In the back parking lot of the Fishwife, as Dude Igneous was just finishing getting his drums packed into the back of his truck, Lump Bumpus, the Flamefarts bass player approached. Lump had a kind of Ben Franklin look about him, only not so intelligent or stately. Poor Lump was almost completely bald on top, but only 31. He still wore his hair long, and he had a good pot belly on him too. But he could play every Iron Maiden song ever, note for note, from memory. In fact, it was a flaw. Lump didn’t know anything but Iron Maiden songs, and it took him a while to learn new material. To a large extent, lump was the one Guy was referring to when he expressed fears about “losing momentum” should his job as a sports statistician take him away to the playoffs. He knew Lump would forget the songs.
“Dude!” Lump looked like he’d suddenly remembered something. “Hey, I thought you had an awesome beat kickin’ in that one tune..uh…”
“Dynamite in the Jello?” Dude suggested.
“Nah. That was kickin’ though…” Lump laughed.
“Planet of Plastic Pain?” Dude said.
“What’s the one that starts ‘Dun, dun…dat, dat, da daaah, dun. Da, da, da, dunt dun…’”
Dude frowned. “Not sure. You mean ‘Da, da, da, dunt da, dun…’”
“Nah, nah.”, Lump interrupted. “‘Da, da, da, dunt dun…’” He growled the last ‘dun’ for emphasis.
“The one about penguins in the sewers?” Dude asked.
“Maybe. It’s the one where Rott makes it sound like his guitar’s puking.” Lump said.
“No, that’s HazMat Blues. It’s just a slow shuffle, nothin’ special about that beat.”
For a moment the two of them looked at each other. Both of their heads moved, as if they were hearing music, but it was plain they were hearing different songs.
“Anyway, kickin’ beats, Dude.” Lump said. He picked up his bass cases and walked toward his Buick Riviera.
A few minutes later, Dude saw a couple of guys dressed in various colors of leather attire. They walked hesitantly towards Dude, talking quietly as if they were planning something. When they reached him, they just stood for a moment, as if waiting for Dude to recognize them. Their outfits were completely leather, but not in a conventional Judas Priest way. One of them wore what seemed to be a leather 3-piece business suit. It was burgundy, and had gold pinstripes stitched into it. The other wore a carpenter’s overalls made of lime green leather, and no shirt.
“Great drumming, man,” 3-piece said. His tone sounded like a high school teacher encouraging a new student .
“Thanks.” Dude mumbled. He continued loading his truck.
“You know who we are?” Overalls sneered.
“Hey, I’m sorry,” Dude sincerely apologized, “I got a terrible memory for clothes. Tell me your names again?”
“We’re Absentia. Now you remember right?” Overalls looked annoyingly confident.
“’Hittin’ the street, cit-tee cit-tee beeeeeeeeat…’” 3-piece sang in falsetto.
“Oh, yeh.” Dude waved his hand limply.
“Well, we came out here to the sticks from our stop in Bigburg on the recommendation of a mutual friend of ours,” 3-piece still had that tone.
“We need a good drummer.” Overalls laughed.
“More like we’re auditioning drummers.” 3- piece looked at Overalls.
“You probably have heard that Plague Harris, our drummer, is starring in the next Techno Gun movie.” Overalls bragged.
“More like he’s appearing in the new Techno Gun movie.” 3-piece said.
Overalls’ voice got a little squeaky, like a kid talking about his favorite toy. “You remember at the end of the last Techno Gun movie, how Major Steele saved his son by giving his wife a c-section while parachuting from the Space Shuttle? Well, our drummer, Plague, plays a crime lord who’s got the son mixed up in crime sixteen years later. Major Steele is a cop now, a detective, instead of a special ops officer and is on a raid, but he doesn’t know it’s his son’s girlfriend’s house, where there’s a big party, and…”
“Plague is the first one killed by the Techno Gun.” 3-piece said with noticeable satisfaction.
“Sorry, I don’t really follow movies and stuff.” Dude was trying to appear interested. “I remember your songs though, I used to like you guys. I saw you open up for Lou Reed once.” He actually did remember Absentia and the Lou Reed show pretty well. Absentia had tried to blend metal and disco, and it bothered Dude Igneous a lot that they had gained a following. Dude had led the “booing” when they opened up for Lou Reed.
Overalls continued. “So now our drummer wants to be an actor.”
“More like he wants to be a movie star,” 3-piece corrected. “He may make a dozen movies, but no one could ever teach that schmuck how to act.”
Overalls was getting annoyed with his partner. “Anyway, this may be your big opportunity. We’d like you to audition for us! Think about it. You can tour with us for a couple of months. You can be in Absentia!”
“Can you be at The Spot tomorrow about 4:30?” 3-piece said.
“Uh…” Dude stammered. “Can I call you tomorrow and let you know? It sounds good but I gotta check some things.”
Both members of Absentia seemed quite surprised that Dude hesitated. 3-piece pulled a business card out of his vest pocket, and handed it to Dude. The card was made of purple paper that had a leather-like finish to it, and the lettering was fuzzy white, like fake velvet. He held out the card to Dude, but when Dude was about to take it, 3-piece pulled the card back.
“You know,” 3-piece now had a tone like a king about to make a royal decree, “We are probably gonna be on Jay Laterman in a couple of weeks. Ever been on Laterman?”
“Yeh. I was on the Questionable Talent segment. I played my drums and ate a triple cheeseburger, hanging upside-down. They re-play it all the time.” Dude said, nonchalantly, taking the card.
“Oh, that was you?” Overalls said, obviously impressed.
“I’ll call you tomorrow. Good to meet you guys. I’ll think about it.” Dude closed the gate on his truck. He was suddenly in the mood for a triple cheeseburger.
“All right then.” 3-piece said. “Good show tonight.” He still seemed mystified that Dude was not impressed with them.As the two walked away, it sounded to Dude Igneous like they were arguing over clothing choices.