Serendipity woke up with a stick up her ass the day that I ever decided to pick up the guitar.
I'd picked it up in High School and hadn't thought much of it. One of the fine arts classes you could take, y'know? Everyone had to take one or two but it was really either guitar or the Jazz Hands- thats right, I didn't mistype. Not the jazz band, the Jazz Hands. Just let that concept bounce around in your head for a minute; and entire class based around jazz hands. I'll let you collect yourself before we continue.
So I picked up this instrument and thought it was cool enough to buy one of my own. Nothing huge, just a cheap little acoustic Fender six-string. More than anything it was something to keep my hands busy while I tried to sing... that, and they told me that chicks dig the guitar. So sure, I figured, I'll stick with it. And I did. And nothing really even came of it until I was... God, it must have been right around my nineteenth birthday or something. One of those days where you just wake up, and you get it. Everything made sense to me about that damned instrument- it was like I'd popped out of my mom with the thing in my hands, railing out a newborn's version of Stairway while I screamed my first breath of air. And it wasn't just my fingers that had caught the fire; I'd found my lyrical muse, too, and she and I went on a whirlwind romance. I locked myself away in my parents' basement for a week, just pounding out songs.
Let me interrupt myself real quick here and explain- these were not your run of the mill songs by a kid in his late teens. These were not about how my girlfriend dumped me, or high school drama, or about hanging out at a friend's house.
Oh no. These were not such trite cobblings-together of banal minutiae. These were epic compositions of the highest caliber (not to toot my own horn or anything, but uh, toot fucking toot). Works of the highest altruism and love; of smoldering passion and raging hatred; of life against all odds and of death unstoppable. The sorts of songs that'd cause people to pull over their cars and listen, even if they'd heard it a hundred times. The sorts of songs that cause people to change their ways when all other avenues have failed them. The sorts of songs that showed how humanity could still tap into the wellspring of creation, and write music that'd make God himself take pause and ask, "Shit. Why didn't I think of that?"
I'm nineteen years old when this sort of inspiration hits me like a truck full of trucks. What do you think I did? I published those sonsabitches in the hopes of making bank! But making bank doesn't really explain fully what happened. I didn't just make bank, I made Wall Street. With my face slapped across the front of the album, I made Wall Street my bitch and then made it like it. Across the world, seemingly regardless of personal music tastes, my music reached the pinnacle of any Top Ten chart it was eligible for. My songs hit the airwaves and anybody who knew anything about music said that I was "the heir to the throne of Orpheus the Balladeer". You know who Orpheus was? Greek kid, way back in the day. The son of the Muses themselves. Had a voice so crazy good and was so nuts on his miniature harp that he made the God of Death himself agree to let his late wife's soul go back to the land of the living.
He was kind of a big deal.
This all takes place over the span of... oh, maybe two weeks. Millions upon millions of albums sold every day. I've sold enough albums that I could probably buy a few nations of Africa and Eastern Europe.
For all the good it does me. A month after my music hit the shelves, the fucking world goes up in flames.
See, during this time, Iran had been rattling its saber, as per usual. Israel (and, through them, the United States) were rattling back. And then someone waaay up high cinched their belt a wee bit too tight one morning, and decided that that day was a good day for a nuclear armageddon. I'm sure you can figure out what happens next- 5/6ths of the world's population get flash-fried and the remaining 1/5 is left asking "What's going on, eh?". What military forces are left are reduced to being controlled by people who are essentially gang warlords. The march of human progress is effectively halted.
But wait! What's this? A voice from on high, lending us strength! Giving us direction! His music preceded the world's end by only weeks, he must be a prophet! A messiah! He's the Acoustic Jesus and he's bringing us the word of God and Heaven's will for our direction through these dark times.
But then they find out I'm just a kid who had a stroke of inspiration. I've never been able to play as well as I did back then, and I've been sick recently with something that's affected my throat and lungs, so I can't sing like I used to. And when Warlord Cocksucker starts fighting Warlord Twatgoblin, I run from the bullets just like everyone else.
But that's not ok. Oh-HO no. Not for The Balladeer. I'm supposed to brandish my six-string like a shepherd's crook and call for an end to the needless violence. I'm supposed to raise my voice above the staccato roar of AK-47's and calm the savage beast in these animals with a song about loving your fellow man. I'm supposed to do this and not catch a facefull of hollow-tips. I'm supposed to be some hero. You know what I am? A stupid kid, who made the mistake of making myself known. I wanted to get myself a girlfriend, some loser buddies who drink too much, and an MBA... maybe open up a PF Chang's or some shit. I dunno. But now, everybody looks at me like a fucking failure because I'm not saving them. I don't know if I would even if I could... they don't even know my real name. Its all just "Balladeer!" this and "Orpheus!" that. Neither of those are my name, not that they bother to ask.
My name, for those who care, is Gideon Antares.
And I should have joined the Jazz Hands.
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