I started this blog because I’m not entirely sure what I’ve gotten myself into, but apparently I am now the sole member of the band known as “Fat Riker”.
It’s a bit of a strange story how this happened.
I’m a big fan of Craigslist. This is not because of any particular merits of the site itself, I’m more of a fan of the postings that one can find there. It’s free to post ads for just about anything on Craigslist, so you often find this sort of base level of humanity there – a raw, unfiltered stream of buying and selling items and lives. It’s sort of like a fantastic, visible tool for achieving capitalistic equilibrium.
I spend a bit of time on Craigslist each night, browsing the latest attic hoards and missed connections. It was late one night where I found a listing titled “band member needed”. It had been posted only a few minutes before I saw it. It read:
“need band member. fat riker. call now. free chips? maybe”
I, being in some kind of adventurous mood, decided to call simply because the ad was so strange. I’m no kind of musician; I’ve failed at learning a number of different instruments in my time, to say nothing of music theory. Still, I sort of wanted to see what this person had to say. The phone barely rang a single time before someone answered – a raspy male voice. I don’t have a proper record of the conversation, but I’ll post it as closely as I can recall.
Him: “Fat Riker?”
Me: “Hello? I’m calling about the band member ad?”
Him: “Yes, Fat Riker. Come here tomorrow – 11:37 am. Exactly!”
Then he gave me an address and hung up. I guess I would do.
The next day was Saturday, so I didn’t have any particularly conflicting plans. I slept in and then drove over to the address. I arrived at the place, a dodgy looking apartment building in the town where they enriched the plutonium for the first nuclear bomb – Oak Ridge. It wasn’t 11:37 exactly, but I figured it was close enough. I found the apartment number and knocked, but no one answered. I knocked again and waited, but still no answer.
In frustration, I tried the handle, and the door swung open. Inside was a narrow, one bedroom apartment empty of furniture. Scattered around on the floor were dozens of empty Doritos bags. There was a grungy blanket in one corner. If someone did live here, it looked more like an animal’s nest than a human home. The place seemed empty.
Apart from the general disarray, the most striking feature about the room was the scrawl of words on the wall. They read: “YOU ARE FAT RIKER”. At the time, I wasn’t really sure what they meant, though I had an inkling that “Fat Riker” was the band name. I scrounged around a bit to see what I could see.
Some of the empty chip bags on the floor had been ripped open to form crude writing surfaces. Someone had written on them in smeary marker and collected them in a large pile. I tried to decipher their meaning, but they were very rambling and incoherent. I think they may have been song lyrics.
Kicking the blanket over revealed my best find of the day, a battered spiral-bound notebook. Flipping through it, I found it full of writing and drawings. There were faded, yellowed clippings from newspapers and magazines taped to some of the pages. A number of these were pretty old – I saw at least one or two from the 1970s. I skimmed it for maybe five minutes before realizing this notebook was something of a chronicle of the band Fat Riker. From the variation in the styles of the handwriting, I guessed maybe dozens of people had worked on this book.
I stood there for a minute in the silence, smelling old Doritos and dust, trying to decide what to do. I finally decided this was too weird of a thing to ignore. The words on the wall were telling me I was now in charge of Fat Riker, and I chose to believe them. That meant the notebook was mine. It was the only link I had to the band’s history. I resolved to take it with me.
I waited for a while in my car, thumbing through the pages of the notebook, to see if anyone showed up at the apartment. No one did, and eventually I got hungry and left.
That night, I tried to pull up the ad again to call the man back, to let him know I had been there, but the listing had been removed. Luckily, I was able to dig through my browser’s cache and pull a copy. The line rang and rang, but no one ever answered. I tried back several times over the next two days but there was never a response. On the third day, the line didn’t ring at all; it had been disconnected.
And that’s where I am with this right now. I’ve spent some time going through the notebook, and I think there’s a really complex story to tell here. I don’t know if it’s a good story, but there are definitely things that have happened with this band Fat Riker.
The records in the journal are particularly patchy, though. I think I’m going to have to do some digging elsewhere if I want to know everything. If there’s one thing that’s for certain, it’s definitely nothing new for the group to see line-up changes. Even though I don’t really have any strong connection to the myriad of former incarnations of this band, I still feel like I’m following some kind of grand tradition.
This next number is called “Fat Riker: A History!” Count us in, drum machine!