She slid past Griz who was
trying to stop a bunch of young girls from entering the building. How old are they? 14? Mere
babies. The thought passed her mind. It
didn’t matter. So long as it’s good clean and sane fun. She
remembered her teen days where she was as madly in love with her
favourite bands. She winced at the thought of ever liking boybands. What
a teenybooper I was. She laughed to herself, throwing Griz a grin as
she ran up to the stage where a band was doing a sound check.
“You guys have five
minutes,” she yelled up at the guitarist with green hair who gave her
a nod in return. Sighing, she fumbled with her access tag as she tried
to hold her papers in place. It was giving her hell, those passes.
“I swear these things will
strangle me to death one of these days,” she grumbled to Liz as she
pulled the tag over her head, placing them together with the rest of the
tags she was holding. The papers flew crazily down and she groaned. Liz
laughed. She knew all too well what her best friend was like.
“V, don’t worry. If you die,
I’ll make sure you have a nice funeral. White lilies and all,” She
joked, her brown hair bobbing as she giggled.
Veruca stuck her middle finger out at her best friend jokingly and headed for the car park. “Later woman.” She scanned the crowded area for familiar faces. She gave up on that idea when she realised that everyone at the car park looked the same to her. Dyed hair and all.
Being part of the crew wasn’t
all that fun. All these running around and yelling was wearing her out
and she had a whole month of that ahead of her. She groaned inwardly as
she walked aimlessly hoping to bump into someone familiar.
She almost screamed for joy when
she spotted a lone figure just ahead of her. Cool
it gurl, it may not be the person you’re looking for. There are about
three million people out here with red hair. She headed towards the
figure, lugging her clapboard, walkie talkie and tags in one arm. They
were the physical personification of the mental burden thrown upon her
by that idiot Alex. She cursed him silently under her breath.
“Hey. Mike?” She tapped him
on the shoulder. He spun around and grinned. “Yup, that’s me.”
“Oh great!” she let out a
sigh of relief and fumbled with the tags. “Here. These are...”
“Oh, you want me to sign
that?” he interrupted, grabbing the first tag he saw and signing it.
She watched him, speechlessly as he signed the tag. A smirk played on
her lips as he handed it back to her triumphantly.
“There. My first autograph for
the day. And you’re the lucky one to get it,” he flashed her one of
“Gee... thanks. Actually, that
was my access tag you just signed,” she smirked, not knowing whether
to laugh or not. “Here,
these are the band’s access tags,” she handed him the rest of the
tags. He looked dumbfounded for a split second and burst into laughter
when it finally dawned upon him what had happened.
“Oh God, I’m sorry. I
thought you were a fan,” he pocketed the tags and ran a hand through
his spiky red hair, grinning sheepishly.
“That’s ok. This would
probably fetch me a couple hundred bucks though,” she mused jokingly,
looking down at her now vandalised tag. “Those girls would do anything
to get their hands on this,” she laughed. “By the way, I’m the
manager cum co-ordinator cum organiser for the day and you guys have
about half an hour to get settled and tuned up for the next gig. Welcome
to OzzFest.” She held out her free hand and he shook it, with a
bemused look on his face.
“Hey dude!” Joe came
bounding up in his bright yellow bomber and wire-rimmed glasses. “Hey
you!” he grinned at Veruca and shook her hand too.
“Hey Joe. Where the hell have
you guys been?” Mike said without even glancing over at the DJ.
“She’s the manager cum
coordinator cum organizer for the day,” he told Joe when he realized
he was still looking blankly at the girl.
“The wha...?” he turned to
Mike with an even more puzzled look than before. Veruca laughed. She was
surprised he got all of that correctly and in order too, despite it
being a personal joke about the shit job she and Lizzie were doing. They
were doing so much they weren’t really sure anymore what it was
exactly that they were supposed to do. But she loved it; being around
thousands of people everyday, watching all the different kinds of people
go about and the music. The loud music she found mesmerizing. It calmed
her, ironically. Destresses her whenever she was stressed.
Mike repeated what he said
calmly for Joe who still looked lost.
“In other words, I’m in
charge,” she offered. Joe’s dark eyes flashed mischievously at that.
“Ah... so THAT’S what you
do. Next time, try speaking English dude. Mr. Hahn may be the knower of
all but he does not know your gibberish,” he said, straightfaced.
“So! You’re the person we go to if anything comes up? If we had a
booboo or some big kid bullied us? The head honcho? The One? So what is
Thy name o high and mighty priestess?”
Veruca laughed. Joe was looking
at her seriously while Mike was, by then, reduced to unstoppable peals
of laughter. “I am known to all as the High Priestess Veruca. But you
can call me Veruca.” She played along.
Joe and Mike both exchanged
looks and Joe put on a wise look, rubbing his chin with his thumb and
forefinger. “Most interesting...” he mused in his best Yoda
“Veruca.” Mike repeated with
a genuine smile on his
face. It was impossible to tell that just ten seconds ago, he was
laughing uncontrollably. “That’s a nice name.”
“Thanks,” she smiled back. Joe nodded his head intently in agreement.
“Hey dudes! We’ve been
looking for you everywhere! Where the hell did you guys go?” a voice
called from nearby. They looked up to see Chester struggling with a
crate of beer, trying to walk straight with the heavy box. Brad, Rob and
Phoenix were behind him, lugging their equipment along.
“Right here. Where have YOU
been?” Mike replied as they reached the trio, Chester almost dropping
“Dude, look. Someone gave this
to us. How cool is that, huh? Some welcome gift!” He nudged Mike,
pointing to the box on the floor, chuckling.
“BEER!” Joe yelled, almost
pouncing onto the crate. “Mr Hahn loves beer,” he told Veruca as he
whipped up a can and started drinking.
“Guys, this is Veruca. She’s
the High Priestess,” Joe pointed to her, finishing his beer.
“Yes, I’m in charge today,
so get your stuff and follow me. There’s a room set up for you
guys,” she chuckled, heading towards the back of the stadium.
“We get a room?” she heard
Chester asking in amusement.
“Don’t get all hyped up over
it. It’s tiny, but we try our best to make it most comfortable for our
beloved bands,” she said over her shoulders sarcastically. She never
really had anything good to say about the company.
The guys chuckled as they followed her, making sure that Griz got the idea of who they were.
“It’s not too bad,” Mike
said, looking around the cramped excuse for a room. A battered old couch
at the corner, a couple of chairs and a table by the side. “Yeah,
we’ve seen worse,” Rob placed his backpack on the table. Joe jumped
onto the couch and settled down, sprawled over the three seater
She looked at them doubtfully,
wondering if they were just trying to be nice. “Well, get settled,
boys. Your slot’s at three thirty and sound check would be at three.
If there’s anything missing or anything you need, just holler. Someone
will get to you...eventually,” she stood by the door looking around
the room at the guys who had comfortably placed themselves at different
“No prob,” Mike grinned. The
rest of the guys smiled back in agreement. Joe flashed his thumbs and
winked at her before returning to his prostrate position on the ratty
“Great. See you guys around
then. Have fun,” She said, wincing at the lame-ness of her last
statement. She motioned to shut the door when she heard someone yelling.
“What? That’s it? No
welcoming ritual? No hula dancer handing out leis?” Joe was sitting up
on the couch with a dejected pout when she poked her head in again.
“Shut up Joe, the beer’s
quite enough,” Mike laughed, throwing him another beer.
“We’ll be fine. Joe will get
over this tragedy sooner or later,” Phoenix said from one of the
As she closed the door, she couldn’t help smiling to herself. She shut out the thought of how stupid she must look to the people around her. The guys were fun. They all looked exhausted, with the exception of Joe, but were still nice enough not to throw little moody tantrums some bands do. She chuckled silently, remembering what happened.
“Good luck guys,’ Veruca
stopped by the guys who were huddled together for a last group hug
before they went on.
“Thanks,” Mike said, looking
excited. He reached out to hug her. She hugged him back, laughing.
Chester was doing a little jump dance, trying to get his excitement in
control, his chains making chinking little noises. Joe was exceptionally
calm. His dark shades masked the twinkle in his eyes as he threw her a
cool grin and reach an arm over to give her a squeeze.
The screams from the crowd
almost drowned the music. Throngs of people were jumping and waving
their arms to the sound of the band tuning up. The screams grew wilder
when Brad played introduction to ‘A Place For My Head’. They went
ballistic when Chester started his part. They were so different from who
they were offstage. The fast paced, high energy music and the
complicated samplings and mixes Joe spun were awesome. Veruca stood by
the stage, hidden by the large speakers, watching them; impressed. She
couldn’t remember how long she watched them, but when Mike turned and
flashed her a smile as he sang in a low sultry voice “There’s
something inside me that pulls beneath the surface, consuming.” The
trance was broken. She smiled back and slipped back into the dark
backstage area to make sure the next band was not wandering around among
the crowd instead of waiting their turn.
Phoenix gave Mike a knowing grin
when he caught him turning to the side of the stage.
The crowd, pumped and wanting
more, seemed to grow to thrice it’s volume and capacity. The guys
exchanged triumphant looks as one of the hosts jumped up next to Chester
and Mike, screaming into the mic.
“All right people! Let’s
hear it for Linkin Park!! WOOOOOOOOOHHHHH!” He was a hyper little
thing in orange tee and khaki bermudas. His tangled blond hair was
hidden under a black hat. Chester screamed along with the crowd. Joe and
Brad started playing in the background and the introduction to Crawling
grew louder as the announcer jumped off the stage.
She chuckled as she watched them on the stage from the edge of the crowd. She could hardly see anything. They looked like tiny sea monkeys bopping up and down on the stage from that far away and the crowd before her was teeming with multicolored heads. She made her way back to the main stage, making sure that the tired looking guards were not letting the crowd spill over the barracks. She knew where the guys would be next and she didn’t need to hurry to get to them. She wanted to see them again. Their presence was infectious and she was already craving for more of their crazy antics and laughter.
“Hey it’s Veruca!” Chester
yelled when he finally looked up from one of the posters he was signing.
They were seated by the side of the wall, signing everything from ticket
stubs to shoes. They were chatting and laughing with their starry-eyed
fans, really communicating with them.
Chester stood up and waved her
over. She minced her way through the mass of fans towards their booth.
“Hey, you guys were amazing up
“Hey! Thanks.” Mike’s
smile was wide and sincere. Rob, Brad and Phoenix who were busy talking
to their fans turned and smiled at her. Joe lifted his shades and did a
little wave before putting them back on and turning back to the poster
he was scribbling on. She contemplated whether to stand around the
crowd, not fitting in and feeling silly or to leave them. She had lots
to see to after all. She was about to leave when she felt a hand around
her wrist, pulling her gently. She looked up to see Mike looking down at
her. She let him pull her out of the crowd to the side.
“I never knew you guys were
this good,” she said. “Wow. Got me lost in the music there,” she
commented, looking up at him, squinting from the orangey late afternoon
sun. He chuckled, half embarrassed by her compliment. He glanced over at
the rest of the guys before he said anything else. They all seemed too
engrossed with the fans. He turned back to her and smiled.
He’d liked her the minute they
met. She was down to earth and funny. She looked a little exhausted, but
the spark in her deep green eyes were mesmerizing. They seemed to look
right into his soul.
“The guys and me are going to
grab something to eat after this autograph session,” He started. Her
lips curled into a smile, “That’s cool.” “Yeah. We were
wondering if you would like to come along with us. You look like you
need a break. Badly,” he said, throwing side glances at the rest of
the guys just in case they realized he was missing.
She felt an old excitement
welling up inside her. The very same feeling when she first met Alex.
She smiled, half flustered, half apologetically. She mentally kicked
herself for switching duties with Lizzie. Here she was, stuck with work
and having to say no to dinner and a break with Mike and the rest while
Lizzie was off getting a sun tan down at the beach.
“I’d really love to go, but
I switched with a friend and I don’t get off till the end of the show
A look of disappointment flashed
across his face. “Oh. Well, you could switch back,” he suggested
hopefully. She had to laugh. He looked adorable with that hopeful smile
and big eyes. “Can’t do that. You know what? I really have to get
back to work. You guys go have fun tonight. I’ll see you tomorrow.” Never
switch duties with anyone . Ever! She made a mental note. He stepped
closer to her and wrapped his arms around her in a hug. “Wouldn’t be
as much fun without you around.”
“Oh gee, I’m too touched for
words,” she muttered jokingly. He chuckled as they parted. “See you,
V,” he grinned and watched her walk back towards the crowd. Since
when did I become V to him? she mused. Only her family and Lizzie
called her that. Not even Alex.
Mike had a smirk on his face when he joined the rest at the booth. “Mike and Veruca sitting in a tree, K.I.S.S.I.N.G.” Joe said under his breath, loud enough for Mike to hear, as he continued doodling on someone’s shoe. “Shut up, Joe,” Mike pushed the side of his head playfully.
She stared back at the face
blankly as they parted from a kiss. She blinked. Alex
doesn’t have red hair. She shook her head slightly, trying to get
the mental picture out of her head. When she reopened her eyes, she saw
Alex’s hazel eyes looking at her. Alex smiled down at her as he turned
to his side and lay beside her. His arms propped behind his head, he
watched the ceiling. Veruca sat up amidst the black bedlinen and stared
“What?” he finally asked
when he felt her stare burning into him.
“Nothing.” She mumbled,
getting out of bed and heading for the bathroom.
“Come here.” He called from
the bed. She popped her head from the door, but ignored him, going back
to brushing her teeth. She was brushing her jet black hair when he
grabbed her arm firmly and yanked the wooden brush out of her hands.
“I said, come here,” he
pulled her out of the bathroom, closer to him. He held her against his
body and ran his fingers through her hair. “Mmmm... you smell good,
baby,” he murmured.
“Fuck off, Alex,” she shoved
him away roughly and moved to put on her jeans. “I gotta get back to
work. Wouldn’t want to get fired, now would I?” she said, her voice
oozing with sarcasm.
“Baby, I wouldn’t fire you
if you give me a good time now,” He smirked at her. Does
he seriously think he looks sexy with that horny smirk on his face? Veruca
“Right, but you will if
something goes wrong out there,” she grabbed her car keys and headed
towards the door of his penthouse.
“Hey! Get back here, bitch!”
he frowned. “You owe me this!”
“I don’t owe you shit, Alex! You wanna have a good time? Go jack off or something,” she smiled as the elevator door slowly closed. She wondered how long more she’d stay with him. Whatever affection or love she had for him had long ago vanished when she realised his true self. Then what made her stay on so long and endure the shit he put her through? She winced as the answer came to her head. You crave the sex and that’s it. It’s all about sex, V. Nothing else. You’re such a slut. So much for all that girl power shit you’ve been letting everyone else think you have. You’re just a slut with a craving for sex that gets the better of you. She sighed. Admitting truths to herself was even harder than admitting them to others. She’d always been hard on herself, not letting herself quit at anything she did. As the lift door opened at the ding, she stepped out, frowning. You’re afraid. She pushed the last thought back in the recesses of her mind and got into her black Camaro and sped down the road.
Veruca smiled and waved when she
saw Chester leaning against the bus, taking a drag from his half smoked
cigarette. He waved her over excitedly and went to meet her halfway.
“Veruca! Hey gurl! Whassup?”
“Oh nothing. The usual runnin’
around and getting all worked up over nothing,” she said nonchalantly.
“If you’re looking for Mike,
he’s in the bus,” Chester said, looking at her. She looked back,
brows arched. “I am?” she asked.
“Yeah. Lemme go get him,” he
offered. “MIKE!!!!! HEY MIKE!!! VERUCA’S HERE!!!” he yelled from
where he was standing. Mike poked his head out from the bus door and
grinned. Hopping down the stairs he did a little wave. Joe stood at the
top of the stairs and attempted a leap from where he was standing.
The rest were milling about
looking over in Veruca’s direction. She suddenly felt as if she was
“Hi,” his grin was wide and
his eyes were sparkling. “What’s up?”
“Nothing. Just passing through
and thought I’ll just say ‘hi’. So .. Hi!” she waved at the rest
too, who waved back.
“We were just hangin’ out in
the bus. You wanna join us?” he asked. Chester nodded his head in
“Oh, well, see... there’s
this darn job I have to do... so I get paid... and support my obsession
for shopping,” she jokingly explained.
“You don’t want to hang out
with us?” Chester asked. “She doesn’t want to hang out with us,”
Mike turned to look at him, pouting.
“OH NO!!! Veruca doesn’t
like us...!” Joe wailed, falling to his knees.
“Oh my gosh, guys...! I like
you all. I’m just busy, that’s all. I promise, the minute I get off,
I’ll come hang with you guys. Okay?” she felt sorry for not being
able to spend some time with them. She had been dying to do so since she
met them a couple of days ago. They were wonderfully nice to be around.
Especially Joe with his split personalities and gung-ho almost
thoughtless stunts. Most of the time he was quiet and brooding, but the
rest of the time would put the Wringling Brothers’ clown acts to
“Okay,” Mike said in a little five year old voice. Joe grabbed her and jumped around, “YAY! YAY! YAY!” Chester and Mike were in fits of laughter as she tried to steady herself after being dragged around the two guys by Joe.
Veruca made her way to the back
of the stage area. It was her day off and she didn’t have to go in to
work until the next morning. She had slept in and taken a slow cruise
down to the arena where she’d pulled up near the area, silently
thanking god for the existence of VIP parking. She smiled when she
spotted Liz’s blue Buick three lots down from her own Camaro. She was
feeling good for once and had taken the initiative to actually dress up
- black leather pants and a red top. She felt most comfortable in them. It’ll
go so well with Mile’s hair, she smirked to herself.
“OI! V!!” She turned to
Liz’s familiar voice and waved back, turning her direction towards her
friend. “What are you doing here, woman?” Liz leaned over for their
ritual kiss on each cheek. “Aren’t you supposed to be waking up with
some guy by your side who you still don’t know his name and taking a
long hot bubble bath?”
Veruca laughed at Liz’s
comment. It was a joke they shared between them which led back to
Liz’s first one night stand. “What? Can’t I come over to see my
best friend and check up on work?” she asked knowing full well that
Liz would say something insulting.
Liz let out a short laugh.
“Right. First of all woman, you HATE work and you see me every other
day... OH MY GOD!!! You’re here to see that red head!!” she
exclaimed in sudden realisation, her eyes wide, grinning.
“WHAT?! NO WAY!!” Veruca
said all too quickly, knowing too well that she’d made a mistake when
Liz burst out laughing.
“OH-HO! You can lie to
yourself woman, but you can’t lie to me. Nonono... I can see it in
your eyes, woman.” She teased. “Yeah... that horny glint is
definitely there,” she peered into Veruca’s deep green eyes only to
have her face pushed away.
“Bitch! It’s not like that
okay? I came to check up on all of them,” Veruca laughed. “I
sorta promised them I’d go hang out with them when I get the day
“Promised THEM?” Liz
prodded. “You mean the red head?” she egged on. “When was the last
time you ‘hung out’ anyway,” Liz dug into her pockets for a
cigarette and lighter.
Veruca laughed in disbelief,
watching her light her cigarette. She couldn’t believe that Liz
wouldn’t let the whole issue off. “Precisely because it’s been
centuries since I”ve last hung out. And he has a name by the way.”
Liz let out peals of laughter at that.
“Oh shut yer face, bitch. I
don’t even know why I bother with you,” Veruca rolled her eyes,
mocking irritation and disgust. Liz reached out to hug her friend, still
“Okay okay... no more teasing.
It’s just that you’ve got this certain look about you today... like
you just had sex for the first time... did you
and Alex... you know.. last night?” she diverted the topic
getting a glare from Veruca. “Anyways, what the fuck is with the
leather pants and the ‘do me now’ top?” she asked eyeing Veruca up
“Woman. This is how I always
dress and it’s your top by the way. So you can shut up about all that
‘rape me’ shit, okay?” Veruca reached over and took a drag from
Liz’s cigarette. She didn’t like smoking, but took the occasional
drag from Liz, that is if she was quick enough to grab one. Liz smoked
more than two chimneys put together and three times as fast.
“Okay gurl. I gotta go. The
fuckhead drama queen is gonna make a big scene if I don’t get over
there soon,” Liz groaned when they heard a voice crackle over the
walkie talkie. She hated Zac, their head organiser, their head honcho.
Big huge guy with an attitude of an eighty year old woman with a dead
cat up her ass.
“Alright, just don’t let
Joan Collins there find out that I’m here or he’ll squeeze me in for
the next shift,” Veruca made a face and continued her journey.
“HEY! Have fun with ya red head okay? I think they’re back in their dressing room, by the way!” Liz made sure she yelled loud enough for others to hear, but thankfully there was no one around. She headed off in her own direction, waving her middle finger at Veruca who laughed, heading for the dressing room area.
She heard the faint sound of a
guitar as she neared the door marked ‘Linkin Park’ with a printed A4
paper. That DEFINITELY isn’t
Brad, she thought as the person attempted to play Brad’s A Place
For My Head riff, stopping abruptly and starting again. She smirked,
trying to stifle a giggle. Okay,
he’s pretty good... just needs practice.
Veruca turned the doorknob
silently and poked her head into the tiny dressing room. Her smile
broadened. Mike sat on the floor amidst the pillows and cushions,
frowning, deep in concentration. She stayed in the same position,
watching him. She realised she could watch him as long as he went on
attempting to play that guitar.
He finally looked up, a look of
surprise appearing on his face as he sat up straight.
“That was really nice. Sounded
like angels singing from heaven,” she teased.
“V! Didn’t hear you knock.
Sorry,” he fumbled with the guitar, trying to place it down as
carefully as he could in his surprise.
“I didn’t,” she grinned
and slipped into the room. “Hi,” she gave him a little wave as she
closed the door behind her. He was now standing up, one hand in his back
pocket, the other running through his red hair. “Uh.. Hi,” he simply
said, rather sheepishly, slightly embarrassed that she’d caught him in
such a situation. He wondered why she had such an effect on him. Usually,
it was the opposite. The girls would be swooning... ok, maybe that only
applies to fans... his thoughts were jumbled as he looked at the
girl in front of him. He stared, only just realising the outfit she was
wearing, but didn’t say anything. He couldn’t.
Veruca let out a laugh. It was
the only thing she could think of at that moment. She’d caught Mike
looking at her and as their eyes met, she could sense him taking aback.
He looked away quickly and wrecked his brains for something to say.
“I got the day off,” Veruca
smiled up at him as they stood awkwardly in the middle of the room.
“That’s.. that’s great,”
he managed to say, smiling back. Veruca blinked, a little taken aback by
the affect of his boyish smile. She took a deep breath and continued,
“So. Where are the rest? I thought we were supposed to hang out or
“Uh... they’ve gone out to
grab a bite. Joe got hungry... But he did ask for you though,” Mike
added the last bit to cover his discomfort of being alone in the room
with the girl. He felt running away and hide or screaming in a mad fit
whenever he looked at her eyes. They bore right into his soul and he
“Oh. I’m keeping my end of
the promise and he ups and go have lunch without me,” Veruca mused
jokingly. Mike laughed, wondering whether it was from her humor or his
“So, how come you’re still
here?” she asked, seemingly relaxed and cool. She moved to the nearest
couch and sat down. He turned and followed her with his eyes.
“Truth!” she cut in before
he could answer her, smirking.
“Okay, I got lost. I was
talking to a bunch of fans out back and when I got back here I found
this,” he held out a piece of flyer with a message scribbled
haphazardly at the back.
find you. Where are you you fuck? Gone for lunch. Joe got hungry. VERY
Veruca handed it back to him,
smirking, slowly shaking her head. “Poor boy. And you’re very hungry
too?” she cooed.
He nodded after a pause.
“Cool. Let’s go grab a bite
then,” she stood up, hands in her back pocket, waiting for him.
“N..Now?” he asked unsurely.
“No. Next week. When you’re
all starved to death and half rotted.” She retorted. He chuckled at
his own silliness and turned to grab his things from the table.
“Kay. So where do we go?” he
asked when he pocketed his wallet and cell phone.
“Hm... We’ll see where the Camaro takes us,” Veruca said with a grin, unlocking her car. He returned the grin and got into the passenger seat.
|TOP | Last updated 15 February 2002 19:42 (AUS EST / +1000 GMT).|