In The Van On Comeback Road Part 10

author: Nolan Whyte date: 05/08/2006 category: fiction
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On Friday night I bite the bullet and call up Bobby. I felt terrible about how we left things when we got back from the tour. We barely spoke during the last few shows and didn't even say goodbye to each other when I dropped him and his kit off. I hated the idea that he and I might not be friends anymore just because of a few bad shows on a nothing tour. I call him and he doesn't seem pleased to hear from me. I think he's worried I'll ask him to come back and play drums for me again, but that's the last thing I'd want. Better to have him as a friend and leave the band out of it than get him playing again and have us not talking to each other. I ask him what he's been up to since we've been back in Toronto. Working, he says. Writing. Well, trying to write anyway. Not going well? It's hard work, man, and it takes forever to actually get anything finished. You know when you do something and it isn't quite right, so you do it over ten times and it still isn't quite right, but eventually you just say screw it, it isn't right, but I've got to move on? It's like that. Sounds like recording. It's a lot like recording except there's no one else around to kick you in the ass to get working. And no one to tell you if your work sounds like crap. Anyway, what can I do for you? Yeah, umLook, I just wanted to say sorry for all the drama and crap on the road. You know I wasn't trying to Yeah, Terry, don't worry about it, he says, cutting me off. Let's just have a laugh about it and put it behind us, alright? I don't want to make any big deal about nothing. Sounds good to me. Sodo you want to grab a beer tonight? Okay. Hey, you know that band with the chick guitarist we played with? They've got a gig at The Bovine, down on Queen West tonight. Who, Machine Within a Machine? My heart starts to beat a little faster at the thought of seeing Gina again. That's them. Did you want to catch their show? I wouldn't mind. Hey, are you and Jason going to keep playing? I'm not as happy with the thought of my own guitarist, Jason Pleasant. Yeah, we are. We found a new drummer who seems pretty good, so after he learns the material we'll try and get some gigs again. Cool, To my surprise, Bobby doesn't sound bitter or jealous at all. He sincerely wants nothing more to do with the band, but he seems happy that I'm going to continue. Look, he says, You should bring one of your demo discs to The Bovine. It seems like a place that matches your style. Hah. Okay Bobby, what's my style? He laughs. Oh, you know Terry. Rude, dirty, arrogant rock and roll. Hmph. Yeah, I guess that sounds about right. Okay, he says. I'll see you there about nine, alright? Sounds good. I throw on clean clothes and check my hair in the bathroom mirror. I dab a bit of gel into it to slick up a bit, which makes me feel silly, since I generally don't even check my hair before getting on stage. The thought of seeing Gina makes me feel a bit self-conscious, which I realize is bloody stupid, since the woman showed no interest in me at all when we met at the gig in Sarnia. Not to mention that I'm probably a good ten years older than she is, and hell, she's probably got a two hundred and fifty pound boyfriend who bench presses small cars and is prone to jealous rages brought on by crack and steroids. Anyway, I slip on my black jean jacket, put a demo disc in my pocket, and head out. As I ride bus to Queen Street, I entertain fantasies about what might happen tonight at The Bovine. I can see it all: Machine Within The Machine takes the stage. They are slightly drunk and under-rehearsed. The players fuck up continually, driving Gina nearly mad. Eventually, even before they reach the end of their set they begin arguing, and soon drop their instruments in disgust and storm off the stage. I meet Gina by the shooter bar and get her two shots of vodka to console her. She declares that she will never play with those assholes again. We slip outside to cool down, and I offer her a spot in The Terry Wilson Band. She agrees, and we soon find ourselves in the back seat of her car, where one thing soon leads to another It seems far fetched, but I've never been able to read on the bus, so I need something to keep my mind occupied during the ride. I get to Queen and Spadina and start walking west to the bar. The Bovine is a dark place, goth-tinged, with a massive sculpture of welded bicycles over the front doors and empty Jagermeister bottles displayed all the way around the room. The last time I was there was a year ago having beers with friends, and they were playing Andy Warhol movies on the televisions behind the bar. The place is dirty enough for me, but sometimes I wonder if I'm dirty enough for it. It's eight-thirty when I get there, so I sit down at the bar. The skinny guy working the bar looks like he just got off another job washing dishes for twelve hours straight. He's got bags under his eyes and bad posture. I nod to him and he comes over. Hey man, I say. Is the manager here? No. He'll be in later. Is there anything I can do for you? Yeah. I pull the demo CD out of my jacket pocket. I've got a band. We'd like to play here some time. Do you think you could give this to him? Sure. He takes the disc and chucks it somewhere under the bar. I order a Kieth's and wait for Bobby to show up. The band arrives before he does. At least, most of the band shows up. I recognize the singer, bassist and drummer of Machine Within A Machine immediately (even though I can't remember their names), but Gina is conspicuously absent. They start hauling their gear in through the front door, slinging it directly onto the stage. I get up and drift over. I catch the singer's eye, and he greets me. Hey Terry, he says, smiling. Coming to see the show tonight? Yeah, Bobby and I are going to check it out. Gina's not here with you guys? No, she'll get here closer to show time. She kinda pulls the prima donna routine sometimes, he says. Doesn't help much loading the equipment, stuff like that. I don't mean to bad-mouth her or anything, though. I'll talk to you after we get the stuff in, okay? Sure. I end up standing around while they do their load-in. More young kids are coming in and the place is gradually filling out. I start to feel a bit out of place, since the clientele of The Bovine is a lot younger than I am. All the same, there are lots of cute young women coming in, so I relax and just watch and wait. Bobby comes in, stops to say hello to the band as they set up their equipment, and then strolls over to me. Hey Terry, he says. Did you say hello to your fantasy girl? Who, Gina? Naa, she's not here yet. I guess she's not much for helping set up. He laughs. Well, aren't you glad you didn't steal her for your own band? I haven't ruled that out yet, you know. I'm still trying to figure out how I can replace Jason. Bobby orders a beer. What's the problem with him now? I don't know. He just seems to disagree with everything I say, like he's King Shit or something. Like what? Well, for example, I told him we're going to use my name for the band name. And he freaked out, like I just want them to be my backup players or something. Meanwhile, he wants to get up front and start singing, relegating me to backup status. He just gets up my ass with this type of thing. Bobby puts up a hand to stop me. Hold on. You're just going to use your own name? Yeah. Why not? I'm the one who's doing all the creative work. It's my band. These guys are pretty much just my hired help. Okay, but think practically, he says. No offence here, but you're not famous. Is anybody going to go see you play just because you're Terry Wilson? Think about it. And yeah, of course those guys are going to be bitter finding out that they're not equal partners in the project. I nod. Well, I'll have to talk about it more with the other guys. I notice Gina coming in the front door of the bar carrying her guitar case. She stops and talks with the band, checking to make sure they've set up her amp properly. Leaving her guitar there, she hops off the stage and heads towards the back of the bar where the bathrooms are. She passes within an arms reach of us, and I say hello. Hey, she says blankly, showing no evidence of recognizing either Bobby or me, and carries on to the ladies room. Bobby elbows me in the arm. Smooth work there, stud. She's practically begging to have your children. I shake my head. How old are you, Bobby, twelve? Jesus, I'm not trying to shag the girl, I just think she's a good guitarist. Yes, I'll admit she's easy on the eyes, but it's not like I'm going to try and get her in bed or anything. Jesus man, I'm going through a divorce. The last thing I want to do right now is start messing around with a new chick. Lies, lies, lies To be continued 2006 Nolan Whyte
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