Friday, October 28, 2005

Tip-toe through the two-twenty

"God damn it, Thumper! Give the 2x4 to Sparky! If this had been real, I could die before you ever swing that thing!"

I grabbed the wood from Thumper, "Shit, Wires, don’t do that! I should hit you with it now for pulling a stunt like that."

"This isn’t play time Sparky. I want you guys to realize that this is serious business and I need you to focus your attention here. I haven’t had to do this for a long time. This was Magic’s job remember? Talk later when the work is done."

We helped Wires set up and test the last of the lights before Thumper and I left Wires behind. As we went upstairs to our rooms, I related the rest of the Space manage est trois story.

"So eventually things cool down. Well . . . enough for Space to get them to leave and continue their ruckus elsewhere. But the Sherif catches wind of the incident from the hotel manager and, as you can imagine Thumper, he is far from pleased that not only his wife, but his
precious little daughter has been defiled by an out-of-town Svengali. One might say he wants to take his gun out and empty his chamber into Spaces’ left nut. In a small town like this one, he’s not exactly worried about repercussions of the law. Bodies can always disappear without a trace."

"So what happened next?"

"There’s a knock at our door at 4:00 A.M. It wakes us all up, me, Doc and Wires. Wires was rooming with Space but got kicked out for the three-way so he ended up with Barlow and me. It’s weird I know, but that’s the only time Wires and I ever roomed together....Huh."

"Sparky! Get on with the story."

"Anyway, it’s the police and they’ve got the little bastard of a hotel manager who used to own this place with them. Doc answers the door. They ask for Space, and Doc tells them, ‘he isn’t here.’ They want to search the room but Doc insists, ‘Look,’ he says, pointing to our disheveled heads peeking above the covers, ‘Me, Wires, Sparky! No Space.’ The Little Bastard concurs what Doc has told them, since he can easily identify the culprit. Doc tells them that Space is staying at the end of the hall which is really Wally and Magic’s room. Satisfied they leave. Wires is on the phone calling Spaces’ room as soon as the door is shut and tells him he better haul his ass out of there before they find him. We can hear them pounding on the door down the hall and Space doesn’t have much time until they discover he isn’t there either. We’ve got eight weeks of touring to do and we kind of need a drummer no matter how much of a dick he is. It’s a little difficult to play drums with busted arms, you know what I mean? Now— This is where things get really strange Thumper."

"You mean more than they are?"

"Yeah if you can believe it? Wally has a little personal amount of pot on him that he purchased after the show that night. He hears the pounding at the door and that it’s the police. He freaks. He thinks it’s because of his pot and starts to climb out the window in just his undies and a T-shirt. Eventually since there is no answer, they have the door opened by the Little Bastard and his master key. All they see is the back of this blonde guy with plumber’s butt as he disappears through the window and drops to the street below. Thankfully it was only from the second floor. They think this is the guy they’re looking for, and race down the hall and out the hotel after him. So with Wally running amuck down the streets of Nasty Tree with nothing but a little cotton between him and the wind, the rest of us get our shit together and head out to the truck. Fortunately we had packed the gear after the show. Just had to toss in the personal stuff. Space is shakin’ more than I’d ever seen him, fearing for his life. Doc Barlow and I are glancin’ around like we’re going to be assailed at any moment by a mob of the town’s people. I don’t know what we expected, maybe all of them to be carrying pitchforks and lit torches like out of a horror movie? But we all made it and got the hell out of Dodge. Wires was the only one who was remotely calm, like it was just another day at the office. He even paused to light a cigarette before he started the ignition. You know Thumper? That’s the image that stays with me the most, Wires lighting up like he’s Clint fuckin’ Eastwood, while the rest of us are scampering about like scared rabbits. Funny huh?"

"What about Wally? What happened to him?"

"Christ Thumper! You make it sound like it was the last time we ever saw him. That we read about his tragic end in some local newspaper of how he was found skinned alive and swinging from an oak tree with his undies down around his ankles. He’s still in the band isn’t he?— Initially we had planned to come back in the morning with an emissary that didn’t include Space to pick him up. What could the police do? He wasn’t the guy they were looking for. Besides he’d left in such a hurry he hadn’t even taken the pot with him to get rid of it. But we were lucky. We managed to pick Wally up on our way out of town. There he was bare feet, ripped T and underwear, standing next to the road side, shivering, with his thumb out. All red faced and wind-blown like he’d just walked out of a Winston cigarette ad. The important thing was we were all accounted for and got out of this town in one piece."

Thumper had listened intently but was now worried. "God! What if someone recognizes us? I have a wife . . . a. . .. a. . . daughter to think about. I can’t take a chance on being lynched."

"Look Thumper I’m worried too, but that was eight months ago. I don’t think the attention span of this town goes beyond two weeks. Shit even the Aqua Velva and rubbing alcohol are kept behind the counter here because of the vast drinking problem. The bar has a new owner, so there’s no one to rat us out, and we are not that band anymore. That’s why we changed the name. They won’t be looking for Bitter Romance and especially won’t be looking for Bitter Romaine."

Tomorrow excerpt from: The Space between us

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