Charlene Collins found herself back in that very soft bed, back in that very small room. She stared at the ceiling, wondering what in the hell this was all about. She always hated not being in control of any situation and she definitely was not in control of this one. Her mind began to wander back to another time in her life, not that long ago.
She remembered, as a little girl, she would listen to music with her mother on an old compact disc player. Her mother, Cheyenne Collins, liked the newer bands such as Gun Metal Gray, Tick Tock Tiger, and Look Before You Leap, but one old band she really was into, in that she constantly played over and over the only two albums they had ever recorded, was a band called Drive Shaft.
In fact, her Mom had told Charlene she had named her not only after the band itself but after its singer/songwriter/keyboardist/guitarist/bass player, Charlie Pace.
Charlene, herself, had always had a love for music, as far back as she could remember. On her 16th birthday, her mom had bought her an acoustic guitar and an electronic keyboard. Charlene took right to both and in no time, was learning to play, compose, and sing her own songs. Cheyenne told her she was a natural born musician. Charlene would one day learn how true that really was.
For Cheyenne’s birthday, Charlene thought she would surprise her mom with a song. Since her Mom loved Drive Shaft so much, she decided to perform their one and only hit for her, “You All Everybody”.
Just as Charlene started to perform, her mom suddenly broke down into tears. Charlene didn’t understand.
“What’s wrong, Mom?!” Charlene remembered asking.
“Nothing,” Cheyenne replied, “I’m okay. Its just that song brought back memories.”
“Good memories, huh?” Charlene asked.
“Yeah, some good,” Cheyenne answered, “some not so!”
“I don’t understand,” Charlene said.
“Well sweetie, I guess you’re old enough now to understand,” Cheyenne began, “so I’ll tell you.”
“Tell me what?” Charlene nervously asked.
“About your father,” Cheyenne answered, wiping the tears from her eyes.
“He was a swimming instructor, right?” Charlene said, “you said he ran off with one of his students soon after I was born.”
Cheyenne smiled, “Not quite. You see, I was heavily into the rock and roll scene back when I was about your age.”
Charlene laughed, “You were a groupie?”
Cheyenne giggled, “I like to think of myself as a loyal and dedicated fan but yeah, I was a groupie.”
“Cool!” Charlene replied.
“And I just loved the band called, well, you know,” Cheyenne grinned.
“Drive Shaft!” Charlene called out.
“Yeah, Drive Shaft,” Cheyenne replied, “so me and a couple of friends decided to follow them on their tour. Their “Drive Across America” tour.”
“Awesome!” Charlene replied.
“Yeah, well,” Cheyenne continued, “when they played L.A., we managed to get back stage and there I met him!”
“Met who?” Charlene asked.
“The most wonderful man in the world,” Cheyenne answered.
Charlene noticed her mom had begun to get a far away look in her eyes.
“He was a god that had stepped down from a musical Olympus!” Cheyenne purred.
Charlene just rolled her own eyes.
“Well,” Cheyenne continued, “he and I hit it off and, as they say, one thing led to another and the rest was history.”
“Are you going to continue to speak in cliché’s,” Charlene impatiently asked, “or are you going to tell me what this has to do with my father!”
Cheyenne blinked and Charlene noticed her mom’s far away look was suddenly gone and replaced with a look of sadness.
“That rock god’s name was Charlie Pace,” Cheyenne answered.
“The one you named me after, right? And so?!” Charlene asked.
“So Charlie Pace was your father!” Cheyenne replied.
Back in the small room, Charlene sat up on the soft bed. She remembered being in shock after her mom had told her.
It was just one night, her mom had explained. It turned out that one night was all that was needed!
Charlie had told Cheyenne he loved her. That he would call her, whenever he got back that way again, maybe. Cheyenne knew Charlie told many girls he loved them and was always too drunk and/or stoned the next morning to remember anything of what he or anyone had ever said or done.
But Cheyenne still loved him and continued to follow Charlie and Drive Shaft for the remainder of the tour. But she was never allowed backstage again and when she discovered she was pregnant with his child, she had tried to contact him but to no avail. Nine months later, she even sent him an E-mail with a picture attached of his new baby daughter. But she never heard back from Charlie ever again and she decided not to pursue any legal action. As it turned out, the only thing of lasting value she had ever received from Charlie Pace was the daughter she had named Charlene Drivette Shaftene, in honor of him and that one night stand.
Charlene also remembered her mother telling her that when she learned about the disappearance and apparent death of Charlie Pace, she had never shed a tear.
Charlene, however, felt sadness. A sadness, not for never knowing her real father, but a sadness for her mother who, after all these years, still had love. Love for a man who never remembered that night, who never remembered her mom ever existed.
Suddenly, Charlene’s memories disappeared, as the door to her small room bolted open.
“Get up!” Lysergic Oldham ordered, “I want to try a little experiment and you’re gonna be the guinea pig!”
Next: Chap. Eight “A Flock of Seagulls”