Night Howl

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.

Every time Rancid came through town, Rudy would get wound up. For days, he’d be weird and twitchy and unpleasantly drunk. He’d roadied for Rancid, back when he lived in Berkeley. When Lars was too fucked up, he hop onstage and play guitar.

Some kind of falling out, as usual. The members of the band and Rudy weren’t speaking to one another. When he discussed it, however, briefly, you could sense that the experience, whatever it was, had been painful. Rudy had contributed lyrics and chord changes to some of their songs — Ruby Soho and Journey to the End of the East Bay. Hadn’t made a dime.

Rancid played a show at The Strand, with Murphy’s Law opening. It was cool. The band seemed kind of distracted, but the pit was raucous. Afterwards, we hung around the back of the club.

Waiting for Rancid.

Turns out they didn’t know who Rudy was. Had never heard of him. It was plenty obvious that they were telling the truth. After a while, it was clear that every band has a Rudy, someone who wasn’t there, but who insists they were. That insistence eventually gets bigger than anything they can control.

We tried not to bring it up with Rudy. At least, I didn’t bring it up. So, someone did.

Rudy, as usual, threw a weird self-abusive tantrum. He drank until he vomited and threw bottles around the apartment. He screamed about what a terrible person he was, and what terrible people we were for not trusting him. This went on for a few hours. His ‘landlord’ – he lived in a squat in a mill building, but a big guy named Best ran the place – got sick of these antics and punched him. Perfect for Rudy. The flagellation would hurt you more than it hurt him.

It was easier when he was born-again, honestly.

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