Categories > Celebrities > The Used > Why Don't You Just Drop Dead, McCracken?

Chapter 12

by cretingirl 3 reviews

In which I agree with Bert's opinions about Lando.

Category: The Used - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Drama,Humor,Romance - Published: 2010-06-05 - Updated: 2010-06-06 - 1996 words

I could hear Waldo puttering around towards the back of the bus as I opened the fridge in the tiny kitchenette that our bus sported. I was surprised to see that it was fully stocked complete with a couple of six packs of various types of alcohol despite Russ' no boozing rule.

"Hey Marls!" Waldo said bounding up to me with a huge smile on his face. "Can Amy and I have the big bed?"

I pulled two beers out of the fridge and twisted the cap off of one as I turned to survey the bus. I only saw a bunk bed set into the wall of the bus on one side and a sitting area at the back of the bus. That was it.

"Did you want to sleep at the table then?" I asked gesturing towards it with the open bottle while simultaneously thinking hateful thoughts about Amy having a permanently crooked spine from sleeping at a table.

"No," Waldo said with a laugh. "The couch folds down into a bed."

"Ooooooh, right." I said sipping at my beer.

"AND!" Waldo said running over to the couch area and sliding out a partition from the wall. "See! A handy dandy wall so you can't hear us boning!"

"I'm sure I will still hear way more than I want to, but I don't care as long as I get both bunk beds."

"Done." Waldo said solomenly as he came over and shook my hand.

"Hey," Amy called pitifully from the stairs of the bus. "Could someone give me a hand?"

"Coming baby!" Waldo screamed.

I rolled my eyes and threw my bag onto the top bunk before climbing onto the bottom bunk and jerking the cutain that surrounded it closed forcefully.

"What's her problem?" Waldo half tried and failed to whisper to Amy as they walked past my bed to the couch area in the back.

"Nothing," Amy replied despondently.

I listened to them shuffling around for a little bit and began to work on my second beer. They eventually quieted down and then I heard them get off the bus altogether. The silence on the bus was deafening so I fished out my iPod and before I knew it I was drifting away to the melodious tones of Rose Melberg's voice.


I woke with a start from my regular nightmare.

I'm walking along the road at night and I inherently know that I'm in New Jersey and my mom's house is right around the corner. In my dream Paul is already dead. But he hasn't been that way for long. The dream me is drunk and I'm watching her from far away stumbling down the road from Maplewood's one and only bar towards my mom's house because the bartender deemed me too drunk to drive. I know that something bad is going to happend, but the dream Marla never sees it coming. I never saw it coming.

I was drenched in sweat as I bolted upright in the bed and immediately hit my head on the bunk above me. I wrenched the curtain around my bed open cursing and and stumbling away from the offending bunk. I fumbled for a light in the bus and upon finding one I looked around me for some other sign of life, but all I could hear was the steady hum of tires on asphalt. I gripped the counter in the kitchenette and staggered my way to the front of the bus. The bus driver was at the very front of the bus listening to soft country music and tapping along to the steering wheel.

"Good evening, little lady" the bus driver said to me with a crinkly eyed smile as I plopped down in the passenger seat at the front of the bus. "Name's Stan."

"Hi, Stan," I said adopting my best 'speaking to an elder' voice. "Mind telling a girl what time it is?"

"Well, miss it's just after 2am and we're almost in the Sunshine State of Florida."

I exhaled loudly, "Well Stan if you don't mind the company my name's Marla and I would love the conversation."

"Sure thing," Stan said reaching over to turn off the radio.

"Oh you don't have to turn it off!" I said reaching out to stop him. "I like country music. That's Patsy Cline right? My dad always loved her."

"That so?" Stan said looking at me sideways. "Your father a Texas man by any chance?"

"Texas?" I said with a laugh. "No sir, he's a Yankee through and through. But I'm sure he liked to think of himself as a good ol' country boy."

"Ain't nothing wrong with that. I'm from Texas ma'am and I must admitt that I've been all over these United States and never have I been in a more hospitable place."

"Texas" I said with with a smile at this old man who was the exact opposite of my own stern maternal grandfather. "Where the air is cleaner, the women are fierce, and the men are men."

"Exactly." Stan said with a nod that screamed of conviction and southern pride.

"Would you like some coffee, Stan?" I asked.

"I would love some, miss."

I continued to give Amy the cold shoulder in the morning when we stopped in Gainesville for breakfast. I'm pretty sure the waitresses at IHOP were expecting a stampede when they saw the eight charter sized buses pull into the empty lot next door. I know that I'm not the only one who noticed their looks of disappointment when only about 20 got off and made their way inside.

I sat as far away from Amy as possible who looked like she had been crying most of the night and she hadn't even bothered to put on her usual pound of makeup before venturing out in public. This meant though that I ended up sitting with Bob and Frank on either side of me and Bert in front of me trying to goad the both of them into a food fight with him. As we left the restaurant, where I'm sure Russ generously tipped the waitress and manager for the comotion we caused, I made a mental note to wear a rain poncho to breakfast or pick my seat neighbors better next time.

"Okay guys," Russ said clapping loudly to get our attention. "Your first concert is tonight at the Backstage Lounge. Be there at 5pm for a soundcheck. I'm going to get the drivers a hotel so they can get some sleep. Be there at 5!"

"So we just get the whole day to skank around town?" Payton asked in wonder.

"Yea," Mikey said with a shrug. "Want to go to the comic shop? There's one about 4 blocks from here."

"No thanks," Amy muttered sullenly as Waldo jumped at the chance to go play with action figures.

"Yea, fucking nerds." I said as everybody started heading off for the day. I shuffled my feet anxiously and glanced at Amy who was looking at me watery-eyed and gnawing on her bottom lip. "Want to go to the record store?"

"Shoe store after?" Amy asked hopefully.

I nodded at her and gave her a small smile.

Amy burst into tears and ran at me wrapping me in her thin arms. "Let's never fight again!" She wailed in my ear.

"Girls are weird." I heard Jeph mutter to Frank as they stepped off a bus presumably after getting their trademark black hoodies.
At about 4 I made my way over to the venue with Amy still clinging to me and Billy yipping daintily at my side on his leash. I was quite surprised to find that I wasn't the first person at the venue. Bert was sitting at the bar talking animatedly with the bar tender and smoking a cigarette. He turned as the door opened and smiled and gave me a small wave. Shocked my his mere appearance at professionalism I waved back and went through the bar to where the stage was set up and the PA guys were setting up mics and running wires.

I grabbed my bass and took it back into the bar to sit by Amy while I tuned it but of course she was no where to be found so I assumed she had went in the bathroom to touch up her recently applied makeup. I looked around for a place to sit and I heard the sound of a stool scraping and looked over to the bar to seeing Bert had pulled out the stool next to him at the bar and patted the seat without ever breaking his conversation with the bartender.

I walked over and sat gingerly on the stool making a point to sit as far away from Bert as I could without seeming rude. I began tuning my bass and tried as hard as I could to not eavesdrop on Bert and the bartender's conversation. One glance at the bartender and I couldn't help but be reminded of my brother Neil, whose own small stature was often overlooked because of the shear strength of his countenance. That once glance told me that the bartender would be doubling as our bouncer tonight should the need arise.

"All I'm saying is," Bert explained with the matter of fact attitude that most history teachers adopt when explaining to a particularily inept student that Albert Einstein did not write Tom Sawyer, that was Mark Twain-they just both had crazy hair. "Lando Calrissian was not a traitor. He was trying to protect everyone in Cloud City by giving up Han and he saved everyone in the end."

"Maybe," the bartender conceeded. "But Han could never trust him again. Their friendship was ruined forever."

"No man!" Bert exclaimed. "Han let Lando pilot the Millennium Falcon! You don't let someone you consider an enemy handle your most prized possession! They were bros!!!"

The bartender laughed, "Bert, we have this conversation every goddamn time you are in Gainesville and I'm never going to agree with you. Let's just have a beer and talk about the Battlestar Galacttica series finale instead."

"Holy fuck, yes!" Bert screamed causing the few middle-aged midday drinkers in the bar to look up from their conversations.

By this point I was shaking with laughter and trying my best to hold back the very unladylike snorts that usually happen when I get the giggles. It was at about this time that Amy reappeared from the bathroom and gave me the surprised eyebrows when she saw me sitting next to Bert and me turning red from surpressed laughter.

Coming over to me she mouthed, 'What's so funny?' I just shook my head.

"I know Marla agrees with me about that at least," Bert said putting his hand unexpectedly on my leg to get my attention.

I jumped about a foot out of my skin and almost dropped my bass as I stood up quickly from the bar stool. "I-I-I...StarWars? I don't know there's Amy. Bye."

I grabbed Amy's arm and we quickly made a beeline for the stage which was a safer distance away from Bert.

"What's going on?" Amy asked as I sat down and put my hand over my heart which felt like it was about to burst out of my chest. "What's wrong? Are you okay? What did he say to you?"

"Nothing. Nothing." I said as I looked down at my leg with a weird feeling in my stomach. "He was just being Bert."

"Ewwwwww. Gross." Amy said assuming I meant that he was being childish and disgusting as always.

"Hey!" Adam said coming over to us with Russ. "There you are!"

"You ready for this, Marla?" Russ asked putting his hand on my shoulder.

"I think so," I said as my heart began to slow down. Now that I was far enough away from Bert.

"Good," he said clapping my shoulder. "Because you guys are opening. Get ready for your soundcheck."
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