Fault Line, Marina District
16th April 2009, evening
He was still trying to get used to the idea of performing in a place that had neon pink flamingos on the wall. The place actually conformed to the fucking health code. Jimmy aka Dredge Dreja was used to places that barely rated past 'barn' in the restaurant guide, let alone a trendy night club that had strobe lights and such.
However, a gig was a gig and from get-go, at least during the audition, Jimmy had enjoyed playing with the Benders. It was rare when he was in synch like that with other musicians and so he wasn't about to waste the opportunity while it was here. Besides, the alternative was to hang around Star's apartment, going bored out of his mind. Not a thing to look forward to when he had to do it sober most of the time.
Setting up on the stage, he could see the patrons starting to filter into the establishment. The evening crowd was coming in and they were mostly Gen Ys, who were used to rock music and grunge, which was the perfect kind of crowd for the Benders. A night club like this was probably as alien to them as the Visitors but these days, there weren't so many places to go clubbing so people had to make do.
On the stage, he checked out Stevie, admiring her form as she appeared. In Jimmy's mind, it wasn't so much a matter of if he would bang her. It was when.
"This, the usual crowd?" he asked her as he reached into his case to pull out his Fender.
Stevie put her bottle of beer down and shrugged out of her coat. Moving her attention from the new guy - who didn't really feel like the new guy when they jammed together - she looked at the punters filing in. Her eyes carefully scanned a few tables and the bar, and went back to that little dancing floor up near the stage.
"Not quite," she replied, giving him a small smile. That was one thing they hadn't really discussed with him because it hadn't come up and they hated talking about it. "How you doin', Jimmy?" She wondered if he was a little nervous. First live gig and all with a new band. He didn't look it though. No. He just looked mighty fine. Not that she was looking...
"So far so good," he said, shrugging, not at all perturbed by the new surroundings. Over the years he had been the new guy on so many different bands that it was past the point of affecting him any further. Right now, he was just grateful to be playing again. When he had come off his meth high and realised the world was overrun with lizards, Jimmy had honestly believed he'd never play another gig again. That he was standing here right now, felt pretty damn good. "Interesting crowd for a place like this." He gestured to some of the grungers in the audience. Queen Guy had to love this bunch.
The Benders' singer looked at the crowd and winced a little, understanding what Jimmy wasn't quite spelling out fully, feeling some sympathy for the club owner. "I think that's our fault," she said with a smirk, referring that the type of music they made had its own following and fans.
She waited a beat and moved closer, passing her guitar strap over her head. Tipping her head toward him, she played a few cords, pretending that she and Jimmy were just checking their instruments were in tune. "The 'usual' crowd has Visitors in it," she said quietly, not knowing if that would bother him. It sure bothered the rest of the band - her included.
"Visitors?" Jimmy said with some surprise and looked to the floor to see if any of them had showed. The Visitors were big, scary bogey men, it never occurred to him that they might have music. Then again, why wouldn't they? "Seriously?"
"Would I make this shit up?" Stevie asked with a smirk, raising an eyebrow. "And I don't think they like us much. Wouldn't be surprised if they cart us off, one of these days..." And she wasn't really joking.
"Nah." Jimmy shook his head. "They've been trying to make a show of being misunderstood dictators. Wouldn't do to arrest a band just because they don't like the sound besides, some may not be used to the kind of music we play."
As he thought that, a group of Visitors entered the place and sat down at the tables. Judging by the gold trim of their uniforms, these were officers, it seemed. The Visitors looked at the strange collection of humans almost as if they were trying to figure out what type these were. Probably trying to make the distinction from Guernsey and Jersey.
"I wonder what kind of music they listen to or what passes for it in their culture."
"I don't," Stevie returned, fighting to hide the shudder than ran the length of her spine at the sight of the reptilian-like aliens.
Even in their human costumes - or maybe because of it - they gave her the creeps. She still found it hard to quell that reaction though it wasn't as pronounced as it had been on the road from Mexico. In less than two weeks, she had somehow managed to get a grip, enough to perform in front of them, to remain in the same room as them, breathe the same air...
Jimmy noticed the shudder and walked over to her. "Are you okay?" he asked in a low voice.
"Yeah." She met his gaze briefly before looking back down. "I just..." With a sigh she looked up again, taking a risk in admitting this. What if he was a sympathiser? "I don't like them," she finished quietly.
"I hear you." He eyed the group who created an island around them as they walked to a table and took a seat. "Just think about the music," Jimmy replied, because in such instances, that's all that kept you sane. "Forget them."
Everything in his quiet reaction and in his body language told her he didn't like them either. It wasn't just the words, or a rehearsed, calculated reply. "That's what I do." She gave him a small smile for his thoughtfulness, for not laughing at her.
Giving her a wink, he went back to his corner of the stage and noted that the tables right in front were taken up and the floor was getting quite packed. It appeared the club set of San Francisco were starved for entertainment.
"When are we starting?" he asked Mick.
Mick glanced at his watch. "Any minute now. Just need the nod from Guy." He smirked because he had barely caught himself from saying 'queen bee'.
The man in question appeared a moment later in front of the stage, giving Noah a little wink. So pretty, Guy thought with a smirk, knowing that it would make the wholly straight guitar player totally uncomfortable, before turning to the gathering.
"Well, hello dahlings, so glad to see you here! You're too kind to be visiting our humble little establishment." And as he swept his gaze across the audience, he added with a grin, "In fact you're every kind. Tonight, we have our wonderful Benders back for a couple of sets. I know you less colourful more traditional sorts love that. So without further ado, the Benders!"
Fuck me, Jimmy thought to himself after hearing that introduction. While the Visitors weren't too certain about offering applause, the human patrons certainly rose to the occasion and a deafening roar of clapping hands became their signal to kick things off. Grinning, he looked at Stevie and winked at her.
Time for the music.