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Old Country Singer

The old Country singer sat on his porch watching the sunset with a tumbler to his left. Wearing a jug hat, a red bandana around his neck with a t-shirt underneath it and a waistcoat on top of the shirt was all that was keeping him out of the sun’s ray.

“I wouldn’t trade this view for anything” he muttered under his breath reaching for his Old Fashioned

There were no other homes for miles, and the old Country singer preferred it that way. The only downside was that there was no internet to connect himself to his fans across the world, by world in his eyes meant the rest of the state.

He was lucky enough to be able to buy his own home from the royalty cheques he had from a hit single back in the early 1980s, he sang it with such tenacity, many people bought it as they were convinced, despite the label at the time correcting them over and over again, that the real singer was Willie Nelson.

The old Country singer met Willie Nelson once on tour, before the release of the single, and hated the confusion of his greatest hit being mixed up with him as when they were on tour, Willie Nelson blew marijuana smoke into his face. He claimed it was accidental, but the old Country singer held a grudge.

This was at the core of his thinking as to why the Internet was a bad place. Every time he would log onto Youtube to hear his music and to see the view count so he could estimate his next royalty cheque, he would notice either the commenters leaving comments like ‘Sounds just like Willie Nelson’ as well as crasser things. The worst of it was when he would search for his song titles, incuding the non-single ones and notice how many people had uploaded them onto the site with Willie Nelson being the singer.

There would be fits of rage at this, and it was daily. The old Country singer ended up questioning why he even kept searching for his own music so much, his brother told him ‘As long as them cheques keep coming in, who cares who they think sung it’ to which the old Country singer agreed. But only a tiny bit.

He had been watching the sunset from sunrise with only his Old Fashioned to keep him company. He rarely slept, and rarely drank water any more so all he had to pass the time was drink bourbon, cocktails made of bourbon and watch nature at it’s most beautiful. The sun was his only friend. There was a time he had plenty guitars which kept him company but he broke these in fits of rage when he realised that people were stealing his basic chords to attempt to make new versions of his songs. They sounded different, with different tempos, lyrics, song structure and general overall delivery, but to him, he could still hear his damn chords right in the middle of it which would throw him into a frenzy in his home. And this was another reason he got rid of the Internet.

“Damn kids these days. Don’t know how to appreciate nature” he said to himself as the sun was finally setting. He took some sips of his drink, which had been watered down as the ice had melted. The old Country singer was thinking of a time when things were simpler. A time he could relate to. This led him to believe that the 1960s was the time to be alive and to be a country musician. He wasn’t wrong in one respect, however he had the uncanny pattern of believing the appropriate time for him to have lived would have been when he was just a teenager. There wasn’t space for him in this world anymore. ‘So why fight the tide?’ was what he asked himself everyday.

He stood up and went inside, finishing his drink as he entered his home.

The walls were covered in plaques, gold this, platinum that, the plaque that was for his greatest hit was smashed and on the floor beside his vinyl player. The vinyl player had so much dust on it that the bunnies had had a few revolutions in the time since they possessed the top of the item.

There used to be a cleaner, but they stopped coming as the old Country singer would just inform them of the days he would tour across the state, selling out shows as long as there was paper to be used to make the tickets and grand tales of his exploits, mainly of the female persuasion and bottles of whiskey.

The old Country singer pulled a document from his drawer, an envelope with multiple crumpled letters which were addressed to him. One was from the hospital, confirming he had paid his outstanding debt to them. There were a few fan letters, some others that looked like drunken handwriting with the words looking like song lyrics and a final letter from his lawyer which was still waiting for him to sign.

He placed the final letter on his kitchen table and looked up at the clock on the wall. It was a small cuckoo clock, the hour was just reaching 8pm and he looked again at the document before him

“I’ve read you fifteen times. I still ain’t sure. Maybe one last time”

He sat down, spread the letter and read it again line by line.

After reading it an additional 5 times, he looked at the clock; it was now 8:22pm.

“It’s fine. Everyone gets their due, in the end”

He went to the drawer, grabbed his pen from it, checked to see if it had enough ink inside it and signed his name on the dotted line. Standing away from the table, he went to the wall telephone and dialled.

“Hey, it’s me” he said when the line answered, “I’ve signed it. Come over tomorrow”

The old Country singer hung up the phone, went upstairs and lay down on his bed attempting to grasp his actions.

“Who knew the power of this old hand?”

The lawyer came the next day. The visit was brief as the document had been signed.

Two weeks later, the old Country singer’s music was completely removed from the Internet. His discography became a myth overnight; fans who had his CDs realised shortly that they were holding a relic. The old Country singer had completely vanished from public life which made him the focus of the media immediately.

Within 3 months of his action, the old Country singer had signed a documentary deal with a small TV network which was planning to give an in depth screening of his life and his decision to remove his art from the Internet.

When he signed the contract for the deal, he laughed to himself

“What’s so funny?” the suits asked him

With a grin on his face still, he replied: “This generation; to stop yourself being forgotten, all you got do is try disappear”