I tried for many years to kill him. I hated everything about him. He would show up at the most inopportune moments. He would say things that I didn't want him to say. He would be neurotically funny when he was nervous. Over the years I got him more under control but around family or old friends he would awaken. It was like the expectations of the old days and people that knew him, gave him life force and he assumed control. I was a hapless passenger to his tirades, comedy routines or outbursts of bravado. He flourished in Ft. Pierce, and was the one of the reasons I left 1987.
My wife says I always get a funny look on my face when I have talked to someone from Ft. Pierce. She says my voice has a tone she has learned to recognise. George called to tell me mutual friend and musician has fallen on hard times, he is sick and they are planning a fund raiser for him. Several bands will be playing and my name came up. He would like me to come back and play with him and a bass player from my old band. My wife shakes her head and gives me a look. She hates to see me confront him. She will have to listen when I recount all the regret.
A lot of people love him. He is funny and has a lot of energy. He says the thing everyone is afraid to say. He points at the elephant in the room. He can sell you anything. He can get you a record deal. He will draw the line and dare you to step over. He is fearless. He leaves me to clean everything up, and to deal with his wreckage. He is the reason I have to ride alone, because if I hear his voice one more time, I will die. He is great to drink with and if you like a story, he is your man. In the dark, he is tortured by all he has done and said. Gallons of holy water have been heaped upon him, but he carries every sin, every decision, every incidental moment and he relives them in High Definition 1080i.
George doesn't understand, he just wants to play a few songs and pay homage to his old teacher. I want specific details about production, when we will play and if I can use my own drums. George wants to talk to him because it is easier. He would just go head first into the gig and say: "fuck it". The problem is, after he is gone, I will have another disaster to carry. Another shitty gig, in front of the very people I never wanted to play for again. The people I left, in the middle of the night, on my twenty fourth birthday. But he doesn't give a shit about any of that. He wants to show them how awesome he can play. He wants to be the returning hero. He wants them all to pat him on the back and to compliment him. There is no way to tell how the story ends. I would like to pay homage too, but maybe the risk is too high. Maybe it will raise too many questions. Maybe he won't come at all, and everyone will be disappointed.
George wants me to sing. He is not sure which songs. He wants it all to be positive. He wants to play guitar and say a speech. I wish I could just be one of those people that went along and believed everything works out. It does sometimes, and it always surprises me.
I put on my kit and go for a very long ride. I see a few people, but for the most part I am alone. He never shows up if I am quiet. Those are the days I live the most. It is windy and cool. I will have to work a little harder to get home.
He is nowhere to be found.