Test Pilot

author: TheAlphaXany date: 07/23/2012 category: fiction
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Test Pilot
Hey UG, heres a small sample of my writing, did it for an intro English course at college. Tell me what you guys think... Should I write more? Constructive criticism is welcome. Intensity. I latched onto the frosted door handle and pulled briskly. Instantly, I was greeted by a mixture of smoke from various types of tobacco and that unmistakable warmth that is only found in a pub. After walking through the narrow, dimly lit hallway, I stepped onto the small, hardwood stage that was crippled with black streaks of wear with the rest of my bandmates who were already tinkering with their instruments; tuning a string here, adjusting a level there. Setting my guitar case down next to my amp and pedal board that had been set up hours prior, I turned and scanned the crowd, if you could call it that. I was greeted with twenty-or-so turned heads, most of them middle-aged men, quietly nursing along their Guinness or craft beer. That was pretty typical fare for a Thursday night at the Rusty Nail. However, there were some new appearances; younger people. I started to contemplate and entertain the notion that we might actually be getting a following after all. Any day now, champ the lead singer Tim said, half jokingly between his jet-black emo bangs and green, snake-bite piercings, snapping me out of my trance. With a half-hearted, nearly forced chuckle, I turned to my guitar case. The metal fastenings on the lid were cold to the touch and the black fur on the inside was chilled. Its an odd feeling really, cold fur, chilled fur. I would recommend you try touching it at least once. I stopped for a second to appreciate her glory, the flagship of my collection; a discontinued ESP-LTD M-200FM. Sleek black curves with a flamed-maple veneer that gave it an almost purple color at the body and a jagged, reverse headstock made it seem like a stealth bomber, sitting in the hangar, ever ready for take off. I reached out and grabbed it near the point where the neck met the body and noticed the strings were frozen to the touch; hardly an ameliorating omen. Cold strings could cause a lot of problems in terms of tuning throughout the show; from having crappy tuning from the onset to detuning halfway through the first song to having one snap halfway through the second. I tried to not let it bother me though, slowly warming the strings one spot at a time via placing my hands one after the other all the way up the neck. Once I had reached the headstock, the strings were not half as chilled as they were maybe three minutes ago. Methodically unfurling my fifty foot cord and plugging it into the ancient pedalboard attached to my starkly new amp by contrast, I overheard the bassist Sam say to Tim out from under his blond, less emo bangs Can you introduce us as The Rubber Band' tonight? Its not too late to change the band name now. Shut up, Sammy. Your damn stupid-genius has to take a break for now. He replied as fluently as he could through his laughter. I could hear my rail thin drummer, Freeman, laughing behind me and couldn't help but laugh myself. It was statements like those that proved the old adage Freeman and I had when it came to the musings of Sam. Half the time pure idiocracy, Half the time pure genius, Half the time... Well... Both. After we had all collected ourselves, we exchanged glances and Tim took it as a sign that we were ready to start. Turning to the crowd and stepping across the tarnished stage, up to his dented mic he said Hello, we are Fears Become Flaws and this first one is called 'Foreign Policy'. There was no greeting applause; tough crowd. Never the less I took it as a cue to start and with guitar in hand I turned to my spiked hair, beanpole drummer and gave him a nod to count me in. At the end of the four high hat count I started out with the quick paced, three note pentatonic lick that comprised the genius of the song we called "Foreign Policy" (I had argued, at length, for it to be called Dr. Strangelove due to the nature of the film and message of the song, but seeing as how my compatriots didn't recognize the reference, it was to no avail). I was rounding the second pass of the riff, playing more fervently this time, building up a stern, steam engine-like intensity for the rest of my band who had yet to join in. At the start of the third pass, there was a cymbal crash that was followed by the growing tymphany of a snare roll played expertly over top a four count bass drum. It was just like Freeman to always be on time like that, even though I was playing faster than normal. On the fourth pass I could feel a jolt of electricity run up the base of my spine to the tip of my jaw, that effervescent adrenaline working its magic once more. I held the final note of the fourth run and waited for the lightning to strike; and strike it did. The crash cymbals roared throughout the small tavern, encapsulating the audience and cuing the bass to start trucking. I switched the notes in the riff into power chords and dropped them down a few steps, sweat started to bead on my forehead; the cogs of the war machine had started to turn. With the help of Sam and Freeman, I pounded out four more measures of the modified main riff and held out a power E chord for Tim to start the verse, letting it resonate in the ether created by the smoke plumes and blazing-hot-but-dimly-lit amber lights. WE FIGHT THESE WARS Tim blared into the mic. I hit a power G. THEY NEVER END Then a power A rang from my amplifier. WE CAN NEVER SEEM Another ain't-nothing-but-a-G-thang entered the room, followed quickly by a swarm of E's. TO MAKE AMENDS Tim roared, signaling a change. Breaking into the second half of the verse, I started to play a gallop that combined the three chords from the first half. The result was a high-gain chug fest that made my head bob in sync with my now-racing heart, and I felt the eyes of the crowd fall upon me. They did not rest there for long however, due a thunderous roll from Freeman's kit that catapulted us into the chorus. Admittedly, this was my least favorite part of the song, the instrumentation wasn't the greatest after all; an uninspiring cacophony of chords while Sam played the main riff underneath and Freeman played a galloping bass-snare line. But those words I think I will never forget We're still trying, and I don't know why. What's the point in fighting, every time? It's the same old path, that we shouldn't choose. When the game is over, everyone will lose. With that the chorus was over, back to the main riff and a grin came to my face as I reveled in the pentatonic goodness. At this point the near crowd had surrendered itself to the machine, bodies started to fly back and forth and tables and chairs had long since been pushed out of the way. Humanity had seemed to escape the bar at this point, people about the bar were hurling inaudible screams and shattering beer bottles left and right, sweat pouring off their faces like hogs. The stage lights had grown ever hotter and a humid mist of sweat started to fill the tavern. Beneath it all there I was, basking in the glory of the sun lights, perspiring in streams, aspiring to pipe dreams. Its moments like these that you live for; times where the mind goes blank and there is only action. There is no thought, no worry, no planning, just action. No other drug, no other substance on this planet can take you there; the best high I have and will ever know. By the time the chorus had rolled around again, I didn't even seem to care about it. I was blaring down this highway on life, flames flying from my nostrils. With every note played those flames were fed, growing everso hotter, the machine roaring ever more intensely. We reached the main riff again and the audience could barely be contained, it was as though we were giving them something they needed, and had been waiting for, for decades. Filling an emptiness that only this high-octane euphoria could. If this emptiness hadn't been fed, I was sure that... Everyone will lose! Tim cast the last words of the chorus through the PA system and we were into the bridge. Instantly I started playing the 190 beat-per-minute aeolian ascension and, right on cue, Freeman followed with a rolling high-hat snare combo. Sam took this time to collect himself and Tim rolled some spoken word into the mic Is this what foreign policy's become? Each word pouring gunpowder and kerosene into the vessel that was my soul. Live by the sword and die by the gun? Each word was a plume of butane lingering around me. We need to march to our own beat, not a war drum. Are we too blind to see what we've become? Then I started playing only the last note of the ascension, like drawing out a fuse. See what we've become? I was playing the note ever faster, gaining speed like a jet fighter in free fall. SEE WHAT WE'VE BECOME? My right hand had become a white blur of energy, waiting to be released. WHAT WE'VE BECOME?... GO! There was the spark that ignited it all. I immediately jumped an octave, sliding my hand all the way up the neck towards the bridge and started wailing away in the G minor pentatonic, stomping on the silver relic of a pedal board before me. Eventually the bastardization of the main riff I was playing through the wah pedal transformed into a sonic dragon, blaring through the now palpable air comprised of perspiration and smoke. I was at the reigns of all my passions, circumventing themselves onto my fretboard via my fingers, at what must have been nearly 220 beats-per-minute. I landed the beast with a tap harmonic triplet arrangement and the whole band went silent while Sam played an eight note bass transfer. Then everyone went right back into the final chorus, crowd and all. They had become part of the machine, the whole tavern was rocking with our might, the recessed lighting swaying like pendulums. As we finished, Freeman landed a final drum fill and the symbols temporarily deafened me as I blared out some final E chords. Just like that it was all over, I slowly regained my hearing as I looked out, shaking, at nearly thirty newly-empowered and fulfilled souls, ready for the next song.
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