There she was, her half-naked form still laying sound asleep on the other side of the bed, stealing a good chunk of the blanket and sheets. "Oh shit..." was the first thing I truly thought about, before I started to grab my shoes and do the first thing I always do. Get the hell out. Even the cat knew the routine, as he was already heading back for his carrier. I grabbed it, and did my best to silently leave. I was halfway to the car, when I heard a door swing open, and a female voice call to me...


[Episode 02 - Back To The Start]

Lindsey Romack is an incredibly beautiful girl. On the inside and out, there lays a frightenly huge spark of optimism. Maybe it's the world not really knowing what the hell goes on up here in Bumblefuck, California, but she doesn't ever fear the bad things. If only I had half of that. She walks over to me and smiles. She's got that twinkle of a girl who found someone to connect with, and even though I know she thinks it's me, I don't want to hear that. "C'mon...let's drive the coast today. We'll have fun. We'll leave here and get to where we're going. You and I...we'll play smoky bars and we'll write until hands are numb."

"You take too much stock in things that aren't really there. I'm sorry about what happened, but I'm not what you're looking for...Lindsey, right?" I said, not too convincingly. I knew her name. I knew her face. I knew that if I let her in, I may find some deep, dark recessive spot of my life that was anything but angst-filled. It didn't matter to this girl. Nothing seemed to extinguish her glowing heart, and her eyes told me that she was attached.

Sex is just a horrible thing in this world. We use it as the measuring stick of how we feel about someone. Over the past several years I've gotten used to the idea that two people could have sex and it not mean anything. It just beats dying alone. It just beats spending another night in an empty bed, wondering what life would be like if we had found that picture perfect soulmate. I was thinking about that around 2 PM, when I was way back on the road, heading down to Los Angeles, and it had really dawned on me that I let Lindsey Romack pack up and leave with me. After that last little plea, she ran to her house (also across the street from the hotel, next to that bar), and grabbed a small bag. Now she's sleeping in my backseat, and my cat's carrier in the front. He hissed. "I know, Bret...I don't like it either."

"Come up to meet you, tell you I'm sorry
You don't know how lovely you are
I had to find you
Tell you I need you
Tell you I set you apart
Tell me your secrets
And ask me your questions
Oh let's go back to the start
Running in circles
Coming in tales
Heads are a science apart

Nobody said it was easy
It's such a shame for us to part
Nobody said it was easy
No one ever said it would be this hard
Oh take me back to the start..."

I kept driving, and I flipped through the radio to find some redeeming quality to keep it on. Everything that seems to be played these days is shit. Nothing ever catches my fancy, and I turn the dial. Imagine my surprise when I heard a radio ad for New Era Wrestling, and their pay per view in San Francisco. I heard my brother's name on the radio...and then I heard the other one. That life of mine was a long time ago, and one I'd rather forget. Who needs to be in the ring anyways? "Alex...did they just say your name on the radio?" Lindsey asked, and I looked at her like the biggest curse came out of her mouth. "No. I am not, never have been, and never will be Andrew Ashton."

"Don't get so touchy about it...jeez." she said, looking offended by my response. It's true though. I don't want to be like any of them, for simple reasons. They're assholes. I don't like them. However, they're family...and it feels like forever since I've seen any of my brothers. I hear Timothy is doing pretty well for himself these days. It's just a random thought as I pull off the highway, taking a night's rest in San Francisco.

After finding another cheap motel, I fell victim to a woman's beautiful eyes. Lindsey wanted to sightsee, since it was the first time she'd ever been away from her small town in California. I wound up taking her to around the coastline. With the small money left over in my coffee can of tips I make working open mic nights, I was able to scrounge up enough for a small dinner at Applebees'. We walked a little bit farther down, and found a nice bar to go sit in. After a few moments, she pitched for drinks, and we sat at a table, and she smiled at me. "I don't know the first thing about you, Alex. That's probably the appealing part."

I looked at her and shrugged. "It's also probably for the best, kid. I'm not exactly high quality company." I said, and I tried to be as convincing as possible. Something about her made me want to not push her away. It's like going to the country and seeing the purest sights in America. The places where industrial machines haven't touched the ground, the water still runs clear, and the sky doesn't look so gray. If I see that in her, what could I see with her around me? "You don't get along with many people, do you?"

"Just my cat and my guitar, Lindsey Romack." I said, and took a sip of my beer. Maybe I lied about drinking too much the last time I told you a story. I drink way too much for my own good. I guess it's just being a bar hopper, hoping to hear something that inspires me, or hoping someone hears me. My guitar is how I scream, and my songs are how I vent. I've become quite a peaceful person...about as peaceful as the trio on stage right now. The girl on drums seems like she's mastered her craft, and the guy playing guitar seems to know how to reach someone's soul. The bass player knows what he's doing, and they're masterfully playing something that sounds close to material from Sister Hazel, and I wish I could be up there. They finally stop that cover, and they bust out into something I've never heard before. It sounds like Staind, one of the few "nu-metal" bands that I can honestly say I enjoy listening to. The tune they play reminds me honestly of something I'd write if I ever decided to go that path, and I'm just in awe. "You like their sound?"

"They're impressive. Most people who play Sister Hazel don't play Staind, and vice versa. They're versatile. If they bust out some Stevie Ray Vaughn..." I tried to say the rest, but sure enough, they did. It was "The Sky Is Crying", and I couldn't believe it. This was truly a barroom band. These three knew it all, and I couldn't believe it. The set had finished for now, and I made my way over there, and talked to the guitar player. "That was impressive man...I didn't know anyone could pull off that trio of artists."

"Thanks man. I appreciate that." he said to me. He looked like a rock punk these days...the kind of guy you see in a Staind video. His wife was dressed kind of like Meg White, and his the other guy looked like a garage punk rocker. "What's your name, bro?" he said to me.

"Alex...Alex Ashton" I said, and shook his hand. "It's nice to meet you, Alex. I'm Jonathan Collins."

The five of us started talking the whole evening, and it was the most enlightening conversation I'd ever have. There was Jonathan, a guy who seemed like someone I could relate to...his wife Helena, who learned drums in less than a month, and had been playing for two years, since she met Jonathan, and then there was his brother Robbie, who seemed like a kindred spirit for the rest of us. Lindsey and myself enjoyed the conversation, but of course, it came to closing time. "Listen, I'll be down in L.A. eventually...if you ever come back to visit your family in Anaheim, look me up." I told him. I found out he was a wrestler, and he was probably the first person that told me that I wasn't bothered with that information by.

"Listen...if you stay long enough, I'll be wrestling on Sunday for New Era Wrestling. Come look me up, man." he told me, and handed me a business card. "If you call me Sunday afternoon, I'll make sure to get you and your girl in for free."

"Oh...she's not my girl, Jon." I said, and she looked a bit disappointed. "Nope...Alex is just my ride to Los Angeles." she said, and I actually felt hurt.

"Yeah...we'll do that. It sounds good to me." I said, looking over at her. Maybe it was the two beers, but she wasn't such a bad person to have around. I don't think I'd mind her at all.

I don't think I'd mind starting a new life with these people around.

"I was just guessing
At numbers and figures
Pulling your puzzles apart
Questions of science
Science and progress
Do not speak as loud as my heart
Tell me you love me
Come back and haunt me
Oh and I rush to the start
Running in circles
Chasing tails
Coming back as we are

Nobody said it was easy
Oh it's such a shame for us to part
Nobody said it was easy
No one ever said it would be so hard
I'm going back to the start..."

| Coldplay - "The Scientist" |