Follow The Dreamer

Posted: June 26, 2007 in Beauty, Fiction, Life, Love, Music

Honestly, fuck starting with a cheery message. We’re going to jump right into the writing. If you can’t appreciate this, remember that Jesus loves you more than you can know.

It wasn’t a surprise to me when more than half of our tiny town turned up at Alexis’ funeral, even those who had shook their heads at what a nuisance she had been, with her wild guitar riffs and mournful bass wailing that had cut through the sleepy Californian heat. She had been a legend. Even the mayor showed up, to show what a ‘good person’ he was, but I knew he didn’t give a shit about Alexis or any of us. The campaign trail was heating up for him, and he needed all the votes he could get.
The only thing that made me smile during the ceremony was that Alexis herself couldn’t hear what was played. Piano music, inside a church and everything. Alex was a complete atheist, and was confused about Christians, Catholics and all the other fanatics on TV saying that Jesus saved them. She said, if Jesus was real, and he died for our sins, why couldn’t she do what she wanted? Shouldn’t she not be punished if her sins were taken care of? She would have preferred a few songs from Jimi Hendrix, Judas Priest, or System Of A Down. Instead, she got Mozart.
I had complained to her parents, of course, but they said the sweetest ‘fuck you’ they could to me without actually saying it. Rick and I had each snuck in our instruments, anyway, and we were waiting for the mayor’s speech to bust in with ‘Victim Of Love’. Rick was on bass, I was playing guitar, and Dusty had faked sick to get his drum set out of the house and put in front of the church’s hollow walls. The church’s meager amps were secured to our instruments, and we were ready to blast it.

It wouldn’t be the same without Alex. She was the only hero I’d ever had in my life, all because of a hot day in July, 4 years ago. I was twelve, about to start junior high, and I hadn’t really joined any groups or cliques. I just rolled around town with Dusty and Rick, committing mild acts of vandalism and theft. We were the beginning of a Mötley Crüe type of group, but without the drugs or bad upbringings they had.
One day, when I was blowing off the tiny 4th of July parade the mayor always wastes money on, looking for shade I stumbled upon another truant from the festivities. A thin, beautiful girl with long, dyed purple hair, closed eyes and an acoustic guitar in her arms sat on her porch playing a mournful melody I did not know at the time. Slightly shy around this stranger, I sat in the shade of a nearby tree as she sang:
Sometimes I feel
Like I don’t have a partner
Sometimes I feel
Like my only friend
Is the city I live in
The city of angels
Lonely as I am
Together we cry…
I spoke then, wondering what the hell was that beautiful melody issuing from her mouth.
“What is–”
Her eyes snapped open, and she glared at me with such fire and fierceness in her eyes that I thought I would keel over simply from her gaze. Then she softened.
“Under The Bridge. It’s the Red Hot Chili Peppers. You must know them,” she said, tilting her head to the side and squinting at me as if she wasn’t sure what she was seeing.
Her eyes were a calm hazel, a mixture of gold and green that took my breath away.
“I’m Alexis.” The goddess extended her hand and shook mine.
“Zach. Nice to meet you.” I said automatically.
She looked at me with a strange glint in her eye.
“So, what music do you listen to?”
I was struck dumb. The only music I had heard was the church’s organ and hymns we sang every Sunday.
She shook her head sadly, as if she had understood my nonverbal reply.
“I guess you need educating then. You want to learn about rock, am I right?” I nodded; I would do anything for Alexis now.
“All right, we’ll start with the 70’s…”
And so my rock teacher began a lesson that would not be dismissed until the end of her days.

“BY THE RIVERS OF BAAAA-BYLON! WHERE HE SAT DOWN!” we sang in giddy joy. “AND THERE HE WENT, WHEN HE REMEMBERED ZII-ON! OH, FOR THE WICKED, CARRY US AWAY, CAP-T IV-IT-Y! REQUIRED FROM US A SONG! HOW CAN WE SING…” We collapsed into laughter and collapsed on Alexis’ couch in her den. “Rivers Of Babylon” was one of our favorite songs in that year, and we sang whenever the mood took us. Maybe it was a biblical song, but the acoustic melody and reggae feel never failed to sweep us up into singing.
“Annie’s twelve years old…” Alexis sang to us.
“In two more she’ll be a whore…” Rick intoned along with her.
“Nobody ever told her it’s the wrong way…” warbled Dusty.
I finished the last verse, with “Don’t be afraid, with the quickness you get laid…”
We all joined in, flinging arms out to each other: “FOR YOUR FAMILY GET PAID, IT’S THE WRONG WAY!” Laughter filled the air as we finished.
It had been a stressful day at school, to say the least. Our group had met with our principal to ask for the right to play some songs at the next school assembly- a small affair, but we wanted to see how our peers found our band before heading anywhere. If they liked it, it would inspire us further; if not, we’d say “fuck em’.”
Anyway, we’d prepared a list of songs for him to investigate yesterday, along with the lyrics to each song. When we came to see him the next day, he admitted us into his office with a tense frown and a wave of his hand. We exchanged greetings and smiled warmly at each other for a few seconds, then the little frown reappeared.
“I took a look at your list last night, and I must say, I have heard of almost none of those songs, but they were apparently well-balanced enough for this institution. However….” His lip curled. He was in Deep Shit Deliverance mode.
“One of them, however, seems as a mockery of the way life is handled in our great nation. This song, by, who is it? Rage Against The Machine? I have heard of this particular little rebellion inciter.” He stood now. His full height was about six four, and he towered over us as his anger reached its peak.
“I am so sick and tired of these anti-America and Vietnam statements made by people whose ignorant parents made little or no efforts to curb these comments, with their children leading others to believe that something I did for my country makes me a demon. So not only will I not let you play this song and any others in my school, but you are all recommended for expulsion, for disrespectful behavior and attempting to disrupt the harmony of this institution. Considering you all are failing your classes to be in your little band, this is quite fitting.”
“WHAT?” Dusty yelled. “That’s bullshit!”
The principal purpled, and with a shaking finger pointed to the door.
We were pissed. Really fucking pissed. Alexis saved us from a total disaster of a day by singing with us, so we felt better when we got home. That happened a lot, with Alexis around. She was our natural leader, and focused us into a real group.
Two years had gone past since I met her on that 4th of July. I was now fourteen, in the end of my eighth grade year, about to become a freshman along with Dusty and Rick. Our school was a combined junior high and high school, so we all saw Alexis frequently. She was a sophmore now, but we were some of her few friends in school. She hung out with the bands around downtown, the rockers and the burnouts that just tried to survive each day.
Alexis had united us to become a full-fledged band after the first day I met her. She could play guitar, bass, drums and she sang as well. She taught us all what we wanted to learn and we became the band Nolo’s Dream. Nolo was Alexis’ father, who had taught her to play all her instruments before dying from a heroin overdose when Alexis was eleven. She taught me to play guitar, Rick the bass and Dusty was on drums. In two years or so we had practiced relentlessly with Alexis, channeling our energy and creative talent into the band.

  1. sacul says:

    This is as far as I’ve gotten. Any ideas on where to go from here?

  2. james says:

    i’d asay….sit down and write…it’s the only way!!

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