If you haven’t read Chapter 1 : Ghost Shadow
Chapter 2: Rock N Roll, Baby
Fleetwood Mac Gonzales, yes, that was his real name, was the oldest of four, born to an aspiring rock musician and his young wife in Dallas, Texas in the late sixties. His brothers, Santana and Creedence Clearwater Revival, also his real name, were named by their dad, because “rock n roll.”
Olivia was the youngest, named by her mother after her favorite artist. Their dad often joked that if she had been a boy, he would have named her “Meatloaf”. Of course, that stuck and she was called Meatloaf, by everyone, for as long as anyone could remember.
“Daddy?” The word was spoken softly in a dimly lit room, a question, almost.
“Clearwater? What the heck are you still doing awake,” his dad responded, not in a reproving way, but in his rough and tumble love, “you should have been snoozing hours ago. ” He referred to his youngest son by Clearwater often.
“I know, but I was trying to figure out why we call you Daddy, but everyone else calls you “Gonzo.” Are you a spy? Do you have a secret indentity?”
“Gonzo” laughed softly as he sat on the edge of the bed. “No, little rock star, I don’t have a secret identity. You and your brothers and sister call me Daddy because I am your dad, nobody else’s, so it’s special. Other people have called me “Gonzo” since I was in high school. One of my friends gave me that nickname and it stuck.”
“Just like…” he started to say as he looked over at Santana, who had just rolled onto his back, “what the heck?”
Santana was facing away from him in a shadow until he rolled over into the light from the hallway. There he lay, with a huge ball of gauze taped to the middle of his forehead.
“Creedo, what happened to your brother?” He asked, but Creedence was already fast asleep.
His name was Able Gonzales, but everyone just called him by his stage name, “Gonzo.” Gonzo was more than a rock star to his four children. He worked hard through the week doing whatever work he could find, and traveled a small circuit in the surrounding communities playing gigs on the weekend.
He played at bars and dance halls, rec centers, independent concert venues, wherever he could set up and play. He originally played for tips, but over a few years he had been able to demand a small fee, sometimes. He was working and saving to rent some studio time and record some demos, but it was a slow process.
Sunday morning started the same way it always did, with Gonzo singing and clanging dishes in the kitchen as he made breakfast for his little crew. As a single father, he made it a priority to be home on Sundays, at least for breakfast. He would drive home after his Saturday night gig no matter how late it was, sometimes getting home in time to start cooking just as his children were waking up.
Santana was normally his early riser, making his way, usually in just his sleeping clothes with a blanket draped over his head. In fact, all of the kids had the habit of wearing their blankets for the first part of the morning.
This morning was no different. Santana was at the table, with only his sleepy little face showing, the great ball of gauze still taped to his forehead.
“Hello, Peter Cotton Forehead,” Gonzo said with a smile, peeking at his son from the other side of the table.
“Huh?” Santana replied, not understanding the greeting.
“Well, I’d call you Peter Cotton Tail, but it looks like you taped the tail to your forehead instead of your bottom.”
“Huh?” Santana reached up to his forehead, momentarily forgetting about the “Great Arrow Incident” as it was later referred, “Oh, that’s where Creed killed me yesterday.”
Creedence was shuffling down the hall and almost to the kitchen when he heard his brother explaining the horror of the previous day. He started to make a silent retreat back to his room, but Fleetwood was right behind him. The two blanket covered boys came into the room, both excited to see their dad, but also nervous. They made two new mounds at the table.
Fleetwood wanted desperately to please his dad by helping take care of his siblings while he performed on weekends. Since their mom had left, the weight of caring for his siblings fell to him. He was only ten, and very mature for his age, but still just a boy.
“Rough day, huh, Wood?” Gonzo asked, with no anger, but surprisingly a soft chuckle. Fleetwood looked at his father sheepishly.
“You’re not mad?”
“Well, I’m a little upset, that could have been pretty serious, if Creedo had better, or worse, aim, but I’m not mad at you. Heck, when I was ten I could barely take care of myself, and that was on a good day.”
With that, he put his hand on his son’s head, turned it up toward him and kissed him on the forehead.
He looked at Creedence, and said, “We’ll have a little talk later.” Creedence sunk down until just his eyes were showing above his folded arms and beneath the teepee of his blanket.
He had met his wife in high school in Dallas, Texas after his parents moved there. They were a perfect match, he thought, and they eloped during their senior year. He quit school to work and she graduated while he was on a road crew in another state. When he was home, they lived fast, partying and playing local shows. Before they knew it, they had four kids and the party days were over.
If it hadn’t been for the gift of his childhood home on the edge of the tiny West Texas town of Monahans, they wouldn’t have had a place. So they left the larger city and moved to the middle of nowhere. Gonzo had loved growing up in Monahans, and thought it would be a great place for the kids, but his wife wasn’t used to small town life and was miserable.
One day, she just left. Fleetwood could still remember her, standing in the doorway of the room he shared with his brothers. He had rolled over in his sleep and glanced toward the door. She was wearing a mustard yellow turtle neck, a denim jacket and bell bottom jeans. Her brown hair was loose and straight. She was crying.
That was it, they never heard from her again.
Except for Creedence. He would periodically have “conversations” with her on the phone. She was currently playing at Woodstock, he said. He spent hours looking through the photos of the festival on the record cover sleeve, picking out different women who he was sure was their mom.