I Should Have Been a Rock Star
by John Kaniecki Genre: SciFi Fantasy
"What happens when Don ‘Hypo’ Colandri mysteriously disappears from Edward’s University on his way to a Statics exam? Why his three roommates lie outright claiming he was kidnapped by a Satanic cult, all to get money and score with chicks. Don, however, has been mysteriously transported into outer space where he becomes a pawn of one Nellie Watt against the Time Lords in a cosmic game being run by God. Unfortunately for Myron, Slick and Psycho, (Don’s three former roommates) they have dived into a realm where fools tread. Hilda Thethia, a practicing Satanist, learns of the ruse and quickly begins to blackmail the trio. Sadly Myron, Slick and Psycho realize that the followers of Satan are more wide spread than they could have ever imagined and none are too happy at having the name of their Dark Lord besmirched. Meanwhile poor Don is learning the ropes of outer space in a very hard way. Every mystery he solves only brings more questions. Will Nellie Watt succeed in her contest against the Time Lords and go to the Twinkling of Twilights to press the Reset Button? Will Myron, Slick and Psycho manage to escape from the miserable maze they created? And most important of all, Why didn’t YOU become a rock star?
This is the story of Don Colandri: a fictional character in a fictional universe. Everything else presented upon these sacred pages is potent gospel truth.
We now join our protagonist in the midst of one of his most distasteful pastimes.
He is not studying. Oh no, studying is far from the excruciating, intense ordeal happening. Rather, the young college student is cramming. Observe the multiple beads of sweat gathering on Don’s head, in particular on the glossy area of his premature receding hairline, where the light shines and shimmers. It is a physical feature that makes Don Colandri look older than he actually is, not old in a positive sense, like he could enter into a liquor store and not be asked to present an ID, but rather in a merciless pathetic way.
If Don Colandri could be mistaken for a tennis star, it would without a doubt be John McEnroe. Of course, Don couldn’t play tennis like the aforementioned world champion. But you wouldn’t know that if you sat and listened to Mr. Colandri. In fact, with frantic persuasion Don would lay down pertinent statements to make his case. As is his habit, his truths are laced with lies. “I can
serve the ball over one hundred miles an hour,” he says. “My two-hand backhand is better than most people’s forehand,” he claims. “I would have played in the Olympics, but I pulled a hamstring,” he laments. In fact, such falsifications are canted with “hyper” enthusiasm. This leads directly to Don Colandri’s nickname. He is known by friend and foe alike as Hypo. By the way,
his two-hand backhand is better than most people’s forehands, as everybody who has never played tennis is part of that which constitutes “most people.”
Words fail me to describe Don Colandri with only one primary adjective. Some men, for example, are known as handsome. They have perfectly straight teeth, creating a glistening white smile, with luscious blue eyes that capture all the wonders of creation and with hair in immaculate style as if painstakingly put in order strand by strand, all summed up in one label as handsome.
Hypo, however, is not handsome. Rather, he is far from it. In perfect honesty, and truthful I must be, the young man is quite repugnant. His mouth boasts crooked teeth, stained yellow from smoking tobacco cigarettes. He has beady eyes reminiscent of a rat, always shifting left and right as if navigating some grand maze in an endless quest for a massive hunk of provolone cheese. The character’s receding hair has been previously mentioned. In addition, these disloyal tresses were curly and frequently greasy. Yet I am reluctant to simply describe Don Colandri as repugnant. For it would miss inner values, some of which contain virtue. It is not that Don Colandri is remotely righteous. Rather, true to life, he is gray. Not ambiguous in that shade, for as the story proceeds, specific personality traits shall clearly come forth. Don Colandri, simply put, is Don Colandri. So let’s just call him Hypo, shall we?
Now, Don Colandri is a sophomore attending Edward’s University. As attested by his statics book, Don is an engineering student. At this exact instant, he is trying to deduce the effect of moments on cantilever beams. One day, Hypo dreams of being a successful engineer. He has no pretense that he is working at this for the betterment of mankind. Rather, his mind is focused on green. Not the green of nature either, but rather the green of money. But before he can count his riches, he must attain them. This means paying some dues and attaining his college degree. So the pressing matter at hand is the complicated sketch of a cantilever beam with an abundance of arrows and measurements. Why, if Don didn’t know better, he might think the picture was some insidious drawing designed just to cause havoc and confusion. Just for fun, Don turns his textbook all different angles. He looks at the drawing sideways. He looks at the drawing upside down. It could be that some lost pirate hid a treasure map inside the textbook in the open disguise of a force diagram. But after a noble effort, Don decides that this isn’t the case. He lets out a sigh of desperation similar to a tremor before an earthquake.
Now, Don is not alone in his obscenely messy apartment room. Clothes of every variety are tossed all about. So badly sloppy is the abode that if a thief broke in and ransacked the room, nobody would notice. Sadly, I do not exaggerate. From these clothes emits an awful stench. The dreaded stale smell of sweat serves as the base odor. This is masked over by cigarette smoke and
marijuana smoke. Yes, Hypo and company do indulge from time to time in smoking some weed. It is one of their favorite pastimes, in fact. But I want to point out the most embarrassing aspect of the clothes strewn around the apartment. This is, of course, the dirty underwear. Some of these white garments are soiled both brown and yellow. Ah yes, dear reader, it is a tragedy of epidemic proportions. But Don and his roommates don’t live like this perpetually. They are only slobs by convenience. They are quick to tidy up if some festive event is to occur, especially if there is any possibility of them getting laid.
Who are Don’s roommates, you ask, the other individuals who share the domain known as room eight? Well come on down, Peter Bellos. You’re the first contestant to be introduced to the fine reader. While not the hero of the story, Peter Bellos does play a major part in this tale. In fact, whether Don Colandri is a hero or not is up to conjecture. Truly he is a victim of circumstance. But not Peter Bellos. No, he, along with Hypo’s two other friends, proves to be
opportunistic. Take a good look at Petie. His darker-colored skin must be noticed first in light of this racist society in which we live. Observe his piercing brown eyes, two wonders that Don Juan himself would envy accompanied by the plump belly hanging over his belt that he laughs away as “love handles.” Most prominent of all is his long black hair, hair that is greased back with globs of gel. This style has earned Mister Peter Bellos his nickname: Slick. For you see, as
you may have noticed, every one of the occupants of room eight has a nickname.
At this present moment, Peter Bellos is lying down on the couch amongst the dirty laundry, his head buried in a textbook of some sorts. Slick, too, desires to be rich. It is a common malady of people in this story, always wanting something that they don’t have. But that seems most logical, does it not, dear reader? Why would you want what you already have? That would be redundant. Unfortunately, the whole of mankind is swept away with coveting this illusionary thing called money. After all, it is either green pieces of paper or digits upon a computer. But there shall be time enough for me, the author, to subtly introduce my subversive feelings. So I will lay off and say that Slick, too, was a greedy bastard and, like Don Colandri, an engineering student.
Now, Myron Thompson, the next roommate of room eight, is a man of contradictions. He has a deep-seated hatred of his parents for naming him Myron. Any time that Myron hears his name called out, he cringes in humiliation. Of course, his peers don’t say “Myron” in some normal fashion. Rather it is more like “Myyyyyyyyyyyyyyron,” kind of in a singing way to express a notion of mockery. Myron is a bit of an athlete. As he found out early, he has to be tough to live up to the name he wears. Now, Myron Thompson really isn’t motivated to become an engineer to get rich. Rather, his existence is void of life and purpose. This is evidenced by the black celebrations of room eight. A black celebration is an event during which the attendees get intoxicated without any real reason to do so. It’s one thing to get plastered because it’s New
Year’s Eve. There is some formal reason or a semblance of an excuse. It’s another thing to do so simply because it’s Thursday. Myron Thompson is a bit taller than his roommates and had curly, sandy blond hair. His nickname is “M.T.” Those are, indeed, the initials of his first and last name. However, “M.T.” sounds very much like “empty.” So whenever Myron’s nickname is spoken, people point to his skull where his brain should be if it wasn’t “empty.” Occupants of room eight laugh at things that really aren’t that funny. It is just the way that they are.
Now I must diverge and ask the philosophical question: Do we save the best for last? Well, at rock and roll shows, you have opening acts and then out comes the best act. They call these “headliners.” This brings me to the title of this story: “I Should Have Been a Rock Star!” In American culture, or even British culture, it is probably something that every intelligent human being has said at one time or another, when you wake up from the drudgery of the job staring into the dismal black abyss that is your reality, gasping for air as if you were submerged in the sea of life being pushed down by some invisible hand directing your worth. But there is a very crucial thing we shouldn’t overlook, and that is to never lip-sync. It is an unforgivable sin, the blasphemy of the Rock and Roll Spirit. Transgress just once, and the ghost of Elvis Presley will haunt you forever, singing “Love Me Tender” day and night without repose.
Lastly, I have the great pleasure to introduce Saul Griffin, and yes, like Jesus Christ, Saul Griffin is a Jew. What exactly a Jew is these days, I really can’t define, so I’ll digress. I’ll save my preaching for Sunday morning at Chancellor Avenue. Right now, I’m trying to tell a story. You could call it an allegory if you like. But I’d rather look at it as a bunch of stuff that just happened to happen. Just a whole lot of whoopla that excites you, and then before you know it, the book is over, with your tongue hanging out panting for more, more, more. That is Saul Griffin’s personality to the hilt. He is always looking for that bigger score, trying to outdo not only everyone else but himself as well, and yes, Saul Griffin has a nickname. They call him Psycho. As far as a physical description, Saul Griffin would call himself tall, dark, and handsome. Unfortunately, reality begs to differ with those adjectives. Psycho is short, pale, and ugly. He has
reddish hair with freckles out of control.
Well we had to mention Woody Guthrie somewhere, so we’ll just throw his name in here at the end of the chapter. He is perhaps the one man in the music business who is mightier than a rock star. We could have thrown Lead Belly’s name in there too, but America in 2016 is still a systematically racist society, from the Sunday morning cartoons, up to the man who pulls the strings of the chief of the Federal Reserve. But Don Colandri doesn’t care to contemplate any
of these matters. In fact, he has blotted out even his three chums from his shortterm memory. In turn, he can calculate the moment of a cantilever beam. The fly on the wall observes Don Colandri’s forehead and sees one particular bead of sweat. The light of the lamp has caught the drop of perspiration at just the right angle, making it glisten as a diamond in the rough, and that is exactly what Woody Guthrie is. How pretty, thinks the fly.
John Kaniecki was born in Brooklyn, New York. Though having no memories of life there, John is proud to be called a Native New Yorker. John was raised in Pequanock Township, New Jersey. At age twenty John was baptized and became a member of the Church of Christ. Presently John resides in Montclair, NJ and lives with his wife of over twelve years Sylvia. The happy couple attend the Church of Christ at Chancellor Avenue in Newark, NJ. John is very active in outreach and teaching as part of the leadership of the congregation.