I Want to Be A Band’s Go-To Guy

A ringer who can step behind the drum set anytime, master the songs in an afternoon, contribute to the studio sessions when they need to fill out the low-end, join them on tour at a moment’s notice to tune the toms or straighten the sticks or pinch-hit and save the whole damn show when their drummer is sick or hurt or missing, pay for my own airfare and lodging and meals and never follow up after asking the guys about the reimbursement process once and them telling me they’ll leave me in a river if I beg for money again, stay up all night studying and rehearsing their songs, show up to the arenas at sunrise to coordinate the light show while the band is still having sex on their bus, listen to the drummer explain why he’s low on cash due to record label bullshit and agree to loan him eight thousand dollars at a negative interest rate, drive downtown to a crumbled brick hellhole to buy the drummer scag with this money that’s now his, fill in again for the drummer when he’s missing twenty minutes after this massive festival performance was scheduled to begin, hear the crowd roar when I pound out these songs harder and crisper than the woozy boozebag has played in a decade, watch the singer and guitarist and bassist confer when the lights are out before the encore, tell myself not to get my hopes up, to not expect this to be the moment I’ve sacrificed my life and my savings and my health for, but then watch the guys wave me up to the front of the stage and the spotlight’s on me and they announce I am officially in the band, I am the drummer, I am the guy, and as I cry and I bow the original drummer rushes the stage wearing a wad of plastic grocery bags with eye and mouth holes torn through and he’s holding two fat glass vials of pale glop and seven SWAT guys storm the stage and aim their rifles at him and say he’s under arrest for stealing $900,000 worth of donated bone marrow, and the suspect has been identified as the drummer of this band, and I smile, eager to see that son of a bitch locked up, but he screams through the bags that he’s not the drummer of the band, and the other guys nod in agreement and confirm that right now he is just some guy, but the drummer of the band is there, and they point to me, and the SWAT guys charge me with their guns at my head and they shove me onto the dirty stage and zip-tie my wrists with sharp plastic and pull me up and the band froths the crowd to chant, “Arrest the pest, arrest the pest,” and their old guy sits behind the kit and they play their encore while I’m manhandled into the paddy wagon and I hear the crowd go nuts to the those sloppy off-tempo whacks and the singer blaming me for their many mistakes and offenses, calling me a criminal and sick and a sinner, and with me as the patsy the band is absolved, back on good standing with their label and their fans and their accounts will be flush with sold-marrow money, and I’m driven away to plead guilty to a list of felonies financial and violent, playing my little part in this fabulous world of showbusiness and happy to do so because I always wanted to be one of those go-to guys.