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.

"Space Harpin"

So there I was, minding my own business, settin' in this culvert down under the overpass where the echo was real good. The tunes was flowin' outa my harmonica like molasses out of a jar. Just as sweet as you please. I stopped playing to take another drink, and that's when I heard it. It had a hum to it like a chord being played on a harp; only some of the notes was missing. It was comin' outa the culvert under the highway.

Now I'm thinkin' there's some kids messin' around in there and I start to get worried, cause I know how much trouble kids can be. I was aiming to sneak off and wait for them to leave, but when I tried to get up, I couldn't move at all. Well let me tell you, I was plenty scared all right, and that's when it come right up on me, flashin' lights and all. It was about the size of a 55-gallon drum, like a big, flying, trashcan, playing a bad chord. It wobbled a lot, like it was about to flip over, and then it sort of settled down. The lights went out and the chord stopped playin'. The door opened. Out pops this little feller no higher than a toad frog, takes a bead on me with this little gun, and ZAP! I'm inside.

Now there was three or four of these little froggie people, only now they ain't so little. I figured they shrunk me down to their size so they could do all sorts of mean and nasty things to me. About that time I start thinkin' about all them frog legs we used to eat down in the bayou, and I'm hoping this ain't got nothin' to do with that. Then they start talkin' to me, only their mouths don't move at all. They was talkin' inside my head, like space people on the X-Files. It wasn't how they was talkin' that worried me, it was what they was saying.

They said they been waiting in that culvert for their buddies to come from space and help 'em fix their ship so's they could leave. They heard what they think is their buddies and when they come take a look, all they see is me wailin' away on my harp. This big one steps up and sorta leans on me and says if they can't fix their ship in the next few minutes, it's going to blow up and destroy the whole world. And he wants to know how come I up and ate their buddies.

Well now I'm gettin' real scared, so I pull out my harp and tell them it ain't nothin' but a musical instrument. They don't get it, so I put it to my mouth and commenced to played Rocket 88. They get real excited, and the big one grabs me up by the scruff and drags me over to this hatch in the floor. He pops off the cover and shoves my face down inside. All I see is a bunch of space ship parts. Then I see some little pieces that look like reeds of a harp. A couple of them are bent. Well you know what that means.

So I take apart my harp and commence to fixin'. When I shut the lid and tell them to fire it up, they was mighty pleased to hear it play a perfect C chord. All of a sudden they're being real nice to me, and decide to take me for a ride in space as payment for the repairs. We go whooshing up into the sky, right out past the moon. It was a fine party. That ship of theirs played the coolest riffs when we passed through the rings of Saturn. I figured we was Space Harpin'. I shared around my pint, and when it was gone, they pulled out some of this pond slime lookin' stuff and passed that around. Then they took me back to the overpass, dropped me off, and went zipping away on the most perfect C chord you ever heard. I came to some time later and realized it was all a dream, but figured I'd make up a tune called Space Harpin' anyway. I pulled out my harp and started with a draw note. All I got was air. I held it up to the light and looked inside. All the reeds were gone.

Scrappy Pappy (Steve Beach)

Scrappy Pappy has been playing the harmonica for twenty-five years. He still stinks. That is, with the exception of his master jam, Space Harpin'. On that one tune, he can really wail.

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