Mitchell Fiction: Oracle


Kerri paused, struck by the reverence with which Mitchell reached for the guitar. His hands were soft, cupped, his arms strong. As the Oracle was placed into his hands, they swayed slightly, as if allowing it a harsh meeting with his palms would be an insult.

His manner was probably the same as that of a True Believer who was accepting communion, Kerri figured. She immediately began sketching as Adam’s shutter began snapping.

To Mitchell, there probably wasn’t much difference between this guitar and holy communion. The Oracle had once belonged to Soul Bendorff. The Oracle wasn’t the guitar he’d set on fire at the end of every show. Hell, the Oracle hadn’t been allowed on the road. It had been the original prototype for the Soul Bendorff model. It had been Soul’s guitar, the one he’d bent sounds with and broken barriers with.

And now Mitchell held in it his hands, thanks to a private audience with a rock-and-roll memorabilia collector named Jeff. He’d first claimed to be a ShapeShifter fan, but a few sneaky questions had proved that the guy was mostly interested in the publicity the photo op would bring him.

Mitchell carefully set the Oracle on his leg, his hands instinctively finding their spots: one ready to strum, the other to chord.

“Here,” the collector, Jeff said, jumping forward to plug the guitar’s power cord into the solid-wood body. He fiddled with the knobs for Mitchell, who lifted an eyebrow but said nothing. Then, when Jeff stepped away, Mitchell began to play.

Kerri had still been sketching as all that took place, but as Mitchell’s notes turned from tentative to assertive, as he began playing first an old Soul Bendorff classic and then his own song: Behold Me, she got as caught up in the music as Mitchell. She didn’t get lost in it as often as Mitchell did, but right then, she was entranced.

At the end of Behold Me, Mitchell grimaced and shook his head. “I ought to give this back. I don’t want to abuse it.”

“I think it needs to be yours,” Jeff breathed. He wasn’t much older than they were; maybe a year. Maybe. He’d gotten his MBA and ran his father’s development company out here in Omaha. A company that bought foreclosed farmland and built towns on it. Kerri knew how Mitchell felt on the subject, how he’d have ordinarily refused this sort of connection. Too many ShapeShifter fans had been thrown off their land — but just as many had benefitted from the towns that had been built.

But this was the Oracle. It had once been Soul Bendorff’s. And guitar players like Mitchell Voss owed a lot to Soul Bendorff.

“Really, man,” Jeff said. There was more heart to his voice; wherever the music had taken him, he was coming back from it. “This guitar… it needs something. You can feel it, you know? Maybe what it needs is you.”

Mitchell ran his hands over the side of the body facing up. He didn’t say anything.

Kerri realized she was holding her breath.

“I want to give it to you,” Jeff said.

Give it to me.” It wasn’t a question. Kerri breathed again.

Jeff held his hands out and backed up a step, as if Mitchell was trying to return the guitar and he was refusing it. “Give it to you. No strings attached. Ha-ha. Strings. Get it?”

Mitchell nodded, frowning. “I get it.” He stood up and set the Oracle gently back into the stand Jeff had taken it from. “I’ll have my lawyer call you.”
“Dude,” Jeff said, suddenly Mitchell’s best friend. “We don’t need to do that. Here. Take it with you.”

“And have you scream about how I stole it? Maybe not today or next week, but a few years down the road when you’re hard up for cash and you think about what you gave up? No. If you want to give this to me, then fine. We do it right. I’ll have my lawyer call.”

He stood up. Kerri and Adam, the photographer, walked out of the room with him.

“Are you sure?” Kerri asked softly as they left.

“Yes,” Mitchell said. “We do it right or we don’t it.”

“You’d kill for that guitar.”

“Yeah,” he said through an exhale. “I would. And that’s the problem.”

Kerri nodded. She understood.



  1. bunnygirl

    November 16, 2009 2:01 am

    Sensible move on Mitchell’s part.

  2. Dee

    November 16, 2009 8:34 am

    Oh man what it must have cost Mitchell to walk away from that guitar! I know some guitar players and I have seen that look of reverence they get when they behold a really great guitar or something to do with a mentor 🙂 You captured that feeling well!
    .-= Dee´s last blog ..The Stone =-.

  3. Alice Audrey

    November 17, 2009 12:00 am

    Smart man, Mitchell. He’s got that guy’s score.

  4. Shelley Munro

    November 17, 2009 4:14 am

    Mitchell knows exactly what he’s doing! Clever man.
    .-= Shelley Munro´s last blog ..Make-Believe Monday =-.

  5. Nessa

    November 18, 2009 6:58 am

    Mitchell knows what he’s doing.

    Wordless Wednesday – Pirates’ Strumpet

    it’s possible google reader dropped my feed again
    .-= Nessa´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday – Pirates’ Strumpet =-.

  6. jeremy

    November 21, 2009 9:48 am

    he knows what he was doing. he can feel it.
    .-= jeremy´s last blog ..weird dream =-.

  7. Jennifer

    November 22, 2009 1:19 am

    He’s got principles, that’s for sure.
    .-= Jennifer´s last blog ..8:37, Saturday morning =-.

  8. West of Mars » Blog Archive » Thursday Thirteen: Oracle

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