Two Fingers of Scotch
The kick drum invaded my body as my heart matched the bassline. The lead guitarist played the same solo for the twentieth time with the same cocky aura. The only difference was that the song was in a different key. Mounds of sweaty bodies kept bumping into me and spilling their drinks as I held my iPad and water close to my body. A green apple martini to my left, coconut tequila to my rights, a chocolate martini and two fingers of scotch on the table across from where I stand. Not to mention the Bud-Light that was split onto my canvas shoes earlier in the night.
My boss left me in charge since he had to run back to the studio to pick up some more cables. Over the past year, I have learned to not get distracted while on the job while also closely observing the world around me. It is an essential skill to have, not only to protect the equipment, but to protect yourself and those around you when the environment is crawling with absolutely obliterated members of society. The guitarist neared the end of his solo and I hovered my finger about the fader in preparation to bring his volume down once more. He struck the last note of his solo and my finger pressed against the iPad screen and began to drag down the little gray icon back down to the original gain, or volume, whichever term suits your fancy. I gracefully removed my finger from the iPad right as a couple bumped into me. Lucky timing. Usually I am off to the side, away from the action. Sadly, my preferred observation corner for this venue was taken by two throgged people necking like there’s no tomorrow. Anyone who’s coherent enough to read a room can tell that I am very out of place. You tend to stop trying to fit in and dance through the crowd while on the job after the first few gigs. I’m here to work. Nothing more, nothing less.
I sipped on my water right as I heard someone shout from behind “a female roadie!” I wasn’t phased by the male voice’s proclamation. He was the seventh person tonight. He poked my shoulder as he kept shouting. “I’ve never seen a female roadie before!” I kept my head forward and ignored the mystery man to the best of my ability. His tenor voice creeped me out only because it reminded me of my math teacher from last year. I didn’t like Pre-Calc, let alone the teacher. He didn’t match my vibe. The man got fed up with me ignoring him and grabbed my shoulder. A chill violated my spine as I felt his hand grasp my whole right shoulder. As if the gods above felt my discomfort, I heard the band’s final song. I put my water down on the table with haste so I could aggressively push his hand off my shoulder and began to make my way through the crowd and up to the band.
As I reached the side of the stage I saw my coworker, Dani. He already had his hand ready for our handshake. We dabbed each other up followed by touching our elbows together and then we disconnected our hands and swung them to meet up at the bottom in a low high five, our sacred handshake. The lead singer said his generic “Thank you and goodnight” before I headed to the aux cable to play some filler music as we made the switch between bands. Simultaneously, Dani whipped out his phone and moved the master fader down to negative infinity, also known as muted or no sound. We quickly ushered the band off stage and got the next band on stage and set to go. A happy band equals more gigs and more gigs equals a happier boss and a happy boss means I get paid. I slowly turned the filler music to give a fading out effect as Dani tried to mimic my speed with the master volume, even though there was no reason for it. Once the band began to introduce themselves, my coworker and I did our handshake and I went back to our respective sides of the venue.
As I adjust and try to get comfortable in the darkness of the corner, I hear and smell someone who doesn’t know their limit. My face twists in disgust as I glance upon a man hurling into a poor plant. I tried to look away but right before I could I locked eyes with the man. My stomach dropped.
“Ashley?” The man slurred out, eyes widened. Not only was this man from before, but it was my math teacher. You would think he’d know his limit by now.
“Mr. Calavanti.” I say in the same fashion I would in school, exhausted and dripped with teenage angst.
“I didn’t expect to see you here.” I could tell he was sobering up a tiny bit, unlike the blokes yelling their heads off behind me.
“Why would you? I’m a 17 year old in a bar of 40 to 50 year olds.” All he did was nod in acknowledgment. I feel someone’s eyes watching me on the other side of the bar. I glance over to see Dani motioning his head as if to tell me to come over here.
“If you would excuse me, I have to get back to work. Have fun.” Calavanti nodded once more, still visibly mortified. I held my iPad close to my body and cut across the crowd to get to my beloved coworker.
“What was that about?” He leaned over to shout into my ear, still looking down at the mixer on his phone.
“My math teacher threw up in a plant.”
“Gross.” Dani finally looked up at me. We quickly did our handshake and went back to work.