Too Much Too Soon

More with Max.


Max didn’t know why he was here. The amount of alcohol that was pulsing through his veins seemed to think it was a good idea. But as he pushed thought the door of The Mercury, a small venue where his band used to play, he wished that tonight Jack Daniels would be a little less pushy.

This was the complete opposite of everything the therapists at the rehab center had told him to do. Don’t go back to the city, Max. There’s too much temptation. Max, your band kicked you out, do you really want to revisit that pain? Max, you should take our advice. Jack didn’t agree. Jack was a bad influence.

This was the first time Max had been drinking since his last stint in rehab. He had missed the way it made him smile. The warmth spreading slowly through his body was comforting. It struck him how odd it was to be able to enter a bar without lying or having a fake ID. Maybe this was growing up. The alcohol pulsed through his heart faster. Jack didn’t think growing up was a good idea.

He pulled out the bottle of whiskey as he sat down in the corner. Just because he was legally allowed to purchase alcohol here it didn’t mean he could afford to. He took a swig as the band on stage finished their set. He didn’t know who they were, but they weren’t the reason he had shown up tonight. Max was hoping to catch the next act, which was his former band. He hadn’t seen them in four years, but when he had gotten to town he had heard that they were still performing. He couldn’t resist. 

Max wasn’t sure how he felt about it, now that he was actually here. He had named that band and written all the lyrics. He knew that bands were nothing if not the sum of equally strong and talented parts, but he couldn’t help but feel possessive over a band that he had put so much heart into. The Loveless was a part of his soul.

“That was Molly on Acid, everyone! And now my name is Adam, and we’re the Loveless!”

Max choked on his drink. Who the fuck was Adam? He quickly looked at the rest of his former band mates, hoping to see some sort of hesitation as Adam launched into the opening chords of a song Max had written six years ago. But he saw no signs of regret. He only saw confidence in their eyes. Confidence they had never shown him. He forced more whiskey down his throat. Jack never let him down. 

“Thank you!” Adam yelled, flashing the crowd a smile. “That song means a lot to me and the guys.”

Why? You didn’t write a single part of it.

“But this next one means even more. I wrote it for a very special girl in my life,” he continued, reaching down to help a girl with dark blonde hair onto the stage beside him. “This is a song I wrote for my girlfriend. It’s called ‘Cassie’.” 

Max clutched the bottle tightly, trying to calm himself down. This was too much. It was just too much. Jack didn’t think Max should up with this. Jack thought it was time to fight back. 

For the first time in a very long time, Max wanted to hurt someone. Adam had replaced him in every single way. None of the people in his old life would have to miss him, not now that they had come up with a better, less fucked up model.

He finished his drink and hurled the empty bottle at the stage as he staggered towards the door. Max imagined the bottle crashing into Adam’s guitar, ruining it. But instead he heard a girl scream. He looked up in time to see the bottle crash into Cassie’s knee and she looked up just in time to see him start to run.

Sangeeta Ranade