Sledgehammer Nightmare; In Your Face!
By Mike Stevens
A Sir Robert Tale
Sir Robert Timkins couldn’t sleep; he was too wound up. The latest incarnation of his death-metal band, Sledgehammer Nightmare, looked like they were finally on their way; stardom, baby! Only he needed to come up with another idea to replace the fireworks idea, because not only had that one gone horribly wrong, but they were playing an indoor area next, opening for rock legends Razor Wire (who had been in the audience at their last show, and had been sufficiently impressed with them to offer the opening gig), and fireworks and indoors didn’t sound like a good very good idea! Hey, he had it; tee-shirt cannons that would shoot Sledgehammer Nightmare shirts out into the crowd. The kids would flock to their shows, if there were even the slightest chance of getting free Sledgehammer Nightmare stuff.
The arena was a smoke-filled den of evil when the members of Sledgehammer Nightmare were getting ready to hit the stage. Everything was in place; 6 tee shirt cannons would fire Sledgehammer Nightmare tee shirts high and far into the crowd. It had been expensive, and Sir Robert had had to mortgage his house to pay for it, but he was absolutely sure he was doing the right thing. After all, you needed some kind of a gimmick in order to stand out from hundreds of other metal bands, and besides, this would be a relatively-inexpensive form of advertising Sledgehammer. The tee shirt cannons were all affixed to a single board, which had been angled out facing the crowd. When Sledgehammer Nightmare finished their last song, the tee shirt cannons would fire, sending tee shirts affixed with the band’s logo arcing into the crowd. Yeah, that should be a sight none of the kids would soon forget!
Unseen by anybody, Willy Morrison had managed to sneak in without anyone seeing him, and know sat with his back to some kind of board, drinking beer from a huge can he had brought with him. Suddenly, he had a spot on his back, itching uncontrollably, that he couldn’t quite reach. He tried in vain to get his fingers to reach, but try as he might, he couldn’t. Oh man, it was driving him crazy! Then he remembered the board he was leaning against. He walked to the corner of it, and started rubbing his back furiously against it. There, that was the spot! The board leaned back towards him, but didn’t fall. Willy decided he’d better get out of there, so taking his beer with him, he walked away from the board.
Sir Robert was psyched; THIS was more like it! With each and every song, the applause from the audience grew louder. This was their 3rd encore, and the members of Razor Wire didn’t like it. What band would want to follow a band who the audience was going crazy for? Their manager stood impatiently in the wings, and scowled in their direction. Tough s**t! thought Sir Robert. As soon as this song ended, they would fire the tee shirt cannons, and the Sledgehammer Nightmare tees would sail out into the crowd; let’s see you follow that, Razor Wire! he thought.
“...heavy rock battalions, ATTACK!” With a final scream, Sir Robert nodded to a roadie offstage, and he flipped the switch to fire the cannons. Sir Robert and the others were looking forward to seeing the looks on the faces of the audience members when the heard a loud ‘bang!’, and saw 6 Sledgehammer Nightmare tee shirts arcing high above them. Only there was a loud ‘bang!’ alright, but instead of firing the shirts towards the audience, they were fired almost at point blank range, directly into the band members. All Sir Robert saw was a gray-white missile wrapping itself painfully across his face; the band found itself engulfed in a cloth blizzard. Each member was struck by the missile-like balled-up tees, and it looked like a squad of soldiers, marching into a machine gun nest. Five heads recoiled from the unexpected impact, and five dudes hit the deck, even the drummer, although he was partially-shielded by the drums. The crowd, meanwhile, was going crazy, thinking it was part of the show.
Slowly, hearing came back to Sir Robert. What the hell had happened? Suddenly, he became aware of a loud (well, not loud to him!) noise. What was that? The audience was cheering! They must think this was planned. Time to go with their misconception. Sir Robert got to his feet, and did a devil-sign at them. They went nuts! Oh well, no need for the truth! He glanced over and saw the other three and the drummer who’d all taken the tee shirt broadside right in the face getting slowly to their feet, apparently okay. No harm, no foul!