The Rock Star Fills in the Blank by Erin Lyndal Martin

The rock star opens his mouth and you tumble out, with the dead-leaves scent of your hair I remember. When I met you, I had reasons for thinking you were dirty. Not that you were sketchy or lascivious. It just hadn’t occurred to you to wash.

The rock star is screaming now. He’s all vowels.

The rock star is from El Paso and I bet you’ve been there too. Before I met you, driving an old white Jeep, installing cable. Buying screw-top wine to drink in hotel rooms, watching infomercials in the dark.  What I can’t remember about you I invent, like how you did your laundry when you were on the road. Probably you found a laundromat, but I imagine you stopped strangers at gas stations and asked to use their machines.

The rock star opens his mouth and I think of music festivals. You have been to many and I can’t picture that, what with your love of outerwear. I think you stand there listening to music all day and then write postcards that do not mention the festival at all.

You used to play the rock star’s albums while you watched movies with the sound off. Usually they were movies made by this 1970’s softcore director you loved. Boobs kept falling out of nurses’ uniforms beneath fierce drumming. I can’t tell what the rock star is singing about, but it’s probably lobotomies or electroshock therapy. He barely knits his eyebrows when he sings.

Ever since the second chorus last night, I knew I was alone no matter what. Real alone, lightning in my bones alone, straining in the crowd at the Statue of Liberty alone. It wasn’t pain that made me whimper under you but it wasn’t desire either.

The rock star invites us to a party and mixes me a drink. When he hands me the glass, I see that he has an evil eye tattoo inside his left wrist. It’s blue-black like certain kinds of wasps. The ice in the glass is melting faster than I think it should. I don’t know if I want to drink the bourbon anymore.

You and I find a little dark room with a couch. It’s probably meant for making out or at least smoking up but you don’t even hold my hand. Embedded in the wall is one of those fake fish tanks. It’s the only light in the room.

The party gets lame. The rock star says we’re leaving. The rock star asks you to stop the car so we can get out and take a picture of the sky. The ground cover is lurid like bad landscape art. I’m thinking about star clusters and then I’m alone by the side of the road.

The rock star comes back for me. He has you tied up in the trunk. We demolish you in the desert, and then the rock star drives us away in your car.


Erin Lyndal Martin is a poet, fiction writer, music journalist, and visual artist. Her flash fiction has appeared in Smokelong Quarterly, Literary Orphans, Atticus Review, and elsewhere. She’s on twitter.

This piece was originally published on Flash Flash Click. We are honored to host it here in partnership and collaboration.

Image: “77/365 – Rock Star” by Matt Harris