Once upon a time there was a boy. This boy loved playing music. He loved playing music so much that he spent hours and hours every day practicing which annoyed the hell out of his older sister.
Despite the very realistic threats of death and dismemberment she bore down upon him, the boy refused to relent. His pursuit led him to many wonderful experiences. He saw the world. Well…some of it anyway. He was on television, the radio, the internet and one time his face graced a half functional jumbotron in Japan. And it was good.
One day his phone rang. When he answered it, a young woman spoke in a thickly accented voice, “I need a drummer to play in my band. We’re going to China as the opening act for someone ‘Very Special’.”
The boy felt excitement and happiness at his good fortune. As it turned out the young woman required an entire backing band that would make her look good. So, the boy in his excitement recruited four of his musician friends. They all agreed and boatloads of imaginary dollar signs and happiness descended upon them.
Rehearsals began in earnest. The young woman’s parents attended every gathering to offer suggestions (commands) to each musician between songs. Critical and demanding, the young woman’s mother wielded a tongue sharpened on a whetstone of cruelty and spewed venomous opinions based on a leaning tower of ignorance. And it was no longer good.
Outside of the rehearsal room on a break, the boy sipped from a metal flask. The fire water would indeed help brighten his mood during the second half of rehearsal. His four friends joined with him sharing in their complaints and grievances while they emptied the remainder of his adult beverage into their frustrated bellies.
Each band member was required to submit a current passport and obtain a background check by none other than the United States Secret Service. With no further information released on who the “Very Special” Someone they would be touring the far east with, the boy and his four friends continued to study the songs and learn the dance moves no matter how humiliating.
With one rehearsal completed, the young woman’s mother decided, ready or not, it was time to see how an audience responded to the greatness that was her daughter. In rented vans, the entire group was transported to San Francisco for a test performance…in a church…with an audience of twelve people…
Did I mention all was no longer good? In case you missed it…all was no longer good.
Fortunately for the boy and his friends, they were relegated to the “Band” van and were not allowed to be seated in the same vehicle as the young woman and her parents. The friends assumed it was in order to preserve her purity and not allow her to be tainted by the scabby musician types. Many cattle were screamed at through open windows by “altered” voices of young, frustrated, “scabby” fellows on the long journey South down good old Interstate 5.
Despite his misgivings and frustrations, the boy did not quit. Not only was he going to visit China with his friends, they would be a decent amount to go. The boy continued to put up with the young woman’s mother’s mouth spews of lameness. He smiled while they played “My Heart Will Go On” for the umpteenth time. He held in laughter behind the rack toms watching his friends stumble through childish choreography during the Whitney Houston/Cincy Lauper/Barry Manilow/Barbara Streisand medley. The sneaked sips of prohibited fire water hidden in a can of Diet Mountain Dew helped quite a bit.
One week before their departure date, the boy’s phone rang again. The tour was cancelled. Apparently the “Very Special” Someone had been arrested. Mr. Mystery liked the nose candy a bit too much. Apparently the Chinese government frowned on that kind of thing so they through the nix down on the tour plan.
While it would have been nice to go to China and see that part of the world, the boy heaved a sigh of relief. His paycheck still cleared and he was now able to move on to bigger and better things such as eating Honey Nut Cheerios while watching Ren & Stimpy marathons in his underwear. Life was once again good.