ShapeShifter Fiction: Field on Fire (Post Trevor’s Song era)


“Shame it had to end like this,” Kerri said, looking out at the quiet beyond the stage. Usually, this sort of quiet was reserved for late, after the band had showered and was getting ready to move on to the next town.

Mitchell grunted agreement and squeezed her hand.

“Dumbfucks,” Trevor said, an unlit cigarette dangling off his lip. A breeze blew the scent of scorched sod their way.

“Who?” Kerri asked. “The fans, or Hammerhead?”

Mitchell snorted. “Fucking Howard,” he said. “Get a break like this one and fuck it up. What an idiot.”

“Rub it in,” a voice said behind them. The three turned to look, finding Howard the Hammer standing off to one side. “I didn’t think they’d really do it.”

Mitchell glared at him, a rumble deep in his throat.

“Okay,” Howard said, blowing out a breath. He shook his head quickly, a familiar gesture that utterly failed — as usual — at getting his dark wooly hair out of his eyes. “I sorta wondered what they’d do. But I didn’t think… didn’t believe…”

Mitchell let go of Kerri’s hand and crossed the distance to Howard. He stopped in front of him, chest to chest. “Do you fucking know how much shit you’ve caused here? Who do you think is gonna get charged for resodding this entire fucking lawn?”

“I’ll pay you back,” Howard said, shifting from foot to foot.

“Not good enough,” Mitchell said. “We didn’t even get to fucking play tonight, thanks to you.” He gestured widely, meaning Howard to see, Kerri guessed, the fact that Mitchell should have been wearing skin-tight black jeans and a guitar instead of knee-length baggy camo shorts and a black tank top. “Our manager’s going to have to fucking bend over and grab his ankles for months before we’ll be allowed here again. As for you? You might be done, man. This will follow you around. I bet right now, as soon as you get near that production office, you’re going to be handed a list of shows that’ve been cancelled. Assuming JR hasn’t just decided to pitch you off the tour in the hopes that people will get that this wasn’t my band behind this shit. Because every single news source out there is saying this happened at a ShapeShifter show. That’s what this was. A ShapeShifter show. With special guest, Hammerhead. See how that works?”

Howard winced: face, shoulders, arms. Even his legs bowed with his chagrin.

Kerri itched for a pencil and sketchpad.

Trevor strolled across the empty stage, slowly. He turned to Howard. “I had plans tonight. You fucked me up.”

“I… I’m sorry.”

“This is only the start of being sorry, man,” Mitchell said. “You might have just effed up your career for life. Even if you fold Hammerhead and start another band, you’ll always be the asshole who told a worked-up crowd to set the field on fire.”

“Not to mention the only other person who’s managed to get a ShapeShifter show cancelled,” Trevor called from center stage. “This band doesn’t cancel.”

“I’m in good company?” Howard offered weakly, then bowed his head when he noticed Mitchell’s face. Kerri knew she’d have to get him away from Howard, and fast. Not that she blamed him in the least. It wasn’t supposed to have gone this way. It should have been a routine show, spiced up by whatever Trevor had planned.

Trevor, who suddenly seemed a lot more middle-of-the-road than he could probably stand being. Whose hijinks always had something behind them, some point he was trying to make, a statement he wanted others to get. Trevor pulled his shit deliberately. He’d never encourage twenty-three thousand people to rip up a lawn and set it on fire — if only because they’d be looking at the flames and not him.

Mitchell took her hand again and they crossed the stage to join Trevor. Kerri bent her knees slightly and kissed Trevor on the cheek.

“Yeah, yeah,” he said to her, putting his fingertips over the spot her lips had just touched. There was no wiping off, no screaming about cooties. Kerri made note of that.

Mitchell took a swipe at the back of Trevor’s head. None of his anger at Howard came through. “Come help me fix this mess, will ya?”

Trevor flicked his unlit cigarette off the edge of the stage, into the security area between where the fans should have been and where the band should have been. “I fucking hate cleaning up after dumbfucks,” he muttered.

As they matched Trevor’s speed off the stage, Kerri looked back for one last glance at Howard the Hammer. Head bowed, shoulders sagging, he looked like someone who knew his dreams had gone up in the same flames as the lawn.



  1. Suzanne

    October 25, 2009 6:28 am

    (I’ve been following your boys for a while, but this is my first post here. Have to comment today…)

    Love this – I can feel the quiet and the tension on the stage.

  2. quin browne

    October 25, 2009 10:43 am

    clever tale, with the addition of making me want more.

  3. bunnygirl

    October 25, 2009 10:12 pm

    Nicely done. I like the way there’s no easy resolution. Kind of like life – sometimes it just sucks and you’re stuck having to make the best of it.

  4. Dee

    October 25, 2009 11:02 pm

    Life rocking along and then turns south for no apparent reason and you are caught in the consequences. Loved this – they are usually a rowdy partying bunch. Here you have messed them up royally. I have trouble with that. I can kill em off in my stories but if I like them I have trouble putting them in bad situations that they have to deal with even though I know that it’s more interesting.

  5. Alice Audrey

    October 26, 2009 11:21 am

    It’s so easy to get totally screwed when you are in the spotlight.

  6. gel

    October 27, 2009 4:14 am

    Realistic dialogue & description. It seems like this is part of your book? I need to have read the previous parts. (Will do another time.) Well-done post.

  7. carol

    October 27, 2009 1:16 pm

    I loved it. They have to deal with somebody else’s (major) mistake.

  8. A Desi

    October 30, 2009 3:06 am

    very real and vivid!

    Shame on me
    .-= A Desi´s last blog ..Never Ever EVER =-.

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