Category Archives: Trevor

Trevor Fiction: Sucky Night

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Author’s Note: This Three Word Wednesday post is part of the Trevolution. It has no spoilers for Trevor’s Song, and fits right into any of the Demo Tapes anthologies. If you’re new to the Trevolution, what are you waiting for?

Trevor yawned. It was big enough that the entire floor could see his tonsils, but who fucking cared? This show was lame. Lamest they’d ever done.

Figured there were fifty thousand people in the joint — or there would be by the time Sammy Spencer hit the stage with the latest version of his backup band. No one could take the place of Scarred Heart. And no one cared about who he picked as the first opener for his shows, either.

“Man, we’re fucking up tonight,” Mitchell said between songs. Trevor wasn’t even sure which songs they were between. Everything they played sounded bad. Mitchell, their awesome frontman all the girls dug, was coming off as some dull-assed jerk.

“Man, we sure are!” Trevor shot back with the brightest, fakest voice. Like he was some fucking cheerleader or something. Wouldn’t that be a hoot. As if there were people out there who thought Trevor Wolff wouldn’t put the skirt on. It would be way more fun to get it off the cheerleader he’d steal it from but…

“What?” he asked when Mitchell flicked his ear.

“Quit being an asshole. We’re all in this together. We gotta get out of it together.”

Trevor jerked his chin at Eric. “Been talking to Soul Boy, there, again?”

“Doesn’t matter,” Mitchell said. “We’ve got three songs left and we can let these people think we suck or we can show ’em we’re here for the long haul.”

“I think we ought to race through ’em as fast as we can and go hide out backstage until everyone’s gone,” Trevor said. He nodded and crossed his arms over his chest. His bass bobbed without a hand to steady it.

It was Mitchell who put a hand on it. Mitchell who told him to suck it up. And it was Eric and Daniel who agreed. They’d salvage this show, or they’d die trying.

Dying sounded like the better option to Trevor, but he was smart enough to own up to when he was outvoted. He’d play harder, run around faster, something so Mitchell wouldn’t beat him up later and accuse him of a lack of effort.

As if on cue, Mitchell, Eric, and Trevor turned back to the audience. Trevor watched Mitchell take a deep breath, as if getting ready to turn on the jets and wow these bored people.

Trevor figured he’d let Mitchell do that. In the meantime, Trevor himself would scope out the audience. Maybe a cheerleader had shown up, ready to be charmed out of her skirt.

He could hope.

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Trevor Fiction: The Naked Jumble

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So it’s Friday and I wasn’t going to do this week’s Three Word Wednesday prompt. I’m busy, as you guys can tell by my lack of Three Word Wednesday and Friday Flashes.

But I opened the feed in my reader anyway and checked out the words. Just in case they inspired me.

Then I went and got myself a new keyboard.

Because, you see, this week’s Three Word Wednesday’s three words are: grin, jumble, and naked.

For real?

Are you sure about that?

Let’s stop and think about this, shall we? Grin. Jumble. Naked.

C’mon. I don’t even have to write this.

Or, if I do, it’ll look like this:

Trevor. Naked jumble. Grin.

There you go. Like you hadn’t already envisioned this, yourselves.

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Trevor Fiction: Grace

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Note from Susan: If you’re looking for the Weekend Hangout, you’re on the right blog, wrong post. If you’re here to check out my Friday Flash, Three Word Wednesday, or fiction in general, you’ve hit the right blog, right post. Have fun.

“Grace?” Trevor said. He looked the girl over; she was too skinny to be considered thin, and was more jittery than a coke addict who’d just gotten all toked up. He couldn’t see her eyes; she was looking down, but she knew how to work those jeans, in a quiet, un-self-conscious way. It wasn’t enough.

“A woman named Grace ought to have some,” he said and walked away.

“Hey,” Mitchell said, his voice low but not concerned, “you’re passing?”

“I don’t do junkies,” Trevor said with a sniff.

Mitchell snorted, then wiped at the base of his nose with the back of his hand. It went horizontal, knuckles to wrist, and then disappeared into the front pocket of his jeans.

Trevor eyed him.

“Junkies. You’re sniffing. Oh, never mind.”

Trevor sniffed again. Just to prove the point.

He felt her hand on his wrist before he sensed she’d come near. Shit. Skinny, graceless, as jumpy as a junkie — and ghostlike.

This girl was not Trevor’s type. But here she was, grabbing at him, ready to protest that she did, indeed, have grace.

She got two words out before she tripped over something.

Trevor didn’t have a choice. He had to play the gentleman and stop her from falling, if only because she was trying to take him out on her way to the floor. He glanced down at her feet, hoping she’d tripped because it wasn’t easy to totter along in those heels his favorite girls wore. Then again, he hung out with strippers. They knew how to work a pair of heels.

Graceful, here, was wearing flat boots. Not even the clunky type that were easy to trip over. Nope. They were dainty, delicate.

Like a girl named Grace ought to be.

“I don’t want…” She blushed. Trevor stared, fascinated. He’d seen all sorts of shit by this point in his life, but girls who looked at him and blushed were a novelty.

“Well… I don’t want that.”

That?” Trevor folded his arms over his chest, the same way he expected Mitchell had. Mitchell was behind him, out of sight. It was only this ugly duckling mis-named Grace who had the front row.

Her blush deepened. “Yeah. That. You know. What most girls want from you.”

Trevor smiled. She’d managed to say probably the only thing that would save her from an immediate ejection from his personal space. “You’re not most girls?” he asked.

“Not that type,” she said and finally met his eyes. Hers were green, a bright emerald green. And holy shit, but if she gained some confidence and grew into her name, she’d be one of those chicks every man on the planet lusted after. He watched a backbone steel itself somewhere deep inside her. “I don’t even want to be. Not really. I just want to be…”

She broke their gaze and looked away. Her hands scrubbed her sides, looking for pockets.

“You want to be my steady girl? The one above all others? The one I call when it’s late and I’m bored and lonely?” Shit, how many times had he heard this song and dance?

“Cool,” she said, and this time, there was even more backbone in her eyes.

Trevor knew what this was costing her. He nodded. “C’mon, then. But here’s your first lesson. Cool? Comes from inside. From wherever it is you found the balls to tell me what you’re after, here. It’s there. You just need to let it out.”

Her eyes had stuck themselves to him. If they could have come out of her head and physically picked a spot where they’d live forever and ever, amen, they would have. For the first time, he got what it meant to have someone hang on his every word.

He put his arm around her. “Come with me, little Graceful.” He lifted his face to the ceiling and let out a delighted cackle. “Uncle Trevor here’s got a thing or two to teach you.”

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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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Trevor Fiction: Under the trailer

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My friend Candy requested some Trevor. I doubt this is what she had in mind, though. It’s pretty dark.

Getting away was the immediate need. Getting away, getting safe. Helping Eliza and HJ get away, too. Jeremy would take care of himself. He always did. He’d stay there and taunt Hank for awhile, give the rest of them time to get away, and then somehow escape without too much damage to himself.

He’d turned it into an art form.

It had to be something like that. It sure as shit wasn’t a gesture of kindness on Jeremy’s part. Fucker had no kindness in him. In his own way, he was worse than Hank.

He gave HJ a shove to help him get further under the trailer faster, then held out a hand to Eliza. Of all of them, it bugged Trevor the most that she had to face this shit. She was the only girl. She was the family treasure. Even Hank said so. He cried before he whaled on her.

But he’d started doing it anyway.

Trevor figured it sucked, but not so bad if the fucktard never found Eliza’s bedroom. He and Jeremy slept in there sometimes on nights when Hank wasn’t needing some exercise, taking turns, keeping her company and guarding her from things that went bump in the night. Or worse.

Eliza took his hand and turned her face to his. She was biting her lip, but it trembled anyway. Her eyes were big, huge, scared.

Trevor knew the feeling.

“C’mon,” he whispered to her. “The faster we get safe, the sooner Hank gives up looking for us.”

A tear leaked out of one eye. “Trevor.” Her whisper started to get loud, to turn into one of those whines that wound up sounding like a fucking air raid siren from those old movies his mom would watch sometimes.

Trevor tried to shush Eliza, whipping his head around to look for people in the window and door of their trailer. Hank didn’t know about this hiding place, right under his stupid fucking nose. He figured sympathetic neighbors were hiding his kids, even though he’d put fears worse than God into them and now, none of ’em would even so much as look at the Wolff kids.

Trev bent down so he was closer to Eliza’s eye level. “It’s okay. We gotta get under there for awhile and then when Hank passes the fuck out, we’ll come back in. Come on, Eliza. You’ll like it under here. Me and HJ fixed it up. We got bottled water and maybe there’s some cookies left, too.”

“When I grow up,” Eliza said, her voice rising again. Trevor waved it down. She whispered, “I’m gonna play the violin. I’m gonna go all over the world. And I’m never gonna be scared again.”

Trevor swallowed down the impulse to cry. She was fucking eight years old. That was too fucking young to want to run away.

Then again, HJ was nine. He was eleven. Jeremy was twelve. They were all too fucking young to have to face this shit.

A crash came from inside the trailer. With a terrified squeak, Eliza dove for the hiding space. Trevor followed on her heels, not wanting to know if that had been Jeremy or their mother who’d just gone flying.

He let Eliza climb onto his lap, let HJ snuggle up against his side and cling to his arm like it alone was the only thing that would save him. He’d figure out a way to get them out of this mess. He would. After all, he was Trevor Wolff, and Trevor Wolff could do anything he set his mind to.

Somehow.

More Three Word Wednesday for you (immediate, treasure, gesture), and some Friday Flash as well. Remember, too, that 50% of my reported royalties in November and December are being donated to charity, to help fund music programs in schools. Join in — and if you already have my books (and so do your friends; autographed books make great gifts!), remember that if you use my donation link on the contests page, you’ll be entered to win… more books!)

Yep, I’ve also linked this at Weekend Writer’s Retreat and Writer’s Island. What can I say? I like maximum coverage. Which is a dangerous thing to say when Trevor’s around…

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ShapeShifter Fiction: Quitting Jim Shields

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Note from Susan: if you click on Green Hair Week, you’ll learn a little bit about Jim Shields and what happened to Mitchell. While this piece is a companion to my novel, Trevor’s Song, and will probably feature in a Demo Tapes anthology somewhere down the road, it has no spoilers for anything already in print.

“The guy just makes my skin crawl,” Mitchell said, trying to suppress the shudder. “We need to be off this tour and done with him.”

“Has he done something to offend?” JR asked.

Mitchell paused, waiting for JR’s usual verbal onslaught. It didn’t come. JR was actually, for once, quiet.

Trevor flicked his cigarette from the corner of his mouth onto the ground. He didn’t bother to grind it dead. “What the fuck does it matter? The guy’s a fucking powder keg. Up one minute, down the next. All in our faces about shit we can’t control, then making like he’s our best friend.”

“He’s too volatile,” Eric said, nodding.

Mitchell thought about that for a second, then nodded. Perfect way to describe the dick. Volatile.

“Backstage is a powder keg,” the guitarist went on. “We all hate being there. C’mon, JR. There’s got to be a way to get us off this tour. Daniel and M here say you’re getting all sorts of offers for us to open for better acts. I think you need to take a longer look at some of them, even if it means we take a break.”

“It hasn’t all been bad with Jim,” the manager said. “You had a nice long break in Phoenix and it turned out to benefit you quite well”

“My hair turned green,” Mitchell said. He crossed his arms over his chest and glared at the manager until JR shut up.

“But the break refreshed you. It taught me and your booking agents quite a bit that we’ll be discussing once it’s your turn to headline but for now, you’re not quite ready to headline, so it’s all opening acts for you still and really, Jim Shields isn’t that bad of a guy Why can’t you just finish up this tour like we’ve planned It’s really not that much longer”

“Because,” Trevor said, taking his time as he lit up a new cigarette. It was for effect, Mitchell could tell. Hell, most of Trevor’s cigarettes were for effect. His own bad boy version of being demure. Or something.

“I need more of a reason than that, Trevor. You have a contract with Jim You signed it and were perfectly happy to You were excited, even, and so was I This was going to be a good thing, bringing you new fans and getting you into cities you’d never visited before.”

“Because,” Mitchell growled, “if you don’t get us away from that asshole, I’m going to shove his microphone stand up his ass and make it come out his mouth. I don’t give a shit about contracts or opportunities or anything like that. I care about not being yanked around by this asshole anymore.”

He was aware of everyone around him cringing, of his voice rising, of the pressure in his cheeks that meant his face had turned red. Trevor would probably tell him later that viens had popped. He didn’t care. Didn’t care about any of it. He’d had enough. The band had had enough. It had nothing to do with his fucking green hair and everything to do with unstable dickhead Jim Shields. This is what it had come down to. It was a matter of survival, no matter how fucking dramatic that sounded. No one could live like Jim was making them live.

Mitchell would be damned if ShapeShifter was going to have to keep trying.

Yup, this is a Three Word Wednesday prompt: demure, offend, volatile. And I’ll link it at The Weekend Writer’s Retreat, also. AND at Friday Flash. AND Sunday Scribblings. That might be all, but who knows? I do like to increase my fan base!

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Trevor Fiction: Swimming

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If you’re new here, these characters can be found in all three of my books, The Demo Tapes (Year 1 and Year 2) and Trevor’s Song, the new, full-length novel starting the toasted marshmallow featured below. There are no spoilers in the following piece.

Noooo. Hotel pools were no longer good enough for the Great Mitchell Voss, it seemed. Nope. The fucker had to be outside, in the sunshine, where it was warm and where the sun would glisten off his fucking suntanned skin and make all the housewives swoon with longing at the way the golden tan contrasted with the loser’s silver-blonde hair.

Of course, there was a plus to this outdoor pool they were walking into: Charlie had promised them up and down no one would bat an eye at them. This pool was part of some blueblood health club, where any idiot could come ogle the pro athletes and the local TV people and everyone else who didn’t deign to be bugged by the adoring yokels who don’t know when to give a person some space.

They probably wouldn’t get anyone to play in the water with, Trevor figured. Places like this, no one did anything but swim laps and work on their tans. The people here were pampered. They preened.

They’d never let the likes of ShapeShifter invade them again.

They hadn’t even gotten into the place, and Trevor knew how it’d end. With the four of them walking out, laughing over a good time — and every other poor sod in the joint trying to figure out what had just happened to them. Oh, some of the women would be all intrigued, biting their lower lips and considering taking old Trevor up on his attentions. If only they weren’t married. If only they didn’t have the kids, or the stretch marks, or the guts…

Yeah. Nothing would come of that, either. Talk about a waste of a day’s good flirting.

Except… once they got there, count on Mitchell to fuck up the script. To pull off his shirt and make his hair cascade out behind him like some fucking romance novel cover model. If the band tanked, the asshole sure had another career waiting — so long as someone airbrushed his face real good. Then again, the girls seemed to like that cleft chin and those blue-green eyes well enough.

By the time Mitchell swan dived off the diving board the first time, every one of those pampered moms, their bodies too taut to have birthed babies and look so good without the benefit of plastic work along the way, their kids snot-nosed despite the good, chlorinated water to rinse it off. Yeah, every last person at that pool was sighing and wishing Mitchell would come talk to them. Even the grandma, her skin leathery from too many days out by this pool and her hair one of the fakest oranges Trevor had ever seen. Yeah, even her.

They’d be invited back, no doubt about it.

Trevor wasn’t sure if he should be grateful to Mitchell — burning every bridge you came to got old every now and then — or hate the bastard for the way the big idiot could make every single person on the planet eat out of the palm of his hand.

Maybe he’d settle for doing both.

**
Once again, I’ll be linking this piece up at a bunch of places. The Weekend Writer’s Retreat. Friday Flash. Writer’s Island.

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Trevor’s Word of the Moment

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Deadbeat

All you guys who haven’t bought my book yet. Feel free to fix that.

Print
Digital (that’s an e-book, you deadbeat. Any fucking format your heart desires.)
or from Susan, who’ll only charge you like nineteen bucks if you’re in the States or Canada, which is cheaper than Lulu’s got it for. (Amazon ain’t got it yet. Deadbeat.) AND Susan will throw in an autograph for you. Hers? Mine? Order my book and see for yourself.

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Trevor and Mitchell Fiction: Wet Jeans

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This is another Three Word Wednesday post — one that went in directions I hadn’t been expecting. It’s also partially inspired by this prompt at Thursday Tales.

“Give it up, Trev,” Mitchell said from behind him. “We’re gonna get wet.”

“I don’t want to get wet.”

“Why not? Afraid you’ll melt?”

Trevor turned to the big idiot. “Because I don’t want to,” he said, making each word come out of his mouth as precisely as possible.

“It’s another science experiment, right?” Mitchell went on, giving Trevor’s shoulder a shove. “If you go without washing your jeans, they’ll get so dirty, they’ll disintegrate, but they’ll do it all gradual, so no one’ll ever know what’s skin and what’s jeans. You’ll go around bare-assed naked and no one will know the difference.”

Trevor sniffed and stuck his nose in the air. “You’re the one who likes to go without clothes. All I said was that I didn’t want to get wet.”

“I still don’t see what the big deal is.”

“I don’t see your precious ass out there.”

“It’s a downpour. I’m waiting for it to let up a bit.”

Trevor nodded knowingly. “Because you don’t want to get wet, either.”

“I don’t want to get drenched. There’s a difference.”

“Yeah, like the difference between a girl and a woman. They got all the same parts. It’s just that some aren’t fully formed yet and others are overripe.”

Mitchell gave him an odd look. Trevor figured his example hadn’t gone down quite right. Time to abandon it and go for something else. “You know,” he said, “if we were real rock stars instead of guys on our way up, we’d have people here to hold umbrellas for us.”

“We’d have someone here to wash your jeans, too.”

Trevor smirked. “They are clean. Eric took my stuff when he went to the laundromat the other day.”

Mitchell nodded like he’d known that. Probably had, the wanker. Hell, he’d probably been there with Eric, combining their clothes so no skivvies got turned pink. Not that it mattered if they did; they’d just give them to some eager girls and send ’em on their way.

“Then why don’t you want to get wet?” Mitchell asked.

Trevor turned to the idiot. This conversation was old. Time to end it.

Even though his back was to the door, Trevor took that dreaded step outside. At least he was facing Mitchell and could see the guy’s eyes get all wide as Trevor was suddenly as wet as if he’d walked into a car wash.

Being wet sucked, but laughing at Mitchell was worth every second of the way his jeans were about to chafe.

*
It seems that a reluctance to go outside into the elements is a common theme with me. Remember Smoke Break, now found in Demo Tapes: Year 1? Or Hot, in Demo Tapes: Year 2?

This is a darn good time to join the Trevolution. Pick up the books, in print or digital format (I have copies I can sell you directly if you’d like autographs), and get ready as the Trevolution goes novel length in the near future!

And don’t forget to stop by (or join!) the Weekend Writers Retreat, too.

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Thursday Thirteen: Favorite Trevor Moments

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You guys miss the nut cases in my fictional band, ShapeShifter? Me, too.

Here’s some moments you might have missed. (and yes, I’m playing with words again. It’s what I do. Go figure.)

1. A Saturday Afternoon Trevorism

2. A Trevorism

3. A Scene I hated to cut

4. Another one I hated to cut.

5. And a third, but a paragraph this time.

6. Some of Trevor’s favorite foods

7. One of Trevor’s Favorite Comebacks

8. This Moment with Trevor was in response to a video in which I’d supposedly appeared.

9. You can meet and greet Trevor as part of the first life of Thursday Thirteen.

10. Another Thirteen list about our boy.

11. Trevor? Sappy? Valentine’s Day?

12. More Thirteen fun! Trevor’s favorite perks of being in ShapeShifter.

13. And a final thirteen, where Kermit Ladd makes his debut on the blog and the boys school him.

If you’re a link clicker, have fun looking around. Comments on all posts should still be open, so feel free to leave some! I live for comments — what blogger doesn’t?

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Trevor Fiction: Fluent (The Early Days)

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Mitchell was supposed to be out of the room. He was supposed to be off doing interviews and making nice to the press. That meant Trevor had a private spot to bring this blonde back to. He was in a private sort of mood.

Or he thought he had a private spot until, blonde under one arm and hotel room key in the other hand, the noise of Mitchell’s thundering stopped them. From the sound of the big idiot, he had a full head of steam on. Hardly a time to bring a girl into the room.

The blonde shrank under Trevor’s arm. Not that Trevor blamed her; Mitchell had shifted shape into the dragon, and no one with sense wanted to be near him when he got like that. Not even Trevor.

“Did you fucking hear me?” Mitchell snarled at whoever he was talking to.

Trevor turned his blonde so she faced him. He kissed her forehead. “Go wait for me in the bar. I’ll detonate the asshole here.”

There was something almost relieved in her nod. Trevor told himself to take a better look at her so he’d recognize her again — soft nose, blue shirt, black heeled boots. Girls got pissy when you forgot who they were and wound up with someone else. You heard about it later on, and that was the sort of shit Trevor didn’t need. Ever.

Neither was this scene with Mitchell, but what the fuck. It wasn’t like he had much choice.

He dawdled, watching his blonde speedwalk toward the elevator. If Mitchell had permanently fucked this up for him, he thought, the asshole was going to spend an awful lot of time in the near future dealing with whatever had him so royally pissed.

He took a deep breath and pushed into the room. Acting casual and uncaring took some effort in the face of the tornado.

Mitchell was a tornado, all right. Pacing around the room, raking a hand through his hair, so red in the face, you’d think he was covered in the stripped-off paint from some barn.

“I don’t fucking care,” he snarled some more. “No more college twits.” He spoke each word slowly, precisely. His pissiness came off him in waves. They hit Trevor square in the face, making him want to blink it away.

“JR,” Mitchell said as Trevor flopped onto one of the two double beds in their shared hotel room, landing on his elbows and crossing his motorcycle boots at the ankle. It was his best approximation of Mitchell Cool.

Mitchell didn’t even fucking notice. “Stop fucking talking long enough to fucking listen to me, will you? I don’t give a shit how important promoting the band is. Answering questions about what sort of pasta I’d be, or what I’m fluent in, or any of that other wanna-be intellectual shit is not going to keep up. Got it?”

Trevor frowned and rolled onto his left elbow, freeing up his right hand so he could grab a cigarette. He didn’t blame the big idiot. Not this time, anyway.

What sort of pasta would he be? Oh, shit, that was a loaded question.

With another snarl and a growl that made the hair on the back of Trevor’s neck stand up, Mitchell slammed the phone down. “Fucking A!”

“I don’t think her name started with an A,” Trevor said as blandly as he could. “But,” he said and perched the cigarette on the corner of his lip, “I didn’t exactly get the time to find out, ifyouknowwhatImean.”

Mitchell stared at him, mouth slightly slack. After a long second, his lips started to work, but it was like all the sound had disappeared with the end of the phone call.

“So,” Trevor said, trying to stay cool even as he bunched up his muscles and got ready to dive for the floor, “what are you fluent in?”

“Rock and roll, fuckhead,” Mitchell said, slightly calmer somehow. The return of his voice must’ve brought some peace with it.

Trevor nodded, not sure if he was relieved Mitchell wasn’t getting violent on his ass. “Good answer.”

“I thought so.”

“I was going to be fluent in a blonde until I found your hairy ass here.”

“Oh,” Mitchell said and sat on the edge of the other bed as if his legs had just given out from under him. “Well, go get her, then. I’ve got to go deal with another fucking college kid. One question about pasta and I’m fucking history.”

“You’re not fluent in pasta?”

“No fucking way,” Mitchell said. He actually cracked a smile. “I’m fluent in rock and roll, remember?”

“There’s hope for you yet,” Trevor said and got off the bed, hoping he’d shortly be fluent in a blonde in a blue shirt.

Hmm. I think I’ll have to wait for Demo Tapes: Year 4 to make this really zing. As it is, today’s Monday and I wrote this for this week’s SUNDAY scribbling prompt. Guess that’s your incentive to keep supporting the Demo Tapes project, huh?

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Trevor’s Word of the Moment: Extreme

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Extreme

Extreme? Are you shitting me? My first thought was that Extreme would be a kick-ass name for a band. I mean, shit. Look at ShapeShifter. We’re nothing if not extreme.

Thinking’s bad for your fucking health. Which means I wised up fast.

Only the pansies would think to call their band Extreme. Losers who think being extreme means acoustic guitars and love songs and black and white videos featuring half the band and close-ups of those pretty faces so the girls’ll swoon. I mean, shit, if you’ve got to tell people you’re extreme, there’s no fucking way in Hell you are. Even in your Goddamn dreams.

Now Extreme Losers. That’s a band name for ya. A man can have fun with a name like that. Play it ironic. Play it satiric. Play it serious, and play the shows so drunk, they all fall off the stage, into puddles of their own puke. Into clouds of blow.

Of course, with those sorts of habits, they wouldn’t be someone you wanted to listen to.

But I still don’t want to listen to those pansies and their acoustic love songs, either. That’s about as extreme as Rusty is.

And don’t get me started on her.

For some less tongue-in-cheek Sunday Scribblings, you know where to go. I hope.

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Trevor Fiction: Coal

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If you missed the lead-in to this, clickie here. You won’t be sorry. Then come back and read on; it’ll make more sense.

Mitchell was the only one not into it.

Daniel was all about his new sticks. Signature models, in fact, although Mitchell didn’t really get how a piece of wood could be something special. Oh, he’d played drums often enough to know that sticks felt different and could be different weights.

But a signature style? It seemed extreme, even if the whole reason was marketing shit. Dans and the band got money to put his name on the sticks. People bought the sticks, wanting to sound like Daniel. Everyone won.

Slightly less stupid was Eric’s new amp. Actually, it was a lot less stupid. The guy had needed something new for awhile now. The whole band was tired of his whining and his clueless attempts at making changes. Even Chuck, his tech, had started refusing to help. “Call the rep,” Chuck would grunt and walk away as Eric stood there, mouth flapping, probably secretly wishing he was Mitchell and had the balls to fire the guy for not helping.

Mitchell didn’t know who had called the rep. Eric sure hadn’t. Chuck wouldn’t without being told by Eric to do it. It wasn’t his business, so Mitchell hadn’t done it, either to be nice or in a desperate move to shut the guy up already.

The best gift, though, had to be Mitchell’s new guitar. If Eric’s amp was suspcious, the guitar was even more so. The only person who’d known he wanted it was Trevor. The only person.

Mitchell didn’t believe in Santa. Not anymore. Not after Amy and Beth had ruined it for him when he’d been nine.

That meant there was no way Santa had been behind all this. No fucking way in Hell.

Of course the alternative was even more mystifying. There was no way Trevor would have done this. The guy refused to be organized, refused to think beyond the here and now, refused to plan. Pulling this together, here in Portland where they’d gotten stuck by a freak snow, and making it appear…

Trevor was watching them play with their new musical presents. “Pretty good of the Old Fat Man to find us here, huh?” He crossed his arms over his chest and nodded like he was satisfied.

Mitchell eyed him. There was no fucking way Trevor was satisfied. Not with a lump of coal as a present. Something smelled.

“I knew Christmas was the season of miracles,” Eric sighed, brushing at imaginary dirt on the top of his new amp.

“Yep,” Trevor said, picking up his coal and tossing it in the air.

“You got coal,” Mitchell said.

“I’ve never known anyone who got coal before,” Eric said, giving his amp one last lingering pat and coming over to look at Trevor’s gift. “I didn’t think that really happened. Everyone’s got some goodness in them.”

“This has nothing to do with being good or bad,” Trevor said.

Mitchell caught the sly smile and braced himself.

“Then what’s it for?” Daniel asked. He cocked his head, his eyebrows drawn in toward his nose. “And what sort of present is it, anyway? We all got the cool stuff and you got…”

“It’s a good present,” Trevor said. “It’s what I wanted.”

“It’s coal,” Mitchell said.

“Yep,” Trevor said and grinned. He held it up so they could all see it. “Gotta keep the fire lit.”

With a grandiose gesture none of them could misinterpret, Trevor pushed the lump of coal down the front of his pants.

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Trevor Fiction: I Dare You

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“I dare you,” Trevor said, abandoning the sing-song he’d just been using. That song had never failed him before, but then, this was nothing compared to the sort of thing he usually dared Mitchell to do.

Trevor didn’t think Mitchell was aware he lifted one hand to his left ear and played with the earrings there. Yep, Trevor had dared Mitchell into letting him pierce the big idiot’s ear. And smoke pot in the bathroom at school. Fuck, he’d dared Mitchell into starting to smoke in the first fucking place.

And then there was the band he’d dared Mitchell to start, the girls he’d dared Mitchell into fucking…

Really. The big idiot couldn’t do shit without being dared. Ever.

It wasn’t like this one was such a big deal. One day. No guitar.

Crashing that private party at Moon Shadows had been a bigger deal than this was. Shit, they should have been arrested for that one. Underage, walking into a private party full of naked dancers and picking up one beer per hand… It had been a fuck of an entrance. Maybe that’s what had saved them ’cause Mitchell’s precious Voss family connections wouldn’t have.

“No,” Mitchell said. “Dare me all you want. I’m not taking a day off from the guitar. Gus told me not to.”

“Oh. Gus. Like he’s your god or something.”

“He knows what he’s talking about.”

“He’s some washed up shitty musician who managed to play sessions back in the sixties, when anyone with a fucking work ethic would get hired.”

“He’s been around the greats, Trev. He knows. If he says I shouldn’t take a day off unless I can’t help it, I’m not going to.”

“I’ll give you…” Trevor had to stop and think. He usually didn’t have to bribe people; they did shit for him just because he was Trevor and no one could deny the mighty Trevor Wolff.

“No,” Mitchell said again.

“Is that your favorite word or something?” Trevor asked, wrinkling up his nose and cocking his head. It was a risky move; he’d done it in school once and gotten patted on the head by the teacher he pulled it on.

Mitchell didn’t pat dogs on the head, let alone people.

“Yes,” Mitchell said.

Trevor shook his head and turned away. This sucked. Mitchell never said no. Ever. The guy wasn’t capable of it.

Until you brought the guitar into it. Trevor wanted to kick the thing, but knew that Mitchell would drop kick him if he did. And then the big idiot and his guitar would never be parted, like some of that stupid, sappy shit they’d tried to make him read in school.

The big idiot followed him outside for a smoke, but every time Trevor opened his mouth to try from another angle, the guy said, “No” before Trevor could get sound out. It was all too obvious that Trevor had lost this round.

But he’d find a way to win the war. He fucking would.

Yep, another Sunday Scribbling. You’ve met Gus before, too. Sort of. His legend is beginning to grow.

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Trevor’s Word of the Moment: Mitzvah

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Mitzvah

That’s a Hebrew word, according to soul-boy Eric. What’s a son of a Presbyterian minister doing knowing all sorts of Hebrew shit beats the hell out of me, but whatthefuckever.

A Mitzvah, Soul-Boy says, is a good deed. He says that’s what we did last night at All Access.

Now, Trevor’s not so sure about that. Aren’t good deeds supposed to be this grandiose shit, like helping old ladies across the road, and carrying groceries for preggos so they can drag their toddling brats by the arm and keep ’em from diving under a car and making the rest of us happy?

There’s nothing grandiose about squishing onto the All Access stage and playin’ a set. That’s what we do. Call us Wolf Whistle, call us fucking ShapeShifter, it doesn’t fucking matter. We’re a band. We make music. There ain’t nothin’ special about that.

The only thing special about what we did last night was that we didn’t pay for shit. Didn’t pay for our crew. Didn’t pay for the stage. Didn’t fucking get paid, either.

Eric says not all Mitzvot are big gestures. That sometimes, the ones that mean the most are actually the littlest ones. Sometimes, he says, they can be something as simple as smiling at someone who’s having a shitty day.

I asked if that was Hebrew for give me a fucking break and Mitchell belted me a good one.

But c’mon. If you’re going to do something, why not do it right and do it big? That’s why I was against this whole stupid-assed cancelling the benefit in the first fucking place. Let the whiners whine. We’re ShapeShifter for fuck’s sake. We’ll rise above.

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ShapeShifter Fiction: Glass

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Glass.

If he closed his eyes, that’s what Mitchell visualized. Shards of glass, poking their pointy, broken ends into his throat. His sore, tender throat. The one that needed to be able to sing for two and a half hours.

Last time he’d felt like this, Amy had sent him medicine. It had worked just fine on his throat but fucked with the rest of him. Not in a good way for a guy on the road. Eric hadn’t minded the extended guitar solos the first two nights, but when it dragged on for eight, not to mention how it’d slowed down their travel with Mitchell’s constant need to stop, even the guitarist, the most tolerant of all of them, had had enough.

As if Mitchell hadn’t. After all, it was his body the medicine had fucked up.

He wasn’t calling Amy so fast. Not if she was going to do that to him again.

Still, he had two interviews to give before the show later that night. Sucking on lollipops helped a bit, but not for very long, and it was hard to talk with a sucker in your mouth. That wouldn’t work with the press, even if most of them were dicks. It wouldn’t wash later, during the show, although it might be fun to flick a sucker from your mouth into the crowd, just to see what would happen.

Probably fall in that safety zone between the fans and the stage.

“Dans? Where’s the honey?”

The drummer crossed the room; he’d been primping for an interview of his own and the dressing room felt empty with just the two of them in it. Eric would show in another hour, to give some face time himself, and Trevor would appear… whenever King Trevor felt like it.

“Right there, by your right hand,” Daniel said, surveying the catering table set up in their dressing room.

Mitchell figured that was how it went. He was busy looking at the set-up for the tea, the bags and the sugar and the powdered flavored creamers for coffee, the real milk in the ice tubs with the beer and Gatorade. The honey was… there with the ketchup and shit. Made perfect sense.

It was one of those honey bears. They were fun to fuck around with; Daniel was constantly coming up with new things to do with the stupid things. Mitchell picked this one up, turned it ass-up, and poured a dollop of honey directly onto his tongue.

“Slick,” Daniel said.

Mitchell swallowed and shrugged. And then he closed his eyes and swallowed again. It wasn’t perfect, but it was better.

He set the bear down — near the tea and coffee shit this time — and eyed the back of its head. That same spot he liked to whack Trevor in. He swallowed again, and gave the bear an affectionate pat.

It may have been an old wives’ tale that honey soothed a sore throat, but those old wives sure knew a thing or two.

Whoever the fuck the old wives were.

“Mitchell, ready?” Charlie asked, sticking his head in the dressing room. “I’ve got one reporter on the hook for you, and a quiet spot for you to inflict the torture.”

Mitchell turned to go, then stopped. He twisted and picked up the bear. It could come with him. Maybe he’d have some fun with it and the reporter.

Maybe the reporter would know who the old wives really were.

Honey on glass. He’d take it.

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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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