Short Story Of the Day Night Guitar (part 1) by Bill Chance

“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche

Dan Colcer
Deep Ellum Art Park
Dallas, Texas


I have been feeling in a deep hopeless rut lately, and I’m sure a lot of you have too. After writing another Sunday Snippet I decided to set an ambitious goal for myself. I’ll write a short piece of fiction every day and put it up here. Obviously, quality will vary – you get what you get. Length too – I’ll have to write something short on busy days. They will be raw first drafts and full of errors.

I’m not sure how long I can keep it up… I do write quickly, but coming up with an idea every day will be a difficult challenge. So far so good. Maybe a hundred in a row might be a good, achievable, and tough goal.

Here’s another one for today (#45). What do you think? Any comments, criticism, insults, ideas, prompts, abuse … anything is welcome. Feel free to comment or contact me.

Thanks for reading.


Night Guitar (part 1)


Copernicus Mayhem was the lead singer and guitarist of the band Sweetmeat Valentine. Copernicus Mayhem wasn’t his real name, but he made sure everyone used it. His real name was Doug Chandler. Nobody called him that. Not any more.

“Oh, come on Copernicus, please, pretty please, let’s go. I wanna go,” said Serena Twist, Copernicus’ girlfriend. She was his West Coast girlfriend, and they were on the West Coast.

“Oh, babe, I’m beat. This is the first day off I’ve had in a month. Let’s stay here. The suite’s big and nice. Let’s do room service, hit some weed, soak in the tub.”

“Hit some weed and soak in the tub? That’s all you wanna do. I’m bored. I’m bored. Let’s go.” Serena switched her voice into high sniveling mode – like fingernails on chalkboard. Copernicus knew he would give in, but he held out for a minute. To keep up appearances.

“What kind of stupid concert is this anyway?” Copernicus asked.

“It’s classy. It’s classical. This composer, Tyrone Page, has a new symphony. It’s never been performed before. You’ve been invited and I want to go. It’s a humongous deal.”

Copernicus didn’t have anything against classical music. He wasn’t as stupid as he looked. His music was teenage angst and noise. But he kept up. He knew of Tyrone Page. Page was a mystery, an enigma, nobody knew who he was or where he came from.

The scores of Page’s works arrived on the desks of famous conductors at random intervals. Page never allowed his stuff to be recorded. It had to be heard live. No bootlegs, even. Though the composer was hidden, his army of lawyers weren’t.

Copernicus was interested. He wanted to go; intrigued. It had been so long since he had been intrigued he had forgotten what it felt like. He gave in after a calibrated resistance.

“Ok, ok, If you want this so much,” Copernicus said. “But I want you to call Skinner and make the transportation arrangements. I want a stretch this time, no van. And I want some weed in the car and a bottle of Maker’s Mark. And plenty of ice.”

“Sure honey, I’ll set it up. Thank you, Thank you.” Serena seemed truly grateful.

Copernicus couldn’t resist, “Oh, and please change. If this is a big deal, I want you to wear something… something shiny.”

The weed and the Maker’s Mark in the limo did the trick and Copernicus was very relaxed when they pulled up in front of the Opera House. He had to lean on Serena to make it through the gauntlet of flashbulbs and microphones between the street and the private box entrance. Skinner pulled him aside and made him talk to the asshole from TMZ.

The reported asked, “What are your touring plans now? How are you going to keep the band together after the tragic death of your drummer?”

Copernicus had forgotten about the drummer and the overdose. He had never spoken a word to the guy – Skinner had hired him. He always had bad luck with drummers and never wanted to get involved. It was just work. On tour – the drummer never actually played. The percussion tracks were all on tape.

“Oh, it was a terrible tragedy, but I have a responsibility to our fans and we’ll find a way to make it up to them.” The reporter seemed satisfied, Skinner nodded, and Serena pulled him inside the door.

Copernicus found himself sinking down, slinking toward the floor of the private box. Serena tugged on his shoulder to make him scootch back upright.

On stage, some geezer stumbled out and rambled away with an appeal for funds. Copernicus was really fading, fighting to stay awake. He had forgotten why he had wanted to come to the concert and was glad he had brought the whiskey in. He raised the Maker’s Mark bottle to his lips. Nobody would say anything – he was a rock star.

The lights dimmed and the music swelled from below. It began strange, atonal, repetitive, and that made Copernicus slip even closer to oblivion. Serena gave him a sharp elbow.

Then, without warning, the main theme of the first movement came cutting through – starting with the woodwinds and quickly picked up by the strings. It jolted Copernicus. It resonated somewhere, somewhere deep in his memory. He jerked up straight; his eyes bolted wide.

He had heard this before. He had to relax and let the memories flow in before he could figure out where and when had he heard this music before.

Decades ago, in high school, when he was still Doug, Copernicus had a girlfriend named Wendy. He hadn’t thought about her in a long, long, time. He thought about her now. Copernicus realized that Wendy looked a lot like Serena Twist. Though his life had changed – veered off into the ozone – his taste in women had not. Like Serena, Wendy liked to get her way by whining until Doug gave in.


Read Part 2 Here