Sledgehammer Nightmare

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is quite a long piece, so be forewarned. I wrote it years ago when I could write more than 'the end,' thanks for your help, Hull!

Submitted: February 03, 2019

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Submitted: February 03, 2019

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Ladies in evening dresses, men in tuxedos, and the air inside the concert hall was buzzing with the promise of what was to come. All of proper society’s upstanding citizens were gathered at Parson Hall to hear what just might be the greatest opera singer to come along in the last 50 years, Salvatore Garibaldi. His reputation was unmatched among living operatic voices. Tonight was the grand finale of the annual charity auction/ball, held each November by The Women’s Giving Society, who’s main purpose was to see that those less-fortunate had warm clothing, blankets, and food; enough so they could make it through the brutally-cold winter. Then, the wealthy people in attendance could feel like they’d done their part to help ‘the little people’, and could turn their attention to $1000 dollar plates of pasta and listening to fine music. Their $1000 dollar ‘fee’ would in essence be paying to bring Salvador Garibaldi, who charged a premium.

 

 

******

 

King Thrash, a death-metal band, had been down on their luck since lead singer Bruno Dasic had been arrested for drugs. But now Dasic was out, having served his two years, and they were once again available to play. They had signed up with a temp agency, who would find them paying gigs. Just today, the agency had called with a last-minute show at this concert hall, due to a sick call. They all thought it was a little weird to be doing a show at a hall that was well-known for high-brow concerts, but oh well, they were all eager to play, so they didn’t question it.

 

******

 

They showed up at the back door, and there wasn’t anyone around, so they quickly loaded all their equipment in, and up on the stage. They were all ready to play. A dude in a butler’s outfit stuck his head through the closed curtain, and did a double-take.

 

“Uh, are you the replacement?”

 

Bruno Dasic replied, “The replacement what, hip? Eh, ha ha!”

 

The elderly dude in the butler’s outfit then said, “I think there’s been some sort of mix-up.”

 

Dasic replied, “Look, pops, we were told to show up here to play by Tommie’s Temp Agency, and unless you want complaints galore from both them and us, I suggest you let us play.”

 

Well, the dude in the butler’s outfit certainly didn’t want any trouble, so he said, “Okay, I’ll just pop out front and introduce you.”

 

Dasic responded, “No, we want to surprise them; just open the curtain and we’ll start playing.”

 

******

 

Cocktails and cigars for the men, and cocktails for the women were had all around, as the gathered crowd waited for the entertainment. There was a riffling in the curtain, and then it opened. Suddenly there came an earth-shattering scream, and several drinks hit the floor. A flaming pentagram blazed away behind the drummer, and the band members looked like the very down and out people they were trying to help. Sound so loud and distorted that it couldn’t even be identified as music assaulted their ears. Several ladies screamed, and it only added to the incredible din.

 

 

“Thank you, people, are you ready to bang?” asked the man at the microphone.

 

 

“What did he say? Well I never!” said one elderly woman in a fine gray dress. None of them could hear, and they gazed stupidly around at each other in the vain hope that someone else knew what was happening. Just about then, the abomination before their eyes launched into another wall of indecipherable, mind-numbing, shrieking, god-awful noise.

 

******

 

The empty hall echoed with the remnants of their last song. It was their last song because the power had been turned off. Bruno Dasic stormed off the stage, and demanded to know what idiot had cut the power?

 

The dude who was dressed like a butler replied, “We had to do something, you boy’s were playing your electric whatever-they-are so loud, we couldn’t get your attention.”

 

“Well, you sure got it now, Grandpa, now that you screwed it up.”

 

******

 

The members of Kill Thrash stormed into Tommie’s Temp Agency, and Bruno Dasic yelled, “What kind of a joke do you call that?”

 

The man sitting behind the desk with the plaque announcing him as the manager said, “We’re terribly sorry, we mixed up the venues your band was supposed to play at. You guys were mistakenly sent to a black-tie gala, and Sir Robert Timkins was sent to the 'Black Candle Crap-Fest.' We’re terribly sorry.”

 

 

 

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 had 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 second favorite band, at the last minute had canceled, 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, what 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 make-up 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,

 

“Yyyeeeeaaah!”

 

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 home-made 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,

 

“Woah, woah there, dude, what the hell 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?”

 

“Well, yes, but---”

 

“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 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, Sledgehammer Nightmare, 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, Sledgehammer Nightmare, has decided to play, so, without further delay, would you welcome, Sledgehammer Nightmare!”

 

“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 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 Sledgehammer Nightmare's singer, dude!”

 

******

 

Under the cover of darkness, they pulled into Hampton City, for what would be the next stop on their state-wide Black Candle Darkness Tour. Sir Robert Timkins had cast his lot with a bunch of guys who all belonged in a mortuary. What, was he crazy? But on the other hand, why not? His opera career paid him next to nothing, so he really had nothing to lose.

 

 

 

‘Skinhead’ Jim Perdoosie, one of the bands’ guitarists, and who served as the bands’ manager, looked around the small town, and said,

 

“Look at this place, I’ve never even heard of this place, what kind of backwater place is this?

 

******

 

It was a strange combination, but Skinhead Jim thought it would work, so here they were, ready to play. So far on their state-wide tour, even Skinhead Jim would have to admit, it had NOT gone well. At each place they played, the fans consisted of society’s outcasts who were in no mood for the sunny, optimistic lyrics of Timkins. They expected songs about hell and death, and when they didn’t get it, they became slightly agitated. The band had to make a run for it, as chairs, bottle-rockets, and many other objects rained down upon them from the upset fans. Even Skinhead Jim had started to doubt his prediction that mixing opera singing and death-metal music would be just an odd enough to work.

 

 

“Ladies and gentlemen,” which was an odd way of putting it, as ever single fan in attendance was a dude, “direct from Hell, would you welcome, Sledgehammer Nightmare!” The band ran out on the stage, and Robert Timkins picked up his microphone, and addressed the audience.

 

“Well, we didn’t come directly from Hell, we’ve been to several towns around here first,” to which a voice was heard in answer,

 

“Yeah, we know, I was warned how bad you guys suck!”

 

Robert had no comeback for that, so he simply said, “Here’s one you might appreciate, it’s slated to be the first single off of our new record, “Sunshine while you Die”.”

 

This was news to the rest of the group, who sat looking at each other with confused looks on their faces.

 

“This one’s called “Dance of the Gruesome Heads”; ah, one, and two, and...” Suddenly, an earth shattering wave of pure noise erupted from the amplifiers. Robert breathed into his microphone,

 

“The girl with the yellow dress screamed, it’s The Dance of the Gruesome Heads, yeah, look out is what she said!”

 

Almost immediately, it was raining everything as the fans in attendance vented their spleens, and their displeasure, by throwing everything that wasn’t tied down (and soon things that were tied down joined the aerial barrage.)

 

“Run,” shouted Skinhead Jim, and the other members of the band needed no encouragement. Most of them were already doing just that, except Robert Timkins. He made the unfortunate choice of giving it back to the audience.

 

“How rude, we’re doing our best to entertain you, you bunch of ungrateful, uncivilized heathens,” he announced into his microphone, “and what do you poorly-educated hoodlums do? Start showing your immaturity by throwing projectiles at us. Well, I--” it was then he saw a blinding flash, then nothing.

 

******

 

What was that irritating noise? A high-pitched wail filled the air, so loudly that Robert Timkins couldn’t think. “What is that racket?”

 

“Oh, good, he’s coming around now,” said a voice he didn’t recognize. Then a voice he did recognize said,

 

“You had us worried there, partner,” Skinhead Jim said.

 

“Why, what happened, and where am I?”

 

“You’re in an ambulance and were knocked for a loop by a glancing blow from a brick someone threw from the balcony, it’s a good thing you were starting to turn away, or it might have been an actual Sledgehammer Nightmare”

 

“Really? I feel fine”

 

“Fine, dude? You’re lucky to be alive. I guess I was wrong about it being a different type of metal music, turns out the only thing it was, was crap. I think we’d better quit before somebody gets killed.”

 

Robert should have been happy, but sadness filled his heart. He was hooked on the adrenaline being the front man for The Hammer had provided.

 

“Well, if you think so, but would you mind if I kept the name Sledgehammer Nightmare? I’d like to put together my own band.

 

******

“Wanted: musicians to form a unique band, must love to travel.” So read the want ad that Sir Robert had placed in the local paper. He had thought about saying it was a death metal band, but had quickly changed his mind, why limit it to just that? After all, he was a trained opera singer singing death metal. His would be a rock band to which the rules didn’t apply. He himself was a testament to ‘stretching your comfort zone’.

 

******

Two days the want ad had been running, and all manner of people had answered his ad and called. He thought back to some of them:

 

“Yes, I’m calling in response to your musicians wanted ad in the paper.”

“Yes, tell me about yourself.”

“Well, I’ve been playing electric guitar for over sixty years now.”

“Over sixty years?”

“That’s right, but I like this newfangled ‘rock and roll’. It seems exiting, but it probably won’t ever catch on.

“Ah, I’ll let you know.”

 

“Yeah, dude, is this, like, the right place to answer the ad?”

“If you’re referring to the ad for musicians, yes.”

“Cool!”

“It’s for a heavy metal band I’m putting together called Sledgehammer Nightmare, are you still interested?”

“Oh, most definitely, the only problem might be that I’m currently imprisoned for manslaughter, but my lawyer tells me I have every reason to get out soon, something about the police screwing up the evidence. Can you wait a little bit?”

“Ah, I let you know.”

“Sure, dude, you can read me at Shawrake Prison; just ask for Prisoner #...hello?”

 

'Hello, I understand you're calling in regards to the classified ad?”

 

“This is Dagger, and I’m calling from Hell...”

 

 

“Yes, is the right place to answer the ad for musicians?”

“Yes, I placed the ad in the paper, how old are you? You sound young.”

“Oh, I’m seven, but I can play the triangle, and besides my parents are cool with it. I’ve wanted to be in a band since I was five, and...” “Hello, who is this? Timmy, hang up and get into bed, now, who are you.. hello?”

Maybe this was going to take a little longer than he thought.

 

 

The End

 


© Copyright 2020 Mike S.. All rights reserved.

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