Three Musketeers by Garen Zakarian

I love the Three Musketeers. Not those of whom Dumas wrote, the other ones, wrapped in shiny foil. Last I tasted one was about twenty-two years ago in a wretched contract facility near Bakersfield where a vendor stocking the machine in the corridor ran out of SNICKERS on the last row and filled it up with two Three Musketeers. I had to purchase the entire row and give all the Snickers away just to get to them. And that’s how much I love them. Then I pulled a string off a cotton blanket and made a necklace with the last Musketeers Bar hanging on it and strolled back and forth in the pod.

Fat Frank kept pointing at me and shaking his head. I could care less. We all have our own weird ways of appreciating things which exist “out there.” And who’s Fat Frank to take that right from me, right?

Fat Frank says I’m crazy. I disagree with him. He says if I don’t believe him, we should go ask Pasqualle. Pasqualle is Portuguese. He speaks Brazilian. I always thought it was the other way around—Brazilians speaking Portuguese—but he says no. Well, who am I to judge, right? Everyone says I’m bunkers. And then Fat Frank brings up the chicken and egg riddle, the one about which came first, and we stop arguing. I get tired and distracted when people throw my thought process into a loop. It’s like one of those endless math formulas I used to work on a long, long time ago, in another age, trying to resolve the Planet Earth’s water circulation cycle between the oceans and the atmosphere. I never finished it. Back then when there were no computers (available) I used to solve my matrixes on long rolls of graph paper. At times they would stretch for a few dozen yards. But those days are over, they seem like a bad dream now, just like the dreams I have about my life “out there.”

A few years ago, I wrote a letter to my sentencing judge, asking him to review my sentencing transcripts. For some strange reason, he had written in my transcripts that I must have a supervised release for at least five years upon the completion of my sentence at which time I’ll be 119 years old. At times such as this I am almost convinced that I might be partially insane, because Honorable Judges are respected, highly educated and sensible people. And they know what they’re doing. So, if I can’t comprehend as why would I need five years of probation at the age of one hundred and nineteen, that’s because I’m crazy. But you’ll get used to it.

And now I’m going to pick up my guitar with nylon strings and play all seven major scales from ten different frets. The psychologist says it’s a part of my therapy, it helps. I keep doing the scales with or without a pick. I’m not sure if it helps, but who am I to judge, right? She’s a Doctor, she knows. I went to see her last month, she said that I’m showing a substantial improvement. She meant my left hand running up and down the guitar neck. I’m right-handed, so I picked up this book titled “Draw with your left hand.” First, I thought it was a joke. Turns out it wasn’t. Now I do portraits with my left hand in pencil or charcoal. At times I tie my right hand to the chair I sit on to fight the urge to add details. Sounds crazy, doesn’t it? But that’s just me, I told you I’m nuts.

When I get sad, I switch to minor scales. They sound more melodic or dramatic? When Bach fine-tuned the chromatic scale, he wasn’t thinking of psychologists or therapy, or khakis. He longed for the perfect pitch. I wish I could meet him to shake his hand and thank him for the therapy. After all, when Einstein and Neils Bohr were dreaming of a nuclear reactor and of splitting the atoms, they weren’t thinking of anything else.

Do you think Bach would like Three Musketeers?

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