1957A Silver Certificate

how to get rich and famous on msp

datatime: 2022-09-29 04:18:52 Author:NPqtCnQf

They were so very young. Ghost thought as he stood among them, feeling their pain and their exuberance, their stupidity and terror and beauty brush his mind. They were so young, and they wore their thrift-shop jewelry, their ragged jeans, their black clothes like badges of membership to some arcane club. Some club that required drunkenness-on cheap liquor, on rainy midnights, on poetry or sex. Some club that required love of obscure bands and learning to lie awake at 4:00 A.M., bursting with terrors and wide-awake dreams.

Zillah caught him staring and smiled.

He had forgotten all about Zillah's perfect new face.

Then Steve grabbed Ghost's arm and dragged him through the crowd toward the stage. It was time to play. Ghost felt the small shiver of something like stage fright and something like wild intoxication, when the room swims, when you can no longer stand up straight or trust your eyes.

Steve clawed at his guitar, letting loose the night's first jangling scream. Ghost glanced at the set list taped to the floor, scrawled in Steve's illegible handwriting, and the words of the first song rose to his lips. He stepped up to the microphone and, gripping it with both hands, whispered those words: "Don't go on the beach . . . Realize the lions have come in . . ."

Between him and Steve the electricity crackled. Ghost clenched his hands in front of him, raised his face to the gilded tries of the ceiling. Steve shook his head madly. His hair stood out like a scribbled black cloud. Sparkling drops of sweat landed sizzling on his guitar, on the audience, on Ghost's upturned face. Ghost licked the sweat off his lips and tried to breathe. There was no breath left in him. The audience had taken it all. In him there was only song, endlessly swelling. If he did not let it out his heart would burst.

They were so very young. Ghost thought as he stood among them, feeling their pain and their exuberance, their stupidity and terror and beauty brush his mind. They were so young, and they wore their thrift-shop jewelry, their ragged jeans, their black clothes like badges of membership to some arcane club. Some club that required drunkenness-on cheap liquor, on rainy midnights, on poetry or sex. Some club that required love of obscure bands and learning to lie awake at 4:00 A.M., bursting with terrors and wide-awake dreams.

And there in the middle of the crowd was Nothing, not swaying but standing very still, his face tilted up with the rest, his eyes wide and shadowed. His three friends were there too, clustered around him. Zillah stared at the floor, his face in darkness. One of the two bigger ones poked Nothing and shouted something into his ear, but Nothing only shook his head and kept staring at Ghost.

They were so very young. Ghost thought as he stood among them, feeling their pain and their exuberance, their stupidity and terror and beauty brush his mind. They were so young, and they wore their thrift-shop jewelry, their ragged jeans, their black clothes like badges of membership to some arcane club. Some club that required drunkenness-on cheap liquor, on rainy midnights, on poetry or sex. Some club that required love of obscure bands and learning to lie awake at 4:00 A.M., bursting with terrors and wide-awake dreams.

Between him and Steve the electricity crackled. Ghost clenched his hands in front of him, raised his face to the gilded tries of the ceiling. Steve shook his head madly. His hair stood out like a scribbled black cloud. Sparkling drops of sweat landed sizzling on his guitar, on the audience, on Ghost's upturned face. Ghost licked the sweat off his lips and tried to breathe. There was no breath left in him. The audience had taken it all. In him there was only song, endlessly swelling. If he did not let it out his heart would burst.

At the end, Steve joined Ghost at the microphone to sing backup on the last song. It was "World," the song they always closed with. Steve's fingers stroked the strings, lingering on them, making them chime. "World out of balance," Ghost sang. Steve gave the accompanying line, "World without end," in his usual off-key tenor. But Steve's singing was bettor tonight than ever before. It was still pretty bad, but there was an element of rawness to it, a hoarseness born of beer and sorrow. The audience rose on tiptoe. "'WE ARE NOT AFRAID," Ghost chanted, throwing his shoulders back, pushing his voice harder. "'WE ARE NOT AFRAID."

Between him and Steve the electricity crackled. Ghost clenched his hands in front of him, raised his face to the gilded tries of the ceiling. Steve shook his head madly. His hair stood out like a scribbled black cloud. Sparkling drops of sweat landed sizzling on his guitar, on the audience, on Ghost's upturned face. Ghost licked the sweat off his lips and tried to breathe. There was no breath left in him. The audience had taken it all. In him there was only song, endlessly swelling. If he did not let it out his heart would burst.

They were so very young. Ghost thought as he stood among them, feeling their pain and their exuberance, their stupidity and terror and beauty brush his mind. They were so young, and they wore their thrift-shop jewelry, their ragged jeans, their black clothes like badges of membership to some arcane club. Some club that required drunkenness-on cheap liquor, on rainy midnights, on poetry or sex. Some club that required love of obscure bands and learning to lie awake at 4:00 A.M., bursting with terrors and wide-awake dreams.

Then Steve grabbed Ghost's arm and dragged him through the crowd toward the stage. It was time to play. Ghost felt the small shiver of something like stage fright and something like wild intoxication, when the room swims, when you can no longer stand up straight or trust your eyes.

As soon as Ghost came into the bar, Steve handed him a can of Budweiser. Kinsey Hummingbird was serving at the bar, smiling his awkwardly amiable smile, already setting up a second beer for Steve. Steve finished his first one and started on the next.

Ghost faltered. He forgot the words of the next song. Steve was trying to give him the cue, but Ghost couldn't look at him, couldn't turn his head away from that perfect mouthful of teeth. What was he dealing with here? What the hell had decided to visit itself on Missing Mile?

They played "Mandrake Sky," an odd chiming melody, the first song Ghost had more or less composed on his own, then an assortment of their older songs, rocking numbers. Ghost began to be drunk on the music. When he felt himself swaying, he clung harder to the microphone.

Then Ghost tore his gaze away from Zillah's shining smile and looked out over the sea of faces again, and the spell was broken. So Zillah had new teeth, new skin. So what? He and Steve had a show to do. The fragile faces could not be turned away; the burning hearts could not be quenched by disappointment. Ghost felt a righteous anger fill him. Hypnotized by a smile? Oldest trick in the book It couldn't trick him, though, not now. He had to sing.

Steve was staring at him, half pissed off, half scared. He tapped his foot three times and gave Steve the nod. And when Ghost started singing again, the words poured from him like a river of gold.

Then Ghost tore his gaze away from Zillah's shining smile and looked out over the sea of faces again, and the spell was broken. So Zillah had new teeth, new skin. So what? He and Steve had a show to do. The fragile faces could not be turned away; the burning hearts could not be quenched by disappointment. Ghost felt a righteous anger fill him. Hypnotized by a smile? Oldest trick in the book It couldn't trick him, though, not now. He had to sing.

And there in the middle of the crowd was Nothing, not swaying but standing very still, his face tilted up with the rest, his eyes wide and shadowed. His three friends were there too, clustered around him. Zillah stared at the floor, his face in darkness. One of the two bigger ones poked Nothing and shouted something into his ear, but Nothing only shook his head and kept staring at Ghost.

As soon as Ghost came into the bar, Steve handed him a can of Budweiser. Kinsey Hummingbird was serving at the bar, smiling his awkwardly amiable smile, already setting up a second beer for Steve. Steve finished his first one and started on the next.

Well, what the hell. So would he. Maybe.

Hands plucked at Ghost's clothes, at the streamers on his hat. He was greeted by a multitude of young voices. He felt the brush of their fingers and their minds; he breathed their cigarette smoke. Then they were stumbling onstage, Steve and Ghost, Lost Souls? come back again.

Ghost sipped his beer-he didn't need it, not tonight; he would drink music-and watched the kids come in. Soon the club was full of them. College students from Raleigh, and dropouts like Steve and Ghost. High school students from Windy Hill, the hippie Quaker place, but hardly any from the county school; they were all metalheads over there. Younger kids too-junior high kids smoking Marlboros and Camels, kids trying to look jaded and managing only to look bored. Kids with wide-open innocent faces and easy smiles, kids with long dark hair and eyeliner, kids with razor scars on their wrists, kids already sick of life, kids happy to be alive and drunk and younger than they would ever feel again.

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