Wednesday Night at Muffy’s

The following is a sample of Wednesday Night at Muffy’s, published in “Workers Write! Tales from the Key of C.”

The book is available from the publisher’s website and from Amazon in both print and Kindle formats.


Wednesdays at Muffy’s are the worst. An all-ages night dedicated to new and recently formed bands—mostly groups of wide-eyed teenagers who’ve been playing instruments for just a few months. It’s sort of like an open mic night, except Terry, the club’s owner, pays the bands a small percentage of the door.

Terry never works on Wednesdays, though, which means I’m stuck doing everything: running sound, monitoring the door, making sure the bartender doesn’t sell to anyone without a wristband. If anything goes wrong, it’s on me, and something always goes wrong because Muffy’s is a shitty place that attracts shitty people.

Don’t get me wrong, while Muffy’s is a dive, it’s one of Chicago’s most popular dives. Tucked away in a squat brick building in Logan Square—sandwiched between an auto body shop and a sketchy jewelry store—Muffy’s is a destination for many. People come from all over to see bands here, and playing on Muffy’s stage is an important step in the careers of most musicians in Chicagoland. Sure, it’s a far cry from playing the city’s venerable clubs like Double Door or Metro, but it’s still notable. Of course, for most people who take to Muffy’s stage, it’s about as good as they’ll ever do.

That sounds harsh, but believe me, I know because it’s the best I’ve ever done. That’s not to say my career as a performer is over, but it probably is. At the very least, it’s on hold.

I moved to Chicago eighteen months ago with the dream of headlining sold-out shows, getting a record deal, and touring the world. Cliché as it is, that was my dream. It was a vague dream, I’ll give you that—one I’d never mapped out or even given much thought.

I hatched this plan years back when I was still an awkward kid living in a small town with no way out. All I knew for sure was that I wanted to live someplace else and that I was a decent guitar player. Oh, and I knew that no one in all of Cass County, Iowa, was a famous musician, so logically, it seemed like I’d have to leave if I was going to become one.

And that’s what I did. One day, at the wise old age of twenty, I packed up my shit and moved to Chicago. That was it. That was my plan. Get to Chicago, then become a rock star. I figured that was how things worked.

As it turns out, that’s not how it works, apparently. And when you fail badly at achieving your dreams, you end up running sound for shitty bands at a shitty bar.