Many months have passed since I last planted the seeds of history in your fertile pages, Diary. Following the devastating disintegration of Sockhop Babykill Redux, I made a fatal error: I searched for truth in a bottle. A foolish mistake, to be sure, especially given that truth, as you and I know, is only to be found in a few certain brain-liquefying chord progressions, the shrieks of an unruly, bloodthirsty crowd, and interesting, dynamic lighting sets.
Following the events of last summer, I grew more despondent, more dependent on alcohol for sustenance. The nadir of my imbibement-induced atrophy occurred one night last August, when the sticky summer air was dripping with fate, bad luck, and moisture. Already drunk, I had made my way down to Al’s Beer Place, a degraded hall of debauchery that makes a Klan meeting look like a daycare center.
“Yo, Daniel!” I heard as I walked in. It was Jed, a hulking pork chop of a man, the sort of massive flesh-mountain for whom the phrase “72-ounce steak” was invented.
“It’s Deathblow,” I reminded him.
“OK, Deathblow,” he said, mockingly, as a few of his friends laughed. “Hey, Deathblow—have you ever done a Jäger bomb?”
I woke up three months later in the middle of an Iowa cornfield. The clothes I had on were not my own. There was a cryptic sign reading “USED TYPEWRITER” taped to my stomach. On the inside of my right thigh was a small tattoo of an anteater. It took me several months to get home, during which I was forced, due to my lack of resources, to perform all manner of unsavory acts on a veritable menagerie of the Midwest’s most profane, mouth-breathing denizens. It was on a particularly barren stretch of I-80 that I was compelled to sell a song in exchange for a ride from a heavyset trucker who referred to himself as Frito. As he pulled into the fast lane, I explained to him that, lacking my guitar, I would have to sing a cappella; and with that I launched into a soul-hammering, accompaniment-free version of “God’s Filthy Stepson and the Succubus’s Flea Market.” Frito quickly cut me off.
“All right, get out of my truck.”
“What? Why?” Had I rocked Frito so hard, had I shaken his spine with such fury, that several synapses had become detached and, in his confusion, he was now acting directly against his own self-interest?
“That song. It makes me want to kill myself.”
“Do you know ‘American Pie’?”
“One more time: Do. You. Know. American. Pie.”
You would not be wrong to judge me, Diary, for humoring the contemptible Frito in his desire to hear a piece of tawdry Americana so horrifically trite that an angel of rock is surely felled every time it’s crooned. But, at the same time, I was low on options. So I sang it, as per his request. And then again. And again. But four hours later I had made precious progress toward Virginia, and for this I was thankful.
The hour grows late, friend. I shall continue filling you in tomorrow.
I am refreshed, Diary—refreshed and ready to finish my tale. I finally reached Richmond last night. Exhausted, I rang the doorbell, and my mother answered in a ratty nightgown and more curlers than she has strands of hair.
“Daniel,” she said flatly.
“I’m home, Mother.”
“I can see that. Sorry I didn’t accept any of your collect calls.” She produced a cigarette, took a long drag. The smoke hung in the air like the singeing exhalations of a dragon (or perhaps a wyvern, if wyverns breathe fire). “But the important thing is that you’re home.” I brushed passed her, wanting nothing more than to collapse onto my bed.
“Oh, and Dan—I mean Deathblow?” I hadn’t even reached the stairs.
“I sold your guitar on eBay because it, uh, reminded me of you.”
My world began to swim. I grabbed the banister for support, ready to spin around and deliver onto my mother a smorgasbord of invectives that would have left even the most scatologically inclined diner sated. But no. Not this time. Somewhere, there was a mountain of ash consisting of all the bridges I had burned since Sockhop Babykill Redux had gone down. I did not intend on adding to its sorry mass.
“That’s … OK, Mother. I guess I’ll have to buy another one.” And with that I trudged upstairs to the comfort of my room and the catharsis of my beloved diary.
I’m in a transitional phase, Diary. A couple weeks ago I ran into my former lover, Gaping Axe Wound, née Festering Axe Wound. She’s managing a Wendy’s and told me they’d just lost a full-time employee to a horrific Frosty-making accident. She offered me the position, and, having no better options, I accepted. So I now spend my days shoveling burgers into the maws of the grease-spotted masses. It is a sad, lonely existence, made all the more sad and lonely by Gaping Axe Wound’s continual, oppressive presence.
My plight reminds me of my greatest song, the 49-minute opus “Lars Demonslay and the Stallion of Eternity.” I know, I know—you assume I’m referring to the opening operetta, in which Lars discovers his ethereal powers after a lumberjacking accident in northern Scandinavia; I can see the connection. But really I feel more like Lars 20 years later, when he’s fighting Mol’Gruth, Undoer of Dreams, in the icy, labyrinthine Destiny’s Palace. Just as Lars must look within himself (more specifically, within his Heart of Fate, which he won from Thor thanks to a clever bet) to defeat the Lord of the Demons, I must find my own Heart of Fate, so to speak, with which to break out of this everyman’s nightmare. I am no everyman, Diary. Mark my words: I will return to that which I feel is probably my birthright.