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A Tiny Seed

There’s a huge thingamajig outside the Buddy Holly Center in Lubbock. I reckon you’d call it a sculpture. It’s a big old pair of glasses nearly as tall as me. You could fit your body behind just one lens. I do that and Shiner looks around to see if anyone’s paying attention. Checking his six, as usual.

Shiner likes crowds of people so that we blend in. I don’t know if anybody’s looking for us yet, but Shiner says that’s a given. But today we’re just having us some fun. Spending our take from the stolen cameras before it’s time to score again and hit the road. The road to nowhere, I’ve been calling it. Up ahead, I see a statue of Mr. Holly himself. He’s wearing dorky black frame glasses just like the sculpture.

“What’s with them geeky glasses?” I tell Shiner.

“That was his look. The Buddy look.”

“He’s kind of a funny looking dude,” I say, eyeing the statue.

“Yeah, Hap? You ever look in a mirror, numbnuts?”

We go inside and listen to Mr. Holly’s music. He does something with his voice. Mr. Holly sort of stutters when he sings. But it grabs you. I don’t know why but it just does. In one song, he’s got this girlfriend Peggy Sue and she’s causing him heartache. He wants her, but I reckon she’s far away or something like that. I’ve never heard of anyone named Peggy Sue in my whole life.

On the way out, we peek in the gift shop. I buy glasses just like Mr. Holly’s. Heavy black frames. I think I look okay in them. Older.

“Just like Buddy,” the smiling young and blond salesclerk says.

“Megadork,” Shiner says, but softly, and I think he’s just kidding me.

I call the salesclerk Peggy Sue, even though her nametag says Sylvia.

“I reckon we’re all Peggy Sue here,” she says. “Have a blessed day – Buddy.”

We go out into the bright sunshine. I feel somehow different in my Buddy glasses, like I’ve found a lost part of myself. Blessed maybe, like the salesclerk said. Shiner puts us back onto the highway, headed east. To nowhere in particular. The road to nowhere goes in all directions.

I catch a glimpse of myself in the Buddy glasses in the passenger mirror. I don’t hardly recognize myself. But I think, that’s okay. I’m between things and it’ll all be clear soon enough. We’ll somehow not crash and burn, like Buddy. We’re well outside of Lubbock now, the brown west Texas landscape seeming to go on forever alongside the road to nowhere. But I have faith growing inside me. A tiny seed.

I sing, “If you knew Peggy Sue, you’d know why I feel blue.”

Shiner nods but doesn’t say anything. He looks calm – for now. It’s hard for me to believe sometimes that he’s ever killed anyone at all.

I look out at the dry land.

“Oh, Peggy, my Peggy Sue.”

–Michael Gray


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