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Band Members Bind in the Library

November 18, 2009

I wrote this short story (I wrote both a 755 and 750 word version. This is the 750 word one) to the following prompt:

“Suffering from a mid-life crisis, a 50-year-old businessman quits his job and goes on a quest to “get the band back together”. -From The Writer’s Book of Matches

This is one of my writings (Impediments is one of the others) that I’m actually kind of proud of. It turned out just as I wanted it to. Thanks for taking a look! (And, yes, I know the ending is both odd and disturbing.)

Band Members Bind in the Library

Fox stared thoughtlessly out the window, which in itself looked livelier than he, as the tears inching down its surface streaked the window pane, expressing emotion that Fox was in dire need of. His daily excitement, for the last thirty years, had been extracted from the goings on of the upbeat and fluorescent-light-bleached Cubical World.

Even Fox had to admit, geometric shapes got old.

The radio of the 1982 Chevy he was lugging across the Walgreen’s parking lot tittered and muttered to life without having been asked to. The radio hadn’t been acknowledged, let alone meddled with, for months, and the thing had apparently abandoned its sense of propriety; an eardrum shattering voice, accompanied by equally obtrusive and frightening acoustics, bellowed from the rusty rectangle.

“More crappy shapes,” Fox grumbled, rubbing the lump on his scalp induced by his bonking his cranium on the vinyl roof of the car as he had lurched from his hunched position. He fumbled with the circular [“Shapes!”] knob hovering over the faded “Tune”, and then stopped.

Music.

Blasting.

Loud.

Terrible.

MOHawks.

Every thought consequentially led to another, each hurling him backwards seven years.

Fox put the car in park and leaned back. He reached up to run his fingers through what used to be hair but had recently demoted itself to Velcro. The music that, seconds ago, had nearly driven him insane, now sent indescribable shivers of yearning down his spine. He relished the moment.

And then it was over. Of course.

Although some oddly contrasting blue grass song had begun emanating from the radio, Fox couldn’t shake the piercing, heart-throbbing vibration of the music from his body. His fingers twitched, as though they were searching for the instrument he had sold in order to buy a cheap garage sale TV for his dorm room.

Mentally, he gawked at the faces that had recreated themselves in his agitated brain as he altered them and manipulated their features to reflect what they must appear like now, stinky, filthy, ex-drug addict fifty-six-year-olds. Those idiotic kids who had recruited him to play drums in their completely revolting, band – they were the MOHawks, so named for every one of their “grown-up leaders”, Mason, Oakie, and Hal – all three of whom were considered by Fox, veterans of the rock band world.

Fox managed to escape from his reverie just long enough to drive to the public library, where the only computers Fox had ever touched sat, buzzing and blaring messages about system security and Facebook.

He stood in front of the automatic doors for twenty-two seconds before they realized their laziness was impeding someone else’s movement and hastened to slide apart – too quickly; they shivered when they hit the frames.

The first computer he situated himself in front of told him it was out of order only once he had sat down. He then reverted to the computer to his right. The only issue with this one was its missing “K” button on the keyboard, but Fox soon realized he could easily jam his finger into the slot to produce the letter, and resumed his searching.

“Oakie Thompson… was killed at the age of forty by his rabid pit bull.”

He heard a nervous squeak beside him and glanced down at the little kid in the chair to his left, “Sorry,” he muttered. He turned back the screen, resolving to keep his findings to himself.

Carl Mason died of colon cancer in 2004 following his son’s similar death the March before…

It seemed as though Fox’s desire to get the band back together grew every moment it became more and more improbable. He scratched the side of his nose where a mole had been removed two summers ago as he typed “Hal Turner” into the search engine.

Hal Turner drowned on scuba trip to Hawaii at the age of twenty-nine. His elder brother, Mike Turner, accompanied him on the trip…

Fox sighed and nearly leaned back in the chair before he realized he was sitting on a stool.

MOHawks will not be performing tonight due to the lack of members, he thought, Crap. I miss those drums. Those stupid guys. They’re not here anymore. They’re… there.

His eyes widened. He played with the pens in his shirt pocket and fingered one thoughtfully.

“Sorry. You might want to close your eyes.” He thought it considerate to warn the child to his left to avoid frightening her again.

He jammed the pen into his chest, muttering:

“Goodbye, shapes. Hello, MOHawks.”

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