Authors: Kristen Hope Mazzola
2015 Kristen Hope Mazzola
Published by Kristen Hope Mazzola
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Published: Kristen Hope Mazzola 2015:
Cover Design: by Ari at Cover it! Designs:
Models: Arismar Diaz & Shawn Kirklczuk
Photographer: Mikey Jay Riot
Shoot Director: Steven Vaughn
Kristen Hope Mazzola
& CJ Pinard
To every Fae out there:
Don’t ignore your inner Fallon.
I was Fallon Dunbar.
I was a drummer.
I was confident, strong, and driven.
I was a junkie.
I am dead.
The full boxes scattered around my small one room apartment made it feel more real. The sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach made it feel so wrong. The new title and job made it feel surreal.
I am Fae Dunham.
I am the assistant editor of Raging Underground.
I am unsure, nervous, and scared shitless.
I am in recovery.
Staring into the full length mirror I had just hung up on the back of the door in my new room, I saw the shell of what I used to be, the life I could no longer have. The only traces left of my old life were the lip piercings I refused to take out. They were my favorites and they were staying. People like me don’t get second chances, but for some reason, I was standing knee-deep in one.
There’s no turning back now.
I will live again.
PRACTICE & mEMORIES
“Hey, man, you all right?” Colt was looking over at me from his seat on his amp.
I gripped the sticks a little tighter in my hands and shook myself from my zone-out. “Yeah. Sorry.” I still couldn’t get Fae off my damn mind.
Maverick tossed a bottle of water over my toms before swinging his bass guitar’s strap back over his shoulder. “Let’s take it from the top?”
My sticks clicked quickly, counting out the beat before sending Maverick and myself into a thumping bassline that shot goose bumps up my arms and legs. It felt like I was falling in love every time we started to play; it was
Finally, the groove settled in nicely and we took off into our newest song, which I was sure would rock our show the next night. It took a while, but an hour and a gallon of sweat later, we were satisfied with how “The Lifespan of a Firefly” sounded.
“This is some great writing, Dane. Why haven’t you given us lyrics before?” Rodney holstered the mic and took a swig of his seventh beer while his words slurred a little.
Grabbing a brown bottle out of the fridge, I tried to figure out an answer to his question that didn’t make me sound like a complete pussy. “Never thought anything was good enough before, I guess.”
Epic fail – that dripped vag all over the place. Way to have a backbone.
“Well, from now on, grow a pair and dish out more of this shit. It’s gold. I think we should open with it tomorrow night for sure!”
Colt and Maverick both mumbled and nodded in agreement. My ego felt like it had grown ten times right there on the spot. Being the drummer, I never considered that writing lyrics was something I could be good at. Yeah, I was a journalist. Yeah, I had written angsty teenage poetry when I was younger. But I’d never considered myself an actual writer.
As I slouched onto the worn out couch in Colt’s basement, memories rushed over me like warm acid rain.
Beer and sweat were all I could smell as I wiped my dripping forehead with my shirt sleeve. The gentle hum of the Russells’ dryer slowly faded in, a little too soft after the booming of our last song left the air.
“Great session, guys.” Maverick’s weak smile faded as his words lingered in the space. We all knew and we all felt it, but we left it unsaid. There was too much, and no words could make it better; there was nowhere to begin. It was our first practice after the accident a few weeks before and the tension in the air was suffocating us all.
I nodded and choked out, “You guys think we’re ready?”
Rodney laughed from the couch, gripping the mic in his hand. “We better be. Like it or not, we’re opening tomorrow at Mountain Breath.” His faded Zeppelin shirt was starting to wear a hole next to his collar and his lucky Chucks had mud caked on the sides.
“You gonna dress like a bum for it?” Colt joked, opening another beer we’d stolen from his old man’s stash. Mr. Russell knew we took them but was usually too loaded to care.
Rodney threw a sweat-soaked towel at Colt right as I stood to stretch out the kink that had been building up in my lower back while I’d sat behind my faded burgundy Ludwin set.
“I think it’s going to be sick,” I muttered, trying to be enthusiastic and failing miserably.
Maverick clapped me on my back before starting to put his bass in its case. “You ready?”
Digging my keys out of my pocket, I stared at my sticks where they rested in their bag attached to my floor tom. I stood up gradually from my stool, starting to make my way to the stairs. “Yeah. Let’s head home.”
“Get a good night’s sleep, gents! Tomorrow is going to be epic!” Rodney called up to us from the bottom of the stairs, a sly grin fixed firmly on his face. He had no fucking idea what he was asking of Mav and me, and it was better off that way.
The sound of a beer opening in my ear and the feel of cold suds spraying on my neck and cheek snapped me back to real time. Rodney erupted into a fit of laughter next to me.
“What the hell, man?” I thrashed, wiping my face off with the bottom of my shirt.
“Come on. I couldn’t resist. You were zoning out again.”
Colt sat in a metal folding chair across the faded lime green carpet, laying his guitar down next to him. “You all right, Dane? You’ve been spacey all night.”
“Yeah, man. I’m fine.”
I got up and started to make my way up the stairs to take a piss. Right as I opened the basement door, I heard Maverick say in a low voice, “Guys, it’s April thirteenth. You know how he gets around this time.”
My stomach sank. He was right. The twentieth was coming too fast for me to keep up with, and the memories and dreams were getting worse by the day.
Easier said than done.
Time would pass and it would still be hard, but I was still breathing.
As I walked into the living room, trying to make it into the back hallway undetected by Colt’s parents, I heard crying coming from the couch.
Turning on my heels, I found Sheila Russell sobbing into a pillow. When I cleared my throat, she popped her head up, startled by my presence.
“Sheils? You all right?” I looked down at Colt’s kid sister, who was definitely not a kid anymore.
Before, she’d been pimply-faced, chunky, and awkward. Now, her face had cleared, she’d hired a personal trainer, and her degree in Mass Communications was helping her break out of her shell, to say the least. She was stunning in her own way. Not my type, but still pretty.
“Yeah.” She sniffed. “I just got turned down for an awesome summer internship. It’s the only one I applied for and that’s biting me in the butt now.” She tried to laugh it off, but her eyes stayed sad.
“You know the saying, Sheils.”
She rolled her eyes and mumbled, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”
I laughed, nodded, and gave her a tight squeeze as I continued on before my bladder busted. While I was trotting over to the half bath down the hall, Sheila called to me, “Thanks, Dane.”
“Don’t mention it! Call Julie. Schedule a mani-pedi date like the old days and you’ll be good as new!” I yelled back before slamming the door shut behind me, barely able to get my zipper down before I pissed myself.
The color drained from my hair as I watched the blackish muck mix with the water swirling around my feet. My light auburn was now cloaked in a midnight black. The freckles that dotted my skin and the lightness of my hazel eyes were still dead giveaways as to who I really was. Add in all of my tattoos and the giant chip on my shoulder and there was no mistaking my identity. All I could do was hope that during my meeting with my new boss and longtime family friend on Monday, the glasses, hair, and articulated speech would be enough.
Not too long ago, I’d woken up from a three-day binge in a hospital room after an overdose and decided enough was enough. I’d quit the band and moved back in with good old mom and stepdad.
The “I told you so” speeches were a small price to pay for having almost taken their only child out of this world. Luckily, my
dad’s college roommate had decided to give me a shot. Payton Downing was taking a huge risk when it came to hiring me. For most of my childhood Payton had been like an uncle to me, but what I was asking for was more than any family member should have to do. Even so, the answer had been yes, without question, and I was getting a fresh start with a job I could have only dreamed of.
Thankfully, I’d had enough sense in my early twenties to finish college online while touring with my band all over Canada and the US for three years. Between the recreational drugs and rock and roll, I didn’t know how I’d passed, but I had managed. Cs get degrees, after all.
My resume was less than polished with a cocaine overdose, years of touring with a punk band, and a few brushes with the law staining the white paper that was filled with columns I’d had published, my college degree, and my amazing ability to clean up well.
This was my second chance, my fresh start, and staring into my reflection in the mirror terrified me.
What if I fuck this one up, too?
“All right, everyone. Settle down.” Payton, my overly cheery, overly plump boss bounded into our meeting room, his glasses falling down his nose as he carried a huge stack of papers. “As you all know, over the last year our little online chronicle has sparked a wildfire. Needless to say, I need help.
need help. So I have hired an assistant editor. Her name is Fae Dunham, and she’ll be joining us shortly.”
He paused for what I figured to be dramatic effect while crickets took over the room. We were all grungy musicians playing journalist to support our passionate habit. We enjoyed our lack of leadership and censorship, and no snobby outsider was going to change that.
I sat opposite Payton with my feet up on the large oval conference table while all my coworkers sat wide-eyed, like deer in Mack truck lights. I chuckled, sipping steaming coffee out of my Hysterics travel mug.
“Mr. Pearson? Care to share with the rest of us what is so funny?” Payton shoved his glasses back up his face, pausing halfway through organizing and passing out the papers that were now spread out in front of him.
I shook my head.
Crickets. They were all just sitting there, glancing at one another like I was about to be sent to the principal’s office.
I cleared my throat. “I just don’t see why—”
Mid-sentence, I was completely taken aback by one of the most incredible sights I had ever seen in my life.
She slowly walked in after opening the door, trying to enter without interrupting the meeting. Her dark black hair was curtaining her slender, pale, freckle-ridden face. Thick, black-rimmed glasses sat cutely on her nose, which looked at least a size too big for her face. A soft blush dusted her high cheekbones as her light pink lips pursed together. She rested a small hand on Payton’s shoulder. A tight-fitting pantsuit hugged her subtle curves while just a hint of ink peeked out from under the jacket sleeve on her left arm.
Payton’s eyes darted from glaring at me to lighting up with a huge smile as he glanced over his shoulder at the gorgeous newcomer—not like a boss usually would, but like a loving uncle looking at a favored niece. “Everyone, please give a warm welcome to the newest member of our staff and your new boss, Fae.”
She slowly let her lips crane into a nervous smile as she waved. “Hello.”
Her lips were incredible; I couldn’t stop staring at them: full and luscious with two hooped rings that begged for my tongue to taste and my teeth to bite.
Her voice was a whisper as she glanced around the room. “I am truly looking forward to getting to know you all.”
Fae couldn’t be more than a few years younger than I was. There was something in her eyes that didn’t quite add up, a sadness battling something I couldn’t put my finger on; it was intoxicating and magnetically intriguing.