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The Day The Music Lived: Runaround Man

Jack Daniels

I watched the huge mansion of Angel City slowly get smaller in the rear vision mirror of my Holden Commodore as I drove away. It was a strange feeling driving away from such a great place, kind of like the sad feeling of loss you might get leaving your favourite holiday destination knowing your headed home to work, only much greater. I guess in many ways I was leaving my favourite holiday destination and headed to work but I was also leaving a place that despite what I had heard over the last twenty four hours I was unsure I was going to be able to return to.

When I got to the top of the hill, the hill I first spied the mansion from when we arrived, I took one last look in the mirror, let out a little sigh and said good bye. I felt kind of weird doing it but there was no one else there to judge me so I got over it quickly.

I don’t really know why I did it but when I got the the gates, you remember the ones, big, black, steel, with white pillars either side and a massive fence, I stopped the car. I gates opened automatically as Lemmy said they would but I wasn’t interested in that I was busy looking for camera or a sensor or something else that could sense my arrival and know the gate needed to be opened, but I saw nothing. I lit another cigarette and drove on.

When I approached the end of the road I decided I would keep driving and not think about it. Given everything else Lemmy has said was correct I saw no reason not to think his comments about heading back where not also correct. I did slow the car down, but that was more to do with knowing what was on the other side, a small grassed area, then a road, then more grass and a bunch of trees, if I was going to fast I wouldn’t be able to navigate the turn onto the bitumen.

I dropped down to a speed that pretty much matched peak hour traffic every morning on the way into the city, you know it, slow enough that the speedo needle barely moves but when it does it doesn’t move far enough to reach the first number of the dial.

Before I knew it the tyres were crunching on the gravel road edge. I quickly looked both ways and saw no car coming and turned right and headed toward the town I will not name. I felt no different, the sun was shining through the trees and the sky above me where I could see it was blue. Heading along the road I saw the pub where I’d met Lemmy, the pub I was headed to for lunch, before I saw another car. I pulled up out the front of the pub, two car spots east of the only other car I could see.

The first thing I did when I climbed out of the car was light a smoke, I just had to try it, as much to see if the packet re-filled itself as to see if the smoke tasted any different. The first drag I took, I coughed and coughed hard as the smoke hit my throat, a bit like the first time I ever tried a cigarette when I was 12 years old. I immediately dropped the lit smoke and crushed it under my shoe to put it out, I then looked at the packet, there was one cigarette missing fro the packet. I laughed and threw the packet on to the passenger seat of the car.

I walked into the pub, Ross was standing behind the bar rubbing a cloth down the bar cleaning it, well at least he looked like he was cleaning, because there was no one else in the bar I’m not sure what he needed to clean.

“Hi Champ, how’s it goin’? He asked me not many steps in through the door.

“Yeah bloody good, yourself? I stepped up to the bar and sat down on the same stool I sat on the day before.

We talked for a few minute before Ross asked me if I wanted lunch, I accepted and ordered the chicken parmigiana with chips. Twenty minutes later I was seated at the bar with a beer and a hot chicken breast coated in bread crumbs and covered in melted cheese and a diced tomato sauce. I guess I had some reservations about what sort of meal I was going to get from a pub that I hadn’t seen any other patrons in in my two visits. But they weren’t warranted, the meal was bloody delicious.

By the time I finished my lunch it was nearly 1:30pm, I was definitely going to be getting home after the peak hour rush. During my time in the pub Ross and I had spoken a number of time but not once had he mentioned Lemmy’s name so when it cam to paying I was slightly hesitant to say anything but then I remembered Lemmy’s words.

‘What’s the worst he could say?’

When Ross came back in from taking my dirty plate out to the kitchen I stood up a said to him, “Lemmy said put it on his tab.”

“No worries, see you again soon.” came his reply, and that was all that was said.

A few minutes later I was back in the car, well fed, happy and feeling just a little bit tired thinking about the five out drive I had ahead of me.

As I have told you I don’t drive like a dick and therefore on country roads I will drive to the conditions and not the speed limit. A few of the country roads were a bit hairy as I came around blind corners and other traffic also wanted to share the road but no accidents happened and all was good. I was however happy to get back on the highway. For the most part the highway was single lanes, opening to multiple lanes with overtaking lanes, and no barriers between the lanes but the traffic was light, as you’d expect on a road 350 kilometres from the closest major city.

The drive was quite good, music blared for most of the trip and the only time I had to slow down was for the small towns scattered along the way. When I eventually got back to suburbia traffic had indeed dropped off and the sun was beginning to set over the wester horizon. Several times during the trip that same sun had blinded me completely so I was quite happy to be seeing it disappear. When I pulled into my garage it was 7:12pm and despite being tired I was keen to get to work.

Previous Angel City Story here.

51 Comments

  1. This is such a well written piece. I’m so glad I read it. Thanks for posting!

  2. I can feel something coming for this guy. Hmmm what shall it be? Always keep ’em guessing, L.

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