Saturday, December 26, 2009

I had a valuable vintage guitar--like the psychedelically painted Les Paul that Jimmy Page played with Led Zeppelin. On a guitar stand it rolled down a long, straight road, across the Canadian border, and into the garage of a house like Chester Brown's drawings of his boyhood home in Montreal. From a distance I watched a man pick up my guitar, look it over, and stow it in the back of a truck parked in the garage. Guitars filled and surrounded the truck: apparently the garage was a guitar warehouse.

Later I walked down the road to retrieve my property. After I crossed the Canadian border the houses grew charmingly antiquated and decrepit, the pavement rain-dark and grass-cracked. Everything exuded a barely perceptible aura of Europeanness.

At the garage a young man with pink spiked hair greeted me. He wore a long, olive-drab military coat with cryptic patches and black leather punk boots. He looked like a young Gary Oldman. At first he feigned ignorance of my guitar and invited me to search the truck, but when I persisted he led me to a corner of the garage and showed me my guitar. It was badly damaged. The young man admitted that he had played it and "pushed it to the limit." To quell my rage he swore up and down that he would repair it. I said I'd come back later, but I knew that my guitar was permanently ruined.

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