Twisted Sister Fiction

FICTION — I’m with the Band

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Excerpt from “I’m with the Band” by Marley Anderson

In this smart romance, former band manager Maureen Orsmond (‘Moe’ as she’s known in the industry) is forced to go on tour with a rock band to babysit their lead singer. Bass player Dave, lead guitarist Mike all have their issues, but it’s Trevor she’s paid to watch over.

Moe’s been there, done that, and sure as hell doesn’t want to do it again; but when the boss says go, you gotta go. Things are complicated by a previous relationship with Jay, the drummer – but hey, that was a long time ago, and things change.

Or they don’t.

*

The wall of noise took her breath away. Amplifiers rang out, drums pounding; a wave of sound surrounded her, pressing against her chest. Moe stood blinking. It took a while to get used to this again.

Standing beside heavy black curtains, she stared out at the audience. Lights flashed across the stage, and faces swam together into a blur. Out of the corner of her eye she could make out Trevor, standing front and centre, and Dave’s back. She held out her phone and snapped a few photos for Twitter updates.

She stood listening, nodding along with the music. Guitar sounded great tonight, she’d have to remember to tell Mike. Bittersweet tone, heartfelt, with great changes. Strong vocals wrapping it all up, Trevor wasn’t too bad either.

Suddenly Trevor launched into another burst of power, his voice filling the night, and pushing beyond. She smiled. So the kid actually was pretty good after all. Powerful voice, and, listening to him drop into heartfelt vocals without missing a note, he had an excellent range. Obviously well trained.

Moe stared out, watching blond youth occupy centre stage, lean muscle and great voice. He owned it. She smiled, so that’s what all the hype was about; with a good manager, he could really go far.

Sound was a bit off, though. She could barely hear Dave. Grimacing, she heard Mike fumble through a chord change. Rough start, to be expected, it was their first gig. And there was nothing you could do about it now anyway. Through the mix, she could hear Jay, muffled, but keeping steady time.

Stepping away from the stage, she turned down the corridor to escape the wall of noise, and hit the call button on the walkie talkie.

“How’s it going boss-lady?” Sparky’s voice crackled through a burst of static, and then paused, “Haven’t heard your voice for a long time. Think we all kinda miss you around here.”

She laughed, “Uh, dude, anything you can do about the sound?”

“What? Your pretty boy’s front and centre.”

“Yeah, but the other guys are getting lost in the mix. Drums are buried. Can’t hear Dave at all.”

Smile crackling through the walkie talkie, “That’s what we love about you, boss-lady. Always thinking of the other guys.”

“So can you do something?”

“Your wish is my command.” Click.

Shaking her head, she smiled. She’d have to talk to Sparky tomorrow, and figure out the sound before the next show. Turning back toward the stage, she walked into a wall of sound, drums suddenly rising in the mix, thudding bass drum creating a wall of pressure against her chest, altering her heartbeat. Moe pushed aside the heavy black curtain, turning her head toward Jay. Powerful muscle glided behind the kit; he was doing well. Consistent timing, steady; with a lot of flash and power.

Suddenly Jay glanced up and caught her eye. Grinned.

Her chest tightened, Moe wavered, dropped back into time, ten years before. Her hand wrapped in his, escaping into backstage clutter; bodies pressed against each other, blackline tattoos and limbs twisted; mouths exploring hungrily. She swallowed, and turned toward centre stage.

That was all done a long time ago.

Exhaling loudly, she tried to focus on the bass player, listening for low tones still buried in the mix.

Heavy curtains swayed and fingers brushed her shoulder; she spun, startled. Eugene smiled at her; clipboard still in hand and leaned toward her ear, cupping his mouth to be heard over the noise. “Everything looks good, boss,” he nodded back at the makeup room, “But there’s one problem.”

Moe followed him into the room, blinking as he turned on the lights. Door closed, sound suddenly cut, the roar of the audience echoed through the intercom.

“So what’s up? We’re good for tomorrow then; crossing the border, right?” She stared at him.

“Uh, yeah, I wanted to talk to you about that. Couple of the guys have passport issues.”

“No freaking way. Don’t tell me –”

“Yep, possession with the intent to sell,” he shrugged. “So, I gotta hire some new guys in Vancouver. My guys’ll meet us back in Chicago.”

“How many guys?”

“At least three. Or four.”

“So that leaves three cities to hire crews for.”

She chewed her lip, calculating. “That’s a serious dent to the budget.”

“Yeah, well, the show must go on, right?”

“Yeah, sure,” she frowned. So much for being in the black on this tour.

Eugene turned to leave. “Anyway, just thought I’d let you know. So we’re on the road first thing tomorrow, right?”

She looked at him, already weary. “Pack ‘em up, and move ‘em out, you know how it is.”

Moe followed him back to the stage, watching from behind heavy curtains, she was swallowed up by a wall of sound.

*

Marley Anderson is an up-and-coming novelist who spends far too much time with musicians and not enough time on novels.

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