As I strolled along the boardwalk of Morro Bay, CA, a gentle melody drifted past me, wrapped around the squawks of seagulls and the tang of sea salt.
It was definitely a guitar, but it sang with a strangely empty, gentle twang that I couldn’t place.
On the corner of a weather-beaten candy store bursting with sticks of rock, I found the guitarist.
Slung over his shoulder was an ancient Gibson semi-acoustic, the frayed tails of the strings curling around its neck.
The guitarist’s tobacco-stained fingers danced across the frets, tapping out a melody. His other sleeve hung loose down his side, empty.
I stood and watched for a while as the one-armed guitarist hammered out a riff that would bring a tear to John Lennon’s eyes.
The song ended.
“That’s a damn good sound you’re making,” I said, dropping a handful of dollars into his hat, as one must always do when we have enjoyed a busker’s performance.
A smile cracked the man’s leather face in two, and he nodded to the empty sleeve.
“Always making up for it,” he said, and began to play his next tune.