The Operating System


This episode of Nightbus Radio’s FIELD NOTES finds Jack Kennedy in Chicago, Illinois. If you haven’t been introduced to guest blogger “Kennedy Karate,” yet, read the pre-quel intro to this Soundcloud Fellow‘s series HERE, and check out episode 2, Dreamcatching in Asheville… next stop, New Orleans!
Nightbus Radio #3 -Chicago Witches by kennedykarate
Rolling the Mustang put a damper on things.  My head wound from crushing the Steely Dan tape ached, and my dreams were fevered and strange from a mild concussion.

In one of my dreams, I was looking into a bathroom mirror.  I saw something dark behind the skin of my forehead. I picked at my forehead and dug into the skin, pulling out a computer chip.  It had a serial number that read “WANKER.”

I woke up on the bus and Dara was gone.  She must have gotten off in Knoxville.  One lonely teardrop rolled down my cheek and dripped onto the floor of the bus.  I rubbed it out with my shoe.
The Greyhound was back to Nashville by 5am.  I had a quick recording session at noon with a band called Alabama Capital.  They stole my phone but we wrote a solid song called Get Dangerous.  Then I hopped back on the Greyhound for Chicago.  The guys sitting behind me had guitar cases.  I asked them about music in Chicago.  One of them said, “It sucks.”  I thought I’ll skip recording their band.

A black SUV pulled alongside the bus around 4am.   It was followed by another, and another.  5 black SUV’s escorted the bus off the Highway into a rest stop.  The bus driver came on the PA and announced if anyone needed to use the bathroom now was the time.  I got off the bus and bought some peanuts in the vending machine.  I watched from the bathroom as a man in a Greyhound uniform got out of one SUV and took the driver’s place on the bus.

The bus got into downtown Chicago around 9am.  My old friend and confidant, EyeBall, met me at the James Hotel.  EyeBall produces a pet psychic radio program.  She only speaks Japanese.  I only speak American.
EyeBall knew a band of witches called Doctor Pyramid in Logan’s Square.  We took a cab across Chicago to a basement studio/ crack house.  We got to know the band over some instant coffee.  The drummer beer bonged some 151.  (DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME)  We started jamming and came up with a creepy recording called Not In My House.
Not In My House by kennedykarate
The singer of Doctor Pyramid said she had recorded a ghost on her AmPro tape machine.  She played us the audio and all the power shut off in the house.  We lit some candles and played spin the bottle.  The power never came back on so EyeBall and I bounced.

We stopped at a venue called the Hideout.  It was Al Capon’s hangout during prohibition.  Unfortunately, they had a jazz band, but we paid the cover and went inside anyway. EyeBall and I sat at the bar in silence.  The bartender was a cute girl with tattoos.  She gave me a folded napkin, which I stuffed into my shirt pocket.
After 5 whiskeys, EyeBall picked a fight with the bouncer.  He grabbed her bicep and she squashed her heel into his loafer.  Then she spun him around and smashed his face into a Ghostbuster’s pinball machine. She was muttering something in Japanese as I dragged her out of the bar and into a cab.
The next morning we checked out of the James Hotel and headed to Lincoln Park, where my aunt has an empty apartment.  She works for the NSA and travels most of the time.  We let ourselves in, turned the water on, opened all the doors and windows and aired the place out.  No one had used it in months.  A typed letter was on the floor in the entryway.  It was dated February 14th, 2011.
Make yourself at home.  Order food from the corner market and put it on my tab.  Keys to my Range Rover are in the orange ashtray.  No girls.
Auntie P
I asked EyeBall if that included her.  She nodded.
A man called Emil Hyde called me.  He had a song he’d like me to work on and was walking distance.  Mr. Hyde lived in the basement of a funeral home.  We walked down into his recording studio and his monitors were set up on a wooden coffin.  EyeBall and I took turns singing and quickly came up with a fun song over Emil’s music which we called “Coming On The Nightbus.”  As we were leaving Emil stopped me in the hallway.  He told me very sternly “do register to not vote.  You will get jury duty.”
Coming On The Night Bus by kennedykarate
We got back to my aunt’s and took off our shoes.  There was an old reel of Ampro audio tape on my aunt’s fireplace.  It said “New Years 1951” in blue ball point pen. My grandfather was an audio engineer for the Ampro Tape Company in Chicago in the 50s, this must be one of his home recordings.  Eye Ball had a portable ¼ inch tape player in her carry on and began digitizing the tape.

I made a cup of Sanka and sat down in a rocking chair.  I remembered the napkin the cute bartender had stuck in my pocket so I pulled it out.  I unfolded it.  It read “WANKER.”

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