Frank's hand is forced
“Alright!” he snapped. “This has got to stop!”
Gerard narrowed his eyes at the guitarist, not even bothering to ask what he meant – he knew exactly what was on Ray’s mind.
“That’s not up to me, is it? If Frank wants to come in here and screw up over and over then that’s his problem, it’s not mine!”
“Can you hear yourself? It’s all our problems!” Ray yelled back. “Do you think any of us like this?”
“He hasn’t learned the songs and we’re on tour in two days!”
Throughout the conversation Mikey had been leaning on the doorframe with his arms folded, willing Gerard to see what was so obvious to him, but it seemed he would have to point it out.
“Gee, you talk such a lot of crap sometimes!”
Gerard glared at his younger brother. It was bad enough that Ray was blaming him without Mikey joining in too.
“You know he knows the songs,” Mikey continued, walking into the live room, “there’s something bothering him, can’t you see it?”
“I’ve asked him what’s wrong, and he said nothing.”
“I think your exact words were, ‘What the hell is wrong with you, man!’” Mikey replied, screaming Gerard’s words with venom.
Gerard fell silent and his shoulders sagged as the tension in him released.
“I did ask him,” he said quietly as he lit a cigarette, “before I said that. And he swore there was nothing wrong.”
Mikey watched his brother, deliberately not responding, making Gerard feel uncomfortable as he felt the innocent, yet reproachful eyes burn into him.
“Alright!” Gerard gave up, taking a seat on an amp. “I admit; it’s not like him!”
“And you’ve been too wrapped up to care,” Ray added.
Gerard lowered the cigarette from his lips and looked up. The expressions on Mikey and Ray’s faces were deadly serious and the singer suddenly felt a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach. Looking back down and taking a long draw on the cigarette, Gerard nodded.
“I… I’m sorry guys,” Gerard looked up and smiled for the first time in days. “When he gets here, we’ll have a talk, all of us, together. Whatever it is, we’ll sort it out.”
Frank turned the key in the ignition and pulled out of the driveway. The studio was only about a few minutes drive from his house, and already he knew it wouldn’t be enough time to push the turmoil from his mind. He had just about decided to speak to the guys about what had been happening when he felt something hard pushed into his waist.
“Keep driving, Frankie.”
“Wha…!” Frank turned his head and almost careered into a car in the opposite lane.
“Face forward and keep driving.”
“Where?” Frank asked, terrified.
“You’re going to the studio aren’t you?”
“Then drive there.”
“Who are you?” Frank asked, his knuckles turning white as he gripped the wheel tighter.
“You don’t know?” the man spoke with some irritation. “Well, for now, I’ll just be the guy that’s going to kill you.”
“Why?” Frank asked, finding it increasingly difficult to keep his mind on the road.
“If you remembered me, you wouldn’t have to ask why!” the man snapped pushing the gun harder into Frank’s side.
“Okay! I’m sorry!” Frank replied at a loss to know what else to say.
“It’s too late to be sorry, Frankie, much too late.”
Driving in silence for a couple more minutes, Frank pulled into the studio parking lot and shut off the engine.
“Now what?” he asked uncertainly.
“Now?” the man laughed. “You go into the studio and rehearse.”
“You step out of the car and you walk in to the studio. If it even looks like you’re going to turn around or even glance back, I’ll blow your head off. Do I make myself clear?”
“Yeah.” Frank nodded relieved to have the gun removed from his side. Unlatching his seatbelt, Frank opened the car door and headed for the studio.
“See you Saturday, Frankie!” the man called after him, followed by harsh laughter.
It was all he could do to stop himself breaking into a run, but the man had told him to walk and he didn’t dare risk doing anything else. Once inside, he slammed the door shut and sank to his knees. Moments later the door opened again, catching him and knocking him to the floor. Frank looked up at the tall, broad silhouette looming over him.
“No!” Frank threw an arm up protectively.
“Frank?” Bob stepped into the hallway and closed the door. Seeing the fear still etched on Frank’s face, he knelt at his friend’s side. “What’s wrong, man? You look terrified.”
“Did you see him?” Frank ignored the question.
“Who?” Bob asked as he helped Frank to his feet.
“He was in my car, he hijacked me.”
“What!” Bob turned back to the door again.
“No!” Frank yelled pulling the drummer away from the door. “He’s got a gun! He’s going to kill me on Saturday.”
Bob turned sharply at Frank’s last words.
“He just told you that?” he asked suspiciously.
“No,” Frank shook his head realising only now that he should have spoken up a long time ago. “I’ve been getting threats for a few days now.”
Bob nodded, so many things made sense now.
“I think we should discuss this, don’t you?” Bob held out his arm indicating to Frank to head to the live room. Watching as a still clearly shaken Frank headed to the live room, Bob discreetly locked the studio door and followed him.