Lester’s High

Everybody in the band is sitting in the studio just staring at me or the looking at the floor studying the pattern on the Chinese rug. A joint is going around, but I don’t smoke that shit so I just pass it to Les. My first mistake.

Go outside and look if they’re still there Dean tells me. We got to get going.

You’re the road manager, I said. You go.

Dean laughed at me.

I walk out on the porch into the night and they are all still sitting in the old white Impala.  Illinois plates, with whiskey bumps and rail rash.  Waiting for us to leave. At least four of them, maybe five. I see heads and shoulders bobbing up and down moving from side to side. Studded leather jacket at the wheel. Mullet head turns around in the back seat and looks right at me.

I come back in. I tell everybody I think we need the gun.

Really, you think we need the gun Daddy Cool says.

I had gone over to Franks and borrowed it earlier that afternoon. A heavy stainless steel Smith and Wesson with a five inch barrel. He didn’t have a holster for it so I just stuck it in my waistband put my jacket on and got back in the truck. I really didn’t think we would be needing it so soon.

Daddy, there are all kinds of reasons to have or not have it I say. Best to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.

Just to chase them off, if for no other reason Dean says.

If Bobbies dog would have done what we thought he was going to do, then no we wouldn’t need one. Last time, ninety pounds of Doberman turned into a rug pissing pussy as soon as he heard the sound of glass breaking, I guess.

How many times can you let yourself get ripped off by the same assholes? It just isn’t done. Studio gear is expensive and that time they got my Strat and Daddy Cool’s Alto.

Les passes the joint to Daddy and holding his hit wheezes, lemme see that piece. Against my better judgment I grab the .357 around the cylinder and hand it to him butt first. Don’t fuck around Les I tell him. I am not shitting you.

Daddy groans, like omigosh please oh please what the fuck is you doing? Les just sits there with it in his lap for a good 10 seconds or so, lets out his hit and says Model 686. This is a wonderful, wonderful piece. A batty grin spreads out over his face.

We tried to keep Lester away from the herb. You just never knew what he would be like when he got high.

Like the time we were jamming with Donny who happens to be African Merican and Les just stopped playing picked up a jay that somebody had parked on the top of his Twin Reverb and said I can’t play this nigger music.

Donny was cool. He leaned over and took the jay from Les got right in his face and said I like your drummer a lot better than you. You’re an idiot.

We all laughed, but really it wasn’t that funny.

Les flips open the cylinder and six rounds slide out into his left palm. He takes one and puts it back in the cylinder, spins it, snaps it shut, cocks the hammer, points it at the ceiling and pulls the trigger.


Godammit, Les! Daddy says. You are a sick mother fucker.

Les hands the gun back to me. Your turn he says.

He is remorseless.

Time to go Dean says.

Author: hsderkin

H. Scott Derkin lives with his wife and a scruffy miniature poodle mix on the banks of a river in NW Michigan. By not taking into account his shortcomings, his wife has managed to stay with him for over half a century.

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