Doc and I strolled out to the road just as an old Greyhound pulled into the stop and up to the pumps. It was an older model bus with curtains on all the windows and blue flames stretching the length of the body. The word, Chartered, was displayed across the front above the wind screen. I recognized it right away.
"Oh great Doc Badd Kredytz."
"It’s a band that I auditioned for once. They said I was too portly . . . well actually, I think they used the word rotund, but either way I didn’t fit their image. That’s their bus. Fuck I hate these guys. They’re such pompous assholes."
Badd Kredytz was one of those big hair bands that were full of themselves, more concerned with an image than whether the music they played sucked or not. They were an amalgamation of power ballads and pretentious struts with the obligatory double D, misspell, and Z’s replacing S’s that all bands of their genre seemed to have in their name.
The bus halted and the door swooshed open. A tall guy with big hair, spandex zebra pants, green high-tops, and a black blazer with padded shoulders emerged. Behind him the rest of the band filed out, equally overdressed and took to posing next to the bus. After all, someone with a camera, perhaps the mechanic, might want to snap a few shots.
Big-hair-spandex-guy paused to adjust his dark shades and toss a fuzzy green boa over
his shoulder before heading our way. It was like one of those sure things in life, the rule of avoidance, that little two-step from side to side, where despite your best effort to get out of the
way of the person you’re approaching you still manage to come face to face.
"Hey man great to see you. How are you?" I said, trying to be pleasant.
The guy looked confused. Then he snapped his fingers, "Oh you’re the bouncer from that club in that town . . . uh . . . where we played . . ."
– "I auditioned for you once. Johnny Malveen. You were looking for a bass player."
"Oh right. Yeah cool. Malvin." He was smiling and nodding like he knew all along, when he still had absolutely no clue who I was. In all fairness I had dropped quite a bit of weight since I’d been performing every night. That combined with not getting paid enough to eat, made for an effective little diet.
"So ugh– Malvin . . ."
"Malveen," I corrected.
"Right! What brings you here? You pumpin’ gas? If so, we need diesel."
"No. I’m on tour with a band. – Oh forgive me. This is Doc Barlow our keyboard player. Doc this is Benton."
"Benton D. Struction." Benton offered his hand and Doc took it.
"So are you guys like Christian Rock fags or something?"
"Woe, Doc, buddy, hey," Benton laughed as he rubbed his heavy metal bracelet, "Easy
on the religious music, guy. I mean that’s like me askin’ where’s Sneezy, Sleazy and your other
"I just thought with a name like that . . . there’s a lot of biblical reference going on. I mean which one of your band is Fire and which one’s Brimstone?" Doc thumbed to the rest of
the band, now adjusting their crotches to achieve maximum bulges before settling into new poses.
"Benton and his band play lighter anthems, Doc, that kind of thing."
"As in cigarette lighters, Doc old boy."
"The scars on my frontal lobe are still healing, but yeah Benton I managed to figure that one out."
–"And heavy rockin’ that the chicks dig." He did a small pirouette and let out a , "yeow!"
"Cool dude, you guys rock."
"You know it."
The truth was they sucked. But it was the standard musician to musician praise. Even if he was an ass. I could slag him later and I was sure at this point Doc would be a willing participant.
"You guys getting juice for your ride too?"
"No. Our, ride, is being repaired at the moment," Doc pointed to the Ghost next to the garage. Wires was sitting with his back to the wheel watching our conversation from afar.
"You guys travel in that thing? Man that’s brave. Where’s the band sit, in the trailer? You need to get yourselves a cool ride like ours. Used to belong to Loverboy. Got it for a song."
"Power ballad I’m bettin’," Doc said.
"You know it! Beds in the back for the ladies, bitchin’ sound system, TV and Atari fuckin’ computer dudes, one hundred and twenty-eight K of memory. Luxury and comfort from mile one, only way to go."
Doc rolled his eyes. We were both a little envious. How did such a lame ass band with such an idiot for a leader deserve to ride in the lap of opulence? "Where ya headed Benton?"
"Cool that club rocks," Doc gave me a sideways glance. The one that I’d seen from him before that said, "Sparky are you nuts?" We’d nearly come out of there one drummer short and here I’m tellin’ Benton that the club rocks. I could almost read Doc’s thoughts, "Sparky! You didn’t get the audition OK. No need to suck his dick!"
"You guys ever been there Malvinni, To The Oasis?"
"Malveen– Yeah a few years back. It’s the last date for us on this tour. Can’t wait to get there. How bout you?"
"Cherry poppin’ dude. First time and we’re gonna rock that joint and tweak those nipples and make ‘em red. That town will be walkin’ bowl-legged for weeks after we rock it."
"What ya down for?"
"Five more gigs guy, then home to the old lady."
"Better lay some heavy pipe in the next few weeks to tie you over huh?"
"You know it dude."
"Hey Benton. There’s this chick that hangs at The Oasis. She’s hot. Does all the bands that play there. She's a tag team player for sure. You should look her up."
"Really what’s her name?"
"I can’t remember. She’s like incognito or somethin’. I think she went by one of those stripper names like . . . oh! What was it Doc? Help me out."
"That’s it! Sherif’s Daughter. Doc’s got a better memory than I do. Less fat I guess? Anyway you gotta look for a guy name Bruiser."
"Yeah you’ll recognize him, tall guy with a mullet, a real clumsy gimp. He hangs at The
Oasis. He’s always got a broken nose or cuts on his face and bruises on his eyes. Probably be walkin’ with a limp."
"Bruiser! I get it. Cool dude."
"Tell him you’re a friend of our drummer Space and you want to get down and dirty with the Sherif’s daughter. He’ll understand and set you right up. But talk slowly because Bruiser’s a little retarded. He had some-kind-of disease when he was a kid. Tic-tal-aroo or Diffugus of the hole. Whatever it was, it messed him up."
"Right on! Thanks Melvin."
"Right guy. You know it! We’ll look the limp Gimp up, when we get into town. I know
all the boys are hungry for a little ugh!" He trust his hips outward into an imaginary girl. "You know a little corned beef and ass cabbage!"
"You won’t be disappointed Benton."
"Yeah– hey we’re gassed and ready to gun so . . ." Benton pointed at us with both fingers and made a couple of clicking noises with his tongue. "On the flip side dudes."
"I hope those fingers are the first things broken," Doc whispered out the side of his mouth.
I responded, "You know it guy!"
Doc left me standing by the pumps as he headed into the restaurant. I watched Benton and the boys peel out, with the blaring thunder thud of AC/DC’s Highway to Hell, rumbling from within. I watched them roll out of sight. I smiled to myself and walked over to where Wires still sat. His greasy hands held a lit cigarette.
"Friends of yours Sparky?"
"Certainly not after today Wires. Remember the old Klingon proverb that ‘revenge is a dish best served cold’? It doesn’t get any colder."
"Hmm," he responded, "Well to see eternity in a seed, one needs vision rather than eyesight. Let’s hope the vision’s not too eye opening for you Sparky."
Tomorrow excerpt from: Blueberry, blueberry