Sassy Sally Rides Again Part II: A Short Story

This is not so much “Part II” of “Sassy Sally Rides Again,” but more like an alternative version. I think this ending is much happier than the other, but who knows. Happiness can be so subjective. 

photo credit: seattle times

photo credit: seattle times

“Sassy Sally Rides Again”

a short story

 

PART TWO

January 27th, 2005. 4:45PM.

Aging ska-punk guitarist Christopher “Chewie” Choo is at home in Elysian Park, California. He’s getting dressed to drive down to The Ranchilito, to see his father about getting paid for some landscaping work that Chewie had recently done for him. He makes a point to wear normal clothes, eschewing his usual clanky wallet chain and safety-pin stitched t-shirts. Chewie takes out a worn-in Fred Perry sweater and some 501’s. While getting dressed, he watches his current girlfriend, Diane, flirt with a neighbor.

Martin, one of Chewie’s five roommates, comes in with a bong.

“Hey, Chewbacca! 420?”

He checks his watch. It is actually 4:45PM.

“Yeah,” he replies. “That might just hit the spot.”

They pass the pipe back and forth 3 or 4 times. Chewie’s still got his eye on Diane. He’s annoyed, but not jealous. Watching her put her hand on the neighbor’s arm and laugh, it just fits in with the rest of his life.

“God,” Chewie says. “Do you think she’s screwing that guy?”

“Who, Jacquez?” says Martin. “No, Jacquez is cool. He wouldn’t do that.”

“But, Diane would. Right?”

Marty smiles a fairly big smile. His teeth tell his life story. Perfectly straight from childhood orthodontics yet totally tarnished from cigarettes, coffee and a general lack of hygiene.

“Dude, you’re getting paranoid.”

“Naw,” says Chewie. “I don’t get paranoid anymore. I can barely get high.”

Chewie starts to complain that he can’t get any breaks while Martin starts talking about their new project, some-kind of marching band meets the Pixies, or maybe more like ska-jazz-americana. Chewie likes that second idea better. He starts to lighten up, and begins to push for his band name choice. He’s particularly fond of “Sassy Sally Rides Again.” The irony would be that there’s no Sally in the band, nor would they be particularly sassy.

But they’d definitely be riding again.

That is the point of the whole thing. To ride again. Get the old gang together for one more heist.

“We aren’t old, Chewie.”

“Sure, dude,” says Chewie. “Of course we aren’t.”

“Hey, but we really got to get this thing started,” says Martin. “J’s got songs ready to go. We can start rehearsing tonight.”

“Look, I don’t know about tonight. I gotta do this thing.”

“Okay. But we’re gonna go ahead though. I mean, it’d be cool if you’re in, but…”

Chewie looks over at Diane again. She’s leaning over the chain-link fence, her rear in the air.

“You know, I don’t even love her,” says Chewie.

“What?” says Martin.

“Look, I have to go see my dad. He owes me some money. We’ll figure this out later.”

#

January 27th 1985. 1:00AM.

8 hours after Chewie’s conversation with Martin ended and 20 years before it started.

Chewie has wandered into a nightclub that he used to frequent. In doing so, he’s inadvertently travelled back in time to a pivotal night in his life, a moment where he believes he made the worst mistake of his life.

The Pine Tree Club is mostly emptied out and Chewie is still on stage. He’s covered in sweat and his fingers are tender. Megan, his girlfriend from that time, is talking to Scott. They’re laughing about something, maybe the show tonight or some childhood memory. They’re family-friends, grew up together in The Ranchilito, along with Chewie and Martin and Jane.

Chewie remembers what he did next, the first time around. He got off the stage to go break up with Megan. He accused her of being unfaithful, which was a fabrication. It hurt her badly, but he convinced himself that they needed a break.

He was racked with guilt, but resolute in his decision. He really believed that he deserved better than her.

The story of Chewie’s life, I deserve better.

But actually, he always got exactly what he deserved.

Except this time. This time it appears he has a chance to reverse his consequences. He gets to make things different. Make things right.

“Scottie!” shouts Chewie. “Can me and Meg talk for a second?”

“Yeah, sure, old pal,” says Scott. “And damn, you were off tonight, man. What’s going on? And you look like hell too. I mean, with the lights on, you look like the freaking night of the living dead.”

Chewie squints and frowns, realizing that he still looks like a 40 year old version of himself.  Dried up, balding and drooping from the eyes and checks, Chewie is noticeably more weathered than the 24 year old version of himself that Scott and Megan are expecting.

“For reals, Chewbacca,” says Megan. “You really look terrible. Are you feeling okay? Is this like make-up or something?”

She runs her hand across his cheek. She notices how rough and sweaty it is. She looks at her hand and doesn’t see anything. She puts her fingers up to her nose and sniffs.

“Dang it, Chewie! What the heck have you been eating? You smell like onions and menthol.”

“Sorry, Meg,” Chewie says, “It’s, uh, I think I have a cold or something. But I’m okay, seriously. I do need to talk to you though.”

He looks at Scott, “Like, privately.”

A young Martin joins them.

“Hey, pals! Some of us are heading over to Scotland Yard, you coming?”

“Yeah, sure, Marty,” says Chewie. “But let me talk to Meg first, okay?”

“Okay, Chewie, sure,” says Martin, looking intently at Chewie’s face. “Man, you don’t look too good. You sick or something?”

“I’m fine, Marty,” he says, turning back to Megan. “Meg, something really weird is happening. I can’t explain it. But here it is: I have travelled back in time!”

“What?” she says, “No, Chew. Let’s go to bar, man. They’re gonna close in an hour.”

“But seriously, I have to talk to you. I travelled backwards in time!”

She looks at him, “You don’t look right, Chewie.”

Chewie grabs Megan’s arm. “Come on, Meg. It’s a miracle. I came back to make things right between us.”

He tightens his grip on her arm, pushing her towards the door with his other hand. She squirms in his grips, twisting away from him.

“What the hell is wrong with you, Christopher!”

“You don’t understand, Meg!” he says. “I’m not crazy! I’m from the future!”

“Man, you have got to calm down,” she says. “I’m leaving.”

Chewie grabs at her again. This time she dodges him and he left holding her handbag. She screams. Everyone turns and looks at them. She yanks her bag away from Chewie. A small packet of papers falls to the ground.

“Get the hell away from me, Chewie!” she yells. “I don’t want to talk to you! I just want to go to Scotland Yard have a beer with my friends! What the hell is wrong with you!? Go home!”

Scottie grabs him and pulls him away from Meg.

“Calm down,” he says, shoving Chewie towards the front door.

His other friends stare at him, disapprovingly. Someone whispers into someone else’s ear. The words “what the…” are clearly audible.

Chewie sees the papers that fell out of Megan’s bag. He picks them up.

“Seriously, Chewie,” Megan says. “You need to just go home.”

He looks at the papers in his hand. He doesn’t look back up at her or anyone else. He exhales heavily, composing himself.

“Okay, let me get some air. I’ll be right back,” he says, as he walks towards the door.

As soon he leaves, Megan and Scott carefully watch his departure. Scott puts his hand on her back. She looks at him, crying. He smiles, awkwardly and sideways. The club goes dark.

Chewie stomps down the street, cussing under his breath. He kicks at soda cans and shadows.

“What did I do wrong this time? How do I keep screwing everything up?”

He crosses the street and notices that the papers he’s holding are titled: WHAT TO DO WHEN CHEWIE COMES BACK.

Chewie starts reading: “SCENE ONE: CHEWIE FINDS HIS OLD SETLIST.”

He keeps reading to see that everything that everyone said in the club was scripted.

“What the hell?” he mutters.

It dawns on him that they were intentionally trying to get rid of him.

“Oh my god,” he says.

He gets to his car, trying to make sense to what’s happened. His thoughts run the gambit from “Am I insane?” to “This is the second chance I’ve needed.”

Feeling lightheaded, Chewie doses off in the driver’s seat, still parked across the street from the Pine Tree Club. When he wakes up, he looks across the street and the old rock and roll club has transformed into a Korean Evangelical Church. His analog dashboard clock says 8:25.

“Still plenty of time to get to rehearsal,” he says, as he starts the engine a drives towards J’s house.

NOTES

[1] Read PART I HERE

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2 comments

  1. Heather M. · May 29, 2014

    Hi! I nominated you for the Inspiring Blogger award. 🙂
    http://awkwardheather.wordpress.com/2014/05/29/inspiring-blogger-award/

    • Juan Zung · May 30, 2014

      Wow! Thanks, heather! What an honor!!

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