CHAPTER 8: OH! DEM GOLDEN ARCHES
Far from anywhere like heaven, seven Martian youths appeared where before there was only dust sagebrush. They looked from one to another, then toward the sky, a sky as lonely and unfamiliar as an albino whore. Lifetimes spent in front of the shortwave watching pirate broadcasts of The Jetsons and Leave It To Beaver hadn't been wasted, though. When one of them noticed golden arches far away in the distance, they knew where fate had placed them. Mother Earth -- the original rock 'n' roll planet.
"This is fukking great," said Gizmo.
Gizmo was a roadie. Six-foot five, two-hundred thirty pounds and smart as a bag of hammers. He'd just been hired that week by Buckley, the tour manager, and he needed the job, but he couldn't help feeling there was something weird about this scene. These dudes did a lot of crimes and stuff, but they never seemed to play any music.
There was Atom on guitar, Eddie on bass and Trash on drums, that much he knew, but what they sounded like was anybody's guess. They had to be pretty good, though. They had two fine Betties with them and an Earth tour, didn't they?
After the initial confusion had worn off, everybody started jawing at once. Finally, they agreed that Earth was the place to be, especially since they didn't have any choice. And if British people could make records here, they might as well let Martians try it, too.
Trash spotted headlights down the road coming toward them. A huge cloud of dust kicked up on either side of the semi as it came into view, giving it an air of spiritual importance. The men of Lucifers Crank waved frantically, and as it ground to a halt they could see that the side of the truck was vast and painted with stars and spheres in ridiculous neon shades.
The door opened and a bearded throwback drawled--
"Greetings weary desert folk."
They got in anyway. A hatch in the cab opened out into the hull of the truck where the decor was a kind of mondo Graceland with a healthy dose of new age sham shamanism. Fully equipped as a rehearsal space with its own generator, the main attraction for the Martians was the fully stocked wet bar and vintage KISS pinball machine.
"Are you guys in a rock 'n' roll band?" asked Buckley, eyeing an original Kozik with darts in it. There was an uncomfortable pause as the pretensions grew thicker.
"We prefer the term Audio/Visceral Engineers."
A few miles outside of Flagstaff, Eddie's on again/off again girl started feeling her oats while she got in a bag. Her name was Angel and it fit like a jimmy hat on a two-year-old. Peroxide and lipstick and wide open spaces dominated her skullwork, not that you'd notice with the rest of her present and very well accounted for.
As the night wore on, Angel's inhibitions all but disappeared in a web of philosophical double-talk and pharmaceuticals. By the time the hippie driver had pulled over to meditate by the light of the lunar equinox, she was drooling like Pavlov's dog. Even Suzy-Q, not quite old enough to care, was smitten. They had never met a real band before, not one from Earth anyway.
And the boys from the Crank could see the writing on the outhouse wall. With a moon like cleavage in the sky they hijacked the semi, leaving their unfortunate hosts on the desert floor in the lotus position, dilated eyes lolling heavenward, contemplating the age old mystery of dehydration.
Then, like wolves in an alcoholic hen house, they hit the bar hard. Angel and Suzy never looked backwards.
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CHAPTER 9: SIAMESE TWIN PROSTITUTES