As Jimmy groaned and came foggily toward consciousness, the previous night’s escapades played back in his mind, bringing an enormous, dopey smile onto his lips. Lucy had proven that her mouth was good for more than just belting out amazing and bizarre lyrics to punk rock songs, turning the head of his cock into a raging volcanic caldera that must have coated the inside of her mouth and throat with the pearly magma of ecstasy. To his credit, he’d returned the favor, definitively proving that the stud in the middle of his tongue was both fashionable and functional until she nearly squeezed his head between her thighs like a juice pulper.

Sticky from both sweat and seminal fluids, the punker tried to sit up, Roman candles exploding behind his eyes as he got himself upright. A high-pitched whine belted through his head, forcing him to clutch his skull tightly. His left hand was forcefully pried from his head, a couple of small pebbles deposited into the palm as someone whispered, “Other hand,” into his available ear. He allowed his eyes to open a slit, finding Lucy squinting at him with a bottle of spring water held out for him. He took the bottle, put a sip in his mouth, then downed the pills in a rush. Only after he swallowed did he think to ask what they were.

“And I just took, what?”

“Aleve, sweetie,” she said with a snort, popping a couple in her own mouth, then snatching away the water and tilting her head back. “Trust me, these little bad boys never leave my nightstand when I’m in town, or my go-bag on the road. I need ‘em more than you do, I’m sure,” she said, taking a couple more and downing them dry. “You’re not the one who took it in the ass last night, after all.”

“Jesus, I’d forgotten about that,” Jimmy said as Lucy popped off the bed with hardly an effort, her lithe form moving seamlessly across a spacious bedroom toward what he assumed was an attached bathroom. “You’re kind of freaky, lady,” he called after her as she disappeared into the bathroom. He heard the distinct splash of piss and swung his feet over his side of the bed, looking down at the crumpled clothes he’d worn back to her place.

“Thank you,” she called back, flushing. “I pride myself on not being typical. Did you find your phone? You plugged it in just before we passed out.” Jimmy spotted his phone on the nightstand on his side of the bed, an unfamiliar charger plugged into it. He slid it open and found he had three text messages, two from the Rev and one from Daryl. He also saw that it was nearly seven o’clock in the morning.

“Yeah, I found it, and I’m pretty sure I’m gonna be in some shit,” he said, reading Daryl’s texts, which had come in about ten minutes earlier.

‘Rise and shine, cupcake’, read the first one, sent at quarter after five. The long message from Rev was simply, ‘Where did you go last night?’, and was dated for five minutes after Daryl’s first message. The Big Dog’s second message struck fear in Jimmy’s heart, however; ‘Rev says you never got home last night. WHERE THE FUCK ARE YOU, DUDE?!’

“Everything all right,” Lucy asked as she started running the shower.

“Uh, yeah, but I gotta go,” Jimmy blurted, grabbing his clothes and starting to yank them on hurriedly. “I’m supposed to be at West Angeles to help Daryl and the crew get set up for the concert.”

“That huge church over on the west side? Why don’t you just relax, hop in the shower here with me, and I’ll drive you over there,” Lucy called. Jimmy, never one to pass up a second or third round with a good-looking woman, returned to his naked state and dipped into a huge, pristine bathroom. Lucy was just stepping into the shower stall, leaving the sliding glass door open for him.

“You sure,” he asked as he slipped in behind her, marveling at how lustrous her hair looked even as she let the nigh-scalding water cascade down through it.

“Yeah, it’s not a problem,” Lucy said with a smirk. She leaned down toward his midsection, and Jimmy found himself raising his hips for what he hoped was a reunion of her mouth and his dick, but she let out a short rumble of laughter as she grabbed something on his right side and stood back up, holding a bottle of shampoo in her hand. “Sorry to disappoint, champ,” she said, pouring the thick blue soap into her hands before lathering her hair up. “I’ll just do my hair quick here, you can cover the vitals, then I’ll get a couple of cups of coffee going for us to go. I’ve got a Keurig and some of those disposable travel cups.” She tilted her head back, letting the water rinse out her shampoo as she waved her hair back and forth. “Switch,” she said, sliding past Jimmy, letting her breasts press against him as he popped under the showerhead. She handed him the shampoo, letting him do up his own hair, using excess to rub in his armpits and crotch before rinsing himself off. As he turned back toward her, he found her down on her knees in the shower stall, taking quick hold of the base of his already-erect member.

“Well, maybe we’ve got time for a quick one before we go,” she said with a demonic smile.





Daryl stared daggers at Jimmy as he swung around the front of the massive golden Escalade, giving the woman one last passionate kiss before she burned her tires bolting away from the sidewalk in front of the church on Crenshaw. Jimmy bopped and leaped over, head bobbing up and down and a devil-don’t-care smile splitting his head.

“Was that who the fuck I think it was,” Daryl asked bluntly, pointing down the street after the SUV.

“Yes sir,” Jimmy said, putting his hand up for a high-five. Daryl rolled his eyes, then reluctantly reached up and patted his hand lightly against Jimmy’s. “Dude, she was soooooo fucking good, man.”

“I don’t need details, dude,” Daryl said, holding the same hand up at face level to stay further exposition or bragging. “Far as I’m concerned, all this means right now is that you’re late. The only question I have is this; did you take anything harder than booze?”

“No, dude.”

“Bitchin’. Come on,” Daryl said, draping one huge arm over Jimmy’s narrow shoulders. He shook the punker roughly and rasped, “Dude, you fuckin’ boned Lucy from the Skinny Whip-Its, man! That is so metal!” Jimmy was much relieved that Big Dog seemed to have let the matter go so quickly, and once he was inside the church, filled with the noises of people setting up, he let the aura of the work take over.

“Where you need me, Daryl?”

“Lights,” said the big roadie, pointing toward an access door and the stairs up to the overhead rigs and walkways over the main stage. Daryl would have screamed and raged more, but at least Jimmy didn’t seem to be shining him on about the drugs. And who would need them, given what the punk rock roadie had gotten to tap last night? Despite his loyalties to The New Horsemen, Daryl had to admit that Lucy was the hottest woman he’d laid eyes on in as long as he could remember. He didn’t begrudge Jimmy his hook-up.

As long as it didn’t lead to trouble down the way, at least. That would be a different story, if the time came.






Lucy set down a cup with Axel’s name stenciled in marker along the famous mermaid insignia, sitting down across from him with her own chilled coffee. She shook her head, long hair flapping about as she did. “Nearly twelve dollars for two fucking coffees. This has gotten pretty ridiculous.”

“This is hardly the worst of the excesses I’ve seen on the road,” Axel replied in his worldly way, taking a sip and wiping cream off of his poufy mustache. “I’m a little surprised you reached out to me, Lucy. Would’ve figured you’d try talking to Gabe first.”

“Oh, I did try,” the punker rock singer replied with a shrug, staring down into her sugar-laced drink. “He wouldn’t return any of my messages or pick up his phone. Kind of figured it’d go that way.”

“Well, you know me, ever the neutral party, as it were. What is it you wanted to tell him?” Lucy sipped at her drink for a long moment, smacked her lips, and gave Axel a look that required she aim her eyes upward to meet his gaze.

“I’m not going to interfere this time,” she said simply.

“Really? You’re not gonna go poking your nose into shit, throw everything off the rails?” Axel raised his cup, paused, pointing at her with one long, bony finger. “That don’t much sound like you, missy.”

“Well, it’s true,” she replied. “I think it’s time. I think you and your boys have been ready to take this step, and when I look around, I happen to find myself on board with it this time.”

“Well, I have got to say, that pleases me greatly,” said Axel. “We’ve put off our work in the Lord’s name for too long now. I appreciate you calling me out here to tell me this.” He pushed up from his seat and took his chilled coffee.

“Heading out, then?”

“There’s not much else to discuss now, is there,” Axel asked. But Lucy sat there, stirring her drink with her thick straw, staring at the table. “What’s wrong, Lucy?”

“It’s my son,” she replied. “He’s up to something.”

“He’s a teenager, that’s what they do, honey,” Axel replied flatly. “They scheme shit, do things that make their parents want to tear their hair out. Ain’t you figured that out yet?”

“This is different, though, Axel,” she replied, looking up at him once more. “This time, whatever it is he’s got in mind, he’s not letting me in on it at all. And I want to know, in case I have to incorporate it with my own part of the bargain.”

“In other words, you want to know if maybe you DO want to meddle in things, if what he’s got up his sleeve turns out to be worth testing in the water,” Axel said with a touch of chagrin.

“I suppose so, yes,” Lucy said. After a moment she flapped her hand at the older man. “Go on, now, Axel. It’s been good seeing you, but I don’t believe we’re going to be seeing each other again for a very long time.”

“Until then, I guess,” he said, leaving her alone in the Starbucks to stir her drink and sip at it, pondering her fifteen-year-old son’s sudden secretive activities.

“I guess,” she said to no one.






Daryl signed off on another form brought to him by someone with the church, then turned to Michael as the two stood in one of the hallways of the massive church structure. “Look, dude, it’s fine, I just would’ve like a little more head’s up about this sort of thing in advance,” the veteran roadie grumbled as he tucked the pen back into his pocket. He motioned his open hand toward the six suited gentlemen vanishing into a private conference room down the hall, each of them carrying a long black instrument case. “The acoustics of this place are a nightmare already to deal with, and now you want me to just drop in a mic and boosters for some medieval trumpets at the end of the show?”

“Trumpet, Mister Steele, singular,” Michael said with a gentle smile that made Daryl want to shatter all the teeth exposed in it. “A single trumpet shall be sounded at the end of each concert along the tour. For the first performance, Remiel will come out after the last track is played, and he will blow his trumpet in a single long blast. It’s all thematic, you understand.” Daryl raised an eyebrow at the suit, who pressed his palms together pleadingly. “Book of Revelations? This band is called The New Horsemen, after all?”

Daryl thought back to his limited knowledge of Biblical lore, and though he couldn’t recall a lot, Revelations had been about as metal as a religious document could get. “The seven angels blow the seven horns to signal Armeggedon,” he said, nodding his head as a grin crept across his lips. “Dude, I dig it! That’s kind of awesome man, but that’s exactly what I’m talking about,” he said with a playful shove on the suit’s shoulder, which nearly put him into the nearby wall. “Why didn’t you tell me about any of this shit ahead of time? This is, like, exactly what their fans are into, dude!”


“Oh, yeah, maybe not all the ‘thou shalt not’ whatevers,” Daryl said, circling his fingers in a ‘come along now’ motion. “But this kind of thing? They’re gonna eat this shit up, Mikey.”


“It’s Mikey now, get used to it. All right, where’s Dingo to go over the pyrotechnics with,” Daryl muttered to himself, swooping away from the stilted suit. This is the man they chose to represent themselves, Michael thought ungenerously as he watched Daryl go. This knuckle-dragging primate? He supposed it could have been worse, though; it could have been someone like that heroin addict, Jimmy.

Michael would have preferred to snap that one’s neck at the soonest opportunity.