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Friday, February 29, 2008

Birthright: Chapter Fourteen

By Francis Scudellari

Jacob Betrays Edom

“Last night topped them all Jake.” Edom pushed the door closed behind him and made an immediate right. He walked straight into the kitchen, calling out in solo sing song as he examined the contents of the refrigerator.

“The lead singer was trashed. He was feeling no pain. He had stripped down to his boxers and in the middle of the song he leaped off the stage. The kids caught him and held him up, and he kept on singing, screaming out the lyrics, while he rode the crowd. All these hands tried to push him back on stage, but he didn’t want to go. He just wanted to surf. The band kept playing, they didn’t give a shit. It was incredible.

"That’s how the show ended. He surfed, kicking his legs wildly, spinning the mike, until he was done singing. Then the lights went out. The band walked off. And the singer disappeared into the audience. You should have been there, Jake.”

Edom walked into the living room, a beer in one hand, a bagel in the other. Seeing Jacob, he stopped in his tracks like a cartoon character hit with a clichéd case of déjà vu. As if transported back into the recent past, Jacob sat sulking with his head in his hands.

Back at the beginning of this old-timey loop, he cast a similar blank stare at an equally empty page tonguing out of the typewriter. The crumpled sheets of paper had reappeared on the floor. The empty gin bottle rematerialized at rest sideways by his feet.

“Hey what’s with the mess? What’s wrong Jake? I thought all your troubles were behind you. You were on your way. Catch a recurring case of writer’s block?”

“You gotta help me Ed. You gotta let me do another piece about you. I’m desperate. They gave me an advance for another story, but I can’t come up with anything they’d like without dragging you into it. This whole counter-culture, alternative rock thing is very popular right now. They want me to do a series of stories about it. Unfortunately, I only know what you’ve told me.”

“Forget it Jake. I’m still not happy that I let you write that first one. If you write another, it’ll never end.”

“I’ve got no choice Ed. They’ve already given me the money. I’m gonna write it; whether you want me to or not.” Jacob stared straight ahead. He couldn’t look at Edom. The path forward was pretty clear, and whatever detour he might take, the final resting place always smacked of betrayal.

“Listen, Jake … if you write that story … it's over.” Edom left the half-eaten bagel on the table. He left the half-full bottle on the floor. He turned calmly toward the door and walked out of the apartment without turning around or making a sound.
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