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We Have a Date With the Underground, Chapter 7

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This is the seventh in a series. It is someone else’s story, told to and transcribed by me. Basically, he gave me the details and atmosphere and a lot of the words and I put them together in my magic hat and pulled this out. His voice, his story, my translation.

Never Go Back

Some days you feel you have to do what you have to do. Running on empty, feeling there must be some sort of deity who is either out to get you or just bored. Just wasting time fucking with you ’til Batman reruns would come on and he could sleep on the couch. See, this is why I don’t believe in god.

One night when we were just starting, we played a gig in San Francisco. The set was alright. It was a two-staged set. Two totally different styles of music. One upstairs and one downstairs.

Not really caring about anything but playing, I went to sleep in the truck, carefully noting where the sun was at in the sky so I knew how long I could sleep. Crocodile Fucking Dundee. Like I knew.

When I woke up there were tons of people there. It was two bars, two sets, and Saturday night.

We didn’t really want to mess with anyone or make any enemies. It had already been a bad run. The last three months were spent cleaning blood off some piece of equipment, the van, or ourselves and we were getting, well, getting fucking tired of it. Waking up in the morning with your hand smelling like a penny gets old after awhile.

The bass amp was huge. We called it “the widow maker.” When you say its name, you grab your balls and squeeze. That thing was a mess. A huge Fender cab that weighed probably as much as my mother when she was on her “Pork Diet.” It was big and it did was it was intended to do, but it was missing two wheels. Great. Just fucking great. We had a makeshift crew that consisted of a neighbor and that was it. He was the one. The one who got free ins but instead of helping, used our drink tickets. He was it. Great. Just fucking great. We had to drag this thing in every night while I kept reassuring my friends that, “Hey dude, it might bust your balls, but it was fucking cheap, okay?”

The set goes, we finish up and and I’m walking around afterwards wondering what happened to my gear.

“Widow Maker? Baby?”

Finally, our “roadie” said he found our hand truck and would pull my amp out. But, wait. We didn’t have a hand truck. Hmm… This is the way it works, folks, anytime you think “Hmm,” something is probably wrong. But hey, I was a young dumb kid so loaded on free beer I could barely work my fingers, much less put together a sentence asking where that thing came from.

“Cool,” I thought as I jumped in the van. The roadie pulled the Widow Maker and “our” hand truck in and we took off for home.

Sometime during the trip it occurred to me that the hand truck was not ours. It was the club’s. We stole it from them. You could put together your thoughts as if this was justified, but in the back of my mind, we stole from them. Burning bridges in this business is not a good thing.

About two or three hours from home, I decided we had to go back and I took over the driving. This was not right. Fuck, everyone was sleeping anyhow. Who cares? We had to take the hand truck back. You don’t want to leave a club thinking that a band stole from them. I don’t even know how much those fucking hand trucks are, but I spent more on gas bringing it back than the fucking OPEC nations do pumping out crude.

When I got back, the guy who had stamped our hands the night before was still at the door, probably too tweaked to go home. He asked what we wanted. It was way before six in the morning and they weren’t even open yet. I explained to him how we made a big mistake the night before and grabbed their hand truck by accident and we wanted to return it and it was an honest mistake and…

The dude looks at the hand truck. Stares. Then says, “You didn’t have to bring that back. That’s an old one.”

At that exact moment when those words hit my ears, I decided I would burn every bridge like the Towering fucking Inferno.

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About Michele Catalano