by Jake Christie

a blue man.

Crayfish Hanna was the bluest bluesman in the Delta. He lived the blues, man, felt it in every one of his veins like cold coffee or boiling ice, ate blues shat blues breathed blues felt blues. He had the blues from the tips of his toes to the top of his head, from the arch of his back to the tips of his fingers, and when he put those fingers on guitar strings he could make you wish you were alive or wish you were dead, but mostly he made you wish for something you didn’t have from somewhere you couldn’t get it. Crayfish had the touch, you could call it, and for good or ill it never left him, that cloud of melancholy that followed him around like a half-dead dog and didn’t let off nipping at his heel until he was good and dead.

Crayfish had a good woman but she turned bad, he had a good day but it turned sad, he had a good house but it burned to the ground, and, man, he had a good guitar but it had an awful sound. He never stayed put because each place was the same as the last. There was always a bar looking for a bluesman to help people get sad so they could buy happy. Same bar, different towns, same guys, different frowns, all about some woman or some job or some blues that Hanna always felt but could never keep.

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