I Love You, Jim Morrison

A short story by: Willis Gordon

“I’m the King of the Gutters, the Prince of the Dogs. One or the other, a ship in the fog…”
“Ahh, fuck me.” He said, wind whipping him in the chest and face. He hunkered down to try and light his cigarette, to no avail. His head began to feel the rush of the coke, strangely conflicting with his drunken limbs. He walked the four blocks from the house where his band practiced, back to his apartment. He ducked into the alley and finally lit his cigarette.

The sun was shining deceptively bright that morning, and he had left without a jacket. In nothing but an open button up and some thin jeans, he had braved the weather. For the most part. He was too wasted to feel much at all. This had been a trend recently, and the reason the boys had kicked him out of the band. He had gone all Brian Jones on them and couldn’t handle his shit.

That was always the one rule, “When you can’t handle your shit, then it’s time to give it up or go.” He went. Stumbling up the steps, he rummaged around with his keys until he found the right one and opened the door. He was suddenly bushwhacked with the smell of cigarettes, hash, and old rum. Flicking his cigarette into the flooded sink, he trudged across the floor and collapsed in front of an enormous poster of Jim Morrison. “Hey, Jim” he croaked. He sounded ashamed, as if talking to an old mentor. “It’s me again. It’s Nicky. I fucked up, Jim. I fucked up pretty bad this time. Too much blow, not enough music. What’s the score? What’s the balance? I mean, I feel like I’m hurting everyone around me, but I wanna have fun too, ya know?”  He stared up at the picture, and the Lizard King stared back.

“Thing is, I’m alone. Sure there’s a bunch of cool shit that comes with rock n roll, but there’s the Demons too. I get lonely sometimes. I mean, Hell, everybody gets lonely, but I’m talking about some ‘Only man in a crowded room’ type stuff, man. But you gotta put on the macho bullshit, cause it seems like the whole world is watching. You gotta calculate. Ahh, you probably don’t know what the Hell I’m talking about. You’re Jim Morrison. Mr. Mojo Risin’ himself.  Rock God. Too cool for anything to faze you. I wish it was that easy for me.” He stirred. “You want a drink? I’m a little fucked up, but I gotta level out. This blow is making me jittery. Teeth are starting to grind.”

He wobbled to the kitchen, reaching for a bottle of rum and two glasses. Then he ambled through the fridge and produced two cans of sprite. Steadily a he could, he mixed the drinks, around half and half. Balancing himself, he half staggered, half swaggered back to the poster where he sat one drink down in front of Morrison and the other on the nearby coffee table.

“So yeah…” He started. “Loneliness. Let me tell you where it all started. It was wintertime, and it was colder than a witch’s titty outside. Cold weather is always bad for lonely people, so I filled my nights with women wine and song, like any good musician would. It was the time of our first EP; it was the time of sex free of charge. (I’m not talking about money either), it was the time of the first ‘Last’ line, or drink, or shot. It was the time of the last kiss with the girl I loved.”

“There was too much blow. I was snowblind to everything around me in those days. My girl had left me, and I had taken to the bottle pretty hard, and to the coke even harder. The unrest slowed my creative process, and I couldn’t produce a new riff for five months. Five months! Luckily we were just trying to support the EP, and we took to the road. In Memphis I found some great shrooms, and in LA, the women and weed were spectacular. But it was all superficial. I just wanted to hold MY girl again…I won’t say that there weren’t times when I woke up feeling like I’d been nestled in the glorious cleavage of Angels, but goddamnit did I miss her. The taste of her kiss, those dimples on her lower back. Iris. There couldn’t be a more fitting name for a girl. The single most radiant, beautiful eyes I’ve ever seen. Before or since.  She saved me from who I was going to be. That cheap old cliché of the wasted troubadour guitarist, trying to make his way home. Fuck that. I was an elegantly wasted guitarist in the peak of happiness, but I found a way to fuck it up. My stupid mouth. My wayward libido. It all happened so fast. A flirtation here, a kiss there, next thing I know, I’m on top of some smacked out model with dark circles around her eyes for no other reason that she loved our show. Not my fault. Christ, I’m such a fuck up.”

“I guess there just comes a time where if you’re not careful, you become a cartoon; a gross exaggeration of yourself. Sometimes it feels like I’m doing this awful, gaudy impersonation of who I really am.” He confessed. He knew for a fact that Morrison knew what that was like. Getting fat and drugged up, being crushed under the weight of his own image. Nicky took a deep drink from the rum, feeling better now that these things were off of his chest and out in the open. It was therapy, really. Guilt and shame were bogging him down, so he self-medicated to suppress those Demons, and the work suffered. In the weeks leading up to the guys kicking him out of the band, he’d been difficult, combative, and belligerent. Showing up late to practice, and arguing nonsense once he got there. He was paranoid. By now, the only person he can trust is a six-foot poster of Jim Morrison tacked up on the wall in his ratty apartment.

He poured another drink and felt himself leveling out. When he sat back down in front of the Lizard King, he avoided eye contact. He struggled with what he was about to say, but realized it would be cathartic and straightened up, taking a breath. “Iris kept me balanced. There was never too much pressure with her. When things got bad, they got worse, but when things went well… Damnit, you couldn’t stop us. I never went too far over the line when I was with her. At least not til the end. I know I sound all pathetic and obsessed with the past. I can hear it too. But if you could just see her. Those eyes. That greenish-blue. God, she was beautiful.”

Then he went quiet for a moment, thinking to himself. “I think, maybe, it’s different for everybody. We’ve all got our centers, the things that keep us on the line for so long. That keep us from falling off on either side. Once you lose it, though…” He trailed off. “Once you lose it, it’s a hard way to fall. A long way down.” His vulnerability had gotten the best of him, and he finally heard out loud what he’d been feeling and thinking for the last year.

He felt frustrated. Mad at the fact that it took him this long to come to terms with himself. Now that it was too late. He grabbed hold of the table and eased to his feet. Walking to the kitchen he realized that his anger and shame had left him feeling sobered and empty. He lit a cigarette. They always said admittance was the first step towards something big. He just didn’t know what his something was.
 Finishing the rum, he doubled back to the living room to grab the bottle and the extra glass. Reaching down, he discovered that the glass of rum he’d poured for Morrison at the beginning of the night was empty. His hand drew back in shock. Looking around for a moment, he grabbed the glass and shook off any questions, “Must’ve drank it earlier…” he mumbled to himself.

He opened a cabinet above the fridge and grabbed a small orange bottle. He’d done enough already, and it was time for bed. Standing over the sink, he cupped a handful of cold water and swallowed the oxy’s. “Well.” He said to no one in particular, “Tomorrow’s another day.”

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