gonna have to fight to see that!”

They’re standing by the front store windows.  The old signs from the 1917 summer riots still there, chipped away at by age.  And something is off.  David senses it, and so does maybe his father, Duke, but the old man shows no sign.  Maybe it’s the lack of sunlight.  Outside the store windows a slow April storm is passing through.  Not a heavy rain, but steady.  And maybe that’s what they sense—a woman should be present.  Either David’s wife, or his mother—not for any role, but blessing it somehow.  For things being off between a father and a son, the useless powers of both, for they were just two men with different memories of the past.  They didn’t understand the rain.

“Are you sure you want to do it?”

“I’m sure, Pop…  who knows?  Maybe it’ll bring in customers.”

It’s the Gibson ES-150.  It’s in the store window.  A folded sign propped by it: Not 4 Sale… Absent a string.  David removed it before placing it in the window of his father’s pawn shop.  Maybe so customers wouldn’t want it.  They wouldn’t want it broken.  But stuck to the window is a playbill, a recent playbill of one of David’s performances.  Black ink on purple paper.  David and Duke Threnody stand behind the window display.  Looking out to the gray, rainy day.  Their hands in their pockets.  And maybe the passersby with their umbrellas don’t even see them.  The reflection of the window making them glares and shadows.  The white guitar on red cloth.

“I never did understand it.  Your music…  but if you want your birthright you won’t get it from me.  That’s not how it works.  It’s her—your wife… you get that from her.  I’m just supposed to be the one telling you that…”

Duke Threnody slowly reaches his hand to his son’s shoulder, and that was their time.  That was David’s time with his father.  It was eight years before Duke Threnody’s death and David was there.  He worked in the pawn shop, occasionally taking trips to Texas with Bethany to see her family and establishing an away from home clientele of bars and clubs he could play with fellow musicians.  He always had a place to stay in Austin.  And her father knew before David’s father.  The signs began to show during a stay in Hemphill in the summer of 1947, in early June.  Bethany was pregnant.

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