I hadn’t seen him for nearly 8 years now and here he walked in brazen as daylight, cap in hand and a smile dancing across his face. We talked like old times, like nothing had happened, like no group had ever existed. One dead, three missing and the music well and truly broken. De-tuned instruments smashed across the broken dream of our youth. Sure we mourned, we laughed and we drank black coffee by the bucket load souped up and ready to roar, but we couldn’t really be the same again, this was just a sad inky impression left on a fading piece of paper in the sun. It was both a dream and a nightmare wrapped in a false sense of hope.
Heedless we grabbed our instruments and made for the road, chasing the excitement the lust the wonder and the need to just be. We left so fast the coffee was still cooling on the windowsill, steam rising up against the window where flashes of sun could be perceived against the grey dormant clouds.
He used to have long hair cascading past his eyes and ears, flowing against his neck, but not now, now it was a crew cut, a regimented cut of short stock. His eyes, still dashingly and dazzlingly blue, were like lights of intensity, propelling out of his sunken face with mirth that belied his sullen demeanor. Of course he couldn’t play a goddamn tune but he damn well tried, hammering the piece of wood until it damn well near caught fire in his blistering hands. He gave it his all and when it didn’t respond he gave it some more. God be damned if he was not a musician and you be would damned if you suggested so yourself.
I admired him, I really did. We didn’t have a cent between us, neither in our sagging jean pockets or empty close-fisted hands,well money slipped like a wet fish between our fingers, money spent on beer or women who forever slided into the background never to be seen again. But we didn’t care, how could we, we were about to start the journey out of this two bit town of festering ruins and the dispirited wraiths that populated it. Of people who walked like they had had their backs broken at their first sight of hope, of a population so befouled of dreaming big that they were broken before they even knew that they could have escaped.
P.S. I have not read Kerouac or Burroughs for a while, I miss them so.