Part of The Rock and Roll Fantasy Collection
The ambient noise from Dale’s end of the line disappears. I lean back, put my feet up, and close my eyes.
Hold music creeps in. Warrant’s “Cherry Pie”? That’s an odd choice. My foot starts pounding out the rhythm of the bass drum. The song becomes an anthem, beating itself into my head and making me rally behind it. This is totally gonna be stuck in my head all day.
“So far, today has been promising.”
I bolt up in my chair, gripping its arms with white knuckles while my heart tries to gallop out of my chest. That voice came over the phone! It wasn’t any voice either! My words sprint out, cracking as they go. “Dale, you there? Who’s with you?”
Ambient noise returns, followed by Dale’s voice, “Hold on another sec.” I’m definitely not on hold now, yet I still hear Warrant. This is exactly what happened in the car two days ago with Mötley Crüe.
“Anyway,” Dale says, “I was thinking maybe …”
“Sometimes this job can be so boring.”
My lungs struggle for air. There she is again, and she sounds as clear and loud as Dale does. I’m tempted to throw down the phone and run, but all I can do is sit here, frozen and gripping the chair.
Haze begins to coat my inner vision. Pixels form and merge. At first the image is black with a smattering of light peering through, and then browns and creams work their way in, leading to full color, yet it is all buried under fog. My jaw clenches. What the hell is going on?
The haze clears, and although my heart won’t stop racing, something tells me I am safe, regardless of how I have a hard time believing it.
The image before me is of a female arm reaching toward a coffee table and a copy of Neon Angel, the autobiography of Cherie Currie of The Runaways. Next to it is a stereo with an iPod attached. Is that where Warrant is coming from?
“I find myself waiting around, wasting so much time. At least I’m becoming well read.” She chuckles. “If you can call this well read. At least I finally have a chance to look into some of the things that interest me.”
Dale’s voice slips in. “I think I’m headed to great places.”
Everything sounds jumbled to the point where I’m not sure who said what. I don’t want to risk disturbing the vision by asking Dale to stop talking. I also fear that if I speak, I’m so far over the edge my voice won’t work.
The view slips to a dark brown carpet, and although I am still gripping my chair, I seem to be walking; yet I can’t tell where. All I catch are glimpses of what I’m pretty sure are pictures hanging on the wall of a fairly small space. Is this a trailer?
We pass through a door and the music fades, but the sound of heels clicking on tile echo into the mix. The acoustics also change, and I catch sight of a bathroom sink.
“Anyway, I need to head off. We’re getting ready to …”
Was that Dale? I’m not sure anymore.
Sweat builds on my brow as my view turns to a mirror. My ability to breathe is strained when I see the woman wearing jeans and a T-shirt with a design I can’t make out. Her skin is fair and freckled. Her eyes seem hazel or maybe brown. I can’t tell the color of her clipped-up hair, but it seems dark red. Who is this woman whose voice keeps infiltrating my mind? And why am I suddenly seeing through her eyes? It’s almost as if I am her, yet I know I am not.
I’m not, right?
No. I’m Brandon Wayne. I’m sitting at work in Los Angeles, California. I’m thirty-one years old. I’m on the phone with Dale who is in Canada.
I force my view downward and see what I know is real—my hands gripping my chair.
“Yo! Brandon, you there?”