Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Nikki Star

Nikki took a deep breath as she glanced at the crowd of around two thousand people from behind the black and pink curtain. At heart, she would always be Nichole Dana Pelling, and she would always do the dishes when her mom asked and she would always clean her room, she would always say "I love you" before her dad left for work, she would always go to bed on time and she would always get to school no matter what. But right then, in that moment, she was Nikki Star. She was that one sixteen-year-old girl who played bass and singed in a band. She was that one girl who did whatever she wanted, whenever she wanted. She was the girl who met everyone she knew at the scene. She was the one girl with the sideways hat and the pink stripes in her hair who always ordered orange soda when her friends ordered cocktails. She reminded herself as hard as she could-- she wasn't Nichole anymore. She was a girl in one of the biggest local bands anyone had ever seen. She wasn't just the law-abiding little girl she was raised to be, she was the person who got her songs played on the radio. She was the girl who would step onto that stage as the curtains were dragged apart, put one hand in the air, announce her presence and have an enourmus room full of people applaud.
"Ah--huh?" She said, turning around quickly and accidentally whacking her bandmate in the face with the bill of her hat.
"Dude," He--no, Bryan said, pointing to the drum set. and for some reason, his fingers were covered with rainbow colored rings... "Do you have any idea where that replacement drummer is? We can't find him anywhere?"
Oh, yes, the replacement drummer. What was his name? Something usual and Paul. He was a little older than all of them, around twenty-three, and had a knack for getting free food (as well as disappearing).
"Dunno." Nikki said, staring at Bryan, who had apparently dyed (or at least hair-sprayed) his hair while she was thinking to herself, as it was now dark purple. Though, as it always, it went up in the back and almost-- and I repeat, almost covered his left eye.
"Damn...look, can you help me find him? 'Cause seriously, we can't start this whole thing if we don't have a drummer..."
Nikki shrugged. "I don't see why we had to ditch Shiloh. She was fine."
"Because she had to go to college! Dammit, just go ask if everyone has seen him, okay? Me and Michael will go look for him..."
Nikki stuck out her tongue in disgust. Really? Open the biggest show of her life with "has anyone seen Paul?" Not a chance in hell.
"Actually, you know what--" She began, taking her purple zebra-striped phone out of her pocket. "I have his number. I'll call him." So she went through her contacts as fast as she could until she came across a certain Paul DeAundre.
"Oh my god, could your phone be any slower?" Bryan shouted.
"Dude, just calm down, we still have ten minutes. Where the hell is your guitar? Did you tune it? Is it the red one or the green one? And what about a strap, do you have one? Cables? Picks?"
"Chill, Nikki, it's cool." Bryan laughed, putting both hands in front of him as a shield. "How about you?"
"Yeah, yeah, I'm fine... but I left my bass in the RV. You should go get it. How about Michael? What's up with her keyboard?"
"It's on the stage, and it has an amp..."
"Hello? Who the fuck is this?" A slurred voice shouted from Nikki's phone. Both of the musicians jumped.
"Paul? It's Nikki... dude, get up here. The show starts really freakin' soon."
"I'm on the fucking stage, man!"
"You are...?" Nikki muttered, peering onto said stage. The one where no one was. "Dude, where are you? Seriously..."
"I'm right here," Paul said, suddenly not a static-y monotone voice over a purple phone.
"Whoa shit dude! Don't sneak up on people like that!" Nikki said, stuffing her phone in the pocket of her black skinny jeans. " have, like, sticks or anything...?
Paul pointed to the floor tom, where two sets of thin sticks were waiting for him.
"Oh, thank god..." The blond girl said, kneeling over. "You seen Michael?"
Bryan nodded. "She's in the bathroom right now. She'll be back soon..."
"Shit, man! My bass is in the van!"
All three of them glanced at each other before taking off to the back door as fast as they could. They got to the RV in less than thirty seconds, but they were on in three minutes and Bryan couldn't find his keys.
"Nikki, don't you have a pair?" Bryan said frantically, turning all of his pockets inside-out and getting nothing but an old stick of raspberry gum.
"I--um--yeah!" Nikki said, her eyes lighting up as she took a key chain out of the pocket on her hoodie and tossed it to Bryan.
After retrieving Nikki's bass, the three of them rushed back inside and were nearly out of breath when they saw the brown-haired Michael, who was completely ready, staring at them with her hands on her hips and one eyebrow raised.
"Where were you guys?" She asked.
"We had to get Nikki's bass!" Bryan said frantically, trying to plug it in but failing. Michael sighed and plugged it in for him, as well as his own guitar-- the shiny purple one that nobody knew he owned.
"Okay okay okay," Nikki said, "The sound guy's gonna turn on the mics, right?"
Paul, Michael and Bryan nodded.
"And you guys are okay?"
They nodded.
The curtains drew back, the lights above the audience turned off and the lights on stage went on. And in the very very very back of the room, Nikki saw someone with headphones on nod-- presumably the "sound guy."
"Hey there, guys," Nikki smiled, her voice amplified through the PA speakers. "I don't suppose your here to see us, are you?"
The crowd cheered.
"Well," Bryan said, leaning towards Nikki's microphone. "That's good. Because we need money to go buy five packs of hot dogs at the supermarket,"
"Oh yeah," Michael giggled. "Love them hot dogs."
Nikki laughed along with them, trying to bring attention back to her so they could start the show. "Anyways, we have this song... and... it's called Another Note."
With that, Bryan, the lead guitar, played some riff followed by Michael, who played a more subtle one, followed by Nikki, who played a few notes over and over again that went along with Michael's, and finally Paul, who played a beat that went with Nikki's. After a few minutes of that, Nikki and Bryan both leaned towards the microphone and sang the following (very slowly):
"This time you've gone too far
We will burn your corrupt world
We will start it all again
These diamond eyes will not forget
your trembling bloody hands;
we will raze all you ever owned
for our own new lands.
This is the end of all your felonies,
This is the end of all murders,
this is the end of all my suffering...
this is justice,
I am justice."
And with the last line everyone stopped aside from Bryan, who played the first riff as an outro. The crowed cheered, Paul set down his sticks for a moment and Nikki took her hand off of the neck of her bass.
"Wow, I forgot how intense that song was." She smiled, "Who wants to hear The Reaper? It's alchapella..."
The crowd cheered again. Because that's all they were good at, cheering.
"Okay then. Anything for the hot dog fund, ya know?" Michael said, taking her place next to Nikki.
"Sleep my darling sleep
Sleep yourself awake
And if when you hear the footsteps on the stairs
You'll know the reaper's there

"Sleep my darling sleep
Sit in the dark all alone
Just remember when the reaper comes
To take your soul to hell

"Sleep my darling sleep
Close your eyes for good
I want you to know that when you're gone
I won't cry a single tear"
"Okay okay okay," Michael said, taking a step back. "Do we have any songs that don't make you wanna kill yourself or what, Nik?"
Nikki laughed. "No. Because our lives are awful and we take out all our teenage angst through deep emotional songs with music written by a twat."
"I am not a twat!" Bryan shouted.
"Oh yes you are," Nikki smiled, adjusting her hat. "Anyways, here's a really angst-y song. And it's called August Twenty-Second, 2002. And... Bryan's a twat."
"Am not!" He said as he returned to his place on the stage.
"Oh, and just as a warning, this song's a rap. And it's got a lot of words. You know why? 'Cause we're teenage angst-y gangsters." And she said "gangster" the way you were supposedly supposed to say it-- "gangsta."
"I am a creature far beyond
That which you call a social bond
A creature who is not afraid to murder
Just to get beyond the border
Right about now the creeping suspicion
That this is more than just ambition
In probably going through your mind
That feeling will have to be left behind
For my plan to unwind
In the way I had under command
So just about now I'm going to demand
that you leave the room, only for a moment
But I ensure you this mistake was no accident
And that everything is going just as planned

Right about now you're probably wondering why
I would excuse you in such a way
But it's okay my dear,
It will all be over in the blink of an eye
So just about now I have the fuel
And about to leave a world so cruel
When you come knocking down the door
Because you finally realized what I meant before
but right about then the flames were eating me away
An option I hadn't thought of until this moment, just today
So now I'm barely breathing,
And my ruby eyes are sheathing
You're about to call an ambulance
And tell them this was a series of accidents
And I can't help but laugh at your ignorance
So, just about now the curtains would be closing
And you'd be hearing claps from the audience
But you're on the phone and you're composing
Some ridiculous lie you think is fact
And I'm laughing to myself because you think you have it cracked
When you and that man are so far from the truth
The truth is that I'm still in my youth
And I gave it up for you,
So as I lay here dying I'm making a quick review
One of your performance, how talented you really are
And what I thought you to be is nothing short of who you really are
And just about now, as the curtain is closing
And I can see a red and blue light far beyond that's faintly glowing,
I feel you drawing near
And despite you're surroundings, you're mellow
And as my soul and I disappear
The last thing I see are your eyes, still canary yellow.
And just about now, you're wondering if I'm really dying
The fact is, I'm not. It's faux-- I'm lying
But as long as I keep you convinced
As long as it's the truth you're up against
Then I've done my deed, I've served my purpose
And you can follow my lead."

"Okay," Nikki muttered, sweat dripping down her face. "That's officially fucking epic."
Michael nodded. "Holy flying spaghetti monster, Nikki, you look really worn out. You do know we're only on the third song, right...?"
A smiled wormed it's way across the blond-and-pink haired girl's face. "Anything for the hot dogs, Michael, anything for those damned delicious hot dogs."
And they played the rest of the night, just like that. They got kicked out around midnight, but that didn't bother them one bit. Because in the end, it doesn't matter if you're breaking the rules or not, what matters is that if you just entered high school and all of a sudden you find yourself playing music with your friends in front of thousands of people, or you turn on the radio and hear the song you wrote at three in the morning, you're going to make the best of it. It doesn't matter who you are or what you want to do in life, you just do it. And that's exactly what those three did-- they played. They played for hours and hours on end, and they didn't stop, even when they felt the audience was loosing interest.
Because in life, you just keep going on.
And that was their life-- playing. Playing music.