The Bridge

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Manhattan, New York, USA

They were actually punching him in the face.

Fucking New Yorkers.
Bridge and Tunnel people.

Soundgarden just finished rocking the Roseland Ballroom. In the frenetic feedback of the Jesus Christ Pose encore, Chris Cornell raised his Les Paul over his head, and, with a howl, chucked it into the frothing arms of the mosh pit.

A Henry Rollins-faced fan snatched the guitar from the smog above our heads and hugged his tree trunk arms around it.

The crowd’s arms reached in hungrily. The fan used his shoulders to fend off the groping. The strings stretched and snapped. The tuning knobs were ripped off. The volume knob was seized.

They kicked his legs out. He went down hard, flat on his back, arms still crossed over the guitar. The terrible, sticky floor. A momento mori.

The fan fought for it. Faceless hands reached through bodiless legs to pry his fingers. He was terribly strong. The jackals pulled and punched. The head of the guitar cracked. A black Doc Martin kicked his ribs. I watched his nose leak red across his cheek. He barked up at us from the floor.

An enormous security guard pushed his way through with a screeching police whistle. His beefy arms pressed us back.

An eye in the storm.

The fan’s eyes widened. He stood up with his bloody face and pumped Chris Cornell’s guitar above his head. He screamed at the empty stage, at the sky above. YEEEAAAAA!!!!!

I was proud of him. We all were, despite our madness.

The fan fought for something he wanted. I stood there like a camera.

The security guard listened to his earpiece, bit his lips and shook his head. The fan’s shoulders slumped. The security guard slowly, easily, slid the guitar from the fan’s hands the way one might take a filet from a German Shepard; with a prayer.

I looked down. Something glimmered next to my Pumas. No one’s head seemed to notice. I slowly, faux-unmotivatedly kneeled down without changing my shitty, eyebrow-knotted New Yorker facial expression. I was trying not to get mauled.

The bridge of a Les Paul is a dense, metal finger. It has two cuts that make it vaguely resemble a manta ray. It holds the tension of the strings. When the strings are removed, it falls off. I slid it into my pocket.

Lights on.
Background music.
Where are my friends?


Photo by Jimmy Stewart