Terrible Concert

You’ve just been to the worst rock concert of your life. You’re at a bar with friends, drowning your disgust, when the lead singer of the band shows up and offers to buy you a drink. You agree to under one condition—and that deal leads to one memorable night.

Post your response (500 words or fewer) in the comments below.

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234 thoughts on “Terrible Concert

  1. Miss Jeeter

    I was about to down that foamy beer on the bar before me when a hard slap on the back knocked me right into it. It was bad enough I had just witnesed the worst nightmare of a concert in history and now some nut wanted to pick a fight. So, go for it, I was ready.

    “Hey dude, remember me? Joey from Biology 123? I’m lead singer for the Biojets. Let buy you a drink to celebrate my concert and running into you again after all these years.”

    “How could I every forget you, Joey from Bio 123…You know what? You can buy me a drink – on one condition.” Memories. Bio 123 was my worst class, partially because of Joey. The class clown, goof-off and teacher’s pet all rolled into one glorious hunk of garbage that the girls all went ga-ta over. That was thirty years ago.

    “Sure pal. Whatever you want, it is yours.” He gave me his famous curtsy, which usually meant ‘you are fixing to go down bro.’

    “I want my own private concert – right here – right now – on the bar.”

    “No problem, but not without my costume.” Joey was trying to back out on the deal. “Why don’t we just talk over old times over our beers?”

    “Come on, Joey. Like you said, No Problem.” I smiled and tapped Joey on the shoulder. “You always have your costume. Strip off to that G-string; you still wear it no doubt. Hop up on that bar and sock it to us.” Joey’s color quickly changed to a ghastly ash color.

    He leaned near my ear, “Pal, I can’t do that, I’m not in the shape I used to be.”

    “You will do fine.” I reached over and pulled his tunic zipper to his waist, patted his firm tummy, cinched in by the latest in men’s corsetry. “It is going to be your best performance to date.” This would definitely be a night I would remember. “It is always good to come back to your hometown for charity concerts. Just wait until those tips start coming in. Most of the class is here, or soon will be when the word gets out. Biojets, I should have known.” I patted the bar, “Come on, Joey, your fans are waiting.”

  2. laurentravian

    “Horrible. Just horrible.” grumbled Senator Maximus Aquarius.
    “Why did we even listen to Pontius Pilate?” agreed his best friend, Libertius Titus.
    They reclined, drinking their wine in harmony and grumbling about the show.
    “Using Nazarenes!”
    “Why, Pontius only had so many lines! The idea! It made Romans look so cruel!”
    “I must admit, that Nazarene fellow… the one who was betrayed?”
    “Jesus?”
    “Yes, that one. The one with all the lines. He was good. For a Nazarene. I wonder how long they’ll be in Rome?”
    Libertius laughed. “Long enough to pick up Pontius Pilate!”
    Maximus laughed with him, and they raised their goblets into the air. Suddenly, Pontius came flying in. “I made your team!” he started weeping hysterically. Maximus and Libertius looked at each other. Libertius asked, “Pontius, what happened?” “I got fired. I just wanted to be an actor!” he started weeping again. Maximus and Libertius picked him up and put him on a recliner. Maximus cleared his throat. “Poor Pontius. But everyone did warn you. You just aren’t meant to become an actor. But we can try to reinstate you as governor of-” “Don’t you get it? It was all real. I condemned him! Waaaaaah!” Libertius rolled his eyes. “Pontius. You showed poor judgement, surely. You released a murderer for a favorite. It happens. What you did wrong was try to relive it. And it just kept happening again and again, because you still wanted to be an actor.” Pontius sniffled. “I guess you’re right… can I buy you more wine?” Maximus and Libertius looked at each other. “Yes, but first you must promise us you’ll marry Libertius’ sister. She is a good young matron, pretty, but with a good head on her shoulders. She had been in love with you for a while, (though we can’t imagine why) and would keep you in line. You will also return to Israel as governor. Understood?” said Maximus. Pontius nodded and sniffled. They drank a toast to Bacchus, and Olivia Titia. After all, have the young men in Rome were after her. And let’s face it, Pontius needed the help of a god.

  3. hobbyist

    Disgusting. A waste of money. Waited thirty years to see them and they serve up that tripe. Words buzz in my ears like swarming wasps — the bar is alive with the rants of angry concert goers.
    And I don’t blame them. I’m half drunk and my head throbs from the too-loud, off-key concert. It was embarrassing to have raved to my friends for so long about this band, only to come out and see them fail so miserably. I feel I have to make the night better, but it’s spiraling out of my reach. Like my life, I think miserably.
    “Next time let me pick the concert, Jess, that wasn’t one of our better nights out, mate,” Sonya yells into my ear. I hate being here — the noise, the stink of people’s armpits. To insult my taste in music doesn’t exactly top it off.
    “Man, they used to be good!” I lament to my friend. “And you know it. The band is great. It’s just the singer that needs to lift his game. If I could just have a few months to work with him I reckon I could turn their fortunes around again.”
    “How many wines have you had, Jess? Besides, you’re a classical singer.”
    “The principles of producing a powerful sound are the same. He just needs someone to show him what he’s doing wrong. He used to get by, but now he’s getting older, his voice can’t keep up with him anymore.”
    Without warning I’m nearly knocked off my feet as someone falls on me in drunken exuberance. And now I’m covered in red wine.
    “I’m sorry darlin’. Lemme buy you another one.” The lead singer of the band raises his hand to summon a barman.
    The lead singer of THE ROLLING PEBBLES just barged into me!
    Though it took a while to register, my heart skips a beat, and for one stupid moment I melt into a puddle on the floor. It’s Rick Stagger!
    The din hushes as bar-goers realize who has stumbled in. Most eyes are on Rick, but they aren’t exactly starstruck.
    Sonya shakes her head at me. “It’s time to go home.”
    But I can’t let go of the fact that this once-famous singer is buying me a drink. I’m going to stay on. Besides, there’s a voice in the background of my thoughts shouting this is not an opportunity to be wasted! How good it would look on my resume — Jess Jones, vocal coach to Rick Stagger. Responsible for the comeback of The Rolling Pebbles! Vocal coach to the rich and famous!
    I see a brilliant career path opening up before me.
    I lean over to him. “I’ll let you buy me a drink,” I purr — actually I have to scream to be heard and I think some spit came out, but I would have purred, given the chance — “on one condition. Buy it somewhere other than here, where we can talk. I have a proposition for you …”

  4. Jean_R

    “Oh my God, that was the worst concert I’ve ever been to!” I exclaimed to Sarah as we sat down on two empty barstools. “I need a beer.”

    “Oh, it wasn’t that bad, Julie.” Sarah signaled to the bartender. “Besides you look really cute in that new outfit you got.”

    “A whole lota good it did me. Not a cute guy in sight. I think the rest of the audience was overflow from a Justin Bieber concert. I don’t want to ever be around that many teen girls again in my life.” I took a sip of my beer. “Good idea to stop here for a drink while the crowd clears, though.”

    “Well, I thought the lead singer was hot. And what a voice… He could sing to me anytime,” Sarah said wistfully.

    “How could you even tell? Their costumes and makeup looked like leftovers from that Broadway show Cats. You probably wouldn’t even know him if he sat down next to you right now.”

    “Oh, I’d know. Oh, look! They have Karaoke!” Sarah jumped up and headed toward the small stage.

    “As if this night couldn’t get any worse,” I said to no one in particular.

    “Is she that bad of a singer?” I turned to the man who took the seat next to me. Or I should say, the drop dead gorgeous man who sat next to me.

    “She’s a dear friend but she can’t carry a tune in a bucket,” I said. “You’ll see what I mean soon enough.”

    Sarah started to belt out one of the top tunes from the band we just saw. I cringed. “Were you two at the concert? I’m Mike, by the way.” Mike caught the bartender’s eye and ordered us refills.

    “Thanks for the beer. I’m Julie and the songstress is Sarah. Yeah, we were at the concert. It was terrible. I’m not even sure the lead singer wasn’t lip-syncing the whole time.” Sarah wailed from the stage barely on key.

    “Sounds like she could use a little help up there.” I couldn’t help but admire Mike as he walked over to the stage. Hot and a gentleman. Don’t see that too often.

    Mike picked up the second microphone and started singing with Sarah. Immediately Sarah stopped singing and stood there with her mouth hanging open. Mike was obviously a professional. In fact, he sounded exactly like the band should have sounded at the concert earlier. We all applauded and called out for an encore as Sarah joined me at the bar.

    “Was he talking to you? Wow, he’s cute,” Sarah whispered breathlessly. “Did you get his number?”

    “He said his name was Mike. That’s all I know.” Mike sang two more songs before stepping down from the stage.

    “Hope that makes up for the concert, ladies.” Mike smiled at us as he put a $100 on the bar for the tab. “Sorry but I’ve gotta run.” Through the open door Sarah and I saw a luxury tour bus parked out front and Mike get onboard.

    “Wait, was that…?”

    “Nah, couldn’t have been, could it?” We both started laughing.

  5. blossomingsilence

    “Well. I guess you could buy me a drink…on the condition that it gets rid of the nasty flavour your show just left in my mouth,” I responded. Patrick Jenzy stopped, his mouth gaping open. “Um…” he stuttered. I was serious.
    “Why didn’t you like our show?” he asked, shaking his head as if he’d never heard this before. He seemed to want the truth, so I gave it to him. I told him there was no life in their act, and they were like zombies waiting to get off the stage. “Your deadpan expressions were painful for the audience, many of whom paid big bucks for this,” I added, getting more heated. “I could sing better than that!” I’d listened to the Junior Boys for years, and coming onstage an hour late showed how much respect they had for fans. He nodded as I spoke, saying he liked the constructive criticism. Jenzy wasn’t bad-looking offstage. Taller than expected, with deep smile wrinkles. He wore a gritty cologne of sweat and guitar strings. That is, hot. But god, I’m turned off, I reminded myself. “There’s a reason we were like that,” he confided. “This is our last show. I told them just before we went onstage.” It was my turn to recoil. He looked away, vigorously stirring his rye and coke. “What?” I squeaked. What would I do without my favourite band producing albums?
    “So, you sing eh?” he asked, changing the subject. He was flirting with me. Meanwhile I was swallowing the shock of this new musical void. “Um…yeah,” I said. “I mean, I sing on my own and make beats. Kinda a bedroom producer.”
    He smiled, a mischievous look playing on his face. “Look, you wanna get out of here? I want you to hear something,” he asked. Patrick Jenzy wanted ME to hear something? I turned to my friends, who were standing at the side gawking at us. How long had they been watching? I looked around and saw they weren’t the only ones. “Sure,” I said, eager to escape the limelight. “Let’s go.”
    We walked outside, talking easily. “I’m taking you to my hotel room,” he said. I stopped. “Look, you’re cool but I’m not one of your groupies,” I said. “No, no. I won’t try anything,” he laughed. If he did, I was trained in self-defense. My mother always warned me about rock stars. His hotel room was set up as a mini-studio. I grazed my fingers along the buttons and knobs around me. I was out of my league. My knowledge of music production was on a computer with some basic guitar, stitching digital loops and strumming major chords. “Here, take this,” he said, handing me a mic. I heard the speakers start pounding with bass as he picked up his guitar. “I need female vox for some tracks. Let’s see what you’ve got,” he said. That’s when I realized I probably wouldn’t be sleeping that night.

  6. panneler-san

    A Question of Coincidence

    No matter what anyone else told me, I was definitely getting drunk.

    “It wasn’t that bad,” said Winney. “Why are you so…emotional over all this?”

    I laughed, pouring myself another glass of the dark amber liquid. “Not bad?” I said hollowly. “First, that guy on the train stole my ticket. Then, we had to call my mother to buy me another one, so we got there late. Didn’t you see that guy that was standing in front of us, Win? Not only was he taller than the Burj Khalifa, he was extraordinarily bad at remembering to not step on my toes!”

    She bit her lip, eying the alcohol in my hands warily. “The singing-”

    “-was terrible,” I cut her off. “Either something was wrong with the lead’s mic, or he has a very sever throat condition that needs to be checked out by a doctor. God, Leo sounds like an angel on the radio! How can he sound like something dying when live?”

    “Okay, it was bad,” Winney admitted. “But please, please, don’t drink! You can’t handle hard liquor and this brand…I haven’t even heard of it!”

    I opened my mouth to yell something at her, I wasn’t sure what, but the sound of something heavy plopping down on my right distracted me. I heard his voice before I even turned. “You were at that concert too, huh?”

    One look told me it was Leo, the star singer himself. Maybe I was drinking too much. I blinked, but it was definitely Leo.

    He grinned. “Sorry about that. Can I buy you a drink to make up for it?”

    I faintly heard Winney muttering something behind me, but it was too hard to pay attention when…What had he said? “Buy me a what?” I asked incredulously.

    Leo smiled. “A drink. As an apology for the concert. I could hear you from across the bar, and you didn’t sound too pleased with it. What’s your name?”

    Did I want to believe what I was hearing? Dumbfounded, I said, “Julia.”

    “Julia. Nice name. Did you want my apology?”

    I was either crazy or insane. “On one condition,” I said. “You have to quit the business.”

    Yup, I was crazy. His eyes widened for a moment before he let out a laugh. “What makes you think I’ll do that?”

    I shrugged. “Your live singing wasn’t up to par, and the order for your concert was a mess. I haven’t heard such an awful voice in a long time. If you can’t sing, then you shouldn’t.”

    Was he really grinning at me? I blinked, and he was. “You said there was a Burj Khalifa standing in front of you?” he asked, and I nodded. “Didn’t see much of the stage, did you?” I shook my head. “Got there late, too, since your ticket was stolen.” Another nod. “Then I suppose you didn’t notice that I sang the first three songs and our bassist took over after that?”

    I stared. Winney gasped. Leo grinned. I thought back. Had I heard him singing? Had I seen him? Had the disastrous voice sounded like the Leo I had heard on the radio at all? No, no, and no. I groaned and put my head down on the counter next to my drink. “Oh, no…”

    I heard his laugh. “I’ll forgive you,” he said. “Because you’re cute.”

    My head shot up to look at him. He only smiled.

    “Now, how about that drink?”

  7. JR MacBeth

    Oh my goodness, that young lady (Candy? Yum…), surely she wasn’t about to raise hell with a former priest, right there in front of God and everybody?! Well I “confess”, I just might like to see some of that myself. So, feel free to write me in, front-and-center (so-to-speak), into your sequel. I tend to think things are getting a bit too hot for Tim to handle anyway, maybe it’s time for him to move aside…

    1. fbxwriter

      Ha! I’ll keep that in mind. Perhaps Candy needs a tough exorcist to administer some discipline. I hadn’t thought about where this story might go, but it does have some, ah, interesting possibilities.

  8. fbxwriter

    A DEVILISH DUET

    497 words

    Sitting in the bar booth, laughing with his friends, Tim felt a knot growing in his stomach. His friends were offering their snide assessments of the rock concert they had just attended, and Tim was joining in. He tried to shut up, but the beer kept him going. As he laughed with his friends he grew more disgusted with himself.

    No wonder I failed as a priest, he thought.

    “There’s Candy, the lead singer!” yelled Tina, pointing.

    Standing in the doorway, the stunningly attractive singer showed her ID to the bouncer. Tim was struck by how small she looked off the stage.

    “Nice pipes, Candy,” Frank yelled. “I hope your mouth is good for something else!”

    “Stop it!” Tina yelled, slugging Frank but giggling

    The rest of the gang looked down at the table, but they were all laughing. Candy flipped them the bird and turned toward the bar. Just before she turned, Tim saw the hurt on her face and felt his gut twist.

    Tim stood, leaving his bewildered friends.

    “I apologize for our behavior,” he said to Candy.

    “Screw you!”

    Tim started to leave but stopped. What would Jesus do? he thought and turned back.

    “I’ll go,” he said, “but please believe that God gave you a beautiful voice.”

    Candy narrowed her eyes.

    “You’re a lousy liar, but I appreciate the thought. Sit down. I’ll buy you a beer.”

    Tim hesitated.

    “Drink with me and maybe you’ll get lucky,” Candy said, sucking on a finger.

    Tim’s mouth dropped open and his face grew red. Candy smiled. Then Tim heard the DJ announce the start of the karaoke contest and he knew what Jesus would do.

    “I’ll drink with you if you sing with me,” Tim said.

    Candy’s mouth dropped open.

    “We’ll win because you’re a great singer,” said Tim.

    Candy narrowed her eyes, but Tim held her gaze. Finally, she nodded.

    The pair took the stage to jeers. Tim nervously punched the button for the first song he recognized. Candy stared at him wide-eyed, missing the first lines of “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers.” Tim started from the Neil Diamond part. A smile spread across Candy’s face as she sang the next Barbra Streisand lines, “I remember when…”

    They ended the song gazing at each other. Tim flushed and stepped back. Then he noticed the quiet. The audience sat silently, looking at them.

    Candy glanced at Tim with raised eyebrows.

    “How about a standing ovation?” she said to the crowd.

    The audience stood, clapping. Tim’s jaw dropped open. He was spooked.

    “Stop!” he yelled. The clapping stopped.

    “Sit down,” Candy said. The audience sat.

    Tim felt a surge of power. Their singing had done this. He was as sure as his faith was strong. God had given them this gift for some reason, perhaps to perform wonderful miracles. He turned to Candy smiling broadly. She returned his smile but with narrowed eyes.

    “Let’s raise some hell!” she whispered.

    Tim felt his jaw drop yet again.

  9. Karababy50

    Beautiful Disaster

    “It didn’t even sound like him.”

    “Oh come on, he wasn’t that bad. Everybody has an off day.“

    “Sure, but this was beyond just a bad day. Dude, he forgot lyrics to songs HE wrote!”

    “Lots of singers change up words in concert.”

    “Really? Wow, didn’t know that. Gee, thanks for the newsflash,” I spit out.

    “Whatever. At least the band still rocked.”

    “Big deal, I don’t give a shit about them. I couldn’t even see his pretty blue eyes thanks to those damn sunglasses he wore.”

    “Hey, look who just walked in, sans sunglasses.”

    Twisting around, I saw my Rock God with a small entourage. He smiled as he walked and spoke to a few people before disappearing into a private area guarded by two goons.

    I stood up, pushed my chair under the table but paused, still holding the backrest.

    “You’ll never get past those guys.”

    “Watch me.”

    Taking a deep breath, I marched over and stopped in front of the smaller tough standing with crossed arms.

    “Sorry, VIP only.”

    “Please?” I wheedled. “Damn it, I saved for months, ate ramen noodles until they were coming out my ying yang, drove 2000 miles, waited in line for hours and… shit, I sound like an entitled bitch don’t I? Well… fuck it, no trespassing? My ass, let me in,” I shouted.

    He rolled his eyes and looked over his beefy shoulder.

    “Let her by,” I heard Adam say with a laugh.

    The tough unlatched the rope blocking admittance. I thanked him, threw a triumphant look back at my drop-jawed friends and boldly strode right up to my idol’s table.

    “Hi Adam.” I grinned and stupidly waved in stunned disbelief I was actually standing before THE man.

    “It’s always a pleasure to meet a true fan. Can I buy you a drink?” He asked, those famous blue eyes twinkling with amusement.

    “Uh, ok, maybe, but under one condition.”

    He didn’t say a word, only raised his eyebrows in question so I plowed ahead.

    “I want an apology for your terrible performance tonight.”

    Complete silence. You could’ve heard a baby fart ten miles away.

    “Honey I can’t , I didn’t perform tonight.”

    What? That threw me for a loop. In addition to Adam’s voice, fans loved him for his honesty. Why was he lying?

    “Can you keep a secret for me?”

    I frowned in puzzled disappointment but nodded in agreement.

    “You heard a young Make A Wish client disguised as me. I do apologize for not telling fans beforehand. But if they knew it wasn’t really me, he wouldn’t have felt like a real Rock Star. He was so happy afterward. It was very humbling.”

    “I … you’re incredible. I love you! Can I give you a hug?” I choked out around the lump in my throat.

    “Aw, I love you too. Of course you can. Then why don’t you go get your friends and we’ll have that drink. Remember though, shhhh.”

    He winked at me and opened his arms.

  10. pstivers

    Seriously? Is that the best they’ve got?
    Danny could not believe the performance his (former) band just put out. He nursed his pitcher of Bud Light while trying to figure out where it all went wrong.
    In the background he could hear his sentiments shared.
    “What the hell was that all about?”
    “Did they even play their Top 20 hit that got them this gig?”
    “Yeah, they played it. But by the time I figured out what it was they were on the last verse!”
    All the negative comments were really drilling through Danny’s head. Reaching the height of his frustration he threw his pitcher into the mirror across the bar. Shattering, it halted all conversation in the room.
    Feeling the release of all anger he tiredly swiveled his barstool around to leave. Instead, he found Jim Townes, the lead singer, standing behind him.
    “Hey Danny. I apologize for that performance. You know as well as anyone that up on stage sounds a lot different than down on the floor. I don’t know what happened man.”
    Danny felt bad about the pitcher. Jim was a friend after all. At least, they had been friends when Danny was with the band.
    “I always respected you Danny; still do. When I came in all I could hear was the negativity. I need some constructive criticism. So how about I get you another one and we talk about it.”
    Danny looked Jim in the eye and could see he wasn’t bullshitting.
    “On the condition that you fire that piece of crap choreographer; and the sound tech too. I told you they didn’t know their shit!”
    Jim was silent for a moment, considering. “Anyone that’ll waste a pitcher of beer to make a statement might have something worthwhile to say. That’s what I think, at least.” Giving it a final thought, he signaled the bartender for a couple of pitchers, looked and Danny and said, “Done. Now, what do you suggest we do?”
    Relaxing a bit, Danny outlined a plan that involved an up-and-coming choreographer with some notable assistant work on local plays, and a sound tech that worked for a rival band but recently left due to personality conflicts.
    Jim listened intently as Danny’s plan seemed to unfold itself. Neither of them noticed the buzz building among the rest of the people in the bar witnessing the veritable phoenix rising from the ashes of failure.
    As the sun began to rise on the “mother of all-nighters” of rebuilding a true Rock band, the last addition to the verbal contract came from Jim.
    “And will you come back as lead drummer, Danny?”
    Humble, and a little sad, Danny had to turn that offer down. “Sorry Jim, but I’m no Rick Allen. When I lost my arm I lost my talent. Please let that dog lie man. I’ll settle for being a one-armed roadie though.”
    Cracking his trademark snaggletooth grin, Jim merely said “Deal”, and they sealed it with a left-handed shake to the hoots and jeers of the drunkards in the bar.

  11. Chrissy

    “Hey. I’m Nathan, lead singer of…” “I know who you are Mr. Hayes,” I said trying to not sound nervous. I looked at my friends, whose faces had a mixed look of shock and intrigue. We had all seen him making his way through the bar with that typical air of self-importance displayed by many wanna-be rock stars. I wanted to tell him how much his show stunk, but I kept my mouth shut. I was honestly interested in why he was standing here talking to me.

    “I’m Sarah,” I said, humbly extending my hand. He took it giving a quick shake. “Can I buy you another beer?” he asked hopefully. His earlier arrogance dissipated. Normally I would have made a sarcastic comment in a nervous frenzy or excused myself to the bathroom, my low self-esteem controlling my actions. Unnerving thoughts began to rapidly run through my mind like why would this man be interested in someone like me: a plain Jane with mousy brown hair, and an imperfect body who was so unsure of herself and her life.

    I looked up into his eyes, ready to give a clever excuse to get out of this, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. There was something about him, something in his face. The lines and creases were telling me a story, drawing me in. His cobalt blue eyes were pleading, familiar. I believed I knew this man and that if I said no to this most simple of questions that was commonly directed at women a thousand times a day, I would be denying both of us something we needed, something that would make us whole. I didn’t understand why I thought I knew this man who I had only met tonight at his awful rock concert. So I contemplated for a moment, pushing my hair behind my ears like I always did when I was nervous, scared, or deep in thought. This time I was all three.

    I gave him a sidelong glance as he looked at me with quiet anticipation, running his fingers through his dark brown hair. Suddenly, he took my hand in both of his. This time I noticed the semblance of them, the rough texture that for years had been used for hard labor and saw myriad tragedies with little peaceful moments. For some reason it made him seem real and made me feel safe and impervious to my own damning thoughts and the tribulations of the world.

    My heart began to race uncontrollably. Years of forgotten memories of this man and I filled my mind in an instant, crashing into me like a thunderous wave on a stormy beach, but incomplete and broken like a million shells on the sand. I steadied myself. “Mr Hayes. You can buy me a drink on one condition.” I leaned into him, and whispered into his ear so my friends would not hear. “Tell me if you remember me, baby, and if you know how we escaped.”

  12. raelababe

    Tadpole Square:

    Floating to the nearest barstool, Kylie unleashes, “It is unspeakable what that singer did to those songs!”

    “Murder in the first degree,” sister, Marcie agrees. “He should be executed for how badly he slaughtered the music.” The blackness of their eyes grows colder. Sounds of running water from one of the many aquariums seem more irritating than soothing.

    Fixed upon the horrendous concert, Marcie’ black eyes turn blood red as she wildly twists her pitch-black tresses. She studies the wide variety of tadpoles jammed in a near-by aquarium—some with Mohawks, others with mullets, while some adorn shaggy hair-do’s and beehives. Pointing to the aquarium closest to the purple door, Marcie muses, “I think it’s time to add a spiked, red-haired fraud to this one.”

    “Now, Marcie, I know the band was horrific—even homicidal, but we cannot reveal ourselves—YET. Control your powers until we can deal with the leader of that rock concert.”

    “You mean ‘MOCK CONCERT.'”

    The sisters laugh—almost cackle, which is a sign for a warlock waiter to bring them a thick, black drink. Sipping the potion as their ruby red lips form a perfect pucker around the straws, they entice the victim into their snare with their haunting eyes. Powerless, he swaggers to the empty stool next to Marcie.

    They ogle the unknowing, unfortunate fool sitting next to them. Not knowing what to say, Darren blurts, “How YOU doin’?”

    Crisp stares are the answer.

    Clueless, Darren tries again, “How ’bout if I buy you hot chicks a drink?”

    Marcie’s fingernails dig into the bar’s steel counter—Kylie bites her crimson lips. Marcie speaks, “I’ll let you buy me a drink on one condition.”

    “Anything for a hot babe like you.”

    Rising from her barstool, the temptress lures, “Follow me into the room behind this purple door.” The words dance around his head as he trance-like follows her. They enter a massive room filled with aquariums—all containing unique tadpoles.

    The only thing the dumbstruck target can mutter is, “D’oh.”

    Marveling at the sight, he turns a 360 as he views each aquarium. Marcie’s soft hand caresses his left cheek while she whispers, “Do you know the purpose of this club?”

    “No?” “What?”

    “This is the place where we have the power to either “make” or “break” a musician.”

    Thinking he is a musician that will “make it,” Darren inquires, “What do you do to help a musician “make it?”

    “We have our ways.” Marcie responds mysteriously.

    “How do you handle the ones who don’t?”

    Placing her other hand upon his cheek, she covertly whispers, “We do THIS.” Furtively slipping her hands to grab his spiked red hair, she pulls it. In an instant, a newborn, spiked, red-haired tadpole swims in an aquarium.

    Marcie leaves the foom, sans Darren, and sits back on her barstool.

    “Well?” Kylie inquires.

    “He didn’t lose one red hair—easiest one yet.”

    The two witches cackle, causing an eeire echo in the witches’ club named “Tadpole Square.”

  13. SJ_Mitchell

    Some friends and I were sitting at the bar discussing how awful the concert we had just seen was. We got free tickets from an intern working in my office. Since my friends have harassed me to get out more since my divorce was finalized, I figured there was no harm in going. I never listened to Death Metal before, but I figured since I wasn’t getting any younger, why not right? Maybe I could find therapy in the abrasive lyrics and ear shattering guitar riffs. My life had been hell as I fought through an ugly divorce which saw my children taken away from me by my cheating wife.
    We were between rounds of insults and drinks when a young girl entered the bar. She had dark purple hair to match her nails, lips and eyes. Fishnet stockings and black, high-heeled boots complimented her look. People in the bar started going nuts. It was all the bouncers could do to keep them away. I turned back around in my stool and stared at the shots that were placed in front of me, compliments of my friend Keith. I had no interest in the lead singer of a Death Metal band I didn’t like who is probably young enough to be my daughter.
    If I was a dad at eighteen anyways.
    I tipped back one of my shots, without asking Keith what he ordered, and enjoyed the heat as it slid down my throat and into my belly. Whatever it was, I liked it.
    “Hey pops.”
    Turning in my seat I looked at her, “I saw your show tonight.” Why did I say that? She could barely carry a tune; I doubt she could carry a conversation. A simple ‘hi’ or ‘go away’ would’ve sufficed.
    She smirked and said, “I know. First row right? I saw you.” She leaned against the bar and ran a finger along the edge of the empty shot glass, “What did ya think?”
    “It wasn’t my style, sorry.” I tried to be courteous, this girl probably doesn’t want to be cut down by an older guy who never heard of her before yesterday.
    “Really?” She said putting her finger between her lips to taste the alcohol, “What’s your style?”
    “Classic rock.” I replied. “You know, like AC/DC and KISS?”
    “Joan Jett?”
    Really? Joan Jett could be her grandmother, how did she know about her? “Yes, she’s good too.” I replied.
    “She’s my idol,” she said to my surprise, “I love her.”
    Now, my curiosity piqued, “So, why the death metal?”
    “It’s what the kids are into right now. You think I’m going to sell records trying to summon ghosts from rock’n’roll’s past?”
    “Maybe not, but are you happy doing what everyone else expects of you? Or would you rather do something you love?” God, now I sounded like a parent. Just because she could be my daughter, doesn’t give me the right to talk to her like one.
    “I know something I love, that I’d rather be doing.” She whispered into my ear.
    A chill went down my spine. She wasn’t talking about…was she? With me? I’m fourty years old and she’s just a kid. I couldn’t. “Listen,” I said standing up hoping to put some distance between us, “I’m a forty year old divorcee with three children. I’ve got more baggage than the back of your tour bus.” That should turn her away.
    Instead she smiled and said, “Let’s head to the back of my bus and find out.” She grabbed my collar and kissed me. I tried to push her off, but I couldn’t. Everything about this was wrong but morality didn’t give me the strength I needed to fight her off. I let her take me back to the bus. What happened next was the most mind-blowing experience I’ve had in a long time with a girl.
    We connected.
    We talked, listened to classic rock and laughed. For a girl her age, she has quite a bit of baggage too. I felt sad for her. Her father died, her mother has a drug addiction and her uncle raped her when she was sixteen. My life didn’t seem so bad after all. This poor girl had gone through so much and was twenty years younger than me.
    We talked late into the night. By morning, she was asleep in my arms. I didn’t want to let go and I couldn’t if I tried. She needed someone to save her, but how could that person possibly be me when I needed some saving as well? I tried to get up but she squirmed and nuzzled into my chest, letting out a slight whimper. I felt warm. Happy. She was damaged and so was I, but there was something new and exciting about what was happening that I couldn’t fight it.
    Maybe…just maybe, we could save each other.

      1. radioPanic

        Just wait ’til the rest of the band comes back to the bus… :)

        Seriously, though, you took this story through a great turn. Not quite jarring enough to call it a ‘twist,’ but it definitely took of in a different direction than I was expecting.

        I Like how she turned the line about ‘more baggage than the back of your tour bus’ back around on him.

        I agree with Mr1969 that you could easily keep going a long way with this, and there are some questions raised that could have chilling answers, but it still feels complete, with a good ending. Nice job!

    1. SJ_Mitchell

      Thanks for all the great compliments and feedback everyone! This was my first entry in the weekly writing prompt and definitely won’t be my last. It was a lot of fun!

  14. zo-zo

    ‘I thought little Suzie was a lady,’ I mourned as I crunched into my nachos.

    Mo spat into the ashtray and grunted. ‘She grew up in the South alright, but she lost herself somewhere between Virginia and New York.’

    I sighed. TV lied. For one, little Suzie had grown out of her name. Layers of fat trembled where her skin should have been flat. She chewed bubblegum between songs, sipped brazenly on a bottle of brandy while glowing orange from her fake tan. I left the concert depressed.

    Even my beer tasted flat. It couldn’t numb the realisation that little Suzie wasn’t the only one changed. Dora left me five months earlier. I hadn’t been able to find a job, so I watched some TV, every so often.

    ‘You’ve been dead for a long time,’ she said as she zipped the suitcase shut, ‘but wasting your time watching other people live while I keep you comatose? You may as well be six feet under.’

    The words made me eat everything in sight. Overnight I was ravenous, and I still couldn’t stop eating. The second I emptied the leftover guacamole into my mouth, little Suzie sauntered through the yellow and red neon door and placed herself right next to me.

    ‘He needs a brandy and coke,’ she said, her voice like broken glass. ‘As do I.’

    ‘Donald,’ I said, nodding.

    ‘Little Suzie,’ she said before downing her drink. She smacked her lips and smiled. ‘But this town’s so small you probably know that.’

    I drank my brandy in four noisy gulps, and watched as Mo shook his head. I knew exactly what the bastard thought. So I proved him wrong.

    ‘I known you from way back, but you got a lil’ chubby there, princess,’ I said as I wiped the brandy off my mouth. ‘I mean, you used to be my fiancé, back in the day.’

    Suzie’s blonde curls twisted as she laughed, and her bosom heaved too. A bit of extra weight can be beneficial. Her tassled cowboy boots clanged against the footrest.

    ‘Well… back in the day you might have been a cowboy,’ she said as she took her time gathering all the lines on my face. ‘A real Wayne.’

    And then we just stared at each other. Some hickville song played in the background and Charlie wiped our bar clean and Mo shuffled away and we just stared.

    A small smile flickered on the edge of her lips – a smile that said, ‘I know.’ Like we shared the irony of life together and it was too damn funny to laugh. In the silence I told her how Dora and all my dreams walked out on me. And there she sat, the edges of her soul withered by heartache.

    And just when I worried my tears might show, she slapped my belly like a trainer slaps his rebellious horse.

    ‘Well doggone it, Donald,’ she yelled. ‘You and me both got some pounds to lose. This no-good-cowbell town got a gym to it’s sorry name?’

    I nodded.

    ‘Well, I’ll see you there in four hours time.’ So little Suzie and her big hips sashayed out the bar.

    ‘Another plate?’ Charlie asked.

    I shook my head. I wasn’t hungry.

    1. radioPanic

      Hey, zo-zo, I enjoyed this a lot. The one slightly confusing bit was the 6th para. Makes it sound like Dora just left last night. Maybe splitting into a 2nd paragraph after ‘couldn’t stop eating’ would show that some time has passed.

      You gave the characters interesting voices, and I can see little Suzie really well. Liked the ‘voice like broken glass,’ and the paragraph where her boots clang on the footrest.

      Nice ending, too. Looking forward to more.

  15. JR MacBeth

    WHICH ONE IS PINKER

    “Unfuckingbelievable. Tell me the ‘shrooms have mindfucked me to the moon. That was the shittiest goddamn performance…”

    “Shh. Settle down, look who’s ‘ere!”

    I turned around and saw Sir Fucking Gilmour hisself!

    “Oh my God, look who’s here! Let me guess which one is Pink…”

    “Oh, piss-off! But, I think a pint or two in in order, Interesting night, I’ll admit that.” Gilmour said.

    I looked at him. My idol. He was as old as I was!

    “So, David, er, I mean SIR David…”

    “Cut that bullshit, I’m a CBE, not a goddamn Knight, no one calls me ‘Sir’…”

    “Well, pardon me, but that’s an ‘helluva lot more than your average bloke, wouldn’t you say?”

    “Your point?”

    “My point is, what the fuck were you thinking letting Bowie sing ‘Comfortably’, when he’s never been comfortably anything, other than in-fucking-sane?”

    “I’m guessing you don’t care for Bowie?”

    “I LOVE fucking Bowie! Bowie doing ‘Ashes to Ashes’, not ‘Comfortably Numb’, for crying out loud! Is nothing sacred?”

    “I suppose you want me to buy a round of drinks now? Would that make it better?” He looked around the room.

    “You’re goddamn right! But wait! You buy the blokes a round, and you’ve got to promise something first, that’s the way it is here in the States, even if I do come from your hometown meself…”

    “Alright, name it.”

    “I’ll name it! You get Bowie to let you sing ‘Ashes’ on HIS tour! What the fuck, we all know Major Tom is an addict!”

    “Junkie…The word is junkie, Major Tom is a junkie, not an addict.”

    “Exactly right! Now, let’s drink to that!”

    “Well, and that’s the way it happened. I was there, Sir David Gilmour Hisself,the Floyd-Man, and my boys, that’ll be a drink I’ll never forget.”

    “And then what?”

    “What? I supose you’d expect David Fucking Bowie to walk in right about then?”

    “Did he?”

    “Oh yes he did! But I’m not going to tell you that part of the story unless my glass gets filled again, I do hope you understand…”

      1. JR MacBeth

        Thank you so much DMelde, I have to say, attempting humor is super intimidating to me. I just don’t know how comedians can get up on stage and try to make people laugh. I very much appreciate your encouragement.

  16. Adreamytr

    TERRIBLE CONCERT

    I ordered a gin and tonic at the bar and drank it fast.
    “Slow down. Are you in a hurry?” the bartender asked.
    “I needed something to take the ringing out of my ears. I just heard the worse rock bad ever.”
    “Really?” he asked taking away my glass and making another. “It was that bad?”
    “Yes. The music was off beat, the singer was off key and static through the speakers. Just horrible. If I was the leader of that band I would get it right.”
    The patron to my right whipped toward me.
    “Is that right? You would do better?” he asked.
    It was the lead singer of that horrible band. I swallowed hard and squeaked out a timid
    “Yes.”
    “Fine!” he yelled. “You think you’re hot shit well let’s karaoke it out.”
    He appeared as tipsy as he did on stage. I perked up. Karaoke is my specialty.
    “What do I get when I win?”
    “If you win, and that’s a big fat if, you get to have my band. You can have my car, my money, and my life. See if you can do better.”
    “Name your song.”
    “No you rock star wannabe .”
    “ Don’t Stop Believing by Journey.”” I said and smiled.
    “Classic! You’re on!” he threw his drink down this throat and headed for the stage. Grabbing the microphone he tossed his hair and got into a rocker stance, pumping his fist in the air. Before the song began he announced the bet to the audience. I could tell because he pointed at me and everyone looked in my direction. I shook my head and rolled my eyes. As soon as he belted the first word the crowd laughed. Someone shouted,
    “Joker!” and “You suck!”
    He was butchering the song. I had to implement a rescue immediately. I ran onto the stage and took the microphone out of his hand and sang. I was glorious. The crowd loved it. They stood, clapped, and danced near their tables. The rocker had slipped of the stage and sat back at the bar, ordering another drink. After I finished the song the crowd went crazy. A woman threw her bra at me and I was stoked. I shook a number of hands and received pats on my back for a job well done. I went back to the bar only to find the rocker gone. The bartender said,
    “That was great. You are better than him. He’s gone but he left you this note and a set of keys. He pushed them towards me. I open the folded piece of paper and nearly fell off of the bar stool.
    “It’s all your, Rock Star. Don’t screw it up.”
    I looked closer at the keys then looked back at the bartender.
    “A Lamborghini .” I gasped.
    “Yep. It’s sitting outside.”
    I ran out of the bar and there it was. Midnight black with suicide doors. I couldn’t believe it.
    “Finally, I’m a rock star.”

  17. Mr1969

    Fresh Eats

    When Danny and I walked into the pub across from the arena we couldn’t help but notice that about half the people in this place were at the concert. We heard a few mumbles of how bad it was as I gave them a slight grin and a nod of the head in agreement. The both of us continued on our way to the bar and ordered a couple of beers.

    I had already finished my first and was on to my second when the lead singer who called himself Marcus walked in the door.

    All eyes were on this man as he sauntered his way rather than walk up to the bar next to me. He then ordered a round for the whole bar as a few cheers went out from the crowd obliging him of his offer. I tipped my beer to him as he sat right down next to me and spoke.

    “So what did you think of the concert?” Our beers he ordered for us came. The waitresses started passing out the rest to the establishment.

    “IT SUCKED!” I was getting pretty hammered and really didn’t care after dropping $75 a piece for tickets.

    “Personally, I thought it was great.” The singer just sat there drinking his beer. I began to laugh

    “What’s so funny?” He exclaimed as he ordered another beer.

    “Appearently you have never heard your band. It’s total crap.” I could feel myself almost fall off the barstool.

    “Well I don’t think so. I just need to find a few replacements that’s all.” Marcus swung himself around in his barstool as we locked eyes.

    “A replacement for what like your lead Guitar and maybe your Bassist?” I waited for an answer.

    “Sure why not how about it?” He took another sip of his beer. I answered him already pretty drunk.

    “Ok fine, me and Danny will tryout for your band then.” I slapped Danny on the back as he looked at me and agreed to the arrangement. He finshed off his beer, grabbed his second one and chugged it.

    ” What’s your name anyway?” I held out my hand to shake his.

    “Marcus” he grasped mine as he paid for the rest of drinks and we all headed back to his place where there were more than enough girls to choose from. I ended up passed out in the middle of three of them. It was the smell of the coffee wafting throughout the house that finally stirred me from my sleep.

    When I awoke and threw my pants back on from the night before I saw Marcus standing next to the coffee pot pouring me a cup.

    “So are we gonna do this or what?” I asked as he handed me my cup.

    “Yep we’re all set.” Marcus answered as I took a sip. We both headed to the dining room as I flinched for a second and saw Danny tied up and chained to his seat screaming obscentities.

    “Good I’m starving for Pete’s sake” I took my seat at the breakfast table near the rest of the band as Marcus began to saw off Danny’s arm and place it on a plate.

    “Ah, the arm, my favorite piecessss of human fleshhhhhh.” I felt myself transform into my more natural state as my forked tongue started to slather up some of the blood on my plate, while my scales started to break through the human skin I was wearing. I waited as the rest of the band changed shape. It was good to be amongst my own kind.

  18. tauchiquan.panda

    “If that’s what passes for entertainment on this shitty little rock, no wonder humans are becoming the lesser species,” Shani moaned at me. “And what the hell is this?” she growls, pointing at the green-colored liquid in her glass, “Monkey piss?”

    “Ghita’s sake, Shani, calm down,” I reply. ‘It’s called ‘Midur-uhl’, supposed to be a delicacy here. You could be polite for once”.

    “Ya, and I could be hung by my nails with bees shoved up my ass. Neither option appeals to me.” Shani scoffed. “In fact, you can…” she starts, and then grips my arm tightly as she catches a reflection in the mirror behind the bar.

    “Aeron’s grace,” she whistles. “Is that Ragnar? Here?”

    Following her gaze, I look closely at the man who has suddenly materialized. Automatically, my left hand goes for my weapon as Ragnar slithers up to us. He claps Shani on the back, exclaiming loudly, “Round on me for my two beauties here!”

    He leans forward and cocks his head in my direction, still unaware of who his “beauties” really are.

    “You know, I gotta say that last set we played was the worse set of my life!” he exclaims. “But finding you two here more than makes up for the torture I’ve just endured. What are you having? Maybe when we’re finished, we can have a little after-party, if you catch what I’m saying,” he asks, hopefully.

    Leaning forward, he reaches across the bar for his drink, intentionally brushing Shani’s breast. Instinctively, she flinches away from him and pulls a dagger from her belt. Giving the briefest shake of my head, I swivel around on my barstool, grab Ragnar by the wrist, and thrust my weapon in his gut.

    “We’ve been looking for you since M5,” I hiss. “Did you really think you could outrun us?”

    ‘What…who…” he stammers, looking around wildly for help that isn’t coming.

    “The chapel,” Shani begins, her dagger in his back. “A place of worship, you bastard. Your nifty little device leveled half the settlement.”

    “No,” he shakes his head, “you’re mistaken, that wasn’t me, I been here for the last three years! It wasn’t me!” Ragnar whines, ‘You have to believe me, you got the wrong guy!”

    “You’re mistaken, you piece of shit,” I countered. “Your first mistake was running; your second was that half-assed disguise you tried to pull off on stage. We found your shuttle…and we found your pictures.”

    Shani quickly stands, knocking Ragnar’s feet out from under him, and slams his face into the bar. I pull out the Thamer and set it to liquefy. Shani and I watch impassively as Ragnar begins to melt, then boils away.

    “You ready?” Shani asks as we walk toward the door.

    “The sooner we’re off this hell-hole the better I’ll feel,” I smiled. “Let’s go home”.

  19. rob akers

    Hello Friends.

    This week The Captain, Jimmy Everest, JoJo, Rick, Tracy and the rest are taking a week off because the real Bill Rimes challenged me to flesh out one of the stories. I accepted his challenge and chose one of my personal favorites. Jimmy is still in hiding but you will learn why JoJo calls The Captain, “Chicken Bill.”

    They are staring in a 3,996 word adventure on my new blog site. http://robakers.wordpress.com

    If you have time, I would love your feedback on the story and the site. Thank you in advance. I hope to jump back into the pool next week to rejoin the prompts.

    rob

    1. MCKEVIN

      Congratulations with the new blog. I just visted the site. I know you will do well because you deserve it. Once again, a WD writer has raised the stakes when 500 words aren’t enough to tell the full story. You have no idea how much you inspire people with your writings. Again, Congratulations. McKevin

    2. DMelde

      Super story Rob! The energy was palpable. I think you should definitely flesh out the blog and keep adding to it. I’m going to add it to my list and keep up with it. Two sentences I would change, whenever you get the chance, are– “Yes.” The Captain weakly spoke. and– I am an 8 man fire team. Otherwise, I didn’t notice any major typos. Great job and congrats on getting the blog up and operating.

      1. rob akers

        DMelde, Thank you very much for your support. I appreciate the comments and the critques. The second sentence “I am an 8 man fire team.” was intentional to in attempt to show ownership of the entire group but I can see the confusion and I will change it, thanks. Like everyone, I am still learning and growing.

        1. rob akers

          I am humbled by EVERYONE who visits this website. Since I told ya’ll about my blog, I have had 67 visits to the site. You guys, my wife and the real Bill Rimes are the only people in the world who know I exist in the blogosphere. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!

          Each of you inspire me, and I thank you.

  20. ajcc83

    The Necklace

    Black Magic was wrapping up their set with a particularly horrible rendition of Iron Maiden’s “Phantom of the Opera.” You have no idea why your friend Tod brought you to this dirty dive bar, and you have no clue why you decided to stay. The cover band was awful and much too loud, the drinks were pricey, and the girls were too trashy for your taste. What the band lacked in skill it did make up for in enthusiasm though. For that, you decided to grace them with a few hardy claps after each song. The band finally finished their last song as you ordered your final drink for the night.

    “I’d like a gin and tonic,” you yelled as you eyed a bartender coming your way.

    “Make that two” you heard a voice next to you say. It was the lead singer of Black Magic. He eased himself into the seat right next to you.

    “You’re buying me a drink?” you asked.

    “Sure am, partner. You were the only one actually listening to us. I wanted to repay you for your consideration.”

    It wasn’t every day that another man bought you drink. You were skeptical. “I’ll do it under one condition,” you said.

    “What is that?”

    “You’ll mention me on your first CD whenever you’re famous.” You smiled at your own little joke.

    The lead singer chuckled to himself. “That’s not likely to happen, partner, but I’ll tell you what. I’ll give you this.” He slowly untied the necklace from around his neck. “Here, take it.”

    You graciously refused, but he persisted.

    “This little talisman has brought me luck for more years than I can count. It’s about time that I pass it on to someone else, like the day someone passed it on to me. It’s magic. It’ll protect you from harm, and it also has the power to protect you from death, but only once.”

    He handed you the necklace, took his drink and then walked away. You stared at the odd necklace. You could tell it had been worn for many years and had probably been around more than one neck. It was a leather string simply adorned with a dragon pendant. You put it around your neck, skeptical, but very much amused by what the lead singer said.

    Not long after, you and your friends decided to wrap up the night and walk to your car. James was chosen to drive everyone home. He hadn’t had much to drink that night. You don’t remember what happened next, but you do remember waking up in your hospital bed. No one ever made it home. Your car was hit by a drunk driver. You cried silently as you were told that all your friends had died and you were the only survivor. In fact, you were miraculously unharmed. Before exiting the hospital, you were given all your clothes and items. You searched everywhere but the necklace was nowhere to be found.

    1. SJ_Mitchell

      Love Iron Maiden so this story gets KUDOS just from that reference alone haha. Nice little tale though. I could see this expanded out into a novella, following the lives of people that the Necklace has touched.

  21. wilson hara

    I was 16 in 1992 and nothing was more important to me than music, specifically, Iron Maiden. My boyfriend, Sei, was also a fan and together we would spend many blissful hours. His parents were old fashioned; besides having to attend cram school, he also had to study traditional Japanese arts. In protest he chose Ikebana : the art of flower arranging.

    Sei and I knew that Iron Maiden was coming to Japan, but we also knew that we would not get to see them, for so many unfair reasons. Until, one morning, my father decided to give me a heart attack. He handed me a ticket. I ran straight to Sei’s house.

    “Sei, I need your help. I was thinking… wouldn’t it be cool if we made an Eddie papier mache head and I wore it to the concert?” (Eddie is Iron Maiden’s mascot; he is a zombie/cyborg/evil brute.)

    “Yes!”

    Eddie, sadly, did not turn out quite as we had envisioned. Sei and I stared at our creation.

    “He looks… friendly.”

    “This is true. Try it on.”

    “You know, it doesn’t look so bad. Go for it!”

    On the day of the concert, I rode my bike to Yoyogi stadium. Earlier, Sei had kindly brought me a Harley Davidson sticker to adorn the cross bar with.
    Finally, Bruce Dickinson ran out on stage and shouted something like “Japan, let’s rock!” Japan responded by clapping politely. From there, the concert went downhill. My papier mache head was heavy and I was sweating. My nose was running and my eyes stung. By the time I took Eddie off, it was too late. I could barely see Bruce Dickinson’s shimmering yellow spandex pants through my swollen eyes. I spent the rest of the concert sneezing.
    Afterwards, I noticed that my Hardly Davidson had a puncture. I threw Eddie in the bin and started to walk home.

    3 hours later, I passed my local game arcade and decided to go in and drown my woe in sucrose and check out the new simulation machine.

    And behold. There stood Bruce Dickinson. I knew exactly what I wanted to say, I had practiced a speech in my daydreams.

    “Mr. Dickinson, I love you. I love you more than I love my mother. In honour of your arrival in Japan, I had very much wanted to get an ‘Iron maiden RULES’ tattoo, if possible I was going to use my own blood instead of ink, but my father said no because of the Yakuza connection. I know all your songs by heart, even the mediocre ones.”

    “Right. First of all, thank you. I just was wondering… what’s happened to your face?”

    “An unfortunate allergic reaction to the glue in my papier mache Eddie head.”

    “Right. It looks painful. There’s also some stuff stuck to your chin.”

    “Toilet paper.”

    “I see. Look, I’m going to get a drink. Would you like one?”

    “Yes please! But first… can I run and get my friend?”

    “Is your friend a fan too?”

    “He would, instantly, kill himself for you, if you asked.”

    “Right. Okay, run, come back, we’ll be here.”

    1. jincomt

      This made me laugh. It almost read like non-fiction, especially at the beginning. I love the cultural references, that really gave it such an interesting spark. I also liked the dialogue, especially Bruce’s responses, “Right,…”. Great read.

      1. wilson hara

        j,
        thank you! I’m glad it made you laugh, my 16 year old soul took over…originally, the story was supposed to end with a full blown glue sniffing enhanced/psychotic moment…. but I just couldn’t write it. Oh well.

    2. SJ_Mitchell

      Loving Iron Maiden. Ahhh I remember I was 13 when I heard them first, Seventh Son of a Seventh Son quickly became my favorite album of theirs.

      Great story…I know I’d love to meet Dickinson!

    3. radioPanic

      I agree with DMelde about your pacing. You even incluced a couple paragraphs of character background that might not have been essential to the story, but gave it depth. Great dialogue. I also liked the bit about Japan clapping politely. Finally, unique take on the prompt, making it the narrator’s fault that he didn’t particularly enjoy the show, instead of the band’s.

      I was always more into Bruce’s brother’s band. :) Saw ‘em in Denver a few times, and the guys never had to take a break, even at 5000 odd feet above sea level. Wonder if that runs in the family…

    4. Icabu

      What’s more important than Maiden, specifically, Bruce ?!!
      Liked the Eddie reference.
      Fun read.

      Saw them on 6/30 – still can’t get used to Bruce with short hair …

  22. Lynch

    “They hate me.”

    “They don’t hate you.” I said. I wasn’t sure if I believed it but this man needed some help. He looked broken, tired, and beat. It was the worst concert I have ever been too and to say otherwise would be a lie.

    “You know they all used to love me.”

    “They still love you. It was just an off night.”

    “It’s been an off tour. I just don’t have it anymore.”

    “You know, you’ve been around awhile. People respect that.”

    “So you agree then, I don’t have it anymore.”

    “That’s not what I’m saying.”

    “Then please, explain.”

    “You had an off night that’s all. Not everyone can be on their game every time they perform.”

    “If I buy you a drink would you sit here with me?”

    Something was seriously wrong with this guy. I didn’t know the band well enough to know this man’s name and I only recognized him when he came into the bar because I had good enough seats to get a good look at him during the show. This guy gets paid millions of dollars to play music and perform all across the world and he’s looking for me to be his therapist after a bad night. I was slightly annoyed.

    “Yeah I’ll sit with you, under one condition.”

    “Don’t worry I won’t be performing any more songs tonight.”

    “That’s it right there! I’ll sit with you if you stop looking for pity.” I snapped. “You have it a lot better than most in this world. Understand that and be grateful.”

    “I guess you’re right.”

    “I know I am.”

    We sat in silence for a few moments, neither of us knowing what to say next. It seemed that if this man wasn’t looking for help he didn’t know how to act.

    “So where you heading next?” I asked.

    “Atlanta, but…”

    “But?”

    “I probably shouldn’t go. Don’t want to let all those people down too.”

    I didn’t respond. No longer would I entertain this grown baby’s nonsense.

    “People used to love me. Now I don’t think they would even miss me. Maybe I should hang it up, you know?”

    “Maybe you should hang it up.”

    “Thanks…”

    “If you’re looking for sympathy you sat next to the wrong man. I’ve got bills to pay, two daughters to put through college, a wife that’s breathing down my neck, and a huge mortgage I can barely keep up with. I have problems. You…You have issues. You need to get your shit together. No one feels bad for washed up old rockers, especially ones that are off their rockers.”

    “You’re right. Maybe I should do everyone a favor.”

    “You should at least do me the favor.”

    He stood up and walked away. While I was saying it, it felt good. But it was his face that made me regret it. I wasn’t brought up to hurt people and I felt a pang of guilt in my stomach. Sure he was rich and famous but he had feelings too. Maybe I was underestimating the pressure of being a rock star. Living in the limelight, every move you make under scrutiny, people constantly looking to you for answers on love, life, and happiness. Maybe all the money and fame in the world couldn’t help you cope with success. I decided to go apologize for my outburst. I finished my drink and stood up. Before I could place my glass down I heard the screams.

    I ran for the door along with the other patrons. When I got outside it was complete chaos, people running and shouting, a small crowd gathered in the street.

    “What happened?” I asked the man standing next to me.

    “Crazy guy covered in tattoos just jumped right out into traffic. The car tried to stop but there was no chance. It was like he was trying to get hit. Damn shame, looks like he needed a friend tonight. “

    1. ajcc83

      I predicted the story to end with a cliche type of bromance, but I really like how you turned it around. The dark and twisted ending was very unexpected.

  23. ggbrown

    “So your the lead singer of that horrible band i just saw.” Chris said as he shrugged at the guy wanting to buy him a drink. The lead singer, “Jimmy”, shocked by what this strange guy in the bar said to him said, “hey dude if you dont want my drink just say so.” Chris said, “I’ll accept your drink on one condition.” This should be good,” said Jimmy. “I want you to take me over to that girl right there and say,” This is my friend Chris, he’s the reason for my success,” and ill do the rest,” says Chris. Jimmy thought , well thats the least i can do for ruinning your night with my crappy music, lets go. Chris and Jimmy walk up to this beautiful woman arm in arm as if they knew each other there whole life. Jimmy said what Chris wanted him to say and the woman laughed pulled out a taser and shocked Jimmy unconcious. The entire patronage of the bar stood up, laughed histericly, clapped, and went on drinking there fruity drinks and talking in the strange drunken language that the drunkards speak. A door behind the womans table opens, Chris takes Jimmy inside. “You’ll never sing another word,” Chris mumbles as he struggles to get Jimmy on a table. A strange looking table with wires everywhere, and a funny looking helmet thing at the end. Chris hooks Jimmy up to the contraption , turns it on , and boom. All the contents in the room and the room itself were transported to a strange place seemingly due to Jimmy on the table. Chris looks around and says ,”He’s ready.” Immediately four strange , cloaked figures walked through the walls to retrieve Jimmy. Upon his removal from the table Chris was immediately transported back to his barstool. Chris thought,”Well that was an easy one,nothing like nlast nights.

    1. radioPanic

      You’ve got some really intriguing ideas here. I like how Chris used the drink offer to lure Jimmy to his partner. Only problem I see is, I don’t have enough info. What does Chris get out of what he does? It seems like an elaborate setup just to rid the world of bad singers. (That’s what I got out of it, and I can sympathize!) If that IS Chris’s goal, he seems to have a lot of people working with him. Show us why!

      I’m not saying everything needs to be explained 100%, which is hard to do in under 500 words anyway, but giving us some insight into motives, and enough of an idea about what’s going on that we can figure the rest out by ourselves, can only help. And coming in at just over 300 words, you’re lucky enough to have room to work with.

      Definitely keep it up.

    2. JR MacBeth

      Welcome ggbrown! Reading through, I get the feeling that you have the dialogue in your head, but it may not be coming out the way you want it to, IMO. Part of the reason is that confusion often results for the reader when a writer gets too loose with accepted conventions. In this case your use of quotes stick out as the main issue.

      There are different “accepted” ways of doing it, but generally, when you are quoting someone, and then have a “quote within a quote”, you make that distinction by switching to a different notation. Such as, “He literally said, ‘I hope you die!’ Can you believe that?”

      Also, if you pick up a book that you enjoy, and study a portion that has some dialogue, you might see what looks like a lot of very short paragraphs. You can check some of the other posts here too for some good examples. (In your case, you have essentially put the entire story into one paragraph.)

      One last thing, and I don’t know the answer myself, I’m a bit computer-challenged, but maybe someone will know. When I go to leave a reply here, I see misspellings underlined in red, so I can correct them before submitting. Does everyone see that, or is it just “my” computer, settings or something? Anyway, if you had that too, you would catch a bunch that way, pretty easy. It sure helps me!

      Good luck on your writing, hope some of my suggestions help.

      JR

      1. ggbrown

        i did like that different quotation suggestion,i had no idea about that. im very new to writing so every piece of advice i get is golden to me. I dont get that red line thing you were talking about, by the way. or is it bye the way, hell i dont know.lol

  24. JohnBethlehem

    “Awful!” Fannie exclaimed, sipping her Appletini.

    “It wasn’t bad.” Sarah responded. “I liked them.”

    “No, you liked him. They were awful.” Fannie replied. “It’s like people don’t even care that he literally just butchered the concert.”

    “Fannie, I promise you, no one cares about their music. They only went cause it was him.”

    “Yeah well, I paid to go see Dogstar. I like their music. What I don’t like is a bassist who stops playing mid-song to shotgun a beer.”

    “You ever tried it?” A voice behind Fannie asked. “You can’t do both.”

    “Oh! Hi!” Sarah blurted, covering her mouth as she swallowed her beer.

    “Sorry,” he responded. “Didn’t mean to scare you. I’m Kea—”

    “I know who you are,” Fannie replied, coldly. “I just paid money to watch you shotgun a beer.”

    “Didn’t like the show, huh?”

    “I’m Sarah.” Sarah said.

    “Nice to meet you.”

    Fannie raised her hand to the bartender, “Hey, Cliff, one more please.”

    “Here, I’ll get it.” The bassist yelled, raising his hand towards Cliff. “It’s the least I can do.”

    “I’ve got it.” Fannie retorted without making eye contact.

    “I can’t buy you a drink?”

    “Yes you can,” Sarah forced, “Fannie, yes he can.”

    “No he can’t,” Fannie lightly replied. “Look just because you’re… you, doesn’t mean you can blow people off. Some of us really wanted to see a good show.”

    “Your name’s Fannie?” He asked, grinning.

    “Wow, first you blow your show then make fun or your fans… real cool.”

    “That wasn’t making fun. It’s pretty.”

    “Tell him you’ll let him buy you a drink if he kisses you!” Sarah whispered loudly.

    “Sarah! “

    “Would that make up for a bad show?”

    “Ugh, please. Im not the small town bimbo you take back to the hotel.”

    “She’s never been kissed.” Sarah interjected.

    “Oh my gosh!” Fannie exclaimed!

    “Okay, I won’t ask you to my hotel.” He jested. Fannie’s face flushed red. “You’ve never been kissed?”

    “I’ve been kissed.” Fannie replied, sipping air from her empty drink. “Lots of times.”

    “So what’s the problem? “

    Fannie laughed. “Confidence isn’t one of your strong points is it?” She took a long sip through the straw of her new appletini. “Fine. One kiss, then you pay for this drink.”

    “Man, she’s tough.”

    “You see why she’s never been kissed.”

    “I have be— ” Before she could finish, his hands were gently resting on her hips, pulling her in for a small kiss. Fannie stood motionless, with eyes closed, smiling as he inched away.

    “Speechless huh?” He asked.

    “Wow. I should have just let you buy me a drink.”

    “What?” He stood back.

    “That’s what you do to a girl who’s never been kissed?” She laughed. “Geez… let down central, tonight. “ She grabbed her purse. “Thanks for killing a ten year crush. And for the drink. I’m walking home, goodnight Sarah.”

    The satisfaction she felt walking home was amplified when she noticed him on the porch of the bar, watching her.

    She smiled.

    1. radioPanic

      Ha ha! Ouch! Although I totally sympathize with Fannie’s attitude.

      It’s close, but there seem to be just enough dialogue attributes, and distinct voices, so I never got confused about who’s speaking. And the dialogue has a very natural flow. The story’s almost all dialogue, but the non-dialogue parts (what’s the word for that anyhow?) seem to be just enough to give it movement. Well done.

  25. mwahl

    “Vodka on the rocks,” I said, sliding my wrinkled ten across the bartop. Cigarette smoke burned my eyes and hung in the air like a drunken exhale. It mixed uncomfortably with the sweaty concert-goers around me.

    “Worst concert ever,” said Bethany, squeezing into the space next to me. The bartender passed me my drink. I took a long swig of the ambrosia, momentarily forgetting I paid $100+ for front row seats to a rained-out concert with no refund.

    “I’m sure you’ve been to worse concerts,” said a tall guy with skinny jeans and curly hair. The lead singer! “Here, let me buy you two a drink.”

    Bethany and I exchanged a glance.

    “I already have a drink,” she said, lifting her beer. I rolled my eyes.

    He grinned. “I’ll get you another one. Let me take you backstage and introduce you to the guys.” After another glance to each other I shrugged and we followed him single-file through the throng of people.

    I don’t know why he chose us, the two drenched girls at the bar with smeared mascara and frizzy hair, but I wasn’t going to question it.

    I stepped in puddles and spilled drinks, my feet soaked. I downed the rest of the vodka.

    “I’m sorry about the concert,” he said, holding the backstage door open for us.

    A few members of the band were chilling and we exchanged cordialities, saying our names and where we’re from and how it’s our first time seeing them live. Well, not anymore because it was cancelled, but they got the idea, right?

    “I’d be pissed, too,” said the drummer, Rob. His ocean eyes shined in the light. “Especially because Johnson, here, had a great surprise planned for you.” He winked at me.

    I stared at him, his eyes swimming. A surprise? At a concert? The only surprises I’ve seen in crowded public places were marriage proposals and kiss cams, neither of which I wanted to happen.

    Johnson shifted his weight. “I had this whole thing planned, at the end of the show. I knew you had front row seats, and, well -” His voice trailed.

    Front row seats? How the hell did he know that? Bethany’s eyes were as wide as mine.

    Johnson added quickly, “Sorry, let me explain. I wanted to tell you that, well, you’re my half-sister.”

    Was this some kind of joke? Johnson, the lead singer of my favorite band, was my half-brother? And he had to tell me at his concert? Couldn’t he just send me a Facebook message?

    “I found out a few weeks ago,” he continued in the silence, “and didn’t know what to think. I got your mom’s number from my dad, and she said you had these tickets for weeks. I thought it’d be a good surprise.”

    “I’ll take that second drink now,” I said, grinning. He passed me a beer, his eyes shining. Hazel eyes. Like mine. “We have a lot of catching up to do.”

    1. radioPanic

      Very cool story. Unless I missed one, this is only the 2nd story I’ve read that makes it the Worst Concert Ever through no fault of the band!

      One thing that leapt out at me was the word “chilling.” I read it as, y’know, “chilling” instead of “chillin’.” Maybe a bit of rearranging, like moving “backstage” from the previous sentence, to right after “chilling.”

      Nice work!

  26. slayerdan

    December 12, 1970 New Orleans

    “ You are so right my good man, it was a terrible show,” came the smooth, nonchalant answer to Jeffs tirade. He and his friends had spent a lot of money to drive from California to New Orleans to see the show. They were quite surprised to see a bloated, unshaven mess take the stage. Obviously tripping on something, the show came to a crashing halt when he slammed the microphone stand through the stage.

    And now his hairy ass sat in front of them, all cool and calm, like it was no big deal. Obviously Jeffs little chest pounding did little to stir his drug impaired senses. “Me and my friends here are out a couple hundred bucks because of you,” Jeff said, referencing his friends, Big Sal and Steve, that stood on either side of him,” and maybe since your hippy ass doesn’t seem to care, maybe I should put you through the bar like you did the microphone through the stage,” Jeff finished, his voice showing his anger.

    Jim, the singer, laughed a slow, haughty laugh and replied,” calm down man, it happens. Let me buy you and your friends a drink,” he offered, already calling the bartender over to place that same order.

    The air was chilly but not overly so and the hole in the wall pub had only a smattering of regulars in it. There were a couple of guys at a small back table smoking weed that permeated the entire place and the Yardbirds warbled on a small radio behind the bar. The bartender made it over to Jim. “ What can I get for you Jimmy boy? Where’s Pam tonight?”.

    Running his fingers through his shaggy haired face, he replied slowly,” Pam is…away. I need drinks for me and my new friends here,” he said, casually pointing at Jeff, Sal, and Steve.

    “He’s really messed up Jeff,” Steve said, actually to both of his friends.

    “Yeah, he’s seriously tripping on something, it’s a wonder he can sit there, much less perform on a stage,” Sal followed up.

    “What can I get for you guys?” the bartender asked.

    Jeff stared at Jim, his long time musical idol, and felt his anger over the night turn to pity. “Beers, just beers,” he replied. Jim looked up, meeting the gaze of Jeff. He managed a halfhearted smile as he took a drag off a cigarette. “Been riding on the storm awhile it seems, Mr. Morrison,” Jeff said, not fully sure what he meant.

    “Like a dog without a bone man…like a dog without a bone,” Jim trailed off, his glazed eyes a million miles away at that moment. “Riders on the storm….has a good ring to it….,” he muttered, before slumping onto the bar. He was out.

    If he ever truly was there.

    Jeff looked at Sal and Steve, and without a word between them, they exited into the chilly New Orleans night, each pondering the scene they had just left behind.

    And the illusion that had been their idol.

    1. slayerdan

      For the record, simply for those not in the know, the date mentioned was the last show that Jim Morrison performed w the Doors in new orleans…..he was bloated, intoxicated, and did put the microphone through the stage floor. They played a few songs and ended the show. Their next album contained riders on the storm—–is this really where the idea came from? wikipedia says no, but its been wrong before……

  27. Miss Jeeter

    I was about to down that foamy beer on the bar before me when a hard slap on the back knocked me right into it. It was bad enough I had just witnessed the worst nightmare of a concert in history and now some nut wanted to pick a fight. So, go for it, I was ready.

    “Hey dude, remember me? Joey from Biology 123? I’m lead singer for the Biojets. Let me buy you a drink to celebrate my final concert and running into you again.”

    “How could I every forget you, Joey from Bio123…You know what? You can buy me a drink on one condition.” Memories. Bio 123 was my worst class, partially because of Joey, the class clown, goof-off and teacher’s pert all rolled into one glorious hunk of garbage that the girls all went ga-ga over. That was thirty years ago.

    “Sure pal. Whatever you want, it is yours.” He gave me his famous curtsy, which usually meant ‘you are fixing to go down, bro’.

    “I want my own private concert – right here – right now – on this bar.” I patted the bar for emphasis.

    “No problem, but not without my costume.” Joey was trying to back out on the deal. “Why don’t we just talk over old times over our beers?”

    “Come on, Joey. Like you said, no problem.” I smiled and tapped Joey on the shoulder. “You always have your costume. Strip off to that G-string; you still wear it no doubt, hop up on that bar and sock it to us.” Joey’s color quickly changed to a ghastly ash color.

    He leaned near my ear, “Pal, I can’t do that, I’m not in the shape I used to be.”

    “You will do fine.” I reached over and pulled his tunic zipper to his waist, patted his firm tummy, cinched in by the latest in men’s corsetry. “It is going to be your best performance to date.” This would definitely be a night to remember. “It is always good to come back to your hometown for a charity concert. Just wait until those tips start coming in. Most of the class is here, or soon will be when the word gets out. Biojets, I should have known.” I patted the bar, “Come on Joey, your fans are waiting.”

  28. penney

    The underground meeting for rock stars anonymous was about to begin. The condition of the meetings was pure anonymity, so of course face masks were required. You see, half of them were pure dumb asses due to the drugs and alcohol; the other half just couldn’t keep their mouths shut (where do you think all the tabloid sources come from).

    “We are here today to talk about Stigler Van Sledgehammer somehow being allowed on stage today and his attempt at playing Rock.” The chairman spoke with utter disgust.

    “Um, excuse me but we forgot the secret pledge?” Some dude interrupted from the back.

    “Damn Bill, not tonight, we’re short on guitars.”

    “Come on please? It’s the best part.”

    “Shit, okay, let’s go folks. Everyone grab one if they can.” The chairman began as all stood in unison. The pledge began:

    “We raise our guitars in rock show fashion
    Like superheroes to rock music anthems
    Head bangers and drunks alike
    We pledge to stay together past fans curfew times
    1 to 20 ex-wives will never sever us from our Gold
    Records, or teen girl delights. We the Rock Stars
    Anonymous unite.”

    At that moment all the rock stars raised their guitars and slammed them on the floor. Splinters and strings flew everywhere and just as quickly as it happened it was over.

    “Bill, you’re on cleanup duty tonight.” The chairman paused before continuing. “Frank, drinks all around.”

    “On one condition,” Frank’s eyes blinked through the eye holes of her mask. “I get all the green M&M’s tonight.”

    There was a rumble of upset throughout the meeting hall. Apparently many were counting on the green ones this evening. “I can’t do that Frank.”

    “Then I won’t be getting your drinks anymore among other favors.” Frank was serious.

    “Fine, can we get down to business than? Sledgehammer needs to be disavowed. All in favor vote now.” The chairman fell silent. Frank was busy passing out drinks.

    At that moment anyone that could find a neck to a guitar raised it and yelled, “ROCK-ON!”

    It was unanimous. “Alright, enjoy your drink’s, I’ll of course be stepping down as chairmen.”

    Frank went to the back and sat on the floor, two bowls on the floor between her legs separating green ones from the rest. This was the best night ever.

  29. HuffmanHanni

    Went a bit over the limit with the words.

    Raphael sat down at the end of the long bar at the 27 club and shook his head in disgust.

    “Bartender, hit me with two Dali Lamas will ya?” The bartender nodded at him as he mixed the drinks and handed them to Raphael. He drained them, the vodka kicking him in the back of the throat on the way down, and slammed the glasses on the bar top.

    The bartender glared at him before asking in a terse voice, “Anything else I can get you?”

    Adjusting his halo, Raphael replied, “Get me one of those Three Wise Men. That concert I went to was pure sh-.” He stopped in mid-sentence as some of the patrons around him turned around, eyebrows raised, and glared at him. “Uh, it was pure, doggy doo?” Those giving him dirty looks, relaxed and went back to their drinks.

    As he watched the bartender mixing the drink, Raphael reflected on the pile of garbage he had just heard. The haloed figures of Kurt Cobain, Amy Winehouse, Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, and Janis Joplin had played one of the worst concerts he had ever heard in his life, mortal or otherwise. He shuddered remembering their grinning, blissful faces as they harmonized “My Life Is In Your Hands”.

    “What happened to them?” he said to no one as he downed his Three Wise Men.

    Raphael was staring at the sparkling night lights as the door of the 27 Club opened. He turned his head and was shocked to see all the members of the actual 27 club stroll through the door, all smiling and signing snatches of various hymns and gospels. The angel blushed and looked away, hoping none of the singers would make their way to his end of the bar. Please, Lord, let some of these people go away so they can sit somewhere else, he pleaded.

    “A round of Shirley Temples for all my friends!” exclaimed a clean-cut Kurt Cobain.

    Raphael snuck a glance at the giggling Amy Winehouse and Janis Joplin, conspiring like two schoolgirls while Jimi and Jim worked out stage moves to “Another Year is Dawning”.

    “How’s it going, friend?” offered Kurt. “Enjoy the concert?”

    Raphael groaned internally and felt his face growing hot as he replied, “It was uh, great.” Suddenly, a sharp bolt of pain hit him in the forehead. Shouts of “Liar!” could be heard throughout the bar.

    “Uh, well, to be honest Kurt, it just didn’t felt, right. Man, I used to remember sitting in my room as a teenager and just rocking out to you guys. I wish you guys could rock out just once. Doesn’t have to be one of your Earthly songs, but just rock out.”

    Kurt looked at the angel for a moment, his eyes reflecting the proposal. “Let me talk to the rest of the gang. See what they have to say.”

    He got up from his stool and gathered the others around. Raphael noticed a couple of heads shaking at first but after a few minutes, everyone was nodding in agreement. Kurt came back to Raphael and said, “Okay, just one song, right here. We’ll have to wait for Jimi to get a guitar and to work out the vocals but we’ll rock out just for you, man.”

    Raphael grinned as Jimi ran back with his special guitar. He started the music of “Christ Arose”. Soon, the others were joining him. Amy providing her throaty soul while Janis let out a fierce primal scream of the chorus as Kurt and Jim mumbled incoherently in the background. With a flourish and a flaming guitar, the song ended to a shocked bar except for Raphael, who was giving a standing ovation.

  30. Heart2Heart

    I am sitting at the bar, slumped, drowning in lemon drops and disgust. Surrounded by my friends, I feel alone, a pine in the midst of redwoods. They, my friends, are laughing and joking. I am miserable company, I feel it in their comments that sting. I am the reason they are here. I am the reason they shelled out hundreds to fly to New York and make #2 on my bucket list get crossed off.
    A British Pub in the middle of New York City is our respite from the bomb threat that spoiled the concert. Crowds dispersed going who knows where. Worst concert experience ever. I know where I am. I am on this crummy barstool drowning on purpose.
    And it is then he walks through the door. He with his British accent and perfect unassuming manner. He who still looks like a boy in his sixties or is it seventies. He who was my heart throb. He who I pictured holding my hand as every young girl in America and Britain did back then. He walks to the only empty seat, the seat next to me. He speaks to me. “Is this seat taken”, he asks. My head is going in one direction then the other, answering no. My lips aren’t moving because I fear if I speak, I will be shaken from this dream. It has to be a dream.
    “Your drink is empty, can I buy you one?” Can he possibly be talking to me, I think. But he is and before I know it, words are pouring out of my mouth. Words I don’t recognize as my own. “Only if you sing to me…..will you sing I Want to Hold Your Hand”. His laugh is kind, his eyes sincere as he begins to sing. I hear every word. I close my eyes and I am young again with the 45 in my hand, placing it on the turntable. It is the record that plays over and over again to the point my parents are ready to throw it out. I have a crush, my first. It would have to do until the real thing came along.
    Miss, do you need another drink? The bartender has a British accent. I straighten up. I pull the list from my purse. I cross off #2.

  31. Suhnshine

    “what’s wrong with you”
    “nothing lee lee, I just feel so disgusted”
    “why??”
    “well Adam Because……………………….”
    “Hi”
    “Hi”
    “Can I buy you a drink???”
    “Aren’t you that singer who was just performing out there”
    “yeah”
    “well, I love you!”
    “wow lee lee, slow down”
    “shut up Adam!”
    “well thank you, that makes you my No. 1 fan”
    “of course I am”
    “So miss you didn’t answer my question can I buy a drink?”
    “well yeah but under one condition”
    “what’s that?”
    “you remember”
    “what?”
    “just look at me and remember”
    By the time I said that I found myself standing at the shore of my thoughts, I looked beside me you were just a few inches away. You looked back at me and you started the conversation
    “So there you are again”
    “What do think?”
    “well whatever you say”
    “that is not the answer I expect after all this time”
    “well I guess then you tell me what did you expect??”
    “you haven’t changed”
    “why would I?!”
    “wow, because your rude style is what made you lose me”
    “………………………………”
    “may I ask why did you ask to buy me a drink?”
    “…………………………”
    “I can’t believe I ever loved you! I should be glad thing are over”
    The conversation ended but in reality it didn’t
    “you got your answer sir NO YOU CAN’T, come on guys let’s get out of here”

    1. JR MacBeth

      Hmmm. Sort of a stream of consciousness thing maybe? Not sure I got this one, but probably the quirky caps and punctuation are too distracting (for me). Good luck Suhnshine.

  32. Icabu

    “That was so lame,” Buddy said as we waited for our drinks. “I can’t believe I wasted twenty-two bucks on this t-shirt.”

    I nodded agreement, wearing my decade-old concert t-shirt. “I’d heard Basil was doing smack again. He couldn’t carry a tune with a handle on it tonight.”

    “Hell,” Buddy growled, “he couldn’t even stand up. Why’d he have to get back on that horse?” He pointed to my t-shirt. “Now those were awesome concerts.”

    I nodded again and we sat at the table sipping our drinks and reminiscing about the good old days.

    “Hey, dudes! I bet you all were at the concert, yeah?”

    Looking up at the frightening figure standing beside our table, my mouth gaped open. Basil Wilson. He trembled and sweated, his gaze darting rapidly. He seemed in perpetual movement but still stood in place. I frowned.

    “Yeah,” Buddy said, “we were there. You gonna give us our money back?”

    “Hey,” Basil said. “Let me get the next round for you guys. On me.”

    I scooted down on the bench seat. “Sit with us.”

    Basil smiled and dropped beside me. “Sure. Anything for my fans.” His fidgeting began immediately.

    “How long?” I asked, keeping my voice low.

    “No, man. I’m clean.” Basil’s shoulders jerked and his fingers danced on the table. Sweat soaked through his shirt.

    “Looks to me like you’re well into the evening, Basil. Gonna be night time soon.” I kept my gaze on him, increasing his nervous tics and sweating.

    Basil’s nervous laugh and scared eyes told me and my friends that we were right. He was crashing, fast.

    “We’ll have a round of drinks with you, Basil,” I said, “but you have to come with us to our hotel room. We don’t want to be embarrassed to wear these t-shirts again. Time to clean up your act.”

    “Nah,” said Basil. He wrung his hands and then patted his chest. “This is just chicken shit, man. Nothing serious. I got no problem.”

    Buddy rose and motioned to Basil. “Come on. I’ll help you with the drinks.”

    Basil’s blood-shot eyes stared at each of our serious and solemn faces. Slowly, he slid off the seat, needing Buddy’s help to stand, and went to the bar for our drinks.

    Exiting the wrecked and wreaking bedroom a good twelve hours later, I dropped on the couch, beyond exhaustion. Cold-turkey heroin withdrawal wasn’t pretty. I glanced up as Buddy entered Basil’s dungeon to take his turn.

    I’d withstood Basil’s verbal abuse, mopped sweat, massaged cramped muscles, held his head through endless bouts of vomiting, dealt with the constant diarrhea, and talked. We talked about the good years and how great it would be to return to the top of the music world. We talked about getting his family back. We talked about getting his life back.

    Finally able to relax, I closed my eyes. It had been one hell of a night.

  33. Leond

    “Well that was simply awful!” I groaned. “See if I ever listen to experimental music again.” I took a sip of my beer and was instantly reminded of the fact that I didn’t like beer any more than I like experimental music.
    Bill and Ellen both seemed a little pained by my reaction, even though they clearly felt the same way. But it had been Ellen’s idea, and Bill never wanted to do anything to pain Ellen.
    “It wasn’t that bad,” he said, gently. “It was… interesting.”
    “Interesting?!” I snapped. “I’ll say it was interesting. The instrumentals sounded like someone heard a six year old drag a cat across a piano and got inspired. And the vocals were even worse. They were like… like…”
    I suddenly heard a beautiful female voice from my left. “An asthmatic who had just smoked a cigarette before playing a round of Fuzzy Bunny?”
    “Exactly!” I said. “Were you there-” I turned my head. The woman I was just talking about was sitting right next to me, almost as if she had glided there.
    “That’s a quote from one of the reviews of my Boston concert,” she said, simply.
    “Please tell me you’re going to apologize, John,” Ellen said, worried.
    I considered apologizing for a few moments. And then I realized I didn’t want to. I looked at the singer. “Well good for that reviewer of your Boston concert. You can’t sing. And you can’t play music. And you certainly can’t write it.”
    She seemed sad. “I’m in a difficult position,” she said, simply.
    I had gone too far to turn back. “Too damn bad!” I said. “You know, I hate people like you. I hate talentless hacks who think that they can make a name for themselves by pretending that their music is experimental rather than just bad!”
    “I do so wish I could play good music,” she said. “It’s in my nature to perform. But I can’t. I can only play this. It’s a very long story.”
    “A story? Bullshit. There isn’t a story. You just don’t know how to sing!”
    She smiled, very oddly. Bill and Ellen were both uncomfortable. “I can sing. I can sing very well, actually. I can also play instruments well. But… I can’t. If I did… It would be bad. Can I buy you a drink?”
    I laughed. “Oh, so now you’re claiming that you can sing. Well, prove it then. Sing me something.”
    She seemed even sadder. “Do you really want me to do that?”
    “If you think you can.”
    She stared at me, then looked away. “Will everyone in the bar please leave? I want to give a solo performance.”
    To my surprise, everyone else, including the bartender, immediately got up and walked out the door. I was alone with the curious singer.
    “I’m going to sing a song for you,” she said. “It’s a song that I haven’t sung for many, many years. It is the song that always bursts from my chest, but that I can never unleash for fear of… Listen to the song. You’ll understand.”
    And then she sang. I can’t describe for you what she sang. Even to say that it was beautiful barely applies. It was emotion laid bare: the emotion of a woman with a gift so extraordinary she could never use it. A work and a talent that she could not resist sharing with mankind, but which she knew could bring nothing but grief. I felt with her for that moment. And as soon as the song stopped, and she disappeared, I couldn’t feel it anymore. In fact, I could barely feel anything anymore.
    The word for her kind, I’ve since learnt, is Siren. But that’s not what I use. Sirens are monsters. She was an artist. Possibly the most tortured artist that’s ever been.

  34. DMelde

    There’s not enough beer in the entire Corn Belt to drown my sorrow, so I bury it under layers of self-pity instead. I hide in its shadow and all I can hear is its incessant whining.
    It started when I took a job in a town I had never heard of before, sitting in the middle of a large, industrial size corn field. My job was okay. The people were nice enough too, but there was absolutely nothing to do there. I settled into my routine within the first week of arriving, and I went on snooze control. Then out of the blue, after two months of being asleep, posters went up all over town announcing Korn Fest. Korn Fricking Fest! Coming to my town!! A free concert!!! The rock gods had answered my prayers, and I would be delivered unto the Promised Land.
    On that fateful day I got there early, because what else did I have to do? I brought my flask, with a little weed tucked away for just the right moment. I wore my “God Paged Me” T-shirt. As I walked around the fairgrounds, I noticed everyone eating corn on the cob. It looked pretty good too, grilled, with the husks peeled back, and the cob dripping with butter. “What a great tie-in to Korn,” I thought. I got hungry so I went over to the corn lady, ordered a cob, and asked, “When’s the music start?”
    “Music? Why, they’re playing over in the tent right now.”She said.
    I grabbed my corn (she dipped it in a jumbo pot of melted butter) and headed over. The band playing sounded like an awful fusion between polka and country western. I recognized the singer from work. It suddenly dawned on me there would be no Korn concert. All week long my coworkers had led me on. “Those bastards,” I thought, “make fun of the new guy.”
    That’s when I left. I went to the nearest bar. I figured I might not be able to drown my sorrow, but I sure as hell could try. After a while the singer came in and walked up to me.
    “Can I buy you a beer?” he offered.
    “Sure, on one condition.” I told him, “You tell me why everyone lied to me.”
    “Aw, Dustin,” he said, “That wasn’t our idea. Come on over to the table. Explaining is somebody else’s job.”
    At the table he said, “Dustin, I think you know my kid sister Jenny.”
    I recognized her from work too, where we always seemed to bump into each other.
    “You did this?” I asked. “The Korn Fest signs around town? You got the town to spell it Korn?”
    “They always spell it Korn.” Jenny said. “I used it to get you to wake up and finally notice me.”
    I had to laugh, and notice Jenny I did. We had one hell of a memorable night, and it was the start of a lifetime of memories, with my Jenny.

    1. jincomt

      I liked the unique twist on this. It kind of hits a fantasy nerve: that someone would go to such elaborate trouble to woo you. You write so well that I look for your entries each week.

    2. JR MacBeth

      Some good stuff here! I especially liked, “an awful fusion between polka and country western”. That one sort of drew a picture, and played audio at the same time! Way to go.

  35. Handpicked76

    “Two glasses of Merlot, please.”

    “Courtney, that was the worst, I mean worst concert that I have ever been to in my entire life.”

    “Well, Lena, at least we found this great jazz club to drown our headaches and relieve ourselves from all the noise.”

    “I guess so. I’ll need Midol, Tylenol, Aspirin, and some Motrin to get rid of the bad taste that concert left on me.”

    “Why don’t I just make you a cocktail of anti-freeze, ammonia and bleach to take you out of your misery?”

    “Can you – not joke like that because Hallen Z is coming towards us?”

    “Are you serious, Courtney?”

    “Excuse me ladies, you look out of place. Where have you been tonight?”

    “We went to a…a horrible event.”

    “Was it that bad?”

    “It was worse than a seminar on the different scents of skunks.”

    “Where did you go?”

    “Um that’s privileged information, right Lena?”

    “Right Courtney”

    “I just left a horrible event myself. Can I refill your glasses?”

    “Well this place is about to close so…”

    “Where do you want to go?”

    “Truthfully…to a massage salon equipped with a wine bar.”

    “I can make that happen. Let’s go.”

    “Not so fast – we don’t even know your name.”

    “My name is Ezekiel Hall. Now can we go?”

    “Okay, we will join you on the condition that we drive ourselves and that you give us the address to our
    destination. Courtney has let her husband know where she’ll be.”

    “Deal, I’m at the Skyscraper Suites on the corner of Hamilton and Taft. Tell the concierge that you are there to see me.”

    The ladies drove up just as he exited his Bentley.

    “A rock star who rides in a Bentley, I would have never imagined that one in a million years, Lena.”

    “I was thinking a Maserati or an Astin-Martin.”

    As the ladies enter, they cannot believe how quiet and nice this hotel is.

    “Welcome, make yourselves at home. It will be a while before the masseurs arrive, but the wine should be here shortly.”

    “Ezekiel, what do you do to live in such grandeur?”

    “You don’t even know that I am Hallen Z? That speaks volumes.”

    “No, we know who you are. You are just so different from the performer we see.”

    “So you are familiar with my music? Wait a minute! Did you go to my concert tonight? Was that the horrible experience you had?”

    They looked at each other and back to him dumbfounded because neither could think of how to respond.

    “Do you have any pain relievers?”

    “I take that as a yes, Lena.” He gets her some pills and water.

    “So, Ezekiel, why aren’t you out partying? Isn’t that what rock stars do?”

    “I am not a partier, that’s just for show. I’m ready to fall in love and travel the world.”

    “Would you like to come with me Lena?”

    “I don’t know you like that.”

    “That’ll change tonight…”

  36. assaultymcnulty

    Rain fell hard and steady outside of the Beer Still on that wet September night.
    “Sam Adams and a shot of whiskey?”
    “Yeah make it a double will ya Rick?” I said making myself comfortable at my second home.
    I shook my head to every person I made eye contact with until they shook back in agreement.
    “A hundred and twenty bucks for that broke ass show! They didn’t sing one song from their original track! If it ain’t broke don’t fix !” I argued.
    “Lighten up Johnny, they’re just tryin’ to keep up with the times.” My friend Alan weighed in.
    “Ah who asked you?” I snubbed gripping my cold brew.
    “Did you see all the empty seats? I remember the days when you had to climb a fucking tree to a view.”
    “Oh quit your bitching, you sound like an old lady.” Doug added his two cents.
    I whipped my hair back and sprayed the mirror next to me.
    “Even mother nature hated it.”
    After I downed my third cold one I was feeling a tad more irate and itching for a fight.
    Just then the door opened and a few irregulars scuffled in, their jackets over their heads. They grabbed an empty seat next to me at the bar. There was something awfully familiar about him, but I couldn’t get a good look, until I glance in the mirror.
    “Holy shit! Dean Sunter?” I asked the lead singer of my former favorite band.
    He and shot me a quick heads up.
    “Speak of the devil. We were just saying how you’ve gone from hero to zero!”
    He peaked over his shoulder just enough for me to see the corner of his eye.
    “Ey piss off eh?”
    I stood back still trying to digest his response.
    “That’s how you treat to a true fan?!”
    “Look mate, ow bout I boy your nex round?” He asked in his English accent.
    “You can buy me a drink, if I can kick your ass!” I belted before shoving him off his chair.
    They say it’s the one you never see coming and that’s just about the way it was. When I came to, I recognized the faces of my friends. They helped me up and before I knew it we were in an all out bar room brawl. Chairs flying, windows breaking. Mike Tynan, the drummer, threw Doug on the bar and slid him from one end to the other, his face slapping every glass on the way. I got a few good shots in before it was all said and done. While both sides were still licking their wounds, I got the shock of a lifetime. Turns out, Dean Stunter the lead singer was just as pissed with his performance as I was and admitted that he needed to a good kick in the ass. Soon my terrible night got a lot better after the Band invited us up to their pad for a night of girls and partying.

    1. Cassiew630

      Ha! Funny that your main character would end up in a brawl with the band. I think with this story you could go with the happy ending that they made up or keep them enemies sharing a jail cell. Either way it would make the night memorabe for the main character. Good job!

  37. oceanjewel

    I was sitting at the bar after listening to what can only be described as “hell’s cacophony” (also known as a once popular band’s horrendous attempt at what the humans generally refer to as music) when I caught the eye of the lead singer. I was expecting this. It’s a rare event that I don’t captivate the attention of a man.

    He walked over to me and asked the classic question, “Can I buy you a drink?”

    These words always make me chuckle a bit. They never know when they ask that a drink is what I will have but just not in the way they envisioned. The usual custom goes something like this: they ask, if their scent arouses me I accept, we go back to their place and I drink, . . . and drink. . . and drink.

    Tonight, however, something was different. This mortal didn’t just stare at me with reckless lust. He looked at me with pain in his eyes and a look of surrender. He knew he would never be what he once was and his feelings of failure were palpable. It seemed he somehow sensed that I would be his angel of death ready to grant him the release he desired. Perhaps it was cruel, but I wasn’t ready to end his life. I wanted to experience a part of what he once was. I wanted the spotlight. So, I made him a deal.

    “You can buy me a drink under one condition. You will teach me to play the guitar and then we will perform together.”

    I could see he wasn’t expecting this response. “Teach you to play? But that could take –“

    “I’m a quick study. In just a few nights I will have what I want . . . and so will you.”

    I could see my offer awakened something within him and, though a bit skeptical, he accepted.
    That weekend, at the same local bar, I stood in the spotlight and my fingers outperformed every musician who had ever stood on that stage. I felt as though I had found a new source of nourishment. An energy I had never before experienced flowed through me as the crowd screamed and applauded. After three hours on stage we were both exhilarated. I could see that I reignited feelings of hope within him. I knew what he was about to ask me and stopped him before he could ask.

    “This is not who I am. I am not ready to live in the spotlight. I just wanted to experience it. I’m sorry, but if you want to go on you will have to do this without me.”

    He begged and pleaded but eventually realized that this was a one night only act.

    I leaned in close to him and slid my tongue across the points of both sharp fangs. “Now, how about that drink?”

    1. penney

      Damn! Now I have to decide to give my vampire story too or my karaoke one? Heads or tails? I did like this one though, the condition to learn from its victim, was well played.

  38. Cassiew630

    I slurped the last of my drink and asked the bartender for another round with the flick of my hand.

    “Do you want some whiskey in it?” the bartender asked.

    It was tempting, especially since I just came from the most pathetic concert I’d ever seen. Once upon a time, Shatter was magnificent, but now, they were nearly washed up.

    The bartender held up the whiskey bottle. It was like draping a porn star in front of a sex fiend.

    There was a time I would have said bring me the whole damn bottle. Not anymore. Not for the past two years, three months and 14 days. Being sober was a bitch, but so was being messed up out of your mind, losing your family, your career and your life.

    “Just the Coke,” I said.

    “You’ve really done it, Jake.” The bartender filled my Coke and set it in front of me. “Which, that’s great and all, but why is a recovering alcoholic hanging out in a bar?”

    “I’m waiting on someone,” I said.

    “Alright. Let me know if you need anything,” he said then left to serve another customer.

    Any moment the lead singer of Shatter, Corbin, should stumble through the door – sweaty, arrogant and wasted. He always came back here. Before making it to the big time, this was where he played.

    Corbin staggered in alone an hour later and flopped down two stools away. I moved over to sit next to him.

    “He, dude, give a man some space,” he said and turned to look at me. “Well, well, the dead walks again. What the hell do you want?”

    “To talk.”

    “The band’s vote was unanimous. Sorry, man, you’re out. If you can’t hang, we don’t want or need you.”

    “I don’t want back in the band,” I said. “I want you to get some help.”

    “Not this again,” he said. “First mom, then dad and now you?”

    “You’re killing yourself, bro. You look terrible and, damn, you fell off the stage tonight. You couldn’t even finish the set.”

    “It’s a part of the show.”

    “Bullshit.”

    “Fine,” he said. “I’ll go right now to your little rehab country club, but under one condition.”

    “Name it.”

    “Have a drink with me. Whiskey. There was a time you favored it.”

    I squeezed my glass. Of all the things to ask of me.

    “I can’t –“

    “Then get lost.” He reached over the bar, helped himself to a bottle, and took a long swig. Brown liquid dribbled down his chin.

    The decision of to save my life or my brother’s rocked through me.

    Corbin slammed down the bottle. Its potent smell floated into my nostrils. My self control was slipping.

    “Drink.”

    I wrapped my hands around the bottle. My mouth watered. Just one sip. I could handle that, right?

    I looked at Corbin. Sloppy drunk and stoned. Just like me once.

    I pushed it away.

    “I’m not doing this. Corbin, I’m walking out that door and I hope you come with me.”

    I walked through the bar, opened the door and was the only one to walk through. That night will always be imprinted in my mind, because it was the last time I ever saw my brother.

    1. Handpicked76

      I love your story. However, unless you tell us exactly how he dies, it would end there. It would be nice if you went into how you got to that point or this could be the epilogue.

        1. rob akers

          Nice story of what life is like late at night. It is a tough world out there.

          You said: “I hated being a middle-aged groupie” I guess she didnt hate it as much as she thought she would.

          Good Job and probably the closest of the prompts so far to having a really memorable night.

  39. jincomt

    What a night. First my date dumped me. Then the concert of a lifetime, Brady Taylor, sucked. The riffs had been incredible. But the singing was awful, and he’d completely skipped his best songs. If I had to be sitting in the third row alone, at least I wanted to feel like he was singing right to me. Now, I was just a lonely loser in an almost empty bar.

    I lay a ten down. “Just a seltzer this time. I got to get home.” I pushed my hair, behind my ear. I should’ve just left, but I didn’t get many nights out. Single moms rarely do, and the college kid I hired to babysit was there until morning. I hated to waste the freedom.

    I felt a man sit two bar stools down from me but was too tired to look up or care. “I’ll have a rum and coke, please,” he mumbled.

    “Bad night?” I heard the bartender ask.

    “You could say that.”

    I glanced down the bar. The man rested his head in his hands. His long, brown hair flopped down over his face. He looked utterly dejected.

    “Hey Pete,” I beckoned the bartender. “Let me get his drink for him. Poor guy looks like he’s had a worse night than me.”

    Pete nodded, handed the man his drink and jerked his head towards me. The stranger looked up.

    Unbelievable. It was Brady Taylor. In the dim pallor of the bar he looked tired. He lifted up his drink and gave me a nod.

    “My pleasure,” I said. I wouldn’t have bought him the drink had I known who it was. I hated being a middle-aged groupie. I drained the last of my seltzer and pulled out my cell phone to call a cab, time to call it a night.

    Then I heard his voice next to me. “Nice of you to buy me a drink.”

    Brady Taylor, wearing torn black jeans and a black t-shirt, had slid down next to me. His long hair smelled like sweat and shampoo. I should have felt excited. I’d been a fan for years. Maybe it was the exhaustion, or the horrible concert, or maybe it was the lonely bar giving us both a pathetic feel, but I just looked up and smiled. Up close his face showed his age. Hell, our age. “Rough night?” I asked as if I didn’t know.

    “The worse.” We both carried on the charade, letting him exist in anonymity.

    “I’m sorry. I’ve had better myself.”

    “Well, how about a dance then.” He got up and walked to the juke box. I followed.

    We both looked over the songs. I started to pick one of his, my favorite ballad called “Forever Night.” He stopped me.

    “No. Not that clown. Here, let’s try this one.” Instead he chose Elvis’s “Love me Tender”.

    He took my hand, and we did a slow sway in the almost empty bar. Brady hummed against my ear, his soft breath vibrating in my hair. Yep, this was about the best concert of my life.

    1. JR MacBeth

      Nicely done! You sure hit my soft-spot for single mums. One small item jumped out at me: “worse” vs. “worst”…unless that’s the way Brady talks, in which case it would be perfectly fine, which would more easily come out with a larger word allocation. As it is, it looks as lonely as you’re couple at the bar.

  40. sueseebee1

    I didn’t know eardrums could hurt but they did, still throbbing in time with the bass that finally turned off when the stage went dark. The lead singer had played the bass a quarter beat behind the drums, his voice lost in the mess of sound. We all needed a drink, and not one of the watery pink things we’d been slugging down.

    “Saw you sitting up close tonight. Let me buy you a drink. Looks like you enjoyed our little jam.” Oh God, it was singer himself, sans bass. Cute but no cigar. Used to be a lot cuter, forty-something years ago. Would have thrown clothing at him then. Now just glad I had my granny panties on. Made me feel secure.

    “No, thanks. We’re doing fine.”

    “Ah, come on, it’s my thing to cool down with my fans.” He looked earnest as hell. Kind of a puppy dog earnest. Scratch behind the ears earnest. “Want to see my bass?”

    What kind of line was that? Want to see my bass? Well why not?

    “Where is it? Back at your room?” My radar was up. Like I was ever going to go to his room. Would have paid to get to his room once upon a time. Maybe it would be fun. I mean…

    “No, course not. It’s back stage. Come on back. Brian and a couple of the guys are still there. Wanna meet them too?”

    “Sure, why not. Can I bring my girlfriends?” Okay, “girl” friends was a stretch. Women friends. Medicare buddy friends. But he and his group were collecting Social Security before us.

    Introductions were made amidst the typical backstage clutter–water bottles and candy wrappers, beer bottles and an uncapped bottle of JD. Not a fruit bowl in sight. A bottle of Ibuprofen was being passed around—Vitamin ‘I’, the super supplement of our generation.

    “How ya doing? Can I get you anything? Come on, sit down.” He was being awfully sweet. Solicitous even. I sat. He did too, snuggled next to me. Took my hand, looked deep in my eyes.

    “You know my name, but I don’t know yours. Besides beautiful.” Oh this guy was good.

    I managed to mumble “Jenny” as his fingers traced up my arm. Wondered how he felt about white cotton briefs.

    “So, Jenny, have to ask you something personal. You up for it?”

    “Sure, Mike.” My imagination raced. I was 18 again. Dreams do come true.

    “Well, Jen, you wouldn’t happen to be AB negative would you? See, my kidneys are getting ready to crap out. Hasn’t been an easy life, ya know? Looking for a donor.”

    He was looking for a kidney donor? How the heck could he guess I was AB Negative? Silver glinted in the lamplight. I was wearing my medical alert bracelet. AB Neg stood out in red. And another teen idol came crashing down.

  41. aksarben60

    “Yowsa!” I declared as I crinkled my face into a look of disapproval.

    “I know; it was the worst!” replied Randall. “What the heck? I mean, that was the worst show of my life!”

    I gently placed my hand on Randall’s slumped shoulders; he looked like a bug-eyed puppy that just poo’d on new carpet. “Don’t worry, Rand…there’ll be other shows. You just need to really start taking your vocal coach seriously if you want to have a real music career.”

    “You’re right. But, how can one person sound a hissing cockroach? It’s not normal.”

    “Maybe it’s a gift. Look, buy me a drink and let’s move on; there will always be another gig and if your music career doesn’t work out, you create cockroach mating calls!” I tried to make light of the situation and remind my husband that his identity is not his “music”. “Babe, one condition: remember that I love you no matter what or no matter how you sound. I will always support you and I will always be honest with you.”

    He planted a kiss on my lips, smiled with resignation and sauntered off to the bar to order us each an adult beverage. I watched him walk away and a sense of warmth came over me; the same feeling of unwavering love which enveloped me on our wedding day, five years ago.

    Randall wandered back to our table with a confused look on his face. More importantly, he had beers in hand.

    “Um, Jan, um,” he stopped short of finishing his thought and tossed a glance back at the bar. There sat a beautiful woman with hair as red fire and deep green eyes.

    “Do we know her?” I asked while glaring at the gorgeous twenty-something woman who so obviously was out to destroy our marriage at any cost. I determined this conclusion by the gleaming white smile she flashed at me as I gave her the stink eye.

    “Yes, we do,” Randall hesitated for a moment. “She is your sister, Jan.”

    I stared at him blankly momentarily and then barked with laughter and slapped my leg. “Oh, Rand, that’s a good one! You had me gave me a start there for a minute.” I softly pushed him to show that I was okay with his jest. I grew up an only child but wasn’t always an only child. My mom and dad gave up a baby for adoption before I was born.

    He cocked his head and looked me directly in the eye, “Jan, she is your sister. A year ago, she hired a private detective to locate you and he led her to me and the concert and that led her to you.”

    I stopped laughing and my smile slowly faded away as my eyes glanced at her once more. She stood up and gracefully walked toward us and Randall grabbed my hand for support.

    1. Handpicked76

      Nice twist and it leaves me thinking what did she do next. Did she slap her husband for knowing and setting her up or did she run and hug her long-lost sister?

  42. Imaginalchemy

    “Final Song at the Five-Staff Bar”

    “Absolutely abysmal,” Cornet sniped flatly.
    “Positively putrid,” piped Piccolo.
    I remained silent. It had been a disappointment—no, a disaster. The only reason the three of us had gone to this concert was to see our old friend Saxophone perform with his new band. While Sax had given it his usual gusto and finely-honed effort, the rest of those instruments—new-fangled electrified amalgams of wires and flame decals and sponsor logos—were a genuine mess. Gone were the days of organized orchestras and spectacular symphonies. Now it was cacophony that was in demand.
    We were at the Five-Staff Bar, down the street from where the concert had been. Cornet sipped at his shot of vinegar (cleans out the green gunk) while Picolo just kept stirring his drink of Lemon Joy and water.
    “Hey Clarinet, you think we could convince Sax to ditch those no talent hacks and start up the quartet with us again?” Cornet asked me.
    I still didn’t reply. Frankly, that horrific concert had knocked the wind out of me.
    When the door to the bar swung open, I didn’t turn around until Cornet and Picolo both let out quick little squeaks of surprise. Turning around, there was Sax, and he looked at us with an apologetic expression.
    “That was pretty awful, wasn’t it?” he said.
    “You were great, as always,” I answered weakly. “And the crowd seemed to love it.”
    Sax stuck out his reed. “Blegh, you don’t need to play me, Clare. Tell you what, next round’s on me. It’s the least I can do to make up for you having to sit through all that.”
    Cornet and Picolo were only too happy for a free drink, but I belted a quick note of refusal. “I only accept drinks from friends, Sax. Not instruments who abandon their quartet to sell out.”
    “Maybe it was a mistake, but did you expect me to say no when I was offered that contract?” Sax retorted. “This is my chance to shine. Otherwise I’d just be collecting dust like…” He sighed. “Sorry.”
    I thought for a moment. “You can really show you’re sorry by doing one thing for me.”
    Sax seemed to brighten a little at this possibility. “What’s that?”
    “Remember those couple of times when the four of us would just pick a street corner and play, not giving a darn who would listen or even care? We just played for us, you know?”
    “Yeah, I miss doing that.”
    I trilled a giggle. “Still remember our rendition of Rhapsody in Blue?”
    “How can I forget?”
    So, all night long and into the wee hours of the morning, a saxophone, a clarinet, a cornet, and a piccolo were playing on the corner of Mozart Lane and Bach Parkway, not hoping for fame or glory, but just giving their gift of melody to the atmosphere, letting the music fly freely, and making this final time together the most memorable night of carefree chorus we would ever have.

    1. Handpicked76

      Are you the same person who just wrote about the wedding of the food where the cheese was bad? If so, you should put these stories on a canvas and frame them. They would make great pieces of art. I love them and I would put a happier story of let’s say wine grapes coming together to make that perfect glass or the ingredients of pizza making a football-like play to be better than the Buffalo wings at the Super Bowl.

    2. HuffmanHanni

      As a former band geek, alto sax thank you very much, I loved this. My favorite lines were “Sax stuck out his reed.” and “I trilled a giggle.” Wonderful stuff. You captures the instruments although a sax, cornet, clarinet, and piccolo would be an interesting quartet indeed.

      1. penney

        Totally got the story from the start, loved it. You had me at “knocked the wind out of me” for sure. The street corner gig was a great tribute to classic music, fantastic.

  43. peetaweet

    We sat in the nearest bar, the first one we could find after what we had just witnessed, a dejected place that perfectly reflected our sentiments at the moment. We hadn’t expected much, but it was still Sledge, our favorite band from our high school days. Jake sat at the end, a beer and a shot in front of him, staring at the well worn wooden bar.

    “I can tell you exactly when it started going downhill, when they did that commercial. You know the one for Ford. After that came the teen shows, the movie soundtracks, and….the video game. They haven’t been the same since.”

    Mike and I agreed. “I know I never thought I would go to a Sledge concert and sit next to teenage girls, that was a little uncomfortable to say the least.”

    The sound of a stool sliding back on the worn hardwood floor got our attention. A disheveled mess of a man slowly stood up and walked over, plopping down beside me. Pulling his hair back from his face, we instantly recognized the familiar face.

    “You know what else sucks” he said, leaning closer, his breath smelled of strong whiskey, “watching it happen. Watching something you help build become this soulless beast, going through the motions, singing your songs without the slightest hint of feeling.”

    The three of us stared in disbelief. It was Sage “Maniac” Mitchells, the original lead singer of Sledge. He had started it all, his antics were legendary, and still talked about to this day. The guy had overdosed countless times, even flat-lined at one point. There wasn’t a rehab facility in the world that would touch him; he made Keith Richards look like one of the Hanson brothers.

    Jake was first to speak to speak, albeit simply.

    “Oh shit, you’re Sage Mitchells!”

    He seemed neither proud nor cocky.

    After being ousted from Sledge in the mid nineties, when the grunge era was coming to a close, Sage hadn’t left gracefully, speaking out publically to anyone who would listen. The group had stated they wanted to go in a different direction. Sage had formed his own band, with moderate success, but now as he sat in a bar, obviously stalking his old band, things must not have been going particularly well for the aging rock star.

    “You guys seem like a sensible bunch, let me buy you a drink.”

    Perhaps it was the booze that gave me the nerve to propose a condition for my long lost hero. I spotted the karaoke machine sitting in the corner of the small pub.

    “Okay, but first a song!”

    Needless to say, the second concert more than made up for the first. Sage performed for the small pub with all of the showmanship that made him one of the greats. As word spread, the small pub became packed as a line formed outside. He wasn’t perfect, at times we even helped him with the lyrics, but he put on a show for the ages that night, one that we would never forget.

    1. Handpicked76

      This sort of reminds me of the ‘Eddie Kane Jr. of the Five Heartbeats”. I love how you pulled out the reality of washed up artists and how they’re talent can still be there even beyond their abuse.

      1. penney

        Another example of reading other artist work before writing something of your own. Well written description of Sage’s feeling and where he’s been. Karaoke was an idea I was feeling out for mine but humiliation like singing Debbie Boone’s “You Light Up My Life”? Good pay back for the troubles but you did much better. I guess I’ll go with option 2

  44. slayerdan

    I sat down and wrote a couple–I am a concert whore and have seen over 400 live shows over the years–and I just didnt like what I came up with so far–I just dont feel I got that before, during, or after concert feel I wanted. So I think for a few days I will just read and comment. Good luck to all.

    1. Icabu

      Too many to count!
      With that many to mull over, there has to be a story or fifty waiting to be told. Can’t wait to see what you come up with. Rock on!

      1. penney

        For some reason KISS at the gorge in George, WA and my many AC/DC concerts stick fondly in my mind. McCartney wasn’t too bad either. Love to hear some of your stories.

    2. slayerdan

      LOL…..I honestly have no bad stories…I have loved every live show Ive seen. Regardless, I did have a couple of ideas hit me, I went with one–it went way different than i anticipated, but i still liked it.

  45. JWLaviguer

    “The only thing that could have made that worse was Justin Bieber joining in,” I said with total disdain. “Whose idea was that, anyway?” I ordered another round of tequila shots and wasted no time tossing it back.

    “Dude, it was YOUR idea,” Jason laughed. “I bet it makes you appreciate our shitty little garage band even more, doesn’t it?”

    I laughed. “No shit. I think we would have put on a better show than those has-beens.”

    I almost knocked over my beer as someone grabbed my shoulder. “What the FUCK!” I yelled as I jumped out of my seat. My jaw dropped when I turned around and found myself staring at the one and only Geoff Tate.

    “Hey, guys! I couldn’t help overhearing your conversation,” he said with a smirk. “I have to admit, that wasn’t pretty up there tonight, and I feel really bad about it. How about I buy you guys a round?” How could we refuse Geoff Tate? We were all huge fans of Queensryche, and were totally dismayed over what had become a rock and roll soap opera over the last few weeks.

    I was feeling no pain at this point, so I blurted out, “You can buy us a drink under one condition.”

    “Name it, and it’s yours,” he replied sincerely.

    “Okay,” I said, taking a breath. “We want you, Chris DeGarmo, and all of the guys to sit down and work things out. No business, just as musicians and friends. And whatever happens after that happens. Deal?”

    Geoff surprised me by smiling and saying, “Deal! I’m actually meeting them all tomorrow afternoon. Without lawyers, and without my wife, Susan.” I could tell he was upset about all the drama lately. “All I really care about is the music.”

    “You know,” I said, “Your best work was always with Chris DeGarmo. I mean, Mindcrime? That record is fucking BRILLIANT. And Tribe, too. That was your best effort since Empire. You have to do this for the fans.”

    “Yeah, you’re right. How about those drinks?” We all had a few rounds, and Geoff regaled us with stories of life on the road and how much fun they had in the studio. “Okay, guys, I have to get going, but first I want you all to join me up on stage for a number. Do you guys know Jet City Woman?”

    Boy, did we! We’ve been playing that one for probably 20 years, and, if I don’t say so myself, we sounded pretty damn good. “Oh, hell yeah!?” We all got up on stage, did a quick sound check, and waited. Geoff came up to the mic, and the place went nuts.

    Jet City Woman went off spectacularly, and we ended up playing for an hour. That was the greatest night of my life, at least until a week later when it was announced that Queensryche were back in the studio together, with Chris DeGarmo, working on a new album with a world tour to follow.

  46. cathymcdowell

    “Can you believe we paid $110.00 to see that show?” I asked my best friend.
    “Yea, it totally sucked, didn’t it?” Cindy asked.
    “Let’s go get a drink and maybe we can forget about the Rat Boy concert” I suggested.

    We were walking toward town trying to think of a place to go when Cindy stopped.
    “Hey Mavis, this place is giving free drinks to all the ladies from 10:00 – midnight. Let’s check it out” she said.

    We entered the bar and saw it was crowded. We could hear a lot of chatter and remarks referring to the concert.
    “Sounds like nobody was happy at the concert” I told Cindy.
    “Yea, I hear ‘em too” she replied.

    “Gimme a shot and a beer. I have a concert I need to get out of my head” I told the bartender.
    “Yea, you and everybody else in here” he said gruffly.
    “Get the same for my friend, will ya?” I asked.

    With our drinks in hand we walked around squeezing between patrons trying desperately to find a seat.
    Finally a couple walked away from the bar and we nabbed the bar stools.

    I had chugged my shot and took a big gulp of beer when the door opened.
    I nudged Cindy with my elbow nodding my head in the direction of the door.
    She turned back to look at me and said “No way! It can’t be him” she exclaimed.

    The lead singer of Rat Boys had walked in and was walking over to us.

    “Hello ladies” he said.
    “Hi” we replied not knowing what else to say.
    “Can I buy you ladies a drink?” he asked.
    “Well, I really don’t need another drink” I told him.
    Cindy just sat there with her mouth gaped open staring at him not answering.
    “Did you see the concert?” he asked.
    “Yes” was all I could manage to say.

    We may have thought the concert sucked but this is the lead singer standing right here offering to buy us a drink I reminded myself.

    “What would it take to get you to accept my drink offer” he asked.

    I thought for a moment and whispered to Cindy who was still not with it yet.

    “We will accept your drink on one condition” I told him.
    “Really? What would that be?” he asked
    “I’m not sure how to say this but tonight’s concert wasn’t that good” I managed to say.

    By now others had recognized him and were mingling around us.

    “What we’d like is a refund of our money” I blurted feeling a little braver knowing I had back up around me.

    “Yea, give us a refund” the crowd yelled.

    Danny, the lead singer looked like he wanted to run before he said “Yea, okay, no problem. I can see to it you all get a refund” he said.

    People were putting their hands out as if he was going to hand them cash.”You gotta give me a little time” he said.

    Danny pulled his cell phone out of his pocket and made a quick call none of us could hear.

    Turning around he said “I have great news. My manager said to meet us back at the Dome and he’ll refund everyone’s money providing you have your ticket stub to prove you were at the show”
    A burst of applause came over the entire crowd.
    “I also want to add, my voice sounded bad because I have been diagnosed with throat cancer and hearing all of your rejections, I know it’s time for me to give it up” he concluded before walking out.

    1. Autumn

      What an interesting twist at the end. Kind of sad…so did everyone get their money or were they so upset they decided he should keep it?? That is the question :-)!!

    2. slayerdan

      I would have much preferred a different direction—ala “everyone back to the dome for a refund” and as they filed out, he takes one last drink before making a beeline for the backdoor—-thats what Axl Rose would do. And while the patrons wait at the Dome, he heads to the next bad show.

      1. rob akers

        Axl would have started a riot.

        Nice story and good twist at the end. Kind of a bummer but I have the feeling he was saying that to make everyone feel bad for him. Never trust those singers.

  47. Autumn

    “Good Grief, Bruce, I’ve never been so disgusted in my life. We could’ve done better than that.” My friend took a huge drink of his whiskey.

    “It was pretty bad, Al. What were they thinking? I mean who jumps into the crowd when the first set of people is thirty feet from the stage?”

    “That part was pretty hilarious. I’m surprised that guy was able to get back up.”

    I nodded. I’ve been to some bad concerts in my life, but I had to admit that this one had been the worst. I took a swig of my beer as I scanned the crowd. Sppptt.

    “Dude!” Al yelled as he shook off some of the beer I’d just spit in his direction.

    “Sorry man.” I wiped my mouth with the back of my hand. “Look.” I nodded in the direction of the door.

    “Holy shit.” He stared. “Is that who I think it is?”

    I nodded. “He’s heading our way too.”

    “Hello mates.” JJ, lead singer of the Rockets, said as he reached us. “Mind if I buy you a drink?”

    “Fuck yeah!” Al blurted beside himself as he stared at JJ’s brown wavy hair and soul patch.

    “Only on one condition.” I stated trying to ignore the fan in me that was waiting to burst forth and attack JJ with an ensemble of ‘Dude, you’re awesome,’ ‘That set was insane,’ and ‘Man, what the hell were you thinking tonight?’

    “What’s that?”

    “You let us perform for you because believe me, dude, we could do WAY better.” I glanced at Al who looked like his eyes were about to pop out of his head. He couldn’t believe I was talking to our rock legend like this.

    JJ stared at me and then smiled. “You’ve got some guts man.”

    I shrugged.

    “Sounds good to me. We’re renting out a house down the way, you all interested in coming back with me and meeting up with the other guys? Maybe we could all play a set.”
    Al fell off his barstool and I laughed. This was Al’s dream come true.

    “Sure, our stuff is actually out in the car.”

    “Awesome man, let’s go rock out.”

    “Wait, what about that drink first?” I asked. JJ smiled and got the bartender’s attention.

    Four shots and three beers later, we were singing everything from “Stairway to Heaven” to “Sandman.” We stumbled to our car, grabbed our things, and joined JJ on his bus. As the bus driver drove us to the house, we had a few more shots, and continued to sing off pitch and very loud. When we arrived, the three of us piled out of the bus and headed inside. The rest of the night was a blur. There were introductions, laughter, more shots, more laughter, loud music, people screaming, and two fans getting to rock out with their rock idol. It was definitely the best night of my life.

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