Despite their best efforts...
“I gotta get a picture of this!” Frank cried excitedly. “I’m going back to the bus for my camera.”
“Take someone with you!” Ray reminded.
Frank sighed and nodded; a little of his excitement drained away at the reminder. As he turned, one of their contingent of guards approached.
“I’ll escort you back, Mister Iero,” he volunteered.
“Thanks,” he headed off in the direction of the bus, “but call me Frank.”
The two men headed out of the venue and to the back where all the buses were parked. It was quite early in the afternoon still, even before the sound checks had taken place but the bulk of the unloading had been done and every was inside the venue setting the stage, rigging lighting and checking equipment.
“I didn’t like this need for extra security,” Frank confessed to the guard, “but I’ll admit, it’s pretty deserted back here, so I’m glad you’re here.”
“No worries, Mister… Frank, that’s what we’re here for.”
Frank chuckled. “Mister Frank, I like that!”
Opening the door to their bus, Frank stepped inside. “Just be a minute, I’m pretty sure I know where it is.”
As Frank searched for the camera, the door opened once more and the guard followed him inside, locking the door behind him.
“There!” Frank cried triumphantly as he snatched his camera out of one of his bags. As he turned he almost collided with the guard. “Woah! You scared the life out of me!”
“It’s good to know you’re so easily scared, Frankie.”
Frank’s eyes widened and his lips parted. “You!” he finally managed.
The man stood between him and the door and he was easily twice his size and towering over him, but he had to try. Frank bolted for the door, but the guard swung an arm around his waist and pulled him off his feet. Frank struggled in his grip but he was too strong, finally throwing him to the floor near the bunk room. Frank shook his head dazedly as he pushed himself up again. As he scrambled to his feet, the guard pulled him up twisting his left arm high up his back. The movement was painful and he gasped as he felt a sharp searing pain in his shoulder. Just about to shout for help, Frank’s eyes widened in alarm as a sweet smelling cloth was held over his nose and mouth. Holding his breath, he continued to struggle, but the sound of his attacker’s laughter rang in his ears.
“You’ll have to breathe sometime, Frankie and I promise you, you’ll give up way before I do!”
That moment was only seconds away. Frank felt as if his lungs might burst without another breath.
To hasten the inevitable, the guard twisted Frank’s arm further. Another gasp of pain forced Frank to take a breath and within moments he was slipping to the floor unconscious.
“Back in a minute!” Gerard called as he spotted the sound engineer and ran to greet him and to set up a half hour slot to discuss the set and effects they would like in each of the songs. The engineer, he knew, would have been briefed on the set requirements already and the sound check would cover most of them, but Gerard always liked to make personal contact with the man responsible for making them sound so good in so large a venue. It was important to them that the fans farthest from the stage heard the same quality of sound as those right at the front.
“Frank’s taking his time,” Ray commented.
“You know what his packing’s like,” Bob replied, “he probably can’t find his camera.”
“I know where mine is,” Mikey said, “I’ll get a photo on mine. If he’s not out quick, they’ll be starting the sound checks and he won’t get a clear shot.”
Heading out into the deserted parking lot, Mikey suddenly wished he had taken Ray’s earlier advice to take someone with him. Still, the bus wasn’t far and he consoled himself with the idea that if no one were about at all, then there were no psychos either. Finally arriving at the bus, Mikey reached up and opened the door.
“Mister Way, Are you looking for Mister Iero?”
Mikey turned and nodded, relieved to see the man sporting an ‘All Access’ pass around his neck. “Yeah, he came back to the bus looking for his camera.”
“He’s over there.”
Mikey looked around the side of the bus.
“Where?” he asked, unable to see the guitarist.
The man manoeuvred himself behind Mikey and pointed over his left shoulder.
“I still don’t see him,” Mikey replied following the line indicated by the man’s arm.
“No, well,” he began as he dropped his arm and grabbed Mikey’s right wrist, effectively pinning him before clamping the cloth over his nose and mouth, “that’s because he’s in the trunk of my car.”
Alarmed, Mikey tried to struggle and scream but both the man and the drug were too strong. Within moments, the man had scooped up the slender bassist and was headed for his car.
“Too easy!” the man laughed as he dumped Mikey’s limp form alongside Frank before sliding behind the wheel and driving out of the parking lot.