Sir Robert’s Big Surprise
Sir Robert Timkins was driving through a neighborhood that looked mean, nasty, and scary. He kept thinking, what am I doing here? He was an opera singer, yet this neighborhood looked like gang territory. But, The Tommie Temp Agency knew what they were doing, didn’t they? When he’d gotten their call telling him there’d been a cancellation due to sickness, he’d been ecstatic. Truth be told, he could really use the money. His ex-wife was demanding alimony, and he was having trouble making ends meet. Being an opera singer didn’t exactly rake in the money. He’d been about to get a regular job, when he’d seen an ad in a musician’s newspaper advertising Tommie’s Temp Agency; an agency that did nothing but represent musical acts, of all kinds. When someone had a need for musical talent of any kind, TTA would fill that need. They matched musical type to musical need. Anyway, he needed the money, so here he was, but this couldn’t be right; look at this neighborhood!
Skinhead Jim was looking forward to the show tonight. Kill Thrash was playing; they were his favorite band. He was going to par-ta! He’d been bummed out when Razor Wire, his 2nd favorite band, at the last minute had cancelled, something about their drunken singer falling to his death off a freeway overpass, but had been sky-high when he’d heard the temp agency he had called was sending Kill Thrash. Forgotten was Razor Wire, and their plummeting singer. He had put together this show, and wanted everything to be perfect; and now, with the announcement of Kill Thrash as the replacement band, it would be!
Sir Robert Timkins pulled his car up to the address listed on his paperwork, and was even more sure now that a bad mistake had been made. Maybe he should call the agency? No, he didn’t want to cause any trouble; if they got mad at him, and pulled the job? No, he couldn’t afford that! He got out of his car and looked at the people outside the hall. They were dressed in black, and some of them had white makeup covering their face. As he watched, one of the vampire-people guzzled what was left in a bottle of malt liquor, staggered over to a nearby building entryway, and proceeded to urinate on the front door. When he was done zipping up, he whirled around and screamed,
Robert was shocked, but bound and determined to sing inside. He needed that money! He walked up to the front door, passing several foul-mouthed kids, who all seemed to ignore him. He pulled open the door, and almost passed out from the billowing clouds of cigarette smoke that filled the air. Choking and gagging, he found the stage, such as it was. It looked to be a homemade platform about ten feet across, and maybe a few inches off the ground. It was covered in graffiti, and there was a microphone in the center of a crudely-painted skull. He gazed at the debauchery all around him, and once again resisted the urge to flee; he was desperate for money, but his desperation was matched by the venue itself. He set his songbook on the stage, and started to remove his jacket. Before he could however, he was approached by a ghoul in black, who said,
“Woe, woe there, dude; what the f**k are you doing?”
“I was sent here by Tommie’s Temp Service, to fill in for the singer who was supposed to sing, but fell ill. I think there was a mistake made somewhere; I’ll just be going now.”
He had changed his mind about the money; now all he cared about was getting out of here, alive!
“Wait a minute dude; you say you’re a singer?”
“Oh, not really, I just---”
“Well, we were supposed to be getting Kill Thrash, but a bunch of us have our own garage band, and if you can sing, and you’re already here, there’s no fricking sense to waste this whole night!”
“No, no, I can’t sing this---”
“Oh, just let me round up the boys, and we’ll be right with you! By the way, I’m Skinhead Jim”
“No, Skinhead, I don’t thi---”
“Hey guys, this dude is a pro singer, and he’s going to sing for us; let’s jam!”
Skinhead Jim was bitterly disappointed; no Kill Thrash? That blew, but it would be a perfect time for their band, Crushing Blow, to make their debut. Granted, the new guy looked like he didn’t have a clue, and would have to make up lyrics on the spot, but what the hell; he was a pro!
The band was all set up, and when he saw everything set up, Robert thought,
'What have I gotten myself into? I’ve really got to make them understand, I’m an OPERA singer; no way can I sing this crap! I should have insisted I didn’t want to do this!'
“Ah, I hate to tell you guys this, but---”
“Ladies and gentleman,” announced Skinhead Jim through his microphone, “please bear with us, as this is our first show, and our singer is brand-new, and unfamiliar with our songs. Kill Thrash couldn’t be here, but our band, Crushing Blow, has decided to play; so, without further delay, would you welcome, Crushing Blow!”
“No, wait---” An unbelievable wall of noise erupted around Robert Timkins, as the band launched into a song. Robert stood there, drums pounding, guitars screaming, and didn’t know what to do. He grabbed the microphone to tell everyone he was an opera singer.
“Ah, fellas, I don’t---” but they crunched on, seemingly ignoring him. He didn’t know what to do. He glanced over at Skinhead Jim, and saw him nod towards the microphone. So he decided he had to try to sing. He judged a good time to begin, and,
“The sun is shining, the birds do sing, I’m so glad to be alive, to see this beautiful thing!” his trained baritone warbled.
Somehow, he had made it through every song. It sounded pathetic to his trained ears. Well, he had tried to warn them, but they weren’t listening. He’d just slip out the door quietly. As he was heading for the door, he heard,
“Hey, dude, where are you going?” It was Skinhead Jim.
“Oh, I tried to tell you that it would sound awful, but nobody paid me any attention!” he replied.
“Awful? We all thought it was so different-sounding, it’s sure to grab people’s attention. We want you to become Crushing Blow’s singer, dude!”