It was just another manic Monday at the boiler room, phone calls being made and none coming back in, like all bill collectors know only too well...
"Hello, Mrs. Hernandez", the thirty-something guy with a cool soul-patch sternly directed, "you're about three months behind on your payments, and we wanted to-"
"Steve!" his equally shaggy partner, Kim, in the next cubicle waved him down. "Get off the phone. This is like way urgent!"
Steve hung up in the middle of a serious verbal beat-down by Silvia Hernandez, unemployed mother of five on the other end of the line. It was just as well; she would have hung up in his ear anyway.
"You know, bro, I was just thinking on the way in to work today...you know, Aqualung by Jethro Tull has some heavy statements to make. Valid as Hell!"
"For reals, Kim", Steve said, hoisting his stained coffee cup. "I’m steamed about Volkswagen using that Nick Drake song in their ads. Dang, dog, what a sell out!"
“That made me throw up in my nose!”
“Well, that made me throw up in my pants!”
"Word", burped Kim. "Church!"
"Ghetto slang, bro. The real pimp's Englizzy".
"Wow, you're really down with that. For a second I didn't know what you were saying!"
"GET BACK TO WORK, YOU ASSHOLES!" Their boss thundered at them as he stormed by.
Kim picked up the phone, and a minute later, said, "Shit, got an answering machine!" Speaking slowly, as if to a deaf person from China, said, "Good afternoon, Mrs. Eleanora Purvis, this is Mr. Obama asking you to vote for me this coming November, and more importantly, please call me back at (888) 669-385. It's about your outstanding balance with Sears Roebuck".
Friday night at the Anti-Club the joint was buzzin' because it was SHOWTIME: Steve's band Bag Of Ice and Kim's awesome sonic combo The Awful Truth were doing a gig together. Shit, they were both so jazzed!
"Dude, we are so pulling in a crowd!" Kim gloated. "Damien mentioned our show on KXLU. We're getting the mad spillover from the people going to the Nick Cave show at The Wiltern, the Jane's Addiction secret gig at El Cholo and Fall Out Boy at Staples Center. Stardom is nigh, my friend!" he hoisted his lemon slice topped-bottle of Dos Equis beer for victory.
"Not to mention the $2 off with flyer discount", Steve added. "Good thing I parked early, it's a gonna be a madhouse!"
The opening band took to the stage with the packed club resounding in cheers. Why, it's none other than that all-girl group "Kitten Klaws". They've only been together for two months, but who cares when all you’re wearing is a slip and clear heels?
"Look!" Steve pointed at a portly hipster with early male pattern baldness racing by. "There's Imax, the editor of 7 Inch Rock Magazine".
"Dude, how's it going?" Imax shoved Steve out of the way to get to the front of the stage. A crowd of nothing but guys stood dutifully to the front of the stage. Some even shoved girls away from the front, and many were brandishing cameras their parents bought them for Christmas.
Kitten Klaws tear into their opening number, "I'm Mad At My Boyfriend". The song countdown is in Japanese! The guys look thrilled!!!, but the girls in the club looked pissed and gave Kitten Klaws stink eye.
"Well, you got a tiny dinky and you never seem to satisfy. You couldn't raise a bridge even if you tried", the lead singer whined.
"We are so pawned", Steve gushed. "Game over."
Kim moped big time. "Yeah, they're pulling out their "A" material. We're fucked, son."
Kitten Klaws forgot their way around the song two minutes later and all the guys in front of the stage blushed and giggled. AAAwwwww. Ten minutes later (Yeah, 10!) they finished their set and the whole audience left to hit the bars and party. There were only ten people remaining in the club.
To fortify himself before his set Kim ordered some French Fries and dug into them. Imax walked by the table and Kim lit up.
"Dude! Hey!" Kim yelled, "hey, want a fry? It's totally like vegan, y'know? Fried in canola oil, man".
Imax sat down by Kim and tore into the French Fries, moaning like a dying moose in orgasm as he plowed through the fries. "MMMMMMOOOOOAAAAWWWWWMMMMMTTTH". he moaned as he chowed.
Kim nervously made his move. "Bro, I was thinking...can you do a big one for me? Will you kick down a righteous write-up about us in your zine?"
"I'll give it a ponder, man", Imax responded without looking up from the fries. "Got any ketchup?"
Bag of Ice began their set with Steve looking dignified and majestic with his acoustic guitar and perfected Tim Buckley in a house dress act. Somehow the impact of his stage act was lost to everyone because there was only ten people in the club. Plus after three songs the sound man interrupted his song over the PA, "That's your last song, man. Kitten Klaws went into your overtime. Sorry, my brother!"
Steve was so dejected he slunk off the stage still in his mother's house dress. Kim put his arm around him. "It's okay dude, check it out, Shawna the bass player from Kitten Klaws stayed for half of your first song."
Steve's face lit up. "Score! She digs my sounds. I knew it!!!"
With no more French Fries to eat, Imax walked by them ripping out a burp so loud they smelled it from across the club.
Kim's band The Awful Truth played to no one except Steve and his bass player, who was waiting for his ride. It was 1:30 A.M. and bouncers were making themselves busy turning chairs up on tables and dragging rubber garbage cans around the club while Kim played.
"What about the starving kids in Deeeeeehhhh-troit, that's what I want to say?" he sang to the percussion of beer bottles smashing into rubber garbage cans thrown by the sullen bouncers.
One month later, back at the boiler room, Steve snuck a look around the office to make sure his boss wouldn't catch him.
"Read it and weep, my man!" he boasted to his work-mate, room-mate and gig-mate, "I hold in my hands the newest, chillest ish of 7 Inch Record zine. Just dropped today, dog!"
Kim whispered, "Did Imax cover our gig like he promised?"
"Did he? Check this out, son", he thumbed through page after page until he got close to the back cover, "Right here, on Page 97, Concert Reviews, Kitten Klaws were awesome and foxy. Bag Of Ice played clean-up at their gig. Good job, guys!' Dang!"
"They didn't even mention my band. And I even sacrificed my fries. Shit! You get all the luck."
"Dude, I promise I'll do you a biggie! I'll even mention you to Shawna, promizzle."
"GET BACK ON THE PHONES, YOU ASSHOLES!" Their boss barked as he thundered by their desks. It gave Steve such a start he dropped his zine and it fell in the trash can.
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