ShapeShifter Fiction: Quitting Jim Shields

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Note from Susan: if you click on Green Hair Week, you’ll learn a little bit about Jim Shields and what happened to Mitchell. While this piece is a companion to my novel, Trevor’s Song, and will probably feature in a Demo Tapes anthology somewhere down the road, it has no spoilers for anything already in print.

“The guy just makes my skin crawl,” Mitchell said, trying to suppress the shudder. “We need to be off this tour and done with him.”

“Has he done something to offend?” JR asked.

Mitchell paused, waiting for JR’s usual verbal onslaught. It didn’t come. JR was actually, for once, quiet.

Trevor flicked his cigarette from the corner of his mouth onto the ground. He didn’t bother to grind it dead. “What the fuck does it matter? The guy’s a fucking powder keg. Up one minute, down the next. All in our faces about shit we can’t control, then making like he’s our best friend.”

“He’s too volatile,” Eric said, nodding.

Mitchell thought about that for a second, then nodded. Perfect way to describe the dick. Volatile.

“Backstage is a powder keg,” the guitarist went on. “We all hate being there. C’mon, JR. There’s got to be a way to get us off this tour. Daniel and M here say you’re getting all sorts of offers for us to open for better acts. I think you need to take a longer look at some of them, even if it means we take a break.”

“It hasn’t all been bad with Jim,” the manager said. “You had a nice long break in Phoenix and it turned out to benefit you quite well”

“My hair turned green,” Mitchell said. He crossed his arms over his chest and glared at the manager until JR shut up.

“But the break refreshed you. It taught me and your booking agents quite a bit that we’ll be discussing once it’s your turn to headline but for now, you’re not quite ready to headline, so it’s all opening acts for you still and really, Jim Shields isn’t that bad of a guy Why can’t you just finish up this tour like we’ve planned It’s really not that much longer”

“Because,” Trevor said, taking his time as he lit up a new cigarette. It was for effect, Mitchell could tell. Hell, most of Trevor’s cigarettes were for effect. His own bad boy version of being demure. Or something.

“I need more of a reason than that, Trevor. You have a contract with Jim You signed it and were perfectly happy to You were excited, even, and so was I This was going to be a good thing, bringing you new fans and getting you into cities you’d never visited before.”

“Because,” Mitchell growled, “if you don’t get us away from that asshole, I’m going to shove his microphone stand up his ass and make it come out his mouth. I don’t give a shit about contracts or opportunities or anything like that. I care about not being yanked around by this asshole anymore.”

He was aware of everyone around him cringing, of his voice rising, of the pressure in his cheeks that meant his face had turned red. Trevor would probably tell him later that viens had popped. He didn’t care. Didn’t care about any of it. He’d had enough. The band had had enough. It had nothing to do with his fucking green hair and everything to do with unstable dickhead Jim Shields. This is what it had come down to. It was a matter of survival, no matter how fucking dramatic that sounded. No one could live like Jim was making them live.

Mitchell would be damned if ShapeShifter was going to have to keep trying.

Yup, this is a Three Word Wednesday prompt: demure, offend, volatile. And I’ll link it at The Weekend Writer’s Retreat, also. AND at Friday Flash. AND Sunday Scribblings. That might be all, but who knows? I do like to increase my fan base!

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