Phoenix Chapter Four: Jewel Music and Chaos Play

Phoenix Chapter Four: Jewel Music and Chaos Play

A Chapter by SweetNutmeg

Chapter Four: Jewel Music and Chaos Play

Rogan is 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 ($1,499) he approaches the counter.

“Hey Earl,” he addresses the clerk. “I finally came back for that Fender Frontman.” It's not an especially outstanding amplifier, but it is small, portable and the right price. And it beats the hell out of the old one from the pawn shop he's 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 browses the harmonicas in the display case by the cash register as Earl goes into the stock room, then wanders over to the bill board. He sees some fliers stuck to it. The design is in black and white, an amateur drawing of a grinning skull surrounded by flames. It's for the band Chaos Play. He hasn't seen them in a long time. The show is tomorrow night. He hasn't been to any shows since he drifted apart from his high school friends. He could go alone. Sure, why not? He rips one flier off the sheaf stuck to the bill board.

Earl comes out and sits the boxed amp on the floor with a little thump. It's small, less than 10 pounds, but dense. Rogan hands over his debit card. Five minutes later he departs, the carton awkwardly under one arm. He switches it to carry with two hands. Walking to the bus stop, he wishes he'd asked one of the guys at Midas for a ride. But he's tired of asking for rides. It seems ridiculous that he works on cars all day long yet doesn't have one of his own. He needs to do something about that.

Back at the snakehouse, Rogan tears into the box and pulls out the amp. He gets it set up, leaving a mess of packaging and instructions all over the place. He picks up his guitar and picks out the first few chords of War Pigs. Leo is at work but will be home soon, so reluctantly he puts on the earphones for silent practice mode and he prepares to rock out. 

*** 

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

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

The bar fills up around him, a mass of black leather, silver studs and long hair. There aren't many women in the crowd, and all are paired off with men, no single ladies to be found. Across the room, he sees a couple of guys from high school involved in their own conversation, but they don't see him. The set starts off with Number of the Beast, then plunges into a series of original songs.  Under the strobes, audience members seem 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 replaces the white strobes and the crowd is shouting the lyrics along with the lead singer. Rogan is one with the surging crowd, his own throat raw from cheering and singing along. In front, men are flinging themselves into the crowded pit, bodies crashing together in a dance of anarchy, of controlled violence. 

When the set ends in a jangle of discordant notes, Rogan joins the dense crowd at the bar and secures another long neck. The audience spills out onto the sidewalk and he lets himself be carried out by the crowd. He finds a spot leaning against an oak tree, one foot up on a twisted root, and takes a long pull on his beer. He is totally surprised when a dark shape comes at him and punches him hard in the mouth. Reflexes triggered, he blocks another punch and lashes out with his own fist. There is a confusion of bodies and finally his attacker is separated from him, panting, being held back by one of the bouncers. It's Issac. What the hell is Issac punching him for? 

When Issac stops struggling, the bouncer releases his wrestling hold, but keeps Issac in a strong one armed grip. The other bouncer grasping Rogan relaxes his hold entirely. Then Benny is there, pushing through the crowd. 

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

The bouncer at Rogan's side puts a hand on his shoulder. “I saw you, man. You were minding your own business. It wasn't your fault.” Rogan knows 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 an Uber or a Lyft?” 

“Uber's fine.”

As Rogan is gingerly inspecting his lip, David approaches. David was always the peace maker in their group of sometimes hot headed guys. 

“What the hell was that about, David?” 

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

“Yeah,” says Rogan. “He's a dickwad with a chip on his shoulder. He's lucky Benny didn't call the cops.” 

“That's what I told him. He was way out of line and being an a*s.” 

“That's right, he was being an a*s.” 

“You want an apology? I could get him to apologize.” David's eyes ask him to say yes.

“Nah, he wouldn't mean it anyway. Just tell him-- tell him to stay away from me.” 

Then his Uber is there. 

Once home at the snakehouse, he flops on his couch and puts his feet up on the coffee table. He thinks over what had happened tonight. David, Issac and Freddy are the dregs of his former associates in high school, losers who think shoplifting at Walmart is fun. Anton moved to Chicago the day after graduation. Almost all his other friends followed suit pretty quickly, moving to Chicago or going to college. 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. 
  
  


© 2019 SweetNutmeg


Author's Note

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

My Review

Would you like to review this Chapter?
Login | Register




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.

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

SweetNutmeg

1 Month 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 Month 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.

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

SweetNutmeg

1 Month 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 Month 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."

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Wathanya.5KY3

2 Weeks Ago

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

.. read more
SweetNutmeg

2 Weeks Ago

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

2 Weeks 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.

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

SweetNutmeg

1 Month 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 Month Ago

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

Request Read Request
Add to Library My Library
Subscribe Subscribe


Stats

147 Views
3 Reviews
Rating
Added on June 30, 2019
Last Updated on July 30, 2019


Author

SweetNutmeg
SweetNutmeg

About
I am back and returning all reviews of "Phoenix." 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.) .. more..

Writing
Phoenix Phoenix

A Book by SweetNutmeg



Related Writing

People who liked this story also liked..


STAIRS STAIRS

A Poem by Mark


Accompaniment Accompaniment

A Story by roarke