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Another Life

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Daryl was tired. The bone deep kind that settles in and lingers even after a full night’s sleep. He’d spent the last ten years drifting around with his older brother, wasting time mostly. He’d dropped out of high school when he was fourteen and worked odd jobs to support his abusive, alcoholic pa till he turned eighteen. Then Merle had showed back up and dragged him out of there, and Daryl’d felt indebted to him ever since.  

They’d gamble, run drugs, anything that Merle felt like and Daryl just tagged along. The only thing he had that really felt like was just for him was music. Sure Merle and his scumbag friends would blare metal while they were tweaking, but Daryl would listen to old classic rock on a cheap MP3 player he’d won in a game of poker. He’d first picked up a guitar when he was just a kid and his ma had still been around. She’d play it and when she split she left it behind. It was the only thing he had left of her and he refused to get rid of it regardless of Merle’s occasional teasing him of playing the beat up instrument. 

Playing guitar had always been an escape for Daryl. A way to express all the things he could never say in his repressive upbringing. Merle had for the most part actually supported his playing guitar, always telling him it’d be a good way to pick up chicks. 

“Hell little brother, don’t gotta talk if ya ken play like that, rockstars get all the Grade-A pussy!”

Daryl always smirked and let his older brother think that was why he did it. He’d drag him out to metal shows and point to the groupies fawning over bands. Daryl would just go along and talk to roadies over a smoke. He’d always hear about big shows happening in Atlanta and dream about what the music scene must be like there. 

Now he was sitting on the back porch of the place where he and Merle had been squatting. He plucked lazily at the strings of his acoustic guitar while his older brother slept off a hangover inside. It seemed like he’d reached the end of some dead end road in his life and for the life of him he couldn’t imagine how he’d get out of it. 

Eventually he heard Merle knocking about inside, cursing and finally stumbling outside with a cigarette in his mouth, a bottle of Jack in one hand and a folded up newspaper in the other. He let out a groan as his knee popped and he sat on the step below him, leaning back and lighting his cigarette. He righted the crooked sunglasses he had on and took a large swig from the bottle of booze before offering it to Daryl who shook his head. 

“Jeezus little brother, how long you been sulkin’ out here?” he barked at Daryl. 

“‘m not sulkin’” he grumbled and strummed out a few chords. 

“Bull-shit!” his brother accused, “been mopin’ about like a moody teenage girl fer weeks now!”

Daryl just ignored him and proceeded to light up a smoke of his own. 

“But I’ve got just the ticket! Saw here in this paper there’s a big concert happenin’ t’night in At’lana, figured thas just the thing ta-cheer-you-up!” he jabbed his finger at Daryl emphasizing the last part of the sentence. Daryl sighed weakly and nodded. 

“‘guess,” he agreed. He really didn’t feel like being around a bunch of people, but he figured it couldn’t hurt to get out of the stifling rut they’d been in.