Garbage Truck was on their rehearsal break, sitting on the old stained sofa in the middle of the rehearsal studio, leafing through a red scrapbook. Griff, the lead singer did not join them, but instead paced up and down the studio like a restless cat.
He nervously ran his fingers through his messy black hair, trying to think of something to report to his friends, but they were distracted by something else.
“Hey, Griff, you gotta check this out. Isn’t this some sick shit?” Trev called over to the pacer.
“How you get away with this shit is beyond me”, Bradley flicked his cigarette.
“I wouldn’t have believed it, but here it is”, Bobby chuckled.
“Griff!” Trev yelled, “Get over here and take a look at this!”
Griff stomped over to the sofa to see what everyone was laughing about. He peered over their shoulders at what was inside the red scrapbook, which turned out to be photos of girls passed out on a bed in their bra and panties.
“Ricardo’s scrapbook!” Trev raved. “You bastard, you!” He nudged Ricardo, who grinned sheepishly.
“Perv! You perv!” Bert yelled, laughing. “I knew it! Behind every drummer beats the heart of a pervert!”
“C’mon, you guys”, Ricardo whined, getting sensitive.
“HEY! WHAT’S THIS GIRL’S NAME?? JESUS, WHAT A RACK!”
“Whoa, this one’s got her bra off, look at those titties!”
“How do you get them to strip on your bed?”
“Well, I bring ‘em over after a show – they’re already loaded, and –“ Ricardo mumbled.
“These have to be posed, you don’t know that many girls!”
“The ones in my neighborhood are easy, they’re not all stuck up like your Hollywood friends”, Ricardo sulked.
“Yeah, asshole, how come you don’t invite these chicks to our shows?”
“They don’t like to go into Hollywood, and –“
Griff was bored with all the pictures of underage girls passed out and he had bigger problems, anyway. He found a dead body in a nightclub parking lot and didn’t report it to the police or anyone else. He tiredly rubbed his eyes. The prospect of making his ears ring for another sixty minutes was not appealing to him.
“I think we should knock off early”, Griff groaned, “Let’s just run through the set and wrap it up. There’s always Thursday night, anyhow”.
Bert picked up his guitar, flicked hi amp switch off standby to screaming feedback. “Works for me. I have finals next week, anyhow. I got studying to do”.
“Put that monkey book away”, Griff told Ricardo.
G. Bobby Callahan, guitarist, was the most officious member of Garbage Truck and liked to think of himself as being more organized than the rest of the guys. Although he wasn’t a founding member he occasionally assumed he was the real band leader of the group and that Griff wasn’t worthy of leadership. He would give in to feelings of frustration whenever Griff would assert his authority because he felt he could do a much better job.
Bobby had a laid-back office job on the Westside to supplement his trust fund money. Holding down a job on top of coming from a prosperous family kept up appearances.
He sat down at his desk and wrote down a list of assignments that needed completion by the end of the day. He was interrupted by the buzzing of the intercom line on his phone.
“Bobby, there’s a call on 57 from a Moish Wilson”.
“Okay, thanks, Gillian”.
He picked up line 57. “Callahan speaking”.
“Bobby Callahan from Garbage Truck? Moish Wilson from Varmint Booking. How you doin’, pal? Your band came highly, highly, highly recommended to me by Miri Murder from Kitten Claws”.
“Oh yeah, Miri, cool”, laughed Bobby.
“Yeah, I also hear on the grapevine from my bud Dead End Kyle that you guys are doing a CD for him. Very good. Very, very good. So let’s talk major shit. Kitten Claws are going on a major tour this summer, kapeesh? I owe Kyle a big one, so if you guys keep your asses together long enough you can open for my girls, whadda ya think?”
“Sounds great, Moish. Did you talk to my band leader Griff about all this?”
There was a dead silence on the other end of the line. “Look, Miri gives me word that this Griff guy is a drunk and homeless, what the fuck do I want to waste my time talking to that loser?”
“Well, it’s his band, but –“
“No, amigo, it’s YOUR band. You’re the man. Miri recommended you, the girls swear by you. This Griff is a dumb shmuck and means nothing to me. I won’t do business with some shvantz that gets dead drunk on stage”.
“Okay. What do I need to do?”
“Let the whole band know that you’re going on tour soon and to block out the next two months. It’s all taken care of. Kitten Claws want you guys to play support, but only if you coordinate things and report to me every day.”
“And you’re the captain. Forget about Griff, dumb bitch with a microphone, but you didn’t hear that from me, kapeesh?”
Bobby chuckled.“Okay, dude. Did Kyle say anything about when our CD’s coming out?”
“That’s between you and him. Remember: you’re the boss, not this drunken prick Griff”.
“I’ll call you in a week with the skinny”, grunted Moish Wilson. “Welcome to Varmint!”
Griff woke up from his nap on the sofa and stared at the television set that quietly buzzed away. Still groggy, he tried to focus on what he was watching, eventually getting up and pouring himself a glass of water by the sink. He looked out the fourth floor window of his apartment and saw only darkness occasionally punctured by street lamps which glowed like fireflies.
Like a ghost he slowly drifted over to the curtains and closed them to block out the void staring at him from the outside. The thoughts that were nagging him to death for the past few days finally got in his face and wouldn’t leave.
He reached for his car keys on the coffee table and went downstairs. It was pretty late, a little past midnight, but Griff was going to head over to The Glitter House parking lot. Since it was a Tuesday night there probably wouldn’t be a show tonight so he didn’t worry much about being caught wandering around the lot.
As he drove around in his battered 1966 Plymouth Valiant he thought about the new record and all the time he spent in the recording studio mixing the tapes, making sure he got all the levels to a point where everyone in the band got a fair shake being heard. He tried to be fair about it since the three guitar players fought so much turning up over each other. It took him hours to make sure it was all perfectly balanced.
He thought about Dead End Kyle, and his promise to have the record out soon even though he’d already released dozens of records from other bands less popular than Garbage Truck. Was Kyle taking him for a ride or what? When was this record really going to come out?
He thought about Bert stretching himself thin, another trust fund kid in the band who went to college all day and had his own band, Lady Godiva’s Operation on the side, not to mention his attendance at 12-step meetings at night in addition to his many vacations. This guy had way too much on his plate, and how he managed to keep his commitment to Garbage Truck was highly shaky at best.
He drove past The Glitter House, which looked dark other than the marquee which was always turned on at night. He slowed the car down to the parking lot. All the overhead street lamps were turned off, so he parked in sheer darkness.
He got out of the car quietly in spite of the fact he was alone and in ink-black darkness. He saw the dumpster several yards ahead of him, the dumpster that blocked the corpse of the dead security guard lying in a pool of blood.
Griff looked nervously around him to make sure nobody could see him. He walked closer and closer to the dumpster until he was in front of it. He looked behind the dumpster and saw nothing lying behind it. The body was gone. Griff panicked.
He tried to open the lid to the dumpster but they were locked. He turned on his pen flashlight and shot it into the dumpster but couldn’t see anything except some random garbage. No sign of a body at all.
“So that’s it”, he mumbled. He looked around, hoping he could find the corpse moved somewhere nearby, but it was wasted effort. The body was definitely gone. Griff slowly drifted back to his car, and turned over the engine as quietly as possible, tearing out of the lot right away.
Griff drove down Sunset Boulevard back to his apartment.
“Where did he go? Who moved him? Did anybody report the dead body?” Griff asked himself. He looked out the window at his side, and noticed a cop car in the next lane.
“If I’m the only one who saw him dead, did it really happen? Who else knows?”
One of the cops was staring straight at him. Griff got nervous.
The cop car suddenly turned on its siren and raced down the street past him.
Griff got home and walked across the lobby of his apartment building. He noticed an envelope sticking out of his mailbox. He pulled out the envelope, addressed to:
“GRIFFITH APARTMENT #417”.
He tore open the envelope and pulled out a legal notice, which read:
“THREE-DAY NOTICE TO PAY RENT OR QUIT”
WITHIN THREE DAYS AFTER THE SERVICE ON YOU OF THIS NOTICE, YOU ARE HEREBY REQUIRED TO MAKE PAYMENT OR QUIT AND DELIVER THE POSSESSION OF THE PREMISES”.