Rock and a Hard Place
By Mad Poetess
It's just a little piece of rock. That's all silicon is, refined rock, and the metal bits, the wires, that's rock too. He understands rock, both kinds, stone and -and-roll. He knows rock is eternal, both kinds. No matter how far down you smash the mountain, until it's little bits of dust you can't tell from the ashes of an old mate, it's still a rock. Smash the music down until Mick and Dylan and Holly are just veiled allusions in a hip-hop version of American Pie, and it's still rock. Still there, just waiting.
This thing in his head, this little nugget of rock, with maybe a smidgen of plastic coating the tiny wires, maybe not, it's eternal. Spike's got that down. Big rock, small rock, it lasts forever, it's hard sharp things that tear at your skin when you fall, get in your boots and peck at your toes til you take 'em off and shake 'em out, and they get back in somehow anyway. He's not getting rid of it. He's tried. Ex-doctor-Mengele says no-go, it's in too deep.
Tiny stone in the middle of his brain, telling electric lies, Dru says. Telling him he's not a bad dog. But he knows that -- knew he could fool it, before she sidled back into his life to make things more complicated than ever. He's gone around it before, setting the goodie-goods at each other's throats, and though their pain was tender as a fresh bruise, so thick and purple with unspilled blood he could almost lick it off the air, it wasn't the same.
Not because it wasn't real, wasn't flesh under his nails or between his fangs. Not because it was evil-by-remote. That's what he tells himself, tells them when they ask him why he's never bothered trying again, to get his kicks by screwing with them all. But it's not true, it's a bigger lie than any that blue lightning ever told to him. Truth, in his crypt late in the morning, hiding from the sun with black rock walls around him, is that it didn't taste right, seeing them tear each other apart. Tasted like rock dust in his mouth, when he tongued the air. He'd tried tunneling under the mountain in his head, and it had fallen on him.
Electricity lies, but rock doesn't. Rock is the ultimate truth, if you can read it. It's hard, it's painful. It's lying awake in a sham of a bed and touching yourself with a rock-hard bony girl hovering above you in your imagination, her sharp corners and yours wearing each other away until you're both dust, because dust would at least take a while to build up to stone again. It's trying to drown out the buzzing in your veins, because she's making you feel like there's more than rock in you, and it *hurts*.
It's life and death truth, rock is. It's Hendrix and Joplin and Sid and Nancy, all the dead ones. It's the poor pathetic wankers who outlived them, strutting the stage at fifty-eight with paunches stuffed into creaking, protesting leather, or turning to God late in life, like it's gonna help now if they sell their old songs to the Christian Coalition with new words, when they're going to hell for singing that devil music in the first place. They're both hard truths, the dead ones and the living, and Spike knows which he is, which rock he's trapped under, for all he plays up the walking corpse bit to annoy the tourists. At least he still looks good in leather.
Rock doesn't lie. It won't let him lie to himself, when he lowers his mouth to the girl's throat, Dru's golden marble eyes watching him to see if he's dead or alive. He drinks, because he has to. Because he has to attempt the lie, because it's her, his rock of ages, in front of him, and because it smells so good. He drinks, because he can, because she's dead already. Because it's too late.
It tastes like vinegar. Dru knows. Sees it. The stone in his brain, the stone in his throat, the stone that he bashes himself against when he stumbles home, when he chains white marble girl to one rock and bright diamond girl to another, and throws them at each other to see who shatters first. Sees him battered, bruised, and bleeding, when he admits the answer, that it's him who takes the most damage, and he can't shatter, damn it all, because he's not stone. He's flesh and blood, eternally. Up against the wall forever, with rocks in his head.