Sledgehammer Nightmare, Chapter Two

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
A very strange combination!

Submitted: November 17, 2016

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Submitted: November 17, 2016

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Chapter Two:

 

 

And so, Sledgehammer Nightmare found itself on the bill of The Cranium-Splitter Festival, right after Lozenge, and right before Red Tool.

 

 

This was it? Sir Robert stared unbelieving, upon what looked for all the world like a muddy campground. The ‘stage’ was a flat-bed semi trailer. About 40 loser-looking youths, all male, with their average age looking to be about 15, were gathered in front of it, with a sani-can off in the distance, near the tent city which sprawled haphazardly near the trees, which filled up his vision in the distance. Just then, he spotted ‘Rave’, talking to a guy who looked like the poster child for the need for contraception. He walked over and said,

 

“Hey Rave, where’s everybody at?”

 

“Oh, we’re just starting out; this is it.”

 

Sir Robert glanced around at the near-empty field, and replied, “You’re kidding me; why, there’s not enough people here to do the wave.”

 

“What they lack in numbers, they’ll make up for in enthusiasm.”

 

Sir Robert watched as a guy took a leak in an empty quart bottle, glanced at the wide-open door of the empty sani-can, shook his head, and responded, “That, I very much doubt.”

 

“Fine, you guys can bail if you want to; we can get the remaining bands to pay a little bit more.”

 

“Whoa, there, Rave; you never mentioned this was a pay-to-play festival.”

 

“Well, we came up a little short on the amount of people we were hoping to attract, and without their price of admission, we can’t pay for the flatbed and the sani-can, man.”

 

“How much?”

 

“$100.”

 

“A $100 dollars, you’re out of your mind if you think we’re going to pay to play.”

 

“Fine, then you’re band is out. We’ll ask the other bands to help make up the difference.”

 

Robert looked at the all-male crowd of losers, and thought to himself, this is about as many fans as we could hope to get, so I’d better just pay this rip-off son of a b***h and be done with it.

 

 

As they waited for Lozenge to finish their set, Sir Robert was still hacked, but the truth was, they needed the exposure. After all, you had to start somewhere. But $100?

 

 

Lozenge’s last song ground painfully to a halt, and it was time for Sledgehammer Nightmare to load their equipment onto the ‘stage’.

 

 

They were ready, and Sir Robert said into the microphone, “We’re Sledgehammer Nightmare, and you’d better find something to hold onto, because we’re going to rock heavy.”

 

The kid directly in front of the ‘stage’ grabbed his own crotch, and several of those around him appeared to laugh, but their laughter was drown out by an ungodly assault of noise from Sledgehammer Nightmare’s amplifiers.

 

“Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!” screamed Robert.

 

 

Unbelievably, they had received wild cheering and applause after their first song, and if anything, it had only increased. They had been called back for three encores, and everyone was sky-high backstage after they had managed to escape the cheering fans. Granted, it was only 40 people, but this was what Sir Robert had been anticipating; the adulation and hero-worship; it was powerful stuff; his theory about mixing opera and death-metal had been confirmed.

 

 

Tonight was THE show for Sir Robert Timkins’ new band, Sledgehammer Nightmare. They’d gone over well at The Cranium-Splitter Festival; granted, it was only 40 inebriated kids, but still, it had been an ego-boosting night for Sir Robert especially. He was at one point the only person who thought mixing opera and death metal was a good idea, and even his belief in the idea was wavering. They’d been laughed at, at the best, and fire bombed at the worst. Dissatisfied youth would aim bottle rockets and toss M-80’s at them to show their displeasure. He’d just about been ready to give it up, when they had played The Cranium-Splitter Festival. Much to his surprise and delight, the crowd had cheered instead of throwing s**t. The fact they had been well-received had confirmed to Sir Robert, if no one else, that his risky experiment would work.

 

 

They had answered an ad where a band named Fireface was looking for another band, with a little more experience, to team up with. Fireface had just been formed, and where looking to open up for another band. When they had met in person, the other band’s vocalist said,

 

“Is this some kind of a practical joke?”

 

Robert answered, “Ah, no. I’m the lead singer, Robert Timkins, but you can call me Sir Robert.” He had answered so sarcastically because the guy had p****d him off, royal.

 

“Dude, you look more like a door-to-door encyclopedia salesman.”

 

Robert stifled an overwhelming urge to go off on the guy, and replied, “Well, that’s because I’m trying to show; never judge a book by its cover.”

 

“That’s good advice, because the name of the book that goes with the cover I’m seeing must be Dork Victory!”

 

 

Sir Robert was in a rage, but he’d somehow managed to walk away from the guy without ripping off the guy’s rude face, and making him watch as his own face beat the s**t out of him. Fireface was on stage now, and almost done. Then it would be Sledgehammer Nightmare time.

 

 

As Sir Robert gazed out at the overflow crowd, he was full of doubts. What if the crowd laughed at them? No, they wouldn’t laugh; Sledgehammer Nightmare was hitting their stride; after all, hadn’t they done well at The Cranium-Splitter Festival? Fireface’s music sounded bad to Sir Robert’s trained ear, but the kids seemed to like them. Suddenly, Fireface finished their last song. An

overwhelming roar split the night air. The members of Fireface stood looking out at the crowd.

 

 

Come on, what’s the hold up? Get your a***s off the stage, so we can set up,’ thought Sir Robert. That was the deal, no extra songs for the opening act, and yet, here Fireface was, not moving offstage. In fact, with they way they were looking at each other, they were getting ready to keep on playing. Just as he was thinking this, an ungodly crunch sounded from the amplifiers, and Fireface launched into another song; this was bulls**t!

 

 

Finally, after 3 encores, Fireface came offstage, and a livid Sir Robert met them as they were coming off.

 

“What kind of bulls**t was that?”

 

Lead Singer Samson Maruli replied, “Dude, we’re sorry, but, well, you saw; I know we hadn’t planned on an encore, but they demanded it.”

 

“Bulls**t, bulls**t, bulls**t,” were the only words returned by Sir Robert.

 

 

At last, they were ready to hit the stage. The crowd had grown restless with the long break, and Sir Robert sensed trouble if they didn’t begin soon. Sir Robert screamed into his microphone,

 

“Hell’s bells, do we have a crowd, or what?”

 

Someone in the audience shouted back, “Shut your pie hole and rock, already!”

 

Sir Robert briefly wondered just exactly where a ‘pie hole’ was located, before the band launched into ‘Cut to Pieces’, their opening number. It turned out to be their closing number also, for the expectant crowd took one listen to what they were hearing, and decided it sucked. Boos, spare change, and in one case, a whole baggie of c**p, were hurled towards the band. Sir Robert at one point between ducklings, saw members of Fireface off to the side of the stage, booing lustily. Apparently, even their opening act thought they sucked. As the other members dropped their instruments and fled for the safety that was anywhere offstage, it dawned on Sir Robert that it was the end of his bold idea to mix opera, and death metal. It was as he was fleeing for his life that the afore-mentioned baggie of c**p struck his amplifier, covering him in a foul-smelling, dripping brown mess. No sir, he didn’t need this s**t; literally.

 

 

Sir Robert Timkins picked up the want-ads in the local paper. After he’d finished scouring them, looking for something that wasn’t there, his shoulders slumped in despair. Nothing. That was the total amount he had found today, like the last 60. Here he was, a trained opera singer, and he couldn’t even find a job selling vegetables door-to-door. When he’d made the decision to disband his band, Sledgehammer Nightmare, little did he know just how much trouble he’d have trying to find another job; any job. He figured to just go back to singing opera, but even that hadn’t worked out like he’d expected it to. The stuck-up opera community, had turned their backs on him, because of his association with death metal. They’d stuck their noses even higher in the air, disgusted with him because he’s tried to marry opera singing, with death metal music. Therefore, the world of opera was now closed to him. He’d always thought he’d at least have that to fall back on, but nope. Now what?

 

 

He’d been backed into a corner. Well, if no business would hire him, he’d start his own. He’d decided to offer his services to teach opera to youngsters. He’d put an ad in the local paper, offering to become an opera coach for young people interested in learning opera singing.

 

 

Almost immediately, several parents had called him, wanting him to train little Bobby or little Suzy how to sing opera.

 

 

His knock sounded loud in the ears of Sir Robert Timkins. Today, he was meeting the child he’d be teaching everything he had learned over the many years he’d been singing opera. There was a shuffling behind the door, a rattling as the safety chain was undone, and the door swung open to reveal a slim man in a butler’s outfit.

 

“Yes?”

 

“Yes, Sir Robert Timkins here to see Reginald?”

 

“And this would be pertaining to?”

 

“I’ve been hired to teach Reginald opera.”

 

“Please, sir, please refer to him as Master Reginald.”

 

Master Reginald? This kid sounded pathetically conceited. “Oh, yes of course, Master Reginald.”

 

 

He was asked to follow the butler deeper into the house. All along the corridor, rigid faces stared sternly out from their frames, where they hung upon the wall. As they rounded a corner, a stuffy-looking woman in a gold track suit rose from a pristinely-white couch, and said to Bentstone, which apparently was the butler’s name, as he hadn’t offered it to Sir Robert,

 

“Bentstone, this should be Sir Robert Timkins.”

 

“Yes, my lady; may I present Sir Robert Timkins; Sir Robert, may I present Lady Olivia Cornhose.”

 

“Ma’am, a pleasure,” and he extended his hand for a shake. Mrs. Olivia Cornhose made no move to extract her hand from the pocket where it resided.

 

“Yes, if you’d be so kind as to follow me, I’ll introduce you to Master Reginald. I’m afraid Reginald’s father, Thurston, has a charity polo match he’s attending, and will be unable to be here. He sends his regrets.”

 

Yeah, I’ll just bet he’s all broken up; “Not a problem; I know how those charity polo games are.”

 

A normal person would have picked up on the sarcasm, but Lady Olivia Cornhose just kept walking. Suddenly, a snarling blur came running up and attacked his leg.

 

“Hey, let go, you little b*****d!” he screamed in rage and shook his foot violently. A shaggy white missile was kicked across the room, and smashed into the wall, dislodging a photograph of a gray-haired gentleman frowning forever from behind glass, where it shattered upon making contact with the smooth wood floor.

 

“Woolsie Princess, are you okay, baby?”

 

Woolsie? “I’m sorry, but Woolsie surprised me; I’m fine, I think.”

 

“That’s Woolsie Princess.”

 

Woolsie Princess? “Oh, pardon me, Woolsie Princess.”

 

The dog stood up, apparently okay, gave Sir Robert a look of contempt, and sauntered away.

 

“Well, she’s looks like she’s alright, which is more than I can say for poor Uncle Cornhose the Third. He’s damaged beyond repair; oh well, I’ll just subtract the replacement value from your fee.”

 

Wait, she was holding him responsible, and not fur-ball Cujo? On the other hand, he sure needed her money. “Yes, ma’am.”

 

Just then, a kid of about 13 came into the room. “This is my son, Master Reginald.”

 

“Hi, Reginald.”

 

“That’s Master Reginald,” answered the child.

 

S**t-o-dear, thought Sir Robert, the kid’s a d**k! “Yes, of course, Master Reginald.” Precocious little b*****d.

 

 

The mother had taken her gold-colored rear and left; leaving Sir Robert alone with Master Reginald. “So, Reginald, shall we begin?”

 

Reginald acted like he didn’t hear.

 

“I asked if you’re ready to begin?”

 

“Oh, I’m sorry; did you mean Master Reginald? Because there’s nobody here who answers to plain Reginald.”

 

The hell with this; “I tell you what, Reggie, why don’t you start by singing “I’m a little spoiled f****r in the key of ‘blow it out your a**’, you little p****r!?

 

 

Well, needless to say, he’d lost that job. Now what?

 

 

Sir Robert was sitting around, depression about not finding a job weighing him down. He’d tried a few more times to teach opera singing to kids, but all the kids were as obnoxious as Master, so he’d packed in that idea. Once again, he scoured the help wanted ads for work, but could find nothing. He was months behind on his rent, and had no prospects on the horizon to get caught up. He was getting desperate. Sure, he’d been broke when he’d had the band, but at least there was always the promise of making big money. The more he thought about it, the better the idea forming in his brain sounded. Why not? He had decided; he was getting Sledgehammer Nightmare back together.

 

 

He’d called up all the former members of the band, and they had all declined his invitation to rejoin, one going so far as to say,

 

“What? Are you that stupid? Get a clue, the band sucked, and your sucked idea is sucked!”

 

And when Sir Robert replied, “So, is that a no then?”, all he heard was cursing, until the receiver had been slammed down.

 

 

At last, the new Sledgehammer Nightmare was put together, and ready to rock. Sir Robert had commissioned an artist to build a gigantic, grinning skull that would serve as their background. Knuckles Magginty, the bands new drummer stood flexing his glove-with-no-fingers hand, looking at the backdrop and said,

 

“Looks sharp; maybe we should sacrifice a chicken, right on stage, you know, to show we love the devil?”

 

Sir Robert just stared at him in response. He couldn’t believe this guy; he actually WAS a devil-worshipper.

 

 

The plan was to all run out of the skull’s mouth to begin the show. “Ladies and gentleman,” which was only true if one of the all-male audience enjoyed wearing a dress and singing Barbara Streisand tunes, “would you please welcome, Sledgehammer Nightmare!”

 

The Paper Mache’ mouth opened, and Sir Robert and the rest of the band ran out on stage. One of the audience members turned to his friend, and yelled in his ear,

 

“Look, the skull’s puking band members!”

 

Knuckles Magginty thundered out the intro to ‘Bless the Beasts’, and Sir Robert sang,

 

“Look at all the beasts, with their stomachs ripped open, ...”

 

The big finale was for fireworks to shoot skyward, and explode hundreds of feet above the stage of this outdoor concert, but when they were lit, instead of shooting skyward, they shot across the stage, scattering band members every which way as they ran for their lives.

 

 

They had actually gone over fairly well, and Sir Robert was pretty pleased, except for the firework disaster. It had been a miracle no one had been hurt. He was encouraged by the band’s response, and was already thinking up a different stage show.

 

 

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; six 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 thousands 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 had 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 site 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, 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 cannon, 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 six 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; and it turned out that the only band member who managed to be spared this unexpected wardrobe change was the drummer, as the rest of 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. Four heads recoiled from the unexpected impact, and four dudes hit the deck. 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 who’d taken the tee shirt broadside right in the face getting slowly to their feet, apparently okay. No harm, no foul.

 

 

Sir Robert Timkins was scheming once again; scheming for ways to promote his band, Sledgehammer Nightmare. He was thinking ‘promotion’ once more, hopefully something a little less dangerous.

 

 

He had it; Sledgehammer Nightmare would headline their own festival. He took out an ad in the Little Penny free paper, saying the band was looking for little-known bands who wanted to play a free show to get their name out there. Within a couple of days he was besieged with bands who wanted to play. He didn’t have time to check them all out, so he whittled the list down, by choosing bands who had a cool-sounding name.

 

 

Rodent Roadkill was up first. He was among the three people who witnesses a band of rejects light their out-of-tune guitars on fire before running offstage, which was nothing more than pallets, apparently stolen from the local supermarket. The lead singer of Rodent Roadkill came up with a satisfied smirk on his face, and asked Sir Robert if that was an amazing sight. Sir Robert answered,

 

“I tell you what; we’ll be calling you.” Yeah, the only thing we’ll be calling you is 5 guys, less than 1 brain!

 

 

Flamethrower Kiss was the next band on his list. He watched in amazement as 5 dudes in homemade army fatigues, packing their guitars like a machine gun strapped to their backs, ran out, first one guy ran out, un-slung his guitar, pointed it at the 20 or so people in attendance, then motioned for the next guy, who ran out past the first guy, and repeated the process. All 5 musical commandos took their turn guarding against god-knows-what, until, one-by-one, they reached the stage. One guy in the audience, upon hearing the name Flamethrower Kiss, said disgustedly,

 

Flamethrower Kiss? I guess I should have known that the real band would never agree to play in a dudes’ backyard; I’m so out of here!”

 

Sir Robert thought the guy had the right idea, so he left too.

 

 

He had checked out all the bands on his curious list, and not one of them was anything more than loser freaks who thought it would be cool playing in a band. The show was scheduled for the end of the week, and he didn’t have another band besides Sledgehammer Nightmare lined up to play. What was going to do?

 

 

The day of the show arrived, and Sir Robert had done the only thing he could think of doing. He’d called up The Little Penny, and had them change the ad to read,

 

“Sledgehammer-Fist” instead. Then he got various musician friends to act like their band was going to play, but their lead vocalist had a severe case of explosive diarrhea, so ‘Fist and Last’ would be unable to play. Anyone who complained that it had said ‘Sledgehammer-Fest’, was told they must have read it wrong. Thankfully, no one had the earlier ad that would have proved the switch.

 

 

Sledgehammer Nightmare took the stage. There were quite few people in attendance, thanks to the ad in The Little Penny, and because it was free. Sir Robert approached the microphone, and started screaming out the words that sort of went with the crunching music.

 

“Psychedelic Killers, oh yeah, Psychedelic Killers; they’re freaking out due to taking too many drugs; they’re freaking out cause they’re really such bad-a** thugs. Look out; they’re after you; Now what the f**k are you going to do? Yeah, Psychedelic Killers, oh yeah, Psychedelic Killers; oh....!”

 

 

Sir Robert’s mind was racing. They had already played every song the knew, and the show wasn’t even an 1/2 hour old. Granted, they’d only written 5 songs, but still, they all seemed pathetically short. Why, oh why couldn’t he have written a self-absorbed 18 minute song like the ones he hated so much? Now he could understand them a little better. When you need to fill time, an extra-long song, no matter how s****y, fit the bill; but then they hadn’t expected to have to fill the entire show by themselves.

 

 

He looked in desperation at the other members of the band, who all shrugged, then launch into a song.

 

“Psychedelic Killers, oh yeah, Killers; they’re freaking out...”

 

 

When they’d started in on ‘Psychedelic Killers’ for the fourth time, they’d been booed off the stage. At first, the music had been so loud, the audience hadn’t noticed they were the same songs over again. But gradually, the repetition of songs had made it through their drug and alcohol-fueled haze, and the audience appreciated it not at all.

 

“What a rip; we want our money back!” someone had yelled from the audience. When Sir Robert had reminded them it was a free show, that’s when the booing began.

 

“Yeah, well s***w everybody,” screamed Sir Robert. Lighters, and in one case, a chair, where being hurled upon the stage. Time to leave, thought Sir Robert. Next show, more songs.

 

 

 


© Copyright 2017 Mike S.. All rights reserved.

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