ONE SHOT. My thoughts on what I think a few of the reasons were to make Bob leave the band.
I can feel the agitation radiating, as I sit opposite the four of them. None of them dare to look me in the eye. They keep their heads down and their hands around their flasks of coffee. Any minute now someone will speak and break this awkward silence. Or maybe they won’t. Maybe I’ll have to be the one who begins the conversation. Maybe they should have told me why they had arranged to meet me here, at the studio. The way the email said: ‘Bob, we need to talk to you. Meet us at the studio tomorrow at four’ made me realise that I was the reason they had called the band here, not any of the others.
“So, you guys gonna tell me what the hell I’ve done?” I choke out, breaking the almost unbearable silence. Gerard taps the table a few times with his index finger and looks over at Frank who nods in response, as if they have already planned this upcoming conversation before I had arrived.
“We need to…get a few things straight…point some vital things out. Would you care to cooperate with us on this? This situation will only get solved if you help us, Bob.” Frank says, raising his eye brows at me as if I am a little kid.
“Sure…but I have no idea what you’re on about!” My voice is probably raised higher than I would have liked it to be, but I can’t take the words back.
“Bob, please don’t shout.” Gerard says, looking up at me with those eyes as if to say ‘dude, calm the fuck down or I’ll hit you’. Although I know Gerard would never hit me. It was just one of his many failed attempts at intimidating me.
Frank and Gerard both turn to Ray, and Ray looks up at me.
“We’ve been thinking about the past few months…since we started recording this record and-” Ray begins.
“What? So you’re in on this too?” I snap. I look over at Mikey and he looks back nervously. “Don’t tell me you’re all here against me?” I hiss.
“I’m sorry Bob.” Mikey says quietly. Great. My suspicion was correct. They had planned to sit down with me and tell me something. I know that ‘something’ will not be a good thing.
“Let us explain.” Gerard says, trying to calm my anger by placing one of his delicate hands on my arm. I look down at it was such disgust that he takes it away instantly as if I had burnt him with acid.
“We need to know what your problem with us is…all this anger is starting to take its toll on the quality of the music.” Frank says sternly, also glancing down at my wrists. I can see some sort of fairness in his eyes so I know he doesn’t mean to hurt me.
“Cheer up, dude.” Mikey says patting my shoulder as he passes me into the lounge area of the studio. He hands me a cup of coffee which I take gratefully.
“Urgh, this has been one of the worst weeks of my life.” I mutter before taking a sip of the steaming coffee. The sudden hotness numbing the back of my throat.
“It’s not your fault he flipped out like that. Gee had…he just worked so hard on that song and you know that he doesn’t take kindly to criticism from his own friends.” Mikey shrugs.
“But it’s the way Ray and Frank have both taken sides…what is this? A fourth grade fall-out?” I laugh coldly. The door to the studio behind me opens and I have enough time to mutter “Speak of the devil.” Before Ray, Gerard and Frank sit down in the empty seats- all sipping coffee.
Gerard clears his throat and I roll my eyes. When I look up I find Mikey glaring warily at me. He knows that if one of the others see me roll my eyes at Gerard, the whole argument will break loose again.
“So…Bulletproof Heart…who’s ready to start fitting the lyrics with the music?” Gerard asks. I can hear the pride in his voice and it makes me want to gag.
“Yeah I’m up for it!” Frank beams.
“You would be.” I mutter again, evidently too loud as when I look up I find the whole group staring wide-eyed at me.
Oops, I had broken the number one rule of being in My Chemical Romance: do not mention Frerard, or make Frerard references.
Punishment: harsh looks, vicious boycotting and exclusion from conversation for the next week and a half.
“As I was saying, I’m up for it.” Frank says, trying to resume the conversation and stop another fall-out. The others look down at the lyric sheets with music notations but Frank keeps his eyes fixed on mine. I can’t quite understand the emotion I see in his eyes. It’s a mix of frustration, disappointment, heartbreak and sadness. Somewhere deep in the back of my mind, I know I’ve upset him. He doesn’t like to think about his relationship with Gerard too deeply anymore. Things got out of hand at one point and things have never been the same since.
Mikey hands me a lyrics sheet and I scan the words with my tired eyes.
“I can really feel the emotion in these lyrics.” Frank says, patting Gerard’s back affectionately. Oops, there goes my gag reflex again. Luckily no one saw that.
“I can really tell you were writing this song from the perspective of someone who is high. I mean, feeling as if there is no gravity could be from use of drugs. You know what I’m on about, right, Gerard?” I say.
Damn. Rule number two of being in My Chemical Romance: do not mention the drug/alcohol problem from those many years ago.
Punishment: verbal attack from Frank.
“Is it really that impossible to keep your mouth shut for longer than five minutes?!” Frank croaks. He stands up in an attempt to overpower me but I have to hold back the fits of laughter. “You know that what you are saying is only for attention, but it’s not right. Learn to shut the fuck up once in a while, okay?” He hisses. He grabs Gerard by the arm and pulls him into the hallway. Gerard didn’t seem that bothered by my comment. It was Frank who, for some strange reason, had gotten the most offended.
“It’s almost as if you want us all to fall apart.” Frank hisses angrily.
“You know I don’t want that.” I say in defence. It’s true; I wouldn’t want them to fall apart because of a few mindless comments from me.
“We are a family. We are equal. We love each other, but we are feeling no love from you.” Gerard sighs. He rubs his right eye with a graceful movement and leans back dramatically in his chair.
“You know what?” I hiss. I can feel another rule is about to be broken… “The other day when I was driving your brother- Mikey -home from the studio, he told me something.” I begin. I can’t stop now, even if Mikey his looking at me wide-eyed in an attempt to shut me up. Too late. They will want to know what I’m on about now.
“Go on…” Gerard prompts.
“No!” Mikey squeaks from the far side of the table. Gerard seems to ignore him but Ray attempts to calm down his frantic friend.
“He told me that you are controlling this band. He said that you get all the attention and we are just there to help you get it. He said that you two used to be so close as brothers…as best friends…but now you’ve began to drift apart and he is angry for you to do that to him...his own brother!” I can’t stop a slightly evil smile from creeping onto my face. It won’t leave, no matter how hard I try to display another emotion. Whether that be anger or sadness. This evil smirk will probably just make everything worse.
“That’s not true!” Gerard yells. He thumps his fist on the table, making a day-dreaming Frank jump.
“Isn’t it? Really?” My sore throat is making my voice sound crackly but I won’t let a common cold lose this battle. “When was the last time you spent time with him?” I say, gesturing at Mikey who is begging to tear up in the corner.
“Shut up! Just shut up! You have no idea what you are talking about! Just shut the fuck up!” Mikey shouts. We all turn to him in shock. Mikey never shouts and right now he is bright red with anger and embarrassment with tears staining his cheeks and dripping onto the floor. He looks at each of us with sorrow, as if he feels he’s let us all down in such an unforgiving way, and storms out of the room towards the hallway and predictably to his car. Ray calls out for him, but Mikey seems intent on rushing off, and follows after him.
Another rule broken. Number three: never let your friends down.
Punishment: losing a friend you thought you’d have for life.
“If there's a place that I could be, then I'd be another memory.
Can I be the only hope for you?
Because you're the only hope for me.
And if we can't find where we belong, we'll have to make it on our own.
Face all the pain and- Bob! What are you doing?!” Gerard yells, half way through the song we were practicing. The guitars stop and the bass vanishes, all eyes turning to me.
“I…I need a break.” I cough. I have to grit my teeth to control the pain in both my wrists.
“We’ve already had six breaks!” Frank exclaims tiredly. My eyes begin to well up with tears but I can’t cry. Not now. This pain is manageable if I want it to be.
“Guys, I think something’s up.” Mikey hisses quietly to the others. Gerard squints at me and realises I am crying. He walks over to me and kneels beside me tentatively. The others follow and crowd around me, peering at my swollen wrists for a closer look. I let go of the snapped drum sticks and let them clatter together on the floor.
“I’ll go and call a doctor.” Frank says. He rushes off in the direction of the office and Gerard rubs my back soothingly. Somehow he manages to control my pained breathing and my body is consumed in relaxation.
Half an hour later, a doctor arrives and examines both wrists.
“It seems you have damaged your Flexor carpi radialis muscle and the Flexor pollicis longus muscle in both arms. This affects your wrists and causes them to seize up. You’ll need to stop playing for a while. Maybe half a year.”
“Half a year? But we need him to finish the record!” Gerard says angrily to the doctor. “Can’t you refer him to the hospital for treatment?”
“Well what he needs now the most is rest. If the swelling doesn’t go down after a week or so then you may need surgery. But surgery will mean he will not be able to play for a year or two. I must warn you, that if you continue to play without treatment you will permanently damage the muscles and you will no longer able to play drums.”
Gerard sighs with exasperation and rests his forehead on Frank’s shoulder. I know how much this next album means to Gerard, but does he really expect me to play in this much excruciating pain?
“I’m sorry.” I mutter to Gerard. He gives me some sort of sympathetic smile. I can see the coldness on his face. It’s almost as if he doesn’t care what state my health is in…as long as his precious record is finished.
Gerard rolls his tongue across his bottom teeth and Frank shuffles uncomfortably in his seat.
“We have no choice, Bob.” Gerard says slowly. “There are many reasons for this but…we are going to have to ask you to leave the band.”
I can feel my eyes become cloudy and warm and the colour draining from my face.
“I’m so sorry.” Frank says as I stand up aggressively.
“Did you know that it was my dream to play with this band? You guys are great people, don’t get me wrong, but you know how to ruin a guy’s life.” My voice is breaking all over the place as the tears roll endlessly down my face. I wipe them away with one of my bandaged wrists and look down at Frank and Gerard. “Why would you do this to me? After everything we’ve been through together! I was there for you when you needed me! We had laughs, we had fun, we were practically brothers! I would have thought that out of everybody I’ve ever known, you guys would be the last to let me down. I thought I was safe with you guys. You looked after me, you kept me happy. We fought together. We are family and you’ve taken everything that ever meant something to me away. ”
“It’s what we decided would be best for all of us, even you.” Gerard says.
“Never talk to me ever again.” I manage to spit out. I push back from the table and slam to door open. As I march down the hallway I know I don’t have to hide my tears or my anger anymore.
I get into my car and slam my wrist against the dashboard. A sharp pain is sent through my arm but I guess it doesn’t matter anymore. I will never have to play the drums ever again. Hopefully I will never have to see those guys again, too. I fold my arms across the steering wheel and bury my face in them. I know I’ve been a bit of a jerk recently…but kicking me out of the band I’d worked so hard in for years, the best years of my life, was too far. I regret every wrong word that’s come out of my mouth recently. I regret them all.
So, I guess that is the short and unfortunate story of how I lost the best friend’s in the word and how they broke my heart.