I

"Eric?"

I open my eyes with a strange name on my lips. I'm awake again. I don't want to be. I've slept - an hour here, an hour there - but it only adds up to two or three hours. Still wired from the previous night's gig; the room's acoustics were such that I could hear extremely well on the wide stage, and the increased clarity in my head led to an increased, and much-needed, joy in my playing. The adrenaline flowed quite nicely, and we all played well. Good.

And such was my mood that, when asked for an autograph, while trying to do some reading, in a quiet, moderately-lit space a few doors down the street from the club, I didn't go into some pedantic anti-autograph, anti-pedestal lecture. I've actually quite enjoyed the novelty of being asked, even considering, of late, practicing my penmanship for the first time since I was eight years of age; it was required of me then, and, at some point that year, I reached the point of diminishing returns vis-à-vis making any improvements, or so my teacher seemed to imply. But practicing one's signature now seems an awfully vain thing, so I haven't actually tried it this time around.

So I didn't launch into The Lecture. It's not like I'm Bill "No Autographs!" Russell doing the lecturing anyway - his sig was actually coveted, while I'm just a nobody. I scrawled out my John Hancock as best I could to the two people who asked; if they don't know who I am, reading the signature probably won't help them. At least it wasn't like what happened last week - I signed an autograph for a couple of people; they studied it for a few seconds, then one of them announced:

"Oh. You're not who I thought you were."

Yeah, but how's my penmanship?

II

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