Haute Dish The Arts & Literature Magazine of Metropolitan State University Icicles
Spring 2005


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not fade away
By Christian Koegel

At that point I still hadn’t figured out what to do about Logan yet. All he kept saying was, “My advice has gotten you this far.”

Logan, however, was responsible for getting me that gig; every Tuesday and Saturday night at the Celebrity Lounge downtown, he’s the one that pushed me towards the audition. I went in thinking it was a joke, but he kept badgering me to the point where he wouldn’t even let me sleep until I promised him I’d do it. So there I was, wearing my black slacks and off color white sport coat with a black tie and standing in front of five or six middle aged people whose eyes all looked tired and recycled. Through my giant coke bottle glasses I could see that their expressions suggested little or no zest left for life. I was the exact same age as he was when he died.

The audition went off without a hitch; I sang my best rendition of “Peggy Sue,” backed up by the guys playing the Crickets. At first when their faces didn’t change from those defeated beaten down looks I thought they were being sarcastic, but all they said was, “See you on Thursday for practice.”

Logan was the only one of my friends who knew that I worked the Celebrity Lounge as a Buddy Holly impersonator. I couldn’t bear to tell my other friends and family. Because of this, Logan thought he had this great big secret of mine, and in some sick way, he thought it connected us. I wished Logan would just leave me alone.

“Jeremy,” he was always saying, “you have to quit being such a pussy and get Clark to give you a raise.”

“I know, I’m going to ask him on Tuesday when I go in,” I always answered in the same stoic tone.

Of course the one time I asked Clark for a bump in my wage, he sneered and said, “Well let’s see, last week you messed up the second chorus on “Lonesome Town.” The other day you forgot to add the “hey-hey’s” on “Everyday,” what do you think Jeremy?” Then he waltzed off without even letting me answer him first. That was the day I noticed her for the first time. She was sitting in one of our vanilla colored booths that line the outer perimeter of the lounge, while drinking a strawberry daiquiri and reading a magazine. I stared at her for the longest time, watching her read an article while every once in a while glancing up at the clock. It might have been ten minutes, and then Logan appeared out of nowhere and snapped his fingers in front of my face while shouting at me with a mouthful of saltines, “Showtime’s in five minutes guy.”

That night the Crickets and I did our best version ever of “Not Fade Away.” The whole time I was singing up there under the hot, brooding lighting scheme I gawked in her direction, still in the corner, but now looking up at us, watching the show with an admiring eye. I kept expecting her date to come back from the bathroom or from outside or wherever he was, but he never showed. As I was up there belting out the same lyrics I had sung too many times before, I thought about how I needed to get out of that place and get rid of Logan. Something had to change, because it was achingly obvious that my current routine had gone stale.

“I think I need to get a new job, or I need to move, maybe to a different city,” I said, rattling off the first changes I could think of.

“What are you talking about?” Logan asked as he sat with me while I nursed a vodka tonic after the show. “Look, all you need to do is learn the guitar. Clark’s been on you for a while about that now. Other than that your life is great. Thanks to me.” He didn’t stop there. He added, “I’ll tell you what you need to do, you need to stop listening to those people and start listening to me. I know you, and those people only think they do….”

As Logan went on and on about how I should cut ties with my friends and family, I went back to gazing at her in the corner. She looked as young as I did, but she had this look on her face that suggested she was wise beyond her years. She looked like someone I could learn from, someone who was real, original. Then I looked back to Logan, with his slicked back hair and flapping lips, he always seemed like a used car salesman to me. All greasy and slimy, he always came off like he was telling me what he thought I wanted to hear.

“You know what I think,” I started to say, cutting him off mid sentence, “I think it’s you. I don’t think we can be friends anymore,” I said at a half whisper, nervously sipping my drink. I dropped the drink back onto the table and Logan got this crazed look in his eye, he whacked the drink so that the glass went flying across the room and shattered into pieces.

Then he got up and walked out, meanwhile Clark was coming over muttering, “Get out Jeremy and don’t come back until you get your head straight.” Several of my co-workers, including the Crickets were watching, eyes wide and fixated on me as I left. , “It was Logan,” I pleaded to them, but they only stared as if I wasn’t even there at all. Outside, he was standing there, breathing heavy like a snarling beast waiting to attack its prey.

“So you don’t need me?” He snarled as he started to back away around the corner of the building. He rushed me and knocked me over so that I hit the concrete sidewalk, hard. I got back up wheezing a little and looked around the corner, but he was gone. I glanced back over to the club, and there were the Crickets hovered around the tinted window partially obstructed by our neon sign. They were peering at me through the glass like I was some kind of demented zoo animal.

I didn’t see Logan again until next Saturday, he appeared at a table mid way through our first set. I didn’t notice him come in because I was busy trying to see that girl in the corner; she was wearing a beautiful auburn evening gown that matched her hair. After an encore presentation of “That’ll Be the Day,” I sat down at a table away from Logan and drank a screwdriver. If I ignore him and pretend he’s not even there, maybe he’ll finally leave me alone, I thought.

Logan was not fazed, however. He came right over and took the seat across from me at my table. I didn’t even look at him. I was enamored with the girl in the corner who was still alone, and reading a book about as thick as a dictionary. Logan looked over his shoulder to see what I was so absorbed in. He let out a disgusted sigh and shouted, “Hey! We’ve got to talk about something here!”

“I told you to leave me alone,” I tried to sound commanding and strong willed, as I cast my eyes back to the girl in the corner.

“All right you want to quit, quit, we’ll find you another job, a better job,” Logan seethed, contempt in his tone.

“Look, I really don’t need you, you’re going to get me fired if you keep showing up.” Then I looked right at him. “Go away.” I finished the last sip of my drink and sighed.

“I got you this job that you hate so much, so I can take it away.” Logan hissed priggishly, “It’s either her or me, we both know your not going to go over there, so why don’t you just do what we both know you’re going to do?” Logan sat there smirking.

“Ok,” I said standing up; I took off my coke bottle glasses and laid them on the table next to my glass of melting ice. Then I walked over to the girl in the corner, she looked up from her book, smiled and then I sat down, sliding my way into her booth.

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