I wake up to somebody snoring; Tommy to be more specific. He's leaning against me with his head on my shoulder, drooling on my sleeve. I'm leaning the arm of the sofa. The TV is on, playing the menu music of the Pulp Fiction DVD over and over again. If it was anyone other than Tommy that was sleeping with his head on my shoulder, I would feel a bit gay, and I can hardly say I'm too keen on the drool. But it is Tommy, and I've known him since high school, and this is hardly the most bizarre thing we've ever done: one of my fondest memories was the looks on the faces of a group of homophobic punks when Tommy and I started making out in front of them, and then asked if anyone wanted a blowjob. Good times, good times.
I shove Tommy off of me, letting him wake up with a snort. He looks around with squinted eyes.
F--k's going on? What time is it? he grunts.
I look at the clock on the wall.
Twelve-oh-three in the afternoon. I respond.
I think we decided to finish up the last of the vodka.
How much was the last of the vodka'? Tommy looks around the room groggily.
Um, two bottles, I think.
No thank you, I retort, I'd rather proceed to take a shower. Without you.
It's been exactly a week since Doc and I talked to Steve, the manager of the Dimebag Bar. We've come pretty far with the set list, but with less than a week to go and quite a few unpolished edges, it's safe to say I'm just a little bit nervous that might not go squeaky clean. Not to mention that I'm rather pissed at the fact that those Renegade Asylum brats think they can bully a poor bar manager just because their daddies have six-digit salaries.
By the time I'm out of the shower I can smell coffee and eggs; Tommy bought some groceries, which I'm very grateful for. As I zip up my pants and tighten my belt, my cell phone rings. It's Sam.
Answering, I say: hey buddy, what's up?
Hi there; I'm having some trouble with the Kyuss song. You think you can help me out a bit?
Sure, come on over. Tommy and I were just about to eat breakfast.
Alright, he concurs, I'll see you in twenty then. Cheers.
Tommy looks up from the frying pan. What was that all about?
Sam. He's coming over to get some help with Supa Scoopa, I say, pouring a cup of coffee.
Cool. Tommy dishes us up and we sit down to eat.
Twenty-three minutes later we hear a Vespa coming down the street, parking outside the apartment complex. There's a knock on the door, and I let Sam in, amp in hand and guitar on his back.
Hi there, he says, stepping inside and proceeding to plug in his amp.
I flick on my own amplifier, tuning up and going over the basslines of the song.
Alright, what did you need help with? I ask.
Well, for starters do I really have to tune the whole guitar down to a C?
Yes, we hear Tommy shout from the other room, We don't want any one-octave-up pussy shit! We play as the original!
I look at Sam, smiling. There's your answer.
Alright, he sighs, I don't know, I guess I'm just a bit afraid of the neck bending or something because of lack of tension.
I'm sure it will be fine. You're not the first guitarist to do this, I assure.
Sam proceeds to tune the guitar down to C; a laborious process, as the overall tension always changes when he tunes down a new string, therefore the strings he's already tuned down don't stay where they're supposed to be. After several minutes of going back and forth between strings, grumbling in frustration, the guitar is finally completely tuned down.
Sam mucks about with the distortion a bit, trying to mimic the low, fuzzy sound on the original recording. After turning more than just a few knobs back and forth, he seems to be satisfied. He strikes some power chords, plays a few riffs from the song, tries the first few notes of the solo.
Alright, what else did you need help with? I enquire.
Well, the rhythm confused me a couple places, and I had some trouble with keeping time in the solo, he explains. I was hoping it might be easier if I played with the bass.
Sure, I say, let's go for it.
By this time, Tommy has come out to listen. He grabs his bongo drums and joins us. We play through the song once, and all I can say is that I'm impressed with how accurately Sam has learned the song.
Shit, I exclaim, that was awesome!
So it sounds good? he asks anxiously.
F--k yeah, it sounds great! Tommy grins.
Just then, Tommy's cell phone rings.
Oh, hey baby. How've you been?
Oh, good, good
A party? Cool! Are the drinks free?
Awesome Yeah, I'll definitely be there. Is it okay if I bring a few friends?
Sweet Yeah I'll be there. See you then, sugar.
Sam and I look at Tommy.
F--k was that all about? Sam asks.
Want to go to a party? Tommy says with a huge grin.
Yeah! We could promote the gig.
Alright, I say, let's do it. Sam, are you in?
Sure, he answers, I'll call Doc, see if he wants to tag along.
A party, I have always thought, is an interesting social concept: First, let us look at the key in any social gathering, the network: the network is a representation of how the various people know each other. Let's say that the host of the party invites three people. These people invite three more people each, then they each invite three more people each, and so on. Very soon you will have a large group of people at a party, that only have the connection of a mutual friend, when they are, in fact, not acquainted with each other. Yet they have the mutual friend in common, and this may lead to the striking of a friendship between the two unknown people. And so a network is formed, with various joints that were previously not connected, suddenly forming alliances.
Let's look at another aspect: the recourses necessary to have a party, ergo; snacks, drinks, etc. Obviously it is unnecessary for everyone to bring recourses, but somebody has to. It's usually expected that the host should have a meagre amount of the necessities, while those with financial stability are the ones expected to bring goods.
I ponder over all this as I walk side by side with Tommy, Sam and Doc down the street, a bottle of vodka in one hand and a six-pack in the other. It was actually Doc who brought the drinks along, but for some odd reason he didn't want to carry them. We're walking through a suburban neighbourhood, looking at the various houses.
Jesus Christ, Tommy, why couldn't you remember the f--king address? I grumble.
I told you, I haven't been here in, like, two years! he says defensively.
Well, who is this person?
An ex. Sort of. We never officially ended it. He goes silent for a moment, before continuing: she still calls now and again for phone sex.
God, my feet ache, Sam groans, we've been pounding these sidewalks for half an hour looking for this damn place.
F--king capitalist suburbia, Doc mutters. Everything looks exactly the same!
Isn't that what communism is all about? Tommy jibes. Put everyone in equal, identical square, grey boxes?
F--k you, pretty-boy! Doc snaps. That's a bunch of American government propaganda bullshit! Yes, communism is about treating everybody as equals, but more importantly: tending to the needs of individuals. The capitalist system wants to label and categorize everyone and everything, and then let private business enterprises control the entire monopoly and charge exorbitant rates for services that the government has a responsibility to give to the people for free, such as health care, public transportation, education
Alright! Alright! Tommy interrupts, sorry I asked!
Quiet! I bark. I think I hear music.
Blood is pounding around my ears after walking on hard pavement half an hour with the scorching sun on my back, but in the distance I can hear a thumping beat.
Yeah, Sam says hopefully, it's coming from over there. He points to the right.
We head down an alley, on to a new street. The music gets louder. We keep walking, and I can hear the lyrics clearer and clearer:
I'm keeping an eye pulse, an ear to the track, and penance in a locket, dropping from the highest floor
Turning the corner, we bump into a sorority of girls, all looking ravishing.
Hello, my dears, Tommy says in a silky-smooth voice. Are you ladies heading to the party?
We sure are, one of them answers in that unmistakable helium playboy-bunny voice.
Do you know the exact address?
Would you mind if we just follow you then?
The girls look at each other, giggling. Sure sweetie. Just come with us.
Tommy slips into the middle of the small group. Doc, Sam and I roll our eyes in unison and follow them from a couple feet behind.
We get to the house, and step inside. The place is packed, and it takes a little while to shift our way into the living room. In there, a sexy-looking brunette with an abundance of eye shadow comes over and gives Tommy a long hug, but she's polite enough to ask who we are, and Tommy proceeds to introduce us one by one.
Really nice to meet you all. I'm Melinda, she says enthusiastically, giving a huge smile that reveals two rows of clean, white teeth. I think she's a little bit stoned.
The drinks are free-for-all. We're just sharing everything, so just put your drinks in the kitchen and take what you want. If you want a hit, we're smoking upstairs, and we've got plenty of weed. Someone also brought some coke, she continues, if you're into that kind of thing. Have fun!
Then she disappears back into the crowd.
Alright kids, I say, addressing my fellow band members; go have a good time, but be sure to mention the gig at every opportunity. Get as many people to say yes to coming as possible, and tell them to bring friends. The more packed the place is, the better. And no need to mention the Renegade Assholes, I add, if lots of people come thinking we're the main event, all the better for us.
Sam smirks. That's dirty.
Well, if those f--kers are really as snotty as Steve said, they deserve nothing less than being booed off the stage, so let's see if we can't make that happen. I retort.
Alright, says Doc, let's knock em dead.
We split up. I head for the kitchen to put the beers away, hiding the vodka in a cupboard. Sure, I'll share it, but no need to let someone else take it, thereby missing out on the fun altogether.
I grab one of the beers from the fridge, popping the cap off with one of the many bottle openers on the kitchen counter. As I've said before, it's hot, and being surrounded by a couple hundred people, all breathing hard and taking up space, I appreciate the cool liquid as it runs down my throat.
A voice behind me speaks:
It's a familiar voice: the voice of a waitress in a small caf where Doc, Sam, Tommy and I discussed our set.
I turn around and see a gorgeous girl in a tight yet elegant grass-green summer dress that matches her eyes perfectly. Her ruffled blonde hair rests on her shoulders elegantly, and her complexion is one of beauty and simplicity. She's tall, but not quite as tall as me, her figure is slim yet wholesome, her breasts round and beautiful, her legs shaped as if by a master sculpture, skin as smooth as silk. I feel my pulse speed up.