“Courtney? Courtney…. Love?” Tracy touched the K.C. carved into the guitar as she spoke.
Gene watched her do it, and wanted to touch it too, to feel how rough it was, like he could get a sliver if he weren’t careful. Instead, he stuck to the wall next to Mrs. H. and watched.
“Yeah, Courtney Love of Hole. She used to be my room mate.” Fran glowered from where she sat all tied up to the chair. “I hung out with the guys from Hole and Nirvana all the time.”
“Pft. Get out of here,” Miranda said with a flip of her hand, like she thought it was a joke.
“I’m telling the truth!” If Fran could have bit Miranda, she probably would have.
“Huh. Nirvana.” Tracy looked close at the guitar. “So this is Kurt Cobain’s old guitar. I don’t remember seeing anything like it in the videos on youtube. And I looked, believe me.”
“Of course not. He’s a singer. Like me. This was his lucky guitar, Carnage.”
“He called the guitar Carnage?” Miranda smirked.
“Yes. It’s an unlucky name, but the guitar doesn’t mind. Kurt kept it back stage and played it right before they went on. He carved his initials in it just for me – his autograph. Said I could have it right then, but then Courtney came over and he forgot, and then she took it before I could.”
“Why would he give you his lucky guitar?” Tracy stopped messing with the guitar, just held it like a finger tip might puncture it.
“Because I need his luck more than he does. Did. He never understood how important it was anyway. He laughed at me when I told him it was his luck. Now look at him. Dead. And right after he Courtney took the guitar.”
“Huh,” Tracy said. She went over and sat next to Miranda on the bed, the guitar slung across their laps like they could both play it at the same time the way you could a piano.
The two of them put their heads together and mumbled. Gene crawled up on the bed behind them so he could hear everything.
“She’s lying,” Tracy said.
“Got that right, girlfriend. That or she’s delusional. No way you’re average Joe could have hung out with bands like that. Although…”
“… She is about the right age.”
“Delusional,” they both said at the same time, leaning back and looking at each other. The sameness of them was enough to make the hair on the back of Gene’s neck do uncomfortable things.
“I am NOT crazy!” Fran, practically foaming at the mouth, jerked so hard against her ropes that she almost fell over. If Mrs. H hadn’t put a hand out to steady her, she might have actually flipped.
“People have told you that before, huh?” Miranda said it with a narrow-eyed, knowing look. Gene would bet she’d heard it a few times herself. Heck, as far as Gene could tell, everyone got called crazy sometime or another.
“I’m telling the truth. Now untie me, and give me that guitar.”
“And then what?”
“And then you can follow me to Memphis for the concert of your life. It’s finally my big break. With the luck from that guitar I’ll make it big, bigger than you’ve ever seen. And you will be a part of that.”
She was nuts. So that’s what Mrs. H, meant when she said someone had stars in her eyes. Gene told himself to remember never to be like that. He didn’t mind being nuts, but not if it meant he had to be an idiot, too.
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