Phoenix Chapter Four: Jewel Music and Chaos Play

Phoenix Chapter Four: Jewel Music and Chaos Play

A Chapter by SweetNutmeg
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Jewel Music and Chaos Play

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Chapter Four: Jewel Music and Chaos Play


Rogan was back at Jewel Music, preparing to buy the amp he's had his eye on. After one last loving look at the Mesa Boogie Mark 5 amp ($1,999) he approached the counter.


“Hey Earl,” he addressed the clerk. “I finally came back for that Fender Frontman.” It was not an especially outstanding amplifier, but it was small, portable and the right price. And it beat the hell out of the old one from the pawn shop he'd been using.  


“I've seen you eyeing that Boogie Mark 5. It's pornographic. Sure you don't want to order one of those?” 


“Oh, if only... Nope, I better stick with my little Frontman. You have one in stock?”


“Sure do, Rogan. We just got some. Let me grab one from the back.” 


Rogan browsed the harmonicas in the display case by the cash register as Earl went into the stock room, then wandered over to the billboard. He saw some fliers stuck to it. The design was in black and white, an amateur drawing of a grinning skull surrounded by flames. It was for the band Chaos Play. He hadn't seen them in a long time. The show was the next night. He hadn't been to any shows since he drifted apart from his high school friends. He could go alone. Sure, why not? He ripped one flier off the sheaf stuck to the billboard.


Earl came out and sat the boxed amp on the floor with a little thump. It was small, less than 10 pounds, but dense. Rogan handed over his debit card. Five minutes later he departed, the carton awkwardly under one arm. He switched it to carry with two hands. Walking to the bus stop, he wished he'd asked one of the guys at Midas for a ride. But he was tired of asking for rides. It seemed ridiculous that he worked on cars all day long yet didn’t have one of his own. He needed to do something about that.


Back at the snakehouse, Rogan tore into the box and pulled out the amp. He got it set up, leaving a mess of packaging and instructions all over the place. He picked up his guitar and picked out the first few chords of War Pigs. Leo was at work but would be home soon, so reluctantly he put on the earphones for silent practice mode and he prepared to rock out. 


*** 


Midas was closed on Sundays, so this Saturday night show was perfect. Looking more carefully at the flier, Rogan saw Blood Thirst was opening for Chaos Play. This night was getting better and better. He decided on his favorite, his Slayer tour shirt. Black jeans, motorcycle boots and jacket, and he was ready to go. His stomach tingled with exhilaration.  


At nine he arrived in an Uber. The venue was a familiar one, an old dive run by Benny and named, uncreatively, Benny's. He'd been using his fake ID there for years. He got in the short line, ten dollar bill for the cover at the ready. The bouncer stamped his hand. Once inside, the space was small and dark. At some point in the distant past, someone tore down several internal walls, making space for the small stage. Blood Thirst was already set up. Rogan got a long neck from the bar and found a spot leaning against one of the bare support beams, front and center.   


The bar filled up around him, a mass of black leather, silver studs and long hair. There weren't many women in the crowd, and all were paired off with men, no single ladies to be found. Across the room, he saw a couple of guys from high school involved in their own conversation, but they didn't see him. 


The set started off with Number of the Beast, then plunged into a series of original songs.  Under the strobes, audience members seemed caught in stuttering poses, hair flying and hands raised in the universal metal salute: two middle fingers folded down and index and pinkie making horns.  A red and yellow light show replaced the white strobes and the crowd was shouting the lyrics along with the lead singer. Rogan was one with the surging crowd, his own throat raw from cheering and singing along. In front, men were flinging themselves into the crowded pit, bodies crashing together in a dance of anarchy, of controlled violence. 


When the set ended in a jangle of discordant notes, Rogan joined the dense crowd at the bar and secured another long neck. The audience spilled out onto the sidewalk and he let himself be carried out by the crowd. He found a spot leaning against an oak tree, one foot up on a twisted root, and took a long pull on his beer. Then a dark shape came at him and punched him hard in the mouth. Reflexes triggered, he blocked another punch and lashed out with his own fist. There was a confusion of bodies and finally his attacker was separated from him, panting, being held back by one of the bouncers. It was Issac. What the hell was Issac punching him for? 


When Issac stopped struggling, the bouncer released his wrestling hold, but kept Issac in a strong one armed grip. The other bouncer grasping Rogan relaxed his hold entirely. Then Benny was there, pushing through the crowd. 


“You- over there.” Pointing, Benny directed Issac to the left edge of the crowd. “You, there,” and Benny motioned Rogan to the right. They complied. “I want both of you outta here.”  


The bouncer at Rogan's side put a hand on his shoulder. “I saw you, man. You were minding your own business. It wasn't your fault.” Rogan knew the rules, if there is a fist fight, both parties are kicked out, doesn't matter who started it, they both have to leave. “You want me to get you a cab?” 


“I'll just get an Uber.”


As Rogan was gingerly inspecting his lip, David approached. David was always the peacemaker in their group of sometimes hot headed guys.


“What the hell was that about, David?”


David shifted about trying to avoid Rogan's eye. Finally their eyes met and David said, “Issac, man, he didn't like you ditching us for some rich girl.” Seeing Rogan's face, he quickly adds, “Not me. Not the other guys. But you know how Issac is.”


“Yeah,” said Rogan. “He's a rock star and a dickwad with a chip on his shoulder. He's lucky Benny didn't call the cops. Issac was high as hell.” Rogan saw enough. Issac's dilated pupils, twitching facial muscles and gaunt underweight frame all pointed to being on uppers.


“He wasn't doing crack.” David seemed to think this excused his friend.


“If he wasn't doing crack, he was on meth.”


David shifted about some more, giving away the answer.


“So, yes, he was on crystal. He was on crystal meth and acting crazy and started a fight. What happened, man? Do any of the rest of you do meth? Are any of the rest of you that stupid?”


“Not me,” David said. “But Issac is the only one who has a problem with it.”


“Any crystal meth at all is a problem. How did you guys get so dumb?” David had no answer. “So now you guys are all tweakers?”


“Not me!”


“Well, David, you can't make peace this time. Meth destroys everything it touches. I want nada to do with any of you. Issac comes after me again, he will regret it.”


Rogan's Uber arrived and he got in without another word.


Once home at the snakehouse, he flopped on his couch and put his feet up on the coffee table. He thought over what happened tonight. David, Issac and Freddy were the dregs of his former associates in high school, complete  losers.


Anton moved to Chicago the day after graduation. Almost all his other friends followed suit pretty quickly, moving to Chicago or going to college. Rogan, Greg, Brian and Anton practiced together over at Brian's parent's basement. Issac joined them at first, but was so bad, Anton had to ask him to leave and Greg took over playing bass as well as doing vocals. This outburst from Issac probably had more to do with that than anything else. 


Those were good days, weekends and summers spent practicing with his friends. They even had a name, Feast of Sins. Not that they ever thought they'd get gigs, as high schoolers. But it was fun.



© 2021 SweetNutmeg


Author's Note

SweetNutmeg
Thank you for reading. Any comment, large or small, is very welcome and appreciated.

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Featured Review

I see quite a switch in subject with this chapter. Barely anything about his lovelorn heart and more about his love of guitar-playing/want for a better amp. (I have one of those little ten amp practice amps, too) Have you been editing this? It seems technically more refined than the previous chapters.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

SweetNutmeg

1 Year Ago

Thank you once again for reading and reviewing. Yes, I more heavily edited this one. I also tend to .. read more
Samuel Dickens

1 Year Ago

No, the change isn't a problem.



Reviews

I see quite a switch in subject with this chapter. Barely anything about his lovelorn heart and more about his love of guitar-playing/want for a better amp. (I have one of those little ten amp practice amps, too) Have you been editing this? It seems technically more refined than the previous chapters.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

SweetNutmeg

1 Year Ago

Thank you once again for reading and reviewing. Yes, I more heavily edited this one. I also tend to .. read more
Samuel Dickens

1 Year Ago

No, the change isn't a problem.
This might make you go "how the hell did anyone notice that?" but here I go.

In the beginning, Rogan says "...I better stick with my little Frontman...". There are two spaces between "with" and "my."

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Wathanya.5KY3

1 Year Ago

I don't think this justifies an entirely new review, so I'm just gonna post it here.

.. read more
SweetNutmeg

1 Year Ago

Thank you thank you, bless you for catching these things for me.
Wathanya.5KY3

1 Year Ago

You're welcome. The little things are the hardest to catch, especially as the author.
See you posted another chapter had to read it. Drug and alcohol always a bad mix another excellent chapter. love the fight scene.

This review was written for a previous version of this writing

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

SweetNutmeg

1 Year Ago

I was late with dinner due to getting wound up in writing the fight scene. Luckily my dinner guest w.. read more
SweetNutmeg

1 Year Ago

Also, thank you for reading and reviewing. I always appreciate it.

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Added on June 30, 2019
Last Updated on February 15, 2021


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SweetNutmeg
SweetNutmeg

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***I am on hiatus and not returning reviews.*** I'm here to improve my writing. I love critiques that give me critical feedback, as well as praise. (Although, I do like praise. Gotta be honest.) A.. more..

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Phoenix Phoenix

A Book by SweetNutmeg



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