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  • As the show continued, memories flooded my mind, stalling the engine and putting everything on pause for a bit. The songs took me back to places with people long gone.

    Help me I broke apart my insides
    Help me I’ve got no soul to sell
    Help me the only thing that works for me
    Help me get away from myself

    An Irish pub in Montmartre. A French Foreign Legionnaire. His name might have been Roy or Frank or James, he used all three. He said that the Legion had taken his passport and his name. They tried to take away everything that he'd been.

    He came from Virginia. He used to get his hair cut in my brother-in-law's barbershop and described it to me, telling me the name (unprompted) and detailing the pictures that hung on the wall.

    He had been in the Army for a while. Married to a Vegas stripper. Selling insurance at 9/11. His cousin died and he left for the Legion the next day. He wanted to do something. He wanted to fight. He ended up fighting with his fellow Legionnaires more than anyone else, Russians, mercenaries.

    They were on their way to French Guiana, he thought. He wasn't sure. It was before my brother lived in Guyana; I didn't know much about it. I didn't know much about anything, but after four days alone in Paris without speaking a word, his voice and stories soothed me.

    We drank too much. Talked. Laughed. I shouted over the music and his vision cleared.

    "What did you say? Did you really just…? What did you say?"

    I kept singing, "My whole existence is flawed. You get me closer to god."

    Was the song playing or did I just voice the lyrics that streamed through my head? I flushed and repeated the words, the chorus, and he grinned. He pulled his shirt aside to show me the lines tattooed across his chest.

    Later, hours later, the words streamed through my head as we stumbled into the street, past the whores. Later, years later, they streamed through my head as I saw the band on stage. I wondered where in the world Roy Frank James might be, Roy Frank James with the words "I want to fuck you like an animal" tattooed across his chest.

    You can have my isolation
    You can have the hate that it brings
    You can have my absence of faith
    You can have my everything
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