That Was Radio Clash

December 23, 2002

"Why so down?" the bartender asked the girl with the dark blue hair.

She looked up, surprised, maybe, that anyone had even noticed.

At night, the Rhatigan was one of the last decent live jazz clubs in town. The kind of place where you didn't necessarily know the players, but one thing the music always did was swing. There was none of your smooth jazz or other ambient crap here.

But during the day, it was like any other low-end bar, a third full of serious drinkers and no one that looked like her.

"Joe Strummer died yesterday," she said.

Alphonse is a good guy. He used to play the keys until an unpaid debt resulted in some serious damage to his melody hand. He can still play, but where he used to soar, now he just walks along on the everyday side of genius with the rest of us. And while maybe he can't express the way things feel with his music anymore, the heart that made him one of the most generous players you could sit in with is still beating inside that barrel chest of his.

"I'm sorry," he said. "Was he a friend of yours?"

The hint of a smile tugged at the corner of her mouth, but the sadness in her eyes didn't change.

"Hardly," she said. "It's just that he was the heart and soul of the only band that matters and his dying reminds me of how everything that's good eventually fades away."

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