David drags her body by the sneakers that made the band millions. The slip-in kind with the designs all over them. So many people at their shows wore them. Some threw them on stage. What the hell kind of sense does that make? Throwing shoes of the lead singer’s own design back at her. David can’t stand the sycophants.

Won’t take long to find them. No use wiping off the bloody smudges or shoe prints his heavy boots made across the muddy dirt. He just wanted to quit. Tell her he was done after the summer tour. David doesn’t need the spotlight anymore. David just needs to get away.

Stubborn Aleeza couldn’t just find another bassist and let him be. This thing is bigger than you, she said. You don’t know what you’re doing. You’re nothing without me.

Then, she really started getting loud.


No matter how big the press junkets, how prestigious the magazine clamoring for an interview, there was one thing David never forgot. That one time they got stuck outside a gig in Ocala, Florida because the shitty Dodge minivan they used for a tour bus shred the retreads they’d bought in North Carolina. Aleeza was always a smooth talker. She convinced a couple of fans to hole them up at a local Holiday Inn until the next night, promising backstage access at the next nearest gig.

The following year, they played The University of Florida homecoming concert as invited guests. A shit ton of people were backstage and the good Samaritans had to do a whole dog and pony show to remind her. Too many, more important, people had floated into her world since the Ocala roadside. David knew as soon as he saw them but didn’t bother reminding her. It was her courtesy to remember.

ChokeHold was the single that did it. Aleeza penned a poppy, catchy tune about their relationship. Before the awards shows, the arena concerts, and before Aleeza hooked up with that rock star douchebag. Everyone wanted a piece of the riot girl who couldn’t cite one personality from women’s suffrage. She swallowed up the attention and took it from the rest of them. ChokeHold rocketed and then she opened her big trap about its origin. There was David, in the spotlight for the wrong reasons.

Nobody gave a shit he spent two years living in a crack shack without TV, barely any food. Fingering the guitar all God damn night to forget the pain in his head and the rumbling in his stomach. No one was there when the calluses over his fingers split open like piping hot Vienna sausages. He played on, streaking blood all over the fret board. He woke to wipe it down and stain it again by the end of the next night.

Nobody cared. All they wanted to hear about was the failed relationship. How could you let someone like that go? Was the question across eighty percent of reporter’s lips.

How could she let someone like me go? He always wanted to snap back.


The bloody smudges across her neck and the Christ-like position he rests her at will give them more reason to deify her. Stupid doing what he did but it’s done. No rewind button on this stereo system.

He takes out the acoustic from the trunk of his car, settles comfortably by a rock near her body, and plays riffs from his favorite songs about death: Jeremy, You’re Gonna Kill that Girl, Blasphemous Rumours.

He will wait until as long as it takes them to find him. As soon as one riff ends, he starts another. To drive that God damn song out of his head. Fucking ChokeHold. He can hear her now: “Touch my lip and smudge the window glass.”

Bunch of fucking simpletons running out to download the single. That line over and over. As he fingers the opening riff of I Can Never Go Home Anymore, it drowns out her shit lyrics and David hears Aleeza no more.

~ fin ~

Hector Duarte Jr. is currently finishing his thesis at FIU's MFA program. His work has appeared on Flash: The International Short Story Magazine, Sliver of Stone, Bewildering Stories, Flash Fiction Offensive, and Foliate Oak.