And so that time was compartmentalized.  Later to be reflected on.  On sometimes beautiful days.  Sometimes not.  And then sometimes you just get tired.  You want change.  Change from those sweet, comfortable routines.  You want change because you felt it.  And once you’ve felt it you always want it again.  David saw the change in Johnny.  Because there was something unresolved there.  Some last words.  Last words he wished he could say.  To Nina.  To Nina’s father—Popovitch…  But that’s what happens when a negotiation ends.  When what you’re bargaining for is gone.  You’re only left with what others have to say about it.

            And there was plenty of that.  Biloxi wasn’t a small town.  But the murder and the resolution to it was splashed across the news, thanks to reporters like Starks.  Johnny and David became minor celebrities on base.  The thing is, fame is never wanted.  At least not it’s true form.  You imagine it as a special life.  No more waiting in lines.  Good credit.  And favors granted.  But really the finer things in life still require money, and there was no money involved in Nina’s death.  Just rumors.  On the killer and why she was killed.  Fantastic stories on how Johnny was involved.  Even David.  And his guitar…  No, fame just puts you in the role of eavesdropper.  Where you hear false secrets about yourself.  Where when you’re just trying to take a shit in a toilet stall you hear words about you.  People looking in mirrors and telling stories.  And you’d be surprised how good most people are at being storytellers.  This is the true form of fame.  A normal person’s life made fantastic.  Embellished with fears.  Jealousies.  Lacking that sympathetic contact.  For how do you sympathize with what you want to be?

            David was already used to it.  But Johnny wasn’t.  Because you see it always starts out small.  In little worlds that become bigger worlds.  That great fallacy in the negotiation—what you bargain for.  Attention.  Because David learned that a long time ago.  When he first picked up that guitar that belonged to Jonathon Bonnor.  When he first made sounds with it that he wanted people to listen to.  It becomes a craving.  To be heard and understood.  And more, to make your world somebody else’s…  Attention comes in so many forms.  And usually when you want it you don’t get the right kind back.  At least in what you’re looking for.  This too compartmentalized.  Because we all have it in us to be heard.  And with the right attire, the right PR campaign—the magic of a manipulating media—even the most boring person can have their fifteen minutes.  And somehow this is what we remember.  Not just a normal person like everybody else, but what we’re told to hear about them.  Those mysterious influencers—also just normal people.  People like Starks working a beat living in a one bedroom apartment, scraping to get by on a gambling and drinking problem.  But the stories he wrote.  About Nina’s murder and about the murderer’s suicide, the details of Popovitch’s involvement left out of focus.  These stories inspired other stories.  Juicy with gossip and sordid details, but really not as juicy and sordid as the real story, the true story.  This gets lost.  It gets lost in the fame we never imagined…  And so Johnny was awake, but David was just tired.  Tired at twenty-one.  Because he knew it wasn’t his music.  That’s not what people talked about.  It’s usually not the great things normal people do that get recognized.  That’s not remembered until much later.  No, it’s how you handle the attention you thought you wanted, and its dry spells—that’s how normal people become great people.  Like seeing your name in the police blotter.  At least that’s how David and Johnny got attention in the late summer, the early fall of 1941.  The good thing about it more people came to listen.  At the roadhouse outside the base where they first met.  More people actually came to see them play.  This in way how it all started.  How it all started for David Threnody—his musical career.  The bars he played in East St. Louis before joining the Army, Scratch’s roadhouse—this just the beginning.  The beginning of a long career playing the Blues.  And the stories behind them that made people want to listen…

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