Category : Books-Non-Fiction
Sub Category : Biography
Contrary to the electric guitar, the larger, bass guitar has a peculiar feel to it. My fingers appear to have shrunk in size while pressing down on each burly string — I'm so used to playing the smaller guitar. Especially, the minuscule mandolin I used to own before I sold it for twenty dollars of cocaine. Despite the significant difference in playing the bass, I get used to playing it, thumping each string till my fingers are raw, pressing down on them till my hand aches and can't take any more. Throbbing to the beat of its own song, screaming, “No More.”
At my lead guitarist’s house, just a few miles away from my parents’ place, we jam out while we're supposed to be writing a new song.
My guitarist, Benji, is almost twice my age, covered in tattoos, and has worked in the music scene in Austin since he was my age. He stands right at my height (5’11”), but seems taller with his black, spiky hair. An old school punk from back in the day.
Benji’s guitar playing is about the same as mine which isn't bad, but more limited than what I can play. It's his sound that I'm fond of, being something quite different. It's a heavy fuzz, sustained drone that's used frequently in doom (or stoner) metal. It makes for a great sound shaping our band to be more prominent, emerging out of the typical metal played nowadays. He's just a hair off-key.
That's his sole problem. Since he's worked for so long with and around live music, his hearing is shot. If his playing or guitar falls out of key, he can't hear it, while the rest of the band closes their eyes, bearing the discordance till the end of the song. The man likes to crash down on those heavy strings, giving it all he's got, that I admire.
We take a break from jamming out and rest. I grab a root beer out of his fridge, while he talks about future plans for the band. When it comes to speaking, Benji is my opposite. He can talk on and on about whatever, while I tend to keep to myself. As he goes on, he signals for me to follow him into his room, then walks into the bathroom. I'm listening to him, not paying any attention to where he takes me.
In my head, I'm in a dream, on stage in front of thousands of kids shoving each other, banging their heads as we wail on our guitars, playing as if it's the end of the world and everybody dies tonight. He puts a dirty, bent spoon down on the sink, quickly followed by a syringe and a piece of plastic wrapped around a tiny black substance.
I stare at it.
Remember when I said you can't trust anybody…?
My mind is hammered with images and movies of needles, being covered in blood, being in pain, dead bodies, being sick, hugging the toilet, but then… all of it stops. Suddenly, it's dark, morning birds chirp outside while I watch myself wake up, but know I can go back to sleep. It's inner peace, a calming nod, swimming in sweet serenity, a dreamlike realm of no worries or problems. I'm floating on air…
“Hey!” he yells to get my attention. I blink repeatedly then look back at him.
“Where’d you go, man?” he says in his California surfer accent, then laughs.
“Sorry… just… seeing that brought back a lot of memories,” I say nervously pointing at the plastic wrapper.
“Ahh, gotcha bro. You don't have to do any if you don't wanna. Just offering, my man.”
I nod in agreement that I'm not going to do any.
“Cool, cool. Yeah, I'm good,” I try to convince myself.
I should get the hell out of there. But I'm not quick enough. The adverse thoughts are already in action.
You can do it just once. And then never do it again. One time won't hurt. You're stronger now, you can do one then stop. It'll just be a little shot. Nothing else. Just one…
Benji glares at me with inquisitive eyes. “You sure, dude?”
As he stares at me with his eyebrows pushed up, his forehead wrinkles in distinct folds. I blink to give myself one last second, then make up my mind. I turn to see his reflection in the mirror, then look at my own, smiling.
It doesn’t smile back.