almost_russell: (Default)
When Russell wakes the next morning, he instinctively reaches out expecting to find a soft, warm body, then remembers where he is. And remembers his afternoon with Arwen.

"You're not in Rivendell anymore, Russell!" he thought to himself, smiling.

After Arwen had left him, and he'd pulled his clothes back on, it had taken several attempts to get back to the park. First, he had tried just thinking himself back, but every time he opened his eyes, he was still staring out over Rivendell. Hunger had begun to gnaw at him, so he helped himself to a couple of apples from the large bowl on the table, and ate them staring out over the elven sanctuary.

Then he tried walking and thinking at the same time - never a strong point! After several attempts, and realising how ridiculous he would look to anyone watching him stride purposefully backward and forward across the balcony, he stood still, closed his eyes, relaxed, and focused. He concentrated his thoughts on the park, sitting under his tree, playing on his guitar, smoking with a friend, then took a couple of paces, and opened his eyes. He was back!

He spent the rest of the evening sitting on the ledge, sorting out his set for the following night, and grinning to himself. Thoughts of Arwen made him feel warm and fuzzy inside, like he hadn't felt for a long time. He pushed to one side the fact that if Middle Earth was true to the books, she wasn't exactly unattached. She wanted to be with him, and that made him happy. He would just take things as they came.

He stretched again. A late breakfast was in order, and he thought he might ask Martha to teach him a little elvish!
almost_russell: (Penny)
Russell woke the next morning after a particularly good nights sleep, and stretched out in the big bed. Sunlight was streaming in through the open curtains, and he felt hunger knawing at his belly.

Kitchen or Diner? No contest! As he headed for the shower, looking forward to a plate of Martha's hash browns, he noticed a folded piece of paper poking out from under the front door. He pulled it out and looked at it, a huge grin breaking out on his face.

Four words and an initial had him dashing into the shower, pulling on clean clothes, and running down to the diner for a quick breakfast, before heading for the trees in the park, the grin never leaving his face. Man, he loved this place!

"Russell, I need you. A"
almost_russell: (Guitar)
Russell sat on his window ledge eating the sandwich Martha had made for him on his way past the diner. He took a drink of coke, rested his head against the wall, and stared down into the park.

Beregond had left earlier on his way to see Agent Smith wearing a pink tye-dyed t-shirt. They had both had a fit of the giggles that had nothing to do with the dope when he had looked at his reflection in the mirror. Russell didn't know how long it would take Smith to "fix" Beregond, or if his friend would have to look elsewhere for the answer, but he reckoned he would find out sooner or later. All he could do was hope it went well.

He finished his sandwich, and went to get his guitar. It was time to loose himself in the music for a while.
almost_russell: (Playing)
The following day, Russell set of after breakfast towards his tree in the park to wait for AI Beregond. He had the joints in his jacket pocket, and a couple of beers in his backpack. He also had his acoustic guitar slung over his shoulder. When he got to the tree, he sat and picked at the strings, waiting, a little apprehensively, for Beregond to appear.
almost_russell: (Playing)
Russell walked from the park, his mind in turmoil. His initial joy at seeing his friend alive and well had faded as he realised that Beregond wasn’t human. He was a program, like Smith.

As soon as he hit the high street, he phoned Dan, and asked him to ship his stuff for him. Dan, being at a loose end, and curious as to where Russell had ended up, volunteered to drive his stuff straight over.

A few hours later, and they were hauling his gear up two flights of stairs.

“Russ, next time you move, find a ground floor flat!!”

Dan collapsed in the couch, as Russell went to get him a drink. He came back, and handed him a coke.

“So what’s so special about this place, then? I thought you’d be on the road for months.”

“Just seemed right, you know? Maybe it’s what I needed, somewhere to stay for a while, and it’s an interesting place. You wanna stay tonight, drive home tomorrow?”

Russell felt he had to offer after Dan had brought his stuff, but was hoping he would say no. He was itching to get his hands on his guitar again, and he needed to think long and hard about what he would do when he saw AI Beregond tomorrow.

“No, man, have to get back. Mandi would kill me if I spent another night with you, after last time!!”

“Yeah, okay.” Russell grinned at the memory, although he was pretty sure that it hadn’t all been his fault!

After Dan left, Russell took the boxes of clothes through into the bedroom, and stacked them. He could unpack later. He set up his amp and opened the hard guitar case that held the only possession he had that he could truly not live without. It felt so good in his hands. He plugged it into the amp, and ran his fingers up the neck. Moments later, it was back in tune, and his fingers were moving over the strings.

The chords and riffs of Fever Dog tore their way through the peaceful evening and deep in to his soul. God, he had missed this!! He was glad Rob was away for a few days, and he could really let loose.

He spent the rest of the evening playing. All his Stillwater tracks, some Zeppelin, some Van Halen, and he even made notes for a couple of new songs. Finally, tired but happy, music restored to his life, he gently put the guitar down.

He pulled a coke from the fridge, and his stash from the bedroom, and set to work. He rolled two joints, padding them out with tobacco so the effect would be considerably less than when he had smoked with Beregond in the past. He had no idea how AI Beregond would react to whatever he had synthesised, and wanted to keep at least some of his wits about him tomorrow.


Feb. 15th, 2004 01:44 pm
almost_russell: (Default)
The diner was quiet mid morning, and Martha waved at him as he took what he had come to regard as his seat in the window.

"Usual, honey?"

"Thanks, Martha, and can you make the coffee extra large and extra strong?"

"No problem!"

Russell stared out of the window as he waited for breakfast to arrive, watching the town go about it's business.

"Pete, I'm on my break!" Martha shouted as she put Russell's breakfast down in front of him, then brought her own coffee and two Danish pastries over to the table.

"You want some company, honey? You look a little down."

"Yeah, Martha, company would be good."

"You want to tell me about it?"

"Actually, no. Don't even want to think about it. Can we talk about something else?"

"Sure honey. How's your elf friend?"

Russell chatted away to Martha for a while, simply enjoying her company, talking about nothing in particular.

"So, Russell, what makes you laugh?"

What makes you laugh?

Laugh? An hour ago, he didn't think he was capable of even thinking about laughter, but a little distance can be a wonderful thing. He thought back to his days on the road, and the stuff they got up to, and he smiled. One particular memory actually had him chuckling away to himself, so he decided to share it with Martha.

"Jeff, the singer in the band, was brought up in the very north of Alaska, where they have to find ways to entertain themselves through the dark winter nights. He showed us this game that kept us in stitches for days. None of us would ever play it, but we would get him to do it by promising that we would join in. And the more drunk or stoned we all were, the more hilarious his performance was."

He would take a broom, and stand it on the floor at one end of the room so the wooden handle was sticking straight up, and we would put a bottle of Jack Daniels at the other end of the room. Then he would lean over, put his forehead on the end of the handle, and holding it steady with one hand, walk round and round the broom, getting faster and faster, free arm flapping!

We would all count up to five the first time, and then he would let go and dizzily wander round the room, trying to get to the bottle in a straight line, which he never managed! Once he had taken a drink, he would do it again, and this time we would count up to ten! By the time we got to fifteen, he was usually crawling in circles when he let go!

We would all be in hysterics at him having hysterics in a heap on the floor! I think the highest we ever got to and still retained a hint of forward momentum was 20

For days after, we would look at each other, and burst out laughing at the memory. And there was more than one occasion when photographers would ask him what the red mark on his forehead was, and that would have us all giggling again!!

Russell laughed out loud at the absurd memory, and Martha laughed with him. He reached across the table and squeezed her arm.

"Thanks, I needed that."

"No problem, honey! Got to go back to work, but I'll bring you a refill. Enjoy your pastry!"

Russell sat back, munching on his Danish, memories and coffee keeping him warm. Yeah, this would be a good place to stay, for a while at least.
almost_russell: (Default)
Russell woke the following morning curled up in a ball on the floor, surrounded by empty cans and pizza boxes. As he sat up, memories of the day before flooded back. Smith, Arwen, Beregond ... he put his head in his hands, trying to ease the aching. Before he had fallen asleep, he had decided to follow his instinct, the instinct that always got him back on the road when things got tough, the instinct that had brought him here, running from the wreck of the band.

Now, in the soft morning light, things felt different. He could leave, yes. Head off to the next town, and the one after that, following the music. But sitting here, there was no music, nothing to follow out of the door.

Or he could stay. Ride out the storm this place had swept him up in and see where he landed. In the short time he had been here, he had experienced more genuine emotion, good and bad, than he had in several years on the road.

Without realising it, he had got to his feet, and opened the window looking down over the park. He took a deep breath of fresh air, and made his decision. He picked up his backpack, and his guitar case, and headed for the door ...

He had never even bothered checking out the apartment’s bedroom, as he had been sleeping on the couch, but was pleasantly surprised. A large room, with an old iron bedstead, and a window that also overlooked the park. He put his stuff down on the bed, then went back to the living room, and began to clean it up. Cans, pizza boxes were pushed into a plastic waste sack he had found in one of the kitchen draws, into which he also emptied the ashtrays they had used last night … no, he wasn’t going to go there. He pushed the bottle of Jack Daniels to the back of a cupboard.

As he vacuumed, the thought of the look on his Mom’s face if she could see him doing this actually made him smile. Then he headed for the shower. Standing under the steaming water, letting it pound down over his head and shoulders was cathartic. He let himself think about the night before, knowing that the water would wash away anything he couldn’t handle. There was always the possibility that Smith could revive Beregond. A small possibility, but it was there. He knew he had to trust Smith to do whatever he could, but knew he would never quite forgive the program for not getting to the clone in time.

Russell turned up the heat, and braced his arms on the shower wall, letting the water hit the back of his neck.

He had to think positive, if he was going to make a go of this place. He remembered that Rob had told him that there were a couple of bars in town that would pay good money to have him play. He would phone Dan and have him ship the rest of his stuff out here. His fingers ached for the feel of his strat, and he really needed to cut loose in a way that didn’t involve dope or alcohol. Being clean for a while, even a short while, would be a good thing.

He dried himself off in the bedroom, and got dressed, putting his stuff away in cupboards and draws as he did so. Didn’t take long, as he never carried a lot on the road. He hid his stash, seeds and the last of the dried mushrooms at the back of a draw, and then, realising how hungry he was, headed down to the diner.
almost_russell: (Default)
Russell wanders aimlessly for a while, shocked at his encounter with Agent Smith. He still can't quite believe that Beregond is dead. He knows that Smith will be true to his word, but doesn't honestly see how he can revive his friend.

Finally, he arrives back at the apartment, and lets himself in. The beer cans that they had drunk from just hours ago still litter the window ledge. Russell's head is pounding as he closes the window, and sits on the floor, back against the wall. He picks up a can that is not quite empty, and drinks down the warm dregs, throwing the now empty can against the wall.

He came here to get away from things that had been dragging him down, but doesn't think he has ever felt lower than he does right now. He remembers how cold Beregond felt, and puts his palms over his eyes as his tears finally begin to fall. And for the first time in as long as he can remember, there is no music playing in his head.
almost_russell: (Default)
After Arwen left, Russell was surprised to get a visit from Beregond.

Then, after their encounter with Agent Smith, Russell and Beregond return to Russell's place to seriously chill out.

Russell sends out for pizza, and starts to roll a couple of serious joints.

"You wanna get the beer, man? It's in the fridge .. the big white thing .. in the kitchen."
almost_russell: (Russell2)
After Agent Smith left, Russell sat for a while thinking on his strange encounter. Strange guy, but no stranger than a lot of things around here. He fingered the device Smith had left him, wondering where it would take him, but decided not to try it, not yet, anyway. He slipped it in his jacket pocket, and forgot about it when Rob arrived with pizza and beer to make his new tennant feel at home.

They sat on Russell's window seat for a couple of hours, playing guitar, and talking. Talking about regular stuff, like music and where to get the best pizza in this new place, and he forgot for a time what had happened over the last few days.

When Rob left, he returned to his window seat, and looked down over the park in the growing darkness. He felt a need to see someone and tried to figure out who he was missing. Not Leslie, that was for sure! And not Penny. He still felt deeply for her, but knew she was better without him.

Maybe it was someone that he didn't even know was real. Maybe he had imagined the girl in the park. He knew that was entirely possible. He laughed to himself as he picked up his guitar, and played softly, so as not to disturb Rob.

If the sun refused to shine, I would still be loving you.
When mountains crumble to the sea, there will still be you and me.
Kind woman, I give you my all, Kind woman, nothing more.

Little drops of rain whisper of the pane, tears of loves lost in the days gone by.
My love is strong, with you there is no wrong,
together we shall go until we die. My, my, my.
An inspiration is what you are to me, inspiration, look... see.

And so today, my world it smiles, your hand in mine, we walk the miles,
Thanks to you it will be done, for you to me are the only one.
Happiness, no more be sad, happiness....I'm glad.
If the sun refused to shine, I would still be loving you.
When mountains crumble to the sea, there will still be you and me.

Thank You - Led Zeppelin
Jimmy Page/Robert Plant
almost_russell: (Default)
Three hours later, Russell left the record store. The guy who ran the place, Rob, had introduced him to CDs. He had sorted Russell out with a player, and numerous CDs to play on it, from Stillwater, Free and Led Zeppelin, to Van Halen (Russell was in total awe of Eddie Van Halen's abilities with a guitar), Shawn Mullins (the guy could write lyrics, alright, and his voice was like gravel) and Nirvana (shame, that had been a waste of incredible talent) among others.

Rob had also sorted Russell out with somewhere to stay. He had given him the keys to a top floor apartment that over-looked the park. Rob owned the building, and lived on the first two floors. When he got there, Russell opened the door, and walked through the apartment. The main room was dominated by a large window with a wide sill. The windows needed cleaning, but when Russell opened them, he grinned. Dropping the rest of his stuff, he took his can of coke, sat on the window-ledge, and looked down towards what he considered to be his tree near the centre of the park.

This place was beginning to feel more and more like home!
almost_russell: (Default)
As Russell was sitting in the diner, having another cup of coffee, the waitress, Martha, sat down and joined him for a couple of minutes. It had been a slow morning, and he was her only customer. Martha reminded him of his Aunt Grace, homely face, wide hips, and a generous nature. As she sat down, she refilled both their cups, and slipped a cookie across the table towards him.

"On the house!", she winked at him.

They sat chatting for a while before a new customer had her back on her feet. She passed Russell's table again a few minutes later as he was getting up to leave, and leaned over.

"I meant to ask you, if you could have dinner with anyone in all of history, who would it be, and why?"

Russell thought for a moment.

"I'll have to get back to you on that one, Martha!"

"Okay, Russell, no problem. See you later." She winked at him again.

As Russell walked down the street, he laughed to himself. The question had a very easy answer, if not exactly what she might expect.

Who would you have dinner with?

"So, I guess that she would expect me to say Jimi Hendrix, or Paul Kossoff, or even Jimmy Page, but nope! Met them all in my time, and I respect their work, but could think of plenty of other people that would be a lot more interesting!

My choice would be someone from my own history. Someone I would love to sit down with in twenty years time, and see if the same person stares back at me from those soulful eyes, or if life will change him, too.

William Miller.

He'd be about 17 now. I've seen his stuff in Rolling Stone, and a couple of other magazines. Always meant to go see him, but never got round to it. Perhaps that's cause of Penny. If they are together, wouldn't want to barge in. But when time has passed, and maybe things aren't quite so raw as they could still be now, I'd like to think I could sit down with him over good food and good wine, and see what he has done with life. Anyone who had the guts to join a rock band on tour at fifteen is gonna have an amazing ride, no doubt about it.

The aging rock guitarist and the journalist! The enemy!! Now I think that would be a conversation worth hearing!"

Russell stopped in front of a record store, all thoughts of future dinners pushed from his mind, as he saw a display of Stillwater and Free albums in the window. He pushed the door open, a huge grin on his face.

I believe if you give a little bit of love
To those you live with
A little bit of love - oh
Has got to come your way

Well, in my mind it's easy to loose sight out the truth
But in my heart I can't deny my feelin' inside

'Cause I believe if you give a little bit of love
To those you live with
A little bit of love - oh
Has got to come your way

Man in the sky you say you fly and you lose sight out the world
You wanna stay high then don't deny your feelin' inside

'Cause I believe if you give a little bit of love
To those you live with
Little bit of love - oh
Has got to come your way - now yeah yeah
Oh Lord

I believe if you give a little bit of love
To those you live with
A little bit of love - ow
Has got to come your way - oh yeah

I believe if you give a little bit of love
To those you live with
A little bit of love - hoh
Has got to come your way - mmh
I do believe - oh give a little love - mmh

A Little Bit of Love - Free
almost_russell: (Default)
Russell wandered back to the park after breakfast, just round the corner from the diner. He didn't go as far as the field and the stream, rather found a large tree, and sat down on the grass. He looked around to see if anyone was taking an interest before pulling out a joint and lighting up. A couple of deep draws, and he got to thinking about life.

Pre-determined Role?

"I tell you what, I’ll give you my philosophy on predetermination, and then you can tell me whether I think I have a predetermined role in society.


Okay, so life, fate, destiny, call it what you will, has a route picked out for you. You are born, you move through life, and you end up where you are supposed to, right?


Life may have a route picked out, but you still have free will at work here. If you make the wrong choices, you will head off down a different road, but life isn’t going to let you go without a fight! I believe life will keep throwing opportunities in your way, to get you back on that path, and every time, it is up to you to choose. You may never end up where you were supposed to, but who is to say that’s a bad thing? Life may have had a real shitty time planned for you, but if you keep making the right choices, you can change your destiny!

At the same time, if you continue to make bad choices, you may miss out on the amazing time that life had planned for you in the first place!

I believe anyone can be anything they want to be, just gotta want it hard enough, be prepared to work for it, which may sound weird coming from me!

Wow, that was deep! This homegrown stuff is way better than the last batch!"

He settled down with his back against the tree, picked up his guitar and began to play.

Mama told me when I was young, come sit beside me, my only son, and listen closely to what I say,
And if you do this, it will help you some sunny day.
Take your time... don’t live too fast, troubles will come and they will pass.
Go find a woman and you’ll find love, and don’t forget son, there is someone up above.

And be a simple kind of man. Be something you love and understand.
Be a simple kind of man. Won’t you do this for me son, if you can?

Forget your lust for the rich man’s gold, all that you need is in your soul,
And you can do this if you try, all that I want for you my son, is to be satisfied.

And be a simple kind of man. Be something you love and understand.
Be a simple kind of man. Won’t you do this for me son, if you can?

Boy, don’t you worry... you’ll find yourself, follow you heart and nothing else.
And you can do this if you try, all I want for you my son, is to be satisfied.

And be a simple kind of man. Be something you love and understand.
Be a simple kind of man. Won’t you do this for me son, if you can?

Simple Man - Lynyrd Skynyrd
Gary Rossington & Ronnie Vanzant
almost_russell: (Russell2)
Russell woke curled up on the banks of the stream, sunlight filtering through the leaves above him, his jacket under his head. Funny, he couldn't remember putting it there yesterday ... yesterday!

Groggily, he propped himself up on one arm and looked around. Beregond was gone, but fragments of strange conversations came back to him. Minas Tirith, machine guy, matrix, writers ... He had to admit there was a strong possibility that he had imagined it all, although it had seemed real enough at the time.
He crawled back to the stream, and managed to scoop up enough water to quench his raging thirst, then splashed some on his face, which woke him up a little bit more.

He was starving, and thoughts of that pleasant little diner from the day before got him to his feet, and he went to get his stuff from under the tree.

And there, on top of his guitar case, was a piece of lembas, loosely wrapped in a large leaf. So he hadn't imagined everything! He grinned as he snapped a piece off, and ate it, thinking it would do just fine until he had a plate of eggs and hash browns in front of him. And coffee, god he needed coffee.

As he set off in the direction of the diner, he wondered when he would see Beregond again, as he was certain he would, and who else he would meet in this strange place.
almost_russell: (Default)
The movement of the bus had lulled Russell into quite a pleasant doze, which he was pulled out of when it braked and lurched to a stop. Looking out of the window, he saw they had pulled into a sizable town that looked the same as many others had along the way, the sort Stillwater had played before they got the break supporting Black Sabbath.

The driver turned to him.

"End of the line, son."

Russell smiled at him, having forgotten where he had originally set out to go, and gathered his stuff together. He picked up his backpack and carefully slung his guitar over his shoulder, then patted his jacket to make sure his stash was still nestled in the pocket, and got off the bus.

Russell squinted his eyes against the bright sunlight that greeted him, pulled his sunglasses from where they hung in the neck of his Led Zeppelin t-shirt and put them on.

Looking around, he noticed a diner across the road. His stomach agreed with his choice of destination, so he set off for the diner, music playing in his head.

I listen to the wind, to the wind of my soul
Where I'll end up well I think, only God really knows
I've sat upon the setting sun, but never, never, never,
I never wanted water once, no, never, never, never.

I listen to my words but, they fall far below
I let my music take me where, my heart wants to go
I swam upon the devil's lake, but never, never, never
I'll never make the same mistake, no, never, never, never

The Wind - Cat Stevens

He ordered coffee and breakfast, and sat looking out of the window while he waited for it to arrive. This place looked interesting. Perhaps he would hang out for a while.

almost_russell: (Default)
That'll do for now. Gotta get some posters up!
almost_russell: (Default)
Nope! Not much better!
almost_russell: (Default)
Oh man! Gotta change the decor around here!!
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