Late-night Load out (the early days) outtake


At first, Trevor thought it was HJ standing there, shadowing him. The kid was maybe taller than HJ, but had the same boringly long, straight, brown hair that never seemed to snag on the back of his denim jacket. He had the same hunched shoulders, making his face hard to see. And he had the same skinny legs and untied dirty white basketball shoes with an inch of padding around the ankles.

In a lot of ways, the kid looked like Trevor. Or, maybe more accurately, the way Trevor had looked — and the way almost every other male metal head looked. Back before he’d thought up the band and changed his image to match it. Back when Mitchell was still stupidly dreaming of being a baseball star and Daniel and Eric were doing whatever it was they did.

The kid was currently hanging around the backstage area, near Mitchell’s Bronco, like he was guarding it or something. Trevor lit up with a thought. None of them could really afford to have their gear stolen, not even Daniel. Maybe…

“Hey,” he said to the kid. “Whatcha doin’?”

The kid shrugged and turned away, like he was expecting to get hit on or yelled at.

“Like the show?” Trevor asked, deliberately walking past him close enough that his bass case swung a bit and touched the kid’s legs. Sure enough, the kid flinched.

“Yeah,” the kid said, his voice trembling. “You guys rock.”

Trevor shrugged. “I know. We make sure we do.”

The kid shook his head. Trevor recognized his disgust, the old envy that someone had it better. He wanted to tell the kid the truth.

Eric came up, a guitar in each hand. “Hey, Dans and I were talking about going to grab something to eat. Coming?”

Trevor shrugged. “Where’s Mitchell?” He usually didn’t do anything with those two without Mitchell, too. Daniel was okay to be around, but Eric could get awfully preachy.

“He found a girl.”

“A girl found him, you mean,” Trevor said. He thought for a minute. When Mitchell got done — which probably wouldn’t be too long, knowing him, he’d be hungry. And Trevor could put up with Eric until Mitchell got free.

“Hey, kid,” he said, jerking his chin at the kid, who had turned when Eric came over, as if transfixed by the guitar player. “You want to watch the truck till we get back?”

“You don’t think Mitchell will take it when he’s done?” Eric asked.

“If he does, he’ll bring you along.” Trevor spoke to the kid. It sure beat talking to the guitarist, and the kid would loosen up a bit with the attention. He dug in his pocket and pulled out a pick. “Give this to M and tell him I want it back. He’ll get what I mean.”

The kid took the pick and nodded. Trevor and Eric went back inside for the rest of their stuff, one eye on the dressing room. It called to Trevor, daring him to poke his head in and watch some of the fun. Yeah, Mitchell would try to beat him senseless for it later, but it’d be worth it. Free shows were always worth it.

In the hallway, Daniel was stacking drums on top of each other to make them easier to haul out to his car. He’d stuff everything into the trunk and back seat and be off, rattling happily down the road. “Hey, Val’s tired, so we’re gonna bail on Roach’s,” he said.

Trevor rolled his eyes. Of course Val was tired; she was always tired when they wanted to go out to eat after a show. And of course Daniel would take her home and miss the bonding experience with his own band. Really, the guy needed to get his priorities straight.

“Tell her to sleep well,” Eric said, handing Trevor some of the last of the gear. He picked up the rest and led the way outside, Trevor somehow feeling like a dog that Eric trusted to follow. It wasn’t a good feeling.

Again, temptation to pop into that dressing room teased him.

“Trev, that kid outside? You’ve noticed him at other shows, right?” Eric paused at the door to the loading dock.

Trevor glanced outside. The kid, hands tucked into the pockets of his denim jacket, paced alongside the Bronco, his shoulders hunched in an eerily familiar way. Fog was starting to roll across the four blocks between them and the river, and the air was growing damp. Trevor would be glad to get inside Roach’s, where it was always warm and greasy-smelling. Cozy, even.

“Never seen him before,” Trevor told Eric, who nodded.

“I have. He … reminds me a lot of you.”

Trevor narrowed his eyes. No wonder he hated the guy. Count on a preacher’s son to see the wounds in everyone.

“That’s how I know we can trust him,” Trevor said, his throat suddenly thick. He turned his back to Eric and hoped that for once, the guy would let it lie.

He almost didn’t see Eric knock on the dressing room door, and then he almost didn’t move fast enough to peek inside when Eric opened it just far enough to stick his head in and call to Mitchell, “We’ll be at Roach’s. Trev was good enough to ask a guy to watch the truck. Please bring him with you when you join us.”

Unfortunately, Eric had pulled his head out before Trevor could see anything but the door. He bit back a snarl and headed back outside so he could put the rest of the gear into Mitchell’s truck. Here he was, being Mitchell’s lackey, and what did he get for it? Not even a peek.

At Roach’s, he and Eric slid into opposite sides of the booth. “I’m glad you talked to that kid, Trev,” Eric said as they waited for June to bring miniscule glasses of water. She’d stop and ask how the show went, how many people were there, how it went over … all sorts of shit that only Mitchell’s mom usually thought to ask. Pretty much everyone else wanted to know how much money they’d made and how many girls they’d picked up.

“What was I supposed to do?” Trevor asked, not sure if it was better to have sat across from Eric or beside him. Either way, he wished Mitchell was there to buffer them.

“Talk to him. You did a good thing tonight.”

Trevor tried not to sneer.

Eric set his menu aside and leaned across the table. “Trev, it’s people like him that are the reason I got into metal. I mean, I love the music. Don’t get me wrong. I could neer play music I didn’t love. But i can’t love the ministry as much as Dad, so I make music. Yet it seems to me that if we can, as a group, reach wounded people like that guy tonight, we’re doing a greater good than just standing up on a pulpit and preaching to the already-converted. We’re giving comfort where it’s most needed, directly to the masses. And we get to have these great experiences, too. We get to make music, and that has got to be pleasing to God’s ears.”

Trevor fought the urge to throw up. But later that night, thinking about what Eric had said, he knew the guy was dead-on right. That as a band they could reach people and make lives less miserable, even if the misery lifted for only a little bit.



  1. Amy Durham

    July 10, 2006 6:59 pm

    Hey Susan — I really like this. Is it an extra scene or one that’s included in the book?

  2. Susan Helene Gottfried

    July 10, 2006 7:36 pm

    Thanks, Amy! Welcome to my meet-and-greet. *grin*BR/BR/This is an extra scene, actually. Almost everything I post here is ’cause some of it is just too sweet to let fade into the ether.

  3. cheesygiraffe

    July 10, 2006 9:46 pm

    This was very sweet and this may be the one you should use for the Gather writing contest. 😉

  4. Susan Helene Gottfried

    July 11, 2006 7:54 am

    Not a bad idea indeed, my giraffe!BR/BR/I’ll have to make it longer, though. But there’s time.BR/BR/Anyone else got a thought?

  5. karen!

    July 26, 2006 8:30 pm

    There’s a “never” without its “v” in the 2nd to last paragraph… :whistle:BR/BR/I like this. I like learning more about Eric b/c he’s the one I feel like I know the least.

  6. Susan Helene Gottfried

    July 26, 2006 10:46 pm

    Eh, who needs the letter V, anyway?BR/BR/Yeah, I would like to do more with Eric. I have a hell of an inspiration (Hi, Alicia! You there?), so expect more from him.BR/BR/The cool thing about this whole project is that I’m planning on doing longer books with ALL of my cast of characters, including a number that you haven’t met yet. Sort of a Jan Karon or someone like that, whose fiction is set within this self-contained world (but without the Christian angle, for sorta obvious reasons…)

  7. karen!

    July 27, 2006 8:48 am

    yeah, I love that about this project 😀

  8. Susan Helene Gottfried

    July 27, 2006 11:32 am

    … now if I only had the TIME to work on the other stuff! Only like 40 more pages of the Trevor’s Song rewrite to go, and then you readers can have a gander before I start marketing and move to something new. (I have yet another idea for the whole Kerri-Kerri’s mom thing to play out)

  9. paisley

    October 23, 2007 9:36 am

    the battle weary and the broken,, you bring us back to life… bravo!!!!!

  10. tumblewords

    October 23, 2007 10:14 pm

    No doubt in my mind that this will be a great book – enjoyed reading this section…and would like to read more.

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