“Three days to live, Frankie. I’m watching you!”
“Who the fuck are you!” Frank shouted as he cast the paper aside and, slumping forward, dropped his head into his hands.
This was the fifth note he had received since Saturday, all hand delivered to his house. That was what scared him the most. This person was watching him, that’s what all the notes had said. He, Frank had assumed the person was male, knew where he lived, probably knew whenever he left the house, where he went. And all the time, while he watched and waited, he wanted to kill him.
Was it a crank? Was it genuine? Was it some stupid jealous boyfriend of a female fan that idolised him? It didn’t matter. Frank was scared. He knew he was, even though he didn’t want to admit it, even to himself. He knew he couldn’t ignore it, but talking to the guys just didn’t seem to be an option. They all got their share of weird mail; most of it caught by their press agent, but this was different, this was hand delivered. Frank’s own psycho was actually outside his house. He convinced himself that the others would laugh at him if he mentioned the problem, but even he wondered if it had more to do with his own refusal to face up to it.
Already some strange things had happened. There had been a gas leak in his home, one day he had come home to a broken window and he had nearly been electrocuted thanks to a loose wire in his toaster. All plausible occurrences, but under the present threat, they had taken on a more sinister angle. He was nervous and losing sleep. Tired and irritable, the final rehearsals before the tour had not gone well. Distracted and less able to concentrate, Frank had made numerous show-stopping mistakes and full-blown arguments had broken out, which, in his present mood, Frank had showed little interest in resolving. Gerard, in particular was angry with him. A perfectionist with their music, almost to the point of obsession, Gerard found Frank’s recent erratic and distracted behaviour both bewildering and frustrating. He had sunk into a foul mood four days earlier from which he had not risen. Each rehearsal had only made matters worse as all musicians felt the tension mount.
Frank had turned inward, they had all seen it; he rarely smiled lately. He made unaccountable mistakes in rehearsal and cursed over it, retreating further with each error. Frank had offered no explanation, if he were to admit the problem to them, he would first have to admit to himself that he was scared and he was simply not prepared for that just yet. So, recent rehearsals had inevitably ended in shouting matches between him and Gerard. Well, he allowed himself a small laugh, mostly Gerard. Frank couldn’t help but notice that while Gerard fumed and yelled, Mikey remained silent, his head cocked to the right slightly, watching, frowning. For brothers, there were times when they were nothing like each other.
Glancing at the clock on the wall, Frank sighed, it was time to head to the studio again. It bothered him immensely that something that normally he was so passionate about and that brought him so much pleasure had now become a chore and a source of bitter recrimination. There would be more rows; he knew it. He felt tenser than ever, but he’d survive. Briefly glancing at the letter, he corrected his thoughts – for three more days, at least. The death threat was targeted for the first day of the tour. He wasn’t sure if it meant some point during the day, perhaps travelling, the sound check or even on stage in front of all their fans. It made him feel sick just thinking about it. Perhaps he should just tell them, even if they laughed at him, did it really matter that much?
He tried to push it to the back of his mind as he picked up his keys and headed out to his car. But once outside, Frank couldn’t help but scan the area. Was he out there? Right now? The more he tried to shut it out the more it filled his every thought.