Life on the road is a horrid and wild endeavor. Being in a band makes it that much worse. What’s expected of these tight-knit groups quickly dissolves under the pressure and strain of real work. Friendships are tested in ways that reveal sordid little flaws that cannot be ignored. Sex, drugs, and rock-and-roll don’t make for a good time. The glam is a sham. Gerald Thompson thought he knew that much, but while managing the Shark Bois over the course of their summer tour, he learned there is no depth to which the artist couldn’t sink.
The humidity of late July caused every piece of fabric that Gerald wore to cling to his flesh. The Blue Moon Inn was the economic choice for poor musicians in need of a shower. Gerald had registered with the front desk and got the band checked into their rooms. From there, he ran off to get a peace offering of pizzas. They’d been driving overnight. They could all use showers, a bite to eat, and some restful sleep. He sought to provide those essentials before a return to the road. It was a night off, so instead of hitting the town they opted to take it easy.
Gerald stepped out of his car to find Alyssa Jones and Rose Price sitting on the curb, smoking cigarettes. “Figured you’d be in front of the air conditioning.”
“Oh, we’ll get there.” Alyssa smiled. “Such is the plight of sticking us in a nonsmoking room. Plus, I’ve already showered. Feels kinda nice out here.”
Rose was interested in the food. “Some of that pizza for us?”
“You bet,” Gerald answered. “Finish your death sticks and come on in. Where are the boys?”
Rose dropped her smoke to the concrete, crushing it underfoot. “Hell if I know, for sure. In their rooms, I imagine.”
“Cool,” Gerald said. He opened the side door to enter a dim and narrow hallway where they occupied three of the four rooms. Hunger prompted Rose and Alyssa to follow. Gerald used his free hand to knock on the first door.
“Who is it?” a voice asked from the other side.
“Put your pants on, Jordan. I’ve got food!”
Jordan Watts opened the door, smiling at the tour manager. “Nice. Get your ass in here.”
Gerald strolled in like the problem-solver he was. He set the pizzas down on the executive desk, then turned to face the band. Jordan closed the door, as Gerald noticed Zachary Kirst on one of the beds.
“Whole one of those is for me, right?” Zach laughed.
Gerald shook his head. “Nah. You get your own food, man. We don’t dine with drummers.”
“You’ll share, or I’ll take what I want,” Zach said. He offered a ravenous glare to the steaming food.
“Yeah, yeah. Have at it. Where’s Steve?” Gerald asked.
“Probably in his room. You know how he likes long showers,” Jordan said.
“Right. I’ll go fetch the egocentric bastard. There better be some food for us when I come back.”
“You know what you risk,” Rose said between bites.
Gerald grabbed a piece of cheese pizza, stuffed half of it into his mouth, and turned to leave. He emerged in the cramped hallway and turned to his right. The second door was overlooked. Gerald stopped at room one-seventeen, knocking on the steel door. No answer. “Steve! You in there?” Gerald called out.
Silence was all that came from the other side.
“Hey man, I bought a couple of pies. Rest of the band is going at it in room one-fifteen. We don’t get there soon, we’ll go hungry,” Gerald persisted. He knocked again, harder.
A nonresponse is still a response. Gerald grew frustrated. “You better be unconscious, and you better be dressed!” He reached into his pocket to fish out the key cards. “Here it is, one-seventeen,” Gerald said to himself. He gave the key a quick slip and heard the click of a turning lock.
Gerald pushed the door open to find a darkened room. Not a single lamp was on. Thick curtains refused the afternoon sun. “Steve? You in here?” Gerald stepped into the room, flipping a light switch.
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish