“Summer of the Wasp”
By Thain in Vain
Blake Cleary had a sobering thought while pissing in the urinal in the employee washroom.
You simply can’t do this crap anymore.
“No, I can’t,” he said to his reflection, shook off and zipped up. He didn’t bother to wash his hands. He never did. It amused him to shake hands with customers knowing his junk had just lazed in his palm like a chubby grub.
Back on the sales floor Blake saw some spoiled brat fingering a Fender Stratocaster. He walked over and put out his hand. The kid took it.
“In a band?”
The kid shuffled his feet. “Ya, man. Just getting started.”
“Cool. What kind of music?”
“Uh, modern folk is what we like to call it. You know channeling Dylan, Young, Mumford & Sons, Summer of the Wasp, Son Volt. Stuff like that.”
“Nice influences. So, you looking at this Stratocaster?” He took guitar down for the kid, but held it. And in that moment, a rush from the memory bank surged plunking him in another time, like Proust’s Madeline cake. There he was. On stage at The Venue, the band playing their hit “Infinite Freedom” to a sold out crowd. It felt good. Right.
“Mister, can I try the guitar?” Blake looked at the kid.
“I’m turning fifty tomorrow,” he said to the kid. He’d been so close to music for so long working at the Music Emporium that he didn’t realize how far he had come from that world. He thought about Summer of the Wasp — the band that had shown him a future that he never got to live.
“Cool, man. Can I get the guitar?”
“No,” said Blake. It’s going home with me, man. And I’m getting the wasps back together.