"Mike Patton is a fucking genius, Alex..." was the last thing I can remember coherently from my night at the bar. Another open mic night, and another few free beers from the drunks who loved my performance of "Easy Like Sunday Morning" (the Faith No More version), or from the occasional girl who dug the guitar. Girls don't like me, they like the Fender. So after five beers, four napkins with numbers that I throw in the garbage upon leaving, I pack up and throw everything into a beat up 1983 Ford Fairmont. This piece of shit was handed down to me by my best friend. He hated the car so much, he painted the trunk bright orange. If you know your football, you'll be shocked to hear that my car looks like it could cheerlead for the Cleveland Browns. Once I take enough shortcuts to get past all the major speedtraps, and blocks where cops would stop me for being drunker than Ted Kennedy. I finally park the car and look up. It's kind of nice. I can still see the Space Needle from my window, and I can see it from here...but the first thought I can think of is..."I want to fucking move. It rains too much."

[Episode 01 - Uninspired]

I climb up the eighty-eight stairs up to my loft, carrying my amp and guitar without stopping. If I stop, then I get tired, and it's not worth falling asleep on my stairs. I tried that last week, and Mrs. McAllister threatened to tell the landlord. Fucking bitch. By the time I reach my door, I'm sober enough to remember I left my keys in my pocket, so one of the next tasks is easier. Once I unlock the door, I use my foot to push in the amp, and then I smell it.

Beer, cigerettes, and sex.

I really need to learn how to clean up.

"God damnit...not again." I say aloud, when I finally turn on the lightswitch. On the couch, reeking of all three scents is my girlfriend, Tabithia. I should have broken up with her by now, but the torment makes for good music...and I'm lazy...and I just don't care. I haven't made love to her since sometime last fall, and I haven't spent a quality day with her since Valentine's Day, when I spent my money from gigs to take her to dinner and a movie.

She promptly left in the middle of the movie to go fuck the guy who sells her weed.

"Get the fuck up, Tabby." I said, weeding my way through all the garbage on my floor, throwing my beat up hooded sweatshirt on the opposite couch. "I'm serious, Tabby! Get the fuck up, and this time, get the fuck out of my house!" She finally starts to stagger, and this time, I think I've drank enough to be courageous to throw her out of my loft. Sure, she doesn't exactly live here, but you figure she would by the amount of time she spends here, and the little she actually contributes.

"Alex, what's going on?" she says in a half-conscious state. I'm still throwing her clothes (aka the t-shirts she's worn enough times to have her stink on them) in a garbage bag. By the time she's sat up straight, the bag is at her feet.

"Get the fuck out of my house, Tabby. I'm sick of you doing this to me, and then crawling into my house like it's all going to go away. I'm not bailing you out of any more problems, do you hear me?" These are the words of a man with liquid courage, and perhaps the only way I'd ever say these things. Mind you, I don't go out and get blitzed every night. This was a good night for me, so I celebrated...maybe I celebrated a little too hard. "Get the fuck out, and don't come back, because I'm serious...we're through."

"You've got to give me one more chance, Alexander...I'm sorry. I got a little drunk, and he took advantage of me. I didn't mean it." she says sobbing. I would've believed it until I heard a door swing open behind me, and some dickhead is walking out of the bathroom in my boxers and shirt. "What the FUCK?! You gave him my clothes?!"

The man is just as confused as I am, but by this time I'm pushing him out of the door of my home. Maybe I should be pushing myself out, instead of them. I'm just so fucking annoyed right now. Combine the aggravation with alcohol, and you've got a severe lacking of judgement on any part. "Both of you, and that means you, Tabby...get the fuck out of my house!"

The total loss: one pair of Star Wars boxers, one old Metallica shirt, one Jimi Hendrix shirt, a whole year of trying to repair something that can't be fixed by letting the whore into my life. When everyone's finally vacated the premises, I find the groove in my couch that I call my own. It's not long before my cat comes up and hops into my lap. "Hey there, Bret...what a day, right? Oh well...I'll go make some Hamburger Helper. We'll share."

"Took a drive up the coast for the first time
Where the cities are few and far between
Found redemption, the street signs bearing my name
And direction, the last thing on my mind

Cuz I fell once again for believing
And in faith, I began to drive
I left my home to search for a feeling
That I'd lost that must have died...I must have died..."

I don't remember when I decided to leave Seattle, but it was sometime after I chased the bitch out of my house, and before the sun rose. I packed everything into the beat up Ford, and found a little carrier for Bret. A few minutes later, I was on the road, and that takes us to about right now. Right now, it's Southern California or bust. I think I've got a plan all figured out. I'm going to make a few bucks playing bars, and this time I'm going to be serious about it. I may have to live in my piece of shit car for a few months, but I'll make my money my own way. One stop for gas later, and I'm noticing the attendant is busy watching something on television.

"Can I get some service, or should I leave the money on the counter via the honor system?" I said, with a hint of a joke in my voice. Apparently, he didn't get it.

"Ten bucks...and don't interrupt a man when he's watching wrestling 'round these parts." he said with a grunt, reminding me of the stereotypical hick you'd find in these parts.

"Wrestling? Hah. I leave that shit to my brothers." It's true. I have. Corey, Andrew, Timothy...all of them seem to appreciate that shit. I tried it for a bit, but it never seemed to be my thing. I couldn't find myself getting too attached to it, but I do admit that it's fun. Being forced to get into the ring and scream and hoot and hollar about kicking someone's ass seems so...primative. It's not to say that I feel like I'm above that, but I feel like it's just not my thing.

"Who are your brothers?" he said inquisitively. For a minute, I thought he was going to cut me a deal if I said the right name. I imagined him calling his friends, telling him that he had the relative of a celebrity in his gas station, and how he'd be the happiest man alive for the next few days. "Timothy, Corey, and Andrew Ashton." I said. He squinted his eyes and took my cash. "Have a nice day, sir." he said matter-of-factly. Damn my genetics.

I think it was some time around 2 AM when I stopped again somewhere in Northern California, and invested a bit more in a cheap motel across from a bar. Once I finally got my cat out of the car, and into the hotel room so he could walk around, I noticed an open mic sign. I grabbed the amp and Fender and walked across the street. Inside, I noticed a few people left. The bartender looked over at me, and pointed me towards the stage. In about five minutes, I was tuned and ready, and I started singing a song that I heard one afternoon, "Uninspired", a song by a band called 8stops7. I managed to make it through without fumbling, an accomplishment for someone who has barely slept in the past twenty-four hours. After a couple more songs (including the old favorite of "Last Goodbye" by Kenny Wayne Shepherd), I started packing it up. That moment has now brought upon catastrophe. I tripped someone.

"Holy shit, are you okay?" I said, helping the waitress to her feet. She had nice eyes. I don't think I noticed anything else but those.

"I'm okay...no harm done. The only thing bruised is my ego, since these guys don't know how to treat a lady." she said, then paused. "You did a good job up there. The Kenny Wayne song is a favorite."

"Thanks. I'm Alex." I said, realizing that this is either going to be good for a night, or the biggest mistake I've ever made.

"I'm Lindsey. Lindsey Romack." she said, smiling.

"Alex Ashton." I said, picking up my stuff again. "Listen...I should get going. It's late, and I just checked into that motel across the way. It was nice meeting you, Lindsey Romack."

"The same to you, Alex Ashton." she said, and I kind of lingered on her face for a moment. Something happened in that instant while I lingered, something I'm not used to. She kissed my forehead. "Stay for at least a beer? I'm actually just finishing my shift, and..."

"Sure." I said, and thirteen minutes and three beers later, I was sitting around the bar's piano, and playing 'The Scientist' by Coldplay. She leaned against it, hanging on the notes like they were a lifeline. I looked up at her and smiled. "Know the words?"

"Not well enough to play along, but I'll learn to fake it someday. If I'm going to make it down south, I better. I want to get to Los Angeles, try to get a demo out or something."

"I'm shootin' for the same thing. I've already started to starve for my craft, so I expect you'll do the same?" I said, looking at Lindsey. I think, that for some reason, this part of the world has made her foolish and pure. The bad things in this life haven't touched her, and that's just fine. Some people deserve that. I couldn't let her see what's wrong...at least not yet. "Well, Lindsey Romack, it's time for me to get back to my cat, and my ramen noodles. It was a pleasure."

"Let me walk with you." she said, and we both reached for my guitar, our hands touching, as we did the cliche stare into each other's eyes, and by default, soul. I finally relented and let her carry my precious Fender back to my car across the street, and then it was onto the door.

"Thanks for the beer, Lindsey. Take care of yourself." I said, nodding and smiling. I brushed the hair out of her face and nodded a bit, before opening the door to my room. Now I couldn't tell you how it happened, if it happened, or why in the hell I'm telling you of all people this, but when I woke up and turned over the next morning, there was Lindsey Romack, laying in bed next to me.

"Aw shit." I said. "Maybe the rain wasn't so bad after all."

"I've been feeling uninspired
Battered and broken tired
Cuz there's many things I've never learned
or even decided...What I'm ready to serve

Falling asleep, the back of my car
Who'd have believed I could get this far?
Now all of my friends have lost their defense
Doesn't make much sense...I don't need sense..."

|8stops7 - "Uninspired"|