The story begins with a girl. She looks, casts one glance in the mirror and is gone no sooner than she arrives, her voice but a whisper echoing down the street, leaving the hero alone in the cold night wearing an old pair of boots, a Spanish knife in his pocket, a beat-up guitar strapped ‘cross his back and a rose in his ear. His name is Jude Moonlight.
Not long ago, after leaving Death Valley, he released an album, which he called ‘My Mom Loves This Album’. He recorded it under the name ‘Ren Michael’. It’s the name we all use. It’s the one I’m using to write the book.
Anyway Jude thinks he’s some kind of mystic. Always hanging out by old cathedrals and singing songs for St. Michael the Archangel, talking about the Devil being Man and God being a woman. He’s gone nuts if you ask me, ever since he went on that trip with Cal Corso.
If the truth be told—and I like to think that it usually is—I’m the one who got Jude into rock n’ roll. I got him into jazz music too. “That’s how it all starts,” I once said. “Impulse. You listen to your instincts and then you can improvise.”
Of course I’m no musician, never have been, but I started talking like that and I suppose it got his attention. From there he sort of took off. Literally. He took off, grabbed his guitar and went out west with Cal. That story, like so many of our stories, has become something of a legend within our circle.
Anyway next time I saw him, he was somebody else. Writing songs, playing his guitar—and playing well—and talking about the devil. Demons too. Dark spirits lurking in the shadows of his mind with witch doctors and ravens, black dogs and necromancers, hypnotists and changelings all waiting, fading in and out of view beneath the choir of angels playing their trumpets and soaring above nine-story apartment buildings.
We all know Cal Corso is pretty crazy himself, but I guess it was only a matter of time before he brought ol’ Jude over to his way of seeing things.
I guess the road can do that to you. A journey across the wilderness of a new America, suddenly faceless and unrecognizable, can open up your eyes if you’re eager to find something out there in the first place. America, up for grabs all over again. From within. Ain’t that America anyway?
It is my hope, Dear Reader, that everything you see here helps in shedding some light on that mythology, that ongoing road continually unfolding for all those who seek to experience it.