Sunday, July 06, 2008

 

Springer Fiction: Encountering Eric

It was nothing more than wishful thinking. Springer knew that. He knew that affording anything more than a new D string was out of the question. But he couldn't help himself. He had to stop in at Guitars by Gus and see what was new. Even a guy like him was allowed to dream.

Good thing dreaming was free. Since scrambling to put all that money together for the ShapeShifter Musical Hanukkah Celebration last December, Springer had been broke. His car insurance had come due, and since he had a job, Dad had made him cough up the cash for it.

"Son, you don't pay rent," Dad had pointed out.

Springer kept his mouth shut and handed over fifty bucks from his pay each week. That left him with just enough to fill his gas tank, although lately that hadn't been so easy, either. Springer had made his girl do some of the driving, but she hadn't been happy about it, and she let him know it.

Doing shit with her hadn't been happening much lately. Springer didn't want to think too much about that. He didn't want to think about much -- he just wanted to drop into Guitars by Gus and dream a little.

The shop was buzzing when he walked in. No one noticed him come through the door, which wasn't normal. Usually, you walked in and Gus himself or one of his kids was there to say hi. Today, no one.

That's because people were packed in. It was like someone was giving a clinic, one everyone else in town had known about, probably because they stopped in more often than once every few months.

Springer craned his neck, trying to see who was the cause of all the excitement.

No go.

He turned around and read the flyers taped to the front door, trying to read signs that weren't facing him. If there was anything there about a clinic today, he couldn't see it. Maybe it had been taken down.

Three people came in behind him, pushing Springer into the line to meet whoever it was. He tried eavesdropping on the conversations around him to find out who it was, but all he could hear was, "I brung this so he can sign it!"

As Springer got closer to the front of the line, one of Gus' sons shoved an oversize cardboard cover of the latest ShapeShifter album in his hands. "Here. You'll need this."

Springer stared at it in shock. No way. No fucking way. There was just no fucking way on this planet that he'd chanced into an in-store signing with someone from ShapeShifter. If only it was Eric… if only he could tell him what getting on stage with him at the Musical Hanukkah Celebration had meant. If only…

If only Springer's luck didn't suck. Seriously about that no fucking way bit. By the time he'd get up there, it'd turn out to be the other two. Or the drummer. Or Eric would get up and leave right before Springer could make eye contact with him or…

And then it was his turn, and it was Eric and …

Springer's mouth went dry. He tried swirling his tongue around in his mouth. Nothing.

Eric was looking at him. Hard. "I've seen you around somewhere…" the guitar god said.

Springer nodded and tried for words as he set the cover flat down on the table between them. "Musical…"

"Musical? Like South Pacific?"

Springer shook his head and held his hands up in Air Guitar position.

Eric nodded. "You won a jam with us at the Musical Hanukkah Celebration."

Springer nodded and just like that, the saliva returned to his mouth. So did the words. "That was so fucking cool to do. Man, if I could win it again next year, my life would be set, know that?"

Part of him stared in terror as his mouth kept flapping, spilling the worst case of the runs Springer'd had since the time he ate that bad bean burrito.

Eric was good about it, nodding and signing the cover flat Springer had set down, then flipping it over and writing something else.

Until he handed it back and made a motion with his head that Springer should step aside, the words kept coming. For all Springer knew, he was telling the guy about the time he lost his virginity. Or the stories his mom liked to torture him with, all about his potty training. Or …

Before he knew what had happened, Springer was out on the street, still babbling. That part of his brain that hadn't turned to mush was screaming at him, as angry as a brain could be.

He'd blown it. He'd been right there with Eric and hadn't said a single one of those things he'd needed to tell the man.

When he got back to his car and tossed the cover flat on the passenger side, too disgusted with himself to care about it, the words on back caught his eye. "See ya at the next Celebration."

Springer sat in the car and hugged himself. Maybe he wasn't such a fuck-up after all.




Haven't met Springer yet? I created him last winter, for the Second Annual Musical Hanukkah Celebration. (This link will take you to the genesis of the idea) Be sure to stop in for this year's fun. In the meantime, click on his name, or on ShapeShifter's, or Eric's and learn more about this fictional band who rules Springer's world.

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Comments:
You really capture well his excitement, and how star-struck he is. Nicely written!
 
Ah, yes...I think we've all been there at least once. First you don't know what to say, then you babble on about Godknowswhat... I'm glad it worked out for him! :-)
 
Wow, great job. You made my stomach tie itself in knots on Springer's behalf! :-D
 
Amazing! I love that I can picture this scene. Great work!
 
I'm still holding out hope for Springer - he's going to catch a good break one of these days.
 
i am so hooked with the bits and pieces of what i've read of this story - each piece seems to be tweaked alittle differently, but they are all solid and well done - love it! - and about those angry folk on my site, you're right - just like feral cats, but just one of those times when me, myself and i all want to be in charge at the same time - stuff happens!!!
 
Still love this guy. He has that "everyfan" thing going, but with more...potential. And who can't relate to the wanting to impress somebody but instead blathering on like a moron? I've definitely done that a few times and could have kicked myself for it. Glad this one ends on a hopeful note for Springer!
 
oh, i know that tongue-tied feeling well and its flip-side the babbling that takes off once you manage to spit out the first word.

I'm wondering how long, or if ever, it will take Springer to re-evaluate his so-called 'luck'. He seems to think it is really bad but it seems to me that anyone his age who has found himself within arms length of his hero not once but TWICE in less than a year has something magical operating in his life.
 
What a delight to meet more people in your magical world! Thanks for sharing!
 
Yup, there’s that sorry son of a gun that shows up and says all the wrong things when you’re tryin’ to make a successful god connection! Poor Springer. Good thing Eric’s a consummate god!
 
To meet a hero ...
You narrated it perfectly.
 
I can imagine it being me, but I'd be worse - I can't even play air guitar.
 
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