With a Tambourine

I was a b----rd when I drank.
The percussive was there
in our practice room in the sticks,
and who picked it up first I don’t recall –
but it gave me an inspiration.

"Ya know how to do a thumb roll?"
I asked as I snatched the toy up.
I showed them, tracing the shell of the head,
rubbing grittily with the tip
of my spit-moistened thumb.

I doubt if I’d done that since age 16.
My band mates were less amazed
at my proficiency with the thing
than at my alcoholic glow,
which nimbused me like an aura.

At the end of rehearsal,
while the others tanked up on coffee
before our respective drives home,
I settled for a banana or two
before hitting the interstate for 35 miles home.

It goes without saying
how miraculous it was
that I was never pulled over
on one of my many drunken trips
up and down the Emerald Valley in 2002.

I won’t drive even sober now.
I’ve retired my pickup truck
and will probably sell it
in favor of the county bus system,
which suits me better anyway.

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