Ok, so to understand this, you need to read this post over at Courting Destiny. Go to it; it's worth the read.
A typical night. Well... morning. It was 5:30 AM and my eyes were filled with the angry flashes of men with jetpacks firing at me as I stood my ground, spraying the air with hot lead with a weapon whose weight would likely cause permanent damage to my spine. And they called it a minigun. Fuckers.
I was lining up yet another witless jackass with my spinning steel behemouth when all of a sudden I froze. My vision went black, then blue. And a sign appeared in my peripheral vision that said
GMail: You have 1 new message.
My mind changed gears like the Russians change governments.
Gradually I became aware that there was a thing called email and that maybe I should check to see if I had some.
A few clicks. It's Shayna. She needed a backup singer and a guitarist for a show the next evening. attatched were some tabs and lyrics and also a confirmation number for a bus to Tennesee. Conspicuously absent was an "if you can make it," or a, "if you're up to speed on all of this." It didn't look like I was going to sleep any time soon.
I printed it all, downloaded the songs on Mp3 and burned them to a CD. I gathered up my guitar, amp, et all and headed down to RCK music. It's a little known fact that Ryan sleeps there. I knocked on the door. No answer. Spying an exterior outlet, I plugged in my guitar and started to play Stairway to Heaven. His head popped up in the window.
He saw me and opened the door.
"Dude, what the hell are you doing here?"
"I need to learn these songs poste haste."
I gave him my patented, "It would be bad for your sanity to make me explain myself" look. He let me in. Five painful hours later I staggered out, my objective having been completed. I made sure to leave quickly before Ryan realized that he usually got paid for his time. I got on the subway and headed into town, listening to the newly burned CD to pass the time and familiarize myself. I got off the train, and headed to Dunkin Donuts, ordering a triple-strength latte and a box o' joe. When I got to the bus depot and handed in my number I got a strange look from the man behind the counter. I assumed that it had something to do with my appearance. I travel like I sleep. White T-shirt, pajama pants, and looking fuck-all of unkempt. I got on the bus and caffinated myself steadily as I rode to Tennessee.
A brief re-orientation to my surroundings and a cab ride later I got to the gig. Ophelia slung over my shoulder, wearing a long black coat; open, and a black hat that could be mistaken for either a stetson or a fedora but in truth I hadn't a gorram clue what the hell it was. I saw a familiar face tuning a Gibson L-200 (to be clear, it wasn't the face tuning the guitar, rather the woman who owned both). I strode over.
"Hey Shayna. Heard you needed a hand."
She gave me a weird look.
"... what are you doing here?" There was a tension in her voice that confused me.
"Umm... you sent me this, remember?" I showed her the print of the email, complete with the songs."
"I didn't send this"
"I never sent this email."
I felt a bit lightheaded. I started to say something, but it felt stupid in my mouth.
She looked up. "Did you really think I'd ask you to come down here for one show?"
The sheer absurdity of my last 10 waking hours swirled around my head. I drained the last of my Box o' Joe.
"I'll believe a lot at five o' clock in the morning."
"So, if you didn't send this, who the hell did?"
"That's the part that's confusing me... The only thing in this email that isn't true is the header. So, umm... want to join us?"
I nodded my head, unable to find words that sufficiently carried the weight of how much it would have sucked not to take the stage that night.
So I put Ophelia up on a stand backstage and headed to the bar, downing a two shots of Jack and a glass of water to combat the damage done to my throat by the ridiculous caffiene consumption. The caffeine and alcohol waged cruel war as I joined Shayna and the band. The fact that I hadn't slept in about 30 hours played its hand as well. Of course, I'd used all three to my advantage before, but this was a different stage. I was concerned.
We played the set, and while I can hardly be a reliable witness due to my state but I have to say I think I did my job. And as for Shayna, her video doesn't do her justice. At the end of the set, the crowd was yelling out for an encore, and we hit them with Like a Rolling Stone. After the crowd died down, we sat at the bar. Not daring to mess with the strange state of balance my body was in, I had a soda.
"I'm still not clear on what posessed you to come here."
"Neither am I. It's kind of bugging me." It was.
Why had I come? Crossing five states on a whim was a new one on me. It didn't make sense
The bartender handed me a glass.
"This is from the lady who just walked in." I looked around. There was no one. I turned back
"Excuse me, who exactly do you mean?" He was gone. I looked at the glass. There was a cell phone in it. Shayna and I exchanged looks. I was relieved to see that she was exactly as confused as me.
The phone rang. I fished it out of the glass and flipped it open. A slip of paper fell onto the bar.
A girl about my age responded at the other end.
"Yeah, who's this?"
"It's Cooper. I need you to get to Kansas City as fast as you can."
"You certainly picked the right night. Can we get back to the part where you tell me how the hell you know where I am?"
"Easy. I sent you there."
"But wh-" She cut me off.
"Listen. I've got no time to explain. I need you to go right now."
"And how the bloody fuck do you conjure I do that?"
"Easy. Pick up that piece of paper." It was a valet ticket.
"Ok, so you know your moves. Now do you want to tell me what this is all about?"
"Karl Rove kidnapped Pia and I need you to bust her out."
"He took her to Kansas City?"
"Well would you think to look there?"
"I've got her location logged on the car's GPS. Oh, and you're going to find two women fifty miles down the road with white signs that say Kansas City. Pick them up."
"Umm... ok... what do I-"
"Tell Shayna? I'll take care of that."
Shayna's phone rang. She picked it up.
"Hey, Wombat. I'm sorry, but I've got to go. It was great playing with you." She gave me a quick hug and hurried out the door.
"So do you want to tell me how you know all of this?"
"Karl Rove's been spying on me ever since I said he was my dad. I figured two could play at that game."
"Well what about everything else?"
"There isn't any time. Just go get the car."
I handed in the ticket. the valet pulled up and handed me the keys to a fire-apple red convertable. I popped the trunk to put my stuff in, and I saw that there was what I can only describe as the sort of equipment a cat burglar would bring to a high-story heist. Climbing harnesses, grappling hooks, rope, glass cutters, the like. Having seen the previous events fold out in front of me up until now, I figured that I'd know what to do with it all when the time came. I fired up the Red Shark.
Sure enough, two ladies were hitchiking fifty miles down the road. I pulled up and shouted, "Need a lift? I was sent by the lady who just walked in," hoping to for once to be the source of confusion rather than the target. To my dismay, they knew exactly what I was talking about. They were Cat and Queen Bitch. They were dressed in velour catsuits a la Charlie's Angels. I guessed, correctly, that they didn't need to be briefed. They filled me in on the game plan.
All of a sudden there came a terrible roar as the air became filled with what looked like huge bats. I did my best to ignore them.
I also did my best to ignore the sky turning green. Either I was the only one who saw it or it was just another thing I hadn't been filled in on and my state of mind was too fragile to roll with any more outlandish revalations. At this point I wasn't entirely sure that any of this was real. I kept driving, and tried to ignore the hallucenations. Though I will confess to speeding up to get away from King Kong. At long last, the in-dash navigation system told me we'd arrived at the place. It was a ten-story building. Out came the grappling hooks and harnesses. Four of each. We threw them up and scaled the building. We saw Rove through the sixth story window. He'd just entered the room, and was approaching a desk. He sat down. Underneath the desk were Ann Coulter and Bill O' Reily. He started to talk. I stood there, dumbfounded.
All of a sudden my vision went hazy and blood filled the floor of the room as a big fat lizard had his crotch torn at by two smaller ones. And the fucker seemed to be enjoying it! I remember saying something like, "take who you like, that big red bastard is mine!" as I kicked through the window.
"Die, you inbred Troglodyte!" I shouted. All of a sudden everything snapped back and I was staring a very shocked and confused crook in the face. He pulled his pants up hastily and stared in dumb shock.
They say you should never hit a man with a closed fist, but it is, on occasion, hilarious. This was such an occasion. Though I confess I overdid it. As I landed the tenth punch, the one that finally felled the swine, Cat tapped me on the shoulder.
"Forget about this?" she asked, pointing to the bottle of chloroform in her hand.
I looked past her to QueenBitch, who was standing over two unconscious pundits.
"You had to go and make noise, didn't you?"
"Hey," came a new voice, " I'd love to sit and listen to you three talk about technique, but does someone want to cut me loose?"
We all turned to see Pia, shackled to an office chair, waiting patiently. I freed her and handed her the spare harness. We rapelled down the wall victoriously and drove off into the Shark.
We sped off into the night.
By what I was at this point no longer inclined to consider a coincidence, Shayna and Cooper met us there, as well as Miz Bohemia and a host of people I didn't recognize. I gave Dylann a call, and she joined us in our highly improbable party. A good time was had by all. Well, everyone who mattered. And as Pia mentioned, I enjoyed my sojourn with the ladies.
Thanks to Pia for the inspiration.