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Of Course I'm Stephen Stills
The air was alive with sexual dust, fertile, you could actually feel the tiny whirlwinds of testosterone and pheremones passing over the hairs on your face, all pastel and electric; yeah, it was Spring and life was in love with itself again. I too, drunk on the energy, actually got up the nerve to sing once more after nearly a decade of depressed silence. Make no mistake, it wasn't simply the time of year, it was because I'd given in to my love of speed after fighting it for what seemed like too long. And with the speed, of course, my inspiration was born again, the flaming desire to sing (along with my voice) returned in it's full glory, and so there I sat, leaning against a low brick wall on Geary Street in San Francisco, Fisherman's Wharf to be exact, loaded out of my mind and gittin' down like a mothah fuckah, I MEAN I WAS DOIN' IT BABAH, LIKE HOWLIN WOLF, LIKE JOHN LEE HOOKER, A WHITE LADY SINGIN' THE "WHAT'S GONNA HAPPEN TO ME BLUES."
And boy oh boy, had I ever been wondering what was going to happen to me. My life was in a shambles; I was afraid to even leave my apartment because I'd begun to suffer from some kind of weird ass seizures and no one, not even the doctors could figure out what was the matter, meanwhile I was petrified I was going to die, but then, just as suddenly as they came, the seizures disappeared and I was nearly my old self again except for some lingering problems with my memory. For instance, I'll never forget one afternoon, I was downtown shopping at the five and dime when I found myself face to face with a pleasant looking fellow who seemed familiar enough, but as we exchanged hellos, I could not to save my soul place him and so, finally, unable to conceal my confusion another second, I was forced to admit the truth. "I know that I know you sir, but I can't for the life of me remember from where or what your name might be." His expression ran the gamut from bemused to pitying as he gently stated, "Anne, I'm Pete, your downstairs neighbor for the last five years." It could have been a lot worse, far more awkward, but in my favor was the fact that he too was afflicted with seizures and very familiar with the after effects, thus he wasn't at all insulted by my "amnesia." However, I certainly felt foolish.
Tapering off of Methadone had become nearly impossible because of those seizures, and it was only with the help of a very empathetic genius of a doctor who juggled with several experimental and obscure medications that I finally and successfully managed to withdraw from this highly addictive substance. And so, after being convinced it was "all over but for the shoutin'," life had re bloomed glorious, even my sexual nature awakened, turning me back into a hot blooded woman on the prowl - a little red rooster - loose in the barnyard once again.
As in the past, my music served as a great tool regarding my sexual communications, one I took full advantage of, used as a hook to "go fishin' with," catch me a good one when I desired, and so there I was, right out in public on the city street, watching the passersby watching me, and although I wouldn't turn money down, neither was I exerting myself to get any, I mean there WAS a basket sitting in front of me, but that was just a sham, you see, like I said, I wasn't there for money, I was there to "do it", looking for energy to grok, glom up, fuel my inspiration, anything and anyone fair game as I sang this song I wrote about being a hooker, nothin' blatant mind you, but sly and sneaky, lookin' at ya sideways and merely insinuating "my little secret;" that was the fun of it. Hmmm, let's see now if I can remember some of the words.
has my baby
mad at me
So I'm standin'
here on this corner
just to see
what I could see."
But of course the words alone don't do it justice, you have to hear it to really get the feeling, a laid back, slighty be- mused, wise ass attitude, but anyway apparently someone heard me all right, got sucked right in by the "flies" I was CASTING ACROSS THE WATER WITH MY EMOTIONAL FISHING LINE (and don't you be naive, I knew exactly what I wanted to catch) and by God, for once it worked, when out of no where, A FAMOUS FUCKING ROCK STAR, STEPHEN STILLS HIMSELF - WAS SO MOVED BY MY THANG HE JUST HAD TO PLAY RIGHT THEN AND THERE, AS WITH FINGERS ITCHING AND VOICE MUSCLES STRETCHING, HE WAS COMPELLED TO STOP WHAT HE WAS DOING, HUMBLE HIS GREAT PERSON RIGHT OUT THERE ON GREASY GEARY STREET AND ASK LITTLE OLD ME IN HIS WIMPIEST VOICE, "KUD OUI PWAY YER GITAWR?" ("COULD I PLAY YOUR GUITAR?")
I didn't even recognize him, but truth of the matter is, at one time Steve and I actually worked together, way back in the old days of "THE VILLAGE," (Greenwich) during the early sixties, neither of us rich or famous yet, but we did share a mutual liking and respect for one another. Right from the first time I heard him sing and play I thought he was FANTASTIC and I know he dug my sound, matter of fact, I knew he liked my ass too cause I caught him looking at it a few times, once in particular, the sexiest, hottest look I ever saw anyone give anybody. (gulp). It's nearly been thirty five years and I can still remember clearly the steam hissing as he branded his desire across my butt with his hot look, shot me in the ass with a visual bullet he did and sorry to say but one of my deepest regrets is that I never got to take advantage of the opportunity; I was madly in love with someone else and married at the time, pregnant besides, and wouldn't it be my bad luck I never did get to check Stevie boy out cause I just know he would've been a pistole - ssssssssssssssss.
And so, though there was no romance, at least we did manage to hook up a few times musically, practiced doing a few songs and then performed together at the Cafe Wah, in fact, we were doing that number "Money," you know, "MONEY DON'T GET EVERY THING IT'S TRUE, BUT WHAT IT DON'T GET I CAN'T USE, I NEED MONEY," and so we were gettin' down correctly, people were diggin' us, when all of a sudden, disaster struck, the amps blew out, right in the middle of our piece, but we kept going till our set was done, Steve a true trouper, even then.
As every one is well aware, Steve went on to become a world famous rock and roll star while I? I became the has been who never was, but anyway, here I sat on Geary St, Springtime San Francis-co, where everybody leaves their heart, and so I guess it was some deep inner gut level antennae that picked up on the frequency, internally he recognized the old stir I had caused in his cock years ago, the piece of ass he never got to have, and so he, drawn like a magnet, saunters over to where I'm singing and began to stare, in fact it was quite distracting, because to be honest, the whole while I was playing I could not ignore his presence, he was so ready to leap, I sensed it from the corner of my feelings and I was right, because as soon as the song was through, without waiting a second, without even saying "That was nice," he did leap, immediately requesting to play Rosie, my guitar.
Now I never let any one play my guitar, leastwise a perfect stranger, but for some reason my heart was calm and steady; I understood immediately that I was helpless, THIS WAS GOING TO HAPPEN; IT WAS SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN and so it did, more than me giving it, this man took my guitar and sat himself down and began to play, rather sloppily I might add, I guess because he was used to electric, while "Rosie" is an acoustic jazz guitar with a much higher action, far more difficult to deal with, and so he was making lots of mistakes, but no matter, I could still tell he was good, real fucking good, and with no pretentiousness I said so, told him, "You're a little out of practice but even so, you're really good."
Well, that must have riled him up, raised his ire, after all, HE WAS STEPHEN STILLS, and so, probably incensed at my audacity, he ignored my statement and began to sing. He hadn't finished hitting three notes when I realized for sure who it was, recognized that old familiar growl, that marvelous creamy scratch few white boys can manage, and I grew excited to see my old friend, now famous and successful. I exclaimed wildly, "I KNOW YOU, YOU'RE STEPHEN STILLS."
There was no response. He just kept singing and playing as if I weren't even there. It was then I noticed the white gook gathering at the corners of his mouth, the same kind I was plagued with after being loaded on speed for a while, you know, it happens to the best of us, you're so tweaked out you forget to swallow your own saliva and as you talk and whip your tongue around, you whip your spit and it turns to foamy cream and so as I noticed, it dawned on me, "This mother fucker's just as fucking loaded as I am" but no big deal, far be it from me to judge anyone harshly for the taking of their pleasures.
So here I was, ready to explode, trying to find a way to make my old buddy acknowledge me, I mean I was not concerned with being self contained or politically correct, because you must take into account, I ALSO WAS LOADED ON SPEED; I'M TALKING ABOUT PUMPED THE HELL UP AND OUT TO SING, NOT LISTEN, NOT TO HIM OR ANYBODY ELSE. Biting my tongue I once more waited but the instant he finished his song I immediately implored him, "Aren't you Stephen Stills?" Once more he ignored me, began to play and sing another tune.
This was too fucking much, the last straw, I didn't give a shit who the fuck he was, HE WAS PLAYING MY ROSIE AND IGNORING ME AT THE SAME TIME AND THAT WAS GONNA STOP REAL QUICK. I bellowed, "YOU ARE STEPHEN STILLS AREN'T YOU?" He stopped playing. He leaned back and said with huge annoyance, "OF COURSE I'M STEVEN STILLS!!!" Not one bit fazed, I grew even more excited, words spilling like alphabet soup from my lips, "STEVE, DON'T YOU REMEMBER ME? WE USED TO PLAY TOGETHER IN THE VILLAGE, DON'T YOU REMEMBER, WE WERE PLAYING THAT SONG "MONEY" AT THE CAFE WAH, DON'T YOU REMEMBER ME AND THE AMPS BLEW OUT WHILE WE WERE IN THE MIDDLE OF OUR ACT, DON'T YOU REMEMBER?
Not a spark of recognition appeared in those cool blue eyes, not until I mentioned "DON'T YOU REMEMBER ME, I WAS MARRIED TO SAL LOMBARDO?" That did the trick. I guess being reminded of the piece of ass he never got to have was what made it stand out, as finally, he was able to place me. I watched as his pupils grew pinned and his eyes focused for the first time and he said, "Oh yeah, I remember you."
No, "How you been," no, "Gee, it's good to see you, glad you're still alive; we had some good times back then in the old days didn't we," just, "Oh yeah, I remember you."
Okay. He remembered me. That had been taken care of. Now back to what he really was there for, just like me, he wanted to jack off, he was loaded and away from his guitar when he came upon me, never expecting to be struck by the immediate need to musically masturbate in public. But here was a white woman, SINGIN THE BLUES AND NOT HALF ASS BAD EITHER AND HE WAS INSPIRED TO SHOW ME UP RIGHT THEN AND THERE, TEACH ME A LESSON IN HUMILITY.
And so he began to play again, but not before he banged my Rosie against the wall he was leaning on at which point I chided him, said in a not too friendly voice and quite loudly besides, "HEY, BE CAREFUL!" That was when he made one of the most omnipotent and inappropriate remarks anyone has every made to me in my entire fucking life. He said quietly and steadily, "I can replace the guitar." Looking deep into what I began to suspect might be very shallow eyes I stated, "OH NO, YOU CAN'T REPLACE THE GUITAR, THAT'S ROSIE, SHE WRITES MUSIC."
Okay, enuf said. Even though I was not pleased at the bemused expression as he "humored me" and nodded "okay," I didn't protest as he continued, playing about two more songs, still pumped the hell up and although I was polite, behaving like a good little audience, what I really wanted was to either sing WITH him or have him listen to me play too, TAKE TURNS while "I show him something," then "he shows me something," you know, "musical fencing," and so I said after what I thought was a fair enough amount of time, "Let me do a little piece I wrote, I'd love to show it to you."
Reluctantly he hands me the guitar and I begin to play while looking down at the fret board, my mind deep in the garden of my music, wondering which flowers I should pick for him and believing I was getting the chance of a lifetime, plucked the biggest and best blue rose I had, THEN SANG MY GUTS OUT FOR THE BASTARD, I mean, don't get me wrong now, nothing too dramatic, blues is never about overkill, but when I looked up, there was nothing, only a void, one empty black space where he had been standing moments before.
He was gone. He'd left with not even a goodbye, left so completely, there was a pull in the atmosphere, threatening to suck me along with it. I put my guitar down and sighed, which was when I noticed, "Oh no," there was a hole in Rosie. STEPHEN STILLS HIMSELF HAD BANGED A HOLE IN MY BELOVED LITTLE GIRL, DAMAGED MY BEAUTIFUL PRECIOUS GUITAR, FOREVER INJURING HER. Not only that, it was all my fault I had failed to protect her and instead handed her over to him without even a feeble protest. Needless to say, I sure didn't feel like singing anymore. I tenderly and gently put Rosie in her hard shell case where she'd be safe, the one that was supposed to be strong enough to keep her from being smashed even if she was dropped out of an airplane, after which we sadly went home.
It's been nearly thirty years and the hole is still there. I never got around to having it fixed. For one thing, it's in a delicate place and in the process of repair she could be hurt more than helped. Another thing, I am really fussy about who works on the baby and I just haven't run into any legendary guitar repairmen lately - not since Charlie Le Bow died (RIP). Thank heavens it never noticeably affected Rosie's sound but I know it hurt her self esteem. I myself had never handled her roughly, although when I found her it was evident she was well broken in, all scratched up from the brutal use of a savage pick, but I adopted her anyway because I like scars, having quite a few of my own, my badges of honor and courage, and besides, no matter what her appearance, she is alive, the second I touched her I felt her spirit swell under my hand as to this day she's still bursting with energy. And so I rescued her as she rescued me and promised the plain little brown sparrow that no one would ever hurt her again.
But Stephen Stills did, he hurt her; I watched him do it right in front of me and I didn't even realize. That's the part that makes me feel the worst.
While I've got your attention (hopefully) I'd like to tell y'all a little story about something very special that happened between me and Rosie. A day or so after I bought her, I got the deepest inclination, like a voice from out of the clouds commanded me; there was no question; HER NAME WAS TO BE ROSIE. And one year later I found out - ROSIE IS MADE OF ROSEWOOD. HOW DO YOU LIKE THAT? A coincidence? I don't think so.
Meanwhile, wherever you might be Stephen Stills, IF YOU'RE READING THIS, YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED. YOU KNOW DAMN WELL YOU BANGED A HOLE IN MY ROSIE, THAT'S PROBABLY WHY YOU SNUK OFF LIKE A THIEF IN THE NITE. YOU PROBABLY THOUGHT TO YOURSELF, "SHIT, NOW I'LL NEVER GET RID OF THIS BITCH. SHE'S GOING TO CLING TO ME LIKE AN ALBATROSS AROUND MY NECK; WANT ME TO MAKE IT UP TO HER BY GETTING HER A RECORDING CONTRACT; SHE'LL PROBABLY INSIST THAT I FUCK HER BRAINS OUT TOO," and maybe I would have tried, shot my best shot, but I can take no for an answer...I can do it fairly gracefully besides, but meanwhile, YOU BROKE MY GUITAR YOU INCONSIDERATE BOOB AND YOU DID NOT EVEN APOLOGIZE, NOT EVEN TO ROSIE HERSELF. OH YEAH, ONE OTHER LITTLE THING. YOU CAN BET I'LL NEVER FORGET. "OF COURSE, YOU'RE STEVEN STILLS."
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