Limelight

Below you will find the results of my having challenged myself for a number of days to write a short story with a beginning and middle and an end inside of 30 minutes.  Here is what I came up with.  I hope you like it.

Charlotte went to school up in Vermont and I went to study trumpet at Berklee.  I quit after a month.  No fucking way.  The guys at that school were trying to crush my spirit.  Just mindless exercises.  Scales and bullshit.  I brought in a few Widespread Panic records and the instructor said they were ‘Cool.’

Cool.

I started calling Charlotte at UVM, a few times a week.  She seemed pretty homesick… sad.  She missed Rhode Island, I could tell.  I told her about Berklee – how they didn’t get it.  She told me about her roommate, this genius IQ girl from Canada who walked around the dorm naked and liked to get tied up and have her feet tickled.

Over Thanksgiving break, Andy came up from Penn State.  He’d been playing in Centre Dimensions, the music department’s official jazz band, so his bass work had gotten pretty good.  I hung around his parents’ house a few times, and the subject of getting Ultra High Frequency back together came up.  Andy was into it, although he had a girlfriend in Pennsylvania so he wouldn’t be able to rehearse so much.

I called Charlotte, one night, to tell her about the reunion.  She was psyched.  She described how she’d been going to see a lot of bands, lately.  I guess the school constantly booked acts at the various student unions and stuff.  There were a lot of clubs in Burlington, too.  Charlotte had gotten a gig as a classical DJ on WRUV.  That made me proud.  When we first met, she was really into stuff like The Velvet Underground and The Pixies, but I got her listening to The Crusaders and Steely Dan. 

Through the station, Charlotte knew people on the board of programmers, so I asked her a few times about Ultra High Frequency playing the school.  It would be amazing.  She’d get to see us, again, and we could play in front of a new crowd.  A bunch kids from our class could drive up;  we’d make a road trip of it.  Sort of like old home week.    

I spent a few days trying to get Andy to call me back from Penn State, but his roommates were wicked stoners. 

One night, I called Charlotte, twice.  No answer.  It was close to 1AM.  I felt weird:  my heart was palpitating and I had a bad headache at the base of my skull.  When this happened, our senior year, I’d call her and she used to be able to talk me down.  Her parents used to call mine, the next morning.

I made some coffee and listened to Caress Of Steel on headphones.  4AM, I said ‘fuck it.’

My dad had the day off, so I took the keys to his car and drove to Burlington.  No traffic that early in the morning, so it only took 4 hours to get there.

Figuring out the parking situation was pretty difficult.  I wound up in a faculty lot and hoped for the best.

Fortunately, it was right near her dorm.

Room 301.

A tall girl, naked except for a Lone Ranger mask, answered the door.  She had little sequins in her pubic hair.  Behind her, some big guy was asleep.

“Charlotte’s gone for the weekend.  She and Bridgette and Rusty went to Providence to see Ministry play,” the naked girl said.

I didn’t know what to…

She continued. 

“I wish I could have gone with her.  Helmet’s playing, too.”

With that, she closed the door, firmly and quietly.

They towed my car.

  

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