In his room, Frank sat with his chin resting in his hand, his elbow propped up on the table; his free hand doodling aimlessly on a pad of hotel writing paper. Glancing up briefly as he heard a knock at the adjoining door, Frank returned to his doodling.
“Frank!” Mikey shouted from the next room.
“I’m out!” he yelled back with a hint of bitter frustration.
“Frank!” Mikey’s voice became more of a whine as he angled for sympathy. “Let me in!”
Frank remained silent, unmoved by Mikey’s pained pleading.
“I’ve got cookies!” Mikey shouted, his excitement showering the statement.
Frank smiled into his hand. He couldn’t help it. He could resist all he wanted, but there was something about Mikey’s enthusiasm and spirit that he found infectious. Rising to his feet, he was half way to the door before he heard another call, added by way of further enticement.
“Alright, alright!” Frank shouted back as he unlocked the door.
Mikey stood on the other side of the door displaying a large plate of cookies at a slight angle, grinning and waving his hand above as if Frank needed further explanation.
“I’m letting you in,” Frank spoke firmly as he helped himself to a cookie, “on the strict understanding that you’re fully aware that I’m cooped up in this room and you’re giving me sugar!”
Mikey beamed; it was good to see that Frank was regaining some of his humour. All five would be stuck in the hotel, under guard, for the rest of the night and the whole of the next day. It would have been easy for Frank to sink even lower after his recent ordeals, but he was a fighter and, as difficult as the situation was, Mikey was determined to help him fight.
“I’ll make some coffee,” the young bassist announced, passing the entire plate to Frank.
“Great!” Frank mumbled with his mouth full. “Sugar and caffeine! The perfect combination!”
Mikey grinned back. “Have you eaten?”
Frank shrugged. “I’ve had two cookies.”
“That’s not enough!” Mikey frowned as he set the coffee machine running.
Frank looked at the plate. “Ask me again in five minutes.”
“I meant proper food!”
Frank held up a cookie and waved it at Mikey.
“Look!” he said sternly. “We’re already working with two of the main basic food groups; chocolate and coffee! Why ruin it?”
Mikey offered a lopsided smile as he reached for the cups. Frank grinned back, he couldn’t help it; Mikey’s company always lifted his spirits. Somehow, Mikey always seemed to know exactly what to do or say to cheer him and now was no exception.
“What’s everyone else up to?” Frank asked accepting the cup of steaming hot coffee from Mikey.
“I think Bob and Ray are playing video games and Gee’s drawing.”
“Nothing much changes! No matter what.”
“Of course not,” Mikey smiled. “In fact, I doubt it’ll be long before we hear a massive argument about who’s best and Gerard yelling at them to keep it down.”
Frank smiled broadly; the scene had been played out so many times on their tour bus it was almost becoming clichéd.
Frank felt himself relaxing for the first time since the previous Saturday
Gerard frowned as a black smudge appeared on the corner of his sketchpad. Looking at his hands, he wrinkled his nose at the realisation that one of his pens was leaking. Getting to his feet, trying hard not to touch anything, he held his hands aloft as he headed for the bathroom, throwing the offending article in the trash on the way.
In the bathroom, Gerard thought for a moment before turning on the taps, gripping with his wrists. Reaching for the soap, he scrubbed vigorously at the rapidly drying ink and sighed with relief as the black mess started to disappear. Eventually satisfied that his hands were clean he held them under the running water and rinsed. Looking up as he shut off the water, Gerard gasped as he saw a figure behind him in the mirror. He didn’t even have time to turn before the intruder pushed a hand held taser between his shoulder blades. Eyes shut tight, Gerard arched his back in agony as the electricity jolted every muscle in his body, each one constricting and tightening a little more with every passing second. It was as if he was held rigid like steel, yet he trembled slightly as the current coursed through him. Unable even to scream, Gerard remained standing, silent and shaking, for the briefest of seconds as the device was pulled away before crumpling heavily but almost soundlessly to the floor, unconscious.