The wind is blowing. Cold and without mercy. Skipping over the Spuyten Duyvil.
I’m standing in the trees behind the dugout, watching the wind ripple the creek.
Faintly, the sounds of a trumpet blow with the wind.
The creek between here and the Bronx is a graveyard for musicians. Their souls come here, compete with wind and storms to be heard.
Some of the older residents of the Inwood and Marble Hill areas talk about how their grandparents would use the sounds to tell the future – omens on the wind.
I pull my coat in tighter and walk closer to the water.
Down here the horn is louder.
I can see him, wading through the shallows. His face is red, turning purple, as he blows and blows, fighting against nature.
I wave the little bag of heroin and he smiles – his two front teeth broken.
I may be dead, but even a ghost can have bad habits. It’s the energy of the thing. I can’t shoot it up or smoke it – but it still gets me high.
He sits on the grass and begins to polish his trumpet with a handful of leaves.
It’s getting colder. Much colder than you realize. I think I might head back to California. Too many weird things happening in this place.
He begins to play again. A smooth, sad sounding song.
The wind dies down to a breeze and the sky darkens.
You know the devil lives in that water. He steals the souls right out of our breath.
He closes his eyes and turns his face to the sun. Scars shine around his mouth.
The sky fades to a dull blue as he stands up.
Horn in one hand, heroin in the other he makes his way back to the water.
Jazz is abandon. Life is abandon. You probably came here looking for a glimpse into the future like they used to. It’s just not here, man. It’s like jazz. Free and open. You just have to let it all go and let it all be.
In the middle of the creek he puts the trumpet to his mouth and blows a single, deep note. His face turning purple, the wind picks up, the cold becomes more severe.
He releases the note, looks at me. Waves with the bag of heroin and slips under the water, flowing away with the current.