Home » Blog » Teaser from Middletown 3: Metal Apocalypse – Jack Wallen’s story

Teaser from Middletown 3: Metal Apocalypse – Jack Wallen’s story

ONE

Five days and a Coke Binge Ago

“I’m telling you, straight up, FLXS does not stand for For Love of Existential Sex.”

“That’s right, ladies and gents, you heard it here on WXVX first—straight from the source’s mouth. That’s Jon F., the singer for the hottest metal band in the world, FLXS, answering the question on everyone’s mind.”

I leaned forward, bumping my head into the mic hovering before my face. Twenty-four hours on a bus, too much coke, and a heavy dose of the usual fodder that accompanied the lifestyle of the rock and famous.

Notice I didn’t say “rich.” There’s a reason for that. We’d only just found out our manager of five years had been seriously skimming off of what should have been a very lucrative top. FLXS had the first metal album to go platinum in over a decade. We should have been wiping our asses with one hundred dollar bills. Instead, we were left scraping together enough scratch to put fuel in the bus to drive across the country to play our biggest fucking gig to date.

The Prudential Center in Jersey.

Yeah, I was disappointed as well.

Just a few short miles and we could have been—should have been—tearing down the walls of MSG.

Madison Square Garden.

“Jon?”

The host waved my way, his radio-friendly face lined with a derision I’d expect from a pop station having to cater to a metal band. Had I been Taylor-fucking-Swift or one of the many one-hit wonders of the pop culture nation, that same face would be slurping up anything I had to offer.

Instead, I was metal as fuck and this douche might as well have stapled his eyes into a permanent “roll.”

“Yeah? I’m sorry. My mind drifted away. The worst part about spending that much time on the road is sleep deprivation.”

The DJ smirked—he assumed I was handing him a line of bullshit. Truth be told, I wasn’t. “One of the biggest questions we received is of a rather sensitive nature. Our listeners want to know if there’s any rumor to the polyamorous nature of the band. Apparently, there was a leak in your organization indicating all four members of FLXS were in a relationship with one another.”

I wanted to give the listeners exactly what they’d hoped for—that the band was entwined in some never-ending bacchanalian orgy where we share one another’s bodies and fluids like a bong at a be-in.

“No.” I nearly laughed in response. “Believe it or not, we have separate lives from one another. Personally, I don’t believe in love or relationships. I’m married to my music. It sounds like a fu—” I caught myself before dropping an f-bomb on a nationally syndicated radio show. “A cliché. It sounds like a cliché, but it’s not. The amount of time I spend writing and recording leaves nothing left for another person. It sounds selfish, but it’s my life and I have chosen to live it that way. As much as I hate to disappoint everyone out there, FLXS doesn’t take hedonism to new heights—or lows, depending on your bent.”

And that’s how it continued on—one banal question after another, answered in such a way as to make FLXS sound as if we were bigger than any other act in the world.

Because we were.

On paper.

Unless said paper had the official letterhead of our bank; at which point…we were no bigger than a Nickleback cover band.

Or maybe all of this was in my mind. I couldn’t be sure at this point. It’d take a while for the court to settle the financial clusterfuck that managed to strip our accounts of a few zeros.

The interview ended, and I was shown the door—not literally, or even metaphorically. Honestly, I walked out. There was no reason to hang around and glad-hand executives of a station that gave not one whit for a metal band. Besides, I was too damned tired to schmooze.

The Wheeze was parked outside. Our bus. We called it The Wheeze because of the sound that seeped from the toilet—like Pauly Shore howling in the film “Encino Man.” Hence, The Wheeze. We were on our way to Jersey and received the call from the record label, informing us we had to make a pit stop for the WXVX interview. Seeing as how everyone else in the band was in no shape to interact with bipedal, sentient beings, it fell on me to take the task.

Payback for that would be a cold-hearted bitch.

“Wake up, party people!” I shouted the second I entered The Wheeze. “If I have to be up at the crack of yang, all you motherfuckers have to be.”

A pair of underwear was launched my way. I ducked just in time to see the tighty whities sail over my head and stick the landing on Bob’s bare chest. The bastard didn’t even move.

“You, my friend, are sick.”

Bob launched a shrug my way. “It’s just a flesh wound.”

“Go to hell,” the entire band shouted in unison, hoping to prevent a Python quote-a-thon.

The driver fired up The Wheeze, and we were on our way.

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Jay Wilburn
Jay Wilburn has a Masters Degree in Education that goes mostly unused since he quit teaching to write about zombies. Jay writes horror because he tends to find the light by facing down the darkness. He finds the journey through life easier by having you join him. Jay is the author of 2 series: The Dead Song Legend and The Great Interruption. He cowrote The Enemy Held Near with Armand Rosamilia. You can also find Jay's work in Best Horror of the Year volume 5 and Dark Moon Digest. Each year Jay has the pleasure of featuring many great authors in the genre through the Summer and Winter of Zombie blog tours on his website.

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