Musical Notes

“Hobo Harmonica”

by Glenn Dysarz


Some kids walking along the railroad tracks found the body down by the creek where the trestle bridge crosses over.


Sheriff Joe thought the old hobo got caught out on the trestle the night before. A train must have come along and that was it for him, knocked him clean off. We rolled the body over and it was a god awful mess.


James from the coroner’s office was going through the hobo’s pockets, looking for personal effects, when he exclaimed to me, “Hey, Deputy Roy check this out.”


There in his outstretched hand was a gleaming chrome harmonica. It was in perfect condition. Engraved on the top side in fancy lettering script was the name “Charlie.”


James held the harmonica to his lips and blew. There was a long, low raspy wail

sound, and as he slid the piece along his lips the sound changed to a high pitched squeal.


“Boys this here is a keeper, pure quality,” he smiled. “I used to play you know.

I call dibs if nobody claims her.”

“Bag it up, Jim,” called Sheriff Joe solemnly and James complied, slipping the

harmonica into a plastic evidence bag.


We got the deceased bundled up and James and I carried him up from the

creek and back into town.


A week went by and nobody came for the old hobo, so he was given a John Doe

burial out at the town cemetery.


James laid claim to the harmonica and sometimes, late in the evening, he could be heard blowing out tunes while he worked alone in the coroner’s office down the hall.

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