003: Part 12

by CM Towns

   Despite the trouble in Kirby City Jessie stayed focus on the day. Her band, GENUINE AMERICAN MONSTER (named for an album by Raymond Watts musical project PIG) was in a Battle of the Bands that they had signed up for months in advanced. The winner would get money and the opportunity to record a demo in a real fancy studio. Not that any of that interested Jessie-she had money and bandmate BLAKE STEVENS was savvy enough with second hand equipment to make good recordings. The only thing that was complicated was the drum tracking but they made those in her garage. Not the best quality but good enough for the group.
   Jessie was the singer and guitarist. She wrote most the lyrics and even played keyboard having had piano lessons for a few years before she quit because she preferred guitar. Blake was the lead guitarist, main song writer, co-lyricist on a few tracks and the general brains. He even had a midi based effect pedal for his set up that allowed for pre-recorded electronics, as well as keyboard pieces, to play during their songs. Blake had bleached blond hair, a little mustache, baby face, lanky frame and an ancestry that was a mix Scandinavian, Scottish, and early US settlers. Blake had a large love for comic books. He was almost always in a comic book shirt and if he wasn’t he was wearing a shirt form a favorite band. The two met in middle school and have jumped from band to band together. He was Jessie’s number two best friend, just behind Michie.
   The other two band members were drummer RICKY REIS and bassist TRACY RUIZ. The two met Ricky in high school when they joined up with another band, which forced Jessie to switch from her beloved guitar to bass. An instrument she learned how to play from her dads brother Manny. Ricky was third generation Mexican-American. He had long black hair, a large build, and piercing brown eyes. He wore a serious face and looked confrontational but truth was he was a laid back kind of guy. After a falling out with their other bandmates the three started their own with Ricky’s girlfriend, now ex, Tracy being brought in on bass. Tracy was mixed race, looking more Caucasian than Hispanic. Medium length black hair with pink stripes, gray eyes, a few piercings including one in the nose, and a style mixing emo and psychobilly. Tracy had no musical experience so it was up to Jessie to teach her how to play.
   This band had been together for two years and despite a few missed practices Jessie had remained dedicated. While her dreams of pursuing music as a career seemed less and less likely Jessie had chosen to dedicate as much time to her band as possible. That’s why Jessie had been able to stay focus on the days events rather than worrying about the troubles In Kirby.

   The band was off stage and Jessie was fidgeting like she always did. She liked to play cool and calm but before gigs she got the shakes. Her band watched the performance before it was their turn up, trading comments. Tracy and Ricky were closest to the stage, joking about the show. Jessie couldn’t hear them but they seemed unimpressed.
   “What you think?” Blake asked her.
   “They’re loud, fast, and that’s it,” was her response.
   “Yeah, no melody. But some people don’t care about that.”
   “Some people also don’t care about talent. Explains the glut of bad music available,” Jessie said.
   “You seem annoyed. You worried about the show or your friends?” Blake asked.
   “The show. My friends can take care of themselves. But I’m still pissed they pushed us up a spot,” Jessie said.
   “Yeah, I know you were. Cussing up a storm. Also no doubt about the rest of the Guard. That Kid Victory always seems to come out a winner.”
   “Unlike us,” Jessie commented.
   “Maybe tonight will be our night,” Blake said.
   “Gotta think positive. Besides, this is like our third one of these,” he said.
   “I prefer just playing and not competing,” Jessie said.
   “So far the only surprise was that first three piece. Very old school metal. Never heard of Wolves At the Gates,” Blake said.
   “That second band though-trying too hard with their throwback late nineties rock,” criticized Jessie.
   “Oh, I guess we’re about on,” Blake said as the band played their final note.
   This was a small battle featuring just 8 bands, twenty minute sets each. There was ten minutes between each set plus a twenty minute intermission. Genuine American Monster went on and had four songs for their twenty minute approximate set. After the previous band Ricky and Jessie’s dad quickly set Ricky’s drum set and the second mic stand. American Monster greeted the crowd and started their set. The first song was entitled YOUNG, STUPID & ANGRY (Blake’s choice), the second song called ONLY GAME IN TOWN (Tracy’s choice), and the third was Vampire (Ricky’s choice).
   The first two songs seemed to go over a little better than the third-which did not surprise the band. The first song is just a fast paced anthem-style song followed by another simple but but fun hard rock number. Vampire was slower paced, a little more melodic with a slightly more goth influence creeping in.
   The last song was Jessie’s pick (and her best friend Michie’s favorite). Jessie was in front of the mic, took a look around the crowd waited as a rising electronic sound signaled the start. Ricky did the count and at three the band started into Further Realms of Fright.

Thisssss tear in time! Fiction in action
Divinity’sssss graceful touch… Is natural selection
The evil seethes through the blood inside
Pierce it out… With a real sharp knife
Ol’ Scratch with a truth to tell-got a wish from a soul to sell
Another deal… Pretty rebel made
Another rebel on the road
So where should I go?
Out on the hunt!
Where do I go? Out on the hunt…

Come taste these blessings-in all their fancy dressings…
There’s a crippling fear inside… That takes a hold every time.

Don’t… Bliiiiink-or you’ll missssss….
Another… Evolutionary… magic trick
Every champion stands
Nothing ventured
Nothing will be gained, no innocence left to retain
Every good girl is taken away
And every bad girl is left to pay
Living like Halloween was everyday

Come taste these blessings-in all their fancy dressings…
There’s a crippling fear inside… That takes a hold every time.

You give up-I never do… We live this dream…
You give up-I never do… We live this dream…
You give up-I never do… We live this dream the sandman weaves
You give up-I never do… We live this dream the sandman weaves
You give up-I never do… We live this dream the sandman weaves
You give up-Cause this dream that overwhelms,
Takes us down to further realms…
Takes us down to further realms…
Further realms of fright
Further realms of fright
Further realms of fright

   Tracy thanked the crowd and reminded everyone their name as Jessie turned away quick, taking off the guitar and handing it to her dad as she exited stage.
   “Don’t get killed,” Diego said to her.
   “You mean again, right?” she smirked.
   Diego put his hand on his daughters shoulder, looked into her eyes and said, “Never. Say. That.”
   “Sorry. Force of habit.”
   “Now go out there and show dem Kirby Boys how SoCal gets things done,” he said before a kiss on her forehead.
   Jessie made her way through the backstage area into the lot. Jessie popped open the back of the rental truck they used and waited inside. Only a few minutes later Araminta and Reed showed.
   “That was amazing!” Araminta said.
   “It was cool,” Reed said sounding not too impressed.
   “I appreciate the love but we got things to do so tell me about it later,” Jessie said as she closed the door. She gave directions and Araminta made one of her witches circle inside the truck. Jessie grabbed a bungee she brought before following Reed through. The three ended up on top of a nearby building, over looking the club hosting the show. Jessie changed into costume on the jump, Reed waited for the girls to turn before shifting into his metal form.
   “Lets tie you up,” Reina Titán said to Araminta who looked confused. “I mean, tie you to me.” The two wrapped each other together with the bungee around their waists with Araminta on Reina’s back. Reina then said, “Hope you keep up, Huntsman.”
   The two flew off toward Jessie’s home. Once there the three would take the transporter to Kirby City to join their teammates in their efforts.