The Ballad of Gig and Starlight


Gig was proud of his record collection, seven hundred and thirty nine 45s and two thousand, six hundred, and two, LPs. He had an original copy of the Sun Records, Jerry Lee Lewis, self-titled album, recorded in 1958. All the records were in his listening room, a converted bedroom, that was strictly off limits, except by invitation.

Floor to ceiling shelfs were labeled, and records were filed alphabetically, in fourteen categories. Some sections had sub-categories, like, the folk music category was filed by, African American Folk, Popular Folk, International Folk and Folk Rock. All the Classical Music was in one category. Blues had sub-categories but not Jazz. Only a few of his records had minor scratches and those defects were well documented in the complete index he kept in a card file box on his desk.

His name was Gilbert Blarsky but he got the nicknamed Gig years ago when he was a roadie. Later, he worked at the local library. Gig’s wife’s name was Sarah but she used the name, Starlight. She was Starlight when she sang in a rock band in high school and it stuck. She kept a garden, made candles and tie dyed shirts which she sold at the local farmer’s market. Gig and Star were well known around town for their, “back to the earth,” hippy appearance. They both dressed in denim and Star’s tie dyed shirts. Gig had graying hair that he wore in a long pig tail and he kept full beard.

Late into the night, Gig would sit in a Lazy Boy recliner with his big headphones and listened to records. All the music was pre-nineteen-nineties because he never bought a compact disc. Gig wouldn't listen to a CD or internet radio. He was strictly an analog guy. His all-time favorite album was, The Last Waltz, a 1978, three record, box set, live recording of The Band’s final concert. He had two box sets, one he listened to and one that was never opened.

There were several theories about what happened, and the fire marshal’s official report was inconclusive. It was an ordinary day, Gig was working at the library. It’s true that Starlight was melting wax on the kitchen stove but she swears that she turned off the burner before she ran out to the store to get cigarettes and some brownie mix for later. Maybe it was faulty wiring, Whatever the reason, the house went up in flames so fast that when the firemen arrived there was nothing to save. Gig and Starlight spent the night in their van at the Wal-Mart parking lot. The next day, neighbors watched as Gig looked at the pile of melted records. The shelves had collapsed and the album covers had mostly burned. There were big blogs of melted black vinyl, with a bit of red and yellow from colorful, collectable albums. It was a sad mess.

Neighbors offered food and clothes but Gig and Starlight only accepted a few things before they left town. The sale of the property was handled by a local realtor and the Blarskys were never heard from again.

Depending on who you believe, Gig and Starlight now live out of their van and sell tie dyes at rock festivals, or you wouldn’t recognize them, because, after relocating, Gig cut his hair and beard and they now blended in with their new community. Most however agree, that the newspaper photo and headline, “Great Balls of Fire,” was in poor taste.

07/25/2017 © Don Lehman