From the personal journal of Dalton Deschain
Saturday, August 12, 1944
I'm writing this from the back corner of an awful pseudo-European "artist" Café in the middle of downtown Pontiac of all places, listening to a trio of pockmarked high schoolers stumble their way through Gershwin charts for an audience of their school chums bigger than any crowd I've played to in the last 3 years. They'll finish, and one hundred percent of this shithole's population will leave with them. And then I'll play a set for the bartenders, get a croissant for the road, and drive back home.
Every night in this city feels like starting over again from the bottom.
I shouldn't be this bitter. Not at my age. Maybe it's just been a rough day. Despite blowing a tire on the highway on the way here, I arrived in Pontiac four hours early. Yes, four hours. I just had nothing else going on back home, and figured I'd find something to do in the city for the afternoon. Instead of exploring the city, though, I drove straight to the only bar I know in this town, only to find that my favorite burger had been taken off the menu and the pool table was missing the 1 ball.
So I came straight here. Where I've been sipping tea and brooding all night. The waitress has a walk to her that seems to always draw my eye when my mind wanders, until I snap back into myself and have a panic attack wondering if she saw me, and if she thinks I'm disgusting, and if she etc, etc. The old me would have just said something to her four hours ago, and smiled and flirted and gotten her number and hung around after the show to try and find a reason not to go back to Detroit tonight. But at this point, Sal is still too fresh in my mind. I know it's been 8 months...but I still need more time. I'm a sensitive artist, goddammit, leave me alone!
...He shouted to himself in his own journal. Jesus, is this night over yet?
Fun fact time. Two blocks from here there's a hotel that just opened last summer. That's not the fun fact. Bear with me. Before it was a hotel, it was an abandoned lot, the kind your mind directs your attention away from when you pass by, filled with discarded lumber and furniture and smelling faintly like shit. In the southeastern section of this lot was a sewer entrance, the kind that's just a big cement cylinder jutting out of the ground that your mom tells you not to play near. It was on the lip of this sewer cylinder that I was found as a baby.
That's the fun fact.
A patrolling police officer found me around 2am on April 12,1922, after he heard me wailing from down the street. I was sitting precariously on the edge of this sewer cylinder, which for some reason that has never been explained to me was left wide open. According to the official report (which I looked up myself on my 19th birthday), the steel lid was never found.
It gets weirder. On this 1941 birthday (birthday of course being a loose term in my case, given the limited amount of information to go on), I also learned that I was found in this lot covered in fresh blood, as if I had been born there just moments before, although nobody was ever found in the area. The report also describes me as having mismatched eyes, one blue, and one with a deep red iris, although the adoption papers from later that year describe only the two blue eyes that I have now.
Which is to say that the story at least as a happy ending. I was adopted by two loving parents that raised me as their own. But they never told me about the story of my birth, and when I asked them about it 3 years ago, they pretended to have no knowledge of any of it.
No wonder this town bums me out.
Shit, the high school Gershwinettes are wrapping up. Time to tune I suppose. I'm already worried about how hard it's going to be to avoid eye contact with the waitress when she's the only one here.
Is it too late to crawl back in that pipe?