21st Century Breakdown, I once was lost but never was found...
I live in the shadow of what my mother could have been. The table of Elders have discussed my fate at great length. I don’t have a choice. I am the demigod in this Greek Tale, my quest to save the great god Apollo’s gift to man: music. I am little more than the girl child of Whatsername. It’s tiring, and as I walked away from the handing of pistols, tucking my weapon away into the preexisting holster before lighting a cigarette, I wanted nothing more than to just be Gloria. I didn’t understand when there would be songs about me, not just ones about my family.
Thinking of songs, trying to write my own swan song, I heard music. Now, because the basis of the war was over the loss of free speech (which resulted in the outlawing of music), music was a common sound in the tunnels. But they were the same songs over and over, Saint Jimmy and American Idiot. Songs about my mother’s rise to power. Or old songs, songs from before the war that survived. But I didn’t know this song, as it floated towards me. Silently I pressed into the darkness where a sweet voice tempted.
21st century breakdown, I once was lost but never was found. I think I am losing what's left of my mind to the 20th century deadline…
Instantly I knew I didn’t know this song, but I wanted to. And I wanted to know the man who sang it. He had a guitar slung over his shoulder and he was playing away on it. His eyes were closed in concentration as he poured his heart into the music. Around his head was a halo of shaggy black hair, standing up in every direction. His closed eyes are laced with thick eyeliner. He’s short, but still taller than me. My heart rate spikes as he doesn’t notice me.
I was made of poison and blood. Condemnation is what I understood. Videogames to the tower's fall. Homeland Security could kill us all. My generation is ze-
Suddenly he stops, his eyes spring open and I see they are the most brilliant shade of green I’d ever seen. I smile at him sheepishly, hoping he isn’t too upset I walked up on him. His face remains neutral as he turns from me and its then I notice there are two others there. One on the drums and one playing the bass. The one playing the drums was kindda goofy looking. The very front of his hair was long and standing straight up. He made funny faces as he talked quietly with the other two. The other’s hair was short and bleached out almost white.
“You guys were good.” I called softly, wondering why they weren’t talking to me. Most people clamor to talk to me. They hang on my words and these three didn’t. “I didn’t recognize that song. What was it?” They still didn’t talk to me, though they had finished talking to themselves. The dark haired lead singer took the guitar off himself and began to pack it away. I took a few steps closer, wondering if they just hadn’t been close enough to see who I was.
“Who are you?” I asked. The two laughed as the dark haired one looked up under his curtain of hair. There was an amusement that danced behind them.
“No one.” His voice was harder than I thought it would have been. His singing voice was softer, sweeter.
“You name is No One.” I laughed slightly. “I’ve heard stranger ones. But really, who are you guys?”
“I’m the long lost son, born on the fourth of july…” I couldn’t tell if he was actually answering me, or continuing to sing the song from before. His words then trailed off, and he was humming instead. The other two were dealing with their own instruments.
“I’m Gloria.” I said with a smile. It was ridiculous that they weren’t fawning over me yet. The one on drums laughed loudly, and rudely, before answering me.
“We know who you are, Princess. We don’t follow Whatsername, though. So sorry if we don’t bow and scrape.” Now this took me aback. I had heard of others out there, ones that worshiped Saint Jimmy as a real Saint, or people who believed Jesus of Suburbia was still out there fighting the good fight. But no one had ever said they didn’t ‘follow’ my mother. My mother never wanted to be followed. She simply had what it took to blaze the trail.
“Well, that’s not fair. This is my home, and you are all guests. So please, introduce yourselves.”
“I’m Mike.” The bassist said. “He’s Tre Cool, and our lead singer is Billie Joe, but you can call him Christian.” Now that name struck a cord with me. I wasn’t sure why, but I knew I was supposed to know who Christian was.
“He’s Jesus’s boy.” Tre said with a grin, twirling a drumstick between his fingers. Suddenly Christian pulled his guitar back on. There was a look in his eye, a challenge there. His fingers began to play the song before, his voice louder before.
I am a nation, a worker of pride. My debt to the status quo. The scars on my hands, and the means to an end, us all that I have to show
He was trying to intimidate me. He was trying to scare me with his lyrics. But he didn’t seem to know what it meant to be Gloria, even if he thought he knew me. With a braver face then I knew I had, I opened my mouth and began to sing my own words.
I swallowed my pride, and I choked on my faith. I've given my heart and my soul. I've broken my fingers, and lied through my teeth…
He cut me off, changing the song to a slower ballad, like it was the middle, or end, of a song instead of the beginning.
Oh, dream, America, dream, I can't even sleep, from the light's early dawn
Oh scream, America, scream. Believe what you see from heroes and cons… I sang softly after him, waiting for him to say more. And then, all of a sudden, the anger in his face disappears and he smiles. My heart stops and I feel my own lips pulling into the dumbest grin I have ever shown. Christian pushed his guitar behind his back and walked over to me, dropping his arm around my shoulders.
“Maybe we should talk, Princess.” I nodded, trying to take a diplomatic mind set, but all I could think about was how I liked the way he called me Princess.