FOREVER THE FAWN
Raphael sat in the lobby of some indie record label that he didn’t even remember the name of. It was located downtown in an old brick warehouse that, at least from the outside, looked abandoned and forgotten. He didn’t want to be there. He wasn’t very fond of the bands that were signed to this label and did not want to be associated with them, but he felt that being a part of a label would help legitimize his career. A representative of the label had got a hold of his demo tape, came to a live show and gave him her business card. He gave her his number and got a call a week later asking to meet with the label. Raphael did not have a manager yet, as he had not been playing music for long, so he had come alone. He resented his decision, though he felt it necessary. It was no skin off his back. He had no other band members that might get mad at him. This gave him freedom to do what he pleased.
The lobby of the label was very kitschy. The walls were a glossy wood paneling and the couch he sat on was upholstered with red and green plaid. The industrial warehouse looked like a cozy northern cottage on the inside, with the addition of red velvet drapes on the windows. There was even a lamp made of deer horns on the side table, if one could call it a side table; it was a rather skinny log that felt it could do the job of a table just as well as the real thing. Raphael did not understand why everything had to be so tacky. Maybe it was because liking tacky things is ironic, and to be ironic these days is to be cool. This though abruptly ended when his eyes fell upon a rather large and illogically placed stuffed fawn, complete with cheap plastic eyes that might as well have been big black buttons. The fawn was placed next to the couch across from him, obscuring the path from the waiting room to the door of the main office. The object completely destroyed the flow that the room could have achieved had it been an actual northern cottage, and not a mock northern cottage in a mock industrial warehouse.
Raphael stared at the fawn. He then closed his eyes and pictured a real fawn, walking through the forest, eating grass or whatever fawns ate, hearing a noise, perking up and then darting away. He then opened his eyes and focused them on the sorry excuse of an animal imitation across from him. “If this fawn ever saw a bear,” He thought to himself, “It would just stand there staring until it was mauled to pieces.” The thought of the fawn being destroyed made him think of the process of its creation. He envisioned a knife cutting open the underbelly and gloved hands pulling out the organs, replacing them with pure-white stuffing, the same used to stuff every other animal. The fawn was now empty of realness, void of life and soul, completely dead. But if was famous. This fawn had become immortal, destined to live her eternal afterlife in this waiting room, ready to be viewed by all the bands that enter.
“This is what I came here to become.” Raphael thought, “Famous.” He thought of himself. He was just a fawn, waiting to be gutted and presented to the world. As soon as he entered a recording studio his vision would be changed. The producer would take over. The recording engineer would then change the sound according to how he was trained to. Next would be the mixer and the masterer, who would again change the sound in the way he had been instructed to. He would be gutted, stuffed, preserved and sold. He knew at that moment he did not want that. He wanted to keep his guts and his soul and he wanted to stay alive. He wanted to stay in the forest where he belonged, instead of feeling out of place in an environment he was not used to. He wanted to be able to rot, and with that rot become the soil for something new. He did not want to end up like that fawn.
Raphael got up and walked out of the warehouse. In the days following he received a few phone calls from the label, he ignored them and the messages that they left. He continued to play in bars and small clubs, politely refusing all the labels that wanted to sign him. He still didn’t have a manager and he still worked a part time job, but he also had his guts, and he was happy.