Undead musicians trying to fit in to the real world, while coping with being undead.
The Undead Musician's Society
The Musicians of the sixties and seventies are undead and well in La La land, until a brave soul dares to go through "The Gate" into the real world.
Join the mayhem as these unfortunates cope with the problems of being Undead in a living world.
Sadly, these aren't flawless, powerful aesthetically pleasing creatures, as imagined in modern undead lore.
These grotesque creatures have to cope with rotting skin, falling appendages, and those pesky maggots; while trying desperately to fit into modern day society.
Each invitee gets to choose his or her own dead musician. The basic rules are:
1. The musician you choose has to be dead,
2. It helps to know a lot about the musician you are portraying,
3. You can add and kill off any character you create, but no killing off another member's character.
4. Have fun with the story; romance, intrigue, swordfights, anything that comes to mind will be welcomed into the "Undead Musician's Society"
If it has been your turn for over two days, your turn will be passed on to the next person in the campfire.
Now a quote from Kurt Cobain, aka lizco252
"Formaldehyde... does a body good,"
The Undead Musician’s Society
Patsy Gets A Visitor
“I… fall… to pieces! CACK!” Patsy coughed and a small wiggly maggot plopped into her half empty coffee cup. “Dag nabbit, not again!”
With a flick of her finger, the struggling larvae flew across the room, to parts unknown. She drummed her bright red fingernails on the Formica table, and glanced nervously at the wall clock. The black cat grinned as its pendulum tail swished with the same rhythm as its eyes.
Click click went her fingers. Tick tick swished the clock. “CAAAACCCK!” came a horrid noise from the other side of the door. As she rose to answer, the pinky finger of her left hand fell off. She picked it up and set it on the whatnot shelf. I’ll tend to that later, she said to herself.
Patsy wondered why she had invited these people to her social circle. She really didn’t have that much in common with them, particularly that blonde kid with the soulful eyes. He had just recently died, so he was considerably less decayed than most, but he had an interesting voice… She was shook from her reverie by another protracted gag outside.
“Hold your high horses, I’m coming!” she yelled, opening the door to the first invited member of the Undead Musician’s Society.
|"Woo! Am I glad to be here," Michael Jackson said. "Well, maybe not exactly glad," the late King of Pop said. "More happy you invited me, Miss Cline."|
"Oh, I'm glad you accepted the invitation, even if you are new to this dead thing. We're gonna be dead a long, long time, and neither one of us was really all that old. I was only 30. You got 20 years that I didn't."
"Yeah, but people used that 20 years to make fun of me. It was awful. And the way they said those awful, awful things about me. I would never hurt a child."
"No, but you did leave a lot of fodder for Leno and Letterman, and that other guy, you know, the one who isn't funny."
"Oh, you mean Conan the Barbarian O'Brien. You're right. None of them were funny. Especially Conan.
"Hey! To change the subject. Have you seen my new nose? I haven't seen it anywhere."
Just then, there was a knock on the door. "Hold that thought, Michael. I gotta answer the door."
|Kurt Cobain looked up as the door opened and Patsy Kline looked him up and down. There was a long pause and she cocked her eyebrow. "Why so glum, chum?" she chimed.|
"I came for the party," he said quietly and scratched at his arm. His blond hair was missing patches due to the years of decay and his skin was pock-marked with rotted flesh, particularly around the bullet hole in his head. He shuffled across the threshold and did a double take at the King of Pop, his jaw dropping to the point of dislocation. But he caught it in time and shoved it back into place. "You're freaking Michael Jackson," he exclaimed without exclamation.
The King of Pop did a quick spin and a brief moon walk, snapping his fingers and grabbing his crotch. "That's me, Billie Jean!"
"Kurt. My name is Kurt, okay?"
"Hey, you're that Nirvana guy!" Michael gushed. "I loved your music, man!"
Kurt rolled his eyes and shook his head as one got stuck. He looked at Patsy. "I need a beer, Pats. And some coke if you've got it."
"All I got is beer, Kurt. Coke's coming later."
As Patsy hurried off to fetch their drinks, Kurt looked back at Michael and scratched at his bullet hole, dried flakes of bloody flesh falling to the floor. "You were still alive when I left," he said. "What the hell happened?"
Michael rubbed his non-existent nose. "Oh, you know. Quack doctor... and, anesthesia drugs don't work all that well as a sleeping aid."
Kurt stared at him. "Must have worked pretty well."
Michael broke out into a nervous giggle. "Ha, ha! Touche, Kurt! Touche!" His smile fell. "How did you die again?"
"Shot myself in the head, man," Kurt intoned. "Couldn't take anymore of that wife of mine."
Michael nodded sympathetically. "Yeah, I saw her interview with Kurt Loder and Madonna on MTV. She was pretty sad..."
"First round!" Patsy called and handed them each a beer, looking from the King of Pop to the Grunge Messiah. "So... what are we talking about?"
|“Oh, just getting to know each other, right, Billie Jean?”|
“My name is KURT, you missing nosed FREAK!”
“Hey, champ, no reason to get defensive, my short term memory was affected by the anesthesia.”
Patsy just shook her head and walked toward the door.
|(Fade in with sound of Foxey Lady)...The door opens to reveal a long-haired hippie-freak dead guitarist, otherwise known as Jimi Hendrix, leaning against the door frame. |
"Jimi!" Patsy gushes. All over Jimi's shoes. "Sorry 'bout that Jimi. Here...let me clean that up. I hate it when I gush like that. I must be crazy, but you're just the man I've been looking for!"
"I got your invitation Ms. Cline, and rushed over here as soon as I could get my angels to fly me here," Jimi replied. "Ever since my overdose, I've had nothing but helpful angels tending to my every need."
Jimi pushed his way past Patsy and stepped into the room. "Michael Jackson? Weren't you black? What the F-- happened?"
The two "black" men shook hands and proceeded to search for the fridge. In the kitchen, Jimi pulled out a plastic baggie of some white powdery stuff and started drawing lines on the table with it.
Kurt walked in then and yelled out, "Patsy! The coke's here!"
Just as Kurt begins to snort a long line, the radio in the background plays a familiar refrain. It's the Star Spangled Banner, live from Woodstock. Jimi's eyes glaze over and nobody dares disturb him.
"Hi, yall!" said the dead man at the door. "Hope I'm not too late! One o'clock, two o'clock, three o'clock, rock!"
"Bill!" Patsy yelled. "Look everybody! It's Bill Haley."
"Who?" Michael said.
"Some old white dude," Jimi said.
"Bill invented rock and roll!" Patsy said.
"Did not," Kurt said. "Ain't nobody invented rock and roll. It just happened. Hey, watcha snortin', Jimi? Let me in on that."
"It's just confectioners sugar," Patsy said. Everybody laughed. "Bill, where's your Comets?"
"I don't take the Comets with me everywhere I go, Patsy. They're back at the hotel. Say, who's this party being held for anyway?"
Patsy blew a maggot out her nose. "Why's it got to be for anybody, Bill? Can't I just have a party if I want to? Does that make me crazy?"
"No, ma'am. But I'm surprised Elvis ain't here."
"Me too, Bill. But I'm glad you came. Are you going to stay all night?"
"I plan to rock around the clock. But I'm disappointed this party ain't for somebody."
"Why's it got to be for somebody, Bill? Don't you know how to just party to be partying?"
"No offense, Miss Patsy, but if there ain't no guest of honor then I tend to lose focus and drift off, maybe even fall asleep."
"Bill! You fall asleep and we'll toss you in the pool. How about a beer?"
|Kurt rubbed at his right nostril as the cocaine tingled through his sinus cavity. Actually, it didn't really tingle at all since his nerve endings were long dead and there was only dried up formaldehyde coursing through his veins, but he imagined it tingling and that was all that mattered. Jimi sat back on the sofa and nodded to his own inner beat, eying Kurt with a clever grin. |
"Tell me about the music scene, man," said Jimi, his head lolling. "What was it like when you left?"
"Fuckin' awesome, dude... till the Backstreet Boys showed up," Kurt replied, dipping his finger in the coke and rubbing it into his gums, which he realized was a bit of a mistake as two brown and decayed teeth dislodged and fell into the pile of gleaming white powder. He looked up and smiled sheepishly at Jimi. "Sorry, man."
"No sweat, man! We're all dead here. It's not like we're gonna catch somethin' from you and die." They both broke out into laughter and Kurt leaned down to do another line through his left nostril. Unfortunately, he forgot about the hole next to his eye and watched as the powder came flying out of it. Jimi snickered and they both looked up as Bill Haley joined them.
"It's the inventor of rock 'n' roll," Kurt whispered sarcastically and pocketed his fallen teeth.
"Father, actually," Bill corrected him. "The Father of Rock 'n' Roll. Who's your Daddy?"
Jimi sat forward on the sofa and gestured toward the cocaine. "Would you care to partake, my brother?"
Bill swished a glass in his skeletal hand and shook his head. "Got my highball right here, thanks." He took a long swig, half the liquid spilling out of the bottom of his chin through the layers of decayed flesh and muscle. He looked down at his empty glass and frowned, disheartened. "Boy, they sure don't last like they used to. Patsy! I need another, toots!"
Michael Jackson moonwalked over to the group and spun around, singing, "Thriller! Thriller night! You're fighting for your life inside a killer, thriller tonight!"
"Hey, Mike," Kurt said and braved another line of coke with his finger over the hole by his eye. He looked up to complete his thought, sniffing. "I think that fight is over, dude. You might wanna change your tune."
Bill and Jimi looked at Kurt and started laughing raucously.
"Patsy! Where's my drink?!" Bill called.
|In response, there were three powerful knocks at the door. KNOCK, KNOCK, KNOCK. Patsy ran to see who it was.|
"Just hold on a second, Bill. I'll have your drink in a..." she opened the door and was face to face with a grizzled older man wearing an all black suit. He stared at her with hardened features.
"Well, are you gonna look, or are you gonna pour me one too, darlin?'" he slurred in a deep, voice.
"Oh, hi Johnny," she said. "Everyone, it's Johnny Cash!" She ushered him into the room. Johnny walked in slowly, letting the the heels of his shoes strike the floor.
"Well, howdy to you all." He nodded once and moved to a seat where he put his feet up on a table. "This'll do."
"If it isn't the Man in Black," uttered Jimi.
|Patsy turned to look at her mismatched group of guests. Maybe it would work, maybe it wouldn’t. Kurt was snorting so much of that Cocaine that what remained of his hair was coated with a fine white powder. Johnny‘s shirt looked like he had been baking biscuits, patches of white decorated his black clothing, and it looked a little comical. Bill kept on requesting highballs, and she didn’t have the gumption to tell him that most of his beverages had dribbled down through holes in his chin. Michael was off in one corner, and occasionally “EE Eeeee’d” while practicing his dance moves. She was disappointed that Elvis or the Franks (Zappa and Sinatra) hadn’t shown up, but she would make do with who she had.|
She started gathering empty beer bottles.
“Here, let me help you with that.”
Patsy literally jumped out of her skin, as a long slimy patch slid off her left shoulder.
“It’s the new millennium Patsy, women don’t do all the work anymore.”
“Jesus, Jimi, you scared the doody out of me!”
Jimi picked up what remained of the bottles, handed Patsy’s skin flap back to her and followed her into the kitchen.
The bottles clinked together in the trash can and Patsy wondered where she would store them all. The shed out back was full of bottles, as well as one corner of her back yard. There was no recycle program in La La Land, which was one of the millions of reasons she longed to escape. Surely, somewhere, the life challenged could find acceptance and a way to keep the trash from piling up.
“They’re having a grand old time in there with that Cocaine, aren’t they?”
Jimi smirked. “I haven’t the heart to tell them it’s only baking soda.”
“Yeah, drugs don’t work on the undead, believe me, I’ve tried everything, but come over here and sniff me.”
“I beg your pardon?”
“Come over and get a good whiff!”
Patsy reluctantly complied and approached him. About three feet away, she took a breath.
“Don’t be crazy, Patsy, come a little closer and take a gooooood breath.”
Oh what the heck, she thought, and six inches from his partially exposed neck tendons she inhaled, steeling herself for the unbearable stench of decay. There was nothing.
“Why Jimi, you don’t stink!”
“And neither will your party guests if they all try the baking soda.”
“Well, I don’t think Michael can snort anything, his nose is missing, and Johnny and Bill are too busy drinking to snort baking soda.”
“They’ll all get a “contact” de-stinking, did you see that cloud in the room?”
Patsy agreed he had a point.
They returned with the beers and distributed them among the guests in the room. Patsy stood by the front door and tapped a spoon rapidly against her coffee cup. Five undead male faces turned toward her at once.
“May I have your attention?”
“Yeah, Pats, that fucking sound would get anyone’s attention,” Kurt snorted, and a puff of baking soda flew from his ear canal.
“Very funny, Mr. Cobain.”
“Who you calling Mister, lady, you are only three years older than the two of us!” Kurt gestured to Jimi, who had settled back on the couch, “And you’re pretty well preserved for a broad that’s been dead 45 years!”
“Clean living, I guess, but DON’T change the subject, Kurt, I brought y’all here for a reason.”
“Oh, so this ISN’T just a party, then?” Bill replied sarcastically, as amber liquid poured from his chin hole. Patsy wasn’t sure if the fluid was part of his highball, or something else. She tried not to think of it.
|"The reason is," Ms. Cline began," there has been another murder. And we've been called in to find out who-dun-it! Isn't it exciting?"|
"No, Patsy. It's NOT exciting," Jimi replied. "But your body IS!" As the undead guitarist eyed the country singer's form, he wondered what other skin flaps might fall off her luscious body...and when?
"Kurt! Help me here," Johnny said, turning everyone's attention back to the table coated with baking soda. As everyone looked, they noticed that the white powder had changed from the straight lines to a series of letters. Patsy walked over and saw that the letters were forming words.
"Dot...Dot...Dot...Dash...Dash...Dash...," Bill exclaimed. "It's Morse Code!"
"My Morse is a little rusty," Michael complained. "But damn, Patsy, you smell great! Lean in a little further, eh?" Patsy looked over at Jimi and winked. At least, she TRIED to wink. Her left upper eyelid fell off onto the table, landing next to the last dash. She dashed to put it back in her eye socket and regain control of the conversation.
"As I was saying," Patsy continued, "A murder mystery. Someone, or some THING has stolen Jimi's coke and replaced it with baking soda. Where that would normally be a BAD thing, it's cool, because we all now smell deliciously like the inside of my refrigerator - fresh and clean. But whoever stole Jimi's coke was killed moments later...which is strange, because we're ALL undead here in LA LA Land. The only clues are the baking soda forming Morse Code words and this half-empty box of Scooby Snacks."
"Half FULL, you mean, darlin'," Mr. Cash retorted. "Looks like we'll have to split up and look for clues...or the real powder!"
"Good idea! Patsy - you're with me," Jimi chose wisely. And like a sandlot baseball game, the others quickly chose up partners too.
Bill and Johnny ended up being partners, but Bill was having none of it. "I don't do duets!" he complained.
Johnny grinned. "Awww, don't be afraid, Bill. I do duets all the time. Come on and be my partner."
"No way, Johnny. I do it with the Comets or I don't do it at all."
Patsy put a gangrenous arm on Bill's shoulder. "Oh Bill honey, don't be so stand-offish. You want to help solve the murder mystery, don't you?"
Bill gently removed Patsy's hand from his suit. "Darlin', this is a quality suit. I don't want to offend you but your hand is leaking on my jacket."
Patsy grabbed Bill's hand and pushed one of her boney fingers right through his palm. "You're pretty rotten yourself, Bill, in case you haven't noticed."
Bill held his punctured hand up to his eyes. "Crap, Patsy! How'd you do that? Have you been learning Kung Fu?"
"Oh shut up and have another drink, Bill. Listen up, everybody. If there has been a murder, then somebody must be dead, right?"
Somebody called out, "But we're all dead, Patsy!"
"Yes, yes, but not freshly dead. We need to know who just died today and then we can find out who killed them."
"Michael's pretty fresh, isn't he?"
"EE, EEEEE!" Michael squealed.
"I don't know," Patsy said. "Michael? The doctor did it. Case closed. Somebody else."
"Somebody who mysteriously disappeared!" Jimi said.
"Why don't we just keep partying?" Kurt said. "It's not our job."
"You never had a job," Patsy said. "Anyway, it's not work, it's fun! Fun! Everybody understand that?"
"Yeah, yeah," came back some murmurs and mutters.
|But, if someone is dead, then what are we?" Michael squealed, his high-pitched voice inching even higher.|
"It's just like that, Micheal," Johnny said. "We're dead. But so is someone else. And we need to find out who it is, and who done it. And it's not like it was when I was alive. All I had to do was walk on stage, and say, 'Hello. I'm Johnny Cash.' People screamed. All you had to do is go 'Woo!' and people screamed. Shoot. All Jimi had to do was burn up his guitar, and people went nuts. And I'm not even going to discuss those plaster casters. That said,, I won't say I wasn't not jealous, Jimi."
Jimi shrugged, dislocating his shoulder. He took a minute to pop it back into place before he shrugged more carefully and said, "Hey, dude. I was what I was. Them plaster caster chicks were nuts for my nuts. I just game 'em what they wanted."
"But who is dead?" Michael continued. "And how do we find out who done it?"
|As all of the banter went back and forth, Kurt looked down at the baking soda -- that he thought was cocaine -- and frowned, feeling cheated. "Fuckers." He stuck his finger up his nose and winced as the side of it ripped away from the rest of his face. Panicked, but in no real pain, he looked up to see if anyone was watching and tried to press it back into place, spitting green gunge on his finger and trying to apply it like glue. It seemed to work and he nodded in silent approval. "Formaldehyde... does a body good," he whispered to himself then looked up at the group and pointed at Johnny Cash.|
"Screw Bill, you're with me," he commanded.
Johnny shrugged and cast a sideways glare at Bill. "At least someone here appreciates me."
"Yeah," Kurt replied and sneered. "But if you call me Sue, I'll kick your ass."
"I hear ya'," Johnny said and waived his hands disarmingly. "Hey, I did a cover of a song from one of the bands from your time, boy: 'Hurt' by Nine Inch Nails. It was dope."
Kurt looked at him, a slight brainstorm brewing in his dried out and shrunken brain. He shook his head at Johnny. "Don't."
"Don't try to act all cool, old man. Trent Reznor's a pussy and if you ever bring him up again, or his band, I'll kick you in the nuts."
"OK! That's enough!" Patsy intervened. She glared at Kurt an Johnny. "You both blow! And God knows you've both done plenty of it, too!" She looked around at the rag-tag team of undead unfortunates she was apparently stuck with and grimaced, all Billy Idol-style, but got caught up in thoughts of her and Billy and her fantasy of a 'White Wedding.' "He'll be dead soon enough," she reminded herself.
"Who?" Michael asked and spun. "Ooooh!"
"Who'll be dead soon enough?"
"Did I say that out loud?" She looked around to find all dead eyes on her. She nodded and stuck a finger in her ear, jiggling it up and down, and watched as her ear lobe hit the ground. "Shit." She bent to pick up the fallen lobe and turned to Kurt, scooping green gunge from the side of his nose to reapply her lobe. She smiled. "Formaldehyde... does a body good." Clearing her throat, but careful not to dislodge what was left of her vocal chords, she put her hands on her hips and tried to ignore Jimi's lustful gaze. "Here's the deal. We've got missing cocaine, a new addition to La La Land, and we have forty-eight hours to find him... or her, as the case may be. I will decide the teams. But first, we need to eliminate the possibles." She looked around, eyebrow cocked. "Any takers? Anybody?"
Patsy looked over at Michael and frowned, tilting her head in bewilderment. He was holding his finger in front of his face, following its trajectory toward his non-existent nose, ever more cross-eyed. "Michael!" she barked. "Would you focus, please?!"
Michael blushed... well, he tried to blush, but his pasty white skin, fraying at the jawline, showed no color.
"You were saying?!" Patsy prodded, irritated.
|“Huh?” snorted Michael, as his attention slowly returned. |
“Oh, forget it,” Patsy glowered.
“I think the original plan of Bill and Johnny grouping together is a good one, so that stays.”
“Shit.” Kurt cussed under his breath.
“Hey, I heard that!” Michael crowed, posing in profile and tipping an imaginary hat. “Shumown!”
“What the living Hell does that mean?” Bill questioned. “Shumown? Back in my day, we had REAL words in our songs!” As Bill gestured dramatically, a patch of hair got caught in his flailing hands, along with a sizeable piece of scalp. It fell with a wet plop to the floor. He shook his head. “Shumown,” he whispered almost inaudibly.
Kurt rose to his feet and approached Patsy, wagging a partially missing finger at her face. “If you think for one minute, I’m searching for clues with that pasty white freak of nature, you’re a fuckin’ lunatic!”
“Sit DOWN!” Patsy roared at him, and her uvula parted with her throat and landed in his bullet hole. Kurt slunk back to his chair, mumbling.
“I will stay with Jimi, as originally planned. I just wish he’d stop staring at me that way. He knows his way around this place and I heard a rumor he’s very good with a needle and thread. Lets face it, Kurt, your post mortem snot is a wonderful adhesive, but stitches work SO much better."
Bill timidly approached Jimi with his scalp piece. Jimi reached into his bulging pants and pulled out a little metal box. In no time at all, Bill’s hair was sewn back on, and he was admiring his new look in the hallway mirror. He’ll be there a while, she thought.
“I’ll stick with my snot,” Kurt pouted.
Patsy shrugged. “It’s your body, buddy!”
There was a loud, obnoxious pounding at the door. Patsy turned to answer it, shoving Bill away from the mirror. Great! she thought, I hope that’s one of the Franks. She opened the door to absolutely no one, but a white piece of paper. She picked it up, shut the door a little too hard, and galumphed back to the living room, where all her guests were staring at her anxiously. Patsy lay the cryptic piece of paper on the coffee table. It said:
Necros, of course, were units of currency in La La land, roughly equal to one Real World dollar.
“WOO!” Chirped Michael, “But where do we bring it?”
“And WHEN, darlin' ?” slurred Bill, touching his newly attached hair.
“And where are we going to come up with two million Necros?” Johnny offered.
“Who gives a shit?” Kurt huffed.
Jimi was busy stuffing cotton in Kurt’s bullet hole and covering it with a spare patch of skin from the back of his forearm.
Just then another knock rattled the door hinges. “I’ll get that,” Jimi offered, leaving a needle dangling by a piece of thread on Kurt’s repair job.
Once again, the door had no one behind it but a piece of paper. Jimi picked it up and placed it on the table beside the other message. This one said:
“Corner of Rigor and Mortis… Guys that is a seedy part of town.”
Everyone gathered around the two part ransom notes, mumbling to themselves and trying to glean some clues from the jumbled letters. Everyone gathered, except Kurt.
“Um, someone?” Kurt interrupted, pointing at the unfinished stitching on his head.
|Jimi returned to his knitting and was about to ask Kurt what color thread he wanted, when he simply decided on chartreuse. Chartreuse goes with everything. Recalling a line from an old Star Trek show, he mumbled, "It's Green!"|
Jimi stared openly at Patsy and cleared his throat to speak. Unfortunately, that meant a bit of HIS uvula fell on the floor. But nobody saw it happen, so he picked it up, swallowed it again, and returned to his knitting. When he remembered he was about to say something, he decided to just blurt it out instead of clearing his throat again.
"Baby Doll, I think someone in here died with a lot of money in their estate and if he's paying attention, he might stop saying WOO and EEE and tell us where he hid that money," the guitar virtuoso suggested. Everyone turned to eyeball MJ who was back at the table, rearranging the white powder into cute little patterns.
"Mamasay mamasah mumakasah!" he exclaimed. "I'm bad."
"I've snorted some good stuff in my day, Kurt," Johnny chimed in, "but I will NOT walk those lines with you! That's crap!"
Finally stitched back together again, Kurt's head looked stunning and the rest of the party-goers complimented Jimi on his quick-sewing job. The darning needles and thread disappeared into what could only have been a back pocket in Jimi's jeans. But upon closer inspection, he wasn't wearing any pants.
"The coke I brought wasn't powdery," Jimi just realized. "It was rock. R.O.C.K. Rock. Didn't your group do a song with that title, Bill?" Jimi felt in his "pockets" again and finally came up with a rock the size of his thumb. Then his thumb fell off. He "pocketed" it and dug in his pants for the needle and thread again, muttering to himself.
"I know how we can raise two million necros," Bill said. "We can hold a benefit concert."
Jimi said, "If Michael would turn loose some of that estate money..."
"Shush!" Patsy said. "A dead man can't claim his own estate. Think straight, Jimi."
"Patsy, I haven't thought straight since nineteen sixty... something. Whenever I dropped that first tab of LSD. I've been off the main time line ever since. What is it now? Like the 25th century or something?"
"It's 2010," Patsy said, "and no, we don't have flying cars yet."
"So what about my benefit concert idea?" Bill said.
"What would it be a benefit for?" Johnny said. "Starving children? Earthquake victims?"
Bill rolled his eyes. "Noooo, for dead musicians of course. For OUR benefit. We're the ones that need the two million necros."
Kurt grabbed the notes. "I already forgot why we needed the money." He read the notes by slowly mouthing every word. "Ohhh! They have Elvis. Who the hell are THEY? And what does that mean: or he gets it too? Gets what?"
Patsy read the notes again. "Hmmm... Why don't we just got to the back alley at the corner of Rigor and Mortis at 2am and find out?"
Bill held up his hand. "Wait! Maybe it's an April Fool joke?"
Patsy laughed. "It's April 2nd, Bill. Have another drink."
|"I know!" Michael squeaked. "I'll get Pepsi to sponsor the concert, we can have a whole tour of La La Land, and get my wife's father ... I mean, my ex-wife's father back. Lisa will be so proud of me for saving her daddy, she'll marry me again! Oooo! Eeee! I love Lisa so much! And Webster. And Macauley."|
"Give it a rest, Mikey. Non of them are dead yet. And there's no marriage in La La Land. We just kinda crash wherever we can," Kurt said, laying a hand on Michael's shoulder.
It took Michael a moment to realize the hand was Johnny's, and it wasn't attached to the rest of his body. "Eeek! Somebody give Johnny a hand. His own. It's on my shoulder, and it's gross."
Johnny took back his hand, and said, "C'mon, young fella. Let's go see about renting the La La Auditorium for the benefit, and get started."
As they left the room, Johnny was heard to ask, "You included Waylon and Willie in USA for Africa. Would it have hurt you to invite me and Rosanne, too. We'd've like to have taken part."
|Kurt rolled his eyes at Johnny's whining. "USA for Africa... what a fuckin' sham." He fingered his newly sewn bullet hole and looked at Jimi, giving a half-decayed, bony thumbs-up. "Nice work, dude... not crazy about the green, though."|
Jimi flourished his hat and took a bow. "I do what I can... and it's chartreuse... and you take what you can get in La La Land."
"Point taken. I was never into appearances anyway... just look at my wife..." Kurt waved the ransom notes in the air. "There's a clue here, people," he announced grandly, which was completely against his nature... dead or not...
"Owww!" Patsy cried, her decrepit hand flying to her left eye. Jimi rushed to her side and bent to look at her. He rose to his full height and cast a disapproving look at Kurt; Kurt's pinkie nail was lodged in Patsy's eyeball.
"I'm fine!" Patsy yelled and pulled the fingernail from her eye with a sucking sound. She blinked and smiled, knocking the side of her head as her eyeball rolled into place and brandished the fingernail before her. "Look, Ma! No pieces!"
Kurt looked at Patsy, sneering. "This isn't a Charmain commercial, Pats."
"That was a joke," Patsy protested. "You know, I fall to pieces?"
"Or pieces left on your ass without the right toilet paper... whatever... we get it."
Patsy sauntered to Kurt's side and flicked his fingernail back at him, nonchalantly. "No need to be a JERK, Kurt. We all know your life was miserable, but don't take it out on the rest of us."
Kurt looked at Patsy, his eyes welling with green, formaldehyde tears. "I feel things, Patsy!" he blurted.
"Yeah? Well... feel THIS!" She proceeded to knee him in the nuts, and cast her eyes skyward as said nuts flew through the air. With the precision of a baseball catcher, she caught his testicles in her skeletal hand and slipped them into her bodice. "Like I said," she continued, "Bill's with Johnny, Jimi's with me... Kurt, you're with Michael."
"I'm BAD!" Michael shouted. "Shumown!"
"Shut the fuck up," Kurt intoned diabolically as Michael moonwalked to his side.
Kurt punched Michael in the face and watched as Michael's teeth and one eyeball went careening across the carpet. Jimi scurried to collect them and replaced the teeth in their proper order, but crammed Michael's eyeball in his nasal cavity. He raised his hands in defeat. "Desperate measures, man!"
Patsy stomped her foot on the floor, ignoring the sound of her own breaking bones, and bent to set them right again, with a sickening snap.
"Kurt was right," she announced and held up the ransom notes. "There is a clue here." She looked at Jimi and wiggled her hips. "If you would, Jimi."
Jimi Hendrix smiled and pulled a baggie from his pocket, inhaling the white powder and exhaling through his mouth onto the ransom notes. Magically, two fingerprints were revealed.
"Wow," Michael breathed. "That's like that scene from Beverly Hills Cop!" He looked at Kurt excitedly. "Maybe it was Beverly Hills Cop II... could've been III... you know, when they put the super glue in the turtle tank with the matchbook and..."
This time, it was Patsy who delivered a jaw-bending blow. "Shut the fuck up, Mike." She looked at her undead comrades. "We're off to Rigor & Mortis," she announced and looked down at her watch. "We have thirty minutes." Kurt was the last to cross the threshold out into La La Land as Patsy held the door for him. She smirked.
"Balls!" she cried airily, fondling her brassiere beneath her dress. "I got yer balls right here! Who needs some balls?"
"I don't like you very much right now," Kurt hissed.
"I know," she sang. "The afterlife's such a bitch!"
Kurt flipped her a decayed half-bird.
She tried to blow him a kiss, but her lips stuck to the dried up bones of her hand and went falling to the floor. With an irritated sigh, she snatched up her hand and snapped it into place, staring at her lips, now fused to her hand.
"It's a conunduuuuahhhrrrrrr," she breathed and brightened as she felt the squirm of a maggot in her ear. She plucked the unsuspecting maggot and smiled. "I kneuuuu you guythththth eeeere gooooo whooooore sothetiiiiiing!" Patsy squeezed the maggot onto her hand and pulled her lips from her own grasp. Taking a cue from Kurt, she hawked a loogie and proceeded to glue her lips back into place.
"Much better!" she exclaimed. She looked up at the darkened, inky black sky. "Oh! It feels so good to be out of the house!"
|But of course, daylight was never an issue in La La Land. The residents lived in perpetual twilight that faded into darkness every twelve hours. Michael headed the pack, followed by Bill and Johnny, who were talking animatedly about their lives in the early sixties. Jimi swaggered alone, humming softly to himself, and occasionally scratching at his bony arms. Kurt shuffled at a snail‘s pace, thoroughly annoying Patsy. |
Her mind was gripped with a panicked thought. “HOLD IT RIGHT THERE, EVERYBODY!” she bellowed.
Five undead musicians abruptly halted, causing various snapping sounds and falling body debris. Jimi rushed to pick up the parts, and put them in a large zippered baggie, for future mending.
“You nitwits! We haven’t had the concert yet, what are the kidnappers going to do when we show up with no money?”
“Woo!” screeched Michael. “I have no clue!” he spun around, grabbed his crotch and poised on his tip toes.
“Well, THAT was special!” Bill sneered, picking up his big toe that Jimi hadn’t collected yet.
“She has a point,” Johnny drawled.
“I have an idea, you brainless walking reanimated pieces of excrement! Why don’t we just get there and find out, that’s really the only thing we CAN do!”
Patsy looked at Kurt, and with a sly smile handed him back his balls.
“Clearly, these belong to you.”
“Aw shucks, thank ye, purty lady,” he drawled in an exaggerated southern accent.
From ten feet away Jimi watched the verbal exchange, and clenched his fists so hard his index finger fell off his right hand. He picked it up, hoping no one had seen him.
Twenty minutes later, they arrived at the corner of Rigor and Mortis. Two abandoned buildings framed the corner, and between them, the alley sank back to total darkness. The only light illuminating the scene was a dreary streetlamp, barely bright enough to cast a shadow. Patsy could make out two cloaked figures in the yellow glow. One was smallish, with long bushy hair. The other was tall, brooding, and very still.
“Hello?” Patsy shouted. There was no echo. In fact, there was never an echo in La La Land, the acoustics sucked. It was one thing they’d have to overcome if they pulled off the benefit concert.
“Hello?” she repeated.
“Give me the Necros or he gets it!” the smallish figure was obviously disguising his or her voice with some sort of electronic device.
Jimi spoke up. “Um, mister? Or miss? We don’t have it, we haven’t had the chance to collect it yet, can you give us just two weeks?”
The small cloaked figure shoved a pointed object, presumably a gun, at the lofty hostage. The electronic voice growled, “I need the Necros NOW! Not later. Now! NOWWWWWW! Oh… damn it!” the shadowy kidnapper let go of its hostage, and ran down the alleyway into the blackness, flailing its arms impotently and sobbing. The other figure stood stock still, waiting menacingly.
“Eee!” Michael simpered, “He looks like the boogeyman, I’m scared!”
Patsy had to admit she was scared too.
Johnny spoke up. “Why don’t we all go together? Elvis, or whatever it is, doesn’t stand a chance against the six of us!”
Silently, the members of the Undead Musicians Society started linking hands, uniting toward a common goal. Jimi, of course made sure he was beside Patsy, and shouldered Kurt out of the way when he attempted to grab her other hand. With much wresting and grumbling, they finally formed their defense line; Johnny, Jimi, Patsy, Bill, Kurt and Michael, respectively. Kurt was trying not to barf formaldehyde.
The sextet cautiously approached “Elvis.”
Michael, oddly enough, found his inner Chuck Norris and ripped the hooded cloak from the hostage with an elegant snap.
Everyone except Kurt was staring at Michael.
Kurt was gawking at the lifeless effigy of the King of Rock and Roll
“Shit, It’s a mannequin,” Kurt whispered.
|"Yeah, and it's not even Elvis," Bill remarked. "It looks more like Michael's ex-wife."|
As Bill bent down to pick up the plastic rendition of not-Elvis, Kurt said, "Here, Bill. Lemme give you a hand."
"That joke was funny two scenes ago, stupid," Bill replied, brushing the hand from his shoulder. He simply hoisted the dummy over his shoulder and turned to face his compadres. "Whoever it was now knows we don't have the Necros and probably won't like waiting for two weeks to get their hands on them."
"But Elvis is too important to us to just give up," Patsy reiterated. "I say we put the concert on, anyway. Jimi, have you figured out how we're going to improve on the acoustics here?"
"I'm working on the computations now," Jimi replied, sounding like a pointy-eared Vulcan from the mid-sixties. In fact, Jimi knew exactly what to do about the acoustics: simply play louder. It had worked at Woodstock. Then, reminiscing about that magical time in the rain and mud, Jimi knew what he had to do. He had to start re-sewing body parts back onto their respective bodies. The six walked disconsolately back to Patsy's place, with Bill carrying the mannequin over his shoulder.
On the far side of the street, some disillusioned zombies who were playing darts looked over and remarked, "Hey! It's the Village People! When did THEY die?"
But luckily, none of the undead musicians heard the remark. So it fell on deaf ears.
On the way back, Jimi slowly pulled Patsy back from the crowd so they could talk alone. He was concerned that they'd never make enough money to pay the ransom. After all, it wasn't as if the people of La La Land had had any money to begin with. This place - for the living - was hard enough to survive in. Would they get enough people to even make the concert? And then, there were the concession stands and everyone involved with selling the tickets. Too many hands in the pot! As Jimi voiced his concerns to Patsy, he knew something had to be done to tie up these loose ends. And he was the only one in their small group good enough with a needle and thread.
Ever since they realized the Elvis hostage was just a mannequin, Bill had felt a suspicion crawling up his backbone like some little rogue maggot that had decided intestines weren't tasty enough and wanted to sample some brains.
"Listen here, you guys," Bill said. "How do we know they really have Elvis?"
"What do you mean, Bill?"
"I mean maybe they are lying and just saying they have Elvis. We ought to demand to see some proof."
"You mean like his hound dog or his blue suede shoes?"
"Uh, I guess so," Bill said. "He actually owned those things?"
Johnny put his hands on his hips. "You think Elvis just made stuff up to have songs to sing? Elvis was like me, boy. Always sang the truth."
Bill scratched his head (nasty visual effect here) and said, "Right. The truth. That's what I'm looking for. Are the kidnappers telling the truth about Elvis?"
"Even if they aren't we still ought to have the concert," Patsy said. "If we don't spend the two million necros on Elvis then we can spend it on something else."
"Right on!" Jimi said. "The important thing is the two million necros. Do it, Patsy. Make the concert happen!"
"Why me?" Patsy said. "You know I fall to pieces." She grabbed her nose as it tried to fall off.
"You're da man!" Jimi said.
"No I'm not! I'm the only one who is NOT the man!"
"Don't forget Michael," Kurt said. "He's not either."
Michael squealed, "Eeee! Eeeeeeee!"
|Just then, Kurt sat up, ignoring the pop in his spine as his bones snapped and contracted. "Death's Door Step!" he announced grandly. He looked around at the group. Even Michael had stopped twirling, scowling with the rest of them. |
"Man," said Jimi, smiling apologetically. "I know you think you're high, but that was just baking soda... We've done crossed death's door step, dude..." Jimi cowered as Kurt's head snapped around, one eyeball flying from Kurt's head into Jimi's open mouth. Jimi's skeletal, bony hand flew to his throat as he gasped for air that wasn't there. He collapsed in a heap on the floor and they all gathered round.
"Oh. My. God!" Michael cried like a girl. "This is horrible!" He rounded on Kurt. "I know you like living outta trash cans, but this is... CRAP!"
Bill Haley flexed his arms and smiled broadly, green saliva slime dripping from his chin. "I got this, people." He looked down at Jimi, whose body was convulsing. He knelt, pressing his finger against Jimi's throat and looked up, grinning. "Did you know your nails continue to grow after you die?"
"Eeeeewwwww, gross!" they all intoned, looking down at their nails then watching as Bill drilled his coke nail pinkie nail into Jimi's throat, extracting Kurt's eyeball. Bill looked at Kurt and flicked his pinkie. Kurt's eye socket caught the ball.
"Saaaa-wiiissshhh! Three pointer! Way to go, Bill!"
Bill rose to his feet and bowed, ever the gentleman. "I do what I can..."
Kurt adjusted his eyeball and looked down at Jimi, who stirred and propped himself on his elbows. "It was a Purple Haze, man..." He looked at Patsy and smiled. She smiled back at him... before Kurt popped up and grinned, all but three of his teeth missing.
"Death's Door Step, Pats!"
Patsy flared her nostrils gingerly, careful not to dislodge what was left of her musculature. Fuck you, Kurt! I was looking at Jimi! Jimi was looking at me, you jackass! I was enjoying it!!!
"Meaning?" she snapped.
Kurt took a step back and nodded, examining his fingernails, which had grown to disproportionate, if disgusting lengths. He looked at Patsy and winked, prying open his eyelids as they attempted to fuse.
"Only the greatest promotion firm in La La Land."
|“Hmmm… I’ve heard of them, but since no one in La La Land has really done anything noteworthy, save for rotting spectacularly, they are rarely used. I heard they were on the verge of bankruptcy.” |
Patsy had read it in The Reanimator, a local newspaper.
Johnny spoke up. “They’ll want a fee, and none of us have any necros to spare. Especially with them going bankrupt and all.”
“Eee!” cried Michael, “I have a simply fabulous idea!”
“What would that be, oh King of Fop?” Kurt asked, feigning a limp wrist.
“Oooh!” he spun around, “We could promise the firm a percentage of our proceeds, as long as they promise to make us at least two million… After their fee is taken out, of course.”
Bill clapped Michael on the back, displacing the skin on one of his shoulder blades. “Mikey, that just might be the most coherent sentence you have spoken this entire adventure! Shumown!”
“Shumown!” everyone else shouted, raising their decayed fists in the air.
The threat of Elvis “Getting it too” was of little concern to them at this point. They all snorted a little more Baking soda to freshen themselves, made appointments with Jimi for body part sewing, and departed knowing they’d meet again tomorrow to hash over the particulars.
Patsy closed the door and smiled. Maybe the Undead Musician’s Society would be a success after all. If not, at least they’d have some adventure along the way; something Patsy had craved ever since she arrived here forty six years ago.
“You forgot something.”
“AaaaaahhhhHHH!” Patsy screamed and spun around.
Jimi was holding a finger in front of her face, waving it back and forth like a pendulum.
“Dammit Jimi, you HAVE to stop doing that, I nearly peed my pants!” As a matter of fact, she did feel something ooze out, but she was afraid to guess what it was. ”What in tarnation do you want?”
“Cool it down, Patsy, you made your sewing appointment for tonight, remember? I’ve been gathering your body parts all night. Jesus, woman, you leave them wherever they fall!” Jimi was holding her “spare parts” coffee can in the crook of his fetid arm. It was nearly filled to the brim.
Patsy looked at the can in disgust. “I guess I have been neglecting my self lately.”
“Yes, and it’s your godforsaken right to be repaired repaired, repaired, repaired, reepaiiired…” he sang.
“You stole that from a Jason Mraz song.”
“Yes, but technically, I changed the last word, so technically, it’s not plagiarism… technically.”
“Shut up and sew.”
Jimi sat in back of her and sewed all the fallen skin flaps first. His fingers moved deftly, using thin, nearly invisible nylon string to baste the edges of her ragged, seeping skin.
“Hey, why didn’t you use that invisible thread on Kurt, the bullet hole would have looked so much better!” Patsy asked the undead hippy tailor.
Jimi smirked and said nothing.
He sewed missing skin patches back to her forearms, used special glue to re attach her fingernails to her severed fingers, then stitched the three missing digits back to her hands. Patsy flexed her fingers. It was the first time she had normal use of her right hand in… how long?
For two hours he labored over her, patching here, stitching there, and gluing wherever patching and stitching wouldn’t work. He finally got to her hair, which unfortunately was missing in the back along with part of her skull, which exposed her gelatinous brain for all the undead world to see.
“Man, this is going to be a challenge,” he muttered to himself as he started to work.
Jimi was placing the last skull patch into her head when he hesitated.
“What are you waiting for, get it done, I’m tired as shit.” Patsy complained.
“One moment, you’ll see,” he said cryptically.
She watched in confusion as he took his thread shears and snipped a small piece of skin from his forearm. He lifted the repaired skull piece and placed the tab of skin directly into her brain, attaching it with tiny, precise stitches. He fit the last bit of skull in place and secured it with a little bead of Death Grip (the La La Land version of Superglue.)
“Why did you do that?”
Jimi returned his sewing implements to the little metal case, closed it with a snap, and put it in his “pocket.”
“I did it on purpose.”
She cast him a perplexed look as he left, shutting the door quietly behind him.
|Jimi closed the door behind him and walked straight into Kurt's behind. The grunge rocker had accidentally dropped another body part and had bent over to retrieve it. The King of Woodstock only helped dislodge another piece of Kurt.|
"Oh crap, man," he lamented to Jimi. "I'm half the man I used to be." He looked like he was about to cry. But the undead's tear ducts no longer functioned.
"Go on home, dude. You smell...and not like Teen Spirit." Jimi stepped around the former suicide and started negotiating the crosstown traffic to his palatial home in the hills. As he shuffled home, he acknowledged nods from the other zombies in La La Land. A few of them shook his hand which, luckily, didn't fall off. He gave them advanced notice of their upcoming concert.
Soon, the news spread like wildfire, which wasn't that strange in La La Land. In fact, their Four Seasons (not the singing group) were Fire, Mudslides, Earthquakes and Fall. Just thinking of that made Jimi realize he'd fallen for Patsy. Literally. He picked himself back up and continued walking home. The main reason he'd sewn a piece of his own skin into her brain was so he could be with her forever. Hell, without him in there, she'd fall to pieces, again and again.
Eventually, he caught up to Johnny, who also lived in the hills.
"Do you still have that ring of fire?" he asked the black-clad zombie. "I'm thinking of proposing to Patsy."
"You old hound dog! I've kept it in a safe place, just in case anyone ever asked," Johnny replied. His head drooped and his eyes popped - nearly out of his head. That would have been unfortunate, because he was in no position to ask Jimi for a re-sew job now. His appointment for that wasn't until tomorrow morning. "Jimi?" he asked, almost as an afterthought. "I'm kinda lost. You live near my place, can you get me home?"
"Johnny, Johnny, Johnny," Jimi crooned. "You live with Frankie, remember? Here," he said, pointing to a bright white line painted on the ground. "Just walk the line, and you'll be home in no time."
Bill was sitting with Johnny in the kitchen, drinking a beer and not saying much.
"One thing about that old baking soda," Johnny said.
After a long pause Bill said, "Yeah?"
"It does cut down on the odors."
Bill nodded. "That ain't the worse thing about being dead but it's right up there in the top five. I used to put a flower in my lapel almost every day. Now it don't seem worth the trouble."
Another long pause.
"I don't have no sense of smell now," Johnny said. "It's like everything has been smelling bad so long that now it don't have no smell at all."
Another long pause.
"How about another beer?" Bill said.
After they had slowly sipped the new beers down to the halfway mark, Johnny said, "What do you think about the concert?"
"You mean it's going to happen?"
"You know Patsy. If she gets her mind wrapped around something, she don't let it go. She's like a boa constrictor."
"Mmmm," Bill said. "If there's a concert then I'll have to go wake up the Comets. They aren't going to like that. Bill, they said. Please let us rest in Eternal Sleep. But I didn't promise them anything. Sure, I said. But if a great gig comes along we're going to play it."
Johnny raised his eyebrows. "You think this concert will be a great gig?"
"I trust Patsy to do the right thing."
"Maybe we oughta help her..."
"Naw, somebody's got to finish off this refrigerator full of beers."
|Patsy watched as Jimi left, and saw him bump into Kurt, who was bent at the waist. She chuckled to herself, wondering if those two dorks would ever get along. She had a feeling some real camaraderie was developing between the UMS members, even though they were a mismatched group. She was especially proud of Michael, who seemed to be developing a brain in spite of his constant pedantic posturing. |
Patsy turned to the hallway mirror and gasped. The stitching was nearly invisible, and she looked normal… Somewhat. The grayish-green cast of her skin spoiled Jimi’s impeccable needlework. She flexed her working fingers and smiled. Unfortunately, other parts of her were feeling a little loose and she wondered how long she would look as good as she did. Hopefully, it would last until after the benefit concert. She stubbed her toe on the Elvis mannequin on the way to her bedroom. The toe skittered across the floor like a clandestine cat toy. With a heavy sigh, she picked it up, turned down her chenille bedspread, and climbed between the sheets.
The steady drone of the box fan in her open window lulled her to sleep…
Patsy wandered through the misty room. The furniture was familiar, yet the edges appeared. softened and blurred. The mist parted to reveal a tall slender man, naked, staring at himself in a ornately carved floor mirror.
She stood transfixed, as he touched the beveled surface, then his face. His long delicate fingers traced over his high cheekbones, squared shoulders and lean, ropy muscles.
The man in the mirror turned around and saw her watching. The edges of his obsidian eyes crinkled as he smiled.
Her nervous hands fluttered to her throat.
“Patsy,” he whispered
The square fan in the window blew away the remaining mist, and the thin panel curtains rippled with the force of the breeze. Everything was in sharp focus.
“I found a way, Patsy… I found a way…” his voice trailed off as he reached out his arm to touch her.
His mahogany skin glistened with sweat, and as his hand made contact with her shoulder, her world went dark.
She woke up panting as the box fan in the window scattered the remnants of her dream. “Jimi…” she breathed.
The phone rang, making her jump. She rose to answer it, leaving her right ear on the pillow.
“Hey Pats, it’s Jimi… I just had the strangest dream!”
Patsy picked up her ear from the pillow and put it in the ‘spare parts’ coffee can beside her bed. It landed with a clunk, joining her toe.
“Yeah, what about?” she asked, trying to sound as normal as possible.
“I had a dream I was on stage, at our benefit concert, opening with the Star Spangled Banner. We were completely restored… all of us. You were beautiful, and Michael was… well, brown again. I hate to admit it, but Kurt was looking good too! Near the end of the concert, we started falling apart, but for those few brief hours, we were whole.”
Patsy, for once, was speechless.
|"Shumown, Jimi," Michael said, as he stepped back to allow the former guitarist into his Neverland mansion. "I'm coming apart. I looked at the man in the mirror and thought to myself, no P.Y.T. will like me looking like this."|
Jimi nodded in agreement and brought out his magic thread.
Using spit and polish, he sewed MJ a new nose. He used more polish than spit, and almost a whole spool of brown thread. Holding the mirror up for his brother-man, he said, "You're a thriller again, Michael. Tito would be proud."
The singer formerly known as the gloved-one smiled a toothy grin at his newfound friend. "It looks a little funky, dude. I mean, my ivory skin, with the ebony nose? At least Paul could sing about it." Just then, Jimi punched Michael on the shoulder.
"Punch BUG," he giggled, at his own Beatles / beetle joke. Unfortunately, that knocked MJ's ear off across the room. Jimi bent down, picked it up and walked it back to his current customer. "You're bad!" he said, as he worked the magical thread in and out of his friend's head.
"This concert Patsy's suggesting is going to be cool," Michael gushed. As the two black men bent to wipe up MJ's gushings, his phone began to ring. The King of Pop pulled a flip phone from inside his shirt just as the ringtone of Billie Jean started up. "Yeah, Patsy. We're here. You say you got the arena booked? Great. See you at 3 for rehearsals? Okay. I'll tell Jimi."
Bill looked out at the empty arena. A shiver ran through his old dead body. When he was alive he had never played to a house this big. It was always small clubs and movie theaters.
From behind him came the sounds the Comets setting up their instruments. They were all grumbling about lost sleep and broken promises, but Bill knew they would come around eventually and enjoy themselves.
Patsy touched his arm. "You're the first one here for the rehearsal, Bill. You always were good about being on time."
"Yes. One o'clock, two o'clock, three-"
"Bill," Patsy said, gently clamping her hand over his mouth, "please don't go through the clock routine again, OK?"
"Sure, Patsy. I'm just saying I've got my own internal clock in my head that makes me punctual. That's assuming an event is scheduled exactly on the hour. I get totally confused by anything in between."
Patsy pointed at the back of the arena. "Here comes Michael and Jimi." Patsy got a far away look in her eyes. "I had a dream about Jimi last night. Did you know mahogany wood is one of the hardest there is?"
"I'm not a carpenter," Bill said.
|Patsy shook her head in bewilderment at Bill, wondering if he meant a carpenter or a Carpenter. She knew Karen was floating around in La La Land somewhere... Just then, the lyrics to the song We've Only Just Begun popped into her head and she tossed a venomous look at Bill for even saying the word. She knew that song would not leave her for days. "Jesus, Karen," she spat in a whisper. "You were such a sappy bitch!"|
She looked around at the gathered musicians, ignoring the syrupy sweet lyrics now making the rounds in her decrepit brain, and her chest swelled with pride. Well, she thought it was pride until the internal gas pocket in her chest popped, releasing a fetid stench. "Shit," she said under her breath, waving away the fumes, but stopping briefly to admire Jimi's handiwork. "I thought I was done with the gaseous crap." She shook the irritation from her mind and smiled, smoothing her blouse. The concert is really happening! She turned as she felt a tap on her shoulder and found herself face to face with a bug-eyed, cracked-skinned stage hand. He smiled ghoulishly, half of the skin around his mouth missing, baring his brown and rotted teeth.
"Oh, Mth. Kline," he said with a lisp, half-giggling and wringing his skeletal hands in front of his chest. His hunched figure bobbed with excitement. "You will be happy to know that the line outthide the arena ist already forming. I think thith will be the biggetht event La La Land hath ever theen!"
She stopped herself as her smile instinctively tried to widen and looked at the stage hand's face, reminding herself that excessive smiling equaled big-time cracking. "That's great news, eh..."
She tilted her head and raised what was left of her right eyebrow. "Really?"
"It wath my thtage name, onth upon a time."
"Uh-huh... OK, well, have you seen Kurt? He should have been here by now." She looked around, annoyed, wondering if he'd over slept, like his generation was rumored to do. She raised her voice, addressing all of the people on stage. "Has anyone seen Kurt Cobain?"
Some shrugged indifferently, some shook their heads.
Huffing, she placed her hands on her hips. "Where is Kurt Cobain?" she demanded. "Did anyone call him to remind him about rehearsals?"
"No need to get your panties in a wad, Pats," came a voice from behind. "I'm right here. Jesus..."
Patsy glared at him. "No," she replied sharply. "He's on the light side of town, and I heard he's gonna be protesting the concert ~ him and all his apostles..." She tapped her foot angrily. "You're late."
Kurt leaned to his left an pointed at her head. "What's that?"
Patsy was taken aback by the question, looking over her shoulder. "What's what?"
"That thing on the back of your head?"
Patsy's hand flew to the back of her head to the patch of Jimi's skin that was now holding in what was left of her brain. She would have blushed, but the lack of blood prevented it. She shifted on her feet uncomfortably and looked away. "Oh, well, you know," she stammered. "Jimi had to fix that for me last night..." She stole a glance at Kurt who stood, mouth agape, his own hand flying to his green-sewn bullet hole.
"How come you get invisible when I get puke green?!" he yelled.
Patsy shook her head and shrugged. "Well, Jimi..."
Kurt waved her off. "Whatever." He glared at Igor, still standing with them, and did a double take. He frowned. "Hey, I know you."
"Thir," Igor replied and bowed. "I don't think we've met."
"You're that guy," Kurt nodded.
Igor's bug-eyes shifted from Kurt to Patsy.
"Young Frankenstein!" Kurt bellowed and grinned. "You're Igor... Marty Feldman!"
Just then, the strangled chords of the Star Spangled Banner wailed through the arena as Jimi Hendrix started his sound check. Kurt's attention was immediately redirected and he glared at Jimi, fingering his bullet hole, seething.
"Fuckin' amateur!" he hissed and looked around for a guitar. Plucking one from a nearby stand, he tossed the strap over his shoulder and ran to the center of the stage, echoing Jimi's guitar on his own.
Patsy sighed and shook her head, watching at the two impresarios went at it, each trying to out-do the other. She and Igor watched the scene, Igor ~ or Marty Feldman ~ still bobbing up and down, next to the amplifier. Patsy carefully plugged her ears with her fingers. She looked at Marty. "Doesn't this hurt your ears?"
She bent close to hear his reply and he shook his head. "My eardrumth were shot long ago." She looked at him, befuddled. "How can you hear..."
Patsy nodded and plugged her ears once more, frowning as Kurt suddenly went wild, strumming insanely at his guitar. He darted around the stage, jumping around like an insane person, knocking over Jimi and finally careening into the amplifier next to her and Igor. Her mouth opened in slow motion as the amplifier tipped over and fell smack onto Igor, flattening him like an oozing pancake. "Stop!" she yelled and ran to Kurt, grabbing his arm and dislocating his shoulder.
Kurt rounded on her, his guitar falling silent, and he stared down at his arm, swinging limply. "What the hell...?"
"Nice goin', Cobain," Jimi whispered, shoving his jaw bone back into place.
"Can't say I'm too fond of your style, kid," said Bill as he and his Comets joined them. "But hey, whatever floats your boat."
Michael moonwalked to the group. "Shumooooh..." He stopped in mid spin. "...oh, damn! That's nasty!"
Patsy looked at Johnny and Jimi. "Help me!"
The trio gingerly lifted the amplifier to reveal a seething pool of ooze and shattered bones.
"Can you fix him, Jimi?" Patsy pleaded.
Jimi knelt down and surveyed the putrid mess, shaking his head. "Nah. He's done for. He's off to the Big Sleep, now."
Bill's Comets exchanged glances and winks.
"Oh, man," Kurt breathed. "I'm sorry, dude."
"What a bummer," Johnny said. He looked at Bill. "Stage hands are underrated." Bill nodded in agreement.
Patsy cast her eyes to the sky, shaking her head in disgust.
"Jesus is gonna have a field day with this!"
|After the little “incident” Patsy went to her dressing room to freshen up. On her way, she heard the haunting strain of the Star Spangled banner begin again ….|
Smiling to herself, her eyes glazed over, and she stood in the hallway, lost in her thoughts. She enjoyed having Jimi be a part of her brain, but worried about her uvula that had been inadvertently sewn into Kurt’s forehead. (see chapter 14 for plot details…) Was Kurt having Sweet Dreams of her?
Her daydream was rudely interrupted by a stage whispered “PSSSSTTT” from the alcove by an overflowing trash bin.
Turning to the noise, she screamed.
It was Elvis. Not a rotting, fat, zombie Elvis, but the raven haired dreamy eyed Elvis of the early sixties.
Patsy stared in amazement.
“Shh. Patsy, keep it down. I’m hiding from Janis Joplin. She kidnapped me and tried to steal my secret formula…”
“Secret formula for what?” she asked, just now catching her breath.
“Look at me, Pats, do I look like the rest of the citizens here in La La Land?”
“No, you look hot!”
“Well thank you… Thankyouverymuch!” he curled his lip to reveal a gleaming row of perfectly white teeth.
Elvis’s body shuddered, and a green, slimy patch of skin erupted on his face. Patsy yelped and jumped back.. “I’ve found a drug that will turn a living challenged person back into their glorious former selves. Janis was so desperate for it, she kidnapped me. But I escaped, and now she‘s running rampant out there looking for me. She thought she could bribe me with 2 million Necros… but no amount of money would make me give it to her.”
Elvis gagged and spit a maggot into his hand. A patch of his hair fell out. His body began bloating.
Patsy grimaced in horror at what was happening to the man before her eyes.
“The effects only last five hours…”
“Why are you telling me this, of all people?”
Green tears erupted from his eyes, and he looked up at her, his lower lip plopping to the ground.
Elvis coughed again. “About the drug… It will make the concert so much more successful, and we can raise enough money to get Janis off my back, I hope.”
Patsy looked at the bloated corpse before her. “It’s been about five hours, hasn’t it…”
Elvis lowered his head. “Yeah. So promise me one thing, pretty lady.”
“Anything for you, Elvis…”
“Don’t fall to pieces on stage!”
“I promise,“ she smiled warmly at him. “Now for some details… Spill it buddy!”
|"Forgive me darlin'," Elvis drawled, "but the complete medical name for this new drug is Hydroxypoxylamadamadilificatum. I'm thinking of marketing it under the shorter, more recognizable name of Bobby McGee." Patsy nodded, not quite sure where this old hound dog was going with this cockamamie story. "Janis loved Bobby. She used to say that Freedom was just another word for nothing to lose. So I'm not going to call it Freedom!"|
"Sounds like she's taken a little piece of your heart, El," Patsy said familiarly. "She still driving that Mercedes Benz?"
Elvis nodded vehemently and part of his chin fell off. Patsy caught the piece of rotting flesh before it hit the ground and said, "You should get with Jimi." She handed him his chin piece and called out to the man on stage, still dueling axes with Kurt and Johnny. Bill's backup group looked on at the three zombies in awe, their jaws dropping one by one. The Comets looked as if they were seeing stars for the first time.
Jimi, seeing Patsy waggle her finger at him, sauntered over, still wearing his guitar around his neck. He took Patsy's proffered finger and stuck it in a shirt pocket, saying, "I'll sew this on later, Ms. Cline." Then, turning to Elvis, he said, "Well, well, well. If it isn't ol' love-me-tender himself! If you're here, why are we rehearsing to put on a concert to rescue you? Or, did I miss something?"
"Always on the ball, aren't you Jimi," Kurt called from across the room. Jimi looked down and, sure enough, he was standing on a ball. Kurt was doubled over, clutching his midsection and glaring at the more Experienced of the two. Jimi stepped off the ball and watched it bungee-cord back into Kurt's pants with a loud TWANGGGG. No, he'd misheard the sound. The twang had come from Johnny's guitar. He'd broken a string.
"Elvis has an idea for the concert. Even though we don't need the money to pay his ransom, since he's obviously not being held captive, he thinks we should give the concert anyway and rake in the Necros," Patsy tried to explain. She was talking with her hands, which was an old habit of hers. As a member of the undead, her hands weren't quite as attached to her wrists as they'd been when she was alive. So some of her gestures were making her hands fly off to odd parts of the stage. For instance, once her left hand landed inside the base drum, on top of the pillow she always saw in there.
"I'll sell this new drug called Bobby McGee. It's water-based, so all we have to do is make sure everyone's got plenty of Dead Park sparkling water," Elvis went on. "It reanimates the body from the fleshy outsides to the gooey innards. Problem is, it only lasts for five hours. Good thing is, it's nearly free!"
"I don't know, man," Jimi waffled. "Nothing don't mean nothing if it ain't free. But I'm game."
Elvis gave each of the band members their own packet of six vials, to be taken once every five hours. After the free samples though, people would have to pay. In his mind, he's thinking that the concert will draw Janis here and she'll see how great a time everyone's having and...who knows? She might give Elvis up. After all, zombies don't grow on trees, but the best zombies seemed to be residing right here in La La Land.
Bill looked in the mirror at his new regenerated self. "Crap! I still look like crap. Oh well, at least it's fresh pink crap instead of stinky green crap."
The Comets stood around and admired him. "You look great, Bill!" "Nice tan, Bill!" Bill, you never looked bettwer!"
"Aw, shut up!" Bill said. "It's embarrassing to have Yes men. Don't you guys every criticise me?"
"No sir, not you!" "You're the greatest, Bill!" "Not to your face, Bill, you old cool daddy, you!"
Patsy had on her red silk Chinese dress, the tight-fitting one with the green and gold dragons on it. "Do you like it, Bill?"
"Whoooo-eee!" Bill whistled. "You look pretty as a turnip!"
Patsy frowned. "What's that supposed to mean, Bill?"
"Huh? Uh, turnips have that nice round shape... I have a thing about vegetables."
"Bill, we're going to start off the concert with your number. That way we keep the historical sequence right."
"Oh, Patsy, you should open."
Patsy smiled. "OK, I will. You'll do the second number. And don't forget to drink your magic water. We've got one hour until show time!"
A messenger boy dressed in a maroon uniform rushed in. "Telegram for Patsy Cline!"
"Give me that," Patsy said. She ripped open the retro envelope and unfolded a sheet of crackling yellow paper. "Zheesh! How long did it take them to deliver this?"
Bill watched her face, hoping her expression would give some clue to the contents of the telegram.
|Patsy stared at the telegram then slowly crumpled it up and tossed it into the|
"What did it say?" Bill asked.
Patsy looked devastated. "You don't want to know," she whispered.
Oh, but I do! Bill thought and waited for Patsy to leave the room so he could snatch the telegram out of the trash.
It was written in a masculine script:
Ginny, I know you aren’t part of this world anymore, so I hope this letter gets to you wherever you are.
We miss you, sweetheart, and will always have you in our hearts.
I had them put this on your grave marker:
“Death Cannot Kill What Never Dies: Love.”
It is so true. I will always love you.
Hope to be with you again some day,
Bill wiped a very clear, human tear from his eye. “Shumown…” he sniffled.
Patsy ran to her dressing room and slammed the door behind her. She turned to her full length dressing mirror. She was “Pretty as a turnip” as Bill had so succinctly put it. Even the scars from her two near fatal accidents were gone. The wigs she used to wear were replaced by her natural curly auburn tresses and her lips were a deep cherry red. In spite of the shocking telegram, she had to smile through her tears.
“I could get used to this,” she cooed, as she smoothed the silken dress around her hourglass figure.
“Get used to what?”
“HOLY HELL!” she screeched, and spun around to her dressing room couch, which was occupied, of course, by Jimi Hendrix. “You HAVE to stop sneaking up on me like that!”
“Pats, I have yet to take my Bobby McGee, I wanted to get the go ahead from you before I do.” He looked her up and down. “Dayum, woman, you look…”
Patsy sighed in exasperation. “Just shut up and take your medicine.”
Jimi tilted his head back and downed the first of five vials. He doubled over and cried out as his body healed from the inside out, finally replacing his scraggly, death frazzled hair with a springy brown afro. He looked up and smiled at her with perfectly white teeth.
“You don’t look so bad yourself, Jimi.” she smiled at him. “But if you don’t get the hell out of my dressing room and let me get ready, I’m going to miss curtain call, and you’re going to miss your opening number. Now SCOOT!”
Jimi slowly rose off the couch, stretched, and flexed his long, thin fingers. He smirked as he passed by Patsy, smacking her rounded buttocks as he left the dressing room.
“Well, I never!” she tried to be angry, but the grin on her face gave her away.
She applied her heavy stage makeup in silence, stopping now and again to wipe the tears from her flawless face. The concert began, and she could hear Jimi’s hypnotizing Star Spangled Banner. When he finished, the thunder of applause took her breath, which she realized didn’t smell like rotten eggs, away.
Bill’s voice boomed over the loudspeaker:
Now, ladies and gentleman, the woman of the hour, the reason this concert exists, the ONE, the ONLY…. Patsy Cline!
She thought the applause couldn’t get any louder, but soon the entire stage floor was vibrating with it. Patsy stepped into the single spotlight, closed her eyes, and began.
Sweet dreams of you,The undead audience rose to their feet immediately, and many body parts were flung asunder during the standing ovation.
Every night I go through
Why can’t I forget you and start my life anew
Instead of having sweet dreams about you
You don’t love me, it’s plain
I should know I’ll never wear your ring
I should hate you the whole night through
Instead of having sweet dreams about you
Sweet dreams of you
Things I know can’t come true
Why can’t I forget the past, start loving someone new
Instead of having sweet dreams about you
|It was Bill's turn next. He and the Comets were already backing up Patsy as she sang her sweet, dreamy song that had the tear-ducts emptying (if anyone still had tear-ducts, that is). Patsy stepped to a side microphone so she could sing backup to Bill. The pounced into their first number - a rockin' little number called R.O.C.K. - Rock! |
"Taking R from an eight to the bar eighty-eight, O from the told of the sax syncopated, C from the key of the six-string guitar, K from the kick of the rim-shot baby, That's how they made it, that's how they played it, R-O-C-K, Rock..." It ended with "Crazy man, crazy, crazy blues. R...O...C...K...ROCK!" Even Kurt and Michael joined in to sing backup to "See You Later, Alligator" and "Rock Around The Clock". The crowd was tapping their toes, the ones that were still attached.
Johnny stepped up at the end of the third tune, pulled his guitar around from behind his back and in his deep, distinctive bass-baritone voice, announced, "I'm Johnny Cash!" The crowd went nuts. Some of them actually threw nuts.
"....I fell in to a burning ring of fire. I went down down down. And the flames went higher. And it burns burns burns. That ring of fire. That ring of fire...." Some of the crowd had had friends who'd gone down below and were nodding now, thinking of them down in Hell. Quite a few of the folk in the front rows were holding lighters over their heads. The devices had long-since lost their flames, but they still held them high, swaying to the beat. He threw in a couple of licks from a medley of tunes that included A Boy Named Sue, Hey Porter and I Walk The Line.
"I'd like to end my little set here with something that relates to us all, here in La La Land. It's a silly little number called One Piece At A Time. I know y'all have had the problem of little pieces of you falling off, so here goes..."
Even Kurt and Michael were having fun. Since all of the headliners had taken their first of the Bobby McGee vials, they were all in top form.
Jimi stepped back up to center mic next.
"I've got to give props to my fellow musicians here," he said with a toothy grin, from beneath his signature afro. He handed a diamond-studded glove to Michael and a pan-pipe to Kurt. Then he launched into Purple Haze. Kurt tried to light his pipe, but found he couldn't. He kept muttering something about smoking some purple haze. Michael grabbed his crotch and moonwalked for the frenzied crowd. The show was a hit. After a twelve-minute version of All Along The Watchtower, Jimi announced, "Here's Michael Jackson; One of my former brothers: He's bad."
Thunderous applause for Michael. And a surprise for him as the entire audience had learned the dance moves to Thriller and performed it for him.
"I'm honored," Michael gushed and bowed to the crowd.
"Great Balls of Fire!" someone yelled from the audience. Heads turned.
Up on stage Patsy pointed at the source of the outburst. "Why, that's Jerry Lee Lewis! He isn't dead yet!"
The undead began to grumble. What was a lifey doing in the audience?
Patsy grabbed the microphone. "How did you get in here, Jerry Lee Lewis?"
"I've got one foot in the grave, sugar! And I'm going to Hell. Great balls of fire!"
"Security!" Patsy said.
After a brief scuffle Jerry Lee Lewis was removed. "Drinkin' wine spo-dee-o-dee!" they heard him sing as he was dragged out the exit doors.
|Kurt stepped up on stage, swept his greasy blonde hair from his eyes, and stared out into the undead audience. Even though he was whole again, a part of him missed being a life challenged person. This caused his normally apparent depression to deepen, and his thoughts turned to Patsy. Ever since her uvula had been inadvertently sewn into his brain, he hadn’t been able to get her off his mind. For two weeks now he had been thinking of her singing, and the possibility of doing a duet with her, to close the concert. But which one? Which song would fit her general Cry-in-Your-Beer style of music? Hmmm. Heart Shaped Box. That would be the duet he would perform with her, but he would have to ask her first. Later. Once he went back stage. For now it was smelling an awful lot like Teen Spirit. He launched into his signature hard driving song, and the crowd went wild. |
Back stage, behind the curtain, Patsy watched him with curiosity. Now that he was complete, he wasn’t a bad looking boy, and he had a marvelous, gravelly voice that caused parts of her to tingle that before had tingled because of insect activity. As soon as the thought entered her mind, it disappeared when she felt Bill’s Hand on her shoulder. Patsy spun around.
Bill looked worried. “Pats, there are a few of the big guys disciples in the audience, and I can’t tell which ones are which. So many whole, so many undead…”
“Calm down, Bill, it will be okay. I’m sure it’s nothing.”
But she wasn’t sure. She was plenty worried, as a frizzy haired guy in a tunic gestured to another frizzy haired guy in a tunic and ran toward the stage doors. Something was afoot, but she had no idea what it might be.
Kurt sang two or three more songs, and the concert was winding to a close. Patsy would sing two more, followed by a Jam featuring all six of the Undead Musicians.
In all the excitement, Patsy had forgotten to take her next dose of Bobby McGee.
Suddenly, she heard Kurt’s monotonous voice over the loudspeaker. “Scuse me for a minute, folks, I need to do something.” He rushed backstage and cornered Patsy. “Do a duet with me, please. You know Heart Shaped Box, don’t you?”
Patsy was honored he had asked her, and hardly noticed Jimi’s icy stare as she gushed, “That is my FAVORITE song of yours! I’d be delighted!”
And so it was that the Grunge Messiah and the Queen of Cry-In-Your-Beer performed their first, and sadly, their last, duet together.
Kurt: She eyes me like a Pisces when I am weakAs they finished the last line, the audience exploded with applause. Kurt bent down and kissed her cheek, and whispered in her ear. “Babe, I need to leave the UMS, don’t get mad, it’s just that I’ve decided to follow the big guy. He’s turned my water into sweet wine, and I must follow him.”
I’ve been locked inside your heart-shaped box for a week
Patsy: I was drawn into your magnet tar pit trap
I wish I could eat your cancer when you turn black
I’ve got a new complaint
Forever in debt to your priceless advice
I’ve got a new complaint
Forever in debt to your priceless advice
I’ve got a new complaint
Forever in debt to your priceless advice
Kurt: Meat-eating orchids forgive no one just yet
Cut myself on angel’s hair and baby’s breath
Patsy: Broken hymen of your Highness, I’m left back
Throw down your umbilical noose so I can climb right back
I’ve got a new complaint
Forever in debt to your priceless advice
I’ve got a new complaint
Forever in debt to your priceless advice
I’ve got a new complaint
Forever in debt to your priceless advice
“But I thought you were an athiest?”
“Things change, Pats, things change.”
Patsy’s eyes welled with tears as two frizzy haired guys in tunics entered stage left and gently ushered the greasy haired man from the platform.
|Patsy checked the wall clock. The concert had been going for nearly five hours. No wonder she was falling apart. She downed another vial of Bobby McGee and gestured to her fellow musicians that they should too. On stage, the Comets were playing an instrumental, so that the five remaining undead musicians could put their heads together - so to speak - and decide on their final number. |
"This IS La La Land," Johnny urged. "Something to rouse the crowd, I think. How about a Stevie Wonder tune?" The man in black had one in mind, it seemed.
Bill suggested, "Randy Newman wrote one that I'm sure will make the crowd singalong." He too, had an idea.
MJ said, "I have an idea rattling around in my skull." But what was really in there were a few marbles he'd lost earlier in his days among the living.
"We should all start off with something patriotic," Jimi suggested. He considered himself the most American of the group, because he had always started a set with the country's national anthem. He lifted a finger to the group and grabbed some paper, quickly scribbling down some notes. The other four musicians stood around harmonizing, humming and the two guitar players strummed a bit to keep the group going.
"Here," Jimi said, handing out a finely-drawn set of sheet music to each of the remaining UMS members. Patsy gasped in astonishment. She couldn't believe she was looking at actual sheet music written in Jimi's scrawl. Johnny's jaw dropped. Bill picked it up and handed it back to the tall man. MJ said, "Woo!" All five nodded as they read their little parts.
"This might actually work," Patsy gushed. "Sorry about that again," she said, bending over to clean up the gush. Jimi eyed Patsy's backside lasciviously. Or maybe it was just that the latest vial of Bobby McGee hadn't taken effect yet, that was making his eyes do that.
Outside, the crowd was becoming raucous. There were only so many numbers the Comets could do, before they'd need somebody singing. With no rhyme or reason as to the order, the five linked hands and stepped back on stage, to a horrendous roar. The crowd turned in horror to see one of La La Land's most famous mascots - the MGM lion - roaring from atop a pedestal at the back of the auditorium. It had seen better days. If anyone would've dared, they'd gladly give up a vial of Bobby McGee so the lion could be a little happier. But he might have just gone on a tear, so instead, the crowd pressed closer to the stage, easing away from the zombified pussy cat.
Five microphones were lined up side by side. Bill eased up to his combo and said, "Just start out in the key of D and follow me for the changes, fellas." They nodded and waited for their leader to snap his fingers for a beat. The drummer took up the suggestion and ratta-tat-tatted on his snare. The bass started a little DUM, DA DA DA, DUM, DA DA DA, DUM and the rhythm guitar struck a D chord.
"Hate New York City...it's cold and it's damp," began Johnny. The crowd knew what it was and immediately cheered louder, drowning out the roaring lion.
"And all the people dressed like...monkeys," Jimi crooned.
"Let's leave Chicago to the eskimos," Patsy added.
"That town's a little bit too rugged, for you and me, girl," MJ's falsetto pitched in.
All five joined together for the next bit:
"Rolling down...Imperial Highway...Big nasty redhead at my side. Santa Ana winds blowin' hot from the north...and we was born to ride!"
Roll down the window, put down the top, crank up the Beach Boys baby, don't let the music stop. We goin' ridin' til we just can't ride it no more. From the South Bay, to the Valley, From the West Side, to the East Side, everybody's happy...
At the end of that segment, the entire crowd was singing, "WE LOVE IT!" as the group on-stage sang, "I love L.A."
Bill flipped a hand behind his back, showing the letter C to his combo, which knew exactly what to do. They dropped down from D and were extremely glad to hear their lead singer begin.
"Many guys have come to you," Bill sang, turning to Patsy. "With a line that wasn't true."
Jimi joined in next, "and you passed them by ("passed them by", echoed MJ and Johnny). Now you're in the center ring (Jimi pulled Johnny's old ring of fire out of his shirt pocket and held it up for Patsy and the crowd to see), and THEIR lines don't mean a thing. Why don't you let me try ("let me try", all echoed, save for Patsy and Jimi). Now I don't have a diamond ring. Don't even have a song to sing. All I know is....."
The group all turned their attention to the crowd below them and sang in perfect harmony:
La la la la la la la la laaaa, means, I LOVE YOUUUUUUUU.
"If ever I saw a girl, that I needed in this world," MJ sang, recalling the time his Jackson Five had crooned this tune to many a screaming girl in the audience. "You are the one for me. ("One for me" echoed Jimi.) Let me hold you in my arms girl and thrill (the crowd screamed at that word) you with my charms. I'm sure you will see ("you will see" Patsy and Johnny added)."
Bill stepped in smoothly next to MJ's voice and continued with, "The things I'm sayin' are true. And the way I explain them to you, Listen To Meeeeee."
And again, the group sang, La la la la la la la la laaaaa means, I LOVE YOUUUUUUUU. Then one of the group dropped to his knees before Patsy. He held that ring of fire up to her and gestured silently to Patsy. Tears flowed as she nodded Yes. Behind his back, Bill changed his combo's chord to b-flat and the rhythm guitarist strummed that note so everyone could hear the change. Then Jimi stood up, took Patsy's hand in his and turned to the crowd for the final set of lyrics he'd scribbled together for the UMS.
"O beautiful, for spacious skies, for amber waves of graaaaaaaain." A chill passed through the crowd. They could all feel something special had just happened. And one by one, voices joined in the chorus all around the auditorium. "For purple mountain majesties, above the fruited plain. America. America. God shed his grace on thee. And crown thy good, with brotherhood, from sea to shining sea!"
O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam
Undimmed by human tears!
God shed his grace on thee
Till nobler men keep once again
Thy whiter jubilee!
...The crowd chanted and clapped their hands for a good ten minutes. But the UMS had given their final performance of the evening. Patsy fingered her ring and gazed, glazed-eyed at Jimi. Johnny's eyes twinkled and MJ couldn't stop smiling. Bill and his combo were in another dressing room, counting out the Necros. Everyone would be paid, and paid well, it seemed.
"That was the most beautiful set I've ever played, man," said the drummer. "Not that we didn't have grand, glorious times ourselves, Bill," he added a little sheepishly. But all Bill could do was nod his head in agreement. Granted, his combo had been the best he'd ever played with, but the UMS turned out to be the best gig he'd ever been involved with; he knew it was the pinnacle of his storied career. Too bad they'd played to a bunch of zombies.
|[Wow! Great ending, guys! Anything written after that beautiful ending must either be an anticlimax, a wrap-up of loose details, or the beginning of Part Two. (Or it could just be a few words of praise which I am stretching out to 300 characters so it will meet the size requirements. )]|