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Columns / Short Stories
Shep was always writing. . .

December 1964


Waldo Grebb And His Electric Baton
eyes front, back arched, knees snapping, the ted williams of the twirling corps began his countdown toward the launching of his spinning silver bird

WHEN THE BITTER WINDS of winter howl out of the frozen north, making the ice-coated telephone wires creak and sigh like suffering live things, many an ex-B-flat-sousaphone player feels that old fa-miliar dull ache in his muscle-bound left shoulder - a pain never quite lost as the years spin on. Ancient numbnesses of the lips permanently implanted by frozen German silver mouthpieces of the past. There is an instinctive hunching forward into the wind, tacking obliquely to keep that giant burnished Conn bell heading always into the waves. A singular man carrying unsharable wounds and memories to his grave, the butt of low. ribald humor, of gaucheries beyond description, unapplauded by music lovers, the sousaphone player is among the loneliest of men. His dedication is almost monklike in its fanaticism and solitude...

Additional Comments:
This story was reprinted under the new title "Wilbur Duckworth and His Magic Baton" in the book "In God We Trust - All Others Pay Cash"

Copyright: 1964 Playboy Magazine