M.V. Reisinger teaches literacy and writing in Southern Colorado. His published work has appeared in Bomb Fire Lit., Door Is a Jar (forthcoming June, 2021), Northwest Indiana Literary Review (forthcoming), The Circle Book 2021: A Conejos County Anthology (forthcoming April, 2021) and Lumberjack News.
As Dead as Rock ‘N’ Roll
I didn’t try to catch Pete Edgewater when he fell in front of the Downtown Brewery and planted his face into the cold cement. He scared the shit out of everyone who saw it, but they probably didn’t know about the pills, the missing pancreas, the three day coma, the slit tendons, the diabetes, the tranquilizers, the jail time, the heroin, the coke, the twelve pack per night, the compulsive lying, or his unexplainable attraction to short women with cankles (you know, ankles that are so big around that they look like a continuation of the calf muscle rather than an ankle).
Earlier that day, I had met Pete at his home. It was the first time I saw him in nearly eight years. “Why, you still look exactly the same,” he said with his bony six foot four, one hundred and fifteen pound body lurching halfway out of the trailer door. Upon seeing him, I instantly felt the lukewarm sensation of sadness working its way up my gut and through my veins, and in that moment, he broke my heart.
I then wondered what if I had stayed there in Knoxville and given our seventh band together a fair chance. What if I got a place with Pete and some other eccentric musician, maybe he would be in better shape. Or maybe we would be in the same boat by now, puking out our health and talking about our good years, too proud and too stubborn to admit that we had been swashed ashore long before we could have driven drunk together to strange towns, passed out in the back of a tiny tour van every night for months at a time and crammed our frustrated music into the ears of thousands of innocent people. Together, we could have chewed, swallowed, smoked, and shot up every drug out there, but I didn’t.
I peered down at Pete as two witnesses ran to recover his fallen carcass from its concrete bed. I watched them prop him back up while he mumbled incomplete phrases and occasional cuss words. I could have picked his raggedy ass up myself and slung him over my shoulder like a dirty dish towel, but instead I stood and wondered how the most talented drummer that I ever had the privilege to play with had pissed his life away in just a handful of years.
I drove Pete Edgewater back to his trailer out in the woods, where I watched him sway to the melancholy tones of music that no one would ever buy nor hear. “I’m gonna live my life,” he yelled and cracked open another can of beer. Our rock ‘n’ roll dream had ended.
From the Editor:
We hope that readers receive In Parentheses as a medium through which the evolution of human thought can be appreciated, nurtured and precipitated. It will present a dynamo of artistic expression, journalism, informal analysis of our daily world, entertainment of ideas considered lofty and criticism of today’s popular culture. The featured content does not follow any specific ideology except for that of intellectual expansion of the masses.
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