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I, too, have friends dead from drugs, guys I hung out with on my hometown streets and in the war memorial park with wood railings we kept falling off, too stoned to balance on. There was Zak, the lumberjack-looking redhead who was dumb and because he was dumb an unwitting victim of fun: He dosed on smack, thinking he could take it, but it taking him; and Allen, a doper of the first order who made it into early middle age, then did himself in with mixtures of booze and crack, his body rotting behind the butcher shop; then there was Herbie, sweetly temperate Herbie who dreamed of being a ferocious drummer and high on Ginger Baker riffs and weed, gigged out on the front end of an 18-wheeler. There are others, but when I hear a car or truck backfire, when I hear raindrops on a roof or distant rolls of thunder, when I hear the neighbor's boy drumming night into dawn, it's Zak and Allen I think of, and Herbie, Herbie twirling his sticks high over his head, then ripping into classic Cream, Ginger at his side, drumming Armageddon into exile.
Copyright 2021 George Drew
George Drew’s many books include Drumming Armageddon (Madville, 2020).