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Cube Van Chronicles

His fingers trailed over the black tolex, feeling his hands over the scuffs and the dings. Each one held a memory for him. Every time he was to run fingers over it, it all came flooding back. The time it had to be taken up several flights of stairs for an all ages gig. The time it got attacked by a random savage bassist who thought destruction of property was the only thing that made him a rock star. The scuffed silver corners that had been shoved into the vans too many times in a hurry. The rip in the top where a beer mongerer had been carving something into it, thinking it was the bathroom or something.

The knobs he ran his fingers over, the cursive lettering on the speakers. It all made him feel alive. Especially now that his dream was finally coming true. This was all happening and he was still fighting to make sense of it all. Out of nowhere his song started to be passed around to many listeners who passed it on to even more listeners. It was one wild ride, for sure.

The times leading up to it were even more intense. His life had been pockmarked with tragedy and sorrow and pain. The things that make one strong enough to chase down a dream were his cup of tea. Life had not made it easy to get here for certain.

The band was looking eagerly towards him as he grabbed up his hand me down Les Paul. The Epiphone kind because he couldn’t see spending thousands yet for an actual Gibson, though that was his dream. He wildly fantasized as a boy about Les Pauls ever since he saw Slash of GNR fame rocking one. His uncle had one at one point and he had some time to play it, which sent thrills up his spine, incomparable. This Epiphone had its fair share of belt scratches and dings from travelling and playing shows. Those memories flooded over him as he picked up his axe to grind and put his songs out there again this night.

The lonely nights where these song ideas popped into his head and out of his mouth as a melody. The scary times where his very life was at stake, battling hunger and homelessness and helplessness. The lak of dignity in using public restrooms to splash water and call it a shower. Begging for change to get food and watching people eating in front of him. His guitar and a mini marshall out on the streets playing for mere pennies. Diving into dumpsters and finding warm clothes. His story is very unique but it does look, right now at least, that it has a happy ending.
He throws the strap over the shoulder where it sat comfortable for the last ten years he has owned this guitar and flips that on switch on his amp. The tubes were warm because of standby, and he pinkied his volume up to 6 to start this set off, but something was missing. The sound. There was nothing. Not in the monitors, not in the amp, not a sound, as he crashed into the opening chords of his hit. The band took his cue and started but looked questioningly at him and his lack of sound.

Another guitarist on the side of the stage seen what was going on and was trying to get his amp out of the road case and hauled up to the stage. Meanwhile, frantic, DP, was going through each wire and checking plugins to speakers and head and power. He grabbed another stereo chord and plugged it into the input of the speakers and the output on the head. Nothing, still nothing. The song was playing on as a loose jam interpretation. The bandmates were aware of what was going on and were covering for him to get it fixed. They knew to go to jam mode whenever someone was broke down on stage. They also knew that their leader was the backbone and the heart of this bands current success. They were willing to wait for him to get things fixed before rocking out for real. The crowd was still dancing along and some were singing along with the words and the guitar fills that were supposed to be there.

Moments later, DP adjusted the guitar chord and sound shot out, almost startling him as he jumped into the song’s verse riff. The crowd went nuts. There was a noticeable excitement on this particular night in this particular room. It was going to be an awesome night. The songs went smooth after that, the guitar neck warmed up allowing some super fast solos and jams and the crowd kept screaming for more. The dancers, the girls, the bikers, the jocks, the geeks all seemed to get together for one night and forget the stereotypes and just enjoyed an evening with people. IT was near magical. IT was excellent. DP and his band enjoyed this night immensely.
Winding chords up afterwards, DP gets approached by some fans wanting a signature on t shirts. He takes time out to chat with them and find out where they are from and what they do for fun. They start getting all excited talking to DP. He notices the one is a very cute blond who was eyeing him during the whole set. They had made eye contact and there was definite sparks there. Her dress could be barely defined as that and her bosom was clearly on the menu for the right person. She drew herself up close to DP and whispered something in his ear that made him blush. The others nearby couldn’t have heard what she said, but he did. This was a first for him. He wasn’t quite sure how to respond.

His high school days were filled with being stuffed in lockers and picked on and bullied. The girls wouldn’t even look in his direction. They rejected him coldly, cruelly and without even a hint of decency. Now, all of a sudden, these same girls were coming to his concerts and wanting to hook up. Weird how it all works. Instead of wanting to follow this smoking hot girls idea, he gave her a hug and squeezed her tightly wrapped butt against his hips and went back to winding chords up. She just kind of looked like someone shellshocked. He had work to do. There was a job in the morning that he needed to keep and he had no desire to sleep with every female. He wanted one only. The one. He didn’t want the Epiphone version of his Gibson girl. IT was fine for his instrument but not for his lady. This chick, if she was worth it, would just have to earn her spot next to him. He wasn’t going to make it easy

A rockstar with morals, that’s something new. His methods, were definitely unique. Following the Coyote Ugly wisdom of appearing available but never actually being available. My, how he loved that movie. Well, movies in general dealing with writing or singing or performing. He loved all sorts of band DVD’s as well and many live concerts. His interests were varied and his range was wide. He scarcely delved into scary movies though much unlike his counterprts. The band mates he had grouped himself with were all about scary movies and scoring tail and the more the merrier. He, as the leader, was the one who reviewed the footage from the concerts and worked on better delivery and studied the crowd. He was always trying to make his craft better. This thing of music was what pulled him from the depths of despair after his parents were brutally murdered as a teenager. There was nothing else in his life that seemed to make good happen but this longing to bring music and hope to others. He knew that people still walked on eggshells around him that knew some of his past, he did not mind. It kept awkward conversations at bay. That and he enjoyed wht little privacy he still retained in his personal life. The public personality that many grew to love and embrace, was not the same one that resided deep within his heart. He kept those lines very keenly separated. Once he ws out shopping and had fans come up to him for autographs, he had to make the active effort to switch to rockstar mode and in a hurry. Otherwise he was a quiet unassuming male just wanting to live and love the life that awaited him. He longed to find his other half who would help him and stand beside him through life’s storms and calm moments.

He remembered once, that he had a guitar playing friend who tried telling him to get as much tail as possible and he would find that special one faster. He was a bit more old school than that in his philosophy though and threw his friends advice out of his mind.

He grabbed the Marshall solid state head and 2 by 12 and loaded them into the van for the ride home. His band was busy getting busy and drunk down near the bar and he was quite tempted to leave them all there for the night. Let them find their own rides. But, alas, his moral compass was fixed too tight to shaft those helping him out. For now, but he was planning a band meeting to address these issues. He had to do it right though and without crossing the line from concerned friend to overbearing boss. It wasn’t worked out yet how but as soon as it was, this meeting would go down.

So, he quietly loaded up all the bands gear and then tapped each drunken member on his shoulder. “Time to go!”
“But, I’m not finished yet.”
“Yes, we’re done here, if you want a ride home. Otherwise, good luck getting back to your pad. Remember, its three hours away. I.Will. Not. Come. Get. You.” D.P. hissed with some authority.

“Fine, see you marlie, where’s your number babe?” The drunken drummer managed to mumble.

The ride home was awkward to say the least. There were stretches of silence followed by random insights and mild regrets. The tunes always sucked after a gig. It was horrible. When the band had the funds they pooled it on Satellite radio for the sweet tunes. The bassist had a smartphone and every once in a while, he would pay for service. When the phone was operational, he would gladly let Pandora radio stream for the bands benefit on these rides. The bright side to having the radio off, was everyone could be off in their own little world. They would have been anyway. The gig was filled with plenty of eye candy and cleavage and g strings hinting at paradise. Their was labels and executives and who knows what else. It was a very exciting time for D.P. The band just wanted the attention and fame and the bs that came with it.
The whole ride home D.P. kept rehearsing what needed to be said to his bandmates. Rob, the drummer was going to be the hardest to approach. Cliffton or Chuckles as most called him, the bassist was a very laid back dude when he wasn’t hammered. He was the type to bring a smile to every person he let into his circle. The rhythym guitarist, Josef von Strudelheimmer as most called him was really just joe neem from down the street. Each one of these personalities was sometimes in conflict with anothers. There was a tension always readily available to band mates to draw from. The eggshells thing within the band was getting hard to impossible to live with, without a course correct. And, soon. They all knew that some storm was lurking, but they each approached it different.
For instance, D.P. loved the music more than anything else and chasing his dream. His dream wasn’t the rock and roll musicians dream but it was mostly humanitarian. D.P. knew that he needed to fund it all properly though, so he kept writing and ciphering. Josef von Struddelheimmer was looking to score more tail than Gene Simmons himself. D.P. and the rest bet him that he would never pull it off. Chuckles was quite happy living on peoples couches and mooching off everyone. He seemed to have little ambition, no dream and no intestinal fortitude. He was great company nonetheless. Finally, Rob, was a bit of a megalomaniacal windbag who loved the attention and demanded it be his. He spent his off time working on his hair, his bra removal tactics and his stick spinning. Long term goal for him; ModernDrummer and getting an endorsement deal, then scoring his fleshly wants. So, all in all, their interests were varied and their reasons were multifaceted. They had no real strong moral or business goals shared within the group.

The morning brought on some unplanned headaches. The tire blew on the way to D.P’s interview with the radio station. The spare was flat, the cigarette lighter wasn’t working to plug in the air compressor. To top it all off, after calling and rescheduling his interview, he headed home and ran out of gas. He had to be at the gas station by 10:00 a.m. for his shift and he made it precisely at 10:52. What a crazy morning.

“Where were you?” Asked his furious employer. “I had to unload truck today and ordering to boot, I needed you.”
“Well, its been a hell ofa day, but I’m here now, what do you need helped with?”
“you know what, this is the last time I hire a musician. Just another scumbag wanting nothing in life but stupid dreams that never will happen. You can go home today, while I think of why I should keep you employed here.”
“Whoa! Where is this coming from, I’ve been here for four years, I’ve called in twice in that time and been late on one other occasion. I’m still here because up till now, you have treated me well. I’m not another dreaming douchebag who takes no responsibility. I’m busting my butt for you, for my dream, for my bandmates. This is your response? Wow!” Shakes head and clocks back out fuming.
“Well stay gone then, YOU’RE FIRED!” shouts his now former employer.
Tht got all sorts of out of control, D.P. thought to himself. He really needed a job for a while longer, but, it was what it was. His gigs were starting to net him and the band, enough of a payout to cover their living expenses. The nice thing; they all shared a house and its bills. Well, they shared the house and D.P. busted his butt to pay the bills. If one gets technical about it. The cooking and cleaning and bill paying was all left to D.P. This setback was going to be a hurdle for sure. HE was going to make sure everybody started contributing for sure. This was a one for all and all for one moment. Their one being the dream. They needed to realize D.P. was tired of carrying them, no matter how good they were.
So, the ride for D.P. was intense. There was a plethora of thoughts running wild in his mind. His mortgage, his friendship, his bandmates… etc. The ride wasn’t a bust though. His wheels started spinning in a very positive direction once he stopped off for coffee and met a very cute patron. Blonde haired and blue eyed, was one customer ahead of him when he got to the counter. She spoke three words that made D.P’s heart flutter, if that’s what mens hearts could do? If not, it didn’t really mtter because that was the only word that seemed to fit. “Thank you sir.” Was all that D needed to hear to send his now defunct life to offer up waves of hope. Well, technically not defunct, but totally felt like it till tht voice. It blurred his subconscious and made colors come alive!
She turned and looked into his eyes as she whisked her mocha away. The barista barely got a word in due to D.P. ordering quickly. He paid in cash. He grabbed his cup the moment it hit the order up spot and spun to find that girl. The day was bd but he felt thousand times better. She ws sitting in a bar stool at one of several window seats overlooking the park.
The coffee house itself was situated over a nice park and jogging path, overseeing the treeline meeting the pond on the horizon. The sun used to set right at the spot where the scenery collided, made a v and illuminated all things in a dazzling sparkle. The best time to be at one of the quaint little tables, was right around Christmastime, just as the early evening sun rounded its final cloud. Other than that, it was just a run of the mill, mahogany tabled, light wood flooring, smelled of delicious coffees type of java gathering place. It did the usual art hostings and poetry readings, rap battles and open mics. Ok, admittedly, the rap battles weren’t very popular yet, according to the owner, but they all had fun there. The prices were high and so were most of the clientele. D.P. came here frequently since last year, ever since he had that coffee jones and these guys were the only ones open. Actually, driving past after a gig, he needed a nice warm place to unwind and wasn’t quite sure where. He simply saw the lights and the people and the vibe drew him in. It was here, that he started writing out verses and choruses that would later lead to his current successes in the industry.
She left. Gone by the time he turned around. The girl he was searching for, was gone. Almost as if she wasn’t there to begin with. He started reenacting the scene and figured out that maybe it was all a byproduct of an overactive imagination. Or maybe just a compounded incident to make the crumminess disappear quicker.
Either way, she was gone. Poof! Vanished! Gone.
He was still without a job, stuck with crummy instruments and unmotivated people making his songs come to life. The girl, may have been an illusion, but the despair he suddenly felt was real. He needed a guitar in his hands and a place to write! Immediately!

JAMZ!

Unbelievable. This chick was amazing! He had never been as exhausted after a romp as he had this time. This girl had moves, she had some tricks up her skirt and down her backside for sure. She wasn’t one he would have found if he was only a tennis player. But, here he was with the number one billboard hi* in the country and he was scoring tail more often than dweebs could pleasure themselves.
The rise to the top had been wild, like a comet shooting straight out of a cannon. It was meteoric and heady. It was luscious and lovely. All things he dreamed of and more. When his uncle turned him onto the guitar at age nine and he was entering competitions at 13 and winning them at 15. He quite expected this but wasn’t quite prepared for it. The girls throwing themselves at him, the drugs and the booze and people kissing his butt all of a sudden.
Weird, how he couldn’t afford a decent guitar at even pawn shop rates, but now, the companies practically had to be fought off with a stick to be stopped from gifting. There were interviews and photo spreads and custom guitars. Gold tuners, delxe wiring, his name on the truss rod cover. No small wonder then, that chicks showed up dripping with pleasure to see him. He was enjoying this thoroughly.

He hadn’t seen his family in three years now after a giant blow out. The last time he seen them, they had their hands out trying to guilt him into giving them a small megafortune. He gave them the old Johnny Cash finger and took off in the van.

They had messaged him on Facebook periodically trying to play strategic games, but he no longer even bothered replying. Just simply bothersome. He had more important things to do now anyway, he reasoned within himself. Take, this blond bombshell, for instance.

He vaguely remembered her name but that image of her sexy outfit last night would stick with him for quite some time. If he wasn’t still racking up notches, he might consider this one a lovely score, and a most enjoyable wife.
His ’59 Les Paul sat on its own expensive chair across from her white panties and next to her black silk bra. She was busy tracing her hand over his chest hair and tingling his nerves with each soft caress. He had a show to perform in roughly twenty minutes and was supposed to show up way earlier for a sound check and to drop his guitar off with Zeebs, his tech. That hadn’t happened. He had wanted to but, grabbing a breakfast bagel and a starbucks coffee after last nights show, he bumped into this curvy woman who made his parts come alive. Since, then, he had been pleasured every which way but loose and it felt like, she was working on thirds. He hadn’t had this much libido and drive since high school. Yet, his calling lay steps away in that chair.

He loved that thing more than any woman, any food item, any family member or friend. His guitar had seen him through his childhood without him needing a shrink. He’d seen robberies and murders and mafiosos. He’d been threatened and ousted and shamed. His travel included pain, anger, misery and sadness. Yet, his guitar became his psychiatrist. It brought him from those dark places and into the light.

Now, he was getting the rewards of it all. The ripe age of 23, he had the future, any young Musicians’s friend dreamer would have dreamed. The dream that refused to sleep

Steven stood still, trying to make his breathing quiet even though his heart was thundering, pounding and scared. The man who stole his Gibson Les Paul Classic Plus was near his car and had a gun drawn on another unsuspecting musician. There were no streetlights, no traffic and it seemed likely this man could die unless someone happened to intervene.

Steven looked around and was expectant that some lone ranger hero would come strolling by and save this man. The more he looked, the more he realized that no one was going to save this man but Steven himself. Steven started praying. That and reach for his own .38 special. Mr Saturday night indeed!

The man holding the gun was heavy, like 300 pounds heavy, with achin that had chins on it. His shirt was an off white and putrid color mixed with stench and vomit and who knows the other stains. He had a gold cross around his neck and a metallic med alert tag. Presumably, he was a stroke risk or diabetes sufferer, if Steven had to guess. His breathing was labored even when his person wasn’t moving.
The man held at gunpoint had played in Rogue Blushing, a somewhat well known rock band in the Detroit area. The Ibanez shirt he had on was currently more wrinkled than a sad old man. His own gold crucifix had a kitty cat on it? Did Steven see that right? Yes, weird. The man had camo shorts on and a beanie cap. His feet were shod with sandals and scrapes. All else about him registered homeless man, what with the beard and the scraggly hair jutting out from his hat.

Steven weighed his options in a very methodical manner. He ran through 58 scenarios in the time it takes most of us to blink. He had done this so long mentally and aided with training in the army, he had made that a strong gift indeed. The fear was real but his solution was simple. Take the power back, if you will. He wanted to get his guitar back in one piece and spare this bloke from a beating or an avoidable early grave. He didn’t want to kit FatBoy anymore than he wanted to eat sushi, but he didn’t see a nice way out of this circumstance.

Looking to the right, he had a clearing he could run towards to get five feet closer. Quiet and stealth were his weapon for the moment. After that he would run up and punch FatBoy on the back of his gun hand, and prepare a follow up kick to his temple.

Well, he made it three steps from his hiding spot when FatBoy spotted him, turned his gun on Steven and started firing. Well, that changes things, doesn’t it, he thought. He reached the muzzle of his own shell shooter and squeezed off two shots, successfully taking FatBoy’s knees out and dropping him to the ground. The sound was reverberated throughout the alley and eerily haunting. The gunshots were still clanging through the sound waves when FatBoy raised his armament again. This time Steven was prepared and shot one through his hand.

“Wheres my guitar you fat piece of—-?!” Steven shouted, now currently deaf.

“This aint your business punk,” he (FatBoy) managed to spat through the wheezing gulps of air he managed.

“My Gibson, Jack!” He retorted.

“you aint getting it back, you shot me in the knee you CUSS!”

“Wrong answer!” replied Steven and kicked him in his chest

“You, what is going on between you and FatBoy here?” Steven asked Skein.

“I just got done with a gig and Jerkcuss here insists I owe him my money.” Replied Stricker Skein, the guitarist and chief songwriter/vocalist for Rogue Blushing. “I told him to lick my bag and taste my scrote.”

“Our friend must not have liked that very much eh?”

Yanking FatBoy’s wallet out of his disgusting sweats, he rifled through to find his id. When he did, he pulled it out and pocketed it. “you’re going to tell me where my guitar is and apologize for your actions here, Edward Smookip, or we gonna have some serious beef.”

“Alright you piece of cuss, I’ll tell you just don’t shoot me!” he jabbered maniacally.

“911, what is your emergency, yeah, I was just involved in a firefight with an Edward Smookip. I had to shoot him in his knees and hand out of self defense. I did not kill him but he does need emergency treatment, please send help. You can find me at…” Steven informed the dispatcher.
At 3:30 in the morning, there isn’t much going on even in a huge city, but it seemed that the block lit up like a rocket. There were squad cars and ambulances and firefighters and even an eyewitness news van.
As FatBoy was loaded up to go to the hospital, police were interrogating Steven and Stricker. Their stories matched and an hour later they were free to go.
“Hey, what were you doing here anyway Steven?” asked Stricker Skein.

“I had a song stump me and I took a drive to clear my heart”

“don’t you mean, head? Steve Jeal?” wondered Stricker aloud.

“Nah man, we both are songwriters, you know we don’t have to say what’s expected!”

“That’s right man, but instead we look for the odd in life.” Stricker said as they parted ways.

Soon after DP got back to the pad, the other musicians arrived and the meeting was set in motion. DP could no longer wait to approach his band in light of his current circumstances. He needed to speak his mind and let the chips fall where they may.
“Ok, guys, its time to get real aobut this band thing. I just lost my job and I’m not going to carry your weight and my weight and his weight and all this has been troubling me. So, there it is, I need your rent, I need you all to chip in on groceries and start acting like adults and not little children. You wanna chase tail, fine. You wanna get lost in drugs, fine. But, all this is after you load equipment and play your heart out on stage and after, especially after, you do what needs done here. This house is where we all live, not just me, but lately, I’ve been the only one doing the lions share of the work. That changes now, or we find different arrangements.” DP finally issued his frustration.

“So, what are you saying DP?” asked Rob, the ever present primadonna.

“Get your crap together, give me rent, do some dishes once in a while, clean up, do your laundry. I’m not your mother. I’m not going to treat you like a child. You wanna be treated like one, go find another band.”

“Really, after all I’ve done for you?” Implored the rock and the hard place.

“You’ve done for me? That’s rich. Considering that I’ve been the one writing songs, driving the van to and from gigs, cleaning, cooking and providing a roof over our heads. I’ve watched you sit back and sleep all day, chase women, show up on stage drunk, take off before even packing your gear up! So, what would you say is who has been helping who?” DP stressed emphatically.

“You really are a prick, you know that. I’m tired, I’m suffering, my girl and I split, my heart is broke and now you want to jab a knife in my back? Well, you know what, I’m done here man. Thought we were friends!” Rob replied with aplomb.

“Hey, just pull your weight.”

“Ive been pulling my weight! MAN!” Rob, retorted. “all you do is make us bust our asses for your gain. I been waiting for you to show your true colors. Just a turncoat, aren’t you!!!!” he screamed and stormed off.

“Wow.” DP just shook his head and looked at Joe and Chuckles. “What about you two? Can I count on you to change these things and help out, so we can make it or what? If not, just leave now and spare us all the time and misery.”

“Well, man, I’m here, I’m finally aware that maybe I’ve been acting like an infant and I’m sorry. I’ll get you some money by Monday. I got some things in the works, job wise and I’ll do dishes three times a week? That is, if you will have me still. I’m sorry man, I didn’t realize I had gotten into these bad habits.” Chuckles was first to reply.

“Yeah, man,” Von Strudelheimmer chimed, “I lost track of it all too. Lets make this right. I’ll go talk to the shop and get some work lined up. So sorry man. Yeah, it isn’t really fair you doing all this. I’m with Chuckles, I’ll do dishes 3 times a week and my own laundry from now on. I’ll clean once a week if everyone else chips in. Whatdya say man? We cool?”

“yes, we cool.” DP answered.

“What we gonna do about fancy pants, our resident evil? Get him back on board or look for a new drummer?”

“that is kind of up to him. I’m not recanting my words. I meant what I said. I’m not going to give in to his ego, not this time.” DP proffered. “I’d like him on board, but not with resentment. We got four gigs scheduled for next week and they are huge. I don’t want to start fresh with a new drummer, but I will if I have to.”

Three days later, Rob himself showed up and handed each member a letter. “Here, open this. Its my terms from now on, if we do this thing.”

Three sentences into the letter, each band member threw their letter back at Rob.
“Half!!!!!”
“You don’t even write the tunes, you just sit on your drum throne and play with your sticks!!!”
“I’m not ok with this, rob” DP said calmly. “There’s the door, your stuff is packed and by the door.”

“you sonofa——!” Rob shouted. “You were going to get rid of me anyway>>?”

“no, I was going to be prepared to get rid of you if you decided not to cooperate any longer.” Dp ventured. “looks like you chose different than I would have liked. The locks are already changed and your; stuff is there. If this is a problem, you just bought yourself some time to do some soul searching and come up with a better solution. I’m moving forward without you, sadly, dear friend.”

“that is major bull, chief! You set this all in motion, without even hearing me out. GRRRR!!! I ought to knock you out!” With that, he lunged toward DP and ws stopped in his tracks by Joe and Chuckles. Each one blocked him and stiff armed him.

“its over man, get your stuff and walk away. Keep it chill man.” The bassist suggested, evenly.

With that being done, Rob, looked one final time at his now former bandmates, spat towards DP and whisked out of the room. He grabbed his gear and smashed every wall with his fist on the way out.
Meanwhile, Dp, Joe and Chuckles sat back in silence and smoked a bowl. They call it a peace pipe for a reason. It was really meant for all four of them, but Rob had chosen.

“Put those wheels in motion on getting Dive, I mean Dave, over here to practice till Thursday. Our gig is at 7, he should have enough time to be ready.” DP announced.

“On it man” Chuckles, as he dialed.

Arielle snapped her fingers and summoned her man to her side. He had her Martin ready to go for her debut gig tonight at the Milling. She had been practicing her three songs for something close to a year now and felt ready. Her songs had evolved from a broken heart to heart breaking. Her voice was in the best shape of her life. She could hit the notes and hold them longer than most anyone she’d heard recorded. Her fingerstyle gave the arrangements a certain celtic eeriness to them. The powerful presence she had was ready to be unveiled to the world. Tonight, she thought, at this open mic, with her name on the bill, was her chance to shine!

So Logan grabbed her coat and the scuffed guitar case and headed out the door to the waiting cab. She had just to grab her phone and head out. Her phone was blinking with a new message. She checked it and snuck a glance out the window at the waiting cab, driver and Logan.
“I need you to know, I wanted to be there tonight but I cannot make it to your show, work called and we are short three people.” Said the person who had texted.

She felt heartbroken, like all of her effort was not enough to pull in those most important to her. For a slight second she considered cancelling and then thought better of it. No, I’m going to do this for me, not anyone else. Tossing the phone in her purse and locking her door, she headed downstairs and hopped in.

“Where to?” Cabbie asked.

“The Milling, I have my first ever performance scheduled!” Replied the cheery, nervous wreck of a girl who turned 19 two weeks prior.

The Milling was a college pub style bar and one of her and Logan’s favorites. Logan was of drinking age and usually wound up sneaking some beers to his girlfriend Ari. The two shared a love of music, a hamster and an apartment. The hamster was in custody only because they couldn’t agree on a dog or cat breed they wanted to room with. Their first date had happened at this very pub and it also held her breath from when he had proposed. She was feeling the butterflies, as Logan brought out a pitcher and slid a hug and a mug to her.

The dark mahogany tables, the irish feel, the soft pink zebra stripes and the bright red couches and booths were interesting to say the least. The scheme was modern something for sure, but the vibe was downright homey, to the regulars anyway. There was a walkway between the rows of booths and tables against the wall. The end of the run was a veer off for the servers or the restroomers. The other end, near the chess tiled bar was a small corner where performers could set up. Every Thursday was open mic night and one had to call ahead to arrange a time.

Logan had put her guitar over there by the musicians corner, in the sight of their booth. The bar owner was good about watching out for peoples things as well. There had been one incident that had happened to someones gear in the 19 years he had run it, but otherwise, a perfect record. That particular night was one of the wildest nights in the Millings history. 23,000 in bar ring ups, jam packed over capacity and the crowd got heated because of a few too many irish drinking tunes.

The first performer of the night was a local boy, hero, more like. He had played almost every Thursday for the last three years. He was great at warming up any crowd. He did wonderful renditions of several well known top 40’s hits with a very decidedly Irish feel to them. If you could imagine, Alanis Morrissettes you learn with a flute and a very heady, danceable irish jig backin it up. It was sweet. The crowd always made sure this local boy, strikingly handsome as he was, the drunkest Irishman by the end of the night. O’malley loved it! He was good at it as well.
He did manage to throw in a very unique originals he said he humbly pieced together at the last moment. Those songs sent chills through everyones spine. Many knew of his parents death two years prior at a restaurant. They were gunned down and were in the wrong place in the middle of a gangland hit. It wasn’t a good night for Mexican food if you didn’t have a glock. So, most people regarded him with eggshelled conversation and a wide berth to make sure. Furthermore, he never ventured into Mexican restaraunts without his own armament and a fiery wit.

The next performer up at the mic was ready to rock, judging by outfit alone. Camo pants, pink top, neon green bra and a blue do rag. Her hands sported a few tattoos and her one arm was sleeved in color ink. She had a noticeable scar on her face up near her eyebrow and continued to her ear. The scar showed up even under stage lighting. She seemed to relish that scar as it too seemed to stick out. Most would have been afraid to showcase that “flaw” but she did. Her neck had a tattoo that said LOVE and the other side, her left, said, PEACE.

She grabbed her Ibanez acoustic and tore into a dark, punk, brooding, thrash cover of “I put a spell on you.” Originally done by Creedence, she announced afterwards. After the applause simmered down, she did a really mellow cover of Nirvana’s, Floyd the Barber. She informed the crowd that she had just watched Sons of Anarchy and chuckled quietly to herself about their barber, named Floyd. That was what brought that song back up to mind. For her third tune, she dropped her low e to d and once tuned, jammed. She jammed ‘Mugsy’ by Hatchetflower. Her tune choices weren’t on the billboard top 100 but her audience at the Milling, was vibin. Her fans in the audience seemed to be many.

After five more tunes and a salute with everyones beers raised to Arielle, she graciously exited and packed her guitar. The boys formed a line to get her autograph and drool, while several women stood by trying to pick a man for her evening.

“Let’s welcome to the stage, Arielle, a local regular here.” Announced the host. “Lets give a huge Milling welcome to her, give it up!”

“I’m a bit nervous, you guys, I haven’t ever performed any songs to a live audience. Let’s hope I don’t hurt your ears.” Our rockerette said in an odd mix of nervousness and confidence.

Her first tune of the night was an original titled ‘Not lonely’.
“I’m not lonely when you’re around
I’m not scared of every sound
I have a voice that’s to be heard
I have a man who isn’t a jerk.

No, I’m not lonely
Not anymore
No, I’m not lonely
Maybe you’ve heard
When you find your one, you’ll know and happiness will be yours

I’ve seen hearts breaking
I’ve seen thieves taking
All of it is so frustrating
If alone you sit silent in waiting

No, I’m not lonely
Not anymore
Maybe you’ve heard
When you find your one, you’ll know and happiness can be yours

I’ve walked away from abuse
Sickness, poverty and new shoes
But I’m not lonely
Not with you in my home”

The crowd went wild. They dug her fingerstyle/hybrid punk delivery of her tune. Her voice was smokey club, bluesy and full of soul. The crowd loved it.

Her second song was a fast number titled Slam!
“I’m slammed down to the ground as you take me to new heights
I’ve wrapped myself around you as you fight the urge to fight
Your scent on my pillow and your name in my throat
I’ll be happy, I’ll be yours and ill be girl to woman grown

I’ll groan in your ears and kiss on your cheek
I’ll be held dear, and be what you need
Your only job is to love me and not leave
I wont take your heart out while it beats
But I will Slam it around if you cheat!

I’m coming up on the scene of intense pleasure
Like an EMS worker who finds a pulse something to treasure
Your breathing and mood have lifted me up through very dark times
I tell you my secrets as long as you keep them inside.

I’ll groan in your ears and kiss on your cheek
I’ll be held dear, and be what you need
Your only job is to love me and not leave
I wont take your heart out while it beats
But I will Slam it around if you cheat!”

The ladies in the bar went wild. The men, still trying to understand what she was talking about, applauded heartily.

Her third song of the evening was also a smash success. It was about a girl who fell in love with a boy, but had to break it off after learning that he was pushing her away from what she loved. Very cool, everyone stated to her, after her set.

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