The Dissonant Ballad of Eric Noble: part two

Day two of this tour was starting the same way night one finished. Eric noticed he was drifting into space when Shannon finally opened his eyes completely, and groaned “You're gonna be dumb all day now smoking that crap.” Eric wondered how true that was, but he also wasn't even sure if he liked Shannon. Ever since he went “straight edge” he's been getting annoying; always making comments about everyone's drinking, and smoking. Everyone hoped this was just another one of his phases.

It was quiet apart from chewing sounds as sunlight filled the room that Saturday morning. Christine seemed to just laugh about the damage to her current home. There were piles of tape-covered plastic in corners beside buckets, and bags of trash. Everything was covered in glitter, and confetti; even the cat's ass was glowing in the dark. Empty beer boxes housing other empty beer boxes were strewn about, as were plenty of empty cans. Of course, someone left a full beer sitting out. Kevin noticed the straggling can as he finished his first, quickly checking it for cigarette butts before chugging it down.

“We've only got 30 minutes before we have to leave, let's clean up.” said Christine, ever diligent. Everyone started rounding up bags, boxes, bottles, and cans to throw away. Shannon played the Benny Hill theme song on his phone. Eric politely chuckled, but felt as if everyone else was growing tired of the dumb jokes, and poor effort too. Shannon didn't even play well last night, flubbing notes during several unexpected, improvised guitar solos. However, not much could have dampened last night's mood, it was a fleshy mound erupting with jubilant chaos.

Eric felt like he was living in a movie. If the first night of a tour had naked bodies running through the house, what would Tennessee have in store for them tonight? Everyone brushed off the glitter cleanup until their return as Christine checked the clock. With a quick look through all the gear in “Van the Impaler”, they were off to another house, another adventure. A green wave passed along the mountain roads as Eric caught himself daydreaming again; window fogged with breath, and the heat of his forehead.

Time rushed along as music played, and mountain air blew through the spacious van. Shannon's parents were lawyers who seemed to not mind lavishing their son with expensive gifts. He asked for a touring vehicle, and got a massive, old church van. This tour was funded almost entirely through disconnected parenting, but not a negative utterance was heard as everyone enjoyed their luxurious ride. A few heads turned by a corner store as the sound of crashing snares, and screams blared from the van's stereo; Eric smiled contently.

After circling the block a few times, a parking space was found, as was a suitable bush for Kevin, and Vince. Everyone grabbed equipment, even Shannon, as they walked through the yard, and to the door. Tonight's host was Cliff, a pharmacist with a love for Hardcore Punk, and home-brewing. His basement would provide the venue for tonight's show, his beer would provide most of the band's payment. This show would prove to be a bit more reserved, yet still quite drunken. A couple people ran into support beams while moshing, one taking a hard shot. After that, the action from the crowd seemed uninspired.

Regardless, any show with free beer, and gas money will be ruled a success. Christine decided to remain sober all night to get a head start on driving all the way to Alabama. The modest, remaining crowd at Cliff's house was still going strong when “Van-paler” pulled away at 2 am; new name, new smells, and all. Eric's head swirled with delight, and all the strong, dark brew he enjoyed. The last thing he remembered was he, and Julius singing “Baby, I'm an Anarchist” as he woke up staring at a rest stop bathroom. Dazed, he began the task of sitting up.

His head stinging, with throat in a drought, he noticed Julius, and Kevin were gone. Staggering towards the brick building ahead, he noticed someone walk inside. As he got closer, he wasn't sure if he was imagining voices or not, but upon entry he heard “hurry” quite plainly. Kevin, Julius, and the man who just walked in, made a bad attempt at playing off their interaction. Trying to walk past each other, but mostly just standing there moving side-to-side for a brief, yet uncomfortably long period of time. Eric went straight for the first stall without offering a glance. He briefly heard their movements out the door, but soon passed out leaning against the toilet.

The Sun was coming up as Eric felt someone kicking at his foot. “You can't sleep here, buddy! You've gotta go!” said a man with a seemingly cop-like voice. Eric bolted upright, and rushed out the stall, barely noticing the lack of blue on the man's uniform. Crashing through the men's room door, he almost ran into a kid, and his mom. The man shouted from inside the bathroom as Eric sprinted toward the van trying to remember if he cleaned up after himself in there. Shouting “drive” when he dove in the side door, an unpleasant memory of projectile vomit, and the back view of the toilet returned. The van spun out as the security guard reached out to slap the back glass. They had two more hours to travel.

“What was that about?” said Vince, as he sped back onto the interstate. “I don't wanna know.” said Christine, reclined in the passenger seat sending multiple text messages. At an airport in Birmingham, a flight was canceled, ruining a secret, but highly anticipated party. She'll be glued to her phone until this problem is resolved. She pondered asking Shannon to ask his parents for a generator, then felt a little guilty about the idea. No one really wanted him to take his headphones off, and talk anyway. She felt certain they were prepared for anything, other than lacking a place to play. Kevin, and Julius were sprawled across the back row, dead to the world as the engine hummed along to the vibration in Eric's head.

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