Hot, hot, hot... not in THAT sense of the word. The inevitable meeting finally happens...
Guy was sitting on the floor next to the fridge, opening the door every now and then to get some relief from the relentless heat. He had recklessly abandoned his jacket and shoes, and even removed his tie and undone the top button of his shirt. At least, he’d thought it was reckless, until he realised most of the others were only in their underwear.
Slightly shocked he decided to poke his head into the fridge for a distraction (and to cool himself off sneakily). What sort of a diet is this? he asked himself, rifling through the ready-meals, ice-cream and cans of fizzy drinks. He heard some slow footsteps, and turned around to see the Butcher sat opposite him, clutching what looked like a sweat-soaked vest. How lovely, Guy thought.
‘Hey man, could you pass me a Coke?’ he mumbled sleepily. Guy ferreted around in the fridge and passed a can to the Butcher, who began to gulp it down. In the sweltering heat, Guy’s mind had begun to melt, and the inevitable happened – he started asking himself stupid questions.
Who’s this sitting opposite me again?... Ah yes, the Butcher. Silly name. Why is he called the Butcher anyway? He doesn’t look like a butcher to me. Butchers have aprons and white hats on… and a big steak knife… this one just hits things.
‘Do you find it easier to express yourself with meats, or beats?’
Both men laughed weakly.
‘Wow… uh… I guess, a little bit of both. It depends on the situation really.’
There was silence. Guy suddenly remembered his gift for the Butcher, as he had found earlier in the day whilst packing his things.
‘I brought you a little something!’ he said, foraging in the fridge once again and bringing out a small plastic package.
‘Oh, wow! Chicken breasts.’
‘Yes. Ultra-thin, rotisserie-seasoned chicken breasts. We shall eat one together.’
‘Let’s do it!’
Michael Guy Chislett appeared at the door to the lounge, to see two grown men sprawled on the floor, apparently drunk on the heat, eating pieces of chicken and grinning at each other. Being more used to the scolding temperatures than the others, he was fully aware that they weren’t coping very well. Even so it was a weird sight, and Michael retreated back to his bunk quickly for a lie-down… just to make sure his head wasn’t playing tricks on him.
Upon arriving in Indianapolis, the men tumbled out of the bus and staggered through the searing air into the cool venue – that is, all except Jack and Josh the guitar tech, who were hauling heavy equipment inside. Feeling sorry for them Guy decided to help out. He started to get up, nearly tripping over his tie (which had somehow wound itself round his feet), and stumbled down the steps.
‘No, it’s cool, man, leave it to us…’ Jack called, as Guy tried to lift a heavy amp. Everything started wobbling, and before he knew it he was falling back into darkness.
A few minutes later he opened his eyes. There were a few blurry figures clustered round his head, and as he blinked hard, he realised they were Jack, William and... V… V… Victoria…..
She grinned and repositioned the ice pack on his head. ‘Why is it that every time I find you, you’re asleep or unconscious? One of these days I’ll get a proper conversation out of you…’
Guy smiled drowsily. Everything felt so much better when she was around. Well, perhaps it was really the ice pack… No, it was her. Definitely her.
‘Are you OK, man? Want me to get you a drink or something?’ William sounded quite flustered, like he really cared. That was nice of him.
‘I… I think I can… get myself one… Thank you, William.’
Everyone moved away as Guy took the ice pack away and slowly got up off the floor, swaying a little, and Victoria took his arm and helped him over to the drinks machine. As they rounded the corner she pulled him into an unexpected but enjoyable hug.
‘Did you get my note?’ she whispered. ‘I was expecting a call from you, but here you are in the flesh!’
‘Yes, I did… William invited me along, you see.’
‘Aww. I was hoping you wanted to see me.’
‘Well – yes, yes, of course, but there are…’ Guy gulped, remembering his mission, ‘more pressing matters at hand…’
A smash filled the silence. Guy spun round to see himself standing among the remains of a broken glass. Only it wasn’t himself. It was Ryland.