JCS Press

A Partner of JCS Theater Company

Pretty Puppet

by Hank Wilde

We rolled into New Haven on the train and out the left window there was a restaurant called Muddy Waters and I thought, it'd be good to get there.

But before that, back in the city, I'd gone to a concert to see this young girl and her band play. I guess she'd been on a big tv show.

She'd formed a band and I guess she was supposed to be a rock chick now but she was a blond bombshell and that was part of the appeal, this chick who used to be a big tv star but she wanted to be in a rock band now. It was a little club but nice. Good. Big bar. Cool looking rock club. Probably about a thousand people or so could fit into the whole place including the bar but the section of the bar you walked into had a low ceiling and then it opened up a bit in the back to the venue and there were people there and they all... it wasn't that packed. I meant that the place at capacity could hold that many people but when we went the other night it wasn't packed, just a good solid crowd. It was sort of like an industry night for people who either knew her, the rock chick, or were friends of friends. Shit like that. I knew Rick and he took me but you could smell it on everyone else when you walked in that they were in the biz, as they called it. It was supposed to be open bar, vodka, so I got a free one and tipped the guy but he looked miserable. The people there for the most part had an air about them that made me think of when you accidentally soak your shoe in beer and you wake up the next morning hungover and your room stinks of it and if you just hadn't put your shoe in that puddle of beer it wouldn't smell so bad. I say that mostly cause he told me it was the biz night and people were there that knew this rocker chick and it was just... people just stunk like it. An air of importance. I form this opinion mostly from a few interactions and one when this group of women, there were three or four of them, and one was saying she wanted all the drinks for free and the dude bartender was saying it was just vodka that was free and the other drinks didn't apply and she'd have to pay for them and she was hollering that she was with Taylor and they should get it all for free. With Taylor. We're with Taylor, and that's when Rick leaned over to me and said, everyone's with Taylor. That bitch is a cunt.

Yeah, I said.

We walked into the part in the back that was more like a venue but it had a bar too and I'm leaving out how much we were drinking, a whole lot and it wasn't just what we'd gotten for free, it was shit we brought and hid in our pants. Nips of shit and it took a while and some terrible fucking group of nobody kids opened for her and Rick said they paid Taylor to open for her. They were terrible and it was clear in the room that they weren't going anywhere but no one gave a shit because she was the main attraction.

When she got on stage it was clear. She had something. She could sing enough and man did she look good. She looked... but then it started to be sad. I got real sad after that. It made me sick. My stomach was all drenched in ill and it didn't have anything fucking to do with the booze. It had everything to do with these people and the way they stood around looking at her. Hearing her. Seeing her up there half naked being bossed around by the guitarist she was fucking who was twenty years older than her, him telling her what to do. Rick told me she had serious issues with her father and he was a real prick and this thing she was having with her guitarist was fucked. Heroin. The whole fucking bullshit thing and that made me sick too. It made me want to leave.

All the people in that room wanted a piece. A piece of ass. Something to brag about. Something to see and think and wear and know. Something for who they were and why they wanted to be alive cause they couldn't find it anywhere else. It made me realize it wasn't about Taylor. It wasn't about her and this shit and this club and the rest of it. It was about these nothing people propping themselves up to feel something. A bunch of nobodies who attached themselves to an artist, some young girl who was on tv and can sing and wants a rock band to piss her Daddy off so she fucks the guitarist, a bunch of nobodies who attach themselves to this girl in some way financially so they can feel like something.

After the show we went to another bar and Rick and I started to get real drunk. I was sitting at the bar at this other place drunk and wasted and I looked out the window at the place across the street and there she was with her band. They were all bundled up in jackets because of the cold but I could tell because of her face and her hair and her boots. I knew she wasn't of age but they got her right in and I could see them there in the bar across the street and the thing was the way they looked and how they went in there it wasn't like what I'd just seen back at the club. She seemed more like she was with them. They were getting drinks. She was with these people she played music with and not the vultures at the club. I'm with Taylor. We're with Taylor. I'm with Taylor. The money hungry ones doing anything to be someone or get a piece of wood for the ego flame.

But yeah later when we were on the train and we rolled into New Haven and I saw that place, the little restaurant called Muddy Waters I thought, yeah, I wanna end up at that place before I die. Or maybe just later on for a beer.