portion of the artwork for Randall Brown's fiction

Randall Brown

During the illness, the King asked for Kool-Aid and butter. They brought him an accordion and antibiotic instead. The antibiotic stung and the scratched-off scab never settled down, continued its stinging until the end of his reign. He fared better with the accordion. It never left his side. Noticing it, they would ask him if he played—and he’d answer, “Not for awhile.” The accordion gave them a place for their stares. They asked for things like rain and the way it used to be. In the outer halls, they spoke of the King’s dark tear-tracks and created myths about the accordion player, plucked from a street corner, hearing the music in the empty halls of a palace. In these stories, he’d be found in a far room, playing, or on the street, masked, dancing among peasants, a dance that brought things down from the heavens. The King came to love these stories, so much so that he’d venture out, late at night, keeping to shadows, listening for the old songs.

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 33 | Summer 2011