Phoenix Chapter Five: Ancient Doom

Phoenix Chapter Five: Ancient Doom

A Chapter by SweetNutmeg
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Ancient Doom

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Chapter Five: Ancient Doom


Monday morning, Ryan noticed Rogan's injured lip.


“Did you get jumped? Still have your wallet? No, you keep it on a chain.” Rogan rolled his eyes. “Or was it a fight? Isn't that what you heavy metal guys do?”


“Hey, I'm a peaceful guy. Some idiot attacked me at a show. Split my lip and hurt my ego, that's all.” 


“Speaking of heavy metal, Rita grabbed something for you.” 


Ryan beckoned him to the office. Atop the other papers was a flier, mostly black, featuring a grim reaper and stylized lettering made to look like thorns. The lettering read: “Ancient Doom: Rhythm Guitarist Needed For New Band.” At the bottom, in clear printing, was contact information. Rogan picked it up, laughing. 


“You think I should be second guitarist in some random band?” 


“Well, that was Rita's idea, but it's a good idea. You stay holed up in the snakehouse too much.” 


“Where on earth did she get this?”


“Billboard in the student center.”


Rogan was still laughing, but he also folded up the flier and tucked it in his back pocket. 


When he got home and started emptying his pockets, the flier fell out and fluttered to the floor. He unfolded it and inspected it more closely. The lettering was actually pretty cool and the grim reaper was well done. Someone put thought and effort into this. The contact name was simply J.D., followed by a phone number. He tossed it on the coffee table.


Which reminded him, he hadn't practiced in a couple of days. As Leo was out of town, he switched the amp out of silent practice mode and dialed the volume down. Thinking of Blood Thirst opening with a cover of Number of the Beast, he started in on the familiar Iron Maiden song. He went through a couple of other Iron Maiden songs, head banging all the while. It took some practice, but he could now use his hair as a performance piece, the cascade of locks jumping and swinging and bouncing in time to the music. His straight hair was not the best type for head banging, but he was pretty good at using it for effect. After warming up with Maiden, he jumped from song to song, improvising solos. After an hour, he was tired enough to sleep. 


That flier lurked quietly on his coffee table, sometimes covered with dirty dishes and junk, but always still there.



***


Thanksgiving came and went and it was the week after when Rogan finally picked up the band flier and called the contact number. It rang so long, he was about to hang up when a man's voice said, “J.D. here, talk to me.” 


“I was calling about the flier, the rhythm guitarist?”


“We're having practice tonight, 7 pm. I'll text you the address. Your name?”


“John Rogan.” 


“Got your own amp?” 


“Just a little Frontman.”


“Forget that. Bring yourself and bring your guitar. We'll do some Maiden and Black Sabbath. Brush up on that.” And he hung up.


In a few moments Rogan's phone beeped, signaling a text. The address, 321 Palmer Way, was on the far side of town, where commercial turns into industrial. Not far from the paint factory where his father last worked.


At six o'clock, Rogan tenderly nestled his guitar in its case and left. The nearest bus stop was five blocks from the address he was given, so he had to walk a bit. The place was a small warehouse with an office in front. Rogan saw an ember glowing, and a dark figure leaning against the wall by a tall side fence. The man straightened up, flicked away the cigarette and came forward into the lighted area out front. He was the biggest guy Rogan had seen in awhile, a good six and a half feet tall and a rib cage like a barrel. He was dressed much like Rogan, black jeans, motorcycle boots and a black motorcycle jacket over an Anthrax shirt. And, yes, a wallet on a chain, although he doubted anyone would try to pickpocket this guy.


His voice was remarkably deep when he said, “I'm Buzz. You must be John.”


“John Rogan. You can call me Rogan.” 


Buzz engulfed Rogan's hand in his own huge one in a finger crushing grip.


Rogan instinctively pulled away from the enormous pressure and said, “Hey, watch the hands, man, I need to play.” 


“Sorry. I know not my own strength, as J.D. says.” Buzz's laugh was deep and gravelly. 


He showed Rogan through a small door in the fence and down an ill lit alley and into a side door. They climbed a short set of stairs to the top of the loading dock and entered a room obviously meant for stock, but empty except for the band equipment already set up. 


“We rent this from my uncle,” Buzz explained. 


A slim man of moderate height, with long black hair pulled back from his face, turned away from the amp he was inspecting. He was wearing dark trousers and a black leather vest over a Blood Thirst t-shirt. 


He energetically shook Rogan's hand, quickly saying, “You're John. I'm J.D., you met Buzz, he's drums. Roy over there,” he indicated a man with long blonde hair and a goatee kneeling before another amp, “is bass.” Unlike the others, Roy was wearing blue jeans and a white t-shirt. But he had motorcycle boots and a wallet on a chain, too. “And I'm lead guitar. Buzz and I mainly do the vocals.” 


Buzz was as slow and deliberate as J.D. was quick. When J.D. paused, Buzz growled, “He goes by Rogan.” 


“Call yourself whatever you want, as long as you play better than the last dipshit we auditioned. Alright, get yourself set up on that amp over there, Rogan.” and J.D. darted back to his own amp. Buzz slowly made his way to the drum set. 


Once he had got everything ready to go, Rogan turned to find Roy and J.D. already tuned up and waiting on him. Despite J.D.'s obvious impatience, he took his time tuning. You can't do a good job in a hurry.


“Ok, we'll start with The Trooper,” said J.D. 


Rogan was relieved. He knew this song by Iron Maiden blindfolded. They plunged into the song. J.D. suggested another Iron Maiden and then some Black Sabbath.


After the fifth song, J.D. stopped and turned to Rogan. “How long you been playing?” 


“About five years. Only had a decent guitar since this summer though.”


“Well, you're good. You're in on trial, if you want to join us. You in?”


“Sure, yeah, that's great.” Rogan was surprised. He'd called on a whim, and suddenly he was in a band. A good band. “Do you guys have a name yet?”


“Roy suggested Ancient Doom. But we're not sure yet, still putting everything together. We do mainly original songs. You'd have to get up to speed on those. You read music?”


Rogan shook his head.


“Well, we got some MP3s you can listen to. The amp you used tonight is my old one, and it is good enough to practice on, but you need to get one of your own if we get a  gig.” 


This was going to be expensive, a professional amp. He mentally considered his savings. A very expensive whim.


Everyone was packing up and Rogan stored his own guitar in its case. Before anyone could leave, he asked, “Can one of you guys give me a lift to the bus stop?” He felt stupid, but he really didn't want to do that 5 block walk this late at night, especially toting such an expensive guitar.


Buzz looked up from his drum set and said, “I can. I've got the F150.” Digging in his pocket, he came up with some keys. “You can put your guitar in the cab.” He tossed the keys and Rogan caught them one-handed. 


Outside, the four men formed a circle in the parking lot. 


“Practice at 3 on Sunday, guys,” J.D. said, and he was off. He got into his old Honda and pulled out as quickly as he did everything else. 


Roy shook his hand and got into his own modest Toyota pick-up truck. 


Buzz gestured towards his much larger pick-up. Rogan hoisted himself up into the spacious cab. Buzz filled the driver's side. It made sense that such a large man needed a large vehicle. He couldn't imagine Buzz squeezing into J.D. 's Honda. 


“Where do you live?” Buzz asked as he got in gear.


“51 Hanover Street.”


“I'll drive you home, it's on my way.” 


“Thanks, man. You need some gas money?” Rogan didn't like being a mooch.


“No. I drive right past it, no problem.” His gravelly laugh rumbled. “I'll let you know if I ever need gas.”


They arrived at the snakehouse. Rogan thanked Buzz and slithered out of the high cab. He shut the door with a solid clunk. 


So, he was in a band.



© 2021 SweetNutmeg


Author's Note

SweetNutmeg
Thank you for reading. Any and all comments are welcome. I am interested in two things in this chapter: Is the band audition scene tedious with unnecessary details, or good the way it is? And, is it a surprise to see Rogan dressed up in heavy metal gear?

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Open up your word document, the nit picker's here!

1. The formatting problem acted up again, I suppose.

2. In "...I've got the Ford F150..." there are two spaces between "the" and "Ford."

3.

Rogan is still laughing, but he also folds up the flier and tucks it in his back pocket.
When he gets home and starts emptying his pockets, the flier falls out and flutters to the floor. He unfolds it and inspects it more closely. The lettering is actually pretty cool and the grim reaper is well done. Someone put thought and effort into this. The contact name is simply J.D., followed by a phone number. He tosses it on the coffee table.

In the above paragraph(s?), it looks like there should be some space between "Rogan is still laughing, but he also folds up the flier and tucks it in his back pocket." and the longer paragraph below it. Was the lack of space between them intentional?

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

Many thanks, kind gentleperson.



Reviews

Open up your word document, the nit picker's here!

1. The formatting problem acted up again, I suppose.

2. In "...I've got the Ford F150..." there are two spaces between "the" and "Ford."

3.

Rogan is still laughing, but he also folds up the flier and tucks it in his back pocket.
When he gets home and starts emptying his pockets, the flier falls out and flutters to the floor. He unfolds it and inspects it more closely. The lettering is actually pretty cool and the grim reaper is well done. Someone put thought and effort into this. The contact name is simply J.D., followed by a phone number. He tosses it on the coffee table.

In the above paragraph(s?), it looks like there should be some space between "Rogan is still laughing, but he also folds up the flier and tucks it in his back pocket." and the longer paragraph below it. Was the lack of space between them intentional?

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

Many thanks, kind gentleperson.
Yep, I read it. Did you mention anywhere what make of guitar he has? I think that would be important. Being that he's not made of money, it'd probably be fine if he has a Washburn, Epiphone, etc. Then again, maybe he has a Les Paul Jr.

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

The first chapter, he's on his way to buy a Fender, but gets sidetracked by the car accident. I didn.. read more

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SweetNutmeg
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Phoenix Phoenix

A Book by SweetNutmeg