The Dissonant Ballad of Eric Noble: part one

The air was rife with stale cigarette smoke, and bad decisions. The room spun, and slowly came into focus just long enough to find a clear path to a trash can. Between heaves, Eric thought to himself how it was funny that the taste of stomach bile reminded him of warm citrus soda. He laid down in the floor once he was finished, thinking of how nice the cold kitchen tile felt on his face. His moans must have woken someone, he could hear movement coming from the couch, but didn't have the energy to turn in that direction.

“Oh good, you didn't miss the trash can!” laughed Christine, the host of last night's festivities. Eric rolled over, and tried getting up, but didn't have the strength. He came face to face with a crushed beer can under a cabinet, and felt his stomach turn. He bolted upright for quick access to the plastic bin he had been holding, but the nausea passed for now. “You want food, right?” asked Christine, stepping over empty cases of beer, and a pile of silent protest from the cat.

Eric moaned in agreement along with the other guys in the living room. There was another show to play that night about 3 hours away, and he wasn't certain of this new city's hospitality. He thought that realistically, this could be their only meal for the day. Bodies began slowly moving through the house, leaning against walls for balance, and digging around in ashtrays. Eric relocated to the couch beside Julius, the other “roadie” for this trip. Neither one had ever left their hometowns for longer than a night or two, but that would change before nightfall.

The smell of burning toast filled the room, only partially masking the thick cloud of marijuana smoke wafting over from Julius' end of the couch. “Here dude, hit this, it'll help your nausea.” he said, offering a small clay pipe to Eric. Eric had always been nervous about most things, but especially illegal things. A few weeks ago, he never would have even considered attending a party like last night's, much less agree to help out on a band's tour. Indeed, life was beginning to fill up with all types of new experiences.

Since he was already doing new things like getting drunk, and partying with Rock bands, he thought he might as well partake in the pungent plant. Besides, the temptation of something that could quell the storm in his gut was too much to resist; he took a long drag, and proceeded to cough until he was dizzy. A few chuckles were heard from band members, and one commented that Eric would be a full blown party monster by the end of the tour. Everyone laughed at the thought of quiet, nerdy Eric as a party animal; secretly, Eric hoped they were right.

Eric was still new to town when he got invited to his first house show. Julius was one of the first people to speak to him, and seemed friendly from the start. It didn't take long before the two of them were hanging around each other all the time, always talking about music, and their personal philosophies. Eric knew nothing of Anarchism, or Hardcore Punk before Julius came along. Now they could have a good laugh about Blink 182 being Eric's gateway Punk band, but at first, Julius was having no part of it. “That shit's weak, dude! You should be listening to Leftover Crack!” and so began Eric's lessons in the ways of Punk.

When his parents died, Eric had to live with his Aunt in the mountains of North Carolina. She was a bible-thumping, fire and brimstone Pastor, and kept Eric on a very short leash. He was miserable, dealing with the loss of his parents, and the near-constant talk of death, and subservience from his Aunt. When he turned eighteen, he almost blew the hinges off the door as he left that house. He needed somewhere to go where he could listen to music without being lectured, and live life in the way that he wanted, so he moved into a squat with Julius, and a few of his friends.

He was always a bit of a sheltered kid, so when the reigns were finally cut loose, Eric dove headfirst into his new lifestyle. Dumpster diving for pizza became one of his favorite hobbies, next to guzzling 40s, and moshing at every Punk show he could find; naturally he jumped at the chance to roadie for his favorite local group, Dystopian Paradise. He sat back on the couch as his first ever high kicked in, and thought about how much his life had changed in the past few months. He wasn't sure if it was because of what he just smoked, but he knew he had never felt so enamored with life.

Christine walked in holding two plates, one stacked with dark toast, the other piled with shredded potatoes. Everyone reached for the burnt bread first, gleefully crunching, as Eric asked “You guys like burnt toast?”. “It's a great hangover cure, look it up sometime, I don't remember the science behind it.” said Vince, bassist of Dystopian Paradise, and the only vegan member of the band. “That might be true, but I prefer the old fashioned way.” said singer, Kevin as he opened a beer. Eric cringed at the thought of more alcohol, but felt slightly in awe; certain that he was in the presence of real rock stars.

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