My name is Maxwell Smith, age 40, white male. But call me Max. Whatever you do, do not call me Mad Max or Mental Max like the rest of the world. When you write about me and cite me, call me Max. Just Max.
The Warden took this hour for the interview out of my yard time, but I don’t care. I am just so fucking sick and tired of the media twisting my words, my identity, and my motives. I need to give the world my side of the story, and show I am not a vile villain that tried to murder some dumb celebrity.
I don’t belong in Prison. I did nothing wrong. Well, I pulled the gun on him–and my index finger stroked and caressed the trigger–but I was never going to shoot. I swear. I was just drunk, angry, and embarrassed.
I’m not a bad person. Bitter yes; bad, no. If I would have pulled the trigger on anyone in that hotel room it would have been on myself. I’m an aging, desperate, bored man. I’m incapable of harming anyone but myself, and I’ve never thought of harming myself, therefore I am harmless.
But still, everyone now thinks I’m some scary lunatic. My own cellmate sticks his nose up at me, and that freak was imprisoned for assaulting people on the bus with a dead chicken. A dead fucking chicken!
But don’t worry, I won’t hurt you. Even if the cameras weren’t present I wouldn’t. So just sit back and enjoy this wild ride I’m about to take you on.
It all started about two months ago. It was a cold and windy afternoon when I pulled up to my family’s blue house with the red front door and the white picket fence in the cul-de-sac.
I slammed the door on my car, an old black two-door Honda Civic I got during college twenty years ago, and I noticed the porch light was still on.
The only time my wife forgot to turn the porch light off was the days she would sneak my best friend Judah in through the back door.
I found out about their affair on Christmas when I saw them coming from the attic disheveled and red, full of egg nog, turkey, and bodily fluids.
Judah climbed down the attic stairs backwards, a mistletoe suffocating in his hand, and he was giggling and shushing my wife who was laughing uncontrollably. I have always hated her laugh.
Her laugh is so distinct-it sounds like the collision of a dolphin and a horse, and she laughs so easily. I was a professional at tuning things out though.
Anyways, I grabbed onto the cold rusted doorknob and twisted it. I could hear gurgled moans and animalistic howls through the door.
When I opened the door and stepped inside, I saw my wife laying naked across the blue granite kitchen counter with my best friend’s lips planted on her breasts.
Judah and my wife jumped up once they noticed me standing in front of them. We all stared at each other and wondered who was going to speak first.
I didn’t scream. I didn’t even say stop.
If it would have been up to me, I would’ve just packed and left in peace and quiet. They could’ve continued fucking as I walked pass for all I care. I just wanted to get the hell out of there.
But, things didn’t occur that way. They saw me, and Judah covered his manhood with a ¾ measuring cup sitting on the counter.
So, she definitely wasn’t cheating with him because he was bigger than me, that’s for sure. Maybe he complimented her, told her he loved her, or maybe it was because he is five years younger than me. It was probably because I hadn’t touched the woman in two years though.
I had been bitter since I found out my old band got back together to make one last CD and to go on one last tour together, without me. It didn’t bother me when I left the band, because I had a family to take care of, but the past two years I had been stuck and bored, and my thoughts were the only things that entertained me and kept me going. The problem though, was that all my thoughts often centered around my band days and lost youth.
I started The Still Rocks as a Rolling Stones cover band out of high school. As soon as I left, the lead singer, my old best friend you guys know as Willie Rocks, took over and took the band in a completely different direction.
Want to know how Willie got the nickname Pootie? It’s because his real last name is Poots, so everyone would call him Pootie. We would always fuck with him about his last name, asking him if he had gas. We were immature teenagers, so the joke never got old. That was a problem he dealt with in school too. He couldn’t help that he was English and had that last name, but we couldn’t help but to make fun of it every day when the teacher did attendance either. He changed his last name after his father died, but he kept the nickname Pootie because he grew up with it.
What a dumbass cliché last name too. He couldn’t have gone with something more normal and convincing like Grant or Black or Thompson. He just had to go for Rocks. He’s always been an over the top dickhead.
Anyways The Still Rocks, led by Mr. Poots, started creating original music, doing more shows and radio appearances, but they kept the name I chose. They ended up becoming famous, selling out arenas, going double platinum, and getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and they did it all without me.
It was all because twenty years ago, I left the band when Linda got pregnant with twin girls. I went back to college and finished my business degree and became a family man.
My daughters turned out just like Linda-beautiful blonde disasters.
I was Cinderella in my own goddamn house with those women. I worked my ass off at a deadbeat salesman job for the past twenty years, without ever receiving a promotion, to give them a good life. But, they never said thank you. They learned that from their mother.
I rarely saw them after they moved out. I hate to admit it, but I checked out as a father when they turned eighteen though. I was drained. I couldn’t help it.
My daughter Reese left us a note on her eighteenth birthday that said she was moving to Vegas with her online boyfriend of six months, Titan. Titan ended up being Connor with five extra years and fifty more pounds than his alleged picture. Reese said they had a deep connection though, so she left and married him in Vegas anyways. She works as a waitress now, and her husband works as a bartender, but they both get good tips. They have two pet cats too. Reese has always been a hopeless romantic, so I’m glad she found love and has made it work.
My daughter Reina on the other hand was always a loose spirit. She lives out of a small suitcase going from city to city every year. Right now, she’s living in a hostel in San Francisco. She’s in community college working to be a journalist. She’s also working as a babysitter. But, when she came for Christmas she brought one of the kids’ fathers, so I’m sure she’s taking care of more than just children. I just hope this man is treating her right, and is not some married man going through mid-life crisis looking for a little fun. He better have divorced his wife for my daughter, or I will have a word with him when I get out of prison. I’m sure it’ll scare him that I spent time in prison too. I’m sure he has seen stories about me too, so he probably knows not to fuck with me, or mine.
Anyways, back to the cheating… My wife tried to convince me I didn’t see what I saw, but I’m not crazy. I wouldn’t imagine my wife cheating with Judah. He is just a broke mechanic who fixes on my Honda.
So, she couldn’t tell me I didn’t see them. I saw my naked wife screaming with her legs propped up on his shoulders as he purred like an animal or an idiot and slammed in and out of her.
It was like a snake (a small one) slithering through the silky brown bushes of Eden into the cave of the forbidden fruit. My wife’s forbidden fruit.
I caved to the first groupie temptation that strutted my way in large leopard heels and daisy dukes. And like Adam, I was punished. For years. For twenty years.
I didn’t think about it then, but now I am wondering if they always fucked in the kitchen. If they did I hope Linda had enough common sense to disinfect the counter after. I’ve eaten so many snacks and dropped food off that counter. Oh, god I hope they always disinfected after.
Anyways, when I caught them, my insides rejoiced. I had finally gained an excuse to leave misery. But, so I wouldn’t give myself away I decided to make a scene.
I pulled the microwave out of its electrical socket and flung it across the kitchen. Their eyes grew wide with terror as it screamed and skipped across the checkered tile. Then I screamed and punched the refrigerator knocking a dent in it. My hand was battered and bloody and my breathing was ragged. I had exhausted myself, but I had fooled them.
I started to walk towards the basement to pack, but my wife grabbed me and tried to tell me not to be mad. She never even told me don’t leave, or that she was sorry, just don’t be mad.
I shrugged her little sweaty hands, with their chipped red nail polish, off of the arm of my black blazer. Then Judah grabbed me. He slapped my shoulder and gave me a hollow apology. I told him to get his filthy hand off of me, or I was going to shoot his fucking cock off. Those were my exact words. But I was just kidding; I was just acting.
I saw his Adam’s apple jump as he gulped horrified. I wasn’t going to shoot him though. I was just trying to scare him.
I wiped my dry blue eye with my hand, like I was crying. Then I stormed down to the basement leaving them behind me-naked, confused, and terrified.
After that mess, I was free to go claim my spot back in my old band. I didn’t know how, but I was going to get my band back by any means necessary. I was being a good man when I left to raise my daughters and take care of my wife, so I should be rewarded for that chivalry. I felt I deserved and was owed that fame, money, and fan base I missed all those years because of that.
I opened my closet and pulled out a sea of black and gray clothes and threw them in my suitcase. Then I threw in my converse and boots, my Walkman, my toothbrush, and underwear. I didn’t own much. I pushed my hand down on the suitcase and zipped it up, then I grabbed my wallet and keys and headed out the door for the last time.
The porch light was off when I stepped out of the house. My wife was in the front yard in her red lace robe, standing in front of Judah’s driver car door, begging him not to go. They were screaming at the top of their lungs at each other, making a scene in the quiet neighborhood.
I walked pass the chaos unnoticed, threw my suitcase in my trunk, then drove off as soon as my car sputtered to life. I let my wife keep the house and things. I took the money.
I went to six different banks to clear out the ten thousand dollars in our savings account. I got it all in cash and stuffed it into a backpack I had in the trunk of my car.
I had my money and my music, and I drove off into the sunset to begin my journey following The Still Rocks on the rest of their reunion tour across the West Coast. There were only three shows left in the tour, so I had to work fast and smart. If everything worked according to plan, I’d be back in the band by the last concert on Labor Day.
My first stop on their reunion tour was Los Angeles which was only a few hours from where I lived in San Diego.
They were having a meet and greet at this hipster coffee shop called Sip It, but they were charging $500 per person, so I was not participating. I spent years with those guys, I was not paying to meet them. The only reason I even went to the meet and greet was to get a glimpse of them before I saw them at the concert later. But, I could do that from outside the coffee shop.
I walked into the coffee shop and ordered my coffee black, and I ordered a banana nut muffin to keep myself busy longer. I grabbed my order and sat outside on the bench.
A line of screaming fans started to form out front. I could hear their jewelry rattling they were shaking with such excitement. The band had not even arrived yet.
I checked my phone as I waited patiently. I had no missed calls, text messages, or emails.
After trying to look occupied with my phone for an hour I lifted my head up and looked around. The line was even longer now, but there was still no band.
I looked at my disguised reflection in the large, streak-free, window of the coffee shop. I took off my hat and dark sunglasses, and examined my raw reflection.
I stared at the old man I had become. I stared at my large blue eyes, my dry pasty skin, my large pointy nose, my thin lips, my thick black eyebrows, and my growing shaggy black and gray-streaked hair.
I was fixated on my reflection for a while, because I didn’t seem to recognize myself. But, it was me.
A security guard came up to me, startling my reflection, and told me to leave. This meant the band was coming, so my heart began to throb with adrenaline. I tried to convince the large security that I was just a harmless old man drinking my coffee, and that I had no idea who the band he was talking about was. He didn’t fall for it though. I’m sure he’s heard many excuses before, and probably way better excuses. He stood in front of me making the sun disappear behind him, so I stood up and told him to go fuck himself. I am only 5’7, so I had only come to his chest.
The guard pushed me without warning, making me stumble back. My coffee jumped out of my cup and splashed my abdomen.
I angrily threw my cup down into the trash bin next to the bench and headed to my car. It was too early in the tour to get in trouble, so I left. I was going to see them at the show that night anyways.
When I got back to the hotel I changed out of my gray V-neck that bared a coffee wound and into a black sweater. Wearing black was my style, but it would also keep me invisible at the concert.
The concert venue smelled like liquor, sweat, cigarettes, and sex.
I didn’t feel like dancing to their songs, or being bumped and stepped on by rowdy fans, so I laid low in the back at the bar with a cold beer.
When they came out on stage my eyes dissected the men I once knew.
The guitar player I was replaced with was our drummer Bernie’s fat cousin, Danny. We used to call him two by four.
Danny is two hundred pounds lighter, but he’s still fat; he’s just no longer spilling into other people’s space fat.
I remember we used to rehearse at his house all the time because they had this decked out garage with a pool table, a dart board, a projection screen for movies, and a juke box.
My favorite feature of the garage was an old black ’68 Mustang that belonged to Danny’s step-dad. We would sit in there with the doors shut tight and the windows rolled up and get high without his mom ever finding out.
His mom always kept platters of pigs in a blanket, cookies, root beer, and chips for us when we were there. Luckily we didn’t get fat like Danny. That’s probably because Danny stayed in his room all day eating tv dinners and watching porn.
I had no idea Danny even knew how to play guitar. But, I guess spending all that time around us, he learned. I bet Bernie was paid to put Danny in our band, because his mom wanted him to get out of the house and make friends.
Anyways, the concert was nothing special. Bernie still gets his drum solo, and Pootie still hogs the spotlight running from the keyboard to the microphone stand all night.
None of them aged much. They still wore the same dark, tight, clothes and had long hair. Money keeps celebrities timeless.
When I got home that night, I evaluated everything they did and everything I saw. I would have to be able to easily merge into that environment and band if I wanted to play again.
The second concert occurred two days later in Oakland, and I was crunched for time. I spent the eight-hour drive there consuming a box of Slim Jims while thinking of a plan to get on the stage with my band. I decided on sabotage.
So yeah, I sabotaged their lead guitarist, Danny Meyers. Without a lead guitarist, they
would need a replacement-me!
I decided on something that couldn’t be traced back to me. It was so hard with allof the security they have at shows nowadays. The Beatles didn’t even have security like this, but the world is crazy now. I guess it was crazy back then too, because John Lennon was assassinated, but the world is by far way crazier now. Lunatics and lurkers slither around every dark corner. And sometimes they don’t even stand in the dark, they’re right in your face wearing a façade.
I ended up paying the security that made me leave the coffee shop a thousand bucks to slip a roofie into Danny’s drink. From close observation at the last show and a little online research, I knew Danny always had an Italian sandwich and a Pepsi before every show.
The plan worked because the band came out without their lead guitarist. The security I paid stood near the bar with his arms crossed and nodded at me. I walked over and snuck him the envelope full of cash. I had thrown in an extra thousand for agreeing to do it before getting paid too.
Then I took off my disguise. I was in the center of the crowd, three rows back from the stage, waiting to be seen and summoned.
They didn’t see me, so I yelled Mr. Poots! Willie turned around so quick.
You should’ve seen the distraught and fiery look in his eyes when he found me in the crowd.
I walked towards him and hopped on the stage.
Security darted after me and tried to pull me down, but Willie said to let me stay.
I heard Bernie yell to cut the sound from the microphones.
I joined their frantic huddle and convinced them to let me play with them and take Danny’s place for tonight-my old spot.
I tuned Danny’s red and black striped guitar and got in position to rock and roll.
People had barely met me and were already screaming my name. My body was overwhelmed with joy. A smile was glued to my face.
Bernie started up on the drums, then it came my turn to jump in.
But I got stuck.
I hadn’t played in twenty years, and I guess I forgot. I didn’t know you could forget.
I couldn’t even concentrate, remember, or get into the groove with all the aggressive
noise and anxious eyes on me.
Strumming on the strings began to scratch, prick, and bruise my fingers.
The crowd belched out a sea of boos and giggles.
Fat beads of sweat formed on my forehead and slowly slithered down onto the strings.
People began to raise their phones, recording and mocking me.
The boos and giggles grew louder and louder, my heart was beating faster and faster, and my breathing grew heavier and heavier, until I could no longer take it.
I grabbed the guitar and slammed it down against the stage making it scream as its body crunched.
The crowd cheered because they thought that was part of the show.
Then I smashed the guitar again and again and again silencing the audience.
The guitar was smashed into bits and pieces of woods and slim strings of metal.
Everyone looked at me, taking pictures like I was an animal in a zoo.
The security rushed towards the stage, so I ran off the stage and left the venue.
I went to a bar down the street called Lee’s. My meltdown on stage was already all over the internet. That was not how I wanted to become famous.
I downed shot after shot of vodka until the television became a blur and the chuckles and pointing fingers were blackened and silenced.
I tried to go back to my hotel and go to sleep, but I tossed and turned all night. Laughs and boos danced around in my mind tormenting me like a bad song.
Around two in the morning, I gave up on sleep.
I knew where Willie and the guys were staying that night, so I decided to go and visit them. I knew the security would go crazy if they saw me, so I hid all my hair under a black beanie and put on my dark sunglasses, and headed to their fancy hotel downtown.
When I got to the hotel, I grabbed my gun from out of the trunk and stuffed it into my backpack.
The doorman let me inside and I headed to the elevators.
I mashed the lit green button to get to the top floor, floor 42, because I knew they were flashy and would have the penthouse suite.
I was right too. I got out of the elevator and I could hear their music booming through the walls. There was a security standing outside the door.
I figured I would have to deal with security, so I brought in my backpack of money to bribe them.
The security caved and left after I raised the bribe to 800 dollars. He even gave me his key to get inside.
I stepped into the hotel room–with equipment, food wrappers, ashtrays, clothes, and liquor scattered everywhere– and it reeked of expensive cologne mixed with marijuana, leather, and booze.
The guys were all sitting around in a Jacuzzi with a young stripper in front of them with a thong full of folded wrinkled twenties.
Danny was on the couch asleep next to a soggy half-eaten bowl of Fruity Pebbles.
They were so mesmerized by the silicone breasts and ass in front of them that they didn’t notice me or my gun step in.
I fired a shot into the air to make my presence known.
You could barely hear it over their trashy music, but you could hear it.
They jumped out of the Jacuzzi, slipping on the floor because of their wet feet. I walked over to the three of them.
They shivered on the floor, cold and frightened, as I stood over them.
They hammered me with questions and begged me to spare their precious lives.
I pointed the gun at Willie’s big mouth to shut them up.
But, when their eyes shifted from my gun to behind my shoulder, I remembered something–I had forgot all about the stripper.
She must’ve ran and got security, and because it was The Still Rocks they got there quickly.
They swiftly threw my loaded gun out of my hands, kicked it against a wall, and forced my hands behind my back.
They pushed me down against the cold, black marble tile chipping my tooth.
Willie walked and stood over me– with his red swimming trunks hugging his hairy thighs and his blonde hair glued to his neck–and he spit on me.
I kicked and cursed and screamed, but I was handcuffed and hopeless.
I don’t even know what I was going to do. I was just drunk and acting on impulse. I just didn’t know who to blame for my misery and embarrassment–The Still Rocks, Linda, my daughters, fate… I just didn’t know. And because I didn’t know, I should not have had a loaded gun.
So, I never made it to the third and final show.
I ended up in here with peeling moldy white walls, a clogged steel toilet full of shit, chipped tile floors, a paper-thin metal twin bed infested with bed bugs, shitty loafs of food, an hour of sunlight, abusive authority, and a nut for a roommate.
But like with the rest of my life, I will simply tune it out.
I could endure the fiery pits of hell if I still had my mind to entertain me.
I’ve been locked up for two months now, and I doubt I’ll get out anytime soon. They treat these damn celebrities like they’re god almighty. I didn’t even shoot him.
Anyways, I may rot in this jail for the rest of my life, and who knows how long that will be. But, at least if I die in this unsanitary, malicious, concrete, oppressive sea of orange sorrow you know my truth; you know my story.
And remember, call me Max. I’m not Mark Chapman, or Charles Manson, or John Wilkes Booth. I’m Max. Maxwell Smith, age 40, white male.
Thanks for reading! What did you think of my short story? Any fun interpretations that came to mind? Did you like Max, feel sorry for him, or hate him? Let me know everything you think in the comments below! And remember to subscribe below to be entered to win cool prizes each month!