Kerri Fiction: Backstage in Pittsburgh (Trevor’s Song Era)


She’d only cancelled her trip home because Trevor had taunted her into staying on the road with them. So far, it had been okay. The city had lost its magical hold on her; she felt like a stranger and the city felt like any other they’d been to. Nothing special anymore. Even the memories were getting foggy, drowned out by the vividness that was life in Riverview.

Only as she’d stood in Primanti’s and watched them make sandwiches for Mitchell and Trevor had she felt like she’d never left. It had been a temporary feeling; as she’d reached out to pay the woman in the greasy white apron and gotten a glimpse of her black leather tour jacket, she’d remembered why she was here, and, more importantly, who she’d become.

That didn’t mean that standing in the bowels of the Igloo, watching from the fringes as the band met with their fans, was a comfortable thing. Any one of those people could be someone Kerri knew, someone she’d grown up with. Someone like Emily van … van… van Something. Who was shimmying in front of Mitchell as she eyed his crotch between head tosses, still the School’s Top Slut eight years later.

It was all Kerri could do to stand there, watching Emily draw an index finger down the middle of her bottom lip while giving Mitchell a come-hither look. Drawing attention to herself would cause more problems than it could solve, and Mitchell was doing fine on his own. But that didn’t mean it was easy to stay in the shadows, a faceless member of the band’s crew.

Kerri watched as Emily drew the strap of her tank top aside, pumping her shoulder a few times like a model in front of the camera. It was probably habit, Kerri thought. She’d seen pictures of Emily back in high school, the illicit ones the guys had taken during drunken and drug-fueled nights, with Emily as the belle of the ball. Hell, Kerri had seen more of Emily than Mitchell ever would; what was she getting upset about?

Mitchell moved on, to a kid who looked to be about eighteen. A guy whose eyes had boggled at each of Emily’s antics and who now wasn’t sure who he should be talking to, Emily or Mitchell.

Kerri watched Emily as Mitchell dismissed her entirely. She pouted and leaned back against the wall, throwing the occasional dirty look at Mitchell. Kerri wondered what the woman would say if she knew just who it was who Mitchell had married. They hadn’t been friends in high school; they’d had to tolerate each other due to the fact of simple proximity. Kerri had been the cool chick, the one who’d fit in. Emily had fucked her way to acceptance.

As she watched Daniel come near enough to make Emily perk back up, Kerri decided that it was probably a good thing those ties she’d felt to the city were gone. While she doubted she’d have wound up like Emily if she’d stayed, the simple fact was that some ties were harder to break. She and Emily would have seen each other around town, would have still shared some friends, spent some Sunday afternoons at the same house, rooting on the Steelers. Their orbits would have overlapped and Kerri would never had escaped. She’d have turned into those people she’d hated most.

Leaving had been the right thing, even if the way she’d done it maybe hadn’t been. Letting the lies spread about what had happened the night before she’d married Mitchell had been a blessing in disguise.

Standing in the shadows, being a nameless, faceless member of the ShapeShifter crew was a hell of a lot better than anything she would have become if she’d stayed in town.

She hoped Trevor would teach Emily van Whatever a thing or two. And that Emily wouldn’t teach him about something he’d need antibiotics to cure.

This week’s Sunday Scribblings inspired this, as did the woman on the spin bike beside me last Friday. She’d toss her hair and pose for the mirror; it was an experience, watching her.

If you weren’t here over the weekend, you’ll want to scroll down or click through; you missed some Roadie Poet!



  1. Bobkat

    January 26, 2009 9:52 am

    I can so empathise with Kerri about being glad to have left the town I grew up in. There was more than one Emily Van something in my past and I have never regretted leaving them behind.

  2. Robin

    January 26, 2009 10:18 am

    I don’t regret leaving mine behind either, but I do think Kerri should have waltzed in right in front of Emily and given Mitchell a big hot kiss. Come on, if you can’t lord it over the high school hag, then over who?

  3. Toni

    January 26, 2009 10:58 am

    Great one Susan! Love how you got the Steelers in there!!! Good luck Sunday!

  4. gautami tripathy

    January 26, 2009 11:07 am

    You did me in with the shadow

    phantasmagoria part..

  5. Thomma Lyn

    January 26, 2009 1:20 pm

    Great job with Kerri’s voice. I love Kerri in all moods, but her reflective mood is intriguing; I enjoyed being in her head while she reflected on what might have been and how she’s glad to be where she is now.

    And that last line… *GUFFAW!*

  6. bunnygirl

    January 26, 2009 1:25 pm

    I love this, although I can see Robin’s point that it would be fun to lord it over Emily. Petty, but potentially a good time. I like Kerri’s wait and see tactic, though, too.

    LOL the ending with the remarks about Trevor!

  7. Gel

    January 26, 2009 10:10 pm

    Your writing has a unique flavor. I was roped in here for the ride from beginning to end.

  8. Wylie

    January 27, 2009 9:28 am

    Susan… you just reminded me why I left my home town! LOL
    Brilliant piece from Kerri’s pov. So introspective, but I gotta say, the position of this line: “Emily had fucked her way to acceptance” was pure poetry!!

  9. Tammie

    January 27, 2009 6:56 pm

    In reading this one and the Roadie Poet, I think you may know something about this life style.So many of us don’t have much to go back to in the towns we grew up in. Interesting.

  10. Jane Doe

    January 28, 2009 8:30 am

    This is a great take on the prompt, a well-written escapade into one woman’s psyche. I think every school had at least one Emily. I love that line ‘Emily had fucked her way into acceptance.’

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