Guitar Zero

I concern myself with the ferocious aspects of being human, and it drains the life out of everything I touch. My attentions are not for the meek and mild. There are few things which drive me nuts into outright homicide. Pet peeves galore, but no real hatred there. The clock ticks down the minutes toward the end of all this while I sit and watch people from afar, the park is great for the people watch, where I come alive. I wonder what lives they live to themselves. I approach only a slight few to fill up my coffers. Their wealth and their fame mine to create.

As the smoke fills my lungs, I choke and cough, there is no solace for the impotent street musician. The spiders crawl across my scalp, spiders of memory, and then I find myself inside a different mind. That thing that is not me. The guy who is now, stands there playing his Frankenstein guitar with a small amplifier next to a tree in the park, and he wonders when his next handout will be and what the next song should be. His smile betrays his loneliness. His hair dirty and long, but he is not too blind to focus, his stare one of stolid concentration.

Strain sits on top of him, the stress of not knowing where the next place to stay is going to be, and the meal is savoured because there might not be a next time for awhile. I see through his eyes as he makes his way to the shelters he knows, and lays there on the cot with eyes wide open while everyone else is asleep, holding on tight to his dignity and his guitar. Twitching at every sound that makes him squeal in the city. Trying not be too serious.

I see the people that pass him by, and they are those who choose not to do anything because they can’t be distracted by some busker making his living, sour determined people that make me sick. He spends his time thinking and playing, it is his life, but not one spent in glamor or luxury. His is a deeper cognizance for the music he plays. I envy him.

I see him slipping into a club without paying the cover, slinking by the bouncer without a second glance, and walking down the hallway to the dance floor below. It is hotter than hell here, with all the bodies gyrating in their different orbits, and our friend walks up to the bar with the last couple of dollars in his pocket. Thinking to himself that he just might play in this place one day, the surge of people that would come to see him, and to be adored by those he had never known before. He gets to the bar and a large burly bartender takes one look at the rags on this loser’s back, snorts a small laugh, and asks him what he wants. No offense taken, the guitarist orders whatever he can afford on what little he has, and the bartender says that this one is on the house.

The bartender comes back with a tiny glass with some kind of smoke streaming from the top, the neon green contents in the bottom glow in the black light atmosphere here, but our hero courageously hits the drink like a shot thanking the barkeep afterward. He walks through the crowd with the guitar strapped to his back, searching for something nearby, and loses his concentration through the mob and haze of his mind now. Suddenly, the bass kicks in, and the hole in his heart becomes this massive ball of energy that spins him around in circles and makes him shake in place for a moment or two. The movements of the rest of the players in this dim mass writhed about with equal ferocity, and the swinging impulse ran wild through them, sweating out the quickened melodies against the heartbeat throbs of the rhythm. Was there a point to him being here? A dream perhaps.

The dancers shake heartily along with the song’s structure, stomping and roaring with distant howls scattered throughout this venues’ walls, and our guitarist gets caught into tonight’s particular tempest of persons unknown. The web of souls gradually increases as the music connects deeper with the audience, and various individuals filter through the doors at offset intervals, coming and going on a whim as the others collide more profoundly within their dancing. Women and men all thrown around in the throes by their attempts to capture the moment for hours, whether drug-fuelled or purely an adrenaline rush that charged through the whole crowd without one seconds peace. The atmosphere was a jolt into the social cycling with the ebb and flow of the moon, it seemed, as the phases of peoples’ soul collect together. The guitarist was lost in it all, but he was being seen.

Into the increasingly intense groups of people, you could feel a tension start to creep into the establishment, and at the same time the music changed from contemporary alternatives to underground sound experiments from distant shores with names like Norway and Sweden and Germany. The disc jockeys change around a lot as the various crowds make their way through the club’s interior. As the dances move closer to the end of the night, hours into the morning, then even the insides become darker and resonate with the circles of people residing here for temporary sanctuary from the usual evening of boredom. Shifting persons altering the mood of the room as the lateness hits the spinning lights and florescent glow of the energy, and drinks are all the way around whether for a birth or an afterbirth celebration, and eventually our guitarist gets pelted by a few more drinks in the stomach. Making the scenario warp and distort in great heaps around his head like a dizzy halo of sense.

Recharging every so often in the dim thoughts of being here for some reason unknown to him, did destiny finally step into his wishes to be someone more than that he was now. A dash more of alcohol than he was used to in the odd night out. The occasional cigarette to go along with the occasional conversations over his guitar or his clothing or his ideas, but all of them seemed somehow hollow or shifty throughout the various strains of people flowing around the bar, they spoke of dreams and restlessness like it was some out-of-fashion martyr trick. The urge to be different was not within these people, they were merely the reflections of something that they would never be able to mention in one abstract word, and they stole energy from whatever person would cross their paths next. Replacing that with some uncertain negative charge or spark, and afterwards it was not so difficult to take more live energy. Their laughter filled the air in up-close heaps and doses of bad humor between fiends.

The swift spiral of movement swept and twirled with the women and men drifting closer in from the darkness outside, songs about oblivion and love forever lost dripped down the scale of time passed on, and between drinks our guitarist was getting blown by the various men and women who were seeking thrills to destroy the sedate sounds in their silence. Outside on the terrace, a heavily made woman in skirts trading one oral activity for another as our guitarist stood there more appreciative than he had been in a long time, and sexual advances were a part of the overwhelming theme of that night. Even though he was little more than some talented bum off the streets, they knew, he showed the potential necessary to be chosen. Sometimes preventing the consistency of his thoughts with others, and the mood augmenting his perspective dramatically, his ideas and emotions shooting off into varying vectors of direction as he joined in to the many pulls and pushes all surrounding him.

The dancing was a restless mix of indulgence and ritual, and the guitarist got lost in the spirit of it, subsumed into the throng of people. That’s when I stepped into the picture, my eyes and my tongue dripping with senses like that of some kind of supernatural predator, but my very real presence was stunning weak fools into awe.

I stood just behind him, and called out his name. The conversation he was having stopped, and he turned. I smiled at him, and beckoned for him to take a seat with me and my friends in a booth in the corner. He nodded, and followed us as we took a seat in one of the darker corners. He sat next to me, and around us were gathered some of my more cherished grotesques. His guitar was laid across the table with loving care, and we spoke of his musical direction. He feigned a humble outlook, but I knew he just wasn’t capable of breaking out of his shell.

He was simply a poor beggar with his most prized possession between pessimism and optimism, and here I was to give him a chance at greatness. My questions drew some questions out of him as well, and my words were like whispers of fame and fortune to his ears. I told him that I needed someone like him to play guitar for my band, someone who wouldn’t take the offer for granted, and I told him that he was the perfect one to finish off the group. He asked who else would be in the band, and I told him everyone seated here with us.

I pointed to the far left, and told him that the lazy-eyed fellow with the stitches in his forehead was going to be the drummer. The pale sunken-eyed beauty scratching her pockmarked arm to the far right was the bass player. The smiling lunatic with the goggles next to her was going to be in charge of all the electronic elements. The rather hairy fellow with the red eyes seated next to me was to be the singer. I looked back at him, and he then asked the most important question. “Where are you going to fit into all of this?”

“Why I am the producer, my boy. Your manager and promoter, and this is my club.”

He nodded thoughtfully, and wanted to know when they would start playing, as well as what they would be playing. I told him that the first show would be here at my own club, and that they would start working together as soon as he signed the same contract as the others had. He seemed reluctant, but I told him that fame was guaranteed. The others started snickering until I stared them down one by one, shutting up their noises, and shoved the contract into the guitarist’s hands. He looked at me with those innocent eyes, then at the contract.

I passed the pen over, reassuring him that the contract was not as binding as it might seem, and he picked up the pen in a shaky hand. The point scraped against the paper, all too dry, and my entourage laughed like vultures surrounding new dead prey. He looked into my eyes so humbly and so pitifully, my snickering posse staring with negatively-lit eyes, and a smile rippling across my face from ear-to-ear. My laughter sharpest over the rest.

“Why, blood, it’s more permanent that way.” I handed the razor over to him, and his face turned pale with fear. My group got even louder, hooting and hollering, as it seemed the club turned quiet as the conversation became the only part to echo through the space between this round table of nightmares. I think that perhaps he was able to see the true likenesses that we had been trying to hide because his eyes grew wider and his face contorted to a frozen mask of absolute terror. I told them all to shut up, he had a very important decision to make, and needed some time.

Posted by Friday on July 26th, 2006 in story archives. You can leave a response or trackback from your own site.

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