The amp hummed as the roadies finished hooking up the sound system for tonight’s show. They were cutting it close. It was only twenty minutes till. I plopped on a stool provided by the venue and continued obsessively tuning my bass guitar. I spied Ben out the corner of my eye, he was practicing some riffs lightly on his drums while checking his Instagram. A lone neon green electric guitar sat center stage, stealing the limelight. I had to stop looking at it.
“Any idea if Chris will grace us with his presence?” Mac, the manager of the bar tapped his foot impatiently. “People are already lined up outside.”
“Don’t worry about it Mac.” I chuckled to ease the tension. “Chris always pulls through.”
Mac shrugged. My assurances seemed good enough for him. He threw a dirty rag over his shoulder and headed back to the bar.
Though I wasn’t so sure he would show. Chris’s behavior had been getting out of hand recently. It started with the drinking, then the women, and now drugs. We made it on the radio once and he was acting like he was bigger than John Lennon. We had our fair share of fights over it.
“Aye Ben!” I shouted at our near deaf drummer.
“Mmmph?”He grunted in acknowledgement.
“Can you call Chris again? He won’t answer if it’s me. We only have-” I eyed my watch face. “Jesus! We only have 7 minutes till showtime!”
Ben nodded his head solemnly and fished his phone from his skinny jeans.
Suddenly the doors burst open. The sound of ambient chatter and the smell of sweat filled the room immediately. I threw my hands up in exasperation. We still had 7 minutes!
“Sorry guys! They were getting unruly out there! I had to let ’em in!” Mac called from somewhere in the sea of flowing faces.
My heart pounded like the intro to an AC/DC song. Chris was out of time. I looked down at the instrument I had meticulously tuned for the past hour, and then at Chris’s green guitar. It’s glossy coat glared from the spotlights shining down on it. I realized what I had to do, and it terrified me.
I handed the bass off to a roadie off stage and approached the guitar. The moment I assumed the spotlight, my anxiety magnified. I could feel the wandering eyes of the crowd fix on me. I slung the green beauty over my chest and fidgeted with the frets. I looked back at Ben nervously.
He cracked a half smile and slowly raised his drumsticks above his head.
As he clacked them together, I let out a shuddering exhale and counted down.