From "Suburban Misfits"

A Pen Set

She was the youngest of the girls who followed the ban, a bottle blonde with big boobs bouncers insisted on proofing each time she came to the club.

I can't tell you the color of her eyes, only how hurt they looked the night she sat next to me at the bar.

She shook so much she spilled each drink I bought her and brought the superficial claptrap I handed her as comfort: "The world is not over," "Rock and Roll does this sometimes."

As the band's longtime roadie, I realized how back-stabbing this business was, full of inflated egos and sex craved star-fuckers getting their kids off on people's pain.

Not her.

She loved and expected love back, even from that dead-beat skin-pounder the band had fired that night.

The band hated his image: too retro for VTV, more Charlie Daniels than Ramones.

They didn't even once suggest he shave or even trim his beard.

They just axed him.

She said nothing about his demise. She simply slid the pen across the bar at me, a pen upon which she had inscribed the drummer's name, the band's name and a message of her own saying, "We love you."

Outside the club, the band hadn't even bothered to replace the sign. They just scratched out the drummer's name and scribbled in a question mark in its place.

She could not do as much for the side of the pen had she wanted to.

"I made 500 of them to pass around," she told me. "I wonder who will want them now."

I made no reply.

"Will you see him again?" she asked.

I said, "Yes."

"Can you make sure he gets one?""

I nodded, took up the pen and put it in my pocket.

But I knew rock and roll.

I knew that drummer.

I knew the only person who wanted that pen was me.

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