“Trumpet Joe”, a Friday Fiction Story

Trumpet Joe

Tombstones in Autumn by Pexels on Pixabay

Every morning, in the old graveyard just outside town, Trumpet Joe lifts a battered gold trumpet to his lips, and blows a hard-swinging version of “Reville” that rings off the old stones and granite angels and echoes through town. We call him Trumpet Joe because that’s the only name we know to call him. No one knows exactly how old he is, though Old Man Peabody used to tell the story of how Trumpet Joe told him he learned the early morning wakeup song as a bugler with General Grant at Vicksburg. Crazy, huh? But he’s the only person we ever knew who talked to Trumpet Joe and he’s been dead twenty years. Trumpet Joe plays over his grave, too.

That makes him the oldest person alive. If he is a person.

We’ve tried to talk to Trumpet Joe. Nothing doing, though. He’s as hard to catch as the morning mist he steps out of. Cameras don’t see him. You can’t get close. Some folks who caught a glimpse say he looked right at them, smiled, tipped his porkpie hat, and just…faded. It’s like he’s a ghost, except for the music. The music is real. Most of us consider it background noise, like the song of birds and the hum of cars on the main drag. It’s soothing, a sign that the world is how it’s supposed to be, even if you don’t like jazz.

Except the music stopped a week ago.

And some of the graves are empty.


I love urban legends, especially small-town legends of fantastic figures or graveyard haunts. This story is a little of both but also asks you to consider whether some urban legends might have more of a purpose than we suppose..

Play along with the prompt right here!

(Photo Credit: Pexels on Pixabay)

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