As hard as I pluck the strings, they will not sound. I add a capo, but it only produces a higher-pitched silence. The neighbor’s dog begins to howl. It’s broken, I think. The tree it was made from has taken back its birds. But then I remember the blues, and fetch an empty beer bottle from the recycling bin. As soon as the bottle’s neck hits the strings, they begin to wail. I slide it around, searching for the right three frets. But now I am overcome with a craving for pickles. I don’t even care what vegetables they come from, only that they are pale, crisp and briny and go well with rice. I want to taste the ocean. The bottle, I notice, has a message inside, the size and shape of a fortune cookie fortune. You may already be a winner, it says.