Johnny’s pub folks – chapter Mister Keith

 

Johnny's pub folks

Johnny’s pub folks

 

Imaginary stories of rock music

 

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Johnny B. Boogie is the owner of this imaginary pub where he can meet his idols. It’s everyone’s dream, basically, and Johnny manages to make it happen in his mind.

His name comes from the famous song by Chuck Berry, Johnny B. Goode, because according to Johnny B. Boogie, in the rock and roll scene everyone should be called “Johnny something” and this consideration is a tribute to the great Chuck as supposed father of rock music; so, even the waiters are called Johnny B. Strong, Johnny B. Bup, Johnny Stand By, Johnny B. Cool.

Johnny B. Boogie is an eccentric fan, but not a dangerous one, a gloomy guy who has shut down to escape the greyness of life and who loves so much rock stars to accept their limits, excesses, contradictions; even the betrayals: who can show such loyalty?

Johnny evokes their spirit and his idols come to the rescue to shake him, as if they were an inner voice or a speaking soul. Life is hard and often the only thing left is the consolation of a beer.

 

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Chapter Mister Keith

I have many things, but they are imaginary. Rock has meant a lot and continues to represent a lot. I need it, and yet music is not enough for me. I want them, those who made rock and by doing it, they fucked me forever too.

Inventing a place like this was the only way to deal with my beloved ones. It is all in my head; it is just in my imagination. It is just rock and roll.

It is a sacred place, the pub. Holiness and rock and roll: well, you know how it is, right? The benches, the tables, the urban style and its metropolitan atmosphere, this monastic silence that fuels the imagination, or maybe it is just the beer’s fault that makes me rave, who cares?

Two guys sit three tables away from mine. The jingling of their mugs awakens me from my considerations. When they recognize the man who enters and sits at my table, the two keep turning around. I am not jealous, I am just annoyed by steady gazes.

 

- It happens because you're not used to it - the man says.

- Oh, hello uncle. Do you read thoughts too?

- I've seen so many, that I've developed certain skills...

- Oh, without a doubt...

- Well, so, what the hell do you want?

- I read your book.

- Good.

- It's nice.

- Uhm...

- A life as a real scum of rock. Beautiful stone, couldn’t miss in my bookshelf.

- Yeah, I think so too, but...

- What?

- Come on, after all these bowing and scraping, you're about to tell me something you didn’t like...

- No. I mean...

- So what?

- Ok. Why that chapter on Mick’s dick?

- Oh, I didn’t spoil the image of anyone. Mick, however, couldn’t compete with Hendrix’s manhood or the one of Zappa... nor with mine, after all...

- I think it wasn’t correct to dwell on the dimensions of Mick's sex...

- Are you kidding? These are interesting things. Fans go crazy, ah, ah, ah...

- I wonder what was the need to dwell on such a question...

- It seems to me that you take it on a personal level.

- Why?

- Yes, it would seem that the matter concerned you: what's wrong, boy?

- Do you think there is something wrong? And then, we were talking about Mick: how would you react if someone speculated on your dick?

- I get it.

- What?

- Oh, forget it...

- No, tell me...

- It does not matter, Johnny!

- Yes, it matters to me...

- Ok. You don’t get laid.

- Me?

- Oh, you can tell me. You're a loser, but I'd love you anyway.

- No... well... I... I mean, lately I had a vertical collapse in this sector, I just suffered a serious recession and my quotations are a bit in depreciation...

- Just a bit?

- Well, come on, surely I'm not Mick!

- Why are you interested in Mick so much?

- Listen: I too think Mick is a bit...

- Hey: be careful on what you say. I’m the only one allowed to insult Mick.

His ways are peremptory and convincing, and I am just a guy who shows some respect. Maybe too much. Yes, I am too devoted to all those who have torn my soul off. He wears strange green shoes that look like butterfly wings.

 

- I didn’t mean to insult anyone.

- All right.

- The part about your mother, however, that is moving. Eh, Malaguena...

- Yep.

- And then…

- Listen: stop it, Johnny! You broke my balls, you know?

- Well, but I...

- That's beautiful, that other part is ugly... has nothing to do with this shit, you know? That's just how it went. It's not a problem of what you like or not.

- It was just to talk...

- Can they serve a Jack Daniel's in this fucking place?

- Well, really...

- It's just a shithole. Where did you invite me, Johnny?

- Beer is from an excellent workmanship...

- Excellent workmanship... you speak like a tailor, do you know that?

- Eh, a tailor...

- Beer did you say?

- Yes, there's the red ale that...

- Red?

- Yes, red.

- And can they add a little vodka to that red ale in this fucking pub?

- Well...

- Ok. A red ale. Smooth, Johnny, please.

- Fine. You'll have it right away.

- See Johnny, you do not have to be so submissive...

- But for me you are...

- I'm just an asshole like everyone else. I'm just an equation.

- An equation?

- Yes, Johnny. I am a dude who has been elevated to some power, but shortening the basis, he becomes like the other numbers, do you understand? Try to see me without projections. And forgive my whims.

 

He takes his shoes with butterfly wings off. He puts his tired feet on my legs. He stares at me and lights a cigarette. He blows on my face the smoke coming out of his poor lungs is.

- Do you know Johnny? You're a great boy.

 

Then, barefoot, he climbs on the small stage and with his acoustic guitar, he plays a piece.

- This is for my friend Johnny B. Boogie.

 

It's Malaguena. In the end, he goes out. He takes the beer and leaves the green shoes. I run after him.

 

- Hey, Keef: the shoes!

- They're yours, Johnny. This life runs off quickly, but you put wings on your feet and try to fly!

 


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