DREAM’S ALWAYS THE SAME Ryan Adams

A sneak-peek at Adams’ short story collection, due in 2009.

BY RANDY HARWARD

 

So Ryan Adams is diversifying: he’s gonna issue a collection of prose via Brooklyn-based fringe publisher Akashic Books.
The as-yet-untitled book isn’t due until 2009, but you know BLURT has the hookup. We traded a bunch of
watermarked promo CDs and two dirty
books for the following excerpts from three of Adams’
short stories. Enjoy.

 

***

 

“(B)RYAN”

 

The dream is always the same. I’m onstage, dripping in sweat
and wearin just my tighty-whiteys. Jay Farrar, Jeff Tweedy, Kurt Cobain, Johnny
Cougar, John Cougar Mellencamp and John Mellencamp are in the front row, just
staring at me. Their mouths move and, while no sound comes out, I know what
they’re saying.

 

Me and some guys from
school…had a band and we tried real hard… Jimmy quit… Jody got married… Shoulda
known… we’d never get far…

 

Oh, but when I look back now, that dream seemed to last
forever. If I had a choice, I wouldn’t wanna be there. That was the worst dream
of my life.

 

***

 

“NO DEPRESSION IN
THIS ONE-HORSE WHISKEYTOWN”

 

I carried Caitlin for miles before my back finally gave out.
We’d been walking in circles, through tangled kudzu and stinging nettle,
looking for a way back to civilization.

 

Neither of us knows how we got here. Last we recall, we were
on Faithless Street.
She was nagging me about the surgical tubing on my arm and the syringe bobbing
from the crotch of my arm like a drowsy flesh sausage, the plunger leering
blindly at her like an opaque plastic thing. She looked lovely-both of her-as I
drifted off to float over fields of cold roses.

 

Something she said echoed in my head like a bad end-rhyme. Knockin’… rockin’… Dokken… What she
meant, only the opaque plastic thing knows. The significance, I’m sure, is what
I’m missing.

 

Missing. Kissing.

 

It’s nearly dark. I can hear my sanity crumbling on the
chill wind.

 

***

 

“HALLOWEENHEAD (FOR
MICHAEL MYERS)”

 

“Jamie Lee Curtis is definitely a dude,” I told the guy in
the papier-mâché mask. “No mistaking.”

 

He just looked at me.

 

“Don’t you agree? I mean, look at her throat. Supple-maybe too supple. And watch when she
swallows. There’s a ripple in her neck. It’s subtle-you blink, you’ll miss
it-but it’s there.”

 

Still, he eyeballed me.

 

“And, dude. Tell me you haven’t noticed her husky voice.
It’s just-it’s gross, right? I mean, all these years, since I was 12 and I saw
the first movie, I wanted to bone her so bad. Then I got that email. Do you
know how many times I rubbed one out, thinking of her? That’s why you went
after her in the movie, huh? You knew.”

 

More staring. I lost my shit.

 

“What the fuck is wrong with you, man? Why don’t you talk?! Are you some kinda mute or
something?”

 

He must have been, and I must’ve pissed him off, ‘cause he
pulled out a big-ass butcher knife and started moving toward me. I tried to get
away, but tripped over the hukka hose.

 

He moved slowly, but was on top of me cutting before I could
get up.

 

Then he left. I pulled myself up and examined my chest  in the mirror. The crimson traces formed block
letters: “PLAY SUMMER OF ’69, DUDE!”

 

 

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