The Knights of Columbus parking lot was smaller than he remembered. It fit the same amount of cars — two rows of twenty on the side, and four rows of twelve in the back — but it looked more like an outgrown toy than something real. He remembers the way it used to look on the night of a show, like the busiest joint in town, the countercultural hub of the universe, with kids shuffling in from all across the state to catch the next new punk rock band that would blow up on the scene like a roman candle before their chords would dissipate into the air as the reverb faded away into hushed suburban legends of what could have been.
Kevin found a parking spot one block away on the street behind the venue. He immediately flashed back like a war veteran to that irrational panic of getting his car towed by the fascist neighbors hellbent on shutting down the show, but his fears subsided when he noticed that his was the only car on the block that wasn’t covered in stickers of some obscure bands, as well as the only one that looked like it could actually run. He double-checked to make sure that he locked the doors. When he did he become such a grownup, scared of what the freakshow ruffians might do behind his back? When did he become The Man, and so afraid of what he used to be?
As he shuffled between the cars and made his way towards the door, Kevin took note of all the fresh familiar faces that filled the parking lot. He didn’t know any of them specifically, but he knew their types — the smokers, and the older kids pounding PBRs in the back, the unhappy but supportive girlfriends who can’t stand the crowds, the kid who’s pacing around in hopes that he won’t have to pay the five buck cover, and what he could only assume was the Scene Queen and her flock passing judgement on their subjects. He wondered if he looked as alien as he felt, returning to the place he once called home.
Then he noticed the sign on the door: “Epidural Colonic Brigade Reunion Show – One Night Only!” and he wondered why he came, why he told the rest of the band he wouldn’t play, and why he still decided to show up tonight, return to the world he thought he’d left behind. Kevin heard the back door to the club swung up open with a sudden bang, startling the collected drunks, and he watched as a pair of sweaty, sloppy teens struggled to carry a Marshall half-stack across the threshold. The boys both glowed with that post-coital radiance of young love. But it wasn’t for sex; it was rock and roll. And then he remembered the feeling, that adrenaline thrill of shitty sound levels, playing on the floor on the same plane with the audience, and for that brief flash of time, ruling the world.