Back in the HighLife

Readership,

My regards, best and brightest, to the faces of your beautiful bodies. The summer is here and the time is now and I smile at you with hope. Not from green fields or well-till’d pastures, but hope from a holy devil fuck raucus that has browned and boiled me over the past month… the kind of hope you earn. The kind of hope you need to beat back the demons on the path.

There is hope for all of us, and it is in the fight, the holy battle of our ancestors that carries over to this day (void of al Qaieda and 9/11 associations) and for the rest of our days… this is the beauty of the eternal battle for good. I hope we can end up in the same time zone, similar souls, neighbors in the fields, but if not then we will still be together. Not because everything is one or some monochromatic nonsense, but because we can choose to be. The power of mind… the power of you… the power of me… the power of us.

Believe and beware…I will be dropping 500 word stories from my omnibus all throughout this summer, for the eyes and ears and heart of hearts, even though most have been stolen away and worn down like a forgotten slab of jerky in some abandoned Nebraska gas-station…there are still those who fight. This first one is for Jimmy Lee. RIP my brother.

Forthrightness and Godspeed,

H.D.

Jay walked through the bar’s side door after skidding through the fogg’d out alleyway, pushing along the backstage stalls and the resin-tarr’d dance floor, glitter caught between concrete dents in the set list plaster’d walls and stray beams reeking from a single bulb in the back of the venue next to coat check… he stumbled between the howling and the sweat and handed his empty beer to a young lady perched in line for the bathroom, cut black jeans and faded blue hair, firm, so he rubbed her cheek. And laughed.

Before she could unclench her hands and send glass chards into his throat Jay trickled past a group of sound checkers and slammed a rusted, poster splattered door in his wake.

Klyph knew it was best not to endorse, or dismiss, any of Jay’s tangential ideas for how to work the set list. Variations, tedious debate, and jet-fueling lines of cocaine… Milwaukee had been enough. After Chicago it was all over. He knew it. Klyph was happy.

Jay stammered in. “Fuckers out there man, this place is madness. Do you have a beer?” Only a couple inches of couch dammed themselves between the two, Jay twirling, unimpressed with his global position, and setting down for some palavering while Klyph read through the end of a newspaper Sports Section. “How long have you been here man?”

Spiders ate flies and memorized enemy faces in the corners of a cigarette smoke drenched alcove. Cobwebs and guts. “We got here at six, like we said last night. Ralph and I set up… we’re supposed to set up, we couldn’t get you out of the hotel.” Klyph thought to lecture, but receded. A man will be a man. ” I think there’s beer behind that couch… I don’t understand how the fuck you can drink right now.”

Joint smoke and resentments tranquilized… explanations for 6AM phone calls and more joint smoke and cigarette tar and smiles and laughter and exploding in is Tom and Stacy. The beer remained behind the couch.

“Jesus, I thought me and Stace were dead out there. I’m just glad you sons of bitches remembered to get my name on a door list.”

Stacy hunkered in the strength of Tom’s shoulder, scared and disinterested. Jay laughed at her, blinking between glances, hidden at the other end of the couch, not offering a hand through the group’s necessary exchanges. The smoke died back into the cracks of the walls and nothing was left to say.

“Tom, uhh… sorry I didn’t catch your name?”

“Stacy.”

“Stacy. It is a pleasure. I hope you enjoy the show, but…”

“Fuck off Jay. We need to practice. Klyph tell this sonofabitch…”

Jay stood up. “Do either of you have a beer, or any doses, any speed? Anything, uhh, uplifting?”

They all stood together in the doorway.

Tom had crossed the dividing line that Klyph stood over. “Jay I can’t even believe…”

“Well, fuck off then. Both of you.” Jay didn’t even look over to acknowledge his victims.

That was it for Tom and Stacy. Door shuts. Keyboardist… done. That’s how it’ll be for everyone in the end. Only the glitter sticks.

Klyph continued inhaling. “Pretty fucking rough man. We’ve known him for ten years. Dude is not a bad guy.” The spiders went on and about with their front legs and their hind legs and felt nothing but their souls on fire in the light where a room ends and an outside begins. Memorizing the faces…

“Ahh, fuck it. They didn’t have any beers.” Jay reached behind the couch and a crack echo’d. Tremolos and gulps and, “Well, what the fuck are we going to play?”

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