Wow. This is old, old. Like 20 years old. It’s from a completed (but really really bad) story that takes place in the music industry. Parts of it were posted up at FicCentral before it made my stomach churn to look at it. It was actually written on a typewriter so no computer file of it even exists 😀
Last Resort Cantina, US/Mexico border
The dust and sand littering the hardwood floors made him sneeze, the mildew growing on the few unbroken tables made him ill, and the cloud of smoke made him break into coughing fits it he moved his lips away from his beer bottle for too long. He hadn’t been to a bar this bad since he was a teenager and couldn’t believe he was in it now. But, he’d been thrown out of every respectable place from New York to LA and his two week binge on tequila had led him here.
He could handle the atmosphere…it actually made him feel rather at home. He’d grown up not far from here and, in his faded jeans and torn plaid shirt, he resembled more a farm boy than an ex-music sensation. Apparently, the locals agreed because they had ignored his presence for the last few hours and forced him to get his own beer from behind the counter. Even in his drunken, drug induced hazed, Johnnie Hope couldn’t help but find the entire situation comical.
“Is that the only channel you can get?” His bitter tone made the barkeep and locals turn around to look at him.
“You got a problem with it?”
“Gimme another beer and no, I don’t care about it.” JD grabbed the beer from the waitress and struggled from the table, moving further back into the darkness as he tried to block out the television.
“You know she has over two hundred acts?” a guy sitting at the bar asked his neighbor and JD couldn’t help but swear under his breath.
“Yeah, she even got them Italian opera singers,” the man returned, ignoring JD.
JD frowned, wondering how much longer he was going to have to sit and listen to the locals praise the queen of music. He would have dropped off the face of the world right now if he could but, Last Resort seemed about as close as he could get.
“The important thing is she takes responsibility for them. Look at this thing,” he said, motioning to the black and white television set that hung over the bar, “I ain’t never heard of no one putting together an international benefit show. You know, where there’s concerts all at the same time.”
“Simultaneously,” JD provided with a condescending laugh.
The bartender either ignored him or didn’t hear and continued his speech. “All for that children’s hospital. Good to know she looks out for the little folks.” He beamed brightly. “She used to come in here all the time, you know…was a regular.”
JD could handle no more. Why was it they could see her on the television and remember her but here he was, inches from their face, and they didn’t have a clue who he was? Just when had he gotten his anonymity back? He downed his whiskey and chased it with the beer. “Can’t you find a sports game on or something?”
“What’s your problem?”
She’s made it and I haven’t, he thought silently. Or maybe because she was on screen looking as beautiful as always and here he sat, rats scurrying around him, in the most pathetic excuse for a bar in the world. He tried dusting off his plaid shirt and dirty jeans but gave up…there was no one to improve on his looks at this point. He ran a hand through his dingy hair, the knots in it causing him to wonder just how bad he looked. The thought quickly passed, though, as he stepped behind the bar to grab himself another beer. “Nothing,” he murmured and disappeared back into the smoke filled corner of the bar. Why had his life been the one to suffer so hers could succeed?
It wasn’t fair. He was the one with the talent. He should be loved by the American public…not Catlin Cruise.