Most of you haven’t met Vanessa Kontempt yet. You still won’t; a train wreck like her is going to be hard to write. But here’s a member of her entourage, someone new on these pages.
The room looked like someone had gone on a rampage. In fact, someone had. Three someones, to be specific.
Fuelled by too much alcohol, too many groupies, a heaping mound of cocaine, and a morbid desire to be the next to die at age 27, Vanessa Kontempt had been the one who’d started it.
Freddy and Lurch had joined in, as usual, and now here was Adrian, left to pick up the pieces, smooth the ruffled feathers, and fix everything. As usual.
“I thought it was the tour manager they called the asshole,” he muttered as he took in the damage. He held his breath, waiting for a light bulb to fall out of its socket or something, but it seemed it was all over. Damage done. Vanessa, Freddy, and Lurch had been rolled out to the bus and Stiffy was holding court to make sure they wouldn’t get off the bus and wreck something else.
They’d warned him before he took the tour. It wasn’t going to be easy, and it wasn’t going to be pretty, and that’s why they were offering the extra hazard pay. That hazard pay… it wasn’t enough. Not really. Not for having someone like Vanessa in his life on a daily basis.
Adrian ran a hand over his bald head, loving the smoothness. He should have known when he’d shaved that morning that this would happen. Vanessa always had to wreck his good moods. He swore it was some special talent she had. Like she’d come poke around, realize he was in a good mood, and get to work on how to ruin it.
“You the one I gotta dick with?” the in-house guy asked. He was maybe thirty, but he was wider than he was tall. His breath rasped even when he wasn’t talking, and every word was a wheeze. Adrian had spent the day making everyone else deal with this guy.
Yet more karma biting him on the ass.
Karma, Adrian decided, wasn’t just a motherfucker. It was a sisterfucker, a daughterfucker, a sonfucker, and a fatherfucker. All rolled into one.
“Yes,” he sighed and stared the guy down. Truth be told, he looked like a wonton.
Adrian decided karma was even worse than he’d imagined. Until that moment, he used to jones for Chinese food.
“Let’s not make this so bad,” the wonton wheezed. “Your divas wrecked a table, the couch, and five chairs. We gotta wash down the walls and clean the carpets.”
“Show me the receipt from the last time the carpets were washed,” Adrian said, his hand rasping against his stubble. Bald head, stubbly cheeks. It spoke for him.
The wonton shifted, a cumbersome prospect at best. “Now, I don’t think we need to be that particular.”
Adrian crossed his arms over his chest and cocked his head. He’d picked up that move from the movies, but it hadn’t failed him yet. “I do. Cough it up.”
The wonton held out his hand, trying to stall the tour manager. “Now, now, I thought we weren’t gonna make it so bad.”
“You show me proof that the carpet was cleaned in the past month, and I’ll add it to the bill.” Adrian didn’t change his position.
The wonton licked his lips. “Well, now, we got us a problem. Your divas went and poured a Red Bull across the floor in the hopes of turnin’ it into a ant parade.”
“Red Bull?” Adrian raised an eyebrow. “Where’d that come from? There aren’t any energy drinks anywhere in our rider.”
“Maybe it was a Coke.”
“Maybe you’re blowing air up my ass in the hopes I’ll cave and let you pull one over on us. But Vanessa’s management’s paying me so that won’t happen, and since they’re the ones paying my salary, you can take your Red Bull and shove it where the sun don’t shine. If you can get your fat arms that far around your own body.”
The wonton’s wheeze got louder and his doughy face turned red. “There’s no need to get personal.”
Adrian leaned closer, getting down to the wonton’s eye level. “I haven’t even started to get personal yet.” He grinned. “Want me to?”
That did it. The wonton licked his lips again. The red drained out of his face, leaving it whiter than the cocaine had been.
“The table, the couch, and five chairs,” Adrian said. “By my count, we’re talking seven hundred.” He took a step closer to the wonton and held his breath. Someone had forgotten to stick the leftovers in the refrigerator, and it was ripe.
“Nine,” the wonton wheezed.
“Ever feel like a broken record? Seven.”
Adrian hardened his face.
He ran a hand over his stubble again, making it rasp.
“Seven,” the wonton said with a wheeze that might have been a sigh. “But you have to leave Dodge within half an hour.”
“We’ll be gone as soon as I set foot on the bus.”
The wonton counted out the cash. The full amount, and then he very deliberately counted seven hundred back. “You won’t even miss it,” he wheeze-grumbled.
Adrian grinned at him, his special grin. The one he saved for when he was proving that tour managers were assholes. “The only thing you’ll miss is having to pay the poor schlub who’s gotta drag the next beat-up couch out of the storage closet. The red one’ll look great in here.”
The wonton’s wheeze was more of a gasp and for a second there, the guy looked more like a fish two minutes out of water than a wonton. “What–? How–?”
“I been around, dumbshit.”
Adrian folded the cash and tucked the wad into his bag. Shaking his head, he turned and left the production office for the bus.
“Adrian,” Vanessa said when he got on. “Think we can find some Chinese food before we hit the highway? I’ve got a craving for some…” She bit her lower lip, her eyes darting back and forth. For a second there, she looked cute. Vulnerable.
“Wonton soup?” he asked tiredly.
“Hot and sour,” she said thoughtfully.
“Hot and sour, it is.”
This was a Three Word Wednesday post. Be sure to stop in and see what else is happening in this cool community.