Short Stories

Harmonica visitors submit fiction or non-fiction short stories based on experiences that involve the harmonica or harmonica playing. If you would like to have a short story included in our collection, please note the procedures for submission in the bullet points on the Short Stories main page.

Craig Milo Rogers

I work in an office building, and I play my harmonica as I walk between the building's elevators and my jeep in the parking garage. One day a dentist, whose practice was in the same building, came rushing out behind me as I left. He asked me to come back inside and play for a party he was having in his office. He even paid me for it! What a kick! I'd never been paid to play harmonica before!

I fly cross-country, for business or pleasure, a few times a year. And, like most other people who fly nowadays, I've been on long, tiring flights that landed at the destination airport... only to experience a delay of a half hour or more on before we could move from the taxiway to the gate. The last time this happened to me, the Southwest Airlines flight crew tried to entertain us. They told jokes. They sang. They soon ran out of ideas.

The mood of the crowd was getting grim. Soon, there'd be rioting in the aisles! ;-) Figuring, why not?, I whipped out the Lee Oskar harp from my pants pocket (uh, have you tried whipping *anything* out of a pants pocket in an economy airline seat), and played my two best pieces (straight-harp octave tongue-blocking style).

As soon as I finished, the aircraft started to move, and the passengers broke out into a tremendous applause. I knew, however, that they were applauding my performance, and not the fact that we were finally going to arrive. :-)

I work in an office building; across the street is a small shopping center. I would often play my harp as I walked across the parking lot and visit the ATM, the PO, the art gallery, etc.

Well, an older guy with a large, beautiful dog started hanging out during lunch at the flower stand, near the pay phones. The dog was very big, very furry, with large teeth (and legs and paws, etc.). Sometimes the dog was perfectly docile, lying on the ground, letting people (including me) pet it, and so forth. Other days, the dog would growl as I (but only I!) neared. It would lay back its ears and bare its fangs, but it didn't seem quite ready to lunge and bite. Nobody could explain why it was reacting that way to me.

Finally, of course, I figured it out. The dog was a music critic! It could hear me play 50 feet away or more, in spite of traffic noise, and because I'd played once or twice in its presence, it knew to associate me with the sound, even if it couldn't see me at the time (it was a smart dog!).

For a while I stopped playing harp at lunch. Then one day, I approached the dog, took out my harp, and started to play -- right in its face. The dog started growling, the quickly began howling. He might even have been in the same key as me! We were a duo! I envisioned road trips, playing at senior citizens' homes, vaudeville, the Indio Date Festival, things like that.

At that point, the patrons of the nearby pay phones started making angry, even threatening, gestures at me. I quickly put my harp away, and the dog quieted down. People just don't appreciate fine music anymore.
Craig Milo Rogers

Craig's favorite harmonica playing style: octave tongue-blocking. He specializes in Morris and English Country Dance Tunes.

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