519 words (2 minute read)

Pt. 5

“What the hell?” Genevieve frowns staring at her phone. She sits shotgun in a van that’s zooming through the empty desert as the rain continues to pound on the windows.

“What’s up?” Virginia looks over from the drivers seat, eyes wide from a fresh cup of coffee. Her bandmates, Marcus (guitar), Christian (bass), Cate (drums) and Rich (keys), all sleep soundly in the backseats providing a counter-melody to the torrent outside.

“To quote, ‘Genevieve Zeitlyn, the newest folk artist to hit the scene is gaining high praises for her debut album, Welwitschia Tree, on Strifeminer Records, but what’s the real story behind this talented indie starlet? In interviews she talks in detail about her year in Chicago while attending Northwestern before dropping out, but a quick investigation reveals there’s more at hand than you might expect. In fact, only a few years prior she was in a horrific repulsorlift accident in her hometown causing her to lose her left eye and her hands. Using the latest in soft robotics technology, doctors were able to restore her extremities. So now I, the critic, wonder, how Zeitlyn came to play guitar so well after what I imagine must have been a seriously traumatic incident. And I also wonder why she does not talk about it in her music. I’ve scoured the lyrics for clues-’”

“Is that Stereogum? Virginia peers over from the road trying to look at the article.

“No, it’s Eight Bit Samba. Michael White. How can he write this garbage? How does this have anything to do with my music?” Genevieve swipes her phone off ignoring a text from Omar. Her whole body is trembling. Including her hands. Don’t think about it. Don’t think about it. It doesn’t define you.

“Hey, come on man, fuck him. This shit was going to get out sooner or later. ”

Genevieve takes a deep breath. You’ve been a big girl ever since, don’t let this troll get you down. She opens her eyes, her real one slightly glazed over. “Yeah, yeah, I mean, John Darnielle wouldn’t let this nonsense get to him and neither will I.” She gazes over at the deck seeing “This Year” by The Mountain Goats playing on the classic indie station.

Virginia squeezes Genevieve’s shoulder. “That’s the fucking spirit my friend. You’re making great music and we’re on our way to California. But if you ever run into him, rip his heart out and eat it.” She gives Genevieve a wink turning back to the road.

Chuckling, Genevieve takes a swig from a small flask stashed under the front seat. Turning to the window she notices the giant siltstone buttes and glaciers as they pass by. The rain is soothing. This is what matters. This is real. Not my past. I’m from nowhere. I need to always keep true to that no matter what happens. She takes another deep breath. And another swig.

Virginia hums along softly with Darnielle’s yelp and Genevieve starts to sing along. The bandmates continue sleeping in the back as they drive west.

Next Chapter: Pt. 4