Monday, October 31, 2005

Blueberry, blueberry

Wires tossed me a baseball cap, sunglasses and a scarf, "Here," he said. "Wear this tonight and keep your distance. You’ll be fine."

I thanked Wires profusely and quickly ornamented myself with the camouflage.

"You look like Space did back in . . ."

"– Don’t say it! I’ve had quite enough of that place. Thank you very much."

"Look on the bright side Sparky. It’s not so far to drop from a trailer window."

"Very funny Doc."

Wires spoke, "You only have to worry about tonight. Space had the whole week. Just act cool and nothing will happen. Oh and don’t let Wally do your laundry."

"You guys are soooo compassionate." I mumbled through the laughter. An empty, crushed, beer can tumbled into our little group, and landed at my feet.

Doc spoke, "I’d try not to take that as a sign, Sparky."

I stayed out of sight until the twilight took the last of the day and the mosquito like buzz of ghostly motorbikes continued their dance, primally circling two newly lit crackling bonfires in the center of the field. The area in front of the stage had filled in nicely with the constant arrival of bikers throughout the afternoon, and I felt that it was reasonably safe to make my way from hiding. Badd Kredytz had set up and conducted a sound-check and were currently nowhere to be seen. They were probably in their bus applying their make-up and teasing their hair for that night’s performance. I now found myself at our sound console, pulling my scarf tight around my neck and face. I discovered Wires there, with a logic probe testing a few cables. "What’s the word, Wires?"

"We do the first set. They go on at ten."

"You know what I mean?"

"Yeah, I talked with Kenny their sound guy. It was bad Sparky. Their drummer looks like a racoon with his two black eyes and busted nose. Benton still has his left hand bandaged and his arm in a sling and Vier Derhaus, you know him?"

"He’s their guitarist."

" . . . well, Kenny has to sing Vier’s backups from the soundboard because he has his mouth wired shut. They had to cancel their gig the following week just to heal a little, laid up in that bus of theirs. They got messed-up huge, and they’re pretty pissed about it."

"Hey Wires, I’m the first to admit when my practical jokes go too far. But they had it coming to them, right? – They’re so full of themselves." Wires just shrugged his shoulders. "Wires! Help me out. I need some justification here."

"We won’t let you stand alone, that’s a given. But let’s just hope it doesn’t come to that. Besides Sparky, take comfort in the fact that one band is always playing. The chance of a confrontation with them is highly unlikely even if they do realize who you are. We finish playing before them so we can get you out of here quickly, if need be."

"I hope you’re right but I don’t feel comforted, Wires."

Bronson came to the sound console and took his place behind the light board. Spike was close behind grumbling, "When do we go on?"

Wires looked at his watch, "Ten minutes, give or take."

"I don’t think Wally’s going to make it that long," He pointed to our rhythm guitarist next to the stage. Wally was pacing in tight circles. Doc was trying to catch him to calm him down.

"Did he have a reaction to the turkey legs?" I inquired, "I mean, man, he ate four of them."

"No. He took more of those drugs we were given and he’s hyper as hell. He’s tried to
hump my wife three times. He’s lucky I didn’t break his legs."

"Easy Spike, it’s Wally, he doesn’t mean any harm, I’m sure," Wires comforted.

I was starting to lose it again, "Wires, what were you saying about not bringing attention to myself? We don’t need this.– I don’t need this!"

"Yeah," Bronson said, "That boy looks like he could run rectangles in a round room."

"Don’t panic, Sparky."

" . . . not . . . panicking!" I said, beginning to hyperventilate.

Space met us at the side of the stage as we tried to hold our guitarist still, "Everyone ready?...What the hell is wrong with Wally?"

"Took too many magic beans," Doc offered.

"Damn it Wally! Those were for everyone later on tonight. How many did you take?"

"Looks like all of them," Spike growled, holding up an empty roll of duct tape and
peering through the circle of it.

Wally hopped up and down nervously and mouthed the words, "Blueberry," over and over.

"Je-sus! He’s in 3/4 time," Doc laughed. Wally used the word blueberry, to correct his metre when we switched to time signatures that involved the waltz-like rhythms.

"Well that’s just great Doc, except we’re not playing anything in 3/4. Get him on stage and plug him in. Wires if he’s fucking up, shut him down and pull him out of the mix."

Wires blinked and drew on his cigarette. He nodded knowingly and returned to the mixing board, leaving behind a trail of smoke. He took his place alongside Bronson as we
shuffled Wally onto the stage, "Blueberry, blueberry, blueberry . . ."

"Christ Doc! Listen to him. If I wasn’t so worried about getting my ass kicked, I’d be hungry."

We plugged him in and took our places, as the intro tape played, and the clamor from the crowd increased to a boisterous din. We started into our first song, Rebel Yell, by Billy Idol, a song that I sang lead on. Wally was still hopping up and down like a bird. He was moving all over the stage. He hopped by me on his way to Doc’s keyboards, "Blueberry, blueberry, blueberry . . ." He was up on the drum riser. He was behind Spike. He even left the stage at one point, and reemerged as he climbed back on from the front. His guitar was hanging off his waist and scraping against the wood. Three of his strings had snapped and now flailed around wildly. Still Wally’s mouth flapped away, "Blueberry, blueberry, blueberry . . ."

I yelled at Doc, during the middle-eight of the song, "Good thing he’s got a wireless!"

Through the scarf my words were garbled and Doc yelled back, "Well you’ll have to hold your piss til after the set Sparky!"

Wally was back on stage hopping around like a madman. He approached the microphone and began singing into it, "Blueberry, blueberry, blueberry . . . ," The audience looked at him confused. Some glanced at one another and twisted their faces as Wally continued, "Blueberry!..."

Doc yelled, "Sparky, do something! Get him off the microphone!"

I ran to the front of the stage and shoved Wally out of the way as I sang the chorus, "In
the midnight hour she cried more, more, more . . . ,"
I could hear Wally coming back at me from behind, "Blueberry!..."

"With a rebel yell hugh!..." He knocked my baseball hat off with the stock of his guitar and pulled the scarf right off my face as he bumped me aside and continued to blabber, "Blueberry," through the P.A. system. Everyone was looking at this crazy buffoon running amuck and butchering Billy Idol. They must have been wondering what kind of half-baked band had been hired. Everyone, that is, except Badd Kredytz. They were watching all that transpired from their side of the stage, and were now focused squarely on my naked face, first, with realization and then with anger. It was an anger tinted with a seed of vengeance.

Tomorrow excerpts begin from: Handmade Heart

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