Anonymous Society - Short Story

September 10, 2001, one day before the world would change forever. I am sitting in a pub in Pittsburgh International Airport drinking a beer, watching a lounge act and waiting to board my flight to Boston which has been delayed for two hours.

The music is odd, comical, and upbeat; one singer and one guitar player: The lead singer has a trash-Vegas look going on. Wearing a tiger-stripped velvet jacket, Jim Morrison red leather pants, swigging vodka from a hillbilly-jug and he keeps pointing to this girl at the table in front of him, “Kitty this one for you”. Running his hand through his shinny black hair, which is most likely a wig?

The guitarist is a cross between Paco De Lucia and a Seinfeld character. He is wearing a white puffy shirt made famous on that sitcom. He comes across as a real existential asshole. He is sitting on a stool playing his guitar all the while looking at an open book that he has placed next to his chair on a small table. I am betting the book is some kind of eco-save-something-type of book. Additionally on his side table is a martini glass filled with almonds, a small lighted candle, and a Buddha statue. Of course he is not wearing shoes and has a scruffy beard. Yep – he is an extensional asshole.

I ask the bartender for a shot of Jack and a beer chaser. He gives me a “your gonna need it if you plan on spending the next two hours listening to these guys performer” look.

The music stops abruptly and the lead singer walks to center stage and stands quiet, prayerfully for a minute and then says “I am Dak Davis. To my right is Johnny Ravioli on guitar and we are Anonymous Society”. For our next set we will perform the greatest hits from the collected works of Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra.” Just then both he and Johnny Ravioli make the sign of the cross after saying the names of Dean and Frank aloud.

Bartender looks at me, “They do that every time they speak those names, what a couple of a-holes.”

They start playing the “Girl from Ipanema”. It’s good. Next they move into Dino’s “Ain’t That a Kick in the Head”, also good. Maybe an extensional asshole and a man trapped in the Rat-Pack can entertain me.

For the next forty-five-sound-filled-minutes I listened to Frank and Dean with shots of Jack Daniels easing my mind. Anonymous Society – rock, in a flamenco-impromptu-mascots-entertainment-experience, sort of way.

Dak Davis exhales into the microphone, “Kitty lets get fresh vodka”. He walks off stage and grabs the hand of a Peg Bundy looking women. Big hair, low cut tiger striped dress, small red purse, giant black Jackie-O sunglasses, (let me remind you that we are indoors) and a pair of the highest heels known to man or woman. Dak lights her cigarette. I am amazed that her hair didn’t go up in flames.

Johnny Ravioli turns to his miniature statue of Buddha and bows three times. Closes his book, Integral Ecology (I was so right... eco-save-something-type of book…he is an extensional asshole). He places his guitar back into its case and covers it with a Frank Sinatra blanket, proceeds to make the sign of the cross, blows out his candle and walks over to the bar and sit by me.

“Johnny Ravioli, flamenco guitarist of Anonymous Society”. “Nice to meet you”, I say. We shake hands, he doesn’t ask my name. “What are you doing playing music in an airport” I ask. “It’s the only place where a new audience comes to you every night, no traveling required”.

“There’s Las Vegas” I say to him. “We’re not that good. Plus I hate the heat and Dak has to attend the same Catholic Church every morning at 8am, St Andrew’s Cathedral over in Bellevue. He hasn’t missed a mass in thirty two years. He says it’s something about his penance for being such a terrible altar boy in his youth. Then there is also the strip club down in McKees Rocks that he goes to every night at 8pm. Dak always says the a.m. is for Jesus and the p.m. is for the Devil”. I ask “Does Dak have a thirty two year run at the strip club?” “No, just twelve…he met Kitty there eleven years ago”.

Laughing, I offer to buy Johnny a drink. “Thanks”, he said, “I’ll have a scotch with milk on the rocks. It’s what monks drink for longer meditation sessions. Protein for the body and transcendence for the soul on ice, not a bad drink you should try one”. No thanks.

“Johnny let me ask you why “Anonymous Society” for a band’s name?” Johnny answers “It’s a homage to the Rat-Pack and plus the name Mafia was already taken by an authentic Italian harpsichord and violin group over in Oakland”. That’s too bad. “True’that, True’that”, Johnny said then finishes off his drink.

Johnny thanks me for the drinks and hands me a copy of an Anonymous Society CD. “That’s for the drink, enjoy. I gotta get ready for the next set”.

On my third Jack Daniels with a beer chaser I stare at the CD cover artwork. It’s a blank white album cover, very original, I laugh to myself, homage to Frank and Dean (I make the sign of the cross being a lapsed Catholic it didn’t feel disrespectful) and rip off the Beatles most successful album cover. At the bottom of the cover in small print it read: Low End Spirituality as performed by Anonymous Society. Above the word Society was a small silhouette photo of Dak and Johnny on stage exactly as they are tonight.

Flip the CD over to read the song list:
My Sadistic Cat,
Ego is a WE,
My Reptilian Brain Stem Hurts,
Narcissism Sandwich,
I am Awakening to Reality and then Going Back to Sleep,
Masquerading Mystic…

What no Frank or Dean cover tunes? I say out load, the bartender stares at me so I order another Jack with a beer chaser.

Johnny Ravioli walks on stage, picks his guitar up out of the case, carefully folding the Frank Sinatra blanket, and makes the sign of cross. He lights the candle, opens his book, eats five almonds, bows three times to the Buddha statue, sits in his chair, tunes his guitar, then stares off.
Dak jumps on stage and runs his fingers through his black shiny hair. Yep, definitely a wig. He shouts out – “one, two, one, two, three, four…”

Then silence. No guitar, no music. Dak looks over at Johnny and yells, “Quit looking at my girl Kitty’s tits and play that damm guitar”. He takes a swig of vodka from his hillbilly-jug.

Johnny yells out from his chair “I am Awakening to Reality and then Going Back to Sleep”. I laugh out loud; track five on the white album.

Over the Airport load speaker…”Flight to Boston is now departing from gate B8.”

I gather my stuff, pay my tab and leave the bartender a generous tip. I smile and wave goodbye to the members of Anonymous Society, think to myself about this brief, entertaining experience and wished that I would’ve ordered some food to go with all the jack and beer that I drank.

Sitting on the plane I pop the CD into my laptop. Double clicking the CD icon to play it, two quotes appear before the music will start.

“I do not care about my obituary; I only care about my spirit and vodka.”
- Dak Davis, lead singer of Anonymous Society
“I play this music to chase out the demons.”
- Johnny Ravioli, flamenco guitarist of Anonymous Society

Eight o’clock in the morning I awake in my hotel room in Boston. Turning on the TV I hear the news of an attack on New York's World Trade Center. I think about demons, innocent spirits, lives lost and that I need vodka…lots of vodka.

Later that day I find out that the plane that I exited that night was the same plane that the terrorists had entered onto to act out their evil. I think how I accidentally left behind that CD entitled Low End Spirituality. What an appropriate title to describe the culture of a terrorist’s thinking.

My Reptilian Brain Stem hurts, as I drink vodka to chase out the demons in my head.