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Rock Star of the Apocalypse - An Afterward: Tales of the New Earth Story - Chapter 1
Chapter 1: Unity Ranch, Whitehall, MT
Benton Churchill, reporter for the Whitehall End Times Chronicle, waited in one of the bunkhouses on Unity Ranch for his interview subject to show up. He sat at one of the long tables in the bunkhouse and sipped his coffee, recounting his experiences here during the Landing Day Gathering. It was an annual event, held at Unity Ranch by Master Sorcerer Bartholomew Feldspar, for all of those left behind after the Battle of Armageddon, and the subsequent landing of the “City of God”. There were good times, good people, and a lot of good feelings in general to be experienced at the Festival. So much for all of that lake-of-fire and eternal judgment that the preachers kept going on about. They completely passed over that verse in Revelations that talked of people who remained outside of the wall of the “City of God”, even after everything was over. Which verse was that? Chapter 19? Twenty-something? It didn’t really matter anymore. Benton still, even after 100 years, wondered if he wouldn’t have been better off in there. He mused over this, growing slightly depressed, when he heard his subject approaching in a larger-than-life manner, speaking with departing festival-goers and ranch help. Benton walked to the open door and watched the spectacle.
Dave G.D. Truckerson, the most popular music artist since the Apocalypse, strode across the field. His attire was some kind of mish-mash of cowboy and biker. A rattan cowboy hat sat atop his head, and he used a Buddhist mala for a hat band. According to Truckerson, the mala showed he “wasn’t a bad dude”, despite the fact that he was known to punch out unruly fans on occasion at his shows. He wore his hair short-cropped, with long side burns, a “fu manchu” mustache and “soul patch” beard. His denim jacket/leather biker vest was covered in patches from various places in the former U.S. that he’d played, and the back of the vest was embroidered with the letters “CBA”, which was his acronym for “Certified Bad-Ass”. He wore the standard rock n’ roll torn blue jeans, with a black leather belt and large, silver skull buckle. Black leather engineer boots completed his ensemble. Indeed, Truckerson’s look exuded “rock star”.
“Hey, Mr. Truckerson, great show last night!” said one of the ranch workers.
“Mr. Truckerson? Fuck, dude, call me Dave!” Truckerson replied, throwing up the “devil horns” hand sign to the ranch hand. “Thanks, man! Rock on!”
A woman who appeared in her late twenties rushed up to Truckerson. “Dave, would you sign my shirt?”
Truckerson, with a definite leer, said, “Baby, for you I’ll sign whatever you want. Maybe you’d like me to sign those too,” while staring directly at the woman’s cleavage. She giggled as he signed both, and ran off squealing like a schoolgirl to rejoin her friends. The group looked at her shirt, then her cleavage, and collectively squealed, to which a nearby sleeping dog raised his head, cocked it to one side, realized that there was no threat, and returned to its slumber.
Truckerson resumed his path to the bunkhouse, laughing all the way. Upon reaching the steps, he grinned like a madman at Benton. He reached out, shook Benton’s hand, and introduced himself. “Hey, dude, Dave G.D. Truckerson. How the hell’re you doin’?”
Benton returned the handshake. “Not bad, Dave. Not bad. Man, that was a good show last night. Way to close out the Festival.”
“Shit, dude, that was just me having some fun. I enjoyed the hell out of it, and I’m glad Bart asked me to come up here. It’s really nice, but not what I’m used to,” Truckerson said with a grin. “You shoulda seen us down in Las Vegas. Dude, those guys know how to put on a show. Pyro? Check! Big lights? Double-fuckin’-check! Alcohol? Man, I don’t even remember the last half of the show! They were compin’ us big time! Holy shit, it was great. So whaddaya wanna talk about, dude?”
Benton couldn’t help but feel happy around Truckerson. He gave off a vibe, or a feeling, or whatever one can describe it, of fun. Benton relaxed a bit, and replied, “Well, what we’d like to do is get your life’s story.”
“The whole thing? Benton, man, that’s not an article. That’s a whole fuckin’ book!” Truckerson replied, laughing.
“Well, that’s the idea. We’d like to get your autobiography and publish it. You’re that well-known, and our editor wanted to do a side project on you. We’d like exclusive rights to the story, and you’ll get a royalty of the proceeds.”
“Royalty? Well, hell yeah, I’ll do it! I don’t have any shows for the next month, and Bart said I could stay here as long as I want.” Truckerson had a bit of a self-satisfied grin on his face. “Y’know. It’s nice to get the star treatment.”
Benton smirked a bit. “Actually, Dave, he gives that to anyone who visits the ranch. Bart’s kind of a philanthropist around here.”
Truckerson didn’t miss a beat. “Yeah, well, I’m still Dave G.D. Truckerson. So there’s that.”
Benton paused. He looked at Truckerson and asked, “You know, Dave, that might be a good place to start,” while picking up his pad and pen, “No one’s ever known what the ‘G.D.’ stands for.”
The smile faded slightly from Truckerson’s face. “Welp, my name was actually David Gabriel Dwight Pallingham, but over the course of my life, including now, I’ve often thought it actually stood for ‘God Damned’. Once we get the story down, you’ll know why, dude.”
Benton looked at Truckerson as if Benton had stepped on some toes. Truckerson could only stare at Benton with a straight face for only so long before busting out into a huge grin and laughing. “Dude, holy shit, I ain’t that mopey! Yeah, that’s all true, it actually was Gabriel Dwight, and I legally changed it to God Damned. But it’s because when I’m out performing, and the crowd is getting into it, I say to myself, ‘I’ll be god damned if I wanna be doing anything else’. And seein’ as how we ain’t getting any older now, and apparently God ain’t around to damn me, I guess that I’m not gonna be. How’s about we get that book started after we get some food? I’m hungry as… well, somethin’ pretty fuckin’ hungry!” With that, Truckerson and Benton began the autobiography of David G.D. Truckerson, Rock Star of the Apocalypse.
(Author’s note: This entire autobiography was written verbatim, as indicated in the contract with David God Damned Truckerson. All misspellings are intentional, in an effort to reflect Mr. Truckerson’s way of speech, so as not to withhold the “Full Truckerson Experience” from his fans. -B.C.)
Special thanks to Curt, Das, Andy, Corey, and Wes.