Fiction

This Band

From 1976, and the formation of Torrent. We see some internal strife within the group before Ryan joins.

While not quite the day that he had planned on having, Saturday had started out a good day. Chris had packed the two of them into his car with a small amount of equipment and headed into the outskirts city, where they were to up with Mike and Rod.

Jon went begrudgingly into the house that Mike and Alex shared, knowing that Rod was there. He always thought him to be a total jackass, mainly because he’d always been one to Jon. Jon had been picked on from his first day at school in New York about his accent. Rod was one of those people who continued to get enjoyment out of making fun of someone’s differences. Rod, he figured, was one of those kids who pulled the wings off flies and watched them suffer a slow, painful death. He also figured that he still did it, just for sadistic kicks and giggles.

Unlike a good majority of the people he knew who emigrated as children, Jon hadn’t lost his Oxfordshire accent. Chris had lost his, even though he’d been older than Jon when he’d moved. Jon’s accent had changed into a combination of Oxfordshire and New Yorker. Half the time he figured it sounded contrived, that he was trying to hard to fit in, or that people were thinking that he was trying to pull off a posh British accent and failing miserably. It had made him self-conscious as a child and was a very sore spot still in adulthood, and Rod seemed to enjoy poking that spot with everything that he had.

Heading down to the basement, Jon thought about possibly placing an ad in the local newspapers back home. The two-week winter break wouldn’t be enough time to actually sit down with people, but it would get some interest. If they were lucky, they’d have someone that following summer, or possibly before then, depending on how luck broke. Anyway, they needed a permanent bass player, and even Chris had to admit – Rod wasn’t likely to be it.

Mike was already set up and behind his kit when the two of them arrived.

“Where the fuck is Rod?” Chris questioned as he came into the room, putting down his guitar case.

“He’s been and gone.” Mike muttered, tapping lightly on the tom-toms. “Said he didn’t want to work with some damned Brit like Jon. Evidently someone forgot to give him the memo that Jon’s the lead singer.” On that last point, he glared at Chris. “Rather important thing, wouldn’t you say?” Chris refused to look at either of them.

“Christ Chris. You knew he didn’t like working with me, so you didn’t tell him I’m in the band? Am I that horrible of a person or something?”

Jon was beginning to wonder if this band were ever going to be more than a dream. He was frustrated, tired, and completely annoyed with Chris. Chris – who promised the world but failed to deliver. Chris – who only looked out for himself. Chris – whose own voice was the only one he wanted to hear. He put down his guitar case with a thud and turned on his heel, walking determinedly out of the basement, thundering up the stairs and out of the house onto the street, back straight, steel blue eyes cold with anger.

He was sick of this. Chris continually called the shots. He continually messed everything up. Hell, they didn’t even have a name for the fucking band yet, why the hell was he trying to get it together when it was clear that he had no clue what the hell he was doing?

As he strode down the street, needing to get away from Chris before he did or said something he’d regret, he heard Mike struggling to catch up with him. He wasn’t in a mood to have someone try to talk him out of beating the ever-loving shit out of Chris for many reasons. Quite frankly, he’d rather not beat the shit out of Chris. That would create too much paperwork and massively hurt his aunt, who was graciously letting him stay with them and not charging him rent and board. No, he wanted the sky to open and rain hellfire and damnation on him. After a few moments of walking with that thought in mind, it came to him that maybe that was a bit overboard, and he slowed, grinning. He was still angry with his cousin, no doubt about it, but for the time being, the urge to kick his ass into next week was muted.

“Jesus on toast Jon.” Mike panted. “I’m in good shape, but when you’re pissed off you’re damned hard to keep up with!”

Jon stopped at the crest of a small hill, looking back over where he’d just come from. “Sorry Mike. Chris just manages to just push every damned button I’ve got.”

“Want to know the truth?” Mike said, following Jon’s gaze, taking in the neighborhood. Jon tipped his head. “I sent Rod home before you both got there. He was a complete ass with me, and I’m not going to put up with someone else whose ego gets it’s own zip code.”

Mike wasn’t sure if Jon was going to smack him one for doing that or hug him. He was glad when it was the latter. “I’d hit you for that Brit comment, but I’ll let it go this time around.” He pounded Mike on the back – a brotherly gesture.

The two men stood back from each other, and again looked over the area from the crest of the hill. As Mike said “It’s not much, but it’s home.”

“I just want this to work, y’know? I want to do something big. I want this to happen. This band, it’s going to be my life. I can just feel it.”

Mike started back down the hill. “Well, c’mon then. Let’s get started. Nothing goin’ to happen with us up here.”

Jon joined him and they walked back to the house, where Chris was setting on the front stairs, half-smoked cigarette in hand.

He watched the two return warily, taking a deep drag off before grinding it out beneath his shoe.

“Chris,” Jon began as he sat down beside him, “Shit is going to change, and we’re starting that with you. You are not this band. I am not this band. Mike is not this band. We all are. None of us are going to get anywhere if don’t work together.”

They talked until the sun had set and Alex had ushered them into their living room. When Jon and Chris left for the night, things had changed, and the coming days would see them change even more than they had ever thought.

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