His pen hovered above his notebook. Still blank. He closed his eyes. He went back to the night the driver unloaded his gear onto the cargo bay.
“Last call for boarding!” His thoughts kept returning to everything he knew. Had he made a mistake? What was this, nostalgia? Regret? Uncertainty?
He grabbed his hockey bag and slung his guitar over his shoulder. He knew he had to jump in: it was now or never.
He folded his jeans and t-shirts into the splintered dresser. The paint was peeling from the walls, water marks stained the tiles around the holes in the ceiling, and the door looked like it had been kicked in a few times. Were those crowbar marks along the windowpane? Taking the ads for gigs, he spread out the rest of the newspaper across the mattress. He layered the sheets overtop and stopped looking at the room.
‘Cause I was born lonely
Down by the riverside
Was this his life? Well, was he really going to spend his life at the factory? He’d take this fleabag flophouse along with his chances.
Learned to spin fortune wheel
And throw dice
He could talk a good game. He was already a decent pool player. He’d manage somehow until he could make his living with music.
I was just thirteen
When I had to leave home
Well, no, not exactly. He’d had a comfortable upbringing in a loving community, but who wanted to hear that song?
Ain’t good lookin’
But you know I ain’t shy
Ain’t afraid to look a girl
In the eye
Ha. He laughed at himself. Even he didn’t understand how he did it. Didn’t women have standards? Must be the guitar.
Gotta keep movin’
Never gonna slow down
You can have your funky world
He wasn’t going to get trapped by anyone’s white picket fence.
Knew I couldn’t stick around
I had to roam
Shouting interrupted his flow. “Try me, motherf*cker! It’s loaded!”
So if you need some lovin’
And you need it right away
Take a little time out
No sirens yet? He guessed he should call the cops if nobody else was going to bother.
Ain’t gonna run on lovin’
I must run
[Lyrics in italics, from: “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man,” by The Bob Seger System. Written by: Bob Seger. Original release: Tales of Lucy Blue / Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man, 1969.]