Rated R for language, violence and sexual content.
This episode is a part of our Tales from the Vaults series, in which a member of PodCastle’s staff chooses a backlist episode to rerun and discuss. This week’s episode was chosen by associate editor and forum moderator Craig Jackson, also known as Ocicat. “The Axiom of Choice” originally aired as PodCastle 221.
The Axiom of Choice
by David W. Goldman
The three of you have lingered outside the darkened club an hour beyond the show’s end. Your palms rest atop your guitar case, which stands vertical before you on the cracked sidewalk. Standing not quite as vertical, Paul steadies himself by pressing a hand against the club’s brick wall, just below a photocopied poster bearing an image of his face looking very serious. (DYNAMIC SINGER-SONGWRITER PAUL MURONI! says the poster. Your name appears lower down, in smaller type.) One corner of the poster has come loose. It flips back and forth in the unseasonably warm gusts that blow down the narrow street.
“But really,” says the guy, some old friend of Paul’s whose name you’ve already forgotten, “why should you two spend tomorrow driving way up the coast for one damn gig, and then all the way back the next day? I’ll fly you there tonight in my Cessna — tomorrow you can sleep in as long as you like.” His arms sweep broad arcs when he speaks, the streetlamp across the road glinting off the near-empty bottle in his grip.
Paul rubs the back of his hand against his forehead, the way he always does when he’s tired. You’re both tired, three weeks into a tour of what seem like the smallest clubs in the most out-of-the-way towns along the twistiest roads in New England.
Paul looks at you, his eyes a bit blurry. “What do you think?” There’s a blur to his voice, too. “I’m in no condition for decisions.”