“Alright, everyone,” I stood up and said. “I’m going to sing now!”
But no one was paying attention. Wolf was in an almost total Vertigo state while Lamb tended to him. The Baby was playing peek-a-boo with Lamb’s Younger Sister. Wild Fucking Turkey was hitting himself in the head again in the kitchen. Emperor Penguin had gone looking for Scorpion and Lamb’s Youngest Sister was tagging along. And the Penguins were putting away their instruments and talking about leaving the AfterParty all together.
“Hold on guys,” I said, “can you do just one more song with me?”
“Eh,” they said. “This party’s kinduv over…”
The Penguins eyes widened.
“You know any of his songs?” I asked.
They came closer and whispered to me.
“We love him,” they said. “Everyone from Jersey does. Except Emperor Penguin.”
“We’ve never been able to figure it out.”
“Well, he’s not here right now,” I said. “Do you think you can do ‘Thunder Road?’”
They simply nodded and got their instruments back out. When they were ready I looked over at them and said “Alright, hit it!”
The Penguins didn’t have all the instruments they needed, but they knew the chords and rhythm and started nailing it right away. Then I came in and was high and powerful right from the start, and whatever audience was around started taking notice.
“Hey!” the Baby said. “Is this Springsteen? I love him cuz I’m from Jersey!”
It was adorable, and soon the other Realities started coming back in the living room. Emperor Penguin came back and had a surprised look on his face, and Wolf was even able to lift himself up off the couch again. I was just about to hit the high and powerful,“Sit tight, take cover, Thunder Road!” part, but then it started to happen. One by one the spots on my throat rapidly went numb, and nothing happened when I vibrated air off them.
“No, not now, Dead Voice!” I thought to myself.
But there was nothing I could do. I realized I’d been singing at the top of my lungs in the car for several days straight. I could soon only speak the words in a low and unpowerful rasp that wasn’t even worth it. The Penguins looked up in confusion, and when I eventually just gave up in the middle of the song, they hadta give up, too. No one in the audience got to Woo! or clap,or say where they hit the Thunder Roadfrom, and it was like we never pulled out of The-Town-Full-of-Losers at all. Soon Realities started leaving again, and Wolf collapsed back down on the couch.
“Pfft,” Emperor Penguin said loudly so everyone could hear. “The problem with Springsteen is that he tries too hard. The music tries too hard, the words try too hard, the stageshow tries too hard, and the the themes especially try too hard.”
Then he started singing to Lamb’s Youngest Sister in a mock Springsteen voice.
“Come on, baby, hop in my ride and all our dreams will come true,” he made up.
Lamb’s Youngest Sister started laughing hard, and the Emperor Penguin got on his knees in front of her and reached out his arms.
“I just know we can make it to the Promised Land!” he made up.
Lamb’s Youngest Sister started laughing even harder.
“Everything’s gonna be Alright, Baby!” he made up.
And then Lamb’s Youngest Sister laughed so hard she had to fall down and start hitting the floor over and over with her hand.
“There is no Promised Land,” Emperor Penguin said. “There’s nowhere to go. Life sucks everywhere. Just deal with it.”
I wanted to shout out “Damn you, you MeNotzie Penguin and your pffts!” right at him, but The Dead Voice would only allow a ‘Dff’ to come out, and it wasn’t powerful enough to put anyone in their place. I hadta just get outta The Throne in failure and try to get to Alone Reality as fast as possible.