Lonely Austin Nights

When Rikki awoke, the glowing red lines on his bedside alarm clock read 3:07. “Crap!” He had a rehearsal at four o’clock at Johnny’s. He jumped out of bed, grabbed his towel and took a quick shower, more to wake himself up than anything. He threw on some tattered old jeans, black shoes, and a faded blue t-shirt with its long-forgotten, worn out logo and headed out the door with his guitar, grabbing his black leather jacket on his way out as an afterthought.

As he made his way over to Johnny’s, Rikki remembered the argument he had with Danielle that morning. It was nothing new; they had covered this ground often these past few months, but this time it seemed different, more real maybe, like Danielle was hinting at more than she was telling. He knew Danielle wanted a family, and so did he, but he couldn’t just quit his music and go sit in a cubical in some sterile office all day. “Fuck that,” Rikki muttered as he pulled into Johnny’s drive over a half hour late. He grabbed his guitar and walked around back to the broken down, detached garage that functioned as their rehearsal and recording studio and which they dubbed “Beantown South” in homage to his and Johnny’s hometown.

“Hey Rikki, glad you could make it!” Johnny exclaimed as he threw his arms dramatically in the air.

“Traffic.”

“Yeah. Traffic. Or maybe the dozen Guinness you put away last night,” Johnny chuckled. Rikki had to laugh. As Johnny and the band sat around, idly chatting and drinking cold Shiners, Rikki unpacked his guitar, smiling for the first time that day. His hangover drifted away with the ringing notes of his guitar as he tuned up.

He and Johnny had met in ninth grade shop class back in Boston and were fast friends from the start. Rikki’s father was a local jazz musician and used to sneak the boys into the clubs at night as he played the Boston circuit. By the time they put their own band together, Rikki and Johnny were already well known by the managers at all the clubs. These connections landed the boys some choice gigs later on. After high school, they discovered Stevie Ray Vaughn and Texas blues and decided to move to Austin and try their luck in that burgeoning music scene. They quickly landed part time jobs to pay their living expenses and started putting a band together. They played shows at any club at any time they could book them.

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