Angelica, Down the Drain

~1~

Angelica stepped from the Brown-Beater and gently shut the car door behind her. On her drive to Bolton, she’d decided that her new article byline may not have paid her enough to get a new car, but it did give her a new outlook. Her poor degraded, ramshackle of a ride would henceforth be known as Lucille. There are many that might argue that her car was a boy-car, due to its wrinkly seats and weathered exterior. However, she thought there may be a time in her life that she would have a wrinkly seat and a weathered exterior and didn’t feel that would make her want to be mistaken as a boy-person… and she’d be damned if anybody was going to gender shame Lucille.

It was noonish and the sun was shining on her face giving her a warm glow. It’d been a long time since she enjoyed seeing daylight. The life of concerts and writing about them, the life that she was pursuing at that moment, didn’t lend itself to vitamin D, she’d forgotten how much she missed it. She patted Lucille on the hood and then walked across the parking lot towards a large metal warehouse.

The warehouse was a huge, undecorated, utilitarian metal box, easily the size of a grocery store.

She heard a whistle and looked to her left to see a face poking around the far corner of the building and waving her over. From Angelica’s distance, the person seemed extra small and quite possibly wearing mouse ears? “Oh great, a kid’s show. Nothing worse than turning up to a show and finding out it’s at a 21 and under club… no drinks… or at best sneaky parking lot drinks with some 18-year-old ‘promoter’ that thinks he stands a chance of getting lucky.”

As she got closer she realized that this pocket-sized person was actually a fully grown woman. She was about 5’2 at best and slight, but shapely. What Angelica thought to be mouse ears were, in fact, two puffballs of dyed light blue hair on the sides, “a la Princess Leia if she had chosen Death Star shapes instead of, what were they, bear claws?”

“Angelica!” the girl called out with a smile and got on her tippy toes in order to give Angelica a full around-the-neck hug. Angelica felt doubly uncomfortable, her arms hanging at her sides, hugged by a stranger, and noticing this micro-human’s ample chest against her stomach and made-up face against her own chest.

The girl stepped back, but somehow managed to still be holding Angelica’s hands, looking up, she said, “I’m Biscuit”.

“That makes sense,” Angelica quickly and uncomfortably quipped.

“I know, not the coolest nickname. You can blame my Grampa,” Biscuit responded.

“Are you a member of the band?” Angelica inquired, becoming more and more aware of Biscuit’s unbreakable death-grip on her hands, “…and can I have my hands back?”

“Oh totally,” Biscuit answered sheepishly, unleashing her steel-like clamps, “Sorry, I’m a lover. Yeah, I’m in the band. Follow me.”

Biscuit continued talking about nothing and everything as Angelica followed her into the warehouse. Inside was an expansive open space with concrete flooring and a large stage at the far end, and in the middle of the room, a group of young people talking.

As Angelica and Biscuit walked up to the group it thinned out a bit, people leaving to go to their sound and set-up jobs leaving only the band, Down the Drain.

Biscuit introduced Angelica to the group then introduced the band to Angelica. “The tall one is Two-Bit, he plays guitar and sings. The medium one is Carter, he also plays guitar, and these two ladies,” Biscuit pointed to two almost identical Hispanic girls, “are Tiffany Tiffany and Debbie Debbie, known together as the Rock Pops.” Angelica looked at the two and raised an awkward closed-off, accidental flat-handed Vulcan greeting. They seemed welcoming enough as the slightly taller one winked and the other pointed with finger guns.

“What an odd bunch,” Angelica thought to herself, taking in the amalgamated group. “Are these rich kids playing goth or goth kids playing Kanye meets Valley Girl?”

Biscuit had her hair in near-perfect blue puffs, light skin, 80’s pink lip gloss, blue eyeshadow, and a leather corset with skirt, fishnets, and boots. The boots even had heels, making this tiny girl even tinier than initially guessed.

Two-Bit , the one that Biscuit had introduced as the singer/guitar guy, was tall, well over six feet, with a blonde feathered pomp, a polo-style pink Izod shirt, form-fitting pleated slacks oddly matched with black eyeliner and lipstick and dress shoes.

Carter, the other guitar, matched Two-Bits motif quite well with matching makeup paired with blue boat shoes, no socks, white slacks, an inverted color Joy Division T-shirt, and a mint green sweater tied around his shoulders.

Finally, Tiffany Tiffany and Debbie Debbie had matching suits on, schoolgirl uniforms with dark plaid skirts, white shirts with little ascots, and ratted black hair above black eyeliner, black lipstick, and black blush.

Angelica had decided she should have gotten her hands on a recording of the band, or at least had Booky send her something. She couldn’t decide if they were death yacht rock or yacht deathrock, or if there was even a difference between the two.

Angelica made the appropriate handshakes and nods, then asked, “How long until the show?”

“About three hours,” Carter responded, meticulously adjusting his flopped-over sweater arms so they hung evenly.

“Great!” Angelica exclaimed, “Did you want to do the interview now?”

The group seemed to chuckle in unison. “No,” Carter returned, “We’ll have to do it after the show, we’ll feel more ourselves.”

Seeing Angelica’s confusion as to what to do in the meantime, Biscuit chimed in, “But. There’s a great little bar and restaurant down the street you can have drinky-poos at, and get some dinner while we finish setting up. Everything is covered for you there, you just need to say your name at the door.”

~2~

Angelica Walked into The Wave and Meadow, the “Great little bar and restaurant down the street” suggested by Down the Drain band member Biscuit, and marveled at what they thought to be a little place. The “little place”, was in fact, a full surf n’ turf steakhouse connected to an emerald eighteen-hole golf course called Bolton Downe Greens.

Angelica stepped to the maître d’ and asked for a quiet table outside.

He looked down his romanesque nose with a glare, appearing to eyeball her thrift store sweater and Converse combo. “Your name?” he asked.

“Angelica… Whateley,” her answer sounding like another question.

He looked down for a sec at a spiral book on his podium, looked up, and said with a smile, “Ah, yes, Ms. Whateley, please follow me.”

Angelica followed her svelte porter through the opulent dining room and marveled at the ornate wood carvings and argent silverware. He led her to a back patio with open fireplaces and running water and offered her a table away from the others. She sat down and thanked him. Reaching down to her bag she realized that the running water was coming from a koi pond right next to her table. She pulled her laptop out and thought to herself, “Maybe I should take money from Dad and Charles”, then started to write about the first part of her experience with Down the Drain.

~3~

If there is one thing that you can rely on in life, it’s that the time a concert says it’s going to start is not when the concert is going to start. Knowing this, Angelica arrived thirty minutes after the show was scheduled to start to find Tiffany Tiffany and Debbie Debbie as they smoked their last pre-show cigarette behind the warehouse.

“Hey there, Angelica, go-’round front, we’re about to start. They have your name at the door,” the shorter of the two yelled to her.

Angelica walked in the front doors with just a nod from the doorman. The inside was packed, full of rich twenty-somethings that all looked like they’d passed out at a Skull and Bones frat house party and ended up getting drunken makeup drawn all over them.

There were half-naked girls and boys swinging from pulleys amid the fog machine mist and pseudo-water laser lighting shooting across the floor. Angelica couldn’t tell if when she struck up a conversation with a fan if it would be about cutting one’s self or stock options. These were the alpha preppies, the literal rich kids on LSD.

Before she could take in another moment of the bombastic emo fuckfest, the lights dropped to complete blackness. For a single second, she saw nothing and just heard hoots and hollers echo across the umbra.

Then, Down the Drain Started.

It was a thunder of guitars and flashing lights, a total assault on the senses, the music like Rammstein and Skrillex made a baby, beat it to near death, and left it on the side of the road to grow up eating roadkill and turning tricks… Angelica didn’t really like it, but in the interest of journalist excellence, she set her cynicism aside and redefined. “Okay, it’s a Thrill Kill Kult or Bauhaus rehash that may have lost some sight of the message or the artistry,” she thought. “That’s not so bad, right?”

In front of her was a mound of bodies dancing, or fighting, or possibly fucking; a mound of bodies fuck-fighting? She could make out limbs and the occasional mohawk from the guy or girl who didn’t get the yuppie-death-cult newsletter.

Beyond the horde of angry horndogs, was the stage and the band. The crowd was doing all the work, the band just stood there. Biscuit smiling with a cigarette hanging out of her mouth and both hands on the keyboard next to Two-Bit strumming away and screaming into a microphone. On the left Tiffany Tiffany and Debbie Debbie, both leaned back playing, staring up at the ceiling with indifference. On the right was Carter playing guitar. Angelica didn’t particularly like the band’s style, definitely didn’t like their music, and didn’t like having to wait until after the show to interview them, but she did think that Carter looked pretty good up there. “Fuck it,” she thought and grabbed the closest drink she could find and walked toward the mob of fans to join the copulative melee. She had enough to write about, even if she woke up in a haze.

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