Category Archives: Daniel

Kerri’s Diary: Overstock

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Thanks to everyone who turned out and picked up copies of King Trevor yesterday, on its release day! Here’s more from Kerri’s diary, a loose-tie in. If you haven’t joined the Trevolution yet, now’s the time!

Mitchell and Daniel took off together for lunch. Mitchell said I could come, even though they’d be talking business. I had nothing better to do, so I tagged along.

It was fascinating stuff.

The jist is that they’d ordered two different new t-shirt designs to debut on this leg of the tour. One was my first drawing of Cool Dude. Trevor’s gotten some comments from people about it, and it was featured in that guitar gods interview they did with me and Trev. Mitchell had to bully JR into letting us put that shirt out. JR had been convinced that despite the magazine, no one would want a cartoon. It went against the ShapeShifter image, he’d said.

To me, that’s why Cool Dude is cool.

Still, I kept my mouth shut while they talked about this. The whole band had thought they were onto something. They fought JR and finally Mitchell threatened to fire him if JR didn’t make those t-shirts available. “It’s not like we fucking have to pay the artist a royalty!” he’d screamed.

I’d asked him why not, but he’d given me one of those looks, and I let it drop. You’d think that after doing the design for Behold Me, I’d have known better this time around. Guess not.

Needless to say, the band was right. The Cool Dude t-shirt has been selling like mad. In fact, Daniel and Mitchell looked at each other, then at me, then at each other again. I get what pregnant silence means now.

“Maybe,” I said. “But you’ll have to pay more.”

Mitchell snorted, then growled.

“Stick it,” I said. “Maybe I’ll use the royalties to fund a scholarship at Riverview Art.”

I think that idea satisfied him. I mean, the band’s doing well enough that so are we.

The other t-shirt, though… that’s the problem. It was supposed to be one of those basic wardrobe staples that no one can live without. The ShapeShifter logo at the top, and the most recent promo shot underneath. It was JR’s pet. He was convinced it’d be the band’s newest top-seller.

Can you say overstock?

Yeah. Me, too.

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ShapeShifter Fiction: Irony?

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Three Word Wednesday and the awesome dudes at Metal Sucks teamed up for this flash featuring ShapeShifter. But… where’s Trevor?

“We’re working with who on this one?” Mitchell asked. He scratched the top of his head, his elbow sticking out at an odd angle. Kerri had to duck under it.

“Jason McNair,” Daniel said, looking over the fax he’d just picked up at the hotel lobby. “He’ll meet us here in the lobby in …” He glanced at his wrist, but Kerri wasn’t sure why. It wasn’t like he ever wore a watch.

Kerri smiled as Daniel looked around the ornate lobby for a clock. A red digital display — terribly out of place with the gold filigree and plush upholstery everywhere else — hung over the front desk. Daniel blinked at it, then checked the fax again. “Ten minutes,” the drummer said.

“Why?” Mitchell asked, sounding pained. “What’s wrong with Adam?”

Daniel shrugged. “JR wanted some new blood. Apparently, this Jason dude has a concept he wants to sell us.” He consulted the fax again as Eric arrived. “We have to behave, JR says,” Daniel continued, acknowledging Eric’s arrival with a shallow nod.

Mitchell began coughing, sounding for all the world like he was choking on something. Kerri understood; telling ShapeShifter to behave was sort of like telling the sun to stop shining. It was also an invitation to create a mob scene.

In short: that sort of instruction never went over well.

Daniel held up the second page of the fax, turning it so Mitchell, Kerri, and Eric could see it. “He’s the one who did this,” he said.
Mitchell’s face turned purple. Kerri, laughing herself, pounded him on the shoulder. Eric frowned and took the picture from Daniel. “We can’t jettison the guy? Get out of here, like, now?”

“Doubt it,” Daniel said. With two fingers, he plucked the page out of Eric’s hands and spent a long minute studying it. Kerri leaned over his shoulder, alternately appalled and amused by it.

The band, who she’d never heard of, was made up of five guys. They stood in a Flying V, the four outside of the vortex looking as typical metal as possible: aloof, disillusioned, angry, ready to kick some ass. All at once.

There was serious irony in the shot, Kerri thought. The straw hat on the dude on the left. The only baldie and the only long-hair standing together.

But that final dude… the one at the back of the V. The one with his back to the camera and his hands held out wide, like they were ready to grab the gun out of the holster on his hip and start shooting, only to reach for the one under his knee when all six shots were gone…

Kerri hoped it was irony the picture was supposed to be conveying.

And God help this Jason guy if he tried to make anyone in ShapeShifter pose like that.

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Mitchell and Daniel Fiction: Sleepyheads

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Note from Susan: I had to cut this from the follow-up to Trevor’s Song, but I like it. So I’m sharing it with you guys.

“If Val knew you were here, she’d say we’re both on the rag or something,” Daniel said as greeting. His eyes were only half-open, he had no shirt on, and he was wearing green plaid pajama bottoms. Or sleep pants or whatever the fuck you called them. They were all creased up, too, like he’d actually been sleeping in them.

In all the years Mitchell had known Daniel, he’d never once seen the guy wear sleep pants. If you’d asked, Mitchell would have answered that Daniel either slept where he dropped, fully dressed, or stripped down to bare skin. That’s how it went when they were on tour.

And then there was his hair. This might be the only time in the guy’s life it wasn’t perfect. In fact, it stood up in spots, like Val had been using it for something to grab onto. Which was way more than Mitchell wanted to know about Daniel’s night so far.

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Trevor Fiction: Game On?

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I’m really rocking the fiction lately, no? If you’re here for Sample Sunday, this is a companion piece to all three of my books. Trevor and company run rampant through them, as well as this here blog. It’s building on last week’s post, which built on the post the week before that… As always, be sure to leave a comment so I know you were here.

Trevor knew something was up by the way Daniel and Mitchell approached. Arms crossed over chests, faces serious.

“What did I do this time?” he sighed. Because, really. They only looked like this when he’d done something they decided was wrong.

“You’re not going to like it,” Daniel said. Mitchell shifted his weight and glared at Trevor. Like it was all his fault.

Hell, it probably was.

“Give it to me,” Trevor sighed, leaning back and letting his eyes stay shut in a lingering blink.

Mitchell produced a fax, one of those pages printed on shiny paper with the ink that rubbed off everywhere. “Heard of this Hammerhead band?”

“No. Should I have?”

Mitchell shrugged and held the paper out. Trevor ignored it. “Just tell me.”

“They heard about that thing you did a couple years ago, with the pasties.”

“Huh?” Trevor squinted up at him. This wasn’t the kind of thing he’d been expecting. Not when there’d been an angry boyfriend beating down the dressing room door a few minutes ago. Fuck, he was tired of the losers who said they’d be honored if he’d do their girl, and then change their minds halfway through.

“Remember?” Daniel asked. He sat down beside Trevor on the couch. Eric hadn’t covered it for once; Trevor wasn’t sure what sort of cooties they were picking up from it. Didn’t much care, either. If he needed drugs to kick it, Amy would tell him where to get some.

“Yeah, whatever,” Trevor said. He couldn’t much care about something that had happened years ago. Not right then.

“Told you he wouldn’t remember,” Mitchell said. “Which sucks, Trev. This Howard dude, he’s trying to top you. He’s talking all over the place about it. How he had to show you how to do it right, how he’s better than you.”

Trevor yawned. “So?”

Mitchell pulled back. His glare turned into something more cautious. “So? That’s all you’ve got to say? You’re not going to rise to the occasion and put this guy in his place?”

“Mitchell, you dumb fuck,” Trevor drawled, “Think about it. We’re talking about doing our first headlining tour. This nobody’s trying to show me up, just so people talk about him. And while he’s flapping his lips, he’s giving us some pretty good, pretty free attention at the same time. C’mon. Be smart for fucking once.”

“Getting into a war with him will only make people talk about him,” Daniel said, bobbing his head. He twirled his fingers, even though there was no drumstick in them. “And focus on him, not us.”

And it makes me look like a dork if I don’t answer the right way. Let him talk, M,” Trevor said as Mitchell started to sputter. “If someone asks, I’ll be ready. But in the meantime, mum’s the word.”

“How much weed were you just smoking?” Mitchell asked.

Trevor smiled blissfully. “Enough.” He sat forward. “But even if I wasn’t, why am I helping out a nobody?”

“You didn’t read this article,” Mitchell said, holding it out again. “Daniel and I think we need to invite them to tour with us once we’re headlining. It’d be fun.”

Trevor perked up. “Fun?”

“Fun,” Mitchell said and shook the fax paper so it rattled.

Trevor took it. He was always up for fun.

I’ve linked this up at Three Word Wednesday, since it was written to the prompt, and at the Weekend Writer’s Retreat. Check out both places for some great writing. Also, I’ll be Tweeting this as my Friday Flash and Sample Sunday post. More awesome people to visit!

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Trevor Ficton: Twirling

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If this is your first time visiting with Trevor and the band, welcome! This short fiction ties in to my novel, Trevor’s Song, and will appear in a future Demo Tapes anthology. You who’ve read the book may be quick enough to catch a reference to it, but don’t feel bad if you don’t. This story contains no obvious spoilers — but is the perfect reason why you’ll want to pick up one of my three books and become a proper Trevor Wolff (or Mitchell Voss) groupie.

Mitchell was, Trevor quickly noticed, too dumb or too naïve or too sheltered or too stupid, or too something to realize what had just landed at his feet. Probably all of the above; the idiot was certainly a work in progress.

Trevor, however, was none of the above. When the song ended, he gave Mitchell the old familiar nod, the one to tell the frontman to stand down for a second.

Mitchell stepped back from his microphone and crossed his arms over his chest. Waiting.

Trevor sniffed. The asshole wasn’t giving him the right sort of invitation. Really. This one deserved an introduction. It was going to be good.

But, of course, the guy was too stupid or too something to realize what those round, red pyramids were. They weren’t fucking streamers, like he was probably thinking, what with the strings hanging down from the middles of them, at the top of the peaks. They were way better.

Trevor hoped there’d still be adhesive on the backs. Usable adhesive.

He shoved his bass onto his back and knelt to pick them up. Sure enough, both were right there, waiting for him. This was too good, too perfect.

And then it got better. They hadn’t been used.

He heard a few giggles when he stood up. “These from you?” he asked, leaning out into the barrier space between the stage and the fans. It wasn’t terribly big; hell, the whole place was on the small side. Two hundred people, tops. And only about half that who’d turned out to see the band. And three girls standing there, giggling, their faces flushing with something other than the energy the band was giving off.

One of them had given him a new toy. Even if no one was stepping up to claim responsibility. Yet.

Fucking figured. Even something as simple as this, and no one had the balls — or, in this case, the tits — to own up to having done the deed. Maybe she’d reveal herself later, come up to him after the show, pull the front of her shirt aside so he could see them in action, properly attached and waiting for the sort of attention only Trevor Wolff could give them…

He straightened, feeling Mitchell watching. Eric was curious, of course, and Daniel had stood so he could see over his drums. Not that there had been anything to watch yet, but it was time…

He peeled the paper backing off the adhesive. With his best snigger, he did the same to the other paper, trying to keep both cradled in the same hand. It wasn’t easy; the tassel kept trying to drip between his fingers. Finally, he let it.

Mitchell started tapping a foot. Never a good sign. If the idiot’s face had started to turn red, Trevor didn’t know. He wasn’t looking.

Trevor turned his back on the crowd. Daniel watched as Trev put his new toys in place.

Mitchell took a step back. His eyes got huge as he realized what Trevor had found. With a shake of his head and an arm wiping across his mouth so no one would see him smile, he turned back to the crowd. “And which of you pussies helped Trevor get all dressed up tonight?”

That introduction was better, Trevor decided and turned around, his bass still slung behind him. He grinned and thrust his chest out as far as he could, then did everything he could to make the tassels spin in circles.

Fuck, Stacia made it look easy. But that’s why she was Riverview’s top stripper. And why Trevor was only a bass player.

The crowd didn’t quite roar, but they didn’t fall quiet, either. Trevor could hear some laughter, and a lot of whoops. He tried to shimmy his shoulders. He took three steps forward and four back. He looked over at where Eric should have been, except the guitarist was in the wings, his face buried in a towel and his shoulders shaking harder than Trevor’s.

Trevor tried a few more of Stacia’s moves, and then the audience let loose, howling, cat-calling, and cheering like mad. Still behind his drums, Daniel encouraged them.

It wasn’t until one of his new toys fell off his t-shirt and he fumbled at it, finally managing to catch it and stick it on his bass like a new knob that he’d had enough. Maybe it had something to do with Mitchell, who’d come over to Trevor and was motioning that he was going to pinch the pastie — and Trevor’s tit under it, too. As if Trevor had tits, being a man and all, but that was another story. If you were gonna play the part, you couldn’t bitch when someone else wanted to join in. It was always better with company.

Whatever. Trevor didn’t fucking care — so long as Mitchell didn’t squeeze too hard. He was getting a moment, thanks to stupid-head beside him here.

Or… maybe not. If the guy’d had a clue, Trevor never would have gotten this chance.

He twirled the tassel on the fallen pastie as ge stuck it to his bass and grinned. Too bad there weren’t more people here; it would take awhile for the word of this to spread.

Trevor looked back at those three girls in the front. He’d bet just about anything on one of them approaching and offering to show him the moves he’d botched so badly. Fuck, he wasn’t a stripper. He was a bass player in a rock band, for fuck’s sake. He shouldn’t have to know how to twirl a tassel.

Just so long as she did, Trevor figured they’d be set.

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ShapeShifter fiction: Signs of the Apocalypse

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Daniel had been with Mitchell when the call had come in. It hadn’t taken a lot of discussion for the veto, but Daniel thought Eric and Trevor ought to know what had been suggested.

And then he’d run off to an interview, leaving Mitchell to do the dirty work. Or, as the case — of course — was, hear about it.

“It’s just not plausible,” Eric said, like he had to apologize for his opinion.

Trevor stared at him. “What the fuck? Plausible? Who cares about shit like plausible? It’s a stupid idea and you and Dans were right to say no.”

Mitchell wondered if Trevor even knew what the word meant. He’d be surprised if he didn’t; Trev was smarter than he liked to let on. But over the years, Mitchell had learned that Trev threw tantrums like this, he usually had no fucking clue what he was actually talking about. Especially because in this case, if he could understand Eric, he’d realize he agreed.

“We should absolutely care,” Eric said. “If our fans can’t trust us to be authentic–”

“Wait right there,” Trevor said, holding up a hand. He hadn’t had time to stick his cigarette into the corner of his mouth; he still held it between his thumb and index finger, like a roach. “What the fuck does authentic have to do with plausible?”

Bingo, Mitchell thought, trying to keep his face blank.

“Because,” Eric said, then stopped himself.

“That’s a fucktard of a reason,” Trevor said. He finally perched the cigarette in its place and shoved some hair out of his way. “Why not say something like it’ll taint the pool of samples, or Trev, are you going to do this willingly, or do we have to outvote you again?

“Want us to?” Mitchell asked. It was getting harder to hold back a smile, but if he wasn’t able to, Trevor would go absolutely ballistic. Trevor’s life, after all, was all about the guy’s pride.

“No!” Trevor got up and started pacing. “I want… I want…” He froze, jerked his head up, and narrowed his eyes. “Do you fucks even care what I want?”

“Always have,” Mitchell said as Eric murmured something along the same lines.

“I want you to fucking use words I get! Is that too much to fucking ask for?”

Mitchell pretended to scrub at his face, the way he did when he got frustrated. He figured that this way, Trevor couldn’t see his surprise. Trevor had just owned up to something on his own.

That could very well mean the world was ending.

“Plausible means it’s believable. So if we’re doing something not plausible, we’re also not being authentic, which means real,” Eric said.

“Damn straight that shit’s not believable. Us, doing one of those New Year’s Eve TV shows?”

Mitchell pulled his hands away. “Unless we’re onstage that night and they cut to a live shot of us for a full song. I can see us getting away with that.”

“But not standing on some stage in the middle of fucking Times Square,” Trevor said before Mitchell could.

“I know people who’ve spent their lives dreaming of being there,” Eric said. “We’ve toured with some of them.”

“Which is why we’re on top of the world and they’re down there, still staring up at us,” Trevor said.

“You’d be surprised,” Eric said. “A lot of us grew up watching Dick Clark. It makes sense to dream about. Dick’s launched an awful lot of careers.”

“Launched? We fucking launched years ago,” Trevor sneered.

“Well,” Eric said, “try this. He can launch us into more homes faster than we may get there on our own.”

“Tell me this, Soul Boy,” Trevor said, bending down into Eric’s face. The guitarist leaned back.

Mitchell watched carefully. Trevor being this aggressive must be another sign of the Apocalypse. As if being invited to be on Dick Clark hadn’t been the first. They were adding up, fast.

“Why do we want to be in more homes, faster?” Trevor was asking.

Mitchell breathed again. So that was all Trevor wanted to know.

“So we can rule the Earth?” Eric asked, his gentle voice weak, as if Trevor being in his face was scaring him. “Remember? Doing that was your idea.”

“Yeah, but I never said we should get there this way.”

Eric shrugged. Trevor stood up and looked over at Mitchell. “What do you have to say for yourself?”

“I already did. If we’re doing a show and they cut in, fine. Otherwise, forget it.”

Trevor stopped cold, as if he hadn’t heard Mitchell say that the first time. He nodded as he thought that over. “So you’re telling me you’re willing to compromise?”

Mitchell sighed. “It’s not such a dirty word, Trev. Try it every now and then.”

“No.”

“I’ve seen them do cut-ins over the years,” Eric said. “It’s not selling out, Trev. It’s letting people join us. Think how many people have turned into ShapeShifter fans because they’ve seen us live.”

Trevor looked from Mitchell to Eric and back again. “Maybe.”

Mitchell gave Eric a quick wink. “That means okay but it kills my pride to admit it.”

Trevor snorted.

Mitchell stared in fascination. Part of him wondered if he looked like that when he snorted, nostrils flared and drops of snot flying, face totally constipated. The other part couldn’t believe Trevor Fucking Wolff had just fucking snorted. That was about as beneath him as compromise.

Of course, he’d just done that, too.

Maybe, Mitchell figured, it was the final sign of the Apocalypse. If so, there was no way in Hell he was doing Dick Clark. Fuck that. He was going to be at home, in bed with Kerri.

Just in case.

Have you missed the fiction around here? I have. I’ve got some other goodies coming up, as well, so stay tuned. This is my #FridayFlash, #SundaySnippet, and Three Word Wednesday post. I may stop writing to the prompts; I don’t know yet. I feel like they’re not as good as when I just let my brain fly on its own.

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ShapeShifter Fiction: Benefit Song

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Yep, I’m tying this Three Word Wednesday post into the Musical Hanukkah Celebration. Sales are picking up, so be sure to be part of this extravaganza. The more books you buy, the bigger our own donation. No benefit song needed.

If the guys in ShapeShifter had learned anything about their motor-mouth manager, it was that as soon as he stopped with the verbal diarrhea, the band was in serious danger.

“A proposal has been made,” JR said.

Mitchell pushed back into the couch. Like backing away would help.

Trevor noticed Eric and Daniel were doing it, too. He figured a smart person would brace himself, but no one had ever told Trevor he was smart. Besides, whatever it was couldn’t be worse than Mitchell bringing Rusty into their lives.

Trevor Wolff hated to be wrong.

“As part of the Musical Hanukkah Celebration,” the manager said, still so slowly, a person could actually, honest-to-God make out where each word began and ended, “it’s been suggested.”

“Out with it already!” Mitchell roared.

JR scratched the back of his hand. His momentary silence was both a delight and a cause for serious concern. This was going to be bad, Trevor realized.

The manager drew in a breath, but when he spoke, he wasn’t off to the races like usual. “All the bands participating in the event get together beforehand, say before Thanksgiving, and collaborate on a song. Think We are the World, or Live Aid.”

Trevor expected Mitchell to lose it so utterly, he’d blow a few gaskets and they’d have to rush him to Amy’s office for some doctoring. Instead, the guy had face-planted in his own lap, hands dangling on the floor, oh-so-happy to have had this shit land on his head. Clearly, the guy wasn’t going to be able to come through in the clutch. Not this time.

“M?” Eric asked. “You okay?”

Mitchell shook his head. Trevor figured that couldn’t feel good, with his nose scraping his legs. Then again, maybe it wasn’t so bad; the guy didn’t have the sort of schnozz Trevor did.

“Need a barf bag?” Daniel asked.

Mitchell kept shaking his head.

Trevor leaned forward and peered more closely at the big idiot. The guy’s face was bright red; how he wasn’t shaking with rage, Trevor didn’t know.

“Quit showing us Rusty’s favorite fuck position and fucking talk to us already,” he said, turning his back on the guy. He began to count.

Sure enough, he’d only gotten to three when the dragon let the fire-breath out. “A fucking benefit song? On top of everything else we’re doing here?”

“It’s great publicity,” JR said. Something must have loosened his tongue because he started blathering about the exposure and the money they could earn. “It’s about kids, Mitchell. Daniel, Eric, talk some sense into the guy will you please We can bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars just by pricing this as a ninety-nine cent download Hundreds of thousands!”

“NO!” Mitchell howled. He jumped to his feet and got in JR’s face, shutting the manager up. “There will be no benefit song, do you fucking hear me, JR? Bringing other bands in other cities into this thing was bad enough. The whole idea here was to have fun, remember? Where the fuck did that go? Why the fuck is this all about the money to you?”

JR’s face turned red.

“Oh, motherfucker,” Mitchell said. It came out in a breath, airy and defeated.

Trevor couldn’t agree more.

This piece will be continued! In the meantime, pick up my books or make a direct donation — the latter option will get you an entry into a raffle for some great books that I did not write!

Be sure to stop in at the Weekend Writer’s Retreat, as well — see what’s been posted and add your own fiction!

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ShapeShifter Fiction: The Tragedy of Sonny Levy

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Mitchell walked into the catering room and tossed the magazine on the table in front of Daniel.

The drummer paused, a burger halfway to his mouth. “What’s this?”

Mitchell chuckled. “Just read it. Wait ’till you’re done or you’ll wind up with dinner all over it, though.”

“I’m warned?”

“You’re warned.”

Daniel watched Mitchell walk over to the catering buffet and start dictating to the staff. When it came to his food, this wasn’t entirely Mitchell being a dick for the sake of being a dick. The guy really did want his burger fresh off the grill and the bun lightly toasted. The only reason no one mutinied and told him to suck it up was because he’d wait while they cooked it properly. He never complained, even on the nights when it took longer than it should have.

Shaking his head at Mitchell’s quirks, Daniel turned the magazine so it was right-side up. The cover story had been written by their buddy Kermit Ladd, the world’s most pretentious reporter. The guy lived to inject himself into the story.

The victim this time had been Sonny Levy. No real surprise there; the guy was hot stuff. Everyone wanted a piece of him — and the guy was responding. Not in the usual way, sucking up to the press and declaring them to be his new best friends. Nope. Sonny was the latest guy on the fast-track to burning out before he got another day older. In short, Sonny was an OD waiting to happen.

Daniel looked the article over.

“Your ever-inquisitive intrepid reporter, Kermit Ladd, was brave enough to face the hassle that getting near Sonny Levy has become. He’s been a wealth of gossip of late, and that meant there was only one man up to sorting through it all.”

Daniel rolled his eyes. Yeah, it was typical Kermit. That was the problem: he was tired of seeing it. It was old-hat by now and boring as shit.

Until it got good, mid-way down the first column. “Watching Levy on stage makes one realize the man’s pain is there for the world to see. And what pain it is. The man is clearly so deeply in the closet, he suffers the delusion that his fans can’t see it. If it were up to Sonny Levy, there would be belief around the world that no gay man moves the way he does. Not to mention the crocheted shawls he likes to wrap around himself.

“Any human being who needs to keep himself this far into the closet would wind up an addict. There is not an addiction expert on the planet who would disagree with yours truly.”

Shaking his head, Daniel closed the magazine. Mitchell hadn’t been kidding; it was worthy of spewing dinner on — although Daniel wasn’t sure if it would be disgust or utter amusement. Kermit was reaching on this one. He’d be lucky if Sonny Levy’s people didn’t sue him for it.

He mentioned that to Mitchell, who brought his plate over. It was piled high with potato chips, so many that the burger was buried. He, of course, had a second plate piled equally as high with salad, probably tossed fresh while he waited for the burger to cook. And between his fingers, dangling precariously, was a bottle of Italian salad dressing.

“Better he’s fucking up with Sonny than us. Fucker may not even notice what Kermit wrote. If it was us…” Mitchell shook his head and swished some of the potato chips out of his way. “He wouldn’t write his mom a letter ever again.”

“Think there’s any truth to it?” Daniel asked, holding his breath. He knew the answer. Of course he did. The whole world did.

“Absolutely,” Mitchell said and took a bite of his burger.

Daniel wasn’t sure which was the bigger tragedy. That Sonny was such a mess, or that Kermit had grown some balls and decided to share that mess with the world.

Some Three Word Wednesday fun for you, that’s also linked up at the Weekend Writer’s Retreat. And, hey! Kermit is always for himself, so that fits the Sunday Scribbling prompt, too! I’ve been busy with the kids so far this summer and have written next to nothing. Have no fear, though, what time I DO have despite those rugrats is being spent on Trevor’s Song. News of that to come as soon as I get a moment to breathe. Ahh, if they’d only put Wi-Fi in at the pool!

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ShapeShifter Fiction: Field on Fire (Post Trevor’s Song era)

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“Shame it had to end like this,” Kerri said, looking out at the quiet beyond the stage. Usually, this sort of quiet was reserved for late, after the band had showered and was getting ready to move on to the next town.

Mitchell grunted agreement and squeezed her hand.

“Dumbfucks,” Trevor said, an unlit cigarette dangling off his lip. A breeze blew the scent of scorched sod their way.

“Who?” Kerri asked. “The fans, or Hammerhead?”

Mitchell snorted. “Fucking Howard,” he said. “Get a break like this one and fuck it up. What an idiot.”

“Rub it in,” a voice said behind them. The three turned to look, finding Howard the Hammer standing off to one side. “I didn’t think they’d really do it.”

Mitchell glared at him, a rumble deep in his throat.

“Okay,” Howard said, blowing out a breath. He shook his head quickly, a familiar gesture that utterly failed — as usual — at getting his dark wooly hair out of his eyes. “I sorta wondered what they’d do. But I didn’t think… didn’t believe…”

Mitchell let go of Kerri’s hand and crossed the distance to Howard. He stopped in front of him, chest to chest. “Do you fucking know how much shit you’ve caused here? Who do you think is gonna get charged for resodding this entire fucking lawn?”

“I’ll pay you back,” Howard said, shifting from foot to foot.

“Not good enough,” Mitchell said. “We didn’t even get to fucking play tonight, thanks to you.” He gestured widely, meaning Howard to see, Kerri guessed, the fact that Mitchell should have been wearing skin-tight black jeans and a guitar instead of knee-length baggy camo shorts and a black tank top. “Our manager’s going to have to fucking bend over and grab his ankles for months before we’ll be allowed here again. As for you? You might be done, man. This will follow you around. I bet right now, as soon as you get near that production office, you’re going to be handed a list of shows that’ve been cancelled. Assuming JR hasn’t just decided to pitch you off the tour in the hopes that people will get that this wasn’t my band behind this shit. Because every single news source out there is saying this happened at a ShapeShifter show. That’s what this was. A ShapeShifter show. With special guest, Hammerhead. See how that works?”

Howard winced: face, shoulders, arms. Even his legs bowed with his chagrin.

Kerri itched for a pencil and sketchpad.

Trevor strolled across the empty stage, slowly. He turned to Howard. “I had plans tonight. You fucked me up.”

“I… I’m sorry.”

“This is only the start of being sorry, man,” Mitchell said. “You might have just effed up your career for life. Even if you fold Hammerhead and start another band, you’ll always be the asshole who told a worked-up crowd to set the field on fire.”

“Not to mention the only other person who’s managed to get a ShapeShifter show cancelled,” Trevor called from center stage. “This band doesn’t cancel.”

“I’m in good company?” Howard offered weakly, then bowed his head when he noticed Mitchell’s face. Kerri knew she’d have to get him away from Howard, and fast. Not that she blamed him in the least. It wasn’t supposed to have gone this way. It should have been a routine show, spiced up by whatever Trevor had planned.

Trevor, who suddenly seemed a lot more middle-of-the-road than he could probably stand being. Whose hijinks always had something behind them, some point he was trying to make, a statement he wanted others to get. Trevor pulled his shit deliberately. He’d never encourage twenty-three thousand people to rip up a lawn and set it on fire — if only because they’d be looking at the flames and not him.

Mitchell took her hand again and they crossed the stage to join Trevor. Kerri bent her knees slightly and kissed Trevor on the cheek.

“Yeah, yeah,” he said to her, putting his fingertips over the spot her lips had just touched. There was no wiping off, no screaming about cooties. Kerri made note of that.

Mitchell took a swipe at the back of Trevor’s head. None of his anger at Howard came through. “Come help me fix this mess, will ya?”

Trevor flicked his unlit cigarette off the edge of the stage, into the security area between where the fans should have been and where the band should have been. “I fucking hate cleaning up after dumbfucks,” he muttered.

As they matched Trevor’s speed off the stage, Kerri looked back for one last glance at Howard the Hammer. Head bowed, shoulders sagging, he looked like someone who knew his dreams had gone up in the same flames as the lawn.

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Daniel Fiction: Val’s Choice

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Daniel was trying to get away from Stan the Stud when Val ran over to him. She grabbed his forearm and kissed his cheek. “You’ll never believe what I just found out!”

Stan leaned in. “You’re pregnant?”

Val curled her upper lip and drew away from Stan, closer to Daniel.

“Maybe this isn’t something I want to say in front of jerks.”

“Ouch. Color me wounded,” Stan sneered.

Daniel turned away, not caring if he was rude to Stan. He’d be forgiven; after all, he had something Stan wanted. He had a drum set. And there was nothing more that Stan wanted than a band. Stan and His Studs. They’d wear black leather jackets and jeans and play good old-fashioned rock and roll — which to Stan meant songs like Johnny B. Goode.

It was a good song, but Daniel wanted to rock. His drums were a way to…

“Why aren’t you listening to me now?” Val asked, still holding his arm. She’d planted her other fist on her hip and if Val could look angry, she was there.

She was still pretty cute, though.

Daniel bent his knees to kiss her. “Sorry. What did you find out?”

“There’s these vocational classes I can take. They’ll teach me how to be a chef.”

“A chef? Val, I thought you wanted to …” Daniel paused. What was it she’d wanted to do last week? Zoo keeper? Model? He couldn’t keep up anymore, it changed so fast.

Him, he wanted to play drums.

“But think about it,” she was saying. “If I’m a chef, I can feed hungry people.”

He eyed her.

“I can maybe open a restaurant, one where all the people with too much money go. And I can charge a lot of money and use the extra to fund a food pantry or a soup kitchen, and then people like us. It’d be okay. I’d make it okay. I’d make it so it’s not so bad when we have to go there. But of course we won’t have to go there. We’ll be rich from it, only we’ll actually give back and try to help out and–”

“Val, not here,” Daniel said. He glanced around, hoping no one was listening. It probably wouldn’t be news to anyone, but that didn’t mean it wouldn’t be something worth talking about. The last thing he wanted was to give anyone a reason to talk about him.

She seemed to understand, taking a step back and looking down. “It’s… It’s not just you, Dans. It’s us, too. My family, I mean. There’s been times and … oh, never mind!” She stamped a foot, tossed her hair over her shoulder, and ran off down the hall.

Daniel watched her go. Actually, he thought a chef was the best idea she’d had so far. When his band got big, she could come work for them as their personal chef. And they’d be together forever.

He liked that last part the best.

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ShapeShifter fiction: The Bra and the Shirt

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If you’ve never been over to Alice’s Restaurant, you want to fix that. You see, Alice and I have decided to team up for some blog fiction fun and send two of her characters to see everyone’s favorite band.

As soon as the red satin bra landed at Mitchell’s feet, a pang of jealousy shot through Trevor. What was that chick thinking? Throwing it at the big idiot, instead of him?

Trevor looked out into the crowd. She wasn’t hard to find there in the crush of people at the stagefront barriers, given the way she was squealing and grabbing the arm of the guy she was with. One of those easy-going types who’re everyone’s friend. Until you piss him off. He wore all black, too, so you knew not to fuck with him too much. Or he was afraid he’d look like a fool and was playing it safe.

Trev watched the two of them for a second. They were both laughing, the woman covering her face with her hands like she couldn’t believe she’d wiggled out of her bra right there, then launched it with all the skill of the girls at Moon Shadows.

Trevor wanted to sidle up to her, to push aside the stupid-assed beads and feathers she’d filled her hair with, and tell her he was glad she had. It had been fun to watch her squirm out of it. She should have fucking thrown it at his feet after that show, but he understood. Blondie was the frontman. Everyone watched the frontman. Even, sad to say, him.

But that was his job, he reasoned, jumping as Mitchell turned and glared at him. Trevor knew that glare; it was the one that said he’d just fucked up beyond usual. Time to think about music, not the chick who’d thrown her bra.

The song was over, anyway. Mitchell picked up the bra by one strap and let it dangle off his index finger. He held it out. “Look!” he told the crowd.

The roar that went up made Trevor stagger back a few steps. Holy fuck, they almost liked the stupid-assed bra better than the band.

Mitchell turned to Eric with the bra, then Daniel. The drummer stood up and reached out with a drumstick, like he was trying to hook it.

Mitchell, who was standing sideways so most of the crowd could see what was going on — as if the vid screens above them weren’t focused on him anyway — pulled it back and cradled it against his chest. His bra.

Trevor snickered, wondering if he’d model it after the show. They’d used to do dumb shit like that, back before they were headliners. Back when they didn’t have to worry so much about unauthorized cameras.

Mitchell cocked his right eyebrow at Trevor, the one hidden from the stage. It was the only invite Trevor was going to get.

He grabbed the bra from Mitchell. Held it up. Sniffed a cup. Deeply.

A quick glance into the crowd told him the woman who’d thrown it was blushing. Good; Trevor liked older women. Let her dude wait his turn.

“A good one,” Mitchell said into his mic, giving Trevor an approving nod. He turned and faced the crowd head-on. “Now, if any of you other girls out there want to share some goodies with us, you feel free.” He paused and let his face crack into one of his biggest, most doggish grins. “We’ve got a Wall of Fame at home, you know.”

Trevor wasn’t sure why the guy was so desirable. He looked like a total dork, grinning like that.

Mitchell motioned to Eric to come over. He lifted his guitar strap over his head and had the other guitarist hold the works while he stripped off his shirt. It wasn’t just sweat soaked, it was all but dripping.

“Who threw this?” Mitchell asked, pointing to the bra Trevor still held.

Trev stepped up and pointed out the girl, all crazy colors in her hair, all Blending Boyfriend holding her at the waist so she didn’t get trampled as the crowd surged toward Mitchell. Each one of them needed Mitchell’s shirt. Not one of them had a doubt it was going to the girl, but they’d go down hoping.

That was what made ShapeShifter fans so fucking cool.

Sure enough, Mitchell motioned to security. Trevor pointed out the girl again.

The Blending Boyfriend accepted the shirt and gave it to his girl.

The four members of ShapeShifter grinned at each other. Yeah, it was about the music. It always was. But damn if this sort of thing didn’t rock every bit as hard.

Got an idea to have some fun with me and the band? Drop me an e-mail; I’m all ears.

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Fiction Outtake: Bored on the Bus (Trevor’s Song Era)

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They’d been on the bus for what felt like weeks. So long that they were way overdue for a day off inside of an actual hotel room — and every single member of ShapeShifter was grossed out by the thought of how excited they were about something as sterile and isolated as a hotel room. But at this point, with only the bus or the inside of the venue to look at, a hotel seemed like the ultimate luxury.

During these stretches, it wasn’t unusual for no one to talk. No one had anything to say, really. Not when you were spending exactly every waking minute with each other. Not when you’d done this dance for years.

Mitchell didn’t even have much to say to Kerri, which was pretty pathetic considering they were still newlyweds. She didn’t seem to care, except that she was as bored as the rest of them. So bored that she had squished herself on the couch beside him, her chin on his upraised knee. Instead of drawing, she was playing idly with the hair on his leg. He knew she wouldn’t be doing it if he’d put his jeans back on, but when all you were doing was sitting on a bus, why bother with pants?

He could only take so much of Kerri’s petting and stroking. It wasn’t hot, it wasn’t comforting. It was just damn annoying.

He lifted his leg and straightened it, moving gently so he didn’t startle her onto the floor or hurt her. “Woman,” he growled, “my leg is not a guitar. If you want to strum something, go find one.”

With a shrug, Kerri stood up.

“What are you doing?” He knew he flailed as he sat up, but he didn’t care. She’d been supposed to stop petting him, not do … whatever.

“Getting a guitar,” she said carelessly, and disappeared into the bunks.

Eric and Daniel chuckled as Mitchell groaned, but Trevor nodded. “That’ll teach your dumb ass,” the bass player said and lit a cigarette. “You know she can’t resist a challenge. Even an easy one like that.”

“At least it’ll give us something to do,” Daniel said as Kerri came back carrying Mabel.

She sat down at the other end of Trevor’s couch, facing Mitchell, and put the guitar properly on her right leg. Then she shook out her hair and straightened her back, looking to the table at Eric. Mitchell noticed how pointedly she ignored him. He tried to keep his latest groan inaudible; it would only egg her on.

“So. What do I do now?” she asked Eric, a too-bright smile plastered to her face.

Mitchell wanted to cover his own face with his hands. Anything to keep from watching this. But he couldn’t look away.

“You need a pick,” Eric said.

Kerri handed the guitar to Trevor, who took it with a sneer. She stood up, watching Mitchell as if she expected him to do something.

“What?” he asked as she stared down at him. Fuck, but he hated it when she smiled like that. All smug and full of herself — and about to make him the butt of some joke, he was sure. Anyone with a shred of common sense would get up and leave before it happened, but he was stuck there, both by his own inertia and some sick need to be present.

Kerri bent down so she could reach across him, making sure she brushed her breast against his face. She dug in the change pocket of his jeans.

He refused to so much as breathe until she came up with one of the eight million or so picks they’d had made for this tour. He told himself not to panic; he still had two others in there. And maybe she’d give it back. Or, even better, make him come looking for it.

She smirked at him as she reseated herself and took Mabel back from Trevor.

“Okay,” she said to Eric, “now what?”

Trevor leaned forward as Eric motioned Mitchell out of the way so he could sit across from Kerri and give her instructions. She made a show of not knowing how to hold the pick or how to use it.

Her performance set Mitchell’s teeth on edge. And that was before she struck a note.

“What about my face?” she asked when Eric told her she was ready to move on to the next step.

“What about it?” Eric asked.

“Not even Asshole there can play guitar with his face,” Trevor said, jerking his chin at Mitchell, who growled. Kerri didn’t need to know about the time he’d tried. Hell, Mitchell wasn’t sure Trevor knew about it.

Kerri took a deep, exaggerated breath. “I know that,” she said. “But to watch the three of you, in order to play guitar, you also have to make faces. Like this,” she said, puckering up like she’d eaten a lemon. “Or this,” she said, opening her mouth and widening her eyes.

Daniel laughed.

“Oh, you’re not much better, you know,” Kerri said, pointing the pick at him. She stuck her tongue into her cheek and, again, let her jaw drop open.

Mitchell bit back a smile, but Eric didn’t bother hiding it. Her faces were poor imitations of theirs, but they got the point across. Daniel pretended he didn’t care, and Trevor was pretending he wasn’t paying attention, even though his eyes flicked back and forth. He was, like always, too full of himself to give in and have a good time, especially because it was Kerri at the root of it all. Trevor couldn’t stand it when she pulled shit like this — because he wanted to be the one at the center of it.

“You know what’s going to happen now?” Daniel asked, picking up Eric’s cigarettes and fiddling with the pack. “We’re going to get on stage tonight and obsess about our faces.”

That was entirely too true.

Mitchell told himself he shouldn’t care. Guitar players were supposed to make faces; the girls in the crowd ate it up. The guys thought it was the path to coolness — and a lot of them practiced their faces more than they did their guitars even though the more you played, the more natural the faces turned. It was all part of rock and roll.

Besides, he told himself as Kerri tried to stand up, only to discover the hard way that guitars had straps for a specific reason, if this got inside his head too bad, he’d divorce the wench.

But in the meantime, at least he wasn’t bored.

Has it been too long since we’ve had an outtake just for the fun or it, or WHAT?

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ShapeShifter Fiction: Key Lime Pie (Trevor’s Song era)

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No Thirteen this week, as I’m off to Cub Scout Camp again this summer. As a treat, I thought I’d show you what you guys inspired, based on your responses to this Thirteen I wrote back in May. Hope you like it; there may be more to follow if you do.

Eric didn’t notice it until he was on his way back to sound check. He’d just taken a bathroom break that had been long enough to make his tech feel like part of the band instead of the stand-in for the real guitarist. Stupid touring; it got to him like this every few weeks, it seemed. It got to all of them, but he swore, he got it the worst.

He stopped by the deli tray to grab a slice of turkey. That’s when he noticed it, sitting on the end of the table like it didn’t need to be kept cold or anything.

Mitchell was not going to be happy about it.

Eric wasn’t quite out of the dressing room when the rest of the guys pushed through the door.

“Nice of you to come back,” Trevor told him with one of his usual sneers. “I thought you were a member of ShapeShifter.”

“I didn’t really want the guy puking on stage,” Mitchell told the bass player. Eric tried to get a feel for the guy’s mood. Sometimes, sound check went well and mellowed Mitchell out. Sometimes, it totally sucked and the guy was a dragon. Right now, he was talkative.

“Remember what happened when that one roadie puked?” Mitchell asked. “How fucking bad it smelled? And it lasted until the end of the tour, too. No, Eric, you did the right thing, ducking out on us. We wrote a new song,” the band leader said.

Eric smiled wanly and flopped down on the couch. Mitchell was in a good enough mood. Maybe he wouldn’t hurt someone when he noticed it.

… or then again, maybe he would, Eric thought when Mitchell growled, “What the fuck is that?”

Eric sat up to look.

Mitchell stood in front of it, breathing so hard, his nostrils flared. “Get someone in here who can explain this,” he said.

Since the four of them were alone at the moment, Daniel jumped to do it.

“Just use it for an ashtray,” Trevor said, taking his cigarette out of his mouth and reaching to lead by example.

Mitchell strong-armed him out of the way.

“Well, fuck you, too,” Trevor said.

“Not until we get some fucking answers,” Mitchell growled. He hadn’t taken his eyes off it. Eric wasn’t sure he would, even though it was pretty obvious the thing wasn’t going to move by itself.

Daniel came back. “They’re going to find someone,” he said and stood on his toes to peek over Mitchell’s shoulder, as if he needed to be shielded from it. “At least this one’s not green.”

Mitchell growled more loudly. Daniel backed off. Even Trevor took a step back.

A few minutes passed with no one really knowing what to do. All four of them kept throwing glances at it, like they expected it to get up and come after them or something. Maybe melt, Eric decided, picking up a can of Coke from a bus tray full of melting ice. If that ice was melting, there was no way the non-green thing was in good shape.

Not like any of them would be dumb enough to eat it.

“There’s a problem?” The mousy man who led Charlie, the band’s tour manager, into the dressing room had seven strands of hair left at the front of his head. They’d been pulled back into a ponytail and they made the guy instantly memorable.

Charlie peeked over Mitchell’s shoulder. “Whoa. That’s some bad vibes.” He turned to the mousy guy. “That a key lime pie?”

Mousy guy nodded. “My wife made it. She said she read in a magazine that you guys like key lime pies.”

From across the room, Eric could hear Mitchell breathing. Hard. He closed his eyes and hoped the guy wasn’t about to explode.

“Take it out of here,” Mitchell said. It wasn’t a request.

“But my wife…”

“Take it!”

“What’ll I tell her?” The guy’s eyes were darting everywhere, like he was about to panic.

Mitchell picked up the pie and pressed it firmly into the guy’s chest. “Tell her you hope it doesn’t stain. And tell her she needs to be more careful about what she reads because we fucking hate key lime pie.”

He let go. Half the pie fell to the floor. The other half stuck to the guy’s shirt.

“Oh,” the guy said in such a small voice, it was almost a squeak.

Eric stood up. “Look,” he said, “thank your wife for the pie, but explain to her that she read an article written by a reporter who has a problem with us ever since Trevor puked on him after eating a key lime pie that some fan had made.”

“But my wife…”

Daniel put a hand on the guy’s shoulder, looking with distaste at the custard smeared on his shirt, “Was wrong, and you got off light. We’re the band. This pie was a violation of our concert rider and we could pull even more of a prima donna routine and make you very unhappy. You got off light. Hell, Charlie, give the guy a free t-shirt to wear and then call JR. We don’t do shows with this joker anymore.”

The mousy guy paled. “But…”

Mitchell started to laugh. “You’re the promoter and you fucked up this royally? Dude, you’re done. Go fucking sell real estate or something.” He jerked his head toward the door and Charlie sprang into action, escorting the mousy promoter dude out of the dressing room.

Trevor and Daniel laughed. Even Mitchell relaxed enough to smile.

“The best laid plans…” Eric said and decided that pie or no, he needed to return to the bathroom.

Ahh, yes. Sometimes, it sucks to be in a band. If you’re new to ShapeShifter, or if you want to read more, click on the cast of characters tab at the top of the page. You’ll find links with each character sketch. I know. There are a lot of them.

Not sure where to start?

Here are a few of my favorite ShapeShifter adventures on the road:

Backstage Party
Bean Dip #1
Bean Dip #2
Green Hair Week — The Concert (You may need to read the whole series to really get it, but it’s fun.)

If you need me for anything, I’ll be back in a few days. The Tour Manager will hold the fort down while I’m gone.

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Fiction Outtake: Daniel’s Shoulder (part 2)

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If you missed the start of this, you’d better go read it, or this will be little more than nonsense for ya. The first part’s short, although not as short as this one. It won’t take long. And there’s a link to bring you back here.

As he left the dressing room, Mitchell held up a hand at the roadie who’d been sent to escort him to the meet-and-greet. “I need to make a call,” he said and turned toward the production office.

Lyric answered almost immediately.

“Daniel’s shoulder’s bothering him,” he said, “so have the bills get sent his way. Oh, and Lyric, he’s paying you a thirty-buck per diem.”

She laughed. “Thanks, but you didn’t need to.”

“Hey, I take care of my girls. So go make calls; you might be able to get on Kerri’s flight out in the morning.”

“Does this mean you’ll be paying me a per diem, too, the next time you need me out there?”

“Fuck no.”

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Fiction Outtake: Daniel’s Shoulder (part 1)

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The Sunday Scribblings prompt this week is sore/soar. I was going to play with Eric, whose guitar is often said to soar above the rhythm line that Mitchell, Daniel, and Trevor lay down, but I’ve got a massive migraine and this was hanging around, waiting to be shared. Be sure to check back for the second part.

It was the look on Daniel‘s face that froze Mitchell, mid-stride. He knew that look on his drummer’s face, the left eye slitted, the left side of the mouth poured open so that half the guy’s teeth were showing. Even though he didn’t have first-hand knowledge of the shoulder pulled to the ear or the hand gently rubbing it, Mitchell knew the pain.

“Need me to call Lyric?”

“Yeah, would you?” Daniel tried to relax his shoulder. And his face. The shoulder went back into place more easily.

Mitchell paused, finally grabbing a chair and turning it backwards so he could lean into it when he sat.

“Can we talk later and you call her now?” Daniel asked. He grimaced and rubbed his shoulder again.

“I’m not the one paying her.”

“Oh.” The drummer thought a minute. “What’s her usual rate?”

“Airfare, hotel room, and a thirty-buck per diem.”

“Thirty bucks!”

Mitchell shrugged. “She’s gotta eat.”

Daniel winced again and dug harder at that sore left shoulder. “Okay, fine. Whatever.”

With a nod, Mitchell stood up and went to place the call.

Okay, so you’ve got to read the next part, which reveals the punchline. Go here for it. You can leave comments here or there. Or both. I love comments.

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ShapeShifter Fiction: Beached Whales (post Trevor’s Song Era)

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Kerri set down the dishtowel she was using to dry Val’s good china with, handed the last plate over, and walked into the family room. Daniel and Mitchell were being awfully quiet for two men who’d been all hyped about the big game.

She walked down the two steps into the sunken room and took in the scene.

The boys lay head-to-head on the L-shaped sectional. Mitchell had one leg thrown over the back of the couch; Daniel had one foot on the floor. Both men had extended their other leg, Daniel’s foot dangling off the edge of the beige leather couch.

Kerri chuckled as she noticed that they both hadn’t just unbuttoned their pants after that feast; they’d undone their flies, too.

“Hey, Val?” she drawled.

Mitchell’s head shot up and he slitted his eyes as if shooting poison at her. She smiled; he knew her tone of voice all too well.

“Yeah?” Val asked, wiping her hands on her hot pink dishtowel and crossing the kitchen to join Kerri. She stopped on the stair behind Kerri, one knee bent, the same hip jutted out in a classic model’s pose.

“Where’d you find the beached whales?”

“Wholesale district. Imported from Japan; they were cheap.”

Daniel burped. Mitchell smirked and put his head back down.

Kerri shook her head. “Waste of good veal, if you ask me. Whale stuffing ought to be cheap.”

“Actually, I think it’s the highest praise a chef can get,” Val said, tossing the dishtowel over her shoulder and pulling her hip back in line with the other. “When you can turn two grown men into beached whales, you know your cooking’s good.”

“Or that food on the road is that bad,” Daniel said. “Really, Val, come out and be our caterer.”

She winked at Kerri. As if there was any way to pry Val out of her house. “If I do,” she said, “will you change the name of the band to Beached Whales?”

“We may have to,” Mitchell said and, at last, burped.

The curtains fluttered, and Val and Kerri exchanged amused smiles as they went back to putting the plates away.

Want more? Click on the cast of character tab above. And don’t forget to take a ride on Rhian’s Poetry Train!

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Thursday Thirteen #49 – Pound Them Skins

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Thirteen Reasons why Daniel‘s a Drummer

1. His grandmother bought him a drum set to make him feel better about the divorce and having to live with her.

2. The pots and pans called to him, but not to cook.

3. Val thinks it’s the sexiest instrument there is.

4. His sense of rhythm is impeccable.

5. He likes to beat on things.

6. Drumming beats fidgeting, which he does anyway when not playing.

7. You look cool when you casually twirl a stick through your fingers.

8. You look even cooler when you learn how to bounce a stick off the sidewalk and catch it without missing a step.

9. Sticks thrown into the crowd go further than guitar picks.

10. Drumming can be loud as hell or soft as a whisper

11. The variety of sticks, drums, and cymbals is just darn cool.

12. Girls throw themselves at you because they want to experience your rhythm.

13. All sorts of bands need good drummers. From marching bands and orchestras at school to jazz bands and oldies bands and the ultimate prize: rock bands. Drummers are always in demand.

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Yeah, it’s been one of those busy weeks over here, so nothing too terribly exciting today. Be sure to check back during the rest of the week for more fun!

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Thursday Thirteen #29 — What’s in Daniel and Val’s kitchen?

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In keeping with the theme I began two weeks ago, when we looked at Mitchell and Kerri‘s kitchen and its contents, this week, let’s take a look at Daniel and Val‘s kitchen. For those of you too lazy to follow the links, Daniel is ShapeShifter‘s drummer and Val, his long-time girlfriend who trained as a chef but quit the restaurant business when it got too much.

Look for a new outtake featuring Daniel, Val, and their kitchen over the weekend. And for you meme lovers, another one I’ll let the band answer.

Thirteen mostly food-type things in Daniel and Val’s kitchen

1. A sourdough starter

2. a windowsill herb garden (that overflows onto the patio, in ever-expanding pots)

3. A wide variety of teas

4. Phone numbers for three butchers

5. ten kinds of chocolate and/or cocoa, not counting hidden candy bars

6. A variety of wines, ports, and other highbrow alcoholic delicacies that you wouldn’t expect a rock star to know a thing about. Mostly, he doesn’t. Val, however, does. She’s not a rock star, so your expectation here was met perfectly.

7. Locally produced clover honey

8. chick peas, tahini, lemons (for juicing), and garlic

9. Phone numbers and schedules for the local CSA

10. Ping’s Soy Sauce. Lots of it.

11. Bodacious Sauce. Not quite as much of it.

12. organic cranberry granola bars (Daniel’s favorites. Eric‘s too, come to think about it)

13. One of those undercounter TVs that’s hooked up to the cable in case Daniel starts to go through CNN withdrawal.

And because the voting’s not closed yet…
And if you’ve missed it somehow, Just a reminder… go vote for me!
My site was nominated for The Blogitzer! My site was nominated for Best Blog Design!

My site was nominated for Best Blog of All Time! My site was nominated for Hottest Mommy Blogger!

Yes, I’m totally going to torture you with this until the voting closes on May 22. So go vote, will ya? If you’ve already voted, why not register under another e-mail address? You’ll get to vote again that way!



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ShapeShifter Fiction: Bean Dip Concludes

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You guys are really into this bean dip… Hope what follows doesn’t disappoint, as the bean dip is mostly absent. Mostly.

If you’re a bit lost, this is the earlier post, setting up this lovely scene.

Erica knew how to stock a backstage dressing room, that was for sure. Daniel asked Mitchell to remember to include some of the things she thought of — ice cream sandwiches for after the show, and gummy candies beforehand — whenever ShapeShifter got big enough to have a catering rider.

“Shit, I’ll ask for the ice cream from now on,” Mitchell laughed. It had been a stroke of genius on Erica’s part; nice and cool after the hot set. They’d all gotten headaches and nasty head rushes, but fuck if it hadn’t been worth it.

Back at Erica’s flat, Mitchell got friendly with a six-pack and crashed. The other three stayed up with their hostess, met her boyfriend — a hulking biker type, apparently — and talked the night away. Mitchell had trouble believing they’d stayed up and talked without getting drunk or stoned; it took awhile in the morning before anyone would admit to both.

They were in pretty good moods as Mitchell pulled the Bronco out of the narrow city street that Erica lived on and followed her directions to the Northbound freeway. After its brief cleaning, the truck smelled better, the weather was good for driving — not raining, not too bright; just perfect — and so Daniel and Mitchell fell into a discussion of how many t-shirts they had left and how many more copies of their small-label release they’d need to have shipped out when it started.

Eric farted.

Not to be outdone, Trevor burped. Then farted.

“Oh, shit, here we go,” Daniel muttered.

Mitchell tried not to smile. “She did feed us Mexican food last night.”

“Knowing fully well we’d be stuck together in a small space when it kicked in,” Daniel pointed out.

Eric groaned with pleasure as he farted again.

Mitchell could practically feel Trevor’s brain working, trying to find another way to top him.

“Trev,” he said in his most serious voice, “give me your lighter.”

“Ooh!” Mitchell envisioned Trevor’s eyes lighting up as he understood what Mitchell was trying to prevent. “Nope, I think I need a smoke.”

“Four guys who smoke, stuck in a truck the morning after a midnight Mexican feast,” Daniel said, then farted noisily. “This is not going to be pretty.”

“Let’s get the windows open,” Eric said, waving a hand in front of his face. “It’s already nasty back here.”

“So open the fucking windows,” Mitchell snarled, reaching for the map.

“Don’t do it, man,” Daniel said softly. “Going back without a plan’s never a good idea.”

Mitchell glared at him. The tooting in the back continued, accompanied by a burping contest.

“We’ll get our revenge on her,” Daniel said with a definitive nod.

“How?”

“Beats the shit out of me, but I’m sure we can find something. We’re ShapeShifter. No one fucks with us like this.”

Mitchell had to sigh as he opened his window and let go of the tight hold he’d had on himself. “I think, Dans, that she did.”

And because the voting’s not closed yet…
And if you’ve missed it somehow, Just a reminder… go vote for me!
My site was nominated for The Blogitzer! My site was nominated for Best Blog Design!

My site was nominated for Best Blog of All Time! My site was nominated for Hottest Mommy Blogger!

Yes, I’m totally going to torture you with this until the voting closes on May 22. So go vote, will ya? If you’ve already voted, why not register under another e-mail address? You’ll get to vote again that way!

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Fiction Outtake: For Erica (The Early Days)

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Some fiction again this week for Rhian‘s Poetry Train. I don’t think you need any run-up to this; it’s the early days, the fledgling band‘s put together a small tour on a shoestring budget. On these tours, you rely on the goodness of locals — or you sleep in your truck.

By the way, you can blame this — and its conclusion, which I’ll run tomorrow — on Erica at Writing Aspirations. It’s all her fault.

“Hey, M,” Trevor said, coming up behind Mitchell, who was half-in, half-out of the Bronco, trying to clean it out a bit. He wasn’t sure, but he thought it was starting to smell. Four guys on the road would do that, he knew. But damn, it had happened fast.

“Whatcha-doin’?” Trev sing-songed.

Mitchell bombed an empty can of Mountain Dew at him.

“I wouldn’t do that if I were you.”

“Why the fuck not? It’s fun.” Mitchell tossed another one, again without looking. Who cared where it landed, so long as it was out of the truck.

Trevor smacked his lips. A bag rustled; Mitchell guessed he had talked someone into coughing up some chips. Until they got paid for this show, they had about five cents between the four of them. Unless, of course, Trevor was hoarding cash again and had used that to buy the stupid chips.

“Because I’m not alone,” Trevor sing-songed.

Mitchell groaned and buried his head in the seat of the Bronco. He should have known.

“You want to come meet Erica.”

Before he raised his head, Mitchell let himself growl. Getting it out would be the only way he could smile at this girl. He didn’t want to be social; he wanted to clean the damn truck out before he had to think about the show. He had about ten minutes, tops.

What he saw when he turned around surprised him. First of all, this girl was holding a can of bean dip, and she and Trevor had almost abandoned the chips for it. Mitchell half-expected Trevor to pick the can out of her hand and lick it clean.

The last time he’d done that, he’d turned it into foreplay.

“Who’re you?” Mitchell asked. She was tall for a girl, almost taller than Trevor, and she wore ratty denim shorts over fishnet hose and fourteen-eye black Doc Martens. A push-up bra and a ripped black Soulbender t-shirt; she looked more goth than metal except her hair wasn’t dyed black and she didn’t have makeup on. In the absence of those, Mitchell decided she was … normal.

“Erica,” she said and stuck her finger in the can of bean dip. She licked it off before saying, “The Sleeve wanted me to connect with you guys. I’ll be doing your dressing room tonight, so if you want anything special in there, holler. Also, if you need a place to crash tonight, I’ve got room.”

Trevor moved a step closer to her and started examining her mouth. “I want something special,” he said.

“Forget it,” she told him coolly. “I’m taken.”

“M here can fix that for you,” Trevor said, giving Mitchell a wide smile like he was asking for a punch.

“Not gonna happen,” Mitchell said before Erica could react. She was cool enough, she worked for Steve the Sleeve, and if she was offering them a place to crash, he was all over it. Anything to keep from driving most of the night. He’d pull over for an hour or two when he had to, but sleeping in the truck was old. If he never had to do it again, he’d be happy.

Trevor turned and started rummaging through the back seat of the Bronco.

“Think you want that place to crash?” Erica asked, peering past Trevor into the truck.

“If it’s no big deal,” Mitchell said, wondering how many other times she’d made this same offer. She didn’t have that over-eager bunny attitude; this was old hat for her.

Trevor emerged with a crumpled pack of cigarettes. “One left,” he said, pulling it out. It wasn’t very straight.

It didn’t seem to matter how banged up the cigarette was because suddenly, Mitchell wanted it for himself.

“I’ll make dinner for you after we get back to my place after the show,” Erica offered. “I make a mean Mexican spread.”

Mitchell narrowed his eyes and looked her over. This was bordering on ritual. “You’re Steve the Sleeve’s girl?” he asked, his opinion of the local promoter plummeting. Everyone knew you didn’t use your girl for dressing room detail.

Erica snorted. “I wouldn’t do that sleazeball if you gave me a million bucks and underwrote my own promotions biz. But he pays me good,” she shrugged. “So what if I have to kick him in the balls every now and then to keep his hands off me? It’s nothing compared to how hard he’ll get it when I spin out and start doing my own shows.”

“You’re on for that place to crash tonight,” Mitchell told her. There was something honest about her, something he could relate to. He wasn’t so sure about the Mexican food, but he’d deal with that when he had to. The last time they’d had Mexican food, they’d all gotten sicker than dogs and had to stop at every single rest stop along the drive.

Maybe the homemade effect would make the difference.

And because the voting’s not closed yet…
And if you’ve missed it somehow, Just a reminder… go vote for me!
My site was nominated for The Blogitzer! My site was nominated for Best Blog Design!

My site was nominated for Best Blog of All Time! My site was nominated for Hottest Mommy Blogger!

Yes, I’m totally going to torture you with this until the voting closes on May 22. So go vote, will ya? If you’ve already voted, why not register under another e-mail address? You’ll get to vote again that way!

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