Fiction Outtake: For Erica (The Early Days)


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

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

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

“Whatcha-doin’?” Trev sing-songed.

Mitchell bombed an empty can of Mountain Dew at him.

“I wouldn’t do that if I were you.”

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

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

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

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

“You want to come meet Erica.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maybe the homemade effect would make the difference.

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  1. Rhian / Crowwoman

    May 7, 2007 9:51 am

    you know Susan – your writing always spins me back to my misspent youth when i worked with bands in Atlanta in the early 80s. I can remember some of the bands would talk about scrounging thru the dumpsters behind Pizza Hut to get day old pizza to eat. Ironically, the beer at the clubs was always free and plentiful.

  2. Rashenbo

    May 7, 2007 10:04 am

    Muhahahaha! 🙂 OOoooo do I feel special. I’ve got this giant goofy grin and I’m totally going to make my husband read this 🙂 BR/BR/Although, licking a bean dip container and foreplay just makes me say, ICK! 🙂 Chocolate and whip cream is so much better. BR/BR/I bet the stinky in the truck is someone’s sock stuck in a fast food drink container that previously had a milkshake in it. Rotten milk just LINGERS… FOREVER… 🙂

  3. karen!

    May 7, 2007 11:21 am

    Erica’s suggestion is just soooo yucky: sock and old milkshake, ew!BR/BR/Nice to see a new outtake, S. Oh, and I love the new “S” avatar 😉

  4. Robin L. Rotham

    May 7, 2007 11:26 am

    Oh, it’s so frustrating when it ends! I want to know what happens next!BR/BR/If that were my truck, the stinky would be chicken nuggets and French fries lodged between the seats. (butter-fingered kids…)

  5. Susan Helene Gottfried

    May 7, 2007 12:45 pm

    That’s why I banned food in my car, Robin!

  6. Sanni

    May 7, 2007 6:19 pm

    Ooooooh! Excellent – I, too, want more!

  7. Amy Ruttan

    May 7, 2007 7:04 pm

    Bean dip … maybe not. I’m for chocolate or something scrummy like that. Bean dip gives me heart burn.BR/BR/hehehehe.

  8. STAK

    May 7, 2007 7:25 pm

    i have been where your characters have been………more than times than i can count…….but i’ve rarely had to drive most of the night after gigs……the times i did, i was hating life………

  9. Thomma Lyn

    May 7, 2007 10:19 pm

    I’m not gonna say “Cool Beans” — instead, I’ll say “Cool Bean Dip!” LOL! Great out-take. 🙂

  10. Christine

    May 7, 2007 11:24 pm

    I like how the absence of eye makeup and dyed hair can make someone normal. BR/BR/Thanks for dropping by my site. Looking forward to reading more!

  11. West Of Mars — The Meet and Greet » Blog Archive » Thursday Thirteen #28 — Let’s hit the Road
  12. West Of Mars — The Meet and Greet » Blog Archive » ShapeShifter Fiction: Key Lime Pie (Trevor’s Song era)
  13. West of Mars » Blog Archive » ShapeShifter Fiction: Key Lime Pie (Trevor’s Song era)
  14. West of Mars » Blog Archive » ShapeShifter Fiction: Bean Dip Concludes

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