Used a Writer’s Digest prompt to get some words on screen today. I need to do this more often!
“You’ve just been to the worst concert of your life. Afterward, you head to a bar with friends and start drowning your disgust. Moments later, the musician (or musicians) shows up. You decide to confront the musician about the lousy performance and ask for your money back. The musician suggests a different approach to repaying you. Write what happens”
We came directly out of the concert, almost before the band got off of the stage, and ran for the nearest bar, which happened to be in the hotel next door. The bartender kindly delivered our Irish whiskey shots quickly, and followed up with a cold IPA for Joe and a vodka gimlet for Sarah. I got a margarita.
Joe: So, what’d you think? Was that the worst concert ever?
Sarah: The worst concert performance – would it be the group that we went to see last year, was it?, at that casino out in the boonies. They were playing…
Joe: Performing don’t you mean?
Sarah: …performing some sort of rap dance thing. It was like rap meets dancing with the stars. A pair of scantily clad cadaverous white women danced around one large black man, dressed in a baggy tuxedo. He’d rap, then take one or the other girl for a whirl with lots of dips and spins, and then go back to rapping. The girls got into a fight at one point.
Joe: I’m not sure that wasn’t choreographed
Sarah: And the thing is, the rap wasn’t that good. The rhymes were really simple, like cat in a hat type rhymes. Very bizarre.
Me: I think tonight was worse.
Pause for drinks and orders for more. Hal, the bartender, winked at me when he delivered the next round.
Me: They were out of tune.
Sarah: They couldn’t find the tune if it sat on their face.
Me: And the drummer…
Sarah: That was insane. Did you see when he threw a drumstick at the lead singer?
Joe: Who then pantomimed sticking it up his butt? Yeah. Weren’t they listed as having received some award or something?
Sarah: The most disgusting stage performance award?
Me: I can’t think of which part I hated worse – the stage antics, the out of tune-ness, or the lame subject matter of their songs.
Joe: Ah yes, Fried or Fertilized all over again, but with less inventiveness.
A new voice from behind us: Fried or Fertilized. That song’s great!
As one, we swiveled around on our bar stools to see who spoke.
The lead singer of the band we’d just been dissing stood a few feet away, arms held wide.
Singer: My friends! I saw you in the audience. What’d you think?
Tequila bubbled in my head. It buzzed in my veins at that point. It certainly stepped into my mouth.
Me: It sucked large rotten donkey balls. I hated it.
Sarah looked at me in shock. And Joe, Joe swiveled back around and ordered another round of shots, including one for the singer.
The singer paused for a moment, as if he wasn’t sure I’d just said that.
Singer: Large rotten donkey balls?
I reached back for my shot. Joe passed a shot to the singer, and one to Sarah who skipped our traditional salute and sucked it down without pause.
This, I think, was directed to Joe.
Singer: How do you know about rotten donkey balls? As a comparison to music like mine?
He settled on to the stool next to mine.
Singer: I’m David, by the way.
He offered me his hand, which had long fingers and many flashy rings.
Singer: And you are?
He paused, waiting for me to shake his hand.
Me: Not nearly drunk enough.
I turned back to the bar.
David snorted, retracted his hand, and spun his stool around to face the bar as well.
Hal had been hovering.
David: And another shot for my critic here.
Sarah: Now you’ve done it.
Joe shook his head.
Hal poured us all another round of Irish.
David raised his glass. We, well trained drunks that we are, raised ours as well.
David: To dissent!
He clinked his glass with mine. I shook my head slowly and swallowed, and tried not to gag. Usually Irish is nice, but not after margarita. The Mexican and Celtic started a small war in my stomach.
David: Tell me more, gentle lady.
Joe snorted. Sarah hit him in the arm.
I glanced at him. He was handsome, I suppose, in a blurry way. Long lank brownish hair framed a thin face. Greenish-gray eyes looked back at me from dark purple lined holes emphasized by mascara and fatigue.
I took a deep breath, which I instantly regretted. He had stage stink.
Me: Do you think you were off tonight? As a band? Was this out of tune, out of rhythm thing abnormal? I know your band won some sort of award. We had high expectations.
I nodded toward Joe and Sarah, who were whispering to together in that lovely-dovey manner that makes my teeth hurt.
David considered my questions for a moment, stroking his scruffy soul patch with his long paws.
Me: Are you always so vulgar?
He grinned like an imp.
I shrugged, accepting that. I asked Hal for a water to quench the fires the Mexicans had lit in my large intestine. The Irish were obviously using guerrilla tactics.
David: What was your name again?
It was the first thing that popped into my head. Sarah shot me a quick grin and went back to flirting with her husband.
David: Well, Georgia, it’s like this. Philip, with one L, our esteemed drummer’s wife is having a child soon. He just found out that she’d been sleeping with Sam, our bass player. Sam, who everyone thought was gay. It’s been a night of revelations, to say the least. I think perhaps that accounts for the rhythm thing you mentioned.
Me: Okay. I can imagine that changed the band dynamics a little.
David, sharp all the sudden: What do you mean?
Me: The drummer’s wife and the bass player sleeping together. I can see why the drummer’d be mad. Why’d he throw a drumstick at you though?
David: Ha! Yeah, he’s got a short temper. I must have missed a cue or something.
Me: And you had to go with the pantomime after that?
He winked. Of course.
Hal: More water Miss? He seemed to be watching me closely. I nodded and smiled a thank you.
Just then a crowd came in, drawing the attentive Hal away, and pulling fans – if you can call them that – toward David.
Girl fan: Oh David! You were awesome tonight!
Guy fan: Yeah. You rocked it!
David: Thanks guys. I appreciate your support.
He smirked at me.
The room tilted sideways at that point and I must have made some sort of gurgle as I slid off my stool. Bathroom, my intestines screamed. Sleep, my arms and legs said. Don’t puke here, some rational brain cell muttered.
Get the fuck away from her. I saw what you put in her drink.
I didn’t put dick in her drink.
Here, let’s get her to the ladies room.
My arms were grabbed and I was hoisted upward. Helpful hands guided me from all sides. My eyes had turned in to kaleidoscopes, blurring colors together, spinning and tilting.
The lighting changed from dim-ish to bright-ish.
I’ve got her from here. You guys get the hell out. No, not you Joe.
Something cool and wet stroked my face. Silence, or at least less volume, stilled some of my jangles.
Joe (I assumed): Should we call an ambulance?
Sarah (I also assumed): Not sure. Maybe we should call the police.
Sarah: Because I’m going to go shove something up that singer’s ass for drugging Bea.
I must have interrupted that impending rant of vengeance by vomiting and passing out.
I came to, lying on some sort of couch in what looked like a lobby-ish hallway. The Mexican-Irish war had gone to my head, which felt like a bomb crater.
Hey there, how you doing?
A man I didn’t remember seeing before crouched down near me.
Man: I’m Detective Orlando, San Diego Police.
I tried to say hi, but it came out as a groan.
Detective: You’ve had a rough night.
Me: agreeing grunt.
Detective: I want to thank you. We’ve been trying to catch a rapist in this area. You…
He gestured down the hall. David the singer leaned against the wall, talking on a cell phone.
Detective:… and your friend David were instrumental in catching him.
Me: I was?
My voice was fried and my mouth a sandbox.
Detective Orlando handed me some water and helped me sit up. The room only tilted a little.
My head vibrated, and I slumped back against the wall.
Sarah and Joe rushed up, both talking at once. Detective Orlando laid a hand on my jean-clad knee, which had a rip I couldn’t remember having before.
Detective: I’ll just leave you with your friends now. Here’s my card. Call me if you remember anything.
He shook hands with Joe, and with David, who’d joined us, and walked off.
They fell silent, looking at me.
David: So, your name’s not Georgia.
Me: No. Sorry.
Joe: Ready to go home, Bea?
Sarah to David: Sorry I accused you of drugging her.
David: No problem.
Joe and David helped me up, and out to where Sarah’s car was parked illegally, almost on the sidewalk.
They got me settled, and David leaned in, handing me a card.
David: Call me when you’re feeling better. I’d like to hear more about how badly I suck.
… followed by a blush.
He kissed my hand, and said goodbye.
And that was how I met my husband.