TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE
By the time Steve got back, Ghost had managed to sit up, but was still half asleep. Steve handed him a styrofoam cup of 7-11 coffee with cream and sugar. So, while Ghost got out and sat on the curb, sipping his coffee, and rejoining the living, Steve and the man put all four tires on the car.
"Thanks, man," Steve said. "Guess we'll be out of your hair now. C'mon, Ghost, let's go."
The man wished them luck in their travels, and went inside his club.
"You awake, now?" Steve asked. "Let's find something to eat."
This town didn't have any fast-food places, but they found a small diner open for business. They debated going in. Steve was thinking those guys may be around. He and Ghost looked a mess, too, all scruffy from the fight... and sleeping in the car didn't help their looks or their smell, either.
"Ghost, let's not go in there. We look like crap and need a shower. If we're gonna play here tonight, we need to get cleaned up. Let's get a motel room. We'll just grab something from the little store where I got your coffee." Ghost agreed, and when they got into a room at the motel, dug out some clean clothes, and refreshed themselves, they felt much better.
They talked about what they'd play that night at the coffee bar. In the end, they planned on a more subdued set.
"I don't think those guys will be there, do you?" asked Steve. "They didn't look like coffee shop people."
"Probably not, but why are you so paranoid about it? We took care of the problem last night. If we have to, we can do it again," Ghost said.
"I don't know, it just bothers me, and I can't quit thinking about it...and what we talked about, too. You know I couldn't just stand there. I had to jump in, I was so mad."
Ghost wished Steve would stop talking about it, but he knew Steve had to talk it out before he was done. So, he listened patiently.
"What bothers me, is that...well, I know you can take care of yourself. I mean, you did ok all the time you were gone, didn't you? I don't know if I could, myself...and then, I think, well, you can handle all kinds of crap people dish out...except what I did to you..." Steve had to stop, because his throat closed up and his eyes stung with tears.
Ghost put his arm over Steve's shoulders, as Steve continued. "You should probably be scared of me. I hurt you the worst...but here you are. How can you even do that?"
"Steve, just stop it. I'm with you 'cause I love you. I'm not scared of you. Besides, I could take you down, if I wanted to..." Ghost said, in an effort to lighten the mood. But, it didn't seem to make Steve any happier.
"I know you can, Ghost...and that's the thing. I'm scared I can't do right by you, when I don't even think I can take care of my own self half the time. You proved you can do it, and what have I ever proved, huh? That I can get drunk and I can beat people up? That's about it."
"Steve, you don't have to prove anything to anybody," Ghost began, but Steve went on.
"Yeah, I do. I have to prove it to myself...that I can be more than a fuck-up."
"So, what do you wanna do, then...go off somewhere by yourself for awhile, live off the land like a pioneer, or go try to make a name for yourself in a big city? Steve, you are who you are, no matter where you go. You can't run away from yourself. I know first hand how that goes.
I only had two choices - go back home - which I wasn't ready to do, or go somewhere else. And, you know how that turned out...or at least part of it...and I couldn't be anyone but me, and people either like you or they don't. Look where those two years got me...right back home to try and start over...and maybe get it right," Ghost said.
"Yeah, you're right, Ghost...I know it, but what do ya think would happen if you really were in a jam, and I couldn't help? What if I froze, and couldn't do what I needed to do?"
"I don't think we'd have to worry about it, Steve. You act on instinct...you charge in and take care of business, and don't hesitate. So, don't go thinking up 'what if'. We'd do whatever it took to help each other out, and let's leave it at that, ok?" Ghost rubbed his forehead and eye.
"I'm getting a headache from thinking about it," he sighed and lay back on the bed, closing his eyes. "I'm gonna take a nap. Why don't you go get that crap washed off the car, then we can get ready for tonight."
Steve agreed to that plan and left for a do-it-yourself car wash. He had to do something about the broken window, too.
At the car wash place, he rummaged around in the trunk of the car, remembering there was some duct tape and plastic, left over from some project or other in there. Finding the items, he put a sort of patch over the broken window. Turning on the water sprayer, he started scrubbing. He found that the spray painted words wouldn't come off completely, but it did make it faded enough that it wasn't so garish and noticeable.
He rubbed soap into the rude words and slurs as hard as he could, getting some of his anger out. He thought about their situation. He thought about his deepening depression , and how much it must be effecting Ghost. Ghost was lying in a seedy motel room with a headache that would probably last for days, worsening his overall health; hadn't had one of his crazy spells in awhile, but this stress of traveling, the fight, and eating shitty food, was apt to bring one on.
He hoped when it happened, that he could help Ghost through it. He decided after tonight's show, he'd suggest that they just do whatever seemed fun - not worry about playing anywhere for awhile. It's not like we need the money, now. But, that would be tricky...convincing Ghost of that. So, after washing the car, he headed back to the motel. They had a little time, before they needed to be at the coffee shop. Maybe he could relax awhile.
When he opened the door to their room, he saw that Ghost was still asleep. Good, he thought, as he lay down on the bed, hoping to go to sleep, himself. He'd just dozed off, when he was startled awake by Ghost, who was sitting up and shrieking.
"Graves, everywhere! Graves in the mountains, in the fields, in the woods...graves in the ocean!"
Steve could tell Ghost was still asleep, having a creepy nightmare, so he wouldn't wake him, unless it got worse. He knew from experience, Ghost needed to finish his dream - would get mad if he woke him before it found it's conclusion. Ghost's dreams were the stuff of horror movies, sometimes. He would tell him about them, and write them down in a special dream journal. But, sometimes Steve didn't really want to hear...sometimes the dreams he had were not dreams, but premonitions - and sometimes they came true. Ghost wasn't scared of spooks and spirits, he talked to them all the time. But, it gave him the willies.
Next installment coming soon!
Peace, Love, & Writing