Inglorious

Inglorious

A Story by Tonia
"

Jimmy Stone was a rock star. He was also a bit of an assuming b*****d. It made perfect sense that he should die here, alone, after all this time, and never even see it coming. (Swearing within).

"

There was no stage lit by the sun. No swarms of people �" devoted fans and the curious �" were screaming his lyrics back to him. Lately he’d quite fancied a dramatic death like the shooting of John Lennon. His Gibson Les Paul would be screeching beneath his fingers. He’d figured he would not see the lone man fighting his way through the bodies, nor notice the difference between screams of ecstasy and those of terror. His guitar would become a storm of splinters in the wake of hot metal and gunshots. The words of the last song he’d ever sing would be covered in blood. For years people would talk of his death in pained whispers. He was shot for the vicious truth of his music, they would say. And even as he fell broken off the stage he’d raised his two fingers in a final ‘f**k you’ to life.

He’d grown to believe that Death came for people like him when it was time for their story to become legend. He expected to join the ranks of other fallen solders: Elvis, Lennon, Hendrix and Joplin. But over the years his memory of these deaths had become confused: they were not perfectly timed moments of tragedy as he believed. People died in seconds of perfect normality. They died of a heart attack on the bathroom floor; paid the price for that one more line of cocaine; stayed out late a second too long with a stranger. Death came during the lull in madness and haste, the accident waiting to happen. Jimmy never would have thought he could die at four in the morning on a hushed Australian beach, soundlessly and alone. And yet there he sat, a black spot on the white stretch of sand, completely out of place in such isolation.

He’d left the pub not long ago, humming the last strains of a Zeppelin song. The memory of the chords would linger for hours like smoke, his fingers itching to play them. With the sun yet to rise he grew nostalgic. He wondered why the world now sat on his shoulders rather than at his feet. Huddling into his jacket Jimmy considered the moments that had led him here: at eleven years old he’d heard Heartbreak Hotel for the first time. Rock and roll had been a rare thing to hear on British radio. He’d listened in complete awe to Elvis’ laments and found his religion: the truth and power of music. It helped him understand that the experience of pain and pleasure were universal �" no one could suffer alone in the company of song. Jimmy would tell his story in the same way: with lyrics and chords and beaten up old guitars. Without music he was a dead thing like all the other sorry b******s �" people who caught the bus to jobs they f*****g hated, drank tea and ridiculed anyone who asked if there was more. He’d twisted the sound of his fury into rock and roll and nothing else had mattered.

He remembered teenage girls scrawling his name over their school books; young men humming his lyrics between spliffs. He recalled the broken guitars and the few thousand hearts that went the same way. He also remembered the endless publicity. Stone’s fury is a physical presence on stage. His vicious lyrics are matched only by the violence of his guitar work. His vinyls are well placed on the shelf beside Zeppelin, Hendrix, The Clash and The Who. It was f*****g brilliant. It was what he’d been striving for his whole life: to be lined up alongside the greats. But it had also driven him mad. He’d have to be better and better, always trying to top his last performance. Taking speed had saved him �" it had helped him keep up and recreate the bliss of being on stage. But apparently that wasn’t good enough reason to keep using. Apparently he’d become an ‘unpredictable b*****d’. “It’s not the f*****g drugs,” he’d told them. “You’ve just given me mediocrity to work with!”

He thought Australia would be a clean break but the problems had followed him over. After all, he could run to the opposite end of the Earth but the truth remained: he’d destroyed his ability to play or sing. Music was the only thing that still mattered and that had turned its back on him too. The lyrics and chords that belonged in his pulse had been replaced by paranoia and insomnia. Now here he was, wasted and high, cursing this holiday. He felt exposed on the empty shore �" the murmur of the waves was nothing compared to the noise and claustrophobia of London. He could hear the salt in the air; taste the wind stealing through his hair. Dawn brought the full force of daylight over the horizon. Frowning, he raised an arm to shield his face from the sun. He hauled himself up from the sand and staggered towards the pier, catching splinters on the beams. Sunlight crept towards him, turning the water to gold. Squinting against the glare, he readjusted his sunglasses. He perched himself on the railing, feet tucked under the metal for support.

He took a swig from the whiskey and almost lost his balance. Not that it mattered. He’d lost his equilibrium years ago anyway. Restlessness fought exhaustion: his mind may have been running a riot but his body was bloody tired. For a second Jimmy tried to reposition himself but his feet wouldn’t budge �" he tipped forward, clutching the whiskey as if it would save him from the inevitable. But it fell with him, ever the companion, dropping unheard into the cold morning water just as he did. He floundered with little dignity, the bottle finally cast aside as his f*g-stained fingers scrabbled at the support beam. Come on, you b*****d, he cursed in annoyance, finding it hard to focus. His legs kicked uselessly, clothes becoming heavy.

I can’t drown, he thought, I can’t die on a day as f*****g boring as this. Choking, he used his remaining breath to laugh at the idea. He would spin this story over a pint later on. You won’t believe what happened, he’d say, and they wouldn’t. Who did, these days? As the world started to shimmer he stopped looking for a way out. Bubbles streamed from his mouth like broken promises. It didn’t seem to matter that he was seeing the sky from beneath the water now. He was too drunk, too tired…that f*****g sun! He tried to push his glasses back up his nose but his arms were too heavy. He gave up. Someone was coming, surely. He’d be fine. And it was much easier to let the water take his weight, enfold him, and soon the sun was too far above to be a bother. What a laugh, he thought idly, sinking, unfazed. They’re never going to believe this back home. 

© 2012 Tonia


Author's Note

Tonia
This was my first university level short story and I was nervous as hell about it but I received a Distinction, the highest mark in the course! If anyone has seen Spirited you might notice a relation between their deaths - Henry drowned in a Sydney ferry dock and Jimmy drowned on a beach - but I assure you I didn't intentionally borrow the idea. It was a subconscious thing which I wasn't even aware of until someone pointed it out. Plus Jimmy's based on different parts of different rock stars so he could be anyone, really.

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Added on December 9, 2012
Last Updated on December 9, 2012
Tags: rock n roll lifestyle, music, drugs, death, famous

Author

Tonia
Tonia

Australia



About
I'm Tonia. I need to create. It doesn't matter if it's writing my own stories or writing fanfiction or painting or making/editing videos or just doodling random thoughts into a notebook...I just love .. more..

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A Story by Tonia