Screams of hysteria could be heard all throughout the venue as the last notes of the set drowned into the sea of hundreds of screaming girls. William had stumbled off the stage a third of the way through the last song of the night, too drunk and short of breath to finish out the gig. Fortunately, his absence improved the bands’ sound tenfold. It was becoming way too difficult to keep up with and understand the slurred gurgling of their heavily inebriated lead singer. Yet the girls still lost their shit each and every time William opened his mouth to rasp out his melancholic love songs.
That’s why they loved him so much. Will was a damaged goods drunkard that smoked like a chimney, but he wrote and sung about love like he was a modern day Shakespeare. His verbal imagery put most song writers to shame and made the most mainstream artist sound like the mindless prattle of a three-year-old.
Of course, his looks didn’t hurt his case; piercing green eyes, pouty sensual lips that curled the sexiest snarl on just the right notes, high cheek bones, long brown hair, and a sickly skinny form marred with many tattoos. He was the ultimate fangirl fantasy. .If self-inflicted health habits weren’t included in the package.
Will slammed open the door of the green room so hard the door knob left a small dent in the wall. He walked across the room and fell into a black leather couch in the corner. Every night, for about ten minutes, Will had this time to himself while his band mates finished the outro. Each night he would blindly find his way to the green room at every venue and drink until someone picked him up and schlepped him back to the tour bus or the hotel.
From the couch, he surveyed the brightly lit room with glassy blood-shot eyes. To the right of him was a long table with bottles upon bottles of beer, red wine, and hard liquor. There were also small bottles of mixers and a few rows of empty glasses, but refills only got in the way of Will’s determination to continuously drink himself into a delusional stupor.
Now all he had to do was get to the table, or crawl as he did on occasion. It was easier said than done. The room was not only spinning but vibrating as well. The vibration was most likely attributed to the weed/hash combo he had smoked on the bus two hours before hand. Today would have to be a crawl day.
Will gingerly reached his left hand outward towards the ground, trying to find the carpet with his eyes closed. He ended up with his head between his knees for about three minutes while he took a mid-crawl snooze. His body twitched in discomfort and jerked him awake. Remembering the mission, he slowly somersaulted his gangly scarecrow body off the couch and maneuvered himself into downward dog position.
“It’s a good thing nobody’s here to see this,” He gurgled.
Carefully, he crawled with the speed of a snail towards the table that held anything and everything amazing he could possibly think of. The many bottles and glasses shimmered and glowed enticingly under the glorious fluorescent lighting. William had stopped to stare off to the side of the room where the door was, hoping and praying he still had enough time to get to the table and back to the couch before his bandmates finished out the set and walked back to the green room.
The thought of anyone catching him in such a pathetic position lit a fire under his ass. He made it to the table, sat back on his hunches, picked out a dark whiskey, and began to embark one his voyage back to couch island. It’s a sad day when a six-foot-two man has to climb onto a couch, but the motor skills it required to stand and sit had escaped him for the time being.
Finally seated, mostly slouched, he broke the plastic seal on the brand new bottle of whiskey with nibble fingers. No matter how lost in the sauce he was, his body always seemed to go into auto pilot when opening an alcoholic beverage. Though he was panting from very minor exertion, he still felt the need to light up a cigarette so that he may fully enjoy his inebriated state. Once lit, he let it dangle precariously from his lips for a moment before removing it from his mouth, tilting his head back, and chugging about a fourth of the fiery liquid.
“And life is good once again”
Suddenly, a buzzing, tingling sensation ran through his body. It pulsated . . . And also rang?
“Oh, tith’s the phhhone.” He fumbled with the bottle to reach into his front pocket and pull out his cell, adding a dash of whiskey and a sprinkling of ash to his shirt. He held the vibrating phone close to his face in order to read the caller I.D.
“Elise. Clearly, this isn’t the best time to talk!” He growled through a moment of absolute clarity. He then whipped the phone at the wall across from him so hard; half of it lodged itself into the wall. The other half burst into a dozen tiny shards of black metal and glass.
“I don’t want to talk to you,” He murmured softly.
For a moment, there was nothing but silence. William sat completely still staring slack-jawed at the little remains of his cell phone. The amber brown liquid in his bottle was stagnant, and even the fluorescents had seemed to cease their incessant hum. For the first time in months Will felt calm almost centered. A heavy burden seemed to have been lifted for that moment, and he was calm for the first time in a very long while.
Just then, the green room door swung open and a parade of after party goers flooded into the room. Will remained on his couch unfazed by the sudden and unwanted change in vibe and took another long swing from the bottle. Some group of girls with V.I.P lanterns strung around their necks had B-lined it to the couch and plopped themselves very closely to him. One girl’s hand had miraculously found its way into his lap. He followed the view of her hand up to her arm, and then to her face.
She had lots of dark charcoal colored makeup heavily drawn around her eyes. Her lips were the color of dried blood and she seemed to have the entire rainbow spectrum splattered in her hair. She was yammering loudly over the crowd at him about some mindless dribble.
“Oh my God! You guy seriously rocked it tonight! Your lyrics are so powerful, nobody writes like you.” She went on and on impressively never taking a breath.
Will carefully picked up her hand at the wrist from his lap with his thumb and pointer finger, and placed it on her knee.
“I believe tthis belongs to you missh.”
She had finally shut her trap long enough to look disgustedly from her hand on her knee and back towards him.
“Yeah, so anyway, whatever.” She said in a huff, stood abruptly and wondered over to her next victim.
When Will turned his head back towards the spot on the couch that rainbow bright had vacated, his manager Melissa had taken her place. Apparently, even with the cover of all these people mucking about, she had still found some of the tiny pieces of his now deceased phone. She was holding them up to his face, staring back at him with an obnoxiously questioning look.
“I’m gonna need a new phhhone.”
She looked at him with comical disappointment.
“This time . . . Silveeer. Not black.”
Clutching her hands around the metal shards, she dropped her arm out of his line of blurry vision.
“How many of these do you plan on going through on this tour? Ball park figure?”
Will hated when she used her American terms with him.
“If you’d stop giving her my number . . .”
“Numbers,” She interrupted.
“My numburths,” He countered, spittle flying from his mouth every which way.
“Well if you would actually answer the phone the damn thing to see what exactly she wants,”
“I don’t care what that evil bitch wants, she can fucking jump off a cliffff for all I care!”
Luckily, the room was too loud and crowded for anyone to really hear their conversation. Most of it drifted into the crowd and was lost, but a couple of people around their area had heard what Will had said. They turned their backs on them with disturbed looks on their faces.
“Could you possibly keep your voice down?” She whispered furiously into his ear.
“I’m sorry; I don’t even want to be here. I want to go back to the bus.” He whispered back.
Out of the corner of his eye, he could see his bass player Torgny making his way over to him.
“Well you can’t go back just yet; people from the label are here. And besides, we’re not even leaving Bristol tonight; we’re staying at the Du Vin.”
“Well take me there then.”
“I can’t, the label!”
“I don’t care about the bloody label!”
Thankfully, Torgny interrupted their whisper tangent by shoeing away a girl seated to the right of Will and throwing his ass down on the semi-soft couch cushion.
“How ya doing’?” Torg asked in Wills direction.
Will held up his bottle and replied, “Fabulous,” Completely deadpanned.
“I can see that.” He said without hiding his disappointment.
Will noticed the sad decent of his friend’s face and it actually sobered him up a bit. He quickly tried to change the subject.
“How do you think the gig went tonight?”
“Good, really good, well after you stumbled your drunk ass off the stage that is.
A stab of pain shot through Will’s temples at his friend’s mention of his failure. His conversation diversion had led him directly to an oncoming crash.
“I’m sorry.” He apologized pathetically. “I’ll drink less during the set next time.”
Torg’s nostrils flared and the copper colored skin under his light brown beard flushed red.
“That’s what you said last night, and the week before that!”
Nervously, Melissa reached over and patted Torg on the knee, “Calm down dude.”
People around the threesome had started to shuffle away with extremely uncomfortable looks on their faces.
“We can talk about this later at the hotel,” She whispered harshly.
From across the room, Melissa had spotted two men in expensive suits talking to each other while surveying the room. One was completely bald and stout. He wore a black suit, a crisp white shirt, and a striped gray tie. The other was tall and slender with salt and pepper hair. His suit was a deep blue color, he wore a black shirt underneath with no tie. They were most definitely from the label, and she was pretty positive they had both heard Torg’s outburst.
Torgny was calm now, but Will was just getting his second wind.
“We can talk about this right fucking now!”
He bellowed this as his long legs shot him up into a half standing, half slowly falling position. Blood rushed every which way inside of his body, except for his head. He deftly planted his hand directly on top of his manager’s head to stabilize himself.
By now the whole room was looking uncomfortable and nervous. Some people were checking for the exit and some were just blatantly fleeing the scene. William was teetering from one foot to the other, which was practically breaking Melissa’s neck as she was still acting as the main support system. Now that Torg had seen the men from the label he wasn’t interested in continuing their screaming match. He stood and carefully removed Will’s hand from Melissa’s head. Gingerly, he picked out the strands of hair that had tangled between his fingers and slung Will’s arm around his shoulder to keep him steady. All Will could do was stare off to the side blankly.
“I’m going to bring him up to the room and then I’ll be back down.”
Melissa shook her head in compliance and pulled out a key card from her back pocket.
“Here, make sure there isn’t anything in the room that will cause more trouble.” She said as she placed the fob in his outreach hand.
“Bitch!” Will huffed under his breath.
Torg spun on his heel, quickly schlepping William through the parted party goers that had now gone completely silent. He left the room as speedily as possible while connected to another human being that was a hundred and forty pounds of dead weight.