Fall 2017, Volume 23

Fiction by Jennifer Juneau

The Rock Star and the Girls Who Loved Him

It wasn’t the ideal house, but it didn’t matter. The floor was littered with beer bottles, soda cans and newspapers. Back issues of Rolling Stone. Empty pizza boxes. Empty chip bags. Bongs. There may even have been mice. How old was this guy?

There are two certainties that are associated with dating a rock star. One is, you’ll unlikely be the only girl in his life. Another is, you’ll never have a clean house. Even if the location is key, even if the house is on the beach in Malibu. It’s not always about location.

Megan didn’t feel like seeing him play that night, which was the first mistake. Telling the rock star the truth was the second mistake. She could have pretended to be sick. Instead she said, “I don’t feel like seeing you play tonight, rock star.” There’ll be other gigs, she thought. But Megan won’t be at any of those, either, because he took it personally and replaced her quickly. What an ego, this rock star.

Megan wondered why. Was it about not going to his gig? He lied. He said, “No. No it wasn’t about not going to my gig.” Then Megan found out her replacement, Isabel, had long blonde hair. She saw her picture on his Facebook page. Now being dumped made sense. Megan’s hair was thin and pixie cut and very black.

“But…Isabel’s hair is fake blonde,” she’d said, hoping this would throw him into a funk. “Those dark roots.”

“Blonde is blonde is blonde,” he’d said.

For the record, this is not our rock star I’m referring to. This is another rock star who’s not really a star, he only thinks he is. So I’ll have to call him the almost rock star. The almost rock star was a friend of a friend of a friend of our rock star and they jammed together once. But once was enough since the almost rock star wasn’t good enough on sax, so he never jammed with our rock star again. Wasn’t our rock star lucky? The fact that no other musician could compare made him more appealing.

Megan moved on to a bigger and better one: The rock star.

Isabel didn’t feel like going to see the almost rock star play one night, either, and he dumped her, too.


The first conversation Megan had with the rock star went like this:

“If we get together, there are only two things I can give you,” he said.

“I’m listening,” she said but she wasn’t. She was trying to decide if she should fuck him on the first date.

“Good sex and insecurity,” he said. “Most likely a broken heart.”

“That’s three things,” she said. I guess she was listening after all.

“But only if you dye your hair blonde. Or I can’t be with you. I’m a rock star,” he said. He was aging like wallpaper on your grandmother’s bathroom wall. But that didn’t stop most girls from dyeing their hair blonde. Especially Megan, who went platinum for him. After all, our rock star was good quality rock star. They didn’t make wallpaper like that anymore.

Megan was kind of sleazy. An ex-heroin addict, she felt she deserved him more than any other candidate he considered for a girlfriend because she guessed he did heroin at one time too. She may have been so wrong.

Rock star said he’d get back to her on the girlfriend thing.


There was something important to consider. Megan hated kids. They were dirty, messy, smelly, sticky and loud. They’d walk into you when they weren’t looking, causing you to trip over yourself or stop short in the middle of the sidewalk while not paying attention to who was behind them, which caused you to ram into their backs, fly over their heads or give their shoes a flat which caused their mothers to yell, “Watch where you’re going, you child-hater, you crazy ex-heroin addict, you.”

Some people would argue that kids were innocent. Megan would argue that they’re just assholes so you can imagine her surprise when one showed up at her door holding the hand of our rock star.

“This is my kid,” he said. “Can you watch him for about an hour? Something came up.” This must have been part of a test. How sly he was.

Back in the late 70s, back in New York when Megan was a pre-teen, back when it was the summer of 45s, posters, Cream Magazine, The Midnight Special, Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert, WPLJ, Zeppelin, Stones, Beatles, Who day on Tuesdays, and so on, listening to her idols left a lump in Megan’s throat. A feeling of perpetual homesickness. Thirst. The summer of self-discovery. So you can imagine Megan’s tune having changed at the presence of our rock star holding the hand of a kid.

“What’s your name?” Megan said, kneeling to the boy, who she decided wasn’t dirty, messy, smelly, sticky or loud.

“Peter Pan,” the kid said.

Finding true love was hard and Megan still waged a war on love.

There was a band we’d heard of…come on down…

She couldn’t stop thinking of the rock star since they’d met. She tried to stop, honestly she did. She threw out all her music magazines. She stopped watching his videos on YouTube. But she couldn’t get him out of her head. Every day she thought about him. Every tortuous day was one less day without him. So she invited baby rock star in.

Janis Joplin was scary to Megan when she was a kid. She’d obsess over her older sister’s Janis Joplin album collection. The covers sported polychromatic bracelets, beads, her long zigzag hair, the coke bottle glasses, that pained but glorious face. Hers was the face of death. Hers was the face of everything Megan was told to stay away from but all Megan wanted to be later when Megan was a teenager. She grew her hair (why did she cut it?) She tried to sing. She ran away from home where she discovered a perilous but exhilarating habit.

Just as she was convinced rock star ran away too, he returned three days later.

“How did it go with Peter Pan?” he said.

All Megan fed to little Peter Pan was PB & J sandwiches because that’s all she knew how to make. What a fine mother she’d be, right? But what was she supposed to do, feed him horse?


The first conversation Isabel had with the rock star went like this:

“If we get together, there are only three things I can give you,” he said.

“Shoot,” she said.

“Good sex, insecurity and most likely a broken heart.”

“I’ll think about it,” she said.

Isabel was aging, too. An ex-model, she had stormed the runways of Paris and Milan, had a famous artist as an ex-lover and killed two children. Was she still hot? She sizzled.

Before their conversation (which was only a formality, his mind had been made up) it went like this: Rock star met his match. Isabel was an ex-It girl. Not just a girl. She was an It girl. Which meant she was like our rock star but in a different kind of way. It girl was gorgeous plus one flaw. Which made her imperfect which made her perfect which propelled him to look twice at her when she attended his concert with the almost rock star whom we met earlier. It was rare for rock star to look at a girl twice, why should he? But when he looked, it wasn’t It girl he saw as much as it was It girl he saw with almost rock star. This It girl was not Megan. Megan didn’t have the right look, remember? Although he still kept her on a short leash. No, what he saw was an almost rock star with an imperfect (which made her perfect) It girl on his arm. He was fueled with jealousy. He was ablaze with competition. Rock star nearly jumped off the stage to confront almost rock star and steal his girl. Instead, he composed himself and launched into a song that was not on the song schedule. It was a new song which he and his band hardly practiced, harder than the softer songs he was supposed to sing. He got away with it because he was a big shot rock star. He called the shots.

The band was confused. The drummer drummed the next number—but quickly recovered. He wouldn’t want to drum for an almost rock band, now would he? Nobody in the audience noticed because all they saw was rock star sing and strum and rock. Plus everyone was drunk and stoned and stoked.

Isabel lit up. She liked the fact that he was belting it out like a lunatic while his eyes were latching onto hers. She (and he) wanted other parts of his latching onto other parts of her, too. Her almost rock star boyfriend never belted songs out like that. Maybe because he didn’t really sing. He played the sax but he really didn’t play, he half played. So she stopped attending his gigs. Their affair ended fast.

Our rock star thinks he’s found a new girlfriend to add to his collection.

Megan and Isabel became good friends. Ironically, having this guy as a mutual friend, they met on his Facebook timeline. They hit it off in the comments section of one of his posts and one of them private messaged the other one and they got along so well, that they decided to meet for real and went for coffee, another day they went for lunch, then they had drinks one night and another night, and then they met at one of his minor gigs. Neither one was aware they shared the same boyfriend. Our rock star made them promise to keep their affair a secret since he had two of them and didn’t need the hassle of their crying and their late night phone calls and texts while he was busy with the other one, what a drag. All those crushes, he’d learned from his early days, really fucked you up. Plus, some girls could go psycho on you and he’d had enough of that. Isabel and Megan didn’t question why they’d keep it a secret. It intrigued them.

So he decided to keep his affairs discreet. He told Isabel and Megan to chant ten times in their heads: We won’t talk about the rock star. He got the dates mixed up, so he invited them both by accident. (Remember, he was aging.)

When Isabel and Megan saw each other in the front row they decided to hang out together. He didn’t notice them together because he was so into himself on stage and the place was jam-packed anyway.

During intermission, Isabel came out of the restroom as our rock star came down the stairs. No words transpired, just that moment of recognition: You belong to me and I belong to you sometimes.

Suddenly, Isabel felt something hard against her back in the form of a brick wall. He was kissing her madly, her hands were running through his hair. She moved with his rhythm, the murmur of the crowd, loud now, the clinking of glasses, the occasional laugh, the band finding their tune, a random drum beat, the strumming of a guitar. All of it could have been a distant dream, a world away as her world with her new boyfriend collided. The floor fell from under her feet, but he held her up, the earth opened itself wide below and in one quick rush swallowed her whole in its deep chasm leaving her breathless, miles away from all the static and how she wished a chasm had devoured them truly, because Megan ripped him off of her and screamed, “What are you doing with my boyfriend!”

 “Boyfriend?” Isabel wasn’t shocked. She was turned on to learn that her boyfriend lived up to the stereotypical bad boy rock star image. She was beginning to wonder.

Before he had a chance to react, his band mate called from the top of the stairs. They were ready to go back on. He headed up the stairs, as he’d done a million times, having been caught a million times, and left the girls to fight it out.

Megan began to cry. “Were you really getting it on with my boyfriend?”

Isabel thought this was funny and that Megan was pathetic. She didn’t want to end her relationship with the rock star. Because later, when he would throw a rock at her bedroom window, Isabel would let him in then she’d let him in. Isabel was a cool rock star’s girlfriend. So she decided to gaslight Megan, to make Megan think she was tripping.

“No,” Isabel said, “no. I wasn’t with anyone. You saw wrong.”

Isabel brushed her hand across her mouth to savor his taste and for a moment she believed that nothing happened because even if Megan was his other girlfriend, she didn’t care.

“Then what do you call that?” Megan grabbed Isabel’s hand and smelled it.

“He was helping me find something in my tooth.”

“With his tongue?”

“That wasn’t his tongue,” Isabel said. “It was—his finger.”

“You met him a second ago and he’s sticking his finger in your mouth?”

Was Megan really that naïve?



“I don’t know. To help me find something in my tooth. I told you.” Isabel tried to escape but Megan extended her arm to block her. Isabel couldn’t look at her, her brain was about to explode.

“Look, you know the deal,” Isabel said. “He’s a rock star.”

“What was in your tooth that was so critical that he had to stick his finger in your mouth?”

“I don’t know. A pit.”

“A pit?”

“A seed.”

The band started playing a Rolling Stones cover and rock star belted out She’s my little rock and roll…

“Did he find it?”

Isabel half heard her. She was looking up the stairs having second thoughts about forgiving him. She wasn’t a doormat. She surged with anger, and she thought, Rock star isn’t the only rock star in town. Actually, he was. There are better ones. There weren’t.

“Find what?” Isabel said.

Her tits, her ass, oooh, ba-by…

“The seed,” Megan said.

“What seed?”

Megan patted her pocket. “I’ve got brass knuckles, you know.”

The only way to escape Megan and her brass knuckles would be to hit the toilets, there was no place else to go, what with her blocking the staircase. “I got to pee,” Isabel said, sticking her thumb out over her shoulder like a hitchhiker, gesturing towards the bathroom because she had forgotten the word for it.

Megan followed her inside the door that had a metal plate of a woman wearing a skirt.

There were four stalls and Isabel opted for the one on the end hoping that the farther she went the further she’d be from Megan, who was at her heels, so it didn’t work that way.

“Can’t you leave me alone?” Isabel said. “I have to pee and I can’t pee when you’re banging at the stall door.”

“You’re not in love with him,” Megan said. “You’re in love with his yesterday. He’s mine. He’s my now. He said I was his only one.”

“Then you’re stupid.”

“Come out here and I’ll show you stupid by bashing your face in.” Megan thought she was in junior high school again with those knuckles and dumb threats.

There was a window above the toilet the size of a cat door and thank God Isabel lost those last ten pounds.

“I’m sorry? Did you say something?” Isabel flushed the toilet to drown out the sound of her fumbling with the window lock. Megan might bust down the door if she knew she was trying to escape.

She tried to get Megan to open her fat mouth again so she wouldn’t hear while she jimmied the window open. She sang, “Megan, Megan, I can’t hear you.”

Isabel flushed the toilet with her foot, because at that point she had to bang at the edges, the window had been stuck.

Megan was jiggling the door handle. “Is this the first time you were with him? Was it?” she said.

“It’s none of your business.”

Isabel flushed again and this time the toilet overflowed.

Sometimes, if someone wants to die, you have to let them.


Our rock star ended up at Megan’s apartment the next day. He wondered why he’d gotten involved with her when there were so many other beautiful women out there, cooler ones, plus Isabel with the long blonde hair who he’d just had a wild night with the night before when she decided to forgive him, even when he tossed a rock up to her bedroom window too hard and broke the glass. Why did he need more than one girlfriend. Why?

“I can’t see you anymore, Megan. It’s my father. He’s in the hospital. I got a lot of shit on my mind. He’s got cancer,” he lied.

“Your father’s dying of cancer?” Megan said. “I’m so sorry he’s dying!”

“Dying?” he said. “Do people really say that to other people?” He decided that Megan was trippy to be so blunt and now he didn’t want to end it.

“No, no. What I meant was, he won’t die. He’s just—trying not to,” she said.
“I changed my mind about breaking up,” the rock star said.

“What about Isabel?” she said. “I’m not a horrible mother.”

But that wasn’t what she meant. What she meant was, if she couldn’t have him completely, she’d smear Isabel’s reputation. She told him Isabel killed two children and that there was Peter Pan to consider.

He looked at his watch. “Look,” he said.

You know the rest.


The rock star didn’t care much about anything anymore. He had two beautiful girlfriends who were strikingly different from each other. He had his house in Malibu. Fast cars, cash, fame. All because he had a dream at seventeen and with luck, talent and a loan, he’d made it.

A hip Mexican joint off the beaten track seemed like the best place. So when he finally sat down with his two girls, he confessed.

“I’m not a happy rock star,” rock star said. He shook his half empty glass of tequila on ice. “I never wanted all this. I’m lonely. I’m depressed. I’m just a normal guy who happens to be insane on the guitar. But no one lets me be a normal guy. There’s too much pressure to be everybody’s rock star.” He took a sip of what is now melted ice. “In fact, I don’t even want the two of you anymore. I’m sick of women. I’m sick of sex—I’m sick of myself.” He must have been drunk.

Isabel put a hand up. “It’s Ok,” she said. “We don’t need to hear the rest.”

They told him he had to pick one of them, like it or not. They forced him to make a decision.

The rock star looked from Megan to Isabel. Isabel to Megan. Then he lit a cigarette.

He must have slept with every woman on the west coast.

“I’m not getting any younger,” he said.

“We know,” they said. “Neither are we.”

“I can’t see you anymore,” he said to one of them.

“Why?” she said.

“Because you’re a child killer,” he said. “Peter Pan,” he said.

“What’s a Peter Pan?” she said.

“You were drunk,” Megan said to Isabel. Megan didn’t know what she was saying. “You gave a kid drugs. They’re both dead.”

“Drugs and alcohol?” the rock star said. “You’re killing me.” He sat back in his chair and threw his arms up.

Megan snickered. She was winning.

“Rock star picked me, right?” she said. But he ignored her. She was annoying him. He was too busy having a staring contest with Isabel.

“I love you, rock star,” Isabel said. A rule of thumb had been broken. You never tell the rock star you love him before he tells you.

“I love you, too,” he said, breaking another rule.

Maybe because his time was up. A younger musician was on the scene. He was the talk of the west coast. It was on all the big shot websites. But he wasn’t really new. This young star used to be our almost rock star. Now he was our new rock star.

His story was in all the magazines. How he traded in his almost playing sax for completely playing bass and—kaboom!—rocked the rock world, pushing our rock star aside.

Megan puked on the floor.

Isabel and the rock star didn’t notice because they were making out.

The rock star paid his drink bill. He and Isabel started to leave, arm in arm, leaving Megan alone. For one split second Megan thought he looked back. If he did, she knew that look. She knew that, for one split second, she knew that one day he’d be back.




BIO: Jennifer Juneau's work has been published in journals such as the American Poetry Journal, Cimarron Review, Cincinnati Review, Evergreen Review, Pank, Seattle Review, Verse Daily and so on. She lives in New York City where she's active in poetry and prose readings in Brooklyn and on the lower east side of Manhattan.