Lee finally got a paying gig for the band. It was only at the Marriott out by the airport, but it was something. It paid. And it would lead to something more, he knew it. Something more.
“Playing tonight: Stroke of Midnight” is what the signboard said outside the bar at the Marriott on that first night. “Stroke of Midnight” was the name of the band, or at least it was this week’s name of the band. It was a lucky name, Lee told the others, though they didn’t ask him. He was proud of that name. He had seen it on a Facebook post from his cousin on New Year’s Eve, out on a bar prowl. Something about “at the stroke of midnight we all drank Boilermakers – whiskey with a beer chaser – it was epic, man!”
Well, that name stuck in his brain, and here they were, at the Marriott bar, about to go on as “Stroke of Midnight.” The three of them, Lee on guitar, Jeremy bass, and Keith on drums. They did a lot of covers, but Lee was hoping to get in a couple of their own tunes too . . . maybe after the audience was a bit gone. Yeah, a bit gone.
Well, the set went along okay, they were really humming. Everything was working. They were, well, if not on fire, at least all synced and in the same groove. The audience was with them, Lee could tell. And that was big. Maybe they’d get an extension on the gig, not just for this weekend, but maybe four, five weekends in a row. Cool.
And then it happened.
They’d packed their stuff up into Keith’s van – drum set, amplifiers, spare mics, and so on – and they were heading out of the big Marriott parking lot toward the Interstate. It was late.
Suddenly everything went white. Keith was driving, and he stopped dead. “Can’t see, man,” he muttered.
“What the hell?” Jeremy put in.
Lee looked out the front windshield, squinting against the light. What was it? He couldn’t see a thing. He was blinded.
Gradually – it must have been only a couple of minutes, but it felt like an hour – the whiteness subsided. There was this big object, smooth and round and alien-looking, in front of them. In front of the van. Glowing. Hovering. With blinking lights.
It looked like a true flying saucer. It looked like something out of the movies.
That was the start of their time on the road. Not the road like touring around the U.S., or even Europe.
It was like touring around the galaxy.
“Caught your act,” the space travelers told his band, “at the Marriott. Stroke of Midnight. We like it. How do you feel about interstellar travel?”
“Loved the movie,” Keith said.
“Always wanted to leave town.” This from Jeremy.
So Lee made the deal.
Yes, they were little green men. Yes, they had antennae and tentacles. Just like in the movies.
But they loved good music. Lee’s band toured for a year, bumping from star to star, planet system to planet system. Whether it was a light year, or a Earth year, it was the break they needed.
Never underestimate the value of a break.
About this post: Sometimes you’ve got to go to the audience. Wherever they are.