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The Most Reasonable Story
My palms are sweaty, knees weak, eyes heavy; breath stinks from a tuna fish sandwich that I had eaten about an hour earlier. Then it comes, a roll and a lurch sprung from the pits of my stomach.
“Dude, are you okay?” Cliff asks.
“Yeah,” I respond. I knew I shouldn’t have eaten before this. “It happens almost everytime before I play a big show.”
“Don’t worry about it. You’ve done enough gigs and practiced enough, you should have it all down, man.”
“I know. The thing is I always feel like I’m missing something when I’m playing. Like I’m not doing the best I can. I think that I can do better sometimes. Actually, I know I can.”
“F***, man, you always put on an awesome show! You f****** shred better than most people I know.”
“Thanks.” I spit, cough, spit again, and then take a swig of water.
“God, I hate all this pre-show crap. Why can’t we just get this entire thing over with? The other bands suck anyway; they should just give us the money already.”
I don’t answer. Instead I go back to before this, back to West Mountains High. It’s the last day of biology class before graduation. After this, I get to be free of this confinement, this isolation from society. My mind is off, not even concentrating on what everyone else is saying. We have our first big gig coming up and I’m the guitarist for our band, “Look! A Unicorn!” and I’m going over the set list in my head again. We get enough time for five songs, so we chose;
1. Unicorn Dance by Look! A Unicorn! (An original)
2. Epic by Faith No More
3. Don’t Fear the Reaper by Blue Oyster Cult
4. A Flying Saucer! (Another original)
5. Little Wing by Jimi Hendrix.
The first four are easy for me, but I keep messing up the double octaves on Little Wing. I mutter, “Why did we have to choose that song. I haven’t even mastered it yet.”
I nearly jumped out of my seat when the bell rang, half past 11:00 am. As a final announcement blared I walked out of the room. “Have a great summer everyone, and give all our seniors a warm goodbye! We’ll miss you guys! Finally, don’t forget to support our own Kalvin Fallaway in tonight’s Battle of the Bands! Watch the show at the Las Vegas Amphitheatre or watch a recap on the 6’o clock news! Have a fun and safe summer!”
I drove down Highway 9 and got myself pulled over by a cop. The guy who was giving me a speeding ticket was old, around sixty, fat, looked like a guru, and had about six warts on his face and neck area. The dude just grossed me out, so I said sorry to the officer and just sped off again.
I got home and locked myself in my room immediately. I grabbed my guitar, a pencil, and my poetry and song book. Then I flicked the switch for my amp and lit a joint. You get really hot when you live in Vegas. It feels like The Sahara Desert, and when you live in a house with no air conditioning and you’re smoking a blunt, you feel to just die sometimes. So the moral of the story is to turn on a fan. Too bad I didn’t have one.
I’m pulled back to the present.
“Kalvin, snap out of it! We’re on like right now!” Cliff screams.
“Huh?” I say, disoriented, “Right now?”
“Right f****** now, so grab your guitar and let’s get on stage!”
“Right,” I grabbed my Squire Telecaster and walked slowly towards the stage to set up. I passed people going in slow motion, I passed 14 music stands, I passed some bassist holding what looked like a nine string bass, I passed some girl spreading orange marmalade onto a piece of toast, leading me to wonder where I could get a piece of toast. I passed a million people in my mind, but in actuality I only passed about twelve. Finally I reached the stage and plugged my guitar into my stack, the lights went out and I hit a power chord to test the sound.
The announcer started, “This next band is called “Look! A Unicorn!” and consists of Kalvin Fallaway on guitar and Clifford “Fingers” Blake on bass. They’re inspired by the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Cliff Burton and John Entwistle.”
Cliff started with his bass solo and I followed him with a slide lick. The rest just fell into place.
I finished singing Little Wing and hit my harmonics.
“And the winner is… Drum roll please… Look! A Unicorn! Come on up and claim your prize! You just won $100,000 cash and a recording contract with Island Records! You did a great job guys! What are you going to do with the money?” The announcer asked.
“We’ll split it, I know I want a new guitar, and I’m pretty sure Cliff here wants a new bass. After we get that I don’t know. We’ll probably buy new equipment and save the rest.”
“Sounds like a plan,” Cliff agreed. He whispered to me, “Wanna do it?”
“Hell yeah, buddy.”
We walked together to center stage, grabbed our instruments, destroyed them, and set them on fire with some lighter fluid that I had bought earlier. The crowd went wild.