Feb 082013
 

I keep thinking I’m done writing flash featuring the extended cast of the Trevolution, but then something like this comes out.

It was a joke. It was supposed to be an easy joke, the kind that didn’t backfire and embarrass the mastermind. But a joke. Nothing more.

The idea of stealing the other school’s mascot had been done to death back in the 1950s. Back in the days when the school mascot was an actual animal and not a fuzzy suit worn by the guy who thought being a cheerleader was the best way to get girls. Besides, they’d have to pay for any destruction done to the mascot, and making amends like that wasn’t Kerri’s style.

Kerri didn’t know how her planning had overlooked him. She had grabbed her usual accomplices, and even snared the head lunch lady into helping out. Soon, the entire cafeteria staff was involved. They should have thought to work together to make sure this didn’t happen.

The plan was simple: take the day’s allotment of mashed potatoes and, once they were cooked or stirred or whatever the lunch ladies did to make them that perfectly paste-textured mess, Deke would turn it into a sculpture of the rival school’s mascot. He was always bragging he was a better artist than Kerri. This would be his chance to show the entire school. Until their classmates got set loose.

Deke didn’t know it, but those individually-wrapped pats of butter, set on cardboard and with the wax paper over top, were in position to be fired at the sculpture rather than the ceiling. Total destruction.

Deke might not have forgiven her, but at least the matter would be settled. No matter how bad the entire high school hated the Vikings, they’d never fire the butter pats at a sculpture Kerri had made.

It should have been perfect. It started out that way. The lunch ladies cooked. Deke sculpted. Kerri snuck out of class on a bathroom pass and gave it a thumbs up, especially when she stuck a finger in the butter pats and found them the exact right temperature for sticking to what they were thrown at.

And then Fat Douglas walked into the cafeteria.

Kerri got lucky; she was there to see it. To stare in horror as Fat Douglas—who’d earned his name because he ate so much, by rights, he ought to be the fattest person on the planet—took a spoon and dug in.

He started with the Viking’s right horn.

Three spoonfuls in, Deke finally noticed him. “That’s art, you motherfucking loser!” He launched himself at Fat Douglas, who was the skinniest kid in the school, except for maybe Amy the gymnast, who was determined to not-eat herself to death.

Fat Douglas’s spoon went flying. So did Deke and Fatty, right under the table nearest the stage. A dull thud told Kerri they’d just rolled into the edge of the stage.

From her vantage point, it looked like Deke and Fat Douglas both gave as good as they were getting. That surprised Kerri; she hadn’t expected either of them to have the first clue how to throw a punch.

The bell rang, and students entered the cafeteria. People paused when they saw the statue. They cheered when they saw Kerri—and then they ran over to Deke and Fat Douglas and egged them on.

Kerri wasn’t sure how long it went on or who ran for the principal, but he waded in and broke up the fight.

“You’re coming, too, Broadhurst,” he said as he escorted Deke and Fat Douglas out of the cafeteria to a very loud Bronx cheer. “Don’t think I don’t know any better.”

Kerri shrugged and followed them to the principal’s office. It wasn’t the first time she’d been summoned.

The principal sat Fat Douglas and Deke in opposite corners, then pulled out a chair for Kerri. He set it perfectly in the middle of the two boys—and directly across from his seat. Which he sat in and pulled up more closely to his desk. Leaning his forearms on the top surface, he leaned forward and fixed Kerri with a glare.

“I have one question,” he said in a deadly voice.

Kerri licked her lips, not sure where this was going.

The principal turned to Fat Douglas. Out of the corner of her eye, Kerri watched the color drain out of the kid’s face. She almost fell sorry for him. Almost. Taking a bite out of Deke’s sculpture hadn’t been particularly smart.

“How’d it taste?”

Fat Douglas broke into a smile, even though the look on the principal’s face was enough to melt the mashed potato sculpture. “It needed salt.”

This was a Three Word Wednesday post. Be sure to stop in and see what other cool stuff was created this week.

Apr 132012
 

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.

Apr 062012
 

With less than a week to go until the debut of King Trevor, here’s another snippet from Kerri’s Diary. This project is a side piece to the current books in print that are part of the Trevolution. This post, inspired in part by real life, incorporates this week’s Three Word Wednesday prompt words.

You know those romantic images of the woman who always sleeps in her lover’s arms? Mitchell and I sleep like that. I’ll admit it. Scary thing is that it’s hard to get to sleep if I’m not using him as a pillow.

Don’t buy the hype about how it’s nothing but great. Neither of us moves much when we sleep, so sometimes, we’ll wake up and find we’ve gone stiff during the night – especially Mitchell, especially the night after a show. These early shows have been the hardest on him. Sometimes, one or the other of us will have an arm or a leg – or shoulder, or whatever – go numb.

The worst happened this morning. I can’t even tell you how it started because I was asleep, but I guess I sneezed.

And, of course, when you’re using a man’s body for your pillow and you sneeze while you’re asleep…

Well, his growls were what woke me. Even then, I was groggy. I’m not trying to justify it, so bear with me. I wasn’t sure what had happened, and I wasn’t even entirely certain I had sneezed in real life even though I’d sneezed in the dream I’d been having.

I moved my hand over his chest and … it was all wet. Not the sweaty kid of wet, either. This was… different.

“What happened?” I asked him.

“You sneezed,” he said. It came out mostly as a growl.

I couldn’t help it. I started to laugh. “You mean I sneezed on you?”

He got out of bed. It was obvious this was funnier to me than it was to him.

I rolled onto my back and laughed some more. He stayed in the bathroom until I stopped giggling, but as soon as he came out and I saw him, I started again. I couldn’t help it. In a way, this was worse than any of those other random body functions that happen while making love.

“Payback’s a bitch, Ker,” he finally said and got back into bed. He made it clear I wasn’t allowed back on his shoulder, and when I rolled onto my side, he fit himself against me.

And that’s when I realized: I had my back to him. And his face.

And paybacks are, indeed, bitches.

Mar 302012
 

Okay, so it’s March, not July, when I’m posting this, but the weather here makes this a fitting piece. Less than two weeks until the release of King Trevor — are you ready??

Mitchell called last night and asked me to bring some warmer clothes for him when I come back out on the road. He said he’s already stolen a sweatshirt from his own merch, but it’s not enough. He needs a coat or something.

I don’t get it. It’s the summer, for crying out loud. July. And the band is in the States, where it doesn’t exactly get cold enough to be coat weather. At least, it usually doesn’t do that in July.

You don’t argue with Mitchell when he gets in these moods, though. You shut up and dig through the coat closet and find something that’s not as heavy as his ShapeShifter jacket, but is still warmer than the denim he’s got with him. Maybe even warmer than the warm-up jacket I was eyeing, but then my choices are this horrid stadium jacket that had to have been one of those prank presents from Amy or Beth, or this even worse barn jacket.

That’s what makes me think that Mitchell doesn’t need a coat right now. That he’s looking ahead and knowing he’ll need one soon, and that if he whines about being cold in the middle of July, I’ll take pity on him and buy him something nicer than either of these two. Yet why he thinks I won’t come up with something worse is beyond me.

Unless he’s planning that if I do, he’ll just make me wear it. Me, who wants nothing more than a heavy leather ShapeShifter jacket like the one in the closet. The one I’m half-tempted to take out and sleep with. I mean, it reeks of him. I may be home for only a week but damn, I miss him.

Maybe I’ll wait on the whole coat thing and drag him out shopping on a day off once I’ve gotten back out there. That way, any ugly thing he winds up with will be his own doing.

But I’ll pack him an extra pair of sweatpants, just in case he really is cold. Maybe another sweatshirt, too. A heavier one. Just in case…

Be sure to check out the other FridayFlash folk and see what they are creating… It’s always fun to sample the depth of experience on the Net…

Mar 232012
 

This week’s Three Word Wednesday and #FridayFlash combines with my new Kerri’s Diary series. This piece, obviously, is set during Trevor’s Song. As we get closer to the release of King Trevor, the newest book in the Trevolution, you’ll be reading more snippets from Kerri’s Diary. Hope you’ll join me for the ride — and pick up the books, while you’re at it.

After all these months, it finally happened.

I got to see ShapeShifter play live. A real, live concert. Not a practice, not a warm-up show in a mostly-empty arena. A concert.

Mitchell was right. I didn’t get it until I experienced it.

Amateur that I was, Eric told me I had to go down into the crowd and watch that way. Right down there, at the barrier, he said. He found a member of the local security team to put me in place and stay with me, to make sure I wouldn’t get trampled. I laughed, but it turns out, Eric was right. I needed the guard’s diligent ways; ShapeShifter fans are rough. It’s not that they mosh so much as they almost have this need to get up in the band’s face and touch them and be close to them, especially Mitchell. He’s more than just the guy in front, as he calls himself. He’s electric up there, magnetic. He’s calling people to him, and I doubt he even realizes what he’s doing.

I watched big, beefy guys get hauled over the barrier, red-faced and gasping for breath. Girls who looked like they were about to pass out, who’d immediately burst into tears at where they found themselves. So close to the band and yet being shown the way to someplace that’d only move them farther from their heroes. They’d get yanked free, and there’d be six more people cramming into that space they’d just come out of.

The crush was incredible. And there were only eighteen thousand total fans in the arena. The security guy said he’s been on the road with bands who’ve played in front of fifty or sixty thousand. This, he said, was nothing. When you get numbers like that, the floor’s packed. People can—and sometimes do—get trampled.

I believe him. And … I don’t. It’s just too hard to get your brain around. I’ll admit it here since I can’t admit it anywhere else, but at times, I was scared.

I spent the rest of the night drawing, and yet I couldn’t draw anything. I was too busy watching, taking it all in. This was my first experience with the whole spectacle: the hurry-up-and-wait once you get to the venue, the interviews, the pre-show, the after-show, the fans, the media types, the label people. And the groupies. Oh, yeah. Don’t forget the groupies. They hate me already and half of them don’t even realize the woman standing in the band’s shadows is the wife. They hate the very concept of me. I’ve taken Mitchell from them.

Eric said the thing to do is get to know a few. I’ll know which ones, he promised. Nurture a friendship with them, he said. Let their influence pave the way. I’m betting he’s right.

Mitchell said that after tonight, I can go down into the pit, the area between the stage and the barrier, and watch from there. He said Eric was right: my first time had to be done right.

Then he winked, the horny bastard.

One final plug: if you like serial fiction, be sure to stop in at Alice Audrey’s spot on the Net for us Serialists. Read a few, add your own… it’s all good.