Raven’s Run 139

There was nothing to do but wait. I settled in on a bench across from the Movenpick ice cream store and watched. So late in the season, most of the Americans had flown home. Some Germans, French, and British remained, but it was mostly a lean, blonde, fit stream of Nordic pedestrians that wandered by.

Ron stayed with me for half an hour, protecting his investment, but he eventually got bored and left. He said he would be back. I doubted it.

I moved with the sun as the hours passed. Just sitting and waiting was chilly, as well as tedious. The fountain in the middle of the grassy area had a quartet of bronze statues of innocent, playful, basically sexless children, getting ready to leap into the fountain for a swim. About eleven o’clock, some real ten year olds actually went wading, but they were Norwegians, and tougher than I was. Seven years in California had spoiled me.

Scores of brown-headed gulls came by to be fed. Young lovers, old men in conference about the world’s troubles, and even a trio of tough looking sailors, kept them happy.

Singly and in small groups the street musicians began gathering as noon approached. Apparently they knew something I didn’t, because about that time groups of overdressed, camera clicking tourists began to wander through. The effluvium of a cruise ship, perhaps? 

I didn’t talk to any of the musicians. There would be time for that if Raven or Eric did not show up. A very talented young flamenco guitarist set up and began to play. Half a dozen of his friends drank beer and talked quietly behind him. An occasional kroner fell into his guitar case, but he wasn’t making expenses.

Down the street, a nine year old kid was playing electric guitar very badly and singing in an untrained voice. He was using a thousand dollars worth of equipment and making a hundred dollars a day on charm and youth instead of talent. The flamenco player was breaking my heart with his music and starving.

A drunk came up and began strumming his beer bottle. He put his arm around the flamenco player; the guitarist cringed, probably singed by hundred horsepower breath. One of the guitar player’s friends tried to lead the drunk away. The drunk was obstinate. Another of the friends came to help and the two of them dragged the drunk off. He resisted, there was a scuffle, and the drunk ended up on the ground. He thrashed around like a beetle while the friends returned, shaking their heads. Then he began wailing. His plaintive voice drowned out the music, and the guitarists had to stop. I was glad he was speaking Norwegian; the sound was irritating enough without understanding the words. Eventually, he staggered to his feet and went off muttering.

The joys of performing.

I looked left and Eric was there, opening up his instrument case. Raven was nowhere in sight. more tomorrow


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