New fiction: Maybe once, maybe twice

Maybe once, maybe twice

You can always tell the kids who learned “The Chain” from The Dance, because they spend the whole song waiting for Lindsey Buckingham to go NYA NYA NYA NYA NYA NYA NYA NYA, but it never happens.

A whole generation of us kids learned Fleetwood Mac songs in Pizza Huts with quarters for the jukebox from our divorced dads. I think I maybe even ended up liking Fleetwood Mac more than my parents, though they obviously win on nostalgia.

Used to dress kinda like Lindsey Buckingham when I would do open-mic nights at coffee shops. All my clothes were second-hand and I had this houndstooth hat I stole offa somebody that was just right, even if I was just starting to get fat again. Used to think I would grow up to be a right respectable rocker, because it was all in the cool, even if I could barely land an F#m. Don’t know how many kids woulda picked it, but I was the misguided and maladroit second coming of Buckingham.

Ol’ Mr. Oh, Whatever, Teacher Proxy Name, told me and my Oh, Whatever, High School Friend Name that we were goddamn weird for liking Fleetwood Mac so much. Don’t even know how it came up. Think he taught history. Hh, maybe that’s it. We’d talk about Stevie Nicks twirling around instead of, whatever, war, I guess. God, we were on the literal edge of 17, an age that now seems impossibly young, and impossibly distant, even though I can remember that teacher making fun of our music tastes clear as day.

I don’t listen to Rumours too awful much. This is because I actually prefer the preceding self-titled record, but it has the added benefit of retaining all the beauty and mystique of Rumours for me every time I play it. Every time I play Rumours, I’m like, goddam this is a good record. It’s not an original thought, but I don’t wear it out, you know what I mean?

Fleetwood Mac was just the edge of it for some of us. My friends were the kind of girls who inherited their moms’ witchcraft books from the 70s and cast spells and meant it inside. We do a lot of things when we’re weird and in the middle of nowhere and fear we might not make it out.

Who is Stevie Nicks to the teenage witch who’s never driven a car or railed a line of coke? We would grow up to do these things and more, but was there art? Why does the promise of adulthood being terrible hold such hope for a certain kind of child? Because it ensures continuity? Or is it something else?

There was a real-life witch hunt for my friends in middle school. You probably won’t believe me but some girl said one of my friends cast a spell on her. And I mean maybe she did, but then she got expelled. Fleetwood Mac is devil music where I come from.

My mom called and requested “Dreams” on the radio once during a power outage. For some reason that is a treasured childhood memory. The almost relieved look on my mom’s face when her song came on the radio at the tail end of dusk. We lived off to the side of the middle of nowhere with ancient wiring and the power was always going out, especially in the summer. It was a real trial sometimes, but my mom always kept together. Don’t flush. Eat the perishables fast, and don’t open the fridge too much. Light the candles. Play cards.

My sister was almost named Rhiannon ’til my parents found out it was about a witch. But I feel like my parents must have known to begin with…right? Anyway my sister got named something a lot less interesting (and a lot more 80s) but at least she never had to worry about teachers pulling her aside, worrying about her mortal soul. People worry a lot about other people’s souls where I come from, and that is first-hand news.

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