03 Oct 2009 @ 12:35 PM 

Chapter 9

Chapin and Skeet followed Brian down the hall and made a right turn into the stage area.  They snaked their way through multiple layers of curtains until they arrived at the center of the main stage.  There were guitar and bass amps lined up as if on display in front of several drum sets stacked two by two on rolling platforms.  Wires and cables ran all through the area duct taped to the floor.

Skeet greeted Pat, Paul and Billy as Brian handed him his Fender Precision bass, one of the five basses that had been lined up on the side of the stage for him.  Paul already had a pink Ibanez guitar strapped on and ready.  Skeet tossed the bass across his soulder as Brian plugged a cord that had been run from his old Fender Bassman amp into a jack on the P-Bass.  He turned up the volume knob and struck a note then went to the amp to makes some final adjustments.

Pat banged on the drums in an irregular rhythm resembling some sort of morse code test pattern.  Paul ran generic scale patterns while roadies wandered from mic to mic saying “Test. Test.”  After the mayhem subsided, they all looked at each other as Billy asked the sound engineer if he was ready.

“Give it a shot,” came a voice over the house PA system.  The soundman sat in the middle of the floor in front of the stage but was hardly visible to the guys on the stage because of the lights.  They could almost make out the pair of small lights that hovered low over the sound board.

Pat counted off and they launched into “30 days In The Hole” just as they had done at practice two days before.  The harmony was dead on, just as it had been.

Chapin was amazed at the sound that came out.  She had never been much of a fan of hard rock music which this definitely was.  Her tastes ran a bit higher brow but seeing Skeet play anything, at this point, was thrilling to her.  When the first drum hit and guitar chord had sounded , she jumped slightly, which made Brian snicker.  She knew that Skeet was considered a master of more musical genres than most people could list and had learned how much he was respected during the research she had done for the article.  But she had never actually seen him play live, much less, rock out like this.  He bounced around the stage like a man half his age, never missing a note. It was hard for her to believe that this was the same guy that she had so loved listening to on Wynton Marsalis albums.

The song wound down and they all stood there silently, looking out over where the audience would be.  Paul put his hand above his eyes in an effort to block the stage lighting and see what was going on with the sound engineer.

“That’s great guys.  We got it,” the same cryptic voice said over the PA.

Skeet and Paul thanked the sound engineer and took off their instruments, Skeet handing his to Brian and Paul placing his gently on a stand.  Pat and Skeet exchanged high fives.  “I think we might actually pull this off,” said Billy.

“Yea, but I think the whole thing is running a little behind.”  Skeet glanced at his watch.  “It’s already past four.”

Skeet was heading for the side of the stage where Chapin had been while Billy headed behind the drum risers when Skeet’s world went black.  He couldn’t see anything and stopped in his tracks.  The room erupted with various gasps and confusion.  Slowly, he began to make out a small red light that glowed at a distance in front of him.  It began to sink in throughout the hall that the power was out.  He thought for a minute, not sure what to do.  He had a small flashlight on his key ring but his keys weren’t in his pocket.  He knew that Brian always had a flashlight at the gigs but there was no sign of him, of course, at this point there was no sign of much of anything.  He began to see some small, blue glowing lights come on throughout the hall.   “Cell phones,” he said as the solution materialized in front of him.  He reached in his pocket, dug out his phone and flipped it open.  It wasn’t much light, but it would do.  He aimed the light in front of him and continued moving in the same direction.

Apparently, Chapin had come up with the same idea as she appeared in front of him, cell phone in hand.

“What the hell happened?” Skeet asked her.

“I have no idea,” she said.  “There was a loud crack, then everything went black. “

“Well, let’s head for the back door.  Maybe we can figure out what happened when we can see a little bit.”  He held out his hand.  He would have just reached out for her but he couldn’t make out exactly where her hand was.

She reached out and took his hand as he moved toward the glowing, red exit sign over the door leaving the main stage.  They walked slowly, being careful of the long lumps made by the tape covered cables on the floor.   They breached the door into the hallway.  More blue, glowing cell phones floated around like little spaceships and a few flashlights were being used to help guide people, mostly by the roadies.

Skeet could begin to make out a bright light in front of them which appeared to be the door outside. Their pace quickened as they approached.

“Skeet, you guys ok?” a familiar voice asked from behind them.  It was Brian.  He had his little mag light flashlight shining in the general direction their feet.  He broke in to a jog for the short distance to catch up.

“Yea, we’re fine, B.  Just heading for the door.  What happened?”

“Building lost power,” Brian said in a very matter of fact tone.

“Thanks captain obvious!” Skeet jokingly jabbed.

“That’s all I know.  I’ll ask around once I get you outside.”

“Oh don’t worry about us.  We can see the door from here.  Do what you need to do,” Skeet said in a mockingly reassuring tone.

“You don’t think I wanna stay in here in the dark with these people, do you?  Damn musicians are pervs!” he giggled.

They emerged through the door into the alleyway and shielded their eyes until they had time to adjust.  People were milling around, some in a state of slight panic, others mildly amused at the whole situation.

Skeet searched around for Shawn, Chapin still in tow.  He sometimes worried about him a little more than he needed to and Chapin was wondering why he was getting a little frantic.

“He doesn’t see real well.  I just don’t want him getting hurt,” Skeet told her.

“Well if it’s dark in there, isn’t he more likely to handle it better than anybody?” she wondered.

He stopped and looked at her quite puzzled.  “You know you’re right.  I never thought of it like that.  HE should have been looking for US, the follicly challenged bastard!” he joked.  “So what could happen next?”

“Don’t tempt anything.  At this rate, it may be something fantastic or it may be something horrible,” she said.

“I vote for the ‘something fantastic’ thing,” he joked.

She snuggled up next to him and looked up into his eyes.  “Me too.”  He pulled her in a little closer and they began to take a look around.  They saw Amy and Emily hanging out up against the wall to the right, both still strumming on their guitars.  Skeet wondered if somehow they would be able to wring a song out of this.  Pat and Paul were standing in the middle of the alley joking, Pat constantly twirling a pair of drumsticks and drumming on anything that would sit still long enough, including Paul.  Patti was fanning herself with her assistant trying to help and hold a phone conversation at the same time trying to find out what the problem was.  They finally saw Shawn by the stage door talking on his cell phone.  Even though he knew Chapin was right, he was relieved that he was now sure that Shawn was ok.  Brian rushed in and out the door, trying to see what had happened and come up with a plan for what to do next.  It was one of the things Brian did best.

“Hey, check it out,” Skeet said, motioning down the alleyway.  He had noticed Niles Rogers standing next to a dumpster just calmly taking everything in.  “That’s…” Chapin interrupted him.

“Niles Rogers!” she said.

“Yea.  He’s the other guy I’m supposed to be playing with today, but at the rate things are going…Let’s go say hi.”  They made their way down the alley toward the dumpster.  When Niles noticed them, he got a big smile on his face and walked over to meet them.

“Skeet!  How ya doing?  This is an interesting turn of events, huh?” he said motioning his hand toward the crowd of people.

“Seems that way,” he said and then introduced Chapin to him.  “You have any idea what’s going on?”

“The power’s out in the building,” Niles said very calmly

Chapin and Skeet exchanged amused glances.  “Yea, we got that far,” Skeet said in a slightly sarcastic tone.

“Rumor is someone was messing with something on the pole.  Not sure what, but apparently he wasn’t someone who was SUPPOSED to be messing with the stuff on the pole,” Niles said.  “At any rate, they’ve called the power company, but they aren’t even here yet so we don’t really know what’s going on.”  Skeet glanced at Chapin who was shivering from the cold. “Girl, you’re freezin’!” he said.  He took off the white leather jacket he was wearing and laid it across her shoulders.

“Oh, I’m ok.  You really don’t have to…”  Niles interrupted her.

“Nonsense!  I’m actually kind of warm.  Besides, they’ll get the jackets and stuff out of there in a bit.”

“What about me, Niles?” Skeet asked.  “I’m cold too!” he said mockingly.

“When you get this cute, you can have my jacket.  Until then, suck it up bass boy!” Niles laughed.

Skeet glanced down at Chapin and then back at Niles.  “Point taken.”

“Hey Niles, did he show up yet?” Skeet asked.

“He’s at the hotel, but I called and told him to hold off coming down here until they figure this thing out.  Can you imagine if he was just standing out here with us right now?  There would be a riot.

“Who?” Chapin wondered aloud.

“Big secret…can’t tell….have to keep it under wraps,” Niles replied with a grin.

“How about a hint?” she asked with a giggle.

“Oh, sorry.  No hints on this one,” Niles said.

Chapin turned to Skeet and worked up the sexiest look she could muster and in a real soft voice she said, “Not even a little one?”

Skeet stared at her and then looked at Niles.  His look said it all.  He leaned over and whispered in her ear and she turned her head with a start.  Skeet raised his index finger to his mouth.  “Ssshhhh”

______________________

Get Chapter 9 in a pdf file.

Posted By: Lans
Last Edit: 29 Aug 2009 @ 01:03 PM

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