Fiction Outtake: Backstage with Jen


I had my head down, which had to be the dumbest thing I’ve ever done. I’m supposed to walk at the back of the line and make sure there aren’t any stragglers. I’m supposed to be helping out. That’s part of my job, part of the price that goes with the perks of all these backstage gigs. I’m supposed to be working.

Work is what I was thinking about, too, which makes this even stupider. It’s been on my mind lately. Is this what I want to spend my life doing? Seriously?

When I looked up, I’d walked to the usual meet-and-greet area, right outside the band’s dressing room. Only, no one was there.

This is a problem. The backstage area in this Civic Center is huge. There were only about twenty people lined up for the meet-and-greet, and twenty people can barely fill one of the corners in here. Not to mention, they can be practically anywhere. I could spend the entire night hunting for them and still be looking when the last of the production trucks pull out.

Fortunately, before I could panic, a woman came out of the band’s dressing room. She wasn’t much taller than me, but she was wearing these amazingly high fuck-me heels. Skinny jeans that rode so low on her hips, I knew she couldn’t bend over and keep them on. And the hair. Jet black and hanging loose, halfway down her back and teasing the back of her bustier, which, o of course, laced up the front and pushed her boobs halfway up to her chin.

I don’t think I need to mention she had the nails and makeup to match.

I was staring at rock and roll royalty, only I had no idea who she was. About all I can tell you is that she was not crew. Nor was she your regular, run-of-the-mill groupie. Not with that air of belonging that she had.

She frowned at me and put the backs of her hands on those skinny little hips. I could almost see her hip bones. I didn’t even want to try to compare them to mine. “Hmm,” she said. “Looks like you’re lost.”

I nodded helplessly. There were no words for her. There were no words from me at all at that moment, which wasn’t the smartest thing. I should have been introducing myself to her; I had every right to be … well, at the meet-and-greet, doing my job.

“Well,” she said and turned, taking her hands off her hips and motioning me forward with one, “let’s go. I’ll take you over there.”

There was no sigh that showed she didn’t want to be responsible for me. No nothing. Just straight matter-of-fact, no big deal. Maybe it wasn’t. Maybe it was easier than letting me be in the wrong place when the band came out. They might get a big laugh out of the record label rep who had to follow the band to get to where she belonged, or they might go ballistic that I wasn’t in my place. They were, after all, the band. I worked for them, and this one in particular wasn’t one you pissed off or fucked around with. Not if you want to hang on to your job.

And don’t you think that us local reps forget that. Once we do, we’re done.

“Hey Charlie,” my guide called when we’d gone around two corners and stood in a huge open space that would soon be filled with roadies pushing road trunks to their specific trucks for the trip to the next town. “I found a lost soul for you.”

“I was wondering where you’d gotten to, Jen,” the band’s tour manager said. I touched the girl’s elbow in thanks and went to stand with Charlie.

“Thanks, Val,” the tour manager called as the woman strutted off.

“Val?” I echoed. Something about the name struck a chord, but I couldn’t place it.

“The drummer’s girlfriend?” Charlie said, giving me a look that told me I should have known this. I probably should have; when I’d started as a record rep, I’d known everything about every band on our label. I’d probably even met this woman. Hell, I’d probably talked to her at one point. Maybe even known her name back then.

After awhile in this job, names and faces start to blend together. The troublemakers and the divas, those are the ones who stand out, followed by the cool ones. My guide would be one of them now, too. She was the exact person I’d dreamed of being when I’d taken this job.

I began handing out cover flats and talking to the guests as I pulled Sharpies out of my purse, getting everyone ready for the band’s appearance. Just doing my job, basically. But part of my brain wondered if this was really what I wanted to be doing the rest of my life. I’d passed the point at which I could morph into rock royalty, like I’d once dreamed of being.

I guess the question was who was I, and who did I want to be now.

You groupies may recognize Charlie and Val (and the mention of Daniel, too), but this is really Jen’s piece. I’m not sure who she is, not really, except that I CAN say she’s not autobiographical, as the Tour Manager asked. And while I’d like to get to know her more, I’m not sure there’s a novel in her. We’ll have to wait and see.



  1. cheesygiraffe

    June 13, 2008 11:00 pm

    I like Jen. I definitely feel like I can identify with her. I feel lost myself sometimes. And I knew she was describing Val. She nailed her on the head. LOL

  2. Thomma Lyn

    June 13, 2008 11:41 pm

    Hmmm, Jen is intriguing! Well done. I’ve got a good sense of her already from reading this outtake.

  3. bunnygirl

    June 13, 2008 11:47 pm

    This is a cool little story. It’s great to learn a little more about Val and what goes on around the periphery of the band.

  4. Alice Audrey

    June 13, 2008 11:55 pm

    This is excellent. I’ve been just where Jen is. I could see a novel with her, something low-key and classic.

  5. Steve

    June 14, 2008 1:43 am

    We all have a struggle in us.

  6. heartinsanfrancisco

    June 14, 2008 2:22 am

    This is great! I’d really like to know more about these people.

  7. Stan Ski

    June 14, 2008 2:44 am

    stars and star makers; two different worlds.

  8. gautami tripathy

    June 14, 2008 3:50 am

    I always want to read more and more. This suits the prompt rather well, I say!BR/BR/A HREF=”” REL=”nofollow”guiding lights?/A

  9. anthonynorth

    June 14, 2008 9:53 am

    Me suspects there’s a lot more to come about Jen. just one point, though. A DRUMMER with a gorgeous girl?

  10. Julia Smith

    June 14, 2008 9:59 am

    ‘Rock and roll royalty’, troublemakers, divas and the cool ones – all of your characters are so true, especially the support people like Jen. BR/BR/Just wanted to let you know I got my lovely package of excerpts on Friday. A really appreciated bright spot after a loooonnngg week.

  11. Susan Helene Gottfried

    June 14, 2008 12:12 pm

    Ooh, sorry the week was long, Julia! But now you’ve got some good reading, so dig in and RELAX.BR/BR/Anthony, yep. A drummer with a hot girl. It happens every now and then, you know.

  12. Bethanie

    June 14, 2008 1:34 pm

    Mmm, I like her. She’s interesting, almost tragic in a way – she seems to be having a mid-life crisis, but I suspect she’s not nearly old enough for such a thing. I don’t know… she strikes a chord with me… something about reaching that point in your life when you realize some of your dreams for yourself are going to remain just that – dreams. Hope to see her again….

  13. Ann

    June 14, 2008 1:37 pm

    Hey, cool story. I think she could handle a novel of her own. :)BR/P.S. I started my flickr account, and promptly used up my upload limit on pictures of the Biltmore Estate, RT will have to wait for next month. Sigh.BR/There is a link on my blog.

  14. danni

    June 14, 2008 2:21 pm

    poor jen sounds like a “wanna-be”, (but even she doesn’t know what yet, i think) with the makings of a heroine in her own muddled life – i just enjoy these little outakes so much, but always feel i want more – and MORE!

  15. danni

    June 14, 2008 2:30 pm

    p.s. – thank you so much for stopping by my post and your words of encouragement – so appreciated!!!

  16. Susan Helene Gottfried

    June 14, 2008 2:33 pm

    Anytime, Danni.

  17. Tammy

    June 14, 2008 5:12 pm

    Your description of Val made her so real. 😉 I’d like to see if Jen gets her wish.

  18. keith hillman

    June 14, 2008 6:00 pm

    What a well drawn character, and what a great read this is.

  19. Linda - Nickers and Ink

    June 14, 2008 6:12 pm

    Great description. I feel as if I have been there.BR/BR/Blessings,BR/LindaBR/BR/A HREF=”” REL=”nofollow”IN MY FATHER’S FIELD, at Nickers and Ink/A

  20. Winter

    June 14, 2008 7:02 pm

    Maybe she’s one of those “phat” side characters that add unexpected depth to a main character. I could go on, but I figure you get my meaning.

  21. heartinsanfrancisco

    June 14, 2008 7:16 pm

    My husband, Flip, was a rock guitarist.BR/BR/There really is nothing quite like saying “I’m with the band” and not being a groupie.

  22. karen!

    June 14, 2008 9:33 pm

    I think blogger ate my first comment… BR/blarg.BR/BR/In any case, I think Jen is a sympathetic character.

  23. Susan Helene Gottfried

    June 14, 2008 9:37 pm

    Yep, looks like Blogger was hungry again.

  24. Wylie Kinson

    June 15, 2008 1:01 am

    Hmm… I like Jen. And I like the way you described Val thru Jen’s eyes. I was wondering what she looked like…BR/She obviously doesn’t eat her own cooking!! LOL

  25. Rambler

    June 15, 2008 10:47 am

    you know I felt for that girl in her jeans and stuff, may be nobody looked beyond her clothes and makeup, may be she was a result of transformation, a desperate attempt to attract people to what lays beyond the visuals

  26. Jennifer Hicks

    June 15, 2008 11:49 pm

    intrigued to say the least…

  27. Robin

    June 16, 2008 4:18 am

    Interesting questions. I think we’ve all had times like that.

  28. missalister

    June 17, 2008 11:39 pm

    Ooh, yeah, a dash of disorientation into a mostly cocksure mix. There’s something about Jen to like: she’s a lot like me—what in hell am I doing on this planet and oh shit! what’d I just do EMthat/EM for??? And there’s something not to like: she’s a lot like me. I think the take on the sure-of-themselves from the unsure-of-herself adds a dimension of reality that could be plied well by your professional self. I have little faith I could do it without damaging the rock’n’roll power fantasy. Overall, I feel curiosity and a stirring of eagerness to see how she develops, what she does, how she does it, if she just makes good “caulking” or if she’s the classic ugly duckling, a star in loser’s clothing.

  29. lissa

    June 20, 2008 9:36 pm

    wow interesting piece. i could really relate to the struggles of the narrator. my quarter-life crisis won’t go away.

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