Fiddler on the Goddam Roof

“Let’s Rock,” by Mark Ari
I was living in Seville, Spain in 1986. For the first month or so, I stayed at the Hostal Virgen de los Reyes. I got sick. Ferocious fever. Neck glands bulging and tight as drums. The works. Flattened me good.

Then, one night, the sheets were knotted bladderwrack, the way they get when it’s late and the air is wet and you’re coughing so much you feel your lungs rip and something bursts in your brain with every bark. I dragged myself out of bed, grabbed my Walkman, guitar, and a carton of wine, and went up to the roof where I hoped the air would be cooler. Thought I’d strum a bit. Drink until it made me tired. Maybe lay out under the stars.

There was a guy already there. One foot hooked on a rail behind him, he stood leaning back on the parapet, his head tilted toward a fiddle he plucked and tuned. He tossed me a nod when he saw me coming. I flung one back at him and grinned, because that’s what you do when the moon is fat and blue and the sky all glittery-like, and there’s the fiddler on the goddam roof.