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BTW: The photo art and prose included in any given post are separate creations having nothing to do with each other. Duality and such …
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Likely it hasn't been noticed yet, but the current stream of prose are additional verses to stories already written, already posted. I hadn't intended to overtly tie verses together, preferring to allow everything to exist on their own, but so many people have asked me to keep telling certain stories that it's begun to seem natural to link them. If not a narrative, then a relation. A context.
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Previous verses ...
(...follow the links)
By Her Lover's Neck
The Prodigal Father
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The Road Out Of Town
“Ah, crap!” she cursed in the middle of a Weather Station song she’d adapted and strummed down hard on the guitar strings, then hard again up. Been a good night up to that point. Had a good crowd listening to her on the sidewalk out in front of the club. Over now, damn it.
She slammed her guitar into its case and snapped it shut as fast as she could and fairly leaped through the door to the club – ticket guy and the bouncer right there at the door and a capacity crowd behind them digging the LOUD alt rock on stage. They both gave her that ‘what the hell’ look and the bouncer accessorized his with a ‘don’t try nuthin’’ arch of his eyebrows, but she was friends with both.
“Let me through!” she shouted over the noise.
Bouncer shook his head. “You know we can’t.”
“There’s somebody out there I desperately need to avoid!”
Ticket guy smirked, asked, “Some guy you dumped last week?”
“Look, it’s my damn father.”
Their eyes widened. Fathers to be avoided was something they shared.
“He’s going to try to drag my ass back to Missouri. Let me through before he figures out this place probably has a back door.”
“Won’t help you,” bouncer said, “It connects right back out onto the street you just left.”
“Guys, I’m desperate here.”
They traded glances, nods. Ticket guy said to bouncer, “Hopefully he comes in; try to hold him up about five minutes. C’mon,” he took her by the arm. Pulled her through behind the bar, then to the little space behind the curtain which backdropped the stage. Drummer, one of her flat mates, gave her a look as they passed. Actually a touch quieter back there because the speakers were pointed in the other direction. Ticket guy said, “Peek through right here; you see him, holler.” Sure enough, her father came through the door less than a minute later, looking frantic. Bouncer placed a meaty open palm across her father’s chest and in her mind she heard him say ‘hold up there’. She looked to ticket guy; ticket guy took a step to the back door and slammed against its crash bar, the warm summer night air flooding into the club’s stale space. “Run like hell,” he told her as she went through, then slammed the door back tight, locked. She did. Stopped just long enough at the street to make sure he hadn’t come back out. Not yet. She really wanted to turn right because it went towards her place, but that would take her back past the club. She turned left. Ran down the street. Left at the first corner but checked first to see if he was there. He wasn’t. Ran another two blocks, then left again, then three blocks, slowing and gasping for breath, then right for two and into the door of her old building. Still wasn’t there. Three flights of stairs to the two-room apartment she shared with three guys and another girl, who looked at her as she burst through.
“Damn, girl!” roommate jumped. “What’s the deal?”
She gulped air. “My father’s here.”
“Showed up outside the club. I think I lost him.”
“Ran all the way here?”
“Pretty much.” She put the guitar down. Leaned back against the door. Collected herself. “I need to use the bathroom,” she said. Their apartment didn’t have one – they shared with the apartment next door where another five people crashed. That one didn’t have a fridge; theirs did. They kept both doors unlocked because they were always moving back and forth. Roommate took her hand and led her next door, peering down to the bottom of the stairwell to see if a dad-looking person were looming there. Wasn’t.
She closed the bathroom door behind her, the two guys who happened to be home looking quizzically as she passed. Splashed sink water on her face, relieved herself on the commode, then sat there a few minutes, slowing her heartbeat. She could hear roommate explaining her situation to the guys. “Tough break,” one said when she emerged, then the other, “glad my old man won’t come after me.”
Back in their apartment, roommate asked, “Do you think he knows where you live?”
She shrugged. “Well, he’s figured out where I’m hanging out. I’m sure if he asks enough questions he’ll find out.”
Roommate said, “Well, shit.”
“He can’t force you to leave. Can’t force you to do anything.”
“But he thinks he can. Righteous bastard is pretty sure he’s the sword of the Lord.”
Fifteen minutes of silence, neither knowing what to say, She wished she had some whiskey.
Drummer, his set over, came in. Handed her a joint. “From ticket guy,” he said. “Figured you’d need it. Said they got your dad to leave, but he’s been hanging out outside ever since.”
She nodded and took grateful hold of it, but didn’t light up right away, afraid in her current frame of mind it would just make her paranoid.
Drummer sat down next to her. “What are you going to do?”
She sighed. “All I’ve been thinking about.” Then, “I can’t stay here.”
Drummer looked at her warmly. There’d never been anything physical between them – too awkward given their living arrangement, but she knew he liked her. She liked him too. There was a gentleness about him she craved. “Do you think a place across town?” he asked.
“He’d still find me as long as I’m in town, he’ll just keep wandering the music districts.”
“Doesn’t want to let go?”
“He has a set idea about what his daughter should be.”
“Maybe if we both sit down with him?”
“I don’t want to confront him! You don’t know him; he’s not reasonable!”
He nodded, went quiet. She knew he wanted to take her hand and she wanted him to take her hand, wanted to feel that simple affection in the worst way, but neither wanted to be the first to cross that bridge. Finally she said, “I’ve got to get out of town.”
He asked, “Where too?”
She turned to him, needed the eye contact. “Memphis?” she asked.
He said, “Nothing going on in Memphis.”
“Los Angeles is a shit show.”
“I don’t know anybody in Austin.”
She briefly wondered why that would matter.
He told her, “I know people in New York.”
She hesitated, said, “I don’t need another daddy.”
He said, “Don’t want to be one.”
All my life I have had to learn to do things differently. To see the world differently.