I’d give anything to be at home right now, warm and safe in my own bed.
Instead, I’m a thousand miles away, all alone on a Greyhound bus bound for Minneapolis in the dead of the night.
Not long ago, I would have looked at a road trip like this like it was an adventure.
Now, I’m just like, ‘when do we get there?’
The last passenger got off in some hick town a couple hundred miles east of here.
Innocent farmboy-type, on his way home from school. He didn’t know what to make of me, but he was polite and I was able to pass the time talking to him.
Since then, I’ve just been sitting here alone with my thoughts, completely isolated from the world as I watch it pass by outside my window.
I never thought I’d miss writing in my blog, but I do.
All this time, I’ve taken it for granted. Sometimes it feels like such a burden, but without it, I feel so… I dunno, disconnected.
It won’t be much longer. I’ll transmit this as soon as I can get some pavement under my feet and find some Wi-Fi, so any of you who are still interested in the saga of Penny Heartbreaker can get your fix.
I step off the bus at 2:47 am. The neighborhood I’m in looks less than inviting. Kind’a seedy and industrial.
I doubt there’s a Starbucks in this part of town, and even if there were, it probably wouldn’t be open at this hour, which means if I’m gonna blog my little heart out, I’m gonna have to do a little warwalking first.
Oh, please let there be a chalker in this town…
I went cross-country once before, from Nowhere, Oregon, bound for nowhere in particular.
That was out of necessity. I was 18, and I had to get out of that place. I didn’t care where I ended up, I just knew I had to re-invent myself.
So I saved what money I could, and the first chance I got, I was outta there.
The morning of my 18th birthday, I took off in the middle of the night on the first bus out of town.
I ended up in New York. The second I stepped off the bus, I knew I didn’t need to run anymore.
I knew I was home.
But here I am again, out on the road. Why?
Well, like I said, the first time I hit the road was out of necessity…
This time, I’m out here for revenge.
Posters. He has posters, for god’s sake.
I’m out here with like, no money and no resources, and the first thing I see when I step off the bus is that little goon, scowling at me like he’s dangerous or something.
I’m several blocks away before I finally chill out and get my wits about me again.
That’s when I remember that I was looking for free Wi-Fi…
Actually, I probably wouldn’t have even remembered then, if I hadn’t walked right up on someone’s marks.
There are lots of places that use wireless internet. If you know what to look for, you can just walk right up and use someone’s connection.
It also helps when there’s somebody out there cool enough to mark it for you.
It was only a couple of months ago that a friend even told me about Warchalking.
That’s what it’s called, I swear.
I thought the whole thing sounded a little too cute… using old hobo symbols to mark places with free Wi-Fi… then I saw it firsthand.
Now, every town I hit, I find mmyself looking for widgy little chalk marks on buildings and sidewalks.
Anyway, here I am, cold, lonely & hungry, plotting revenge on the biggest poseur in Rock N’ Roll history from my temporary headquarters… an alley in the worst part of Minneapolis.
Revenge is not sexy.
For those of you who might be new to the blog, I’ll give you the short version of the story to bring you up to speed…
I guess it started about a year ago. I was in New York, trying to make it as a singer/ songwriter…
…it wasn’t going well.
So that was how we met.
If I knew then what I know now… I would’a just killed the little creep.
Instead, I bought him a drink, to thank him for saving my notebook, and for saving my night.
His name was Eugene. We ended up sitting there at the bar all night, talking. About music at first.
He was cute, like a puppy. Every girl loves a puppy…
He was a singer too, and although he couldn’t write worth a damn, he could play and sing really well.
Unlike me, he was completely at ease on stage. I envied him that.
I can remember sitting in the audience the first time he played one of my songs, thinking “I could make this guy famous.”
All he needed was the right songs, and the right image.
I could provide both.
It was simple, really. New haircut, new clothes, and a crash-course in rock star swagger. That was all it took to transform sweet, goofy eugene into Johnny Guttersnipe.
Oh yeah, the name. What can I say? No girl ever stayed out past curfew to go see some guy named Eugene play on a Saturday night…
I’m a firm believer in the art of reinvention.
What, d’you think I was born with the name Penny Heartbreaker?
Of course, the image was just a small part of the big picture. Johnny Guttersnipe needed songs. He’d have to be like Westerberg, Johnny Thunders and Keith Richards all rolled up in one.
Luckily, I had a bunch of totally badass songs that, well, I’d recently come to realize that I wasn’t gonna be able to play in public. So I gave ‘em to Johnny. We stayed up all night, playing the songs over and over till he had ‘em down.
Till he knew ‘em as well as if they were his own.
Needless to say, we got pretty close.
After that, things started happening quickly.
We put together a band, and put ‘em out there on the scene, playing in the rock clubs around NYC. The audience loved the songs, they loved the band, and they loved Johnny.
Next thing I know, they’re booked every night of the week. The record labels started sniffing around almost immediately.
I didn’t realize it at the time, but that was when things started going wrong.
I can’t adequately describe how good it felt, or the satisfaction I got just standing backstage watching Johnny play, watching him win the crowds over with the songs I wrote.
For awhile, it was enough for me to live out my rockstar dreams vicariously through Johnny.
I was so blinded by the stage lights that I didn’t notice the things that were going on around me.