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Longing to  Play  the  Oboe   James  Bambury         The  oboe  players  across  the  street  were  in  the  midst  of  a  blistering   ecumenical  argument.  Their  voices  were  muted  by  the  glass  but  I   caught  enough  words  to  figure  out  they  had  severely  divergent   views  on  the  Book  of  Job.     I  took  another  forkful  of  pumpkin  cheesecake  but  I  didn’t  take   my  eye  off  the  men.  Getting  the  pieces  of  cake  using  only  the  side   of  my  fork  was  a  bit  awkward,  but  I  was  getting  used  to  using  my   left  hand  for  such  things.   Outside,  the  fight  escalated  as  they  shoved  and  exchanged   blows.  There  was  a  whistling  sound  followed  by  the  sickening   crack  of  an  oboe  being  struck  against  a  musician’s  head.   I  took  another  sip  of  coffee  and  stabbed  at  the  leftover  crust   with  my  fork,  disappointed  at  the  way  that  it  broke  apart  instead  of   letting  itself  be  impaled  upon  the  tips.   The  shouting  and  fighting  drew  a  crowd  around  the  two  older   men  and  I  cracked  a  smile.  Their  busking  had  gone  unnoticed   before,  but  now  they  were  the  object  of  at  least  half  a  dozen  camera   phones.   I  drained  the  last  of  the  chilling  coffee  and  waited  to  see  how   the  melee  unfolded.   The  crowd  stepped  back.  The  musicians  had  stopped  their   arguing,  their  differences  apparently  resolved  and  resumed  their   performance.  The  oboes  had  slight  buzzing  sounds  after  the  fracas   but  hit  all  the  notes  to  “How  Great  Thou  Art”  to  great  applause   from  the  crowd.     I  stared  down  at  my  hand,  not  the  still-­‐‑good-­‐‑for-­‐‑pie-­‐‑eating  one   but  the  one  with  stiff  paralyzed  fingers  in  a  talon-­‐‑like  grasp.  I  wore   short  sleeves  for  the  first  time  in  a  while  that  day  and  anyone  could    

June  2012    

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Jersey Devil Press Issue Thirty-Two July 2012  

Jersey Devil Press Issue Thirty-Two July 2012

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