696. Cult Hero

(Reminder of the February fanworks challenge! The theme this month is threesomes and moresomes! Details here: https://daron.ceciliatan.com/archives/5146. Oh, and I was supposed to remind you all that SPANISH NIGHTS is now live on Amazon and free for Kindle Unlimited folks to read there: Spanish Nights: An Erotic Novella)

The next morning I was woken not by Christian telling me it was time to pump iron, but by the phone. I answered it before I was quite awake. “Hello?”

“Don’t kill me,” Carynne said. “I got you a gig tomorrow night.”

A new collection of empty beer bottles was sitting on the floor next to my notes on Ziggy’s album and my foot jostled them as I sat up. “What? What kind of a gig, I mean?”

“Tell me Colin’s in town though, please?”

“I haven’t seen much of him but I’m pretty sure he’s around, yeah.” I was starting to wake up fast. “Wait. You got our nonexistent punk band a gig?”

“Yes. It’s a fundraiser for Billy Mastiff. He was in a motorcycle accident, no insurance–”

I couldn’t picture him but I knew the name. “From Killpolka? Is he all right?”

“They might have to amputate.”

Bill was a dummer and I thought immediately of Rick Allen. “His arm?”

“No, his foot.”

“Oh, thank god. Well, no, okay, what the hell am I saying. That’s still awful.” Still, I thought, a drummer could get by a lot better with one foot than with one arm—Rick Allen notwithstanding. Especially since from what I remembered Billy Mastiff didn’t play double-kickdrum style.

This should definitely be taken as a sign of where my priorities were. I still didn’t give a fuck what Mills thought my priorities were, but in case you were wondering, there it is.

“Just tell me where to be and what we have to do.” I was already moving toward the bathroom when I realized this was not the cordless phone. I sat back down and told myself to calm down. It wasn’t like I was running off to put on a Superman suit and fly to someone’s rescue that second. “When did it happen?”

“Couple of days ago. They need ten grand by Monday. Show’s at the Paradise but there’s not a lot of time to build buzz. You’re the biggest name they’ve got so far.”

“Okay, but you want me and Colin and Chris?” I rubbed my eyes. “I can’t even remember the name we made up for this band.”

“It’s not exactly a new age or jazz crowd,” she pointed out. “And in the contracts you had me go over the band’s called Whizbadger.”

“Oh, man.” I rubbed my temple as a fuzzy memory of a late night brainstorming session while under the influence of strong drink fizzled to the surface. “That’s because Trav talked us out of Pissgopher.”

“Whizbadger it is,” she said. “Soundcheck’s tomorrow, three-ish. Set won’t be super long, half hour at most.”

“Yeah, but when your songs are only two minutes long…whatever. We’ll rehearse. It’ll be fine.” I cleared my throat, trying to remember exactly what we did.

Right. I sang. And dubbed the drums on one track but that was because we were goofing around. Yeah, this was going to take some work. “Would you call Bart and I’ll tell the guys here?”

“Sure thing, honeybunch.”

I threw on a clean shirt and a pair of shorts and went and knocked on Christian’s bedroom door. “Hey sleepyhead, I’m ready to pump iron.”

“What?” I heard him say. He came to the door already fully dressed, a pair of headphones around his neck. I got the feeling he had been awake for a while.

“Carynne is being a busy bee again. Did you hear about Billy Mastiff?”

“Motorcycle accident. I heard.”

“Benefit show’s tomorrow night and she told them Whizbadger is going to play.”

He chuckled and pulled the headphones off. “Aren’t you glad we didn’t pick Pissgopher, now?”

“I dunno, I think Pissgopher sounds a lot more…punk, I guess.”

“If we were a real punk band, yeah, but we’re not.” He took a breath and then retrieved the mostly empty coffee pot and a mug from his desk. It looked to me like he had been studying something, a large book and a notebook open on the desk. “I guess we should practice.”

“Yeah.” I followed him downstairs toward the kitchen. “Does that mean we shouldn’t lift today?”

“Maybe only do two hundred situps today,” he said as he rinsed the coffee pot, threw out the used grounds, and started to brew a new pot. “Have you talked to Colin yet?”

“No. Is he asleep?”

“I think so.”

“If he’s not up by the time we’re done working out, I’ll go wake him up. It’ll take Bart a while to get here anyway.”

Chris pointed at the loaf of bread on the counter and then at me to remind me to eat. “I guess we have to think about instrumentation.”

I put a slice in the toaster. “Colin’s got a guitar of his own.”

“We can put together a punk kit pretty easily from pieces of my regular kit. It’s all in pieces right now anyway.”

“Can you borrow a bass from Bart? Or have we got one around here somewhere?”

“You know what? I think Lars or somebody left one in the basement. Let me check.”

I ate my toast with some jelly while Christian disappeared into the basement for a bit. He came up with a dusty, beat-up case, inside which was a beat-up bass. He called Bart to ask if he could bring some strings, firmed up what time Bart was coming over, and then we went to the exercise room.

We were halfway through the workout when Colin wandered down into the living room. I was in the middle of a set of pullups on the bar in the doorway and he watched me go up and down. “What are you guys up to?”

“Procrastinating from rehearsal,” Chris joked, as he set down the barbell in his hand. “Tell him, Daron.”

I finished the set and then stood shaking out my arms and catching my breath. “Whizbadger is playing the Billy Mastiff fundraiser tomorrow night. Bart’s on his way over so we can rehearse.”

“Oh.” Colin looked surprised, which was to be expected. “Are you sure that’s a good idea?”

Chris and I shared a quick glance. Colin had performed live before, just not the guitar and not with us.

“How many pullups did you do?” Chris asked me.

“Three sets of six. Same as yesterday.”

“Negative ones, too? You’re not sore from yesterday?”

“Not particularly.” I squeezed my biceps and shoulders like I was testing them for ripeness. “My ribs are a little stiff. I haven’t done the negative ones yet.”

“Can you believe this shrimp?” Christian said. “How many pullups can you do, Col’?”

“No idea. Let me see.”

Colin did the so-called “negative” style, which Chris had showed me yesterday was when you curled your hands toward you to do the pullup, as opposed to the “regular” kind when it was more like you were clinging to a ledge, palms facing away. I wouldn’t have known that but I guess Chris had learned gymspeak.

Colin did six and then dropped down and let out a breath. “How was that?”

Chris shook his head. “Man. You know how long it took me to work up to a set of six?”

“No?” we both said.

“You’re both skinny,” he said instead of answering. “My turn.”

Chris did a set and his arms and shoulders bulged impressively. Chris was bulgier than either of us and his bulges were getting bigger as time went on. In a good way, I mean–lifting was good for him. But he had a lot more to lift, too. It took a lot more effort.

He looked tired when he stepped back and Colin got up and did another set, and on it went, without either of them coming right out and saying they were silently competing with each other, but they were, I guess. Which was Chris’s intent to basically pump up Colin’s testosterone level under he theory that would bolster Colin’s confidence for rehearsal and subsequent show.

It worked, by the way.

(Okay, story of today’s chapter title. In the early days of The Cure, at one point Robert Smith got together with Simon Gallup and Matthieu Hartley to try to get them to join The Cure, and they recorded a couple of songs under the band name “Cult Hero” including the song “I’m a Cult Hero” and “I Dig You” which has Smith’s postman Frankie Bell on vocals. The songs came out as a single and shortly after that Gallup and Hartley left the band they had been in and joined The Cure. And this happens to be pretty close to what Whizbadger came out sounding like, only we were louder. Much louder. -daron)


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