It's dark and silent where I wake up. My mind flashes back to the stage, blinking awake after getting cracked in the face with a beer bottle, but I know I'm in a different situation now. The trouble is, I don't know where the hell I am.
A coffin? Am I in a coffin? Of course, sooner or later everyone wakes up in a strange place in the dark and wonders for a moment if they were accidentally presumed dead, put into a coffin and buried alive. It's a scary thought, but after stretching out my arms and not finding a lid above me I breathe a sigh of relief and start feeling my way around.
I discover that I'm lying on a couch. Feeling dizzy, I get up and begin to inch my way across the cement floor. I can see a dim line of light beneath a door, up around eye level. I'm in a basement.
I try to walk towards the light but catch my foot on something and end up crashing over something metal and spikey. I can feel my fingers jammed in between little wires which I realize are bicycle spokes. This basement is a death-trap.
Christine must have put me down here. She's the last thing I remember from the show the night before. I remember getting in her car, then nothing. Why the hell would she stick me down here in her basement? I drag myself over the pile of bicycles, moving towards the door. I catch my clothes in the pedals and get caught on the filthy chains.
God, maybe Christine never intended me to get out of this basement. Maybe she's upstairs sharpening her knives, knowing I'll never be able to find my way out of this bicycle-filled hell.
I make it over the bikes and crawl on my hands and knees toward the light, finally finding the bottom of the stairs. I crawl up until I reach the door. As I find the knob I hear muffled music and laughter from elsewhere in the house. Christine must have other lunatics with her as they prepare to sacrifice me to their pagan god. Hopefully they are putting on leather and vinyl bondage gear to perform their cruel acts of murder. Somehow being disemboweled by insane groupies would be easier to take if they were sexily dressed.
I open the door. There is a kitchen. The light hurts my eyes, but I can see a sink piled with dirty dishes. The place looks old and poorly maintained. I look at the clock on the stove. It's four o'clock in the morning. Pizza boxes are stacked on the table. I flip the top one open. It's empty. The bastards.
The voices are coming from down the living room. I peer around the corner. There are several young people sitting on the couches and on the floor. The table in the middle of the room is stacked with beer bottles and cups.
One guy looks up and sees me. Holy shit! he screams, jumping in his seat enough to throw beer on the girl sitting next to him. When he screams all the girls scream, then laugh. They turn around and see me standing there.
I walk into the room. Well? I say. Who the hell are you people, and where the hell am I?
The guy who screamed answers me. Dude, what happened to your nose? Man, you scared the shi-ot out of me.
Not my problem, Mary, I tell him. Blame whoever it was that kidnapped me and stuck me in the basement. Now, one more time, where the hell am I?
Christine brought you here, says one of the girls on the floor. We thought you would want to sleep, so we took you to the basement where it would be quiet.
Kidnapping, unlawful confinement, I say. Where's Christine?
Right there, they all say, pointing to the girl curled up at the end of one of the couches. I didn't recognize her because of the hood pulled over her head.
What, is she passed out? She brings me here and then passes out? Where's the phone? I've got to get out of here.
The phone's been disconnected, the girl on the floor says. Somebody give him a cell.
I get a phone from one of the wasters. I pull a number out of my wallet and call Wayne's cell. There's no answer. I call again and someone picks up. It's Dave, the slightly vacant bass player from Machine Within a Machine.
Dave, it's Terry.
Oh, Terry, he says sleepily. Where are you?
At someone's house. I passed out and some chick kidnapped me. Can someone pick me up?
Dude, we're all sleeping. We couldn't find you, so we just went to crash.
Is Jason there?
Yeah, he's sleeping. Nobody is gonna come get you now man. You disappeared on us. Deal with it.
I got hit in the head with a bottle and passed out. Don't make this out to be my fault.
Well, you left with the girl, didn't you? If you want to get laid after the show that's fine, but don't expect us to pick you up in the middle of the night. Call in the morning.
All right, I say. Oh, and Dave?
Your band wants to replace you. I snap the phone shut. Asshole, I mutter under my breath. I turn back to the group of drunks.
Okay kids, I tell them. I'm here for the night. Is there somewhere besides the dungeon where I can crash?
At ten o'clock in the morning there are hung over wrecks lying around on the living room floor. I call again and get Wayne, and he gives the phone to Jason. I explain what happened and tell him the address of the house.
I see Christine still sleeping on the couch. I touch her on the shoulder and she takes a deep breath. She slowly blinks her eyes open and looks up at me. Oh, she says. Terry. Are you okay?
Why in god's name did you bring me here? I ask.
She rubs her eyes. You fell asleep in my car, she says. I was worried, so I brought you here.
Why in glorious bloody hell didn't you just go back in the bar and tell my friends?
I thought they would be mad, she says with a yawn. Are you mad?
You kidnapped me, I say. Yes, I'm a little bit mad.
Half and hour later the maroon mini-van The Clutch Dogs rented pulls up in front of the house. It's grey and raining out when I stumble down the front steps and get in the back of the van, slumping next to the piles of drum gear. Jason's driving.
Hey there, sunshine, he says. Bang some groupies?
No, I got fucking kidnapped, I tell them. I slept on a pile of rusty bicycles. Did I miss anything last night?
Nothing special, unless you count Mark here making out with some hot blonde. He punches the Scottish drummer in the shoulder. Didn't you, Mark? Cheating on poor sweet Sarah, aren't you?
Mark looks awful, slumping down into the passenger seat. He looks like blended shit shaped into a person. Aye, ah, I had a wee bit too much to drink last night, aye?
Jason turns around and looks at my face. That looks awful, he says. You've got two black eyes. Did you clean that thing this morning?
No, I say. Let's get going. We've got what? Four hours of driving?
Give or take, Jason says. He puts the van in drive and we start moving. Are you ready for the good news? We sold like, like sixteen discs last night.
Really? The disc that we brought along with us to sell has six tracks that we were able to salvage from the tape of our performance at The Strathmore Hotel. The costs of mixing the tracks and making a hundred copies went onto my increasingly stretched credit cards, so I am desperate about selling copies.
Yeah, Jason says. We sold more than Machine did. I think Wayne was pissed.
Why didn't they sell more? I ask. Did they put on a crappy show?
None of them got hit in the face with a bottle, croaks Mark. We totally upstaged them, mate.
Yeah, says Jason. You should get hit every night.
Jason eases the van into a gas station parking lot. We fill the tank, get coffee and snacks, and then get onto the highway leading us out of Sudbury. A sign tells us it's only 305 kilometers to Sault Ste. Marie and the next gig.
Jason sips from a giant coffee cup as he drives. Do you know what was weird this morning? he says. I think the guys from Machine were fighting.
What do you mean? I ask.
I don't know. Dave seemed all pissed off and kept arguing with everybody. I don't know what his problem is.
I think about what I told him last night. No. I don't know either.
2006 Nolan Whyte