Teardrop – Jed (iv)

Minnie Priestess is an enigma. She tells people that’s her name. Her mother looks away slyly and I accept it. She asked me once why her last name was Priestess and I told her because everything along the way got a little screwy and we sort of lost that something that keeps our names what they originally were. I didn’t put it that way. I think I said “You’re last name isn’t Priestess. It’s Jones.” But she just looked away, accepting that her last name was Jones while also accepting that her last name was Priestess. You have to go to the personality of her mother if you are to understand.

Helen Capowitz was sitting in a McDonalds reading the classified ad section of the Nashville newspaper. She was a small girl with big tits. That’s all I saw. That’s the kind of girl I look for and always have. Never considered a girl much more viable if she was petit and yet had big tits. So I talked to her. I’d been in Nashville for about a month and I was sick of it. Her name was Helen and she’d heard that if you’re going to make it in the music business you should get to Hollywood. Now Helen loved Elvis, but she had more of a Nancy Sinatra feel to her. Back then chicks didn’t rock like they do now, only a few of them, a slight few like Heart, Pat Benetar was just starting to be known a little bit. Helen had this idea though and she was a talker. So while I’m sitting there drinking my coffee in the back of this Nashville McDonalds, Helen is pulling out these photographs of herself all decked out in leather with the words Moxy Priestess underneath. Her logo was of a shoe, a black stiletto heel that she used, it seemed, as a threat of violence to anybody who would mess with her. She looked up at me from her thick glasses and she asked me directly, “you like?” And I said I did, but I didn’t care about the concept. That was her own trip. But she needed a band. She needed someone to go with her to put Moxy Priestess on the map and she was all alone, a little Jewish, pseudo-intellectual girl from New Jersey who didn’t want to be labeled.

So, of course, I take her out to my GTO and show her my amp but we didn’t have any electricity. She bit her lip and looked at me and said “What’s your name again?” like she was going to buy me, like I was a good prospect finally. I said, “Jed.” “Perfect,” she said. So we were off. That’s when Moxy Priestess was born. I had my habit back then, but it wasn’t as desperate as it would become after the Priestess really took off and I had money to shit out my ass. Moxy left me for awhile then. She always hated my habit while we were on the road, but she always stood by me. She was a tough bitch and I don’t mean that in a bad way, but in a good way. One time in Cincinnati this stoned kid comes up out of the crowd and tries to take my guitar. I push him back, but I fall back myself and this kid just jumps on me. The roadies were there, but they had to pull Moxy away first. She’d taken off one of her shoes, one of her seven inch heels and placed it firmly into the back of the guys head almost fifteen times. She thought he was hurting me, but he wasn’t. That’s a bitch, man. That’s the kind of bitch you want around if you’re a dog like I was, a cur, a beast. I had the beast in me back then. I was a mean bastard because I didn’t care about anything but Moxy and my hit. That’s just the way it was. I never hurt anybody back then except a few people who deserved it, but I was cold as a witches tit, cold to the public only because I let my guitar do my talking for me, but colder to the ones who loved me, my family. God placed Albert on the earth to make sure that I wouldn’t freeze to death. Helen got out one night a book by Dante called the Inferno and in this book they talked about how all the worst people in hell were not burning up, but freezing up. That’s where I was. Frozen.
When Teardrop fell into the water it had to be hard to get out. And that water running down that creek at that time of year is some of the coldest stuff you can imagine. I’ve gone looking for the way he came up the mountain, but I can’t find it. That’s a mystery greater than any mystery ever posed. How did Teardrop make it up the mountain? How? When Albert found me at that Dunkin Donuts with my wife there in Fort Lee I sat outside in the parking lot thinking about him. I thought how my brother, all grown up and really like someone I’d never seen before, looked injured. When Moxy told me about the call he’d made I just looked at her. She’d lied for me for ten years while I did smack. I didn’t want nobody, nobody finding me. I wasn’t going to let anybody find me. Nobody was going to see me again. I’d had enough of the spotlight and the fucking pricks who run the road and the fucking pricks who give me shit and the fucking pricks who give me chicks and make Moxy mad at me. But I wasn’t giving up the heroin just yet.
But I had given it up by then, two years. And every day of those two sober years living with Moxy in New Jersey I thought about my mama and my brother Albert and there was no way for me to go back. They’d have to come and get me because I had so many tears inside of me by then that I didn’t feel like a man anymore. Then Albert showed up. He was no more than a baby when I left. He’d listen to me play my guitar while I got stoned. Got him stoned once too and have never been proud of it. I laugh at it a little now though. And there he was sitting in the Dunkin Donuts waiting for me to show up and I won’t. I sit in the car with Moxy and we talk and watch. She knows I’m not going to let him get away, but she also knows that I can’t go in there. I’m too ashamed for what I’d done to my family, especially my mama.

Moxy said to me in that car something that I knew was true. She said that he’s my only brother. And I’d hear her wise words and look at Albert sitting there all alone and I wondered why I wasn’t talking to him yet and I felt like Minnie must of felt when she watched us lower Teardrop into the ground. I felt like somebody had died and it was me. So when a couple of hours went by like that Albert had had enough. He put on his pack and walked outside the Dunkin Donuts. He never tried calling again. So I got out of the car and walked up to him and said “Little bro.” And he looked at me like he was seeing not a ghost, but God. I realized then what I’d done to him by acknowledging him as one of the two most important people in the world when he was seven years old. For that I got a lifetime guarantee of pure love. We went inside and we hadn’t sat down for more then thirty seconds when Albert took time out from his sobbing and socked me so hard in the nose that it cracked and I went black. When I woke up he was gone and I knew I had to go home.

Published in: on September 6, 2009 at 4:42 pm  Leave a Comment  

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