TITLE: THE KNOCK-OFFS
GENRE: Commercial fiction
Chandra stood waiting for the concert, trying to ignore all the red flags. First, every alt-weekly in Los Angeles wanted to have the band’s children, a sure sign they were over-hyped. Second, the crowd was full of drunken kids from Greek Row shouting and texting each other—the Pabst drinkers of music, she thought. Third, the lead singer shambled on stage like he was doped on cough syrup, or something out of a bong. Still, there was hope. Maybe they were introverts who could only express their genius through music. Maybe their music would transport her to a better place, preferably one that didn’t smell like the crowd (too much melon body spray, and not enough deodorant). After all, this was why she scouted bands, to find the few rough-cut gems. But as the band’s first notes thundered through the club, her hope succumbed to an assault of power chords, a noise so punishing her phone went off like a car alarm in her pants.
She retreated from the amps and realized her phone was ringing, not sending distress signals. The call was from her boss, Preston, which was puzzling since he hardly ever called to ask about a band. Especially in the first thirty seconds.
Chandra ignored his call and concentrated on the band’s opening song. The bassist and guitarist wailed some unintelligible background vocals, and then the lead singer approached the mike. He had no vocal range, and every time he sang a dramatic bit he grunted like he was passing a kidney stone.