"This is Red Potato, I repeat, Red Potato. Do you copy, Purple Watermelon? PURPLE WATERMELON!"
The scratchy sound of the baby monitor turned walkie-talkie startled Scott and Mark out of their stupor. The narrow alley behind the club had turned slimy with the rain, and they were crouched next to a dumpster near the emergency exit.
"Uh, which one is he talking to, dude?"
"You're Purple Watermelon, Mark. I'm Black Zucchini."
"Yeah?" Mark held the baby monitor up to his mouth and yelled.
"Like, copy, Red Potato."
"Say over'!" responded the static.
"Call me Red Potato! Take this seriously!"
Scott pulled his hood further over his head and adjusted his position. It had been almost half an hour since their set had ended to scattered polite applause. Elated as they were at the larger turnout, this night wasn't about their performance. As Dave cackled over the item absconded from Bessie's school, he explained their newest mission.
"Andro says we got, like, five minutes until it goes down." He looked at the lumpy black garbage bag in from of them. "Know how to use that thing, dude?"
"Probably." Scott looked down the alley to the street, longingly watching cars drive past, windshield wipers marching to a different beat than the pounding bass from within the building.
"Iyeah, this is going to turn out badly." He jumped when Mark slapped him on the back.
"Buck up, man. You're always, like, a total buzzkill. Stop killing thebuzz."
"It's raining and we're sitting in a crack alley, Mark. What the hell buzz are you talking about?"
"Life buzz, man."
"Okay, then. Well, this was certainly an enlightening conversation. How much longer do we have to stay here?"
"When we get the signal from Blue Pear and Pink Mango."
Bessie and Melody stood near left stage, surreptitiously glancing at a burly security guard.
"What are we supposed to do?"
"We are distracting the security guard with our feminine wiles."
"Then, um, what are Andro and Dave doing?" Dave winked at Bessie as he spun by, led in a waltz by Andronicus as they twirled around her and Melody. Melody looked over her shoulder at the pair then back at Bessie.
"A hell of a lot better job at it than we are." She sneered up at the Aluminum Cans. The whiney, lengthy ballad they played had their herd of fans entranced. Melody found herself yawning at how trite it was.
"You two ready?" Dave asked as he and Andronicus cut through them. Bessie wrapped her arms around herself and shook her head. Melody nodded grimly.
"Good. Black Zucchini and Purple Watermelon should show up during the last verse of this wretched excuse for a song. We'll show Air Conditioner who's cool"
"I should have been Black Zucchini," Andronicus growled. "Red Potato does NOT describe my gorgeous ebony complexion. I know not how much longer I can stand these offenses to my person!"
"Whatever, tomato tomato."
"You said tomato' the exact same way both times, Dave."
"Please refer to me as Orange Banana' during the operation."
"For crying out loud, who cares!?" Melody grabbed Dave and Andronicus by their shoulders, each in one hand, and stopped their rotation. "That security guy is staring at us!"
"That's the point," Dave said, confused.
"I know that! But, how are we supposed to"
"Silence, woman!" Andronicus hissed, eyes shifty.
"I'm sorry, what did you just call me?"
"II don't think he meant anything." Bessie made calming motions with her hands in an attempt to stay Melody's growing rage. Dave grinned and inclined his ear towards her.
"Just whisper sweetly into my ear"
"I should have just stayed in the alley."
"You looked like a prostitute, dear. We had to bring you inside with us. Now, tell me all of your secrets."
"Huh? Anyway, how are we supposed to do you-know-what with that guy keeping such a close eye on us?"
Dave put his arm around Melody's shoulders and drew her closer. Bessie gasped and Andronicus pulled a scented handkerchief from his pocket to sniff haughtily from.
"We have about half a minute until you-know-what. He'll be too distracted by that to pay attention to what we're doing. A smart girl like you should see that. That's why I picked you up off the streets." He winked conspiratorially and pushed her back towards Bessie. "Now, we wait." --------------------
"I can't believe you picked the lock."
"Believe it, dude. My faith gives me power."
"Your faith' is centered on Frisbees. Seriously."
"Don't judge me, man! I got us in, you got the thing, we're good to go. It sounds like it's almost time for us towell, you know."
Scott looked around the empty backstage area. A thick, dark red curtain separated them from the hall that would lead to the stage. Mark stood next to it, face set in determination.
"I know. Hey, Mark, you've become quite the orator of late."
"Andro has been training me. I can't act inappropriately before the Prophet."
"I had a vision that Dave would lead the Followers of the Fris into a glorious, disk-filled future. I need to, like, not embarrass myself in front of him."
Scott sighed. "I should really stop doing that thing where I ask questions," he mumbled to himself. "May as well get this over with," he said to Mark. "After you."
Grant let his vomit yellow, reliced Tele hang as he grabbed the mic with both hands for the last verse. Mike moved in closer to share the mic, a move that had made more than a few of their fans swoon in past shows. Seth stretched the beats on his kit, to fit the move, each on deliberate and full of feigned emotion. Grant took a deep breath and began to sing.
"And I'm watching you walk awaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa..." Out of the corner of his eye he saw something shiny being placed on the stage. It was a box of some sort, and the owner seemed to be a member of the fruit-named band the Cans used to make their own set look all the better. He saw a few raised eyebrows in the audience and he turned his attention back to the song.
"Awaaaaaa" Something was going on near the strange box. Grant widened his eyes when he realized what was happening.
"Howwhatis that a fog machine?" Mike spluttered.
"What the hell are you kids doing?"
"Sexual harassment! Pervert, let go!"
"You can't treat her like that, she isn't a hooker anymore!"
Grant looked away from the billowing fog toward the other side of the stage. Dave and his crew were forcing their way on stage, gear and all. He heard a clang from behind and turned. Seth was being hogtied by the kids he recognized as the drummer and the bassist, the bearers of the fog. A tall, caped figure flew at Grant, knocking him down.
"Kneel, plebian! In fact, I declare you must leave this stage. A commoner like you doesn't deserve to be in the presence of the great Me." An agitated rumble grew in the crowd as Grant was being hustled offstage.
"Grant? Seth? What's going on?" Mike, who had been largely overlooked, was now being stripped of his bass and pushed into the audience. "Help! Someone!" A group of tittering girls caught him before he hit the floor. All of them looked up at the invading band, offended. However, the fog prevented the majority of fans from witnessing the violation of their favorite band.
"Check, check. Testing. Is this thing on?"
"Isn't it obvious, Dave?"
"You don't have to be rude about it. Anyway, let's try this again."
The audience watched as a hunched figured approached them through the fog, a guitar slung low. A lone chord, deep and melancholic, rang out. It pulsed, almost parting the tendrils of smoke. A red light shone out from somewhere and the stage looked as if it were shrouded by a veil of bloody mist. A high pitched scream clashed with Dave's guitar, and the audience shuffled nervously. Their anger was melting into panic. Scott took up a steady beat on his hi-hat. Another scream and a murmured chant began.
"Peanut butter, peanut butter, peanut butter, peanut butter."
Mark, then Melody and Andronicus joined in. Bessie let out another wail, jarring the audience once more.
"This is the police, nobody move!"
Dozens of heads turned to the front door of the venue. Two officers had entered, guns drawn and eyes scouring the crowd.
"We have a report of an assault!"
Dave muted his guitar and looked back as his band. "I think we should probably go." Into the mic he said, "That was our new song Peanut Butter Salivation'. So, yeah. We'll be leaving now. Didn't Say Banana! Our next show is in the future!"
"It's nice to see you're being specific." Scott stood up and was edging off the stage. "Let's get the hell out of here."
"KEEPING THE SCENE ALIVE!"
With Dave's last words the band followed Scott backstage. Luckily the fog machine was still spewing a massive cloud; Mark tried to grab it but Melody and Andronicus pulled him away.
"There is no time, my good man! We must flee as if the hounds of hell are at our heels."
"Nice turn of phrase," Dave laughed.
"I'm at my best when the situation is most dire."
"Less talking, more escaping," Melody snapped. "Did someone grab Bessie? I think she's having a panic attack."
When he was almost too the emergency exit, Scott stopped. A shrouded person was blocking their escape route.
"Ah, Didn't Say Banana. I've been waiting for you." The speaker's voice crackled.
"And who might you be?" Dave asked politely.
"Heh heh heh. I'll let you go this time. Pray our paths will not cross again."
"Get. The. Hell. Out. Of. Our. Way." Melody took a furious step with each word and raised her trumpet case menacingly when she was close enough to the stranger.
"Dude, like, what?"
"I second that sentiment, Mark," Andronicus said.
"Whwhere did he go?"
"Whoa, dude, he just, like, disappeared!"
"No, he just moved over to the corner," Scott said, pointing. "Can we go already?"
"Yes, Scott. Yes we can." Dave walked over to the door and opened it, dragging Bessie by her arm. "Now, go! We shall reconvene sometime!"