by Jason Marc Harris
When Mac said he wanted summertime “cocooning” to focus on guitar, you joked that he was going to become a rock-and-roll butterfly.
You respected his needs for aesthetic solitude at first.
Told us how he’d hatch a composition transcending the tremors of string by Bach, Hendrix, Van Halen, Stevie Ray, and Satriani. He’d flap those amplified wings and YouTube would get a billion hits. Spotify would stream around the solar system. We’d learn that aliens on Mars twerked to Mac’s new Metal.
After three days, you’d had enough. Who the hell takes a vacation from his friends? Let alone his girlfriend!
Despite texts you sent, two weeks went by without a word from Mac.
I volunteered to check up on him. You said not to violate his privacy.
You’re the one who snuck over to his apartment in the middle of the night that last day of August, creaked open the unlatched gate, peered through the glass door of his living room.
In front of the green-blue glow of that murky aquarium, backlit by the purple lavalamp figurine with the manic grin of Alice in Wonderland’s hookah-smoking caterpillar, you saw a mess of coppery silk fibers billowing on the sofa.
You tried the door. It slid open.
You smelled the sourness of algae and dead fish.
You touched the wooly jumble on the couch.
A waxy resin stuck to your fingers as you pulled apart the husk to get a better look.
Mixed in with the cottony threads, you saw a thing that twisted up to squeak at you with the face of a fretboard and a thorax blooming from the cracked varnished belly of a smashed Stratocaster guitar.
Your scream harmonized with its cry.
The neighbors who called the police said they’d never heard such strange music.