This blog contains material I wrote and posted on between the years 2005 and 2011 only. It does not contain any new material. For newer writing, please check my main blog (Bill the Butcher).

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Vampire Zombies From Hell

“Let me get this quite clear,” said the musical agent. “Your band is known as the Vampire Zombies From Hell.”

“That’s right.” The lead vocalist sat back in the chair across the desk and locked his hands across his knee. He was dressed all in black leather and had a shaved head and a little beard under his lower lip. At his right earlobe a very tiny silver earring glittered. The agent had been trying to decide whether it was a swastika or a Star of David, so far without success.

“And you play death metal,” said the agent. He looked across the room at the other three band members who sat on the sofa. They did not seem to be interested at all in what he was saying. One looked steadily out of the window, another – who he had been told was the drummer – was intently studying the toe-caps of his immense combat-style boots, and the last member, the bass guitarist he thought it was, had to all appearances fallen asleep. A thread of saliva dangled from the corner of his mouth.

“Of course we could set up an audition,” continued the agent doubtfully. “But to be frank the music scene’s difficult these days, except for hip-hop. And with a name like yours, I don’t know...”

“Just audition us,” said the vocalist. He leaned across the desk and put a silver disc in a ziplocked polythene packet on the desk. “If you want to listen to some of our recordings, you can play this. All we’re asking for is an audition, though. Really.”

“All right,” sighed the agent. He decided an audition and a quick rejection would be the easiest way out of the whole affair. He looked at his watch. “I have another appointment. Shall we say the day after tomorrow at the studio, at three o’clock?”

“In the afternoon?” The vocalist glanced over his shoulder at the others of his group. Still studying his boots, the drummer nodded slightly. “All right,” said the vocalist to the agent. “We’ll be there.”

The next afternoon but one, the agent came to the audition. He was only three quarters of an hour late.

“Did you listen to the CD?” asked the bass guitarist.

“Uh. Yes.” The CD was still sitting on the agent’s desk. “It was very interesting but I need to hear you live, you know.”

“OK,” said the guitarist with a shrug. The band members shambled over and got behind their instruments, and the agent prepared the polite words of regret he always used on these occasions.

He listened with a bored smile that slowly glazed over and went numb on his face. After the audition was over he got up and walked over to the vocalist like an automaton.

“You got it,” he said. “You got it.”

The Vampire Zombies From Hell held their first concert in a stadium in the capital, a concert whose tickets had been sold out a week after the concert was announced, a month before the Big Day. There was no opening act, no preliminaries – at first the Vampires had been unknowns and no other band had wanted to front for them; and by the time the tickets had sold out, the Vampires had no need for anyone to front for them.

It was an amazing thing, and the agent was – although he succeeded in concealing it – well and truly amazed.

And on the great evening, though a thin drizzle fell, the stadium was full, and had been for hours, with the screaming hordes of the fans. They were of all colours and sizes, but they were all made up in the trademarked make-up of the Vampires – the dead white of the vocalist, with dripping red blood from the corners of the lips; the grey, rotten look of the lead guitar, the rabid foaming of the bass guitar, or the psychopathic grotesque mask of the drummer, and variations thereof. They screamed and cheered and waited for the show to begin.

“I never knew we had such fans,” said the lead guitar.

“Yeah, it’s a great feeling, isn’t it,” muttered the bass guitar, and then they were out on stage, and the concert was under way.

It was at the first break that the trouble began.

“Strange,” thought the drummer, who had been due for a change of costume offstage. “I can’t stop playing!”

“Strange,” thought the lead guitar. “I wonder why that son of a bitch won’t stop singing.”

“Strange,” thought the bass guitar. “Why the hell are they going straight into the next song?”

“Strange,” thought the vocalist, even as he belted out lyrics he had never even heard before, “where the hell did this song come from anyway?”

“It came from Hell, of course,” said the first of the fans, breaking easily through the security barriers and vaulting on to the stage. It was a man with long fake fangs dripping fake blood, and he danced right in front of the drummer, his hands floating over the sticks, his face swaying back and forth in front of the drummer, his mouth grinning. “From hell, as we came,” he said.

“What?” The drummer, his hands flashing out a complicated tattoo he never had heard before, had a good close-up look at the man’s makeup. It was amazingly good makeup, much better than the drummer’s own, down to the fake blood dripping off the fake fangs. Correction: it was not fake blood, and the fangs were not fake, either.

“Why us? Why us, of all people?” gasped the drummer, as his hands beat away.

“Who else would we pick, with a name like yours?” asked the ghoul, and the music played on.

And on.

Copyright B Purkayastha 2009

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