Phoenix Chapter Five: Ancient Doom

Phoenix Chapter Five: Ancient Doom

A Chapter by SweetNutmeg
"

This replaces Chapter Five: Thanksgiving

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Chapter Five: Ancient Doom



Monday morning, Ryan notices Rogan's injured lip.

“Did you get jumped? Still have your wallet? No, you keep it on a chain.” Rogan rolls 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 beckons him to the office. Atop the other papers is a flier, mostly black, featuring a grim reaper and stylized lettering made to look like thorns. The lettering reads: “Ancient Doom: Rhythm Guitarist Needed for new band.” At the bottom, in clear printing, is contact information. Rogan picks 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 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.

Which reminds him, he hasn't practiced in a couple of days. As Leo is out of town, he switches the amp out of silent practice mode and dials the volume down. Thinking of Blood Thirst opening with a cover of Number of the Beast, he starts in on the familiar Iron Maiden song. He goes through a couple of other Iron Maiden songs, head banging all the while. It took some practice, but he can 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 is not the best type for head banging, but he's pretty good at using it for effect. After warming up with Maiden, he jumps from song to song, improvising solos. After an hour, he's tired enough to sleep. 

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


***

Thanksgiving comes and goes and it's the week after when Rogan finally picks up the band flier and calls the contact number. It rings so long, he is about to hang up when a man's voice says, “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 hangs up.

In a few moments Rogan's phone beeps, signaling a text. The address, 321 Palmer Way, is 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 nestles his guitar in its case and leaves. The nearest bus stop is five blocks from the address he was given, so he has to walk a bit. The place is a small warehouse with an office in front. Rogan sees an ember glowing, and a dark figure leaning against the wall by a tall side fence. The man straightens up, flicks away the cigarette and comes forward into the lighted area out front. He's the biggest guy Rogan has seen in a while, a good six and a half feet tall and a rib cage like a barrel. He's 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 doubts anyone would try to pick pocket this guy.

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

“John Rogan. You can call me Rogan.” 

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

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

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

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

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

A slim man of moderate height, with long black hair pulled back from his face, turns away from the amp he is inspecting. He's wearing dark trousers and a black leather vest over a Blood Thirst t-shirt. 

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

Buzz is as slow and deliberate as J.D. is quick. When J.D. pauses, Buzz growls, “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. darts back to his own amp. Buzz slowly makes his way to the drum set. 

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

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

Rogan is relieved. He knows this song by Iron Maiden blindfolded. They plunge into the song. J.D. suggests another Iron Maiden and then some Black Sabbath.

After the fifth song, J.D. stops and turns 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 is surprised. He'd called on a whim, and suddenly he is 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 shakes 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 for gigs.” 

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

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

Buzz looks up from his drum set and says, “I can. I've got the  Ford F150.” Digging in his pocket, he comes up with some keys. “You can put your guitar in the cab.” He tosses the keys and Rogan catches them one-handed. 

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

“Practice at 7 on Sunday, guys,” J.D. says, and he's off. He gets into his old Honda and pulls out as quickly as he does everything else. 

Roy shakes his hand and gets into his own modest Toyota pick-up truck. 

Buzz gestures towards his much larger pick-up. Rogan hoists himself up into the spacious cab. Buzz fills the driver's side. It makes sense such a large man needs a large vehicle. He couldn't imagine Buzz squeezing into J.D.'s Honda. 

“Where do you live?” Buzz asks as he gets in gear.

“51 Hanover Street.”

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

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

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

They have arrived at the snakehouse. Rogan thanks Buzz and slithers out of the high cab. He shuts the door with a solid clunk. 

So, he's in a band.


© 2019 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?

Posted 2 Weeks Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

SweetNutmeg

2 Weeks 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?

Posted 2 Weeks Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

SweetNutmeg

2 Weeks 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.

Posted 1 Month Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

SweetNutmeg

1 Month 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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Added on July 16, 2019
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SweetNutmeg
SweetNutmeg

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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..

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Phoenix Phoenix

A Book by SweetNutmeg