I rode the bus to school from the time
I was in kindergarten until I was 16 and started driving myself to school. The
one exception to that was a month when I was nine years old in which my mother
drove me instead. That month began on November 3rd, 2003. After November 3rd,
the school didn’t have a bus to drive us to school in. More importantly, they
didn’t have a driver.
Up until November 3rd, our school owned
only one school bus – it was your traditional number-2-pencil-yellow bus that
seated 36 screaming elementary school kids. The bus picked my older brother and
me up every morning from our neighborhood bus stop, which was about a block
away from our house. I could just barely see my house from where we would stand
when we waited for the bus. Nobody got picked up at our bus stop except for my
brother and I, but the bus came by anyway.
I don’t remember riding on the school
bus very well, but I remember my elementary school bus driver. His name was
Thomas Blackford. Nobody called him that though. Everybody called him “Mr.
Tom”. Mr. Tom was a big, fat man with a great grey beard and a bald head. He
had one of those comfortable smiles that you’d expect Santa Claus to have. He
always played the radio stations that we liked and on the last day of school he
gave everyone who rode the bus a bag of candy to take home. Everybody who rode
the bus loved Mr. Tom.
I guess I should tell you now, Mr. Tom
is dead. He died in 2003. He was murdered. I don’t know exactly when he was
killed, but it was sometime in early November. This is the story of November
3rd – The day I didn’t get on the bus.
I was in second grade. Because the 3rd
was a Monday, my brother and I hadn’t ridden on the bus since the Friday
before. It started like any Monday morning. That is, it started with my mom
banging on the door to the bedroom that my brother and I shared and yelling “If
you don’t get out of bed in the next five minutes, you’re going to miss the
bus! And there’s no way I’m driving you to school!”
omg can you please write a modern AU where capable is a nurse tending to nux whose in the hospital because of an accident at the service garage where he works as a mechanic. :D i normally don't go for het ships since i prefer slash ones but holy mother god, i ship these two so hard since i saw mad max.
Haha I totally understand. I saw movie and walked away with a fierce burning passion for the two. I guess I’m a sucker for subtle romantic subplot. Thanks for the ask! <3
Capable sipped at her coffee and flicked the bag of creamer between her fingers. The black roast at the hospital edged into pure espresso territory daily, but no one was complaining. Long day shifts where focus and attention to detail saved lives in the most literal sense made drowsiness a work hazard.
Capable’s break was officially an hour long, taken in whatever increments she could steal when the ever-present and powerful force of human stupidity didn’t cause an ER rush, but today was a special day.
Today Capable took her break in one long, blessed, hour of uninterrupted peace. She even had time to add cream(er) and sugar to her espresso and sip it. She couldn’t say she enjoyed her drink, but it was interesting to taste the coffee instead of throwing it back and feeling the burn of hot coffee running down her throat.
Valory said something about wishing she could inject pure caffeine into a vein for a quick mid-shift fix. Capable laughed along with everyone else but would never admit that the moment she got home she researched intra-venous caffeine injections.
The hospital was dead.
Capable had worked at Northern Citadel Hospital for a decade and she had never, not even on her shadow shifts where she had no real responsibility or work, had so little to do.
While she had been recounting supply closet she hoped that the early day lag was a result of the universe pulling back, like an elastic band being pulled to its limits, and then sometime in the afternoon the universe would let go and the world would snap back into action and ER would be a true place of emergency and not the break room it had become.
Valory walked into the cafeteria and glanced at Capable before pouring her own cup of caffeine.
“Capable, you’re missing the fun.”
Capable jolted and sat up straight. “Fun? Was there a pile up on the Fury Road?”
Valory chuckled and shook her head. “I wish. Just some garage accident.” Valory’s long black hair was let loose today and not strung into her usual high ponytail. Capable grimaced. If Val’s hair was down then there was no way that the garage accident was bad.
Capable tossed her half-full coffee into the garbage and was playing with her pager.
“Oh yeah?” She paused and waited for the bloody details. Valory had a good heart but she took a lot of pleasure in other people’s pain. She was never so happy as when she can work on the bloodiest and most likely fatal case. Those people had the highest mortality, but when she saved even one she was content. They called her the Valkyrie, the battle angel that guided the dead to Valhalla.
Val took a long sip and shook her hair over one shoulder.
“Caucasian male, 26, lacerations to his abdominal and right arm. Boring.” Val said.
“Have you assigned him to a nurse yet?”
Val shook her head. “Nah, he’s en route. It’s an hour of sutures at best. Don’t waste your time. Let one of the baby nurses take it.”
Capable was up and halfway out of the caf by the time Val was done talking. “Give him to me,” she said.
Val grimaced into her coffee. “No way. Something better will turn up.”
Capable paused in the doorframe. “Come on, Val. Give him to me. It’s so slow I’m going to lose my mind.”
Val shrugged. “Alright. He’s yours. But when the freak helicopter accident happens that I’ve been praying for comes in, don’t come crying to me because your knuckle deep in some motorhead’s guts.”
Capable was gone.
Capable looked over the boy and had a hard time believing that he was only a few years younger than her. Maybe it was the grade-A morphine coursing through his veins but his eyes were wide with child-like wonder as he played with the tubes going into his arm.
The EMT gave Capable a quick briefing in hushed tones.
“One of the chains on their hydraulic lift snapped. He got the nasty end of that whip. It’s not too deep. Basic sutures and the such. I’d give him some painkillers before you start stitching”
“Ok thank you- wait, what?” Capable gave the boy a once over. “He’s not on any pain meds?”
The EMT shrugged and hefted his emergency response bag a little higher on his shoulder. “He’s got an incredible pain tolerance. And he’s chatty too. He’ll talk your ear right off it you let him.”
“Alright, thanks. I’ll let you get back out there.”
The EMT laughed. “Out where? This was the busiest part of my day.”
Capable assessed the boy and a couple possible treatments flashed through her head.
The gouge was a deep one that spread from the center of his chest and stretched over to his arm. It didn’t go deep enough to sever muscles, and the kid was conscious and fully lucid which was a good sign. Capable’s eyes moved from his torso to the boy’s head and flinched back when her eyes met his deep blue ones.
“Hullo,” he said and smiled.
“Hello.” Capable had to pause for a minute before she remembered what she was supposed to say. “I’m your nurse. You can call me Capable. What’s your name?”
“Nux.” Nux looked away and fingered the edge of his open cut.
“Don’t do that.” Capable didn’t process the words before she said them. Nux’s fingers shot away as though Capable had slapped his hands.
He blushed and settled his roving hands into his lap.
“It’s fine, I just don’t normally have to tell people not to touch their injuries. It should hurt.” Capable checked the IV’s and shuffled the needles around under the guise of fixing their position. Her frown subsided when his arms were empty of track marks and needle scars that would have hinted at drug use.
“It does hurt.” Nux shifted a bit in the cot and now that Capable was closer she could see the twitch of his mouth. A grimace every time he jostled his wounds. “But complaining makes it worse. Focuses everything on that one spot, you know?”
Capable nodded. Distraction methods were the first thing you learn as a nurse. Distract the patient, heal the injury.
“On a scale of 1 to 10, what would you say the pain is like?”
Nux furrowed his brow and was silent for a minute. “I don’t know, really. A four?”
Capable’s eyebrows shot up to her hairline. “A four?”
“A four.” Nux nodded. “It hurts, but not too, too bad.”
“Do you get hurt a lot?” Capable asked. His kind of pain tolerance didn’t come without practice. She saw his jaw clench and a muscle in his neck jump before relaxing.
He smiled wide. “I’m clumsy I think. And I work with a lot of tools and thirsty engines. Hot engines.” He chuckled and ran his hand over his face. His thumb lingered on a deep, old scar just above his temple. “This ain’t too bad.”
“Alright, Nux, your last name?”
“Um, Immortan? Nux Immortan.”
“Alright, Mr. Immortan I-”
Nux flinched away from her. “Just Nux.”
Capable’s smiled dipped. “Oh, I’m sorry.”
“Is fine.” Nux mumbled.
“Alright, Nux, I’m going to start you on a morphine drip. Once that’s kicked in I’m going to stitch you up and then send you home. Any questions.”
Nux shook his head hard and Capable noticed that his fingers were grazing the edge of his cut again.
“Stop touching that.”
“Sorry!” Nux drew back his hands but Capable knew that they wouldn’t be in his lap for long.
Capable set up the morphine and found that every time she looked up to check on the boy, he was watching her. It wasn’t the leering appreciation she got from entitled men. It wasn’t even the sly look young men gave her when they thought they had a chance.
Nux looked at her with quiet interest, and whenever her eyes met his, he’d look away with the faintest blush on his cheeks.
He wasn’t an ugly boy. He was pale, and well muscled as labour tended to be. His hair was shaved close to the scalp but it was his eyes that caught her attention. It was a blue that you could drown in if you weren’t careful.
Nux spoke and broke Capable out of her thoughts. She glanced up to find him staring at her hair. Capable checked the morphine and decided that it was definitely taking effect.
Nux clapped his hand over his mouth and stared at her wide-eyed. “I said that out loud?”
Capable couldn’t force down her laugh. “Yes, you did.”
“I didn’t mean to.”
“You’re on a pretty powerful painkiller. Don’t worry sweetheart.”
Nux let his hands fall back into his lap. He looked at her. “Look. I’m not touching it. Not touching the hurt.”
Capable smiled and soaked sterilized gauze with a disinfectant. “I did see that. Well done.”
Nux bit his lip but the beginnings of a smile were tugging at his mouth. “Thanks.”
“So, Nux,” Capable wiped down his chest. The disinfectant dyed his skin orange. “Tell me a bit about yourself.”
“I don’t want to.” Nux gave the morphine cord a gentle tug. “I’m going to sound stupid.”
“No! Not at all.” Capable drew his hand away from the cord. “I’m curious about you and I’ve been a nurse too long to judge someone on morphine.”
“I’m not much. Just a mechanic.”
“Where do you work?”
“Joe’s Car Shop.” Nux sat up straight and reached for the bedside table. “Thirsty.”
Capable fetched the glass for him and watched as he downed the whole thing in one gulp.
“The one off Highway 78? In the Greenplace community?”
Nux paused for a long moment. “Yes. Right next to the Gastown Bar.”
“Huh. I live around that area.”
“You do?” Nux rubbed his hands together. “I work there.”
“At Joe’s Car Shop?” Capable asked. She didn’t know why she loved to torture morphine addled patients, but god she loved to torture them.
Nux stared at her. “How did you know?”
Capable laughed and began the sutures. Nux watched the metal weave in and out of his skin without complaint. “Is this going to ruin my tattoos, you think?”
Capable looked to where he was gesturing and for the first time realized just how much ink this kid had. His chest was covered with hard black lines. It took her a minute to realize what she was staring at.
Nux had a very intricate car engine carved into the skin of his chest. Her mouth dropped open.
Nux tapped her on the shoulder. “Ms. Capable? Do you think this scar is going to ruin it?”
The chain had bit into the bottom of the tattoo, painting the underside of the engine red.
Capable shook her head. “Maybe a bit.”
Nux looked so dejected she was afraid that he was going to cry.
“But!” Capable was grasping at straws but she did not want to see this man cry. Somewhere between their introductions and now Nux had wriggled into her heart and now there was a little soft spot for him. “You could get that tattoo scarred onto your skin.”
Capable nodded and continued. “It would look amazing.”
“I think I have too many scars.” Nux confessed. His hand was back on his temple and rubbing the old scar there.
“I don’t think so.” Capable replied. “I think you pull them off well. They add character.”
Nux didn’t say anything but he rubbed his temple.
“And I’m a nurse.” Capable continued. “I’ve seen more scars than you ever will. Trust me when I tell you that they don’t make you any less handsome.”
“You think I’m handsome?!”
Nux shoved his hands to his face again and in a quiet whisper. “I said that out loud too.”
“Yes you did,” Capable said.
Nux looked her over and chewed on his bottom lip. “If you have car problems. I can fix it.”
Capable smiled. “I don’t have a car.”
Nux blinked, almost like he were amazed that someone didn’t own a vehicle in this day and age.
“But I like coffee.” Capable offered.
“I can buy coffee!” Nux winced. “Sorry, too loud.”
Capable laughed and finished up with the sutures. Nux waited a heartbeat before continuing.
“Can I buy you coffee?”
Capable looked at him and couldn’t explain why he made her feel warm, but she was starting to like the feeling. She’d never had a boy make her feel warm.
Her sisters made her happy, Val and her friend Furiosa made her happy. She never thought that a man would be able to do so as well.
Today is my Monday and I go back to work tonight. Pictures from our weekend as we ventured up Highway 78 and had a small picnic together in the area where desert meets mountains.
So beautiful to get away for few short hours to spend have time together and focus on what matters. Each other. We pulled over on a look out at the almost top of the road that travels upward. We chased the sunset and caught some gorgeous views. Lola said “pretty” and pointed to were the sun kissed the land below.
Further down the road, closer to home, there is a corral of three beautiful horses. We stopped to say “hi” and they greeted us with curious faces. Lola was a little scared and I reached to pet one on the nose. They were gentle and Lola warmed up a little saying “hi horses, pretty!” We stayed for and few and wished them “bye bye Horses!”
So I have a month’s worth of crappy bar photos to catch up on, so that is what the next few posts will be made up of.
The scotch ale on the left is a nice collaboration between Stone, Green Flash, and Pizza Port called Highway 78.
The ale pours a rich copper color with a finger of an eggshell head.
Smell is of dark malts, sweet mixture of caramel and chocolate, and a bit of the scotch.
Starts of with a huge scotch taste with a nice burn at the end, but as the taste bubs adapt a lot of the sweetness from the nose comes out in the front, ending on a malt taste with the burn still there.
Nice warm beer with the right amount of carbonation.
Cannot put into words how excited I am that the Stone Collaborations are making it to Missouri, even if it is just in bars.
The one on the right is another Stone brew, a more popular one, but one I have not yet had, Stone Cali-Belgique Belgian IPA.
The IPA pours a bright/ hazy orange with a couple of fingers of a white foamy/ rocky head.
Smell is of citrus, a bit of Belgium yeast, and earthy hops.
Lots of spices expected in anything Belgian mixed with some citrus and light banana. At the end is some bitterness with a slight bite from the alcohol, all the wile mixing with the hops.
Like the Stone IPA and Levitation this one is very well balanced between quality ingredients.
There is a Confederate Flag rally going on in Stone Mountain, GA.
Stay safe. Don’t travel if you don’t have to.
AVOID HIGHWAY 78, THAT’S WHERE I SPOTTED THEM.
They most likely will be at Stone Mountain Park, but still guys please please please be aware of your surroundings!!!!!!
It also seems like they may be affiliated with the other rallies that have occurred in other parts of Georgia earlier this week, so they may be aggressive. From what I’ve heard they do have cops that are watching over them, but I don’t really know what that entails.
In the life of a musician, there is nothing quite like the experience of making one’s first full-length album. At least for me, this is true. And back when we were starting, vinyl wasn’t just a cool retro special release; it was what your album was made of. And it came enclosed in a jacket, 12.375 square inches large. That meant there was lots of space for inner sleeve and jacket design, and when you held it, you were holding a little world. My album collection was my world, and I lived through those songs, and held the sleeve jackets, pouring over lyrics and credits and thanks, gleaning everything I possibly could. Nothing was more appealing than a big collection of LP’s, filed neatly and alphabetically. It was the best thing in the world to spend money on, and there were some artists whose complete catalogues I collected: Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne, CSNY, Stevie Wonder, The Jackson Five and Michael Jackson, Heart, Ferron, Carly Simon, and James Taylor, and The Gap Band, to name just a handful.
We embarked on our first full-length LP, ‘Strange Fire’, in 1987. At that time, Atlanta and Athens, GA. were like very different sisters who got along quite well and supported each other. Regional alternative rock or folk/rock music, all across the country, was alive and well on commercial, non-commercial and college radio stations. The Georgia Satellite’s, a band I used to see locally in Atlanta, had a radio hit. The BoDeans and Violent Femmes, from Wisconsin, were coming on strong, and so were Sublime, from So-Cal. I can remember how rich and varied the musical radio landscape was at the time, and I got a taste of the flavors of different areas of the country just by listening to the music those communities produced.
But Athens was the Mother Lode! Amy and I became deeply inspired by many of the bands and artists who would show up in the classic 1987 VHS release, ‘Athens Inside/Out’. These were bands that were at the forefront of the alternative music scene in Athens: Pylon, Love Tractor, the B-52’s, the BBQ Killers, and so on. And, of course, there was R.E.M. Athens was literally exploding with the new alternative.
John Keane was an Athens guy who Amy heard of because of his work with R.E.M. and other local bands. He had a studio in his house and was also an excellent musician. When we were ready to make an album, we decided we wanted to make it in Athens with John Keane.
The drive from Decatur to Athens took about an hour and fifteen minutes, mostly traversed on a two-lane highway, U.S. 78. I remember getting in to Athens on studio work days and buying lunch, either at the Varsity Junior, or the Taco Stand. It felt purposeful and invigorating to make the drive out of town. Our other recording experiences had all been in Atlanta, close to home. Driving to Athens was an adventure. John’s studio was warm and laid back, fitting for John’s personality.
We had a list of 11 songs, and we recorded them all acoustically, very simply and straightforwardly. Honestly, when I listen back to most of my lyrics from Strange Fire, I literally cringe. There are some real humdingers of overwrought images and feelings. But, hey, I was 24, and you are where you are. Still, when it came time to re-release Strange Fire a few years later for Epic Records, I didn’t want the song ‘High Horse’ on it and, to this day, since the era of the original recording, we have never played it live.
I want to skip ahead to what happened when Strange Fire was released in 1987. This was after we had done the recording, had the pictures taken at the Mt Zion A.M.E church on La Vista Rd, completed the album package, and put the record out.
Amy and I had a list of primarily college radio stations and program directors to call and try to get them to play songs from Strange Fire. We sent each program director a package with Strange Fire, a promo shot, and whatever else we deemed important for them to know about us. There was no single released. As you can see from the photo, these are Amy’s notes from her charting of radio play progress. We divvied up the stations and went to work at our telephones, making the calls, taking notes, talking about the record, self-promoting, booking gigs in the towns where the stations were. It was a remarkable time. The fact that an artist could actually make contact with radio programmers and plug the record and have them PLAY the record is something that simply cannot be done in today’s world. And when we booked gigs in conjunction with airplay, and had albums to sell at shows, we actually began to build a real following beyond our hometown crowd. There was real exhilaration in watching a song go from light to heavy rotation, as a result of our grassroots efforts, and college radio stations were powerful and organic tools for us to get our music out. Of course, to me and Amy back then, there was no conscious awareness that we were a ‘grassroots’ band. We just knew that we could work diligently in an organized manner, play all the live shows we could possibly book that made sense, and make use of the resources that were available to us.
I can’t overemphasize the beauty and impact of being smack dab in the middle of the Atlanta and Athens music scenes in 1987. There was a buzz, an energy to the bands and artists that was palpable, and I often felt that we were riding the wave of all of that intense and creative music. And I also remember that there was a genial camaraderie between Athens and Atlanta, and that when one band or artist did well, everyone else was happy for them. In the spirit of that inclusion, Amy and I were able to carve a niche out for our acoustic music.
By this time, there was nothing to keep us from continuing to make a career of music. Before actually realizing it, we were a band with no sign of stopping, and it was exciting. And we could do everything on our own to propel ourselves.
1987 was the perfect storm of independence, access, opportunity, inspiration from others, and passion for the thing most all-consuming: MUSIC.