The members of Pattern Disruption take a break from rehearsing when Jay, Danny and Steve enter the garage. The garage is attached to Julie's house, and the beautiful blonde digs some folding lawn chairs out of a stack for the guys to sit on. Jay reaches into his backpack and passes beers around to everyone, and he and Steve explain the situation, telling about their stolen gear. Then they make the offer about sharing gear for a gig at Duke's to make the cash to buy new equipment.
Holy crap, Ron says, shaking his curly head. Man, everything is gone? That sucks.
Everything, Jay says. They even stole our patch cords. We really don't have anything to use except old practice gear.
Yeah, Danny says with a soft chuckle. You should see this little guitar he has. It's hilarious.
Jay quiets Danny with an angry stare. Danny turns away and sips the beer his brother gave him.
Any chance of getting it back? asks Scott, Pattern Disruption's guitarist. Like, checking the pawn shops and stuff like that?
It's possible, Steve says, scratching his head. Assuming the thieves sell the stuff right away and they sell it nearby. There must be a hundred guitar shops in the state though, and who knows how many shitty pawn shops. There's always a chance we'll get it back, but who knows how long that could take, right? So you see how important it is that we get help from other bands in the scene right now.
'Scene' snears Ron. This town doesn't have a scene. It has half a dozen college bands that all hate each other and half a dozen cover bands that are all drunks and ex-cons.
Well, not quite, say Julie. But you won't get the money to replace all your gear just from one gig at Duke's. You need to do something big. What you should really do is organize a benefit.
Steve laughs. No, no. I thought we'd mentioned: we had our gear stolen at a benefit. If we had our own benefit, what would they steal then? Our clothes? Our teeth?
Jay ignores his bass player. I see what you mean, Julie, but I'm not sure they actually make very much money when they hold those things. Even that event last night, I doubt they made more than a grand after expenses.
You can do way better than that, she says. Seriously, I know about organizing things like this. I love event planning. I bet we could set something up and make...maybe five grand.
Bullshit, says Steve.
You should listen to her, Kathy says from behind the drum kit. She's serious about this stuff.
I am. I totally am, Julie says. Look, you get a venue that can hold six hundred. You charge eight bucks in advance and ten at the door. You tell all the local bands what it's for and get a bunch of them to play for free. You pimp the shit out of it so you fill the place, and aside from some costs, you walk away with an easy five grand for new gear.
Any band in town would step in and play, Kathy says. Anybody can understand something like stolen gear.
Steve looks at Jay. What do you think?
It sounds too easy, frankly, Jay says. Snap your fingers and sell six hundred tickets. That's a lot of tickets for a town this size. Major acts don't get that.
Major acts never come here, Scott says. They skip this shit-hole and play Indy. You just have to work the fuck out of it so it becomes an event, not just a gig. Get every music fan in town interested. You know, get some serious word of mouth going. And get the other bands to work the promotion too.
Jay rubs his chin and thinks it over. We'd have to talk with Tyson and Peter, he says. He looks at Julie. You're serious about this stuff, huh?
Yeah. I'm totally an organizer. I could help you guys plan this if you wanted.
Hmm. Maybe we could get that guy Nick from last night to help us too. He owes us now.
Right, says Steve, drinking down the end of his beer. Nick the dick. Nick the prick. Nick the Prickle-Dick.
Jay nods to Julie. Can I use your phone?
She leads Jay into the house. The others sit awkwardly looking at each other.
You know what you should really do, says Ron, is put together a posse to hunt down the bastards that took your gear.
Yeah, because assembling posses is definitely one of our skills, says Steve. He reaches into Jay's backpack and pulls out another can of beer. Besides, Danny and I figure it was dirty, no-good high school kids who did it. Right, Danny? He gives Danny a teasing punch in the leg. Danny gives him an angry look but doesn't say anything.
Hey Danny, says Kathy, did you learn any more Misfits songs?
Danny grins sheepishly. Um, yeah. A couple.
Do you want to play something? She picks up her drumsticks and gives the toms a quick hit.
I don't have my guitar.
Scott will let you use his, she says, looking at the tattooed guitarist. Right Scott?
Um, actually I don't really like...
Oh, come on Scott, says Steve, slapping Danny on the back. Danny knows what he's doing. He's like Slash. We call him Slash Hendrix. He's our new rhythm player. Come on Danny, let's hear you play something.
Scott shrugs and pulls his Fender off. He holds it out for Danny to take, and the younger boy grips the instrument by the neck. He pulls the chair nearer to the drum kit and tries get comfortable with the guitar. Ron, Scott, Steve and Kathy watch as he shifts and adjusts in the seat. After learning on Tyson's acoustic, the electric guitar feels too small in his lap.
Scott passes Danny a pick. The kid feels sweat run down his underarms and he knows his face is getting red from being watched by the others. He positions his fingers, finding C, then checks F and G as well as he gets ready. At last he positions his pick hand and strokes it over the strings. There's almost no sound.
It's turned down, says Scott. Just use the knob...yeah that one. Other way.
There's a hum from the amp and Danny touches the pick very gently to the strings. There's a buzz of guitar fuzz from the amp. He puts his hand to the strings to mute the sound and adjusts the volume down.
He looks at Kathy. You know 'Last Caress'?
She smiles. Sure. She taps the sticks and crashes the cymbals as Danny strikes a C chord. He waits a long beat then hits an F, adjusts his fingers and hits G, then hits another C. He then begins earnestly strumming the C.
Whoa! Whoa! shouts Scott. Danny stops. It's an electric! Lighter touch or you'll break all the strings.
Right. Sorry. He starts again, playing slowly. Kathy falls in behind him, providing a light beat behind his slow, irregular strumming.
Steve nods to Ron, and the Pattern Disruption bassist passes his instrument to his Hellakill counterpart. Steve slings the instrument over his shoulder and picks up the rhythm with Danny and Kathy, filling in the sound and helping Danny keep his place.
Okay, now D, he says, and back to C. Cool.
They play through a clumsy instrumental version of the song. Normally it's a two minute speed-fest, but they play very slowly and give up after three and a half minutes with the song not finished. Ron and Scott clap politely, holding their cans of beer.
Danny looks at Kathy. He has sweat running down his face. Do you want to play it again? he asks.
Do you know any other songs?
Um, I'm trying to remember.
Do you know 'We Are 138'? asks Scott, reaching out to Steve and taking the bass. That's a pretty easy Misfits song. Just three chords. He takes the bass and begins to slowly play. E, C and D. He sings: We are 138...We are 138...We are...138.
Kathy picks it up and starts tapping along with him. Danny stares at his fingers as he tries to find each chord and play along. Steve leans in close to point where his fingers are supposed to go.
Inside the house Jay can hear the fumbling guitar and he knows that Danny is trying to play. He winces as his brother hits a sour note, but tries to ignore it and dials Tyson's house number. After four rings the singer answers the phone.
Hey, Tyson? It's Jay. I'm here at Julie's place. They say they'll do the show at Duke's no problem, and they actually have another idea. He looks at Julie and she smiles excitedly back. We're talking about maybe organizing a benefit show. Get some of the other bands involved, and really making a big event of it. Julie says we might be able to make five grand. What do you think?
Another bad note comes through the open door to the attached garage.
That noise? No it's not Pattern Disruption. I think Steve is fooling around on the guitar. Yeah, I know, he sucks. So listen, what do you think? If we really could make some good cash doing it, then we should go for it, right?
Julie watches Jay as he stands listening to Tyson over the phone. He listens and listens, eventually looking over at her and making the talking mouth sign with his hand. Okay. Yeah...Okay...Yeah, good point...Okay. We'll talk things over a bit more and try and come up with something. All right, I'll give you a call tomorrow.
He hangs up the phone. Jeez, he's a talker.
What was he going on about?
Well, he pointed out that we're not going to have proper gear to rehearse with while we get ready for the show. We don't have the money we would need up front to bankroll it. We don't have very close relationships with many of the bands in this town, especially the ones that would draw people in. Stuff like that.
What a fun guy. He must be great to be in a band with.
No, no. Jay puts his hand to his chin and thinks. It sounds like he's just talking negative shit, but it is all true. He's smart with that type of stuff. He sees what needs to be done, and he's not going to let the band commit to anything unless he knows we can pull it off.
I guess that's good. Julie shrugs. But he still sounds like kind of a downer.
He's cool. They stand in the kitchen for a moment, listening to the squawking guitar, accompanied by a smooth bass and drums, with slightly off-key singing.
Is that your brother playing guitar? Julie asks.
Jay nods, given an embarrassed smile.
Does he know anything besides Misfits songs?
I'm starting to teach him our set.
Julie's eyes pop and she laughs. You're kidding! Are you going to get him playing with Hellakill? Like, on stage and everything?
Jay holds his finger to his lips. Shh. It's a secret. Another clashing note can be heard. Besides, he still has a way to go. So don't say anything.
I promise, she says with a winking smile. Come on. We've got an event to plan.
They walk into the garage and Scott, Danny and Kathy bring the song to a close, with Kathy playing a long jazzy roll to finish. She smiles at Danny. Better than sex, she says.
Danny flushes red.
2007 Nolan Whyte