4 Stories Up is a fictional, serial story that follows a talented, sexy female drummer as she seeks fame and fortune with a band. Tory is a woman making her her way in a male-dominated world of heavy metal. She is passionate in life and music and she plays for keeps. Her feisty nature often gets her in trouble but she fights on towards perfection in her love, her music and her life. – Find past chapters here.
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The band was backstage, waiting for their set to start at The Pit. Doug peered out the side of the stage and grimaced. “Guys, there are a lot of cowboy boots out there,” he said worriedly.
The rest of the band peered out with him and Chris sighed. “Damn,” he said. “This could get ugly.”
Just then Beth came bustling up to them. “Are you guys ready to go on?” she asked happily. “The crowd is getting restless.”
“Um,” Tory said, “Beth, you know we’re a rock band, right?”
“Well you’d better learn some country asap,” she snapped, her happy demeanor suddenly gone.
“But, that’s not, we don’t…” Tory stammered.
“If you’re going to be my house band, you need to play what the crowd wants and this crowd wants country.”
“That’s not really how we work…” Doug chimed in, trying to help Tory out.
“Phillip said you were versatile. So prove it,” she said huffily as she stormed away.
“Shhhiiittt,” Doug whispered. “Now what, gang?”
“Ahhhh, does anyone know any country?” Tory asked.
“Oh, no, I am not doing country,” Chris said passionately. “No way, no fucking way.”
“Look, if we go out there and play our stuff, we’re going to get crucified. Those cowboys do NOT look friendly,” Tory argued.
“Then we leave,” Chris said simply.
“And we make Phillip look like an idiot,” she shot back.
“He’s the one who got us into this! I’m more worried about the rep of the band than his rep at this point,” Chris said, his voice rising.
“He IS our rep!” Tory exclaimed in frustration. “If he goes down, we go too.”
Jake had been silent up to this point. Sadly, he said, “We need to talk to dad.”
The band members all nodded in agreement and hurried back to the dressing room to find Phillip. He was talking to Beth, leaned over her with a big smile on his face.
“Phillip, can we have a word?” Doug asked, diplomatically glancing over at Beth.
“Sure, what’s up?” Phillip asked happily.
“Well, we were hoping to discuss this, you know, like in private…” Doug said uncomfortably.
Phillip looked up then and frowned slightly at the band. “If there’s a problem, Beth will need to be part of the solution,” he said logically.
“Fine,” Chris snapped. “It’s a country crowd out there and Beth wants us to play country music.”
Phillip glanced at Beth in surprise. “Is this true?” he asked.
Beth put on a big smile. “Well, honey, I just told your band that it seems a country crowd showed up tonight, so to make their first appearance successful, they might want to throw in some country music. It was just a suggestion.”
“I thought this bar was rock now,” Phillip said, seeming confused.
“You know we’re trying to make that transition. I guess these cowboys just didn’t get the memo,” she said sweetly.
“That makes sense,” Phillip said. “What do you guys want to do?”
“What do we want… I’ll tell you what I want,” Chris exploded.
Tory pulled Chris outside the door. “We’ll chat and let you know,” she interrupted.
When they got outside the room, Chris swung around on Tory. “Are you nuts? Are you truly thinking of playing crap country music to make that psycho happy?”
“Look, she obviously told Phillip a different story than she told us. I think we have to handle this carefully.” She glanced over at Jake who was staring miserably at his sneakers. “For many reasons,” she added.
“I’m telling you right now, I’ll walk before I play that shit,” Chris said, sparing a quick glance at Jake.
“What about crossover stuff?” Doug asked.
“Like what?” Tory asked.
“Like, older stuff that is classic rock but country buffs might like too. Like CCR, or Bruce Springsteen or…”
“That’s not country,” Chris said, frowning.
“It’s not, but it’s not hard rock, modern stuff either. Most people like it. It’s what I tend to play when I’m busking because it hits a wider audience.”
The band mulled this over for a moment. Then Chris sighed and said, “I guess I can live with that, for tonight.”
“Agreed,” Tory said, smiling at Doug. “What do you think, Jake?”
“Okay,” he agreed, still staring at his sneakers.
“Hey, everyone has an off day or two,” Tory said to Jake. “Your dad isn’t perfect, but he’s pretty close. We’ll get this all cleared up tomorrow.”
“Okay,” he repeated, and this time he glanced up and shot Tory a quick smile.
The band went out on stage and the crowd cheered for the most part, with a few taunts of “It’s about time” and “Nice t-shirts.” There was a hush then as the band took their places.
Chris turned to face Tory and Jake and Doug came over too. “Here goes nothing,” he whispered.
Then, turning, he faced the crowd and said, “Who’s ready to party?” The crowd cheered and then quieted as they heard Tory hit the drums and Jake hit the first riffs of “Born in the USA” by Bruce Springsteen. The band played for a full 30 seconds in trepidation when suddenly they heard, “Yah! Rock it!” and suddenly the crowd was in their court. They continued on with some classic rock that played into Chris’ vocal wheelhouse. By the time they were done, the crowd was eating it up.
The band walked off stage in relief, if not elated at what they had to do. Phillip, however, was ecstatic. “You guys rocked that! Great job!”
“Don’t ever make us do it again or you’re fired,” Chris stated flatly as he pushed past his manager and stormed out of the bar.
Phillip looked at the remaining three members in surprise. “Wha? I thought you guys did great. And we made money tonight.”
“Not worth it, dude,” Doug said sadly and he followed Chris out of the club.
Beth came up and gushed over Tory and Jake. “You guys were so good!” she said enthusiastically. “The crowd loved you. See, I told you Phillip had faith in your versatility! We will see you again on Saturday night!”
“I…” Tory started.
“No thank you,” Jake said firmly and he pushed by his father and left the bar, following Doug and Chris.
Phillip frowned and looked over at Beth in amazement. “Beth, I’m sorry,” he said. “I’m not sure what has gotten into them!”
“Oh, you know artists,” Beth smiled at him. “So temperamental. Let’s plan for Saturday night. I think this could be great for both of us!”
“Tory, can you talk some sense into them?” Phillip asked.
“No, no I can’t. I’ll see you at the garage, Phillip,” Tory said, shaking her head.
Tory walked out and hung her head sadly. She had to make Phillip see what had actually happened that night or this band might be history!
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Get the latest on Tory and the band between chapters at their official Facebook page!
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
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