The Golden Ticket by Michael Frissore

The Golden Ticket

It’s funny what you’ll find while rummaging through your deceased parent’s things. When my dad died I found he’d kept articles I wrote for my college newspaper, years of school report cards and Father’s Day cards, and the program for the play I was in in third grade.

I brought these treasures home and stashed them all away. I couldn’t tell you where the program or report cards are now, but the one thing that’s sat in my bedside table since then is a single, torn ticket stub.

It was August 1992. Tom Seaver and Rollie Fingers were inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, Hurricane Andrew killed 35 people in South Florida, and Clint Eastwood’s film Unforgiven premiered in Los Angeles.

And, perhaps most importantly, my band, The Poor Boys of Rock, played our very first show at the Escape Club in beautiful Salisbury Beach, Massachusetts.

If I recall correctly, we were the only band that night because the other band that was supposed to play cancelled. So we had all the time we wanted. And we actually killed. Our second show there turned out to be a dud, but the first was pure magic. We dazzled ‘em with Eagles covers, wowed ‘em with our takes on Guns n’ Roses songs, and bowled ‘em over with original songs.

The ticket is general admission, seat number 1569, even though there were no seats to speak of in the club. Then it says, “Escape Club Presents…” and there’s a big blank space (where our band name might have been if the other group had cancelled a couple weeks earlier) until you read down to “Salisbury Beach, Doors Open 4:00 PM.”

There isn’t even a date on it. It’s the most lackluster ticket to anything I’ve ever seen. It’s basically a template of a ticket and could have been to any show at the Escape Club. It could have been to a GWAR or Accept show, two bands that played there within a year from when we did. Yet, my dad held onto it because he loved me.

Of course, this ticket is also a reminder of my failed musicianship. About a month after this show I went to college and wouldn’t play with the Poor Boys again for three years. It’s a souvenir of the stifling of my ideas, as every song I tried to introduce to the band, the lead singer and guitarist would either brush it off completely or relegate it to the portion of our show in which he played drums and I was the sole guitarist. It’s a memento of when I got to play one of the simplest guitar solos in the world, that of the Beatles’ “Helter Skelter,” and chickened out because I was afraid I’d mess even that up.

Yeah, on second thought, I don’t want this ticket stub. I mean, the Escape Club ended up being shut down for drug trafficking and our singer would later go to prison for statutory rape. This ticket might have been printed by Satan himself.

I do have some old Red Sox and Patriots tickets my dad kept that I can show you instead.

Michael Frissore is currently writing a series of novels about professional wrestling, tentatively titled Dead Wrestlers. He lives in Oro Valley, Arizona with his wife, two children, and a little cartoon alien only he can see.