In Which Our Hero and His Friend, Moe, See Jean-Michel Jarre

I thought you said it started at 8.

The doors open at 8 but the show doesn’t start until 9. And even then, I doubt the main act will go on before 10 anyway.

Well great, so why are we on the road stuck in miserable traffic at 7:30 pm?

I don’t know man! You’re the one who rushed us out the door…

Because I thought this thing started at 8! Now it looks like we’re gonna be there almost two hours early.

Calm down man. At least we won’t be late.

I suppose so, but what are we gonna do waiting in the car that long?

Burn one? Two?

Hmmm. Yeah good idea. Whatever, man, no big deal to be early. I guess I just felt thrown off.

No worries.

I suppose we could also talk to each other but that would be pretty horrifying.

Good thing we have the radio.

Until the car battery dies. Then we can look forward to being stranded many miles from home. We would be like that Police song.

Which Police song?

You know the one that goes:  Many miles a-waaaaay. Many miles a-waaaaay.

Oh yeah. I heard that one.

What’s the name of it?

Oh I have no idea. You’re a bigger Police fan than I am.

Yeah I suppose so. Well anyway, we’d be like that.

Oh and that reminds me, I picked up a couple records at the swap meet, ones that I know you’ll be super jealous about.

What were they?

The Knitters and…

WHAAAT? How in the hell did you find that one?

Random chance, man. I knew you’d cream for that one particularly.

How’d you even know about the Knitters? Nobody knows that group.

You showed them to me, remember? I think they were on some mix-CD you made or you showed me a video of them on the internet.

Dude, that was a hell of a find. Even I don’t have that record. Hey, how about letting me borrow it?

No way, man; I’d never get it back.

Yeah, I admit it. I would probably steal it. I mean, borrow it for an extended period of time.

Yeah, it’ll be staying at my house.

What’s the other record you got?

R.E.M., Life’s Rich Pageant.

Wow, man, you were right; two for two. Lucky bastard. Whenever I got to the swap meet with you I never get that lucky.

You don’t have that album already?

I have a couple R.E.M. albums but not that one. That one has one of my favorite songs on it.

Which one?

I’m not sure of the name, I just remember it has the lines: Don’t faaaall on me-ee-ee. Faaall on me-ee-ee

Haha, yeah that one’s on there. I think it’s actually called Fall On Me.

Oh, for real? Hahaha, seems like that should have been obvious.

Wellllll…. It’s all good.

It looks like we’re here…or getting close to being here. I need to start looking for parking. Holler if you see a place. Not too expensive though.

How about that one over there? I think the sign says seven bucks.

Nice! That’s a pretty good deal, and we’re not too far from the venue either. This should work out perfectly.

When you go in try to find a spot off in the back away from prying eyes.

Yeah, good idea… There we go. This oughta be the perfect spot; nobody to the left of us and the car to the right of us is empty. The people must have gone in already.

Yeah, probably.

Here. Take these two things, put this one into this one, then take this lighter and you know the rest.

Yeah, I’m pretty sure I can handle it.

Hey, so what do you call what we’re doing right now?

I don’t know, blazing?

No, I mean how do you call it when we’re in the car? Like when we do this in the car we are…

Oh! Hot boxing, right?

Mmm-Hmm! That’s right! You know what they call hot boxing in Massachusetts?

What do they call it?

Fish bowling.

Hahaha, crazy. I don’t quite see it

Yeah, me neither. Just that one time I was in Boston, someone asked me if I wanted to go fishbowl and this is what he meant apparently.

Wild.

I also met a guy from Cleveland and he called it Clam-baking.

I get that one more so. Makes more sense than fish bowling. Plus it has the word bake in it so it works out better if you ask me.

Yeah, I agree, it sounds better than fish bowling. But of course I think the best term is hot boxing.

Oh for sure. You know exactly what you’re getting into when you hear the term hot boxing.

Hey, isn’t this the band you were showing me the other day? Renaissance?

Yeah, I have the album this song is on as a matter of fact.

What’s the name of this one?

I think it’s called Carpets of the Sun. One of their better known songs, I believe. One of the hits.

Oh yeah? Yeah, there goes the chorus. Ha! I suppose I would have guessed the title if I would’ve waited: See the Carpets of the sun… Something, something soft and sweeeeet. Man, she has a beautiful voice.

Yeah, Annie Haslam. One of the best, if you ask me. I like her better than the singer from Fairport Convention, personally.

I’m not sure about that, man, Sandy Denny’s voice is like an angel; her voice calms the soul.

I think I still prefer Annie Haslam. Oh and what about Judy Collins?

Judy Collins is top notch, probably the best there is. She’s like Joan Baez without the warble. Yeah, I’ll admit that she has a better voice than Sandy Denny. Her voice is so pure and perfect that it’s almost not fair to compare her to anyone else.

What time is it?

Dude, the clock’s right there. Just after 8pm it looks like. I guess the door are just opening.

Think we should drop now?

I’m not sure, man. If we did it now, it would start kicking in before 10pm; we’ll be flying when we walk in.

Yeah, maybe you’re right. Well, then when do you want to drop?

Well, I’d figure that we want it to start coming on when the show’s about to begin, so I figure we should drop about half hour forty five minutes?

So like 845pm?

Yeah, something like that. I figure that way things will start looking and feeling different just before 10pm.

Alright, sounds good. Until then, let’s “fish bake” or “clam bowl.” However you called it.

Right. We’ll do that. After you mentioned those records you bought, it makes me want to hear R.E.M. Them or the Knitters.

Do you have them on any of your mix Cd’s?

I might, but I doubt it. Even if I did make one, I don’t think I have it with me in the car.

I guess the radio will have to do.

I keep thinking about that girl.

Which one?

Which one? I’m not like you, man. There’s almost never multiple girls for me to be thinking about.

The one from the party?

Yeah, the one from the party.

Why? Wondering how you could blow another chance with her?

Fuck you, dude. I mean, you’re right in a way, but still, fuuuuuuck you. I mean, I didn’t blow it that badly did I?

I mean, I don’t want to be a dick or anything, but yeah, man. You pretty much blew it three times with her. I set it all up for you and everything the second time.

Yeah, I know. I mean, I was going to but at the last second I…

… Chickened out? Yeah, I know you did ya big wuss. I had it all set up for you, too. When I went back in the house to get my phone, I came outside and there she is on the front stoop with a couple others. I started schmoozing with them and then I told the girl:  Oh man, my friend likes you! And then she said: Oh yeah? The guy who played a couple songs on the guitar? And I said: Yeah that’s him. He totally has a crush on you, big time. And then you came strolling up. I completely expected you to at least get her number; but no, you froze up like a big fat chicken.

Yeah, whatever, fuck off. I was waiting for the right moment; an opportune spot in the conversation to interject and ask her.

Man, let me tell you, instead of waiting for the perfect moment to come, you should create it yourself. You need to work on making your own good luck.

I mean, I know you’re right. I don’t know what came over me at that moment, man. I swear I’m not that inept with women. I mean, I always feel that pinch of nervous anxiety before I’ve gone for it, but this last time was pitiful even by my own low-extremely-low-standards. I’m ashamed of myself, man.

Well, you gotta just go for it, man, and ignore that feeling. Like you said, you’re always gonna feel it, you just have to trust that things are never gonna turn out as terrible as you imagine they will.

True, true.  I feel all the more frustrated because what you’re saying is ringing true. The things you say occur to me; I’ve thought them without you’re prompting before.

Yeah, man, you just gotta go for it next time. Not that I think there will be a next time.

You don’t?

I mean, maaaaaybe, if you’re lucky, but don’t count on it.

Yeah, I suppose I didn’t make the best first impression did I?

Nah, not the best for sure, but don’t get hung up on it; just use it as a lesson for next time. Like you said, you know better. You’re just out of practice, I think.

That’s definitely a safe bet. Any prospects on your end?

No, not me, man. After Jenny, I’ve been rethinking my strategy a bit. Maybe take an extended break from romantic pursuits.

Seems like I’ve heard that line before.

Yeah, whatever, fuck off.

Haha! Now it’s your turn to say that to me. Turnabout is fair play, I suppose. All’s fair in love and war as it’s been said.

Mmhm, mmhm. Yeah, sure, that sounds great. Oh did you stop talking? I must not have noticed.

Yeah, whatever. Hey, it’s just a little past 830pm. We could drop now and then go into the place around 915pm. That would give us fifteen minutes to get to our seats. Then we could wait it out for a half an hour or so while it kicks in, and by the time the show starts, we’ll be flying.

Sounds good to me, man. I’m anxious to do this stuff. How many are you gonna take?

Probably just one. Why? How many are you taking? Ten?

I was thinking two.

That should be a fair amount. I think you should be going strong by show time.

Most definitely.

Alright then, man, let’s go for it. A few minutes on the tongue, then down me neck.

Yup, there it is and there it goes.

No turning back now. No matter what, in about an hour, we’ll be pretty much waylaid for six or seven hours. I doubt either of us will sleep tonight.

Yeah, I’m not planning on getting any sleep at all. Today and tomorrow are gonna be like one loooong day.

I was gonna say something similar: that when you stay awake all through the night that it feels like a long forty-eight hour day.

We need to save some of this stuff for New Year’s Eve. Take it up to the desert.

Yeah, just like the last couple years.

Yeah, but last year I feel like you were frying harder than I was.

Well that stuff was something special. It was really wavy though. Some moments I barely felt anything and then other moments I couldn’t even stand up.

We’ll see how potent this batch will be.

I hope it doesn’t totally knock me on my ass. I mean I have to drive us home eventually.

Shit, man, look; it’s 915pm already. We gotta get inside, man Jean Michel Jarre awaits us.

 

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Did we really just see that? Or did we just imagine it?

I’m not sure, man. I’m not sure if this is a dream or not. Here, pinch me.

Alright. Did that hurt?

Yeah, I felt that. Still man, it must be a carryover from the concert. I’m still hearing some of the sounds of the show. I can swear I’m still seeing some of the effects.

Haha. Yeah, no doubt. That show was incredible. I think I’ll remember that one forever. I even think the vividness of this moment will last a while as well.

Here, man, hold on a minute, I need to…. I need to lie down.

Lie down? Here? Right here?

Yeah, man. Just for a couple minutes.

I mean, yeah, alright, no worries, man. Take all the time you need.

Do you remember when the lasers made that pattern on the back wall?

Yeah totally. You know, I think that the only way you could’ve seen the entire pattern was from our vantage point. I think you would have to be high up and back from the stage to be able to see that pyramid and those moving lines and dots that were going on the back wall of the auditorium. I don’t think the people in the front row could see everything we saw.

I was thinking that too. That somehow we got one of the best seats in the house, even though it wasn’t front-row-center. It was incredible! Awesome. How do you say something like that in French?

I don’t know? Magnifique?

It was magnifique.

Oui, C’est si bon. Now come on and get up man; I need to go to the John before we leave.

Alright, yeah. Here, help me get up. Woah. I got a wicked head rush just now. All that blood rushing to my head.

Alright, man, I need you to just stand here and wait for me and I’ll be right back. Don’t wander off anywhere; I don’t want to have to look for you in the state you’re in. Or in the state I’m in come to think of it… I don’t want to have to look for you in the state we’re both in.

You got it. I’ll stay right here.

Ok good. I’ll be right back.

Dude! You took forever in there!

I did? It didn’t seem that long. Are you sure?

It felt like a long time.

Nah, man, look: The concert ended just after midnight, we took some time for you to lie down, and then we came out here. Look, the clock only says 1215am I couldn’t have been in there for more than five minutes.

Oh. Well, it felt much longer than that. Longer than five minutes anyway.

Nah, couldn’t have been. Dude, this stuff is wavy. Every now and again, it completely overcomes me. Like just now in the bathroom, I could hear two guys talking to each other but their words sounded all mixed up and garbled, like they were talking too closely to an intercom. I couldn’t make out what they were saying.

Maybe they were speaking a different language.

Oh shit, I never thought of that. I mean it was more like they were just making indistinguishable sounds, but yeah, you may be right. That never occurred to me before you just said it.

Yeah, this stuff is wavy as hell. While you were in the bathroom, everything took on this floral pattern and I got that feeling, you know the kind right? Kinda feels like you’re in some sort of divine presence; like in the movies, when the golden lights start to glow, the angelic choir starts to play and your eyes go all wide…

Shit, all that happened while I was in the bathroom?

Well not that exactly, but that feeling, you know? And I did see everything take on that floral pattern.

Yeah, that’s happening to me too. This carpet, or patterns in the carpet are breathing still.

For sure.

I think we should wait a little while before we start back home.

Yeah, I agree.

Yeah, well I’m the one driving so I suppose it would be more accurate to say that I need to wait a little while before I drive us home.

Smart move.

Dude, look at it outside here. This city takes on a lovely glow at night. I feel like that Randy Newman song.

We love it! We love it!

Yup, that one. At this moment, it’s true. Normally I don’t like this place, but it all looks so lovely right now. Almost magical.

Yeah, man, it’s…I…I…I can’t find the words. It’s like I’m…

Dumbstruck?

Yeah. Either that or Moonstruck.

Mmm Cher. I swear man, Cher in that movie…Lord have mercy.

Shit man, I’d get with her even now.

Oooh. Present day Cher? I’m not too sure about that one.

You’re such a prude. She’s gorgeous past, present, and most likely future too.

Maybe to your tastes. I forget that you’re into… (Ahem) “Older ladies.”

Fuck you, dude. Older women bring a certain sophistication, a certain class.

Yeah, uh-huh, anything you say.

Whatever, man. You’ll just have to go through your life ignorant to one of life’s hidden pleasures.

I think I’d prefer it to stay hidden, thanks.

There’s a lot of people out and about this time of night.

Yeah, man, must be date night.

Look at them all. On to somewhere very important no doubt.

Off seeking means to their ends… or ends to their means. One of those. Hahahaha! Did you see that couple? That lady’s like us: she can’t fake it.

What do you mean? Can’t fake what?

She looked totally miserable and disinterested in the guy she was with. It was written all over her face and in her body language. They were both dressed really well, though; she had all sorts of glitz and glam on. It must be a status type date, like she’s using him for his money or something. I bet when they fuck she just lies there.

Hahaha, if you say so.

I’m telling you man, if she rolled her eyes any further back, they would have rolled all the way around. She looked like she wasn’t into him at all.

You make yourself sound like an expert or something.

Yeah, whatever, maybe not, but still. You would agree with me if you had seen them.

The bright lights keep throwing me off. I start to gather my thoughts and then I look at the lights and my thoughts scatter out of my head.

Yeah, I’m getting entranced myself.

Are you gonna be alright to drive?

After some minutes, yeah I’ll be straight. Or straight enough at least. Yeah, give me another twenty to thirty minutes and I’ll be good to go. We can start making our way back to my car if you want.

Let’s just chill here for a few more minutes. It’s starting to overtake me.

Yeah, no worries, dude. Take all the time you need. I’m in no hurry.

Man, there’s so many people bustling around. Where do they all come from? Where are they all going?

That’s something to think about for sure; a thought provoking question: I’m sure some come from the city but I’m sure there’s plenty like us driving in from the ‘burbs. Then there’s probably also a few poor saps that have to drive over two or three hours to get here. And where are they going? All over this town, no doubt. Nightclubs, restaurants, some were at the same concert we were at, and others were going to different concerts. All sorts of people looking for all sorts of good times. Looking for ways to alleviate the day to day tedium, ways to shake up the normal banalities. To alter the doldrums, to add variety to the mundane goings on of their everyday life. Everyday life for everyday people. And I—–I am everyday people! Sly Stone was right!

He sure was, man. Right about what?

I am everyday people, man. I feel that connectivity to everyone here. Everyone and everything. It’s all breathing and pulsing in sync. All in perfect rhythm.

You think you’re ok to drive?

Yeah I should be alright. So long as the car doesn’t take off in to the sky and start flying. The lane dividers might stretch a bit, but it’s not too bad.

As long as you’re better off than I am, right now. Things are still changing on me. Moving sideways and shit. Damn, this stuff is wavy.

Now worries, man. I’m good to go. Come on. The One-ten is calling our name…………

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