06 December 2019 | James Porteous | Hawkins Bay Dispatch
Read the new fictional biography based on the life and times of singer/songwriter Bo Carter. Includes links to free songs on #soundcloud
Excerpt: The Church of Dylan
Bo Carter Meets Bob Dylan for the first time
“And what does he know about love, anyway? Love is something you hear about in songs. Not the songs he writes but songs others have written and he has listened to them and used them to try to figure out what it means to be in love but what does he know about anything?
And then it happens. The final nail. In the coffin. And it has nothing to do with the love of a woman.
A scraggly kid stumbles to the stage. It is the Dylan guy Candy mentioned. The punk looks about the room, nervous as hell, thin as a thin exposed wire. His eyes dart from the floor to the ceiling but he refuses to look at the people sitting right in front of him.
He is as brash and as inexplicable and as unyielding and as vulnerable as anything Bo has ever seen in his life. He is afraid that the audience might knock him over just by looking at him too hard or cause some sort of pulmonary reaction that could overwhelm him and leave him writhing on the floor in a deep coma from which he might never awaken.
Christ, he thinks. Thirty seconds in and he has already perverted Bo’s mind beyond all things imaginable.
Look at him, all dirty jeans and frail tee shirt and attitude and cheap guitar and harmonica holder (?) and that self-righteous son-of-a-bitch troubadour dust bowl bullshit fuck-you look. He is some punk kid and he has the room in the palm of his lily-white hands.
And then he starts to sing. If you can call it singing. He has the voice of a demented traffic cop and he mumbles like he’s got his very own dirty socks in his mouth.
And the song?!?! Blowing in the something? Wind maybe? Is that what he is saying? There is no way to know for certain. What the hell does that mean? What the hell does it even mean? The answers are blowin’ in the wind. Not even blowing. Just blowin’.
Screw me double time and scatter my ashes in the parking lot and drive over them until it looks like dust on the ground.
The punk kid plays a couple songs. Only one sounds like it might be an actual folk song. Something about Corrina. Even that is barely recognizable, sort of a hillbilly on speed after being lost in the woods for a week, left to his own devices and eating ferns and drinking swamp water and killing the bugs with pussy willows and waking up feeling all hard and horny and hopeless.
At the end of the set Bo gets up from his seat and before he even knows what he is doing he finds himself standing beside the punk kid while trying to put words into his mouth that don’t sound like they were spoken by his mother some 45 years ago.
Bo: I really liked your songs man
Dylan: good for you
Bo: good for me?
Dylan: you got good taste. shows maybe you ain’t as dumb as you look
Bo: the words. they say something
Dylan: they do. you know why?
Dylan: ‘cause I wrote them.
Bo: how do you do it?
Dylan: pen and paper. sometimes pencil
Bo: I mean the words. they just come to you?
Dylan: they come to me in a heavenly haze of blue hash smoke
Bo: I don’t do drugs
Dylan: drugs do you kid
Bo: and the answers? are they blowing in the wind
Dylan: well, it ain’t been windy for a while. but I guess
Bo: don’t you know? you said it
Dylan: you just said it, too kid. some things can’t be explained in a word or two. you gotta walk before you can crawl
Bo: I thought it was the other way around
Dylan: that’s why you are you and I am me
Bo: I guess
Dylan: you guess. your momma know you are out this late?
Bo: she’s dead
Dylan: died of boredom?
Bo: I am a song writer. well I write songs
Dylan: oh yeah. what have you written
Bo: ‘Coal Miner’s Blues’
Dylan: Bobby Keyes sang that one
Bo: he did. I wrote it
Dylan: good for you
Bo: I am writing songs for Whitmore & Sons
Dylan: working for the man are you kid
Bo: I am learning a trade
Dylan: songwriting ain’t a trade, kid. it is an art. you either got it or you ain’t
Bo: do you think I got it
Dylan: how the hell would I know. I ain’t your momma. I ain’t your wet-nurse
Bo: I’m not a kid, you know. I’m barely younger than you are
Dylan: that’s right kid. you’re just a punk kid
Bo: can I call you kid
Dylan: you can call me whatever you want, but I ain’t answering the phone. let it ring all night long
Bo: I wasn’t going to call you. I don’t have your number
Dylan: you know my name. look up my number. and then you can crawl out your window
Bo: what does that mean?
Dylan: beats me kid. use it in your next song. or maybe I will
Bo: I hope I can play you a song someday
Dylan: well, I am going to live my life in the meantime if you don’t mind
Bo: I don’t mind
Dylan: good for you kid
Bo: good bye mr dylan
Dylan: kid, you ever call me mr again I’m going ram my fist down your throat. and I don’t mean in a good way
And then he walks away.
Bo is stupefied. How can he hope to make sense of all that?
Candy looks over at Bo and smiles. She set him up. Knocked him down like a bowling pin. She knew this kid would shoot straight into his veins and leave him gasping for air.