(Photo by Andre Rodrigues)
Eric missed Lemmy.
It wasn’t the kind of longing one feels for an old friend he hasn’t seen in many a moon, or the type of heartfelt sadness a person carries with them after a lover has decided to call it a day. It was the feeling of loss that comes when you honestly have never thought of that person being gone forever and, suddenly, they are.
When Lemmy Kilmister, bassist and vocalist for the band Motorhead, died the day after Christmas last year, it hit Eric particularly hard. He wasn’t sure why. He liked Motorhead well enough. He had a couple of their albums and, like everyone, knew the words to “Ace of Spades” by heart. In fact, his favorite episode of The Young Ones was when the band played that very song as the lads scrambled to arrive to University Challenge on time.
But he had never seen them live, nor did he own any of their gear. Not even a t-shirt. Yet, when it was publicly announced that the metal god had been diagnosed with cancer and then died two days later, Eric felt as though a part of his soul was gone. A presence he always thought would be in the world, like God or Batman, was now gone with nothing to replace it.
Oh, sure, there was always Keith Richards, but Keith wasn’t someone Eric could identify with. Lemmy was an everyday kinda man, who enjoyed Jack and Cokes and video game machines at his favorite bar and speed. OK, Eric didn’t really identify with Lemmy’s love of go-go powder, but other than that, the rock-and-roll cowboy was someone who always seemed to have no intention of dying.
And yet he did.
Since Lemmy passed, Eric had been listening to a lot of Motorhead and wondered why he didn’t when Kilmister was still alive. The music was driving, it was loud, it was heavy. It was also irreverent and funny at times. All these were traits Eric loved in art, be it music, literature, etc., but he was never a Motorhead guy until Dec. 26, 2015. You know, when everyone who wasn’t one already became a fan. He had even considered getting the Ace of Spades symbol tattooed on him somewhere until his younger brother called him a poser dickhead for even thinking about it. If Kevin could see that, Eric was pretty sure his other friends would think the same thing because Kevin was kinda stupid.
Eric had been watching Lemmy, the documentary about the musician, on Netflix and was amazed at the fact the rock icon lived in a smallish apartment in Los Angeles. Granted, Eric couldn’t see him living in a palatial British estate, but the living quarters displayed in the movie only made Eric miss Lemmy more somehow.
As he sat on his couch, staring at the now-dark screen of his television, Eric said aloud, “I wish you were still around, Lemmy.”
The sound of the words were still reverberating around the room when a sudden knock at the door made Eric jump and, to be honest, damn near piss himself.
It came true, was the first thought in Eric’s head as his heart still pounded in his chest from the initial scare. Lemmy is here!
On the heels of that, as Eric began to calm down, his panic subsiding, he realized there was no way that Lemmy Kilmister, dead at 70 of cancer and cremated, had risen from the dead and was knocking on the door of his rural Missouri apartment.
But what if he has, Eric thought. What if the power of his wish, combined with a variable such as a falling star or a passing benevolent faerie made Eric’s wish come true? The 23-year-old welder and former Navy Hull Technician wasn’t an intellectual giant, but he wasn’t necessarily dim, either. An active imagination and a love of comic books and fantasy/sci-fi fiction since he was nine years old gave Eric a surprising level of worldly understanding.
Having said that, he sometimes went a little overboard when it came to things he wanted to be true yet were physically impossible. Like the time he spent two hours bargaining with God to grant him the ability to use the Force and then, sure his prayers had been answered, spent another hour trying to levitate a plate of pizza rolls from the coffee table to his lap.
Like that unfortunate day when the Force failed him, Eric was now sure Lemmy was waiting on the other side of the door. As if on cue, the sound of someone pounding on the door filled the room once again, this time louder and more impatient. Eric, his heart now beating like a bass drum from excitement instead of fear, jumped up from his couch and began walking towards the door.
Then he stopped.
A comic, one of those old EC comics from the Fifties, leapt into his head. A man had bought an old monkey’s hand that was supposed to grant him three wishes and discovered later that it did, in fact, work. When the man wished for money, he and his wife received it the following day. However, the money came from an insurance policy they had placed on their son, who had died the previous night in an automobile accident. The man then wished for his son to return to the land of the living. The son was back from the dead, all right, but as a mindless zombie. The grieving father finally wished for his boy to return to the grave and he did. The moral of the story was, of course, be careful what you wished for.
What if Lemmy was a zombie? A pissed-off zombie who wanted to make Eric pay for awakening him from his eternal rest. What if Lemmy was in the afterworld, hanging out with Jimi Hendrix and Brian Jones and his former drummer Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor and Eric’s wish took him away from the greatest party in the history of time itself? The fear returned.
He jumped again as the beating on the door now shook the TV and TV stand next to the wall. Eric realized he must do it. He must open the door and accept his fate.
Hands trembling, mind numb with terror, he walked to the door. His right hand lingered over the doorknob for a moment, then grasped it. He turned the knob, flung open the door, and—
“Jesus Jumped-Up Christ, you fucking asshole! It’s pouring out here!”
Kevin was standing just outside the door, soaking wet, clutching a large bag of groceries in one hand with his other hand formed into a fist that was about to hammer the door again.
“Oh!” Eric said, a combination of relief and mild disappointment flooding him. “I thought…well, never mind.”
His brother looked him for a moment before speaking.
“You thought it was Lemmy again, didn’t you?”