Guess My Name


by Linda Scott

     lash and Duff were sitting in an LA bar
talking about nothing when out of nowhere Slash says,
"Hey, Duff, you know Cap Carruthers?"
     "Cap?  Yeah, I know him.  Why?"
     "You seen him lately, Duff?  Hear of him?"
     "Oh, Slash, that guy's a jerk.  You need him for 
     "Duff, all I want to know is have you seen or heard of 
him the past, say, six months?"
     "Nah - like I said, Slash, - the guy's a real jerk. 
I ain't got time to track no jerks."

wo months later, there's a party at Slash's house. The place fills with rock musicians, wives, girlfriends, and the usual hangers-on. Talk in one group turns to gigs. "Hey, Matt, what's the weirdest thing you ever saw happen during a gig?" asks Brian, a young, long-haired drummer. Matt laughed and said, "Oh, that time in Rio when I screwed up 'Knockin' on Heaven's Door' !" "No, I don't mean a screwup, I mean something weird. Did you ever see anything that was just plain odd?" explained Brian. "My whole life has been crazy since I got mixed up with GN'R," laughed Matt. "It's hard to pick out one episode." The topic would have died there, but Slash looked at Brian curiously and said, "That's a strange question, Brian. What makes you ask that?" Brian looked uncomfortable and blurted out, "Nothing! I heard a rumor, that's all." Slash pressed him and Brian said, "It's about Cap Carruthers. I heard a rumor about him. I heard a GN'R guy is involved, too." Slash turned pale. The ice cubes in his drink rattled as his hand shook. "You DO know something!" exclaimed Brian. "Brian, forget it. Some things are better left undisturbed." And with that mysterious admonition, Slash made a beeline for the bar. "Give me a double," he said, setting his glass shakily on the bar. "Slash can put off that kid Brian but not me," thought Duff. "Jesus, what's THIS rumor about Guns?" The rest of the evening Duff watched Slash drink steadily but not enough to rid him of the strange look in his soft, brown eyes. "What the hell kind of look is that?" thought Duff. "I've known Slash for years, and I've never seen him look... look like... he's thinking of something ugly, scary. Haunted, yeah, he looks like something is haunting him. He and I are having this out tomorrow before he tries to drown it in booze again. That ain't workin' anyway."
he next day Duff arrived before Slash was out of bed. The handsome guitarist came into the kitchen holding his head. "Duff, what are you doing here so early?" moaned Slash. "I think it's time you and I had a talk about whatever's tearing you up inside." Slash ran his hands through his long, black curls. "You can't help me, Duff, and you wouldn't believe me if I did tell you." "Slash, you and I are like brothers. That GN'R family stuff isn't just press hype! We ARE family, and I want to help." Slash looked at his blonde friend with eyes that were circled with exhaustion. "I need some help," he said. "OK, buddy, let's hear the whole story." Duff pushed his chair in closer to the table. "Not here for God's sake! I'm not discussing things like this in my home!"
hat are we doing at this dump?" asked Duff staring at the outside of a seedy club in West Hollywood. "The Breakdown? Man, I feel like I'm having one looking at this dive!" Slash dragged himself out of the car, looking tireder than ever. Glancing at his curly-haired friend, Duff noticed how thin Slash had become. "Hey, maybe we can get something to eat here!" exclaimed Duff, but Slash seemed lost in thought. Inside the club they sat with drinks, and Slash said, "This is where it started with me and Cap. You know, he and I went way back. We did drugs together, and I thought he was really cool. Then I got straight and I saw he was really just a...". "A jerk," interrupted Duff, "which Axl and I had been telling you for quite awhile. The guy's a real jerk." "OK, OK," said Slash, "I agree. But there was a long time when he and I were pals. So when he asked me to meet him here, I came. When I got here a sign outside said The Brothers Carruthers - his band, remember?" "Yeah," said Duff, "what a stupid name! What a real jerk! Know how it was a trio? Axl told him once to leave his brothers at home, buy a drum machine, and learn how to sing." Slash sighed and sipped his drink. Duff gripped his friend's shoulder. "Sorry, Go on, Slash." "So we're sitting here, and Cap tells me that the only thing he wants in this life is to be a great rock musician, make great music, make great money, the whole rock star thing. All I could think of was that dumb name he had for the band. I asked him why he got me out here, and he said that he wanted to talk to me about the new manager he was getting. I have to tell you, Duff, that the first thing in my head was that I hoped the guy ditched that crappy band name. I told Cap a new manager could be just what he needed and asked him who the guy was. Cap shook his head and said he would just describe him to me. Well, hell, Duff, you know I know almost everyone in the business! I told him to just tell me the guy's name!" Anyway, Cap looked at me real mad and says, 'He doesn't give me a name. Makes a weird game out of it. Always saying.... guess my name.' " "Maybe it's Rumpelstiltskin!" laughed Duff. Slash might not have heard him. His dark eyes were focused on the empty chair at their table. Slash's soft voice was almost inaudible. "Cap said the guy was little with white hair. He always seemed to be wearing a red suit and red shoes. He had long, curved fingernails and breath that smelled like rotting flesh. His eyes glowed in the dark! I can remember him saying, 'So if you see him, Slash, stay away from him.' " Slash shook his head. "Duff, I thought he was putting me on! I told him if I ever saw someone in red shoes with glowing eyes that I'd be sure to take his advice. I never saw Cap so mad!" 'You laugh but - oh, hell, never mind,' Cap says. 'Let's just get to what I asked you here for. I need one million dollars to hire this guy. He says it's just a small percentage of what I'll earn the first year with him. That's where you come in, Slash. I need you to lend me the money.' Duff's eyes grew wide. "A million bucks?" Slash shook his head and said, "I laughed at him and said I didn't know which was more stupid - his paying this guy a million upfront or thinking I'd loan it to him." 'Get out of here,' he snarls at me. 'I'll give him something else he wants instead.' "What's that?" I laughed. "Two million? Duff, he had an insane look on his face. Then he says, 'No, smart guy, I get you to sign a contract saying Guns N' Roses will record an old Rolling Stone song.' He kind of whispered, 'And I have to give him my soul.' " "What?!" I yelled. "Who is this guy? Is he into witchcraft or something? He's nuts! Cap, forget this guy!" "You know what he told me, Duff?" asked Slash leaning closer to his friend. He said, 'You haven't seen his eyes and heard that scraping sound and....well, never mind. I go down that road alone.' "Cap told me all he needs is for me to sign that contract about singing the Stones song. He swore that if I did that and we recorded the song, then Guns is safe and that manager would never bother anyone in our band. Duff, I had to laugh! I told him Axl is always involved in selecting songs, but Cap got hysterical so I signed. And then I got the hell out of there!" "Next thing is I'm walking down the street to get my car thinking how dark it is when suddenly I hear the sound of thick wings beating near me. They sound like leather! I could smell something bad, real bad, like rotting flesh, and I saw red eyes glowing near my face. It's a wonder I didn't pass out! Then, this voice says, 'Too bad you don't help your friends, Slash!' " "And that's the last I saw of Cap for a long time. I only wish I had never seen him again." Duff's face showed his concern for this friend who was like a brother to him. "Keep going, Slash. Tell me the rest." "Well, Cap's band got going - like a rocket. That was their new name, Like A Rocket. Lot better than Brothers Carruthers, right? One day I got a message from Cap asking me to come out and jam with them at a concert. I had pretty much made myself forget all that weird crap about the contract and the thing in the street outside here. So, I went. When I get there the place is packed, so I park down a sidestreet. I'm thinking it's a good thing the Arena is all lit up because this damned sidestreet is so dark it's a wonder I even can stay on the sidewalk. All of a sudden I hear this loud, whirring noise same as the last time only louder. I see so many glowing eyes I can't count them. I threw my cigarette at whatever they were and ran for the Arena. Inside, I settled down and watched Like A Rocket. They were good, really good. That new manager, no matter how crazy, was making a difference. I thought maybe I should have loaned Cap the million. It sure looked like he'd be good for it. Yeah,...I should have loaned him, even just given him the million, then maybe...." Slash was silent; his haunted eyes staring into the past, seeing it all again. Duff patted his arm. "Come on, Slash, talk to me. You know you got to." "Almost done now, Duff," and he shuddered. "Just like Cap was only he didn't know it. Cap introduced me and I came on. It was hard to believe they were the same band. Where'd Cap learn to sing like that? Where'd his brothers learn to play like that? Then I glanced offstage, and there's a guy with white hair wearing a red suit and shoes. When his eyes caught mine, his eyes glowed and I heard a snarl that seemed to come from all around me. Duff, he got around faster than any human being could. I saw those glowing eyes offstage, then in the back of the arena, on the floor, even in the air! I couldn't wait for the set to end! Jesus, just let me make it back home! While the crowd was yelling for an encore, I told Cap how great Like A Rocket was doing, and I asked him about the new manager. Cap thanked me but said nothing about the guy in red. He just stood there, and said, ' I just don't know how long it's for. I still owe him my soul, and I have to come home when he calls me.' Duff, you should have heard me scream at him! What? Hey, Cap, you don't believe that stuff! That guy's playing mind games with you! 'Yeah, Slash,' he says, 'you see the glowing eyes yet or hear those goddamn wings? They ain't no angel wings! And that smell! What the hell you think that smell is? Ain't no mind game. AIN'T NO MIND GAME!' " Slash lit a cigarette, swallowed the remains of his drink and began. "So we went on for the encore. It seemed like that whirring sound kept getting louder. Cap was singing the best he had all evening, and the band was really pumped. There were more glowing spots in the audience. That godawful rotten smell was everywhere. We finished a cover of 'Nightrain', the audience went wild, and through all that racket I heard the manager scream, 'Time to come home, Cap!' Cap was standing there with his arms raised up over his head. And I saw grey, leathery shafts join his hands and feet. And within a minute he had wings like a bat, leather wings. I was frozen, and I watched Cap's face go from a human's to an insect's. It happened in front of 20,000 people, but I don't think more than a handful really saw anything. Some were leaving, some were drunk, and others were fighting off these big bugs with glowing eyes. I think some of them thought it was just part of the show. Anyway, Cap just disappeared." Now Slash leaned over and grabbed Duff's wrist. "We're next, Duff! I saw that manager the other day when my car was blocked in at a crosswalk. He came straight up to my open window, and he had a bug on his shoulder that kind of looked like Cap! He opened his mouth, and I could smell something so awful I thought I'd puke." 'When will you take care of your side of the contract? You wouldn't help your friend, and now here he is. How would you like me to add a few more to my collection? How would you like Guns N' Roses to disappear like Cap did? Now that would be going out in a blaze of glory. Take care you honor that contract, or the next audience you play for will be in ...' " "Will be where, Slash?" asked Duff. "I missed the last word when that damned whirring got so loud. What can I do? I can't let anything happen like happened to Cap!" Slash was nearly beside himself. "He wants us to record some old Rolling Stones song. Why's he so damned interested in it?" Duff looked up and saw another Gunner. "Axl, man, we need help here!" The famous vocalist smiled, "Don't worry, Duff. Slash and I have talked about it. Also,some oddball convinced David Geffen that we should cover this same song for the soundtrack of a movie called 'Interview With The Vampire'. Even if this guy you signed the contract with is strange, it's a good business decision for us. David's happy and that wacko is happy. Besides, I love that Stones song! We'll record it and make David happy and honor the contract." Axl smiled at Slash. Duff said, "So you feel better now, Slash? You can't help Cap but you can keep GN'R safe. You have to let it go now, Slash. You didn't know the threat to Cap was real. I know you'd have GIVEN him the million rather than have this happen." "There was no way to know about that, Slash," continued Axl. "Cap should never have gotten involved himself let alone involved you. I'm sorry for him but I still say he's a jerk." Slash looked at his two good friends. He felt like a weight had been lifted from him. No matter what, he'd protect these guys. That nut, that manager that wanted them to do the song, well he'd get his way. Slash sat there thinking, still wondering who that manager could be and how he did all that the night of Cap's last show. Slash sighed and thought how this was what Cap said the guy's game was: guess my name. As he looked across the table at papers Axl had brought in, he felt his blood turn to ice. He began to scream. It was no trick! That stuff he'd seen was real. No mind game!! lash reached across the table,grabbed the songsheet, and threw it across the room. As it floated to the ground, the title page was clearly visible:
The Rolling Stones


Lyrics: Sympathy for the Devil

          Please allow me to introduce myself
          I'm a man of wealth and taste
          I've been around for a long, long year
          Stole many a man's soul and faith

          And I was 'round when Jesus Christ
          Had his moment of doubt and pain
          Made damn sure that Pilate
          Washed his hands and sealed his fate

          Pleased to meet you
          Hope you guess my name
          But what's puzzling you
          Is the nature of my game

          I stuck around St. Petersberg
          When I saw it was a time for a change
          Killed the Czar and his ministers
          Anastasia screamed in vain

          I rode a tank 
          Held a general's rank
          When the Blitzkrieg raged
          And the bodies stank

          Pleased to meet you
          Hope you guess my name, oh yeah
          What's puzzling you
          Is the nature of my game, oh yeah

          I watched with glee
          While your kings and queens
          Fought for ten decades
          For the Gods they made

         I shouted out
         "Who killed the Kennedys?"
         When after all
         It was you and me

         Let me please introduce myself
         I'm a man of wealth and taste
         And I laid traps for troubadors
         Who get killed before they reached Bombay

         Pleased to meet you 
         Hope you guessed my name, oh yeah
         But what's puzzling you
         Is the nature of my game, oh yeah, get down, baby

         Pleased to meet you
         Hope you guessed my name, oh yeah
         But what's confusing you
         Is just the nature of my game

         Just as every cop is a criminal
         And all the sinners saints
         As heads is tails
         Just call me Lucifer
         'Cause I'm in need of some restraint

         So if you meet me
         Have some courtesy
         Have some sympathy, and some taste
         Use all your well-learned politesse
         Or I'll lay your soul to waste, um yeah

         Pleased to meet you
         Hope you guessed my name, um yeah
         But what's puzzling you
         Is the nature of my game, um baby, get down

         Woo, who
         Oh yeah, get on down
         Oh yeah
         Oh yeah!

         Tell me baby, what's my name
         Tell me honey, baby guess my name
         Tell me baby, what's my name
         I tell you one time, you're to blame

         Ooo, who
         Ooo, who
         Ooo, who
         Ooo, who, who
         Ooo, who, who
         Ooo, who, who
         Ooo, who, who
         Oh, yeah

        What's my name
        Tell me, baby, what's my name
        Tell me, sweetie, what's my name

        Ooo, who, who
        Ooo, who, who
        Ooo, who, who
        Ooo, who, who
        Ooo, who, who
        Ooo, who, who
        Ooo, who, who
        Oh, yeah

Click on the picture of the book below to return to the SLASH Fiction Section:

SLASH Fiction Section