A new focus
A new friend
A new obsession
A new drug

A New Drug M.S. 1988

Because I spent so much money on the Stratocaster I couldn’t afford to buy an amplifier to go with it, I couldn’t even afford a hard case to keep it from damage, I could only afford the soft case. The soft case only had one advantage and that was that it made it easier to carry my new friend, over my shoulder, on the train back from the city. It offered little protection from damage and would not last as long as if it was in the nice, solid hard case she deserved.

When I walked in the door of Steve’s house with the guitar over my shoulder there was comments aplenty. First and foremost it was requests to see what it was I’d purchased, most didn’t see me as the type of person to play guitar, to them I was little more than a drunk kid that partied with them some days and worked with Steve at night. In fact Steve was the only one who said he knew I’d end up with a guitar slung off my shoulders, but even he admitted that in his vision I was the guitar tech for some obscure band no one had heard of, not actually playing the thing. To be honest Steve’s vision sounded better than even I could see for myself, after all it wasn’t like I could actually play the thing I’d splurged a large amount of my pay cheque on.

As I showed the guitar off to the small group of drunk and stoned afternoon people hanging around Steve’s place I remember hearing a few people asking to playing it, several asking what the hell I was going to do with it, several words of congratulations and even an offer of instruction. The offer of instruction came from Jim Hellcon a man who’d been Steve’s friend since grade school but took a slightly different career path during secondary school when he found he had a skill for figures. He became an accountant by day and a stoner by night and in the ten years he’d been out of school he’d somehow built up a successful business doing the accounts for more businesses in the local area than I could name.

I guess Jimi’s offer didn’t come out of the blue, many a night, or early morning, I’d seen him lounging back in one of the chairs, a smoke haze hanging above his head, empty bottles at his feet, just lazily strumming an old battered acoustic guitar no one seemed to claim as their own. I don’t know that I’d have gone as far as suggesting he was a brilliant guitarist, he was no Ian Moss, but to me he could hold a tune and a small group of stoned and drunk people captivated. As well as that his name was Jim Hellcon, that easily shortened to Jimi H, Jimi H(endrix) was perhaps the greatest guitarist of the previous generation, what he did with a guitar was almost revolutionary. How could I go wrong?

Well maybe my first mistake was not taking Jim up on his offer immediately, but I did have my reasons. Firstly there was work, our hours didn’t gel very well. Then there was Andrea, when I was home I spent all my time having sex with her, then getting drunk while she shot up heroine. Then there was the fact that I hadn’t been able to afford my own amplifier and what self respecting axe man didn’t have his own amp? But perhaps the biggest reason, and one I wasn’t ready to admit to anyone, was that I was scared.

I was scared that I’d fail.

It had been driven into me from a young age. I was no good. I was a failure at things. I didn’t listen. I didn’t learn. Even when those words were not used towards me directly there was always the undertones of failure within the household. There was the questions of why I didn’t do things the way it was expected, but most of all there as the ignorance, when they stopped asking all together.

I was not put together the same way other people were, I had learnt that early on and it was something that was enforced as I got older. What if I took Jim up on his offer and I could not be taught? In a house full of people, who in truth were probably too out of it to know if I was playing well, all I could see was a house full of critics ready to tell me I had failed.

So instead of taking Jim up on his selfless offer I declined and took my new friend straight to my bedroom, shut the door and stared at her as she stood against the small bookshelf.

I don’t know how long I sat there staring at the guitar and I don’t know what thoughts were going through my mind, but I do remember Andrea coming into the room at one stage trying to get my attention but failing. So desperate she was to get my attention, wake me up out of my trance staring at the guitar in its case she even tried to get me aroused with both her hands and her mouth. I don’t know how long she tried doing that for but the entire time I just stared at the guitar I was too scared to actually play.

Eventually when the trance broke I found Andrea laying all but naked on the bed next to me, she was out of it and mumbling something about sex. My pants were pushed down my legs and bunched up at my ankles and my eyes stung. It was like coming down from no drugged or alcoholic state I could remember before.

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