It had been another late night for the guys. They had done a gig the previous night and had gone out for some nightlife with some of the guys from Taproot. They had only gotten back to the bus at 4am to get back on the road because they had to be in Chicago by 8am. Now it was 7:30am and they had to get up. They were checking out their next venue, doing interviews, some photos and then sound checks in preparation for the concert that night. It was going to be a hectic day.
Brad groaned painfully as he swung his legs lazily out of his bunk
above Chester. He landed on the floor with a dull thud. This woke
“That’s what you say every time!”, Brad laughed. He headed for the bathroom to get the first shower. Chester pulled his curtain back and shouted “Don’t spend so long in there, you’re worse than a fucking woman!!”
“Shut up, you are always too busy snoring to notice how long I spend in the shower!” Brad called over his shoulder without bothering to turn around.
These good-natured jibes were normal on an early morning but Brad felt anything but normal that day. He didn’t feel sick or have a headache. The only way he could describe it was that he didn’t feel like himself.
Chester and Brads kidding around had woken the other guys and one by
one they got out of their bunks warily with a grunt or groan. The night
out had taken it out of them all and they could barely keep their eyes
open. But they gradually woke up a little and looked up from the floor
to notice each one staring in horror at the others. Joe closed his eyes
and shook his head, thinking he was hallucinating but when he looked up
again the scene hadn’t changed, but his friends had……
“What the fuck!!!”, he thought to himself. He stepped hurriedly out of the shower to face the mirror. It was then that he let an ear-splitting scream. This scream woke his band mates from their horrified trance and they started screaming as well. Brad jumped out of the bathroom butt naked and still soaking wet from the shower. He was faced with what he had hoped wouldn’t be the case. But it was. He had looked in the mirror and seen a terrifying sight for any man…overnight he had turned into Justin Timberlake! And now that look of utter revulsion was plastered all over the faces of the four standing in front of him. He was looking at the rest of N*sync!! Somehow they had all transformed into the feeble five somewhere between 4am and 7:30am. This was a disaster not to mention extremely weird and sickening! How could it possibly have happened? Why now? They had a gig that night and a Linkin Park faithful crowd wouldn’t react too well to N*suck at the front of the stage instead of their beloved Linkin Park!!
Mike, who had turned into Chris, was the first to break the god-awful silence.
“Where is Phoenix?”, he asked, his voice trembling. He found to
some comfort that his voice hadn’t changed despite appearances. Joe,
who was now Joey, checked Phoenix’s bunk, but found it empty.
“Will you stop!, he’s not here because there are only 5 members
in n*sync, something must have happened to him!!” yelled Chester, now
JC, “we have to go look for him and get this fucking shit sorted
The five sat down to try and work something out. Meanwhile in a posh Chicago hotel, the 5 members of n*sync were going through the same ordeal. Cries of “ oh no, I have tattoos!!!! Help me mommy!!” and “ my hair, my beautiful hair, its all gone” could be heard throughout the halls of the hotel. The bodies had somehow been switched but by who? Or what?
Phoenix woke up feeling like he’d just gone in the ring with The Rock. His legs and arms ached and his stomach felt like it was on a spin cycle. He was lying on a big pile of sacks, which were filled, with something lumpy and hard. He bolted upright into a sitting position and immediately got a head rush and fell over backwards. He tried again slowly and tentatively moving his throbbing limbs around to get some circulation going.
He was sitting in a damp, dark room that looked like a cellar of some kind. All around the walls were metal cages filled with dead bodies in various stages of decay. He turned to look behind him and let out a short squeal as he came face to face with the green, mouldy corpse of Ricky Martin. It looked like a grotesque fairground attraction. The legs were cocked at an awkward angle and he was wearing jeans so tight that they must have been forced on under extreme torture. What remained of Ricky’s hair was standing up on his head “He must have been electrocuted too the poor bastard”, thought Phoenix sadly.
He was torn from his thoughts by a soft rustling nearby, a sound like swishing cloths. A cloaked figure emerged shrouded in darkness.
“I see you’re awake”, he droned in a soft voice. Phoenix swore he had heard that voice before somewhere but he couldn’t place it without seeing a face. But the figure skulked in the shadows.
“What the hell is going on, where am I? I don’t remember being too drunk last night. Did I come home with you or something?”, Phoenix’s confusion was overwhelming him as he fired endless questions at his captor.
“No, I summoned you. You are helping me with a little… experiment of mine”
“What?!, experiment? What the fuck are you talking about?”
“No need to burden you with the details just yet, my friend, all in time, all in time”
“Well at least tell me where I am. I have to go and set up for tonight’s gig. Ill help you with your.. erm.. experiment another time”.
“Not likely, you are going nowhere!”. With that the figure turned and walked back towards the entrance he came through.
“No no wait you have to tell me something… anything… please what’s going on?!” Phoenix screamed after him. The figure paused and turned back to face him. He releases a long sigh.
“OK, I will tell you this. The experiment involves your band mates and some... image makeovers... mouhahahahahahaha!!”, his evil cackle reverberated through Phoenix’s body. What was this lunatic doing with him and his friends? His train of thought was interrupted by the loud slam of a heavy door followed by the scraping of a bolt being drawn across it. He was helpless, unable to move never mind escape. He was falling into a pit of despair. Darkness enveloped him as he pulled his knees up to his chin and laid his head on them. For now it was all he could do. He would have to wait for his chance. But he was troubled - he racked his brains trying to remember where he had heard that voice before, but it was no good, he just couldn’t place it.
“Well you are well and truly screwed”, he said aloud. He chuckled softly to himself for being so stupid. Of course this was just a surrealistic nightmare. He would wake up and he would be able to feel his ass, there would be no dead bodies in cages, no weirdo homicidal maniacs in cloaks, just him and the guys with hangovers. He closed his eyes and drifted in and out of sleep for about 2 hours.
He was woken by the sound of the bolt being drawn back. The cloak-dude (that was what he was calling him now) came back in. He approached Phoenix with a tray and laid it beside him. Phoenix tried to get a look at the mans face but the hood was too far down and where his face should be, instead there was a black void, and the vanquishers identity remained hidden. He looked at the tray. On it was some bread and a can of Bud. Phoenix looked up at the figure with a puzzled expression on his face.
“Isn’t this supposed to be water or something?” Phoenix asked. The man chuckled softly.
“Hair of the dog, my friend”. With that he slowly moved across to the far end of the cellar. He moved without footsteps, gliding across the floor, with the whishing of his cloak, the only sound he made. He lit candles in one corner of the cellar and now Phoenix could see for the first time what was in it. Bookcases lined the walls. They were packed with cracked old leather-bound volumes. On the upper shelves were rows of pots and jars containing what looked like lumps of flesh and eyeballs. The cloak-dude say down on a leather lazy-boy chair and moaned with relief as his feet rose and his back reclined.
“That’s kind clashing with your décor man” Phoenix sneered sarcastically. “I mean you got the whole ‘hey I’m the grim reaper, bringer of death’ thing goin’ on and that chair just spoils the illusion”.
The minute the words were out of his mouth he regretted it. The man was out of his chair and towering over Phoenix within a split second. He moved like lightening.
“I can see you are getting a little too comfortable, I think now is the time to show you the effects of my experiment. Then we will see who is cracking wise-ass remarks!” he spat with vehemence. He lifted Phoenix up with one arm and dragged him across to another corner of the cellar. Lighting candles around a large iron cauldron filled with a green, gunky liquid. "Now you will see the havoc I have wreaked." He pressed a button and a television screen rose from the cauldron. A fuzzy picture appeared and cleared up to reveal the shape of five men. They were n*sync. Phoenix laughed.
“I’m sorry you must be mistaking me for someone who cares. You think I give a rats ass about n*stink?, gimme a break!”. The cloak-dude pointed a remote control at the tv.
“Listen…” he hissed. Phoenix listened in horror. He wasn’t sure exactly what had happened but he knew that it wasn’t natural and it involved his best friends. He noticed too that it was their tour bus. He began to get a heavy feeling of dread in his bottom of his stomach. He watched silently as the five squabbled in panicked voices. Brad/Justin, he noticed, was naked for some reason but he didn’t even try to find a possible reason for that.
“Right”, he said firmly, turning to the cloaked man,” Tell me what I have to do to fix this”
Clouds of smoke spiralled around the bus, the tension was hanging heavily in the air. Brad/Justin, after his friends’ complaints, had finally put some clothes on. They hung loosely on his now small, wiry body. He reached up to stroke his beard but found a chin as smooth as a baby’s butt. The bus slowed and the five looked at each other with panicked eyes.
“Oh shit, how are we gonna get out of this one?!”, gibbered Chester/JC waving his cigarette around. Mike stood up suddenly clenching his fist.
“I… I have an idea guys, just temporary, but I think it might work for the time being.” he said excitedly.
“What is it? How could you possibly know how to fix us?!” snapped Rob/James.
“No I’m not fixing us, I told you this is only temporary. I’ll need someone to come with me”
“No way, I’m not leaving this bus, I mean look at me!” shouted Brad/Justin.
“Hey I’ll come with you, I need some air”, offered Mr. Hahn/Joey.
“Wait a minute”, called Chester/JC after them, “What about the driver?”
“We’ll just have to sneak by,” sighed Mike/Chris. The two quietly tip-toed up to the front of the bus. The driver wasn’t in his seat and the door was open. “Great”, Joe/Joey thought to himself, thinking the driver had gone out. They made a run out the door but were stopped dead in their tracks. The driver was standing in front of them with a cigarette in his mouth. His eyes widened and the cig fell from his lips as his jaw dropped.
“What the fuck?!” He screeched.
“Run for it!” yelled Mike/Chris. The pair took off down the street, leaving the driver standing open-mouthed staring after them. He shook his head and rubbed his eyes.
“You’re losing it man, get a grip! Haha fucking N*Sync Jesus you gonna have to start taking Prozac or something!”. With a snigger he jumped back up onto the bus.
Mike and Joe slowed down as soon as they were out of the driver’s sight. They collapsed against a building, panting like a couple of greyhounds.
“That was way too close”, gasped Joe, “what’s this brilliant plan of yours anyway?”
“We need to find a shop that sells masks or something”, he replied, “then no one will know who we are.”
“Oh genius, fucking genius man!! Come on, do you really think we will get away with that?” bellowed Joe/Joey.
“You got any better ideas?”
“If I had would we be standing here?” Mike had been in Chicago before and remembered passing a metal clothes shop. He was sure they would have what he was looking for. They started down the street but after about 30 seconds they jumped at the sound of someone squealing behind them.
“OH my god!!!!! I can’t believe this its Chris and Joey!!” she tittered. The teeny-bopper, who looked about 13 ran up to the two guys.
“Oh shit, I hadn’t thought of this”, Mike/Chris murmured to Joe. She threw her arms around Mike and Joe and squealed in delight.
“Oh I love you guys, can I have your autographs please? I have a pen and everything!”
“Eh, sure…” stuttered Joe. The girl gave him a piece of paper and a pen. He took them and leaned over to Mike and whispered, “Hey what’s my surname?”
“Dunno man, does it matter?” replied Mike/Chris. Joe took the pen and paper and asked the girls name. She told him her name was Crystal. Joe started writing on the paper.
“You guys sure sound funny”, Crystal remarked.
“Well TV does that”, said Mike, not knowing what else to say. Joe handed the paper to Mike who wrote a message on it and handed it back to Crystal. She looked at the paper and read the messages aloud:
Dear Crystal, I am Joey today for some reason. Nice to be ambushed by you.
Yeah and I’m Chris apparently. I hope you soon grow out of this.
She looked at them with a puzzled expression.
“Wow thanks… You guys are kinda weird but I still love you.” She giggled. All the screeching from Crystal was drawing attention to the guys and by this stage a group of young girls were closing in on them from all sides.
As soon as they got close enough to see, the crowd erupted in screams and shrieks of “Oh my God I love you will you marry me?” And the more traditional “Hey can I have your autograph or your clothes and hair?” Mike and Joe looked at each other in dismay as the posse closed in around them. The boppers started grabbing at the guys as they tried to shield themselves. Their clothes were being torn off, their hair yanked from their heads.
Mike struggled his way out immediately but to his horror he saw that the girls had turned their attentions to Joe. He was outnumbered and Mike could hear his screams of pain coming from inside the pile of bodies. He decided to take the plunge. He dived into the centre of the crowd and grabbed hold of the biggest arm. He pulled with all his strength and Joe emerged. They struggled their way out and took off down the street again. The screaming hoard ran after them. Mike and Joe darted through side streets and alleyways, climbing over walls and fences and finally hiding behind a pile of trashcans until their pursuers passed by.
When the screaming finally faded, Mike ventured out from his hiding place.
“Joe where are you?” he hissed.
“Over here” came the reply. Joe/Joey stood up from behind a pile of cardboard. Mike could see that Joe had come out of the attack worse than he had. Joes t-shirt was ripped across the neck exposing his shoulder, which was bleeding from slashes made by the girls' nails. His face was scraped too and as he walked towards him, Mike noticed that he had a slight limp.
“Man you got beat up by 13 year-old girls!” Mike cried incredulously. He would have laughed had the situation not been so serious.
“I know, how the hell did you come out without any injuries?” replied Joe.
“You got stuck in there longer than me man. Anyway lets find this shop and get out of here”
"Right, I think we better run for it and hide our faces" Offered Joe. The pair again took off running out of the alley and on to the street in the direction of the clothes store.
|TOP | Last updated 15 February 2002 19:42 (AUS EST / +1000 GMT).|