Wind Them Up And Let Them Go

The words "Hard Core Logo, R and 900 words" might be considered warning enough. Darker than the movie, which was pretty dark and not only at night. _unhurt_ says that "not nice" is all the warning it needs. Beta by the incredible llassah.

Billyís hands impossibly fast ghosting over the strings like the way he disassembles a gun again and again in Buckyís kitchen. The room is full of dead men and only he can see them. All of them died for him. And itís cool.

Los Angeles was beautiful, full of AMERICAíS lost children. Los Angeles is beautiful and always will be. He will always have Los Angeles.

Small town kids who thought singing the Star Spangled Banner at a high school football game meant they had talent. Playing Sandy in small town productions of Grease. Small things in small towns in small lives. They dream small dreams. They come to Holywood with all their simple dreams. And the dreams become wounds and begin to fester. Each of them bleeding away with a cut deeper than flesh, stripping away their hope until they meet a guitar player in the darkness. And heís called TALLENT. He canít spell it right, but maybe thatís just because heís Canadian. Maybe itís one of those smart irony things. They know fame is ironic. Itís like iron, hard and a blunt instrument to make everything they never dare dream come true. Everything theyíve ever wanted. He has that desperate cool. That total disconnect that their dreams of Love and Fame turn into as they watch themselves treaded into the dog turds on the sidewalk. Waiting tables as their hope eddies away.

And then he comes. Maybe he knows an agent. He lets them talk out their dreams. Makes them feel important again. Makes them feel safe. Heís like a mirror.

Heís always been a mirror. Since way before there was Joe Dick, since way before he called this thing inside him Billy TALLENT. You push and he pulls. Heís everything you ever haunted, everything you want to be turned slickly cool. Heís like a lantern to their fireflies. Heís like a man on a cliff holding a lantern. Heís not local.

Locals donít lead ships onto the rocks with false lanterns. They donít lie to get it all, they just beg and scrimp to get a little and hope it is enough. TALLENT gets everything. They are like the superglue on Billyís fingers, holding the calluses together so that TALLENT can play them a little death song.

Lure them in with kaleidoscope dreams. Better than everything theyíve ever wanted, turned dark by everything that they have. They think they know all the tricks. Theyíve become world weary in the glittering city of lights, but what they donít know is that itís their mind that is the trap.

He snares them up in TALLENT, steals them away onto back lots and darkness and he feeds. Itís not a craving, not a craving at all. Heís not a killer either. Guns donít kill people. People do. And TALLENT is daddyís gun in the nightstand, mommyís security in her purse. All he does is gleam and talk to them.

There have been pretty boys with long hair who smell of Axe and desperate attempts at machismo. Girls with beautiful sad eyes who try to look different hoping to be pulled out of the crowds. They are searching for Cinderella shoes. Billy knows people in the glass slipper business. He never says, but they know. And what they find is the gun playing the pretty little death-song, telling them of the real American beauty. The way the AMERICAN DREAM really ends

The children, the children Billy plays with to make TALLENTíS flame grow brighter, named for a misspelt girl. They donít know a thing. They admire his restraint. It would be tough, losing a friend like that. They donít remark on the way he keeps away from the groupies or just talks to the shy girl in the back, who will be found dead in her bed tomorrow like a bleached rose. It must be tough losing a friend like that. They donít know TALLENT. He pulls when they push, and theyíre going to start pushing soon, pushing like Joe. Theyíve already lost a guitarist to rehab and the best friends forever are going to start arguing about their plus ones and goodie bags and who looks the best in the magazines. And when they start pushing at each other. TALLENT will PULL. Like he pulled Joe, guided him right to the edge of the cliff and handed him the gun. Heís saving John for later, until the myriad directions of his mind begin to turn to darkness. Heís almost there. And Billy phones up and TALLENT checks him like a ripening fruit in an orchard. He pulls, moves the branches, so his prize gets more sun.

He doesnít know what happened to Pipefitter. It doesnít matter. He was only another mirror. A less than perfect image of everything Joe wanted in a friend. Itís enough that Tallent and Billy took the place that should have been his at the table. And at the table, they lean over and give Joe one last kiss and leave him despair in a bottle and a handgun from Buckyís collection in his pocket.

Bucky. Bucky is the guy nobody remembers Ė pushed out by the Ramones and the British punks with their god-saved Queen Ė heís just on the edge. Betrayal and no absolution. Maybe TALLENT should have Billy to invite him to a gig, let him sit in the VIP area at the back of the arena deafened by screaming children. That might be enough.

Except itís never enough. TALLENT is always hungry.

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