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Friday night the Crow’s Nest was packed. Saturday night is explosive.
Ike has brought in extra help for the kitchen, but even with two cooks and both Ike and Janos at the coffee counter, the lines are long and tangled, and the atmosphere is impatient. Charged. The darkness that entered yesterday is still here, and it’s hardened now, like something burned down to cinders.
Last Things by Jacqueline West.epub
Literature & Fiction
Last Things by Jacqueline West
Author:Jacqueline West , Date: June 11, 2019
I thread my way around the edges of the room. No one glances at me. Janos and Ike are buried in backed-up orders for lattes, mochas, espresso shots. I check the space, body by body. The woman is not here. No one like her is here. Just the too-large, too-loud crowd of metalheads in battered denim and tour T-shirts, locals and outsiders.
Frankie is here, of course. She’s with her entire court tonight, Sasha and Carson and Will and Mason and Gwynn. Mason and Gwynn are taking pictures of themselves and each other. Carson’s mustard-yellow letter jacket looks out of place. He stays between Frankie and Sasha, whispering in both of their ears. Sasha laughs dramatically every time he does, flipping her hair back over her shoulder, her mouth open wide. Frankie doesn’t seem to be listening. She’s as pretty as ever—delicate features, shiny dark hair. But she looks different tonight. It’s because she isn’t smiling.
She and her friends encircle a table. Frankie’s back is toward the stage. When Last Things appears and everyone else in the room bursts into screams, Frankie doesn’t even turn around.
I heard them talking from my spot on the patio, Anders arguing with the band, Anders confronted by Frankie. The anger against him is building up, his friends turning away. He’s more and more alone. Just how the dark things want it.
Patrick takes his seat behind the drum set. Jezz clutches the bass. Anders strides up to the microphone, moving so fast that it looks like he’s going to attack it. Without a word to one another or the crowd, they launch into the first song.
It’s “Dead Girl.” The screams get even louder.
I take another look at Frankie. She turns a wooden stir stick in the foam on top of her drink. Her spine is stiff. Her eyes stay down.
I glance from her to Anders. He’s got the same choppy brown hair, one of a dozen well-worn T-shirts, the usual thick-soled boots. But there’s a change in his face tonight, too. It’s hollower. Harder. The rock star might not be a mask anymore.
Don’t say good night
she says, she says
Why don’t you come inside
I can change your mind
or time can change your mind for you
Anders flies into the guitar solo. His fingers tear at the strings. Fast. It’s always fast. But tonight the tempo feels a little higher, the motions more elaborate, the beat a little harder. It’s on the very edge of impossible.
Patrick, behind the drums, already glitters with sweat.
Just walk me home
Just walk me home and I’ll be warm
They move straight from “Dead Girl” to “Deep Water,” then to “Cutting Edge.
Last Things by Jacqueline West.epub
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