“Superstar checking in with you, Bad Boy. I have Kelly Todd and her fourteen-year old son, Jacob, with us, KSTR’s grand prize winners. Kelly, last night when Zach Rohnan called you personally to congratulate you, did you think it was a prank?” Starr asked the thirty-something single mother who was sporting one of the band’s touring jerseys and a pair of tight black jeans. Starr was thankful she’d been able to hand out the teeshirts to both the woman and her son since the mother’s top didn’t do much to cover her top and the kid’s shirt had a logo of the middle finger. Who am I to judge? she thought. From the back of her mind, another thought crept in. At least she won’t be flaunting those watermelons at… She gave herself a mental shake and then completed the thought for her own satisfaction… Anyone.
“Are you kidding? I thought Jacob got a friend to do it, ain’t that right, Jake?” the jubilant reply drew back Starr’s focus. “I’m half-surprised that hunky man didn’t hang up on me, the way I started cussing him out,” she snorted, making her chest jiggle along with her orange, corkscrew curls. “But, oh, what a gentleman he turned out to be at dinner!” she finished flirtatiously. Starr quelled the dislike she felt for the over-exuberant woman, forcing herself not to mentally criticize the excess amount of eye shadow and liner framing her hazel eyes or the almost-black outline around the woman’s lips.
The limo picked up Starr and the Todds from the radio station about three hours before and they met the band at the Ritz-Carlton in downtown Denver where the band was staying. Starr and the winners had a five-star dinner with them, complete with champagne. Far from drunk but admittedly slightly tipsy, Starr was broadcasting the interview over the phone through the station’s listener line. The teenager, undoubtedly his mother’s son, with the same carrot locks, just a bit dirtier and stringier, stopped messing around with the various controls in the backseat and held out his hand to Starr who in turn, held up the phone.
“I just wanna give a shout out to my friends, Tyler, Stu and Eric. Suck it, dudes! We ate lobster and truffles and now I’m in a limo with my front-row ticket and backstage pass!”
Starr couldn’t help but laugh. She felt like she was in a Pauly Shore movie. All that was missing was a bong and a bag of weed, although she suspected the teenager had something stashed in his sock since he kept feeling his ankle over the well-worn, dingy white hightops. Glancing at the mother, Starr was pretty sure the woman was “packing” as well. But, hell, since the laws had changed to allow recreational marijuana use, lots of folks had a joint or pipe handy these days. Starr certainly enjoyed her own “herbal essence.”
As their ride pulled up to the majestic Red Rock Amphitheatre, she struggled to focus on finishing the call while the limo was given access to the back loading entrance. The tour buses were already there, of course. The road crew had been there for several days, setting up the stage and sound. IED was touring with two smaller bands, Hatchet and Merry-Go-Round. They’d arrived earlier in the day for rehearsal and sound check. IED had done its rehearsals the previous days since the KSTR promotion would be taking up the hours prior to the headliner’s opening number and stage performance.
“Well, Bad Boy. We just pulled up at Red Rock. We’ll be checking in again throughout the night, might even be able to score a quick interview with some members from Hatchet and Merry-Go-Round. I’ll definitely be checking in later from the after-party,” she promised as she ended the call. Seconds later, the limo driver opened the door and the three passengers alighted from the luxurious vehicle.
Starr took a deep breath inhaling the smell of the open landscape. The magnificent structure was completed about six months before the strike on Pearl Harbor. The large amphitheatre was cut from the red clay that had been formed into stone over millions of years during the planet’s evolution. The surrounding cliffs resonated the keen acoustics of any sound that echoed off of them. As construction and technology advanced, lighting had been added. It wasn’t her first time here, but the beauty of the venue never ceased to strike her with its breathtaking view, the cosmopolitan city of Denver on one side and the Rocky Mountains on the other. And after dark, and the shows played from the stage, the lights would play off of the rocky cliffs in their own luminescent display. Although all the venue seating was outdoors, areas were cut into the rocks providing shelter as well. Inside the walls consisted of the red rock, but flooring had been added, tiles of marble circling the halls. Various plaques adorned the walls commemorating events that had taken place at the seventy year old site. There was an autograph wall that sported the signatures of many legendary performers from Elvis Presley to Elvis Costello, Metallica, Iron Maiden, Willie Nelson, Stevie Ray Vaughn and the list went on and on.
Starr took the lead of their small group and was escorted to a large conference room that had nice leather couches and a huge screen set up on one wall. She hid a smile when the kid started complaining.
“Hey, man! I thought we get to sit in the front row!”
“Shut up, Jake! This is much better than sitting around a bunch of assholes trying to rush the stage and screaming for the band,” his mother snapped.
“Don’t worry, Jacob. You and your mom have seats center stage and front row. I, however, will remain in here for the duration of the show. You guys get to enjoy all the excitement,” Starr assured them. “Y’all are free to go to your seats as soon as the doors officially open. That’s about ten more minutes.”
“Can I hang out back here with you? I’d kind of like to conversate a bit more with that Zach Rohnan,” Kelly said suggestively.
“No!” Starr said a bit too quickly. “Uh, he won’t really be back here until after they perform and when the after party starts. And besides, I think their production company is going to use tonight to make a video. Don’t you want to be a part of that?” she asked, covering her animosity. She really didn’t know whether what she said was true or not, but it was pretty common for artists to have their performances recorded, especially in big venues. The footage was often edited into either a music video or DVD. Starr was pleased her comment got the woman starting to preen.
“Hey, where’s the restroom?” Kelly asked, digging into her purse. Like she needs another layer of makeup, Starr thought snidely as she pointed toward a doorway that led to another hall. Jacob fluttered the lanyard hanging around his neck.
“I’m going out to our seats, Mom,” he informed her. “Can I have some cash?”
“What the hell do you need money for? We got free shirts and just ate a huge meal!” she exclaimed.
“I dunno. Stuff, maybe. C’mon. Ten bucks?” he cajoled her and Starr’s opinion of the woman softened slightly as she watched her give in. Whatever her other faults, shen clearly had genuine love for her child.
“Don’t spend it just to spend it, okay?” she admonished gently.
“Sure, Mom,” came the unconvincing reply as the woman shook her head and handed over the cash before turning toward the ladies’ bathroom. Starr could have told her that there was actually an executive washroom, complete with a sit-down makeup mirror, but for reasons she didn’t want to examine too closely, a cattiness prevented her from doing so.
Starr went over to a couch and made herself comfortable. Tonight she was wearing the other drop dead gorgeous outfit she’d purchased the weekend before. This was a skintight suede jumpsuit of a tie-dye pattern. It laced down from armpit to ankle revealing triangles of her milky skin the whole length of her body. The sleeves did the same, slightly off-shoulder down to her wrists. It was extremely low-cut but she wore a white lace sleeveless jerkin contoured to a V at her waist that was secured by small hooks. Not a woman to go full Monty beneath her outfits, she also wore a lace and silk white thong to demonstrate at least some modesty. Rather than kill her feet in heels like many women did, flat sandals with thin pearl-beaded straps adorned her feet. She’d really gone overboard on the outfit—it’d cost more than a thousand dollars, but for some inexplicable reason, she was compelled to outdo herself tonight. Crushin’ on Rohnan, her mind teased her yet again. The waitstaff had just begun to arrive and she ordered a double-shot Irish Car Bomb. Feeling the Jameson’s burning in the pit of her stomach, she decided she’d better lay off the liquor. It was a long night still and the last thing she wanted to do was puke her guts out… especially in front of Rohnan.
“Shut up!” she furiously told the voice in her head. Kelly Todd returned to the room just as Starr was scolding herself and she almost rolled her eyes. God, she needed a joint. Impulsively, she turned to the older woman.
“I don’t suppose you brought anything to smoke?” she asked. A huge smile broke out over the painted face and the other woman replied.
“Sativa or Indica?”
Here’s another chance to skew the story, folks. Let me know what you think…