Ivan’s Secret

“Great show tonight you guys, hope you come through town again!” a local, hired for the night yelled to Ivan, Nicolas, and the four band members who now stood in the empty field on Old Hay Flat Road. The field formerly belonged to Farmer Blayne, but locally would henceforth be known as the site of the rockin’-est revival the town of Kingsport had ever seen.

As the local drove the final truck he left 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 watched the truck’s red tail lights dimly drive off into the night as Nicolas stood beside them and counted a large wad of cash in his hands.

Each of the band’s members reveled in the post-show adrenaline that every performer feels after a successful show. A mutual rush shared in unique ways.

To Ivan, this was a moment of clarity, a moment of true human expression. It was a freedom that one can only feel after facing one’s fears to help an innocent. The crowd didn’t know what he had done for them. He didn’t care if they ever did, it was his calling. It was his challenge and he felt the pride of facing it and conquering it.

Ivan Rocket and the Blackness Between the Stars’ drummer, Babbette Betwixt, felt her pulse as she concentrated on it returning to calm. Her experience was always about 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, lived for the moment. His brain was capable of thought, but why bother? Thought never changed anything. He was awash in the current of life and that was where he wanted to be, calculatedly unconscious.

The two wall-of-sound orchestrators were Varistor Transistor and Toggles McGee. Varistor viewed her role to bring order to the chaos that a band could create. She looked at the knobs and pots that she turned as holding back the flow of entropy. As the world bent to disorder she bent it back, knowing that eventually everything falls apart, but delighting in the puzzle of maintaining it. Toggles’s role in the band was to bring chaos for Varistor to undo and they were both enraptured in their dance of darkness and light, negative and positive. Post-show Varistor felt achievement in another catastrophe averted. Post-show Toggles tended to want beer and a place to lay his head.

They all turned to Nicolas as they noticed he was on the phone. He was speaking in a language they don’t understand that sounded like a gentler eastern European or a more aggressive romantic. The conversation concluded and Nicolas was obviously surprised as he hung 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 said gracefully to the quintet before him.

They all took a moment and looked at each other in contemplation.

“Did you not hear what I said?” Nicolas asked.

Slowly, Babbette smiled and said, “I knew it!” She pumped her fist in the air and then quickly collected herself.

They all burst out with laughter and smiles as Nicolas watched with his own smile. The smile of a man completing his creation.

The four band members continued hooting and hugging as Ivan collected himself and took in Nicolas’s demeanor. Ivan felt that Nicolas should be proud and argued 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 said as he gestured towards the vehicles.

The band got in the obsolescent RV and Nicolas into his fancy black Audi. As the band entered the monstrosity on wheels and took their usual spots they heard the muffled rev of the Audi like someone muted a lawnmower with a trumpet mute.

As usual, Varistor sat in the driver’s seat with Toggles by her side. She fired up the behemoth as he cracked a tallboy. Johnny took up a seat at the couch, lit a joint, and searched for the remote for their tiny TV. Babette sat in the swivel chair, back to the driver, to pop on headphones and examine the sound recording of the night’s performance.


Ivan quietly walked to the back room of the RV as Varistor started their trek. As they were pulling out Ivan closed the door behind him and pulled out his phone from his pocket. He opened an email from Varistor containing a file of the evening’s performance. He played the recording in reverse, loud on the room speakers as he reached for a bucket and started throwing up black ooze into it.

roadie-the-clown-2-300x236-3045587The ooze burned his throat as it came up and made a slapping noise at the bottom of the bucket until it acquired enough to attenuate the glops in the sludge-filled bottom.

A gentle hand rested on Ivan’s shoulder. Ivan immediately felt a little better as he made eye contact with the face. It was a clown, greasepaint white face, and red nose and hair, on an obnoxious hobo style clown suit.

“You did good, kiddo.” The clown said gently.

“Thanks, Roadie,” Ivan responded as the RV hit the asphalt and drove off into the night.




The Music

The Characters

Ivan’s Secret


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