“Great show tonight you guys, hope you come through town again!” a local hired for the night yells to Ivan, Nicolas, and the four other band members who now stand in the empty field on Old Hay Flat Road. The field formerly belonged to Farmer Blayne, but locally will henceforth be known as the site of the rockin’-est revival the town of Kingsport has ever seen.
The local drives the final truck leaving the six illuminated only by the headlights of their own running vehicles behind them; Ivan, Nicolas, and the band, Babette, Johnny, Toggles, and Varistor. They watch the truck’s red tail lights dimly drive off into the night as Nicolas stands beside them counting a large wad of cash in his hands.
Each of the band’s members revels in the post-show adrenaline that every performer feels after a successful show. A mutual rush shared in unique ways.
To Ivan, this is a moment of clarity, a moment of true human expression. It is a freedom that one can only feel after facing one’s fears to help an innocent. The crowd does not know what he has done for them. He doesn’t care if they ever do. It is his calling. It is his challenge and he feels the pride of facing it and conquering it.
Ivan Rocket and the Blackness Between the Stars’ drummer, Babbette Betwixt, feels her pulse as she concentrates on it returning to calm. Her experience is focus. The success of the ability to pounce into action and then return to calm. The feeling of complete control of her body.
Dark Johnny, the band’s guitarist lives for the moment. His brain is capable of thought, but why bother? Thought never changed anything. He is awash in the current of life and that is where he wants to be, calculatedly unconscious.
The two wall-of-sound orchestrators are Varistor Transistor and Toggles McGee. Varistor views her role to bring order to the chaos. She looks at the knobs and pots that she turns as holding back the flow of entropy. As the world bends to disorder she bends it back, knowing that eventually everything falls apart, but delights in the puzzle of maintaining it. Toggles’s role in the band is to bring chaos for Varistor to undo and they are both enraptured in their dance of darkness and light, negative and positive. Post-show Varistor feels achievement in another catastrophe averted. Post-show Toggles tends to want beer and a place to lay his head.
They all turn to Nicolas as they notice he’s now on the phone. He is speaking in a language they don’t understand that sounds like a gentler eastern European or a more aggressive romantic. The conversation concludes and Nicolas is obviously surprised as he hangs up the phone followed by an almost unnoticeable leap of excitement.
“The CD is completed and en route to stores. The release party is in Marblehead in one week.” He says gracefully to the quintet before him.
They all take a moment to look at each other in contemplation.
“Did you not hear what I said?” Nicolas asks.
Slowly, Babbette smiles and says, “I knew it!” pumping her fist in the air and then quickly collecting herself.
They all burst out with laughter and smiles as Nicolas watches with his own smile. The smile of a man completing his creation.
The four band members continue hooting and hugging as Ivan collects himself and takes in Nicolas’s demeanor. Ivan feels that Nicolas should be proud and argues with himself not to be weird, ”Nicolas is proud and should be? But, are we partners in all of this or white mice versus a white lab coat?”
“Load up! We have a few more shows to brag about our new success and just a week until we get to spring it on the world. Off you go,” Nicolas says gesturing towards the vehicles.
The band gets in the obsolescent RV and Nicolas into his fancy black Audi. As the band enters the monstrosity on wheels and take their usual spots they hear the muffled rev of the Audi like someone muted a lawnmower with a trumpet mute.
As usual, Varistor takes the driver’s seat with Toggles by her side. She fires up the behemoth as he cracks a tallboy. Johnny takes up a seat at the couch, lights a joint, and searches for the remote for their tiny TV. Babette sits in the swivel chair, back to the driver, to pop on headphones and examine the sound recording of the night’s performance.
Ivan quietly walks to the back room of the RV as Varistor starts their trek. As it is pulling out Ivan closes the door behind him and pulls out his phone from his pocket. He opens an email from Varistor containing a file of the evening’s performance. He plays the recording in reverse, loud on the room speakers as he reaches for a bucket and starts throwing up black ooze into it.
The ooze burns his throat as it comes up and makes a slapping noise at the bottom of the bucket until it acquires enough to attenuate to glops in the sludge-filled bottom.
A gentle hand rests on his shoulder. Ivan feels a little better as he makes eye contact with the face. It is a clown. Greasepaint white face and red nose and hair on an obnoxious hobo style clown suit.
“You did good, kiddo.” The clown says.
“Thanks, Roadie,” Ivan responds as the RV hits the asphalt and drives off into the night.