Chapter Nineteen- Divine intervention
The men were nearly on us and we had resigned ourselves to confrontation. How could it get any worse? The shock of knowing Arsehole Party was our one and only savior in the weekend fiasco had dropped us to the bottom of a bottomless pit. Let the fists come. I would take my beating. Ohhh thank you Jesus. Then Phil and Johnny would come in and cart our sorry, blubbering, pummeled ass out of the casino for good this time. There was no way this evening was going to magically rescue itself.
But the fists did not come. The blood did not flow, and the carnage would not disgrace the floor of the Tiger Lounge. The men stopped in their tracks by some invisible force field and decided to back off. The force field we knew as Tiny appeared to our right and stood next to our side. I guess our would-be attackers felt the beating they were going to inflict on us could be taken under further advisement, especially when one of them flippin’ homos was pushing nine feet.
For all I or Doc cared, they just as well should have pounded us to a bloody mess rendering us to an unconscious state. Arsehole Party was the last thing any of us needed. How could we ask him to step in? He was the guy who had wrecked any chance of us maintaining cohesion and moving forward all those years ago. We hadn’t exactly parted ways under amicable circumstances. However, without Grub at full capacity, how could we continue on in a weekend gone so sour? Without a reliable drummer at the helm we were nothing more than a garage band dry humping the pillow of fame and fortune. Then there was Skunk to think of. No love lost between her and Arsehole Party— absolute and undeniable. Toying with the idea of having those two in the same vicinity could be catastrophic— a rift in the space-time-continuum. Doc and I knew it. We would be better off in the eye of the storm instead of the swirling winds of controversy and mayhem. Either path from this sudden fork in the road seemed perilous. It reminded me of Doc, Wally and my journey up to the studio- how disastrous a misplaced foot could be. I wished to keep out of the shit this time. I was already without shoes, would I dare to risk what was left of my bruised and tortured soul?
Tiny was sucking the hell out of a coke, through a straw as Matt Morgolis crooned another ballad. His voice cascaded like chocolate through the speakers to the delighted squeals of most of the females in attendance. I watched as Arsehole Party pounded his snare drum. His lips moving silently in unison to the beat, but I knew the word he uttered. “Bam! Bam! Bam!” It was his unmistakable trademark.
Tiny reached the bottom of his glass with vacuous pulls on his straw. An ice-cube clung to the open end of it, devoid of liquid. I began to place unattainable landmarks on a momentous decision. OK, If Tiny actually sucks the ice-cube through the straw, we ask Arsehole Party to join us in the studio. Doc looked at me, his face suddenly drawn and gaunt as if his locksmith mind had picked my thoughts. This was going to be a hard call to make and a harder consequence to live with.
No one spoke on the way home preferring to labor in thought over the night’s events, or in Tiny’s case, nod off and sag his curly mess of locks on the top of my head. With the weight I already carried on my shoulders, it was a burden I could do without. Doc stared straight ahead with the windows wide open as the rumbled hum of the Hino’s diesel engine plowed through fragrant check points of manure, wet grass and skunk.
The radio blared. It was capable of AM only and spouted some spiritual talk show where callers received advice from guest hosts in the encouragement to donate to the sponsoring ministry.
“So do you feel the decision you made in this matter was the right one?” The host asked the caller. His voice dripping with feigned compassion as if he were speaking directly to me.
“I...I don’t know?”
“Look into your heart,” he instructed. “Do you feel Jesus there?”
“I...I don’t know?”
“Must we listen to this crap Doc?”
“It’s either this, static, or Tiny’s snoring.”
“Have faith in the Lord God Almighty and all your choices will be righteous ones. I
encourage you my child to find it in your heart to make a donation and Jesus will come.”
“Where have I heard that before?” I responded dryly.
“Maybe Miss Agnes listens to the program too?”
“No doubt.” I listened as the host encouraged another caller to donate in an effort to cure the pain of a lost love one.
The next caller lamented, he had been losing his hearing over the past months and needed God to help him get it back. He was practically yelling through the radio.
The host replied with a calm and even voice. “Release your hold on the material world my brother. Share your wealth with Jesus and he will deliver un to you the cure you seek. Amen!”
“Whaaat?!” The man yelled.
“My brother, I said release your hold . . . ”
“Grease my hole?”
The host yammered in frustration before catching himself.“Release! Release!....Brothers and sisters perhaps we should take a moment to hear from one of our good Christian sponsors.”
“WHA...?!” The caller yelled again before being cut off.
“You know Doc, no matter how much money we could donate. I don’t feel optimistic we’d see divine intervention coming our way.”
Everyone was asleep by the time we rumbled back up Faith Sound’s long winding driveway with even longer faces. We parked next to a circle of gnomes in emerald green and pink robes, rejoicing around the fallen Tower of Babel. There was also a new acquisition Miss Agnes must have added to the lawn in our absence. A stern porcelain Mosses now hoisted his tablets aloft and warned us to, "Keep off the grass!"
Doc groaned as he brought the Honey-wagon to a halt. “I don’t mind telling you Sparky, I get very creeped out by this whole gnome village they have here. I keep thinkin’ that they come to life when we fall asleep and have little gnome orgies.”
“I think Miss Agnes would view your comments as extremely blasphemous, Doc my man.”
“Yeah, well I have a good mind to have a yard sale tomorrow and sell those fuckin’ things. Except, they’d probably all find their way back here somehow after nightfall and murder me in my sleep. Shit it’s so Outer Limits. Every time we return here there seems to be more of them. Is there some Gnome Wrangler in the barn slowly releasing them into the wild?”
“That’s one vivid imagination Doc.”
Doc continued to spew. “Just look at that Sparky.” He pointed an accusing finger down at the turf from his perch in the driver’s seat of the Hino. “Where on earth do you go shopping for a John the Baptist lawn jockey? Huh? Where, I ask you?”
I flicked Tiny in the ear and awoke the sleeping giant. “We’re back at the studio Tiny. Time to get out.”
“Quietly,” Doc insisted. “We don’t want to rouse the whole house now.”
Wally, on the other hand, was not among those who slumbered peacefully. He was coming out of the control room in his socked feet with his guitar, as we tried to enter without a sound.
“Burning the midnight oil Wally? I thought you were bushed?” I kicked off the shoes he’d lent me for the evening.
“Working on the song. I couldn’t sleep anyways and didn’t know what to do with myself. Everyone elks just went to bed. Skunk was falling asleep while she was recording.”
“Doesn’t surprise me. That girl could sleep nestled in a roaring jet engine.”
Wally inquired. “So? How did it go? Do we have a drummer?”
“Not now Wally. We need sleep. It’s going to be a long day tomorrow and tonight was emotionally draining to say the least.”
Wally let well enough alone and let us pass to our creature comforts without further inquiry. He stood at attention with his acoustic guitar as if he were the member of a color guard saluting passing dignitaries. We headed for our respective sanctuaries and sunk into the enveloping softness of beds unmade. The band was fragile as it was and adding another unstable element would very well, push it past the brink to hostile. I wanted only to get to bed as if somehow the morning would deliver better news and wipe tonight away like a bad dream. As calamities go this night hadn’t been any different from others. In fact, there had been times I could recall, laboring in the much worse category. A long forgotten history numbed and faded by the passage of time, a million heartbeats ago.
I fell asleep thinking of Arsehole Party and the blown showcase so many years removed from the present. A night which had been far worse than anything we’d experienced this weekend. It was a night that had caused the eventual death of the Oral Blondes and set us all on our paths to mediocrity.