Stones' Last Stand

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A Rock 'n Roller, Tired of the road and all that it entails, decides to quit. On stage for the last time, he muses over his future.

Submitted: January 10, 2007

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Submitted: January 10, 2007

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Jesse Stone had it. He was tired of the road, tired of the long plane rides and bus trips and of the irregular hours. He longed to be home with his family. He thought they would barely recognize him if he walked in the door today.

As he stood onstage, cradling his guitar as he sang another number he only thought that in a few more hours he would be free at last. It seemed funny now. His guitar had once represented a sense of freedom, a sense of identity, now, it represented an albatross around his neck and a loss of family and a sense of belonging to the world, as he had once knew.

He smiled as he remembered talking to his manager, Reggie Santo. "You what!" cried Reggie. "You want to walk away from all of this?" Poor Reggie looked like he was about to swallow one of his expensive cigars that he had always had clenched between his teeth.

"Look, Jesse," he wailed. "We've been together all these years. You can't bail out on me now! Think of the fans, think of the money. Think of what it will do to me!"

"Come off it, Reg," Jesse retorted. "You got more clients than you can ever deal with. You have a big management company, representing dozens of acts and only see me about once or twice a year. It will save you the problem of making time for me, now. You should be glad."

"I know, I know." Reggie sighed. Looking out of his LA high-rise office, he continued. "It's just that you and I have been through so much. We started out together from the beginning; we took the ride to the top and stayed there all these years. It hard to imagine that now you want to give it up. What will you do?"

Sitting in a chair by the desk, fingering his western style boots, Jesse shrugged, " I plan to sleep a month, then play video games with my son. Then, find a nice quiet home in the woods and plant a garden."

Reggie looked like Jesse had lost it. The road had finally done him in and there was no going back.

Jesse smiled. "Look, it may not happen that way, but I don't want to be like Jagger, singing " Satisfaction" when I'm in my sixties. I'll end up singing "On the Run" on crutches. I can't see that.

That's the way Jesse felt now, even as he sang his two signature songs, "Kilimanjaro " and "Looking at the City from Another View."

He glanced at his two band mates. Scott and Ken, They had stayed with him through all the ups and downs, through the times when they had broken up came back together and all the craziness in between. He wondered if they understood how Jesse felt. Did they really understand how Jesse felt?  Jesse remembered when he told them that he was leaving.

"You really want to leave?" asked Scott. "You know that you tried to walk away before, then came back a couple of months later."

"That was different," Jesse shot back. "I was ill at the time and I wasn't sure that I would be around much longer. So, when I saw that I could handle things again, I decided to get back."

Ken shook his head. "First you leave. Then you decide that everything is fine and come back. You said that Scott and I should do our own music and stand on our own two feet. But, it seemed that you couldn't live without us. What about now?"

"Look," said Jesse. "I was going through a difficult time. But that was a few years ago. Now I know I'm ready to do something other than doing the merry-go-round, year after year. Then there are the concerts, recording, and all the promotion that goes with it. I son who doesn't know me and I want him to know me more than the face he sees on a record jacket or on a poster.

With that Scott and Ken began to understand, if only a little. They had families, too, only they had not taken a larger load in the years that the group had been the most popular. Jesse had taken the lead there. And the years had taken its toll. Now they faced the reality that they would really have to stand on their own. Maybe that scared them a little.

Soon, it was time for the last song. The band left the stage and there was Jesse, alone with just his old blue guitar to back him up. That was the way he wanted it to end; just him, his guitar and the fans to keep him company. That's was the way it should be.

The crowd fell silent as he sang the final verse: "Though I may be gone for a little while, Though you may not see me smile, just remember as you walk another mile, I Love You.

With that the house lights went out and the crowd roared out a final salute, Jesse heaved a sigh and walked off the stage and out of the spotlight, at last.

Later, Scott and Ken walked with Jesse out of the auditorium and to their waiting cars. "Hey dude, we're going to miss you," Scott said. Ken nodded agreement.

"Aw," Jesse replied. "I'm moving up, moving on, not moving out." Jesse then turned to his two band mates, "You know where to find me for a few laughs good conversation. I'll always be as close as the thoughts in your head,"

Then Jesse walked out in the night in search of a new road to travel.


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