In which our heroes plan a surprise party, but not without the predictable screw ups…
"Hey look Izzy! Your dinner!"
Duff held up a tin of baby food to show the guitarist making Slash and Axl giggle.
"Duff quit fuckin' around! We've got things to do!"
Izzy snatched the tin off the bassist and put it back on the shelf.
"What else do we have to buy?" Slash whined childishly, "I'm hungry."
"What do we have?" Asked Axl.
Izzy checked the little shopping list he was holding and was about to rhyme off the things they had and the things they still needed before Axl piped up.
"Aww look at you and your little list!" The singer laughed and petted Izzy on the head.
"I don't want to forget anything!" Izzy replied defiantly.
"Let's see. Eggs, self raising flower, margarine, ready made icing, candles, balloons, streamers, poppers, party hats, banners, candy, potato chips, more candy..." Izzy paused, "What are we missing?"
"Caster sugar!" Duff cried and held up the fat pack of sugar high above his head, "Slash! Go long!"
The guitarist obediently ran as fast as he could to the opposite end of the aisle and held his hands up high and started jumping up and down.
"I'm open! Duff I'm open!" He yelled across to the blonde, old ladies carrying their shopping baskets eyeing him up disapprovingly.
Duff threw the pack of sugar all the way over towards Slash and just as it was about to reach the guitarist's fingers, Axl jumped up in front of him and caught it.
"Ha! Out of the way suckers!" The singer yelled.
He started running towards Duff, sugar tucked securely under his arm as he dodged old ladies, trolleys and small children. Duff stood there ready to tackle Axl but the singer was quicker and ran straight into Duff, winding him as they both landed on the ground. Axl threw the sugar down and started jumping about victoriously.
Duff, still lying on his back, clutched his stomach as he laughed heartily and Slash teetered over to laugh with him.
"Think we could try baseball with these?" The guitarist picked up a very long baguette and eyed it up.
"No! No baseball! No more dick-headed shenanigans you hear me?" Izzy snatched the bread away from Slash and put it back into its basket.
"Stop acting like children you guys!" He scolded and the laughter and sniggering immediately subsided.
"Who made you Mama?" Asked Axl, crossing his arms in front of his chest and huffing.
"Shut up boy! We need to pay for these and set up at home before Steven gets back."
The guitarist pulled Duff back onto his feet and proceeded to the check out, sulking Gunners following closely behind.
Once home, Izzy handed out jobs to his band mates.
"Slash and Duff, you two are in charge of decorating. Make this place look as bright, colourful and obnoxious as you possibly can. Everything that Steven likes. On your way men!"
The terrible twosome threw him salutes and marched into the living room to begin. A moment later Slash walked back into the kitchen, picked up the bag of decorations and then returned to the living room.
Izzy turned to Axl and noticed the singer's face was paler than usual.
"What's wrong with you?" He asked as he started unpacking the ingredients they had purchased earlier.
"We're going to bake? You and I are going to bake Steven a birthday cake? Us?" He pointed at Izzy and himself to emphasise.
"Problem?" Izzy asked.
"We don't know the first thing about baking! I can barely pour myself a glass of water, never mind make a fuckin' cake!" Cried Axl.
"That's very true." Agreed Izzy, "But how hard can it be?"
Five Minutes Later...
The two Gunners stared at eachother, covered from head to toe in flour, egg, sugar and margarine. Axl opened his mouth but Izzy quickly held his hand up.
"Say nothing." He warned and Axl shut his mouth again.
"Ow! Slash stop firing poppers at me! We have to save them for Steven's party!" Duff yelled as he rubbed his ass where Slash's popper had hit him.
"Okay I'll stop now! Chill man..." Slash held up his hands in surrender.
Duff went back to the banner he had just pinned up high on the wall. The bassist was writing on it with bright red lipstick, just a slight alteration so that it now read 'Happy Birthday You Fucker!' Just as he finished the scrawl...
"That is it! You're gonna die Slash!"
Duff leapt towards the guitarist, arms outstretched, ready to kill but Slash annoyingly stepped aside letting the bassist painfully crash into a wall.
"Is everything okay in there?" Came Izzy's voice from the kitchen.
"All's well in here man!" Slash called back, biting back his laughter.
"Okay, let's try this again." Said Izzy.
Axl was trying to wipe away all the sticky flour and egg off himself with a kitchen towel.
"Mmmpphh mmpppphhh!" Said the singer as he scrubbed at his face.
"Yeah you're right," Agreed Izzy, "Let's measure everything out first."
He consulted the creased, torn and slightly eggy piece of paper on which he had scrawled the recipe and instructions on how to make cake. He had to call his own mother back in Indiana earlier that morning to get it.
Axl and Izzy were taking this very seriously all of a sudden. They measured out the ingredients with military precision, following Mrs. Isbelle's instructions religiously. Once the measurements were done the preparation began. You'd think they were carrying out some sort of surgical operation.
"Margarine." Said Izzy, not looking up from the recipe.
"Margarine." Repeated Axl and he handed Izzy the margarine.
Axl tossed the sweet to Izzy who caught it in his mouth and started chewing happily.
"Hand me the whisk moron!" Demanded Izzy.
"What the fuck is a whisk?" Asked a very confused looking Axl.
"You suck at being domestic dude."
The guitarist pushed past the frowning singer and retrieved the whisk out of the utensils drawer and proceeded to whisk the margarine and sugar together, not before waving the instrument annoyingly in front of Axl.
"Whip together until light and creamy texture." Recited Izzy, "Axl can you break eggs?"
"I'm not an idiot Izzy."
Axl rolled his eyes and took an egg out of the carton. He examined it for a second before gently tapping it against the edge of a small bowl. After a couple of taps the shell still hadn't cracked so Axl tapped a little harder. Still unsuccessful he tapped even harder.
"Would you please hurry the fuck up?" Asked Izzy impatiently.
Axl slammed the egg onto the bowl and it exploded, bits of shell and egg yolk getting all over the singer's hand.
"Axl you're so useless! Here let me do it."
Izzy with great ease cracked two eggs and skilfully opened them up letting the egg pour into the creamy batter before continuing his whisking.
Axl, feeling a little disheartened with all the name-calling and down putting, decided to sit at the kitchen table and wallow in self-pity. Izzy left him to it.
Meanwhile in the living room, Slash and Duff were making full use of the helium cylinder that they were supposed to be using to fill the balloons up with. Instead, and predictably, they were sucking in the helium and putting on their best impersonations...
"Welcome to the jungle! We've got fun and games!" Squeaked Duff.
Slash was rolling on the floor laughing.
"My turn! My turn!" Cried the guitarist.
He sucked in a whole load of helium and started dancing around the living room, pretending to be on stage singing into a microphone.
"Oh won't you please take me hooooooooooooooooooommmmmmmmmeeee!!!" He screeched making Duff howl with laughter.
"And that's that!" Announced Izzy as he closed the oven door.
"So what do we do now?" Asked Axl.
"We wait?" Suggested Izzy.
The two Gunners shrugged and decided to sit at the kitchen table and wait for the cake to bake. It didn't even last a minute.
"Izzy I'm bored." Whined Axl.
"Ax you have to be patient." Izzy replied sensibly making Axl just whine some more.
"Being patient is boring."
"Well then why don't you entertain yourself?" Suggested Izzy, who was more than used to Axl's moaning.
"I don't know," Said Izzy, "What do you like to do to entertain yourself?"
Axl's brain ran through a list of all the singer's favourite hobbies.
"Drink, party and fuck."
The guitarist sighed. He just had to ask.
"Well I'm not giving you any of the alcohol. We all promised we wouldn't touch it until Steven got here. If you want to party you're just going to have to wait for that too. I guess I can only help you with the fucking."
Izzy smiled suggestively at the singer, which was quickly wiped away when a sticky kitchen towel came flying into his face.
"Oh man Izzy's gonna be so pissed off that we drank all the beer before Steven got here." Said Slash as he threw the last empty can to Duff.
"No he won't be. You heard what Izzy said. He said to decorate this place the way Steven likes right?" Slash nodded, "Well Steven likes beer so using strung up beer cans as a decoration is a great idea!"
The bassist strung the last can onto the already full snake of cans and hung it from one corner of the ceiling to the other.
"Steven likes drinking beer." Pointed out Slash. "I don't think he likes drank beer."
"Do you smell what I smell?" Asked Izzy, dreamily inhaling the heavenly scent of baking cake.
"Is it done? Can we open the oven now? Can we?" Axl asked excitedly.
"Calm down," Said Izzy, "It'll be ready when the little egg timer tings."
"The timer doesn't ting, it rings." Corrected Axl.
"No Ax, it's more of a little chime." Pointed out Izzy.
"I'd say it's kind of a brrrr." Said Axl.
"No it's definitely a... ping!" Demonstrated Izzy.
"More of a buzz." Said Axl.
"No a tinkle!" Said Izzy.
Four and a quarter minutes later...
The two Gunners stared at the little egg timer as the tiny hand crept its way towards the end mark. The anticipation was high and the suspense almost unbearable. A tiny bead of sweat formed on Izzy's forehead and then dropped. Axl licked his lips as his pulse quickened, desperate to know what the final sound of the egg timer was going to be.
Izzy bit his lip and chewed on it, excitement overwhelming him.
Axl's breathing became raspier and his eyes widened.
The tiny little hand ticked its way to the finishing mark at the top of the dial and stopped. Then there was silence.
"That's it?" Asked Axl incredulously.
He picked up the timer and shook it near his ear to make sure.
"It didn't ting or buzz!" He cried.
Izzy just slumped back into the chair. What an anti climax. After a few moments though, he smiled smugly up at the singer.
"If you had to be a girl for a day, would you do it?" Asked Duff.
Slash was filling the balloons with helium while Duff tied the ends into knots, some occasionally flying free from the bassists fingers and flying wildly above their heads.
"Definitely." Replied Slash, "But I'd spend the day in the shower."
A sudden knock at the door made the Guns jump and panic.
"Oh no! It's Steven!" Whispered Slash.
"Quick! Hide the evidence!" Slash cried, frantically.
The guitarist started scurrying about, gathering up balloons and streamers into his arms. In a panicked state he looked around the colourfully decorated room and then finally stared at Duff who was standing there doing nothing.
"Hide the evidence?" Said Duff, looking at Slash as if the guitarist had three heads.
He scoffed and rolled his eyes as he walked to the door before opening it. Standing on the doorstep were two female police officers, wearing full cop uniform and aviators to hide their stern looks as they glared at Duff, red lips set in thin lines.
Duff gulped and called over to Slash.
"It's for you dude!"
He pushed the guitarist in front of the cops and crouched behind his friend, all kinds of possible accusations running through his mind.
"C-can I help you officers?" Asked Slash, nervously.
The two cops looked at eachother then back to Slash and Duff.
"We understand there's to be some form of birthday celebration here tonight? Is this correct?"
The Gunners nodded anxiously.
"And there is to be alcoholic beverages supplied? Yes?"
Another shaky nod.
"And entertainment of some sorts we presume?"
The Guns looked at eachother, confused, trying to think of what entertainments there were going to be at Steven's party.
"Well there's going to be a guy making balloon animals," Said Slash, "Oh! And a clown!"
Duff shuddered. He hated clowns.
"Sir we've been led to believe that there is going to be some form of adult entertainment on these premises tonight." Stated one of the cops.
The Gunners gasped and started shaking their heads furiously.
"No officers.. No such thing here! Good clean fun here!" Lied Slash.
"Oh," Said one policewoman, "I could have sworn we were stripping at this house tonight."
They girls grinned cheekily at the Gunners who caught on quick and beamed right back at them.
"Ladies! Come in please!" Said Duff, stepping aside to let the hired strippers in.
Axl and Izzy stared down at the cake they had taken out of the oven. It sat in its tray on top of the kitchen table, waiting to be decorated.
"It looks like a rectangular piece of dog shit. Only creamier in colour." Remarked Axl.
Izzy's stomach back flipped and he choked back some bile.
"Thanks for that Axl." He said, "You picked up the ready-made icing from the shop right?"
"Go get it and put it on the cake. Nice and even. Make it look good. I'll wash up all this crap." Said Izzy.
The guitarist rolled up his sleeves and got to work on the dirty bowls and whisks and other utensils and also the kitchen itself. Axl meanwhile poked through the grocery bag looking for the icing he had got from the shop. He rummaged around, fingers feeling for the little can. He swore he had picked up some icing off the shelf...
"Aha!" He pulled the can out of the bag and examined it.
"Ready-made icing. The quick and easy way to make your own home baked goods look professional and perfect." He read.
He got himself a small plastic spatula and pried open the lid of the can before scooping a large amount of icing onto the cake.
He stared down at the icing in a panic. He turned around to Izzy who had his back turned to the singer, washing up at the sink. Axl turned back to the icing and took a deep, shaky breath.
"I think I fucked up again."
The guitarist sighed audibly and the sound of the running tap stopped. Izzy set the bowl down in the sink before drying his hands off on a towel. He went over to Axl to see what the problem was and when he got to the singer's side he gaped down at the cake, jaw on the floor.
"Axl! You asshole! Didn't you read the fucking label?" He cried.
"I thought they were all the same..." Said Axl innocently.
The icing that Axl had blindly picked up off the store shelf was a garish, in your face, almost neon, hot pink.
Izzy pulled out a chair, slumped down into it and let his head drop onto the kitchen table with a thud.
"What am I going to do with you Axl..." Came his muffled voice.
The singer blushed badly, embarrassed that he had indeed fucked up once again. He looked down at his icing disaster and scooped some onto his finger before having a taste.
"At least it tastes good. You just have to get past the, you know, colour." Said Axl hopefully.
Izzy finally looked up at his friend.
"Of course it tastes good Axl! It's icing!" He yelled, making Axl flinch, "But what's the purpose of icing?"
The singer thought hard for a moment before the light bulb switched on.
"To make stuff look good!" He piped up.
He beamed, happy he had got the question right but then his face quickly fell back into his embarrassed blush.
"Exactly. You fucked up. We put all that hard work into making the cake for nothing. You've ruined Steven's birthday." Said Izzy.
Axl felt even worse now. He hated it when Izzy recapped his stupid antics. After a moment Axl's tiny voice piped up once more.
"Maybe Steven won't notice?"
Izzy sighed and buried his face in his hands, shaking his head hopelessly. Poor Axl.
Slash, Duff and the two stripper cops, whose names the Gunners still didn't know, lay naked in Slash's bed smoking cigarettes and drinking the 'insurance' alcohol that Izzy had hidden in his bedroom, should the others drink all the beer for Steven's party.
"I feel kinda bad." Said one of the cops, "We came here for Steven but we ended up with you two."
"Don't feel bad," Assured Slash, "We fuck Steven over all the time."
"Shouldn't you guys be finishing off the decorations?" Asked the other cop.
"I think we should be finishing off you two..." Said Slash as the four went at it for a final encore.
"Izzy! I finished putting the icing on!" Said Axl.
They had decided that they might as well go ahead and cover the cake in pink. Izzy had to admit, Axl did a fine job in spreading the icing evenly.
"Nice work Ax." Said the guitarist, "Now it looks like Barbie's dog did a rectangular shit."
The kitchen looked good too. All the dishes had been washed, surfaces scrubbed and utensils placed back into their places. It almost looked a little catalogue. Almost.
The cake still had a final touch to be put on it. Izzy got out the writing icing, for putting final touch decorations onto the base coat of icing. The guitarist had picked it, black obviously, as he was anticipating white icing. He snipped the tip off of the paper cone and handed it to Axl.
"What do I do with this?" Asked the singer.
"You write with it. And draw squiggles and shit." Informed Izzy.
"You were always better at art than me. And besides, you did such a great job with the icing."
Axl narrowed his eyes at that last sarcastic comment.
He took a deep breath and squeezed the paper cone with one hand, holding it steady with the other. He carefully wrote 'Happy Birthday Mother Fucker!' in beautiful, cursive script and then framed the writing with a border made up of roses and vines. Just to make it that extra bit special, and to make up for the icing fuck up, Axl drew a picture of a topless girl with drumsticks in her hand.
"Very nice!" Said Izzy and he gave Axl a patronizing pat on the back.
The guitarist stuck in the candles and that was the cake done and dusted. Now time to check on the decorations...
"What. The. Fuck."
Izzy stood in the middle of the living room looking around himself, taking in the scene, which thanks to Slash and Duff’s artistic visions, looked like a hurricane had just taken a shit in it.
"I like it." Axl said with a smile.
Izzy glared at the singer and the smile disappeared.
"I gave those two one little job. One job! And they fuck it up! Am I seriously the only one in this band that can do anything?"
The whistling sound of gas being sucked made his ears perk up and he turned around and immediately groaned in exasperation.
"Hey Izzy! My voice is all squeaky!" Peeped Axl as he held a half deflated balloon in his hand.
"Now I feel really bad." Said Stripper Cop #1.
"Yeah, me too." Replied Stripper Cop #2.
"Aww no girls, don't feel bad! Steven won't mind! Honest!" Cried Duff as the girls started getting dressed.
"I think we should go." Said #1.
"No! Please don't go! Please? We could all share! You, us, Steven? Maybe even Axl and Izzy?" Begged Duff.
"It's what Steven would have wanted!" Cried Slash as he pulled on his jeans and ran after the girls who were halfway out the door by now.
The two strippers stalked out of the bedroom and into the living room where Izzy was still ranting and raving while Axl sulked in a corner.
"And who the fuck are you two?" He asked, clearly exhausted with the days mayhem so far.
"We were going to strip here tonight but now we've decided we won't." Said one of the girls.
Izzy stared, bugged eyed and confused.
"Why the hell not?" He asked.
"We just feel bad about fucking your friends. It's not fair on the birthday boy." Said the other girl and she pointed behind her as Slash and Duff scurried into the room.
After the strippers left the house Izzy shut the door and locked it making the others gulp in fear. The guitarist turned around and glared at them all huddled together, cowering in a corner. However, for someone who was seething with anger, Izzy still spoke menacingly quietly.
"All I wanted, was for Steven to have an awesome birthday." He growled as he inched closer towards the other Guns.
"Colourful decorations, poppers, streamers, balloons, banners, hats, trumpets, balloon animals and a clown." Duff shuddered again. "All the kiddie shit Steven likes and more! Strippers, alcohol and all his crazy friends who we don't even like but invited anyway! But no...Instead I get a mess of a room and no strippers thanks to two irresponsible, JACKASSES!"
His final yell made Slash let out a whimper.
"And his cake!" Began Izzy and Axl winced.
"I wanted to bake Steven a cake. A homemade cake. It would mean so much more than some shit bought from a store. Such a simple task and yet, so difficult for you to grasp Axl. I guess I can't really blame you. It's not your fault you've got the IQ of a brick. But how the fuck did you end up getting bright pink icing?"
"What a moron." Sniggered Duff before getting an elbow to the ribs from Slash.
"I don't know why I even tried." Sighed Izzy, flopping down on the couch, "You guys obviously don't care about Steven's birthday as much as I do."
That last comment hurt worst of all. The others looked at one another and knew they had to fix their mess. But first...
"Izzy, we're sorry." Said Slash as they all sat around Izzy on the couch.
"Yeah man," Added Duff, "Course we care about Steven! We had every intention to make his birthday as special as you wanted it to be! It just takes us a while to get things right..." He shyly confessed.
Izzy smiled at his friends and started to rethink all the things he had said.
As Slash and Duff started properly decorating the house and fixing all their errors, Axl sidled over to Izzy and a wave of guilt washed over the guitarist all of a sudden.
"Um...Izzy?" Said Axl in a timid voice, "Do you really think I'm stupid? I do try my best you know. I don't mean to fuck up."
How could anyone possibly stay mad at that. Izzy grabbed Axl and hugged him tight, making the singer giggle with relief.
For the rest of the afternoon, the Gunners decorated the shit out of that house. Izzy's vision was finally being pieced together and the place truly looked like a crazy funhouse, in true Steven Adler fashion. Although they couldn't get more strippers at such short notice the Guns thought of dolling up Axl but the singer adamantly refused.
Steven's friends started showing up and, as with every time they met the drummer's friends, the Gunners wondered where on earth Steven had found these freaks. Slash swore he had seen a few of them performing at the circus. Axl had even invited a stray dog that Steven would always feed when he walked home. It took Axl a while to convince the dog to come to the party though. The singer just kept getting more and more disheartened when the dog showed no interest in the party when the invitation had been read aloud to him.
After a while most of the friends were at the house so the Guns sat back and relaxed, marvelling at the trippy playground they had created.
"Those are cool!" Said Axl pointing up at the ceiling.
Izzy followed Axl's gaze upwards and froze.
"Uh-oh." Said Slash and Duff in unison.
"You drank all the beer?" Asked Izzy.
"We're... sorry Izz." Said Slash nervously.
Izzy smiled and waved his hand.
"No worries man. You think I'd trust you guys not to drink all the beer for the party? I hid some insurance alcohol in the bedroom!" He said happily.
The guilty Guns blushed again.
"Um...about that too..." Began Duff.
"You drank all the insurance alcohol?" Asked Izzy.
The two nodded. The guitarist sighed and walked over to the couch where Axl was perched. The singer lifted up his legs and Izzy pulled out the little bed from underneath but this time no bed came out. Instead, the large drawer was packed with bottles, cans and even two kegs, all containing alcohol. Slash and Duff beamed and their eyes sparkled.
"You think I'd trust you guys not to drink all the beer for the party or the insurance alcohol?" Izzy said cheekily.
"Steven's coming!" Cried Axl.
The freaks and the Guns scurried about the room, scrambling to find a good hiding place. Duff switched off the lights and crouched down behind the mountain of gifts and Slash crouched down behind the mountain of Duff. Axl, Izzy and the stray dog huddled together behind the side of the couch. Once everyone was well out of sight they listened closely and heard Steven's footsteps and chirpy whistling nearing the house. The jingle of keys was heard followed by the click of the lock. The door creaked open and Steven walked into the dark room.
"Hellooo?" He called out.
The drummer flipped the light switch and all at once everyone jumped out and yelled, "Surprise!"
After the initial shock the drummer looked around him at his friends and the room until he finally settled on four very special people.
"You didn't forget my birthday!" He choked up and ran over to the other Gunners giving them all a huge teddy bear hug.
The group hug was sweet and loving but the five Guns broke apart when Duff started screaming wildly. They all took a step back only to find that the hired clown had somehow snuck into the middle of the group hug. He waved at Duff and the bassist immediately fainted.
While Slash tended to the blonde, the rest of the party people partied. Music blaring, party trumpets tooting, alcohol chugging, balloons animalling and general chaos ensued.
After a while Izzy and Axl disappeared into the kitchen and reappeared holding the cake, candles lit, and started singing. Everyone joined in and Steven beamed like a little kid. He sat down on the couch and the cake was placed in the table in front of him, candles lighting up his happy face.
"Make a wish mother fucker!" Cried Slash.
Steven shut his eyes for a few seconds before popping them open again and leaning down to blow out all the candles in one swift blow. The crowd cheered and the giddy drummer giggled sweetly.
Once the cheering died down Steven tilted his head and looked down at the cake, expression falling slightly. Izzy bit his lip.
"Oh no Izz! I think he's going to say something about the pink icing!" Axl whispered.
Steven looked up at Axl and Izzy and cocked an eyebrow. The two Gunners' hearts dropped and they prepared themselves mentally for what was to come.
"You spelled 'Birthday' wrong." Said Steven.
Poor Axl. At least he meant well.