John A. Barry – Reed My Lips


Artist Initiator: John A. Barry
Title: Reed My Lips
Price: $350

Author Responder: Sarah Vickers
Title: Read My Lips

“Dammit Janet, stop copying me. Choose your own instrument!”

When Janet was in fifth grade, she and her friend Jennifer tried out for concert band. She already played clarinet but was hoping to get saxophone because Jennifer told her woodwinds were boring. Except saxophone.

“I bet I’ll get it though,” said Jennifer. “Doesn’t your dad already own a clarinet? Sorry, I just can’t see you playing sax.”

Neither could the band teacher. 

“I got alto sax,” said Jennifer, scanning the list posted next to the band room. She pointed Janet’s name. “Oh trumpet. Brass. Loud. Makes sense.”

Janet bit her tongue as she felt her body expand, filling the room, pushing into the wall, taking up too much space. She went home and cried in her room.

Her dad tried to console her by insisting saxophones had dropped in coolness since the saxophone-soaked ’80s. They drove to Blockbuster and rented St. Elmo’s Fire and The Lost Boys, fast-forwarding to Rob Lowe and Tim Capello’s saxophone scenes when they got home.

“Do you really want to look like that?” he asked, eyes wild, pointing at the TV. 

Janet shrugged. She couldn’t decide whether she wanted to date Rob Lowe or be him. She also didn’t have the heart to tell her dad that she’d moved on from her saxophone grief by the time they’d reached Blockbuster.

But her dad wasn’t done. “Ha!” he said, pulling Kenny G Live from the record shelf. “Now it’s this guy who’s got all the ladies’ panties in a twist!”

When she asked why he owned the album, he mumbled something about his ex-girlfriend Marie before shuffling into the hall, returning with a beer and his clarinet case.

“You know that Clinton guy? The president in the States?” he asked, hastily screwing a reed onto the mouthpiece, pulling some sheet music from the case, ”He played saxophone in public recently. Better than that “no more taxes guy,” but seriously.” He shook his head, incredulous.

“More like ‘No more saxes,” said Janet, joining in to console her father, who was unfurling “Songbird: Kenny G for Clarinet” and setting up his music stand.


Copyright © 2024 by Sarah Vickers