Derek Vólkov

I could see Calhoun throwing dirty looks at me for the rest of rehearsal and while I packed up my violin. He was a real freak of nature; anyone could see that. With long auburn hair, a freakishly pale complexion and shaved eyebrows, he was unmistakably. . .just Calhoun.

He and I had been friends before - we did just about everything together. I guess it was the band. We got sick of each other after a while, like everyone does. Our animosity towards each other started with small arguments like, 'who unplugged my amp?' and 'did you take my rosin?'; nothing important. I guess it just escalated. I didn't want to turn it into the rivalry it became, but Calhoun seemed more than willing to do just that. I spent a lot of time thinking about it. Maybe it was just the depth of our relationship before. Maybe he felt like it could never be repaired. But finally, he and I were the only ones left in his garage.

"What are you waiting for?" he said coldly. "Don't you have something to do? Somewhere else?"

"What's the hurry?" I asked, raising an eyebrow. When he kept up his dark, I'm-going-to-murder-the-next-guy-who-looks-at-me glare, I said, "Okay, Calhoun, look. No more arguing, just listen to me." I crossed my arms. "I know you don't really want to be working with me and the other guys, but a tour'd help us, like. . .I donno. . .advertise? Hell, we might get better along the way, or you might find a. . .better. . .band. But if we're gonna do anything, we have to get on the road within days. I don't want to have to pay extra on an RV rental just because you're so fucking indecisive. So what's it gonna be?"

His frown never wavered as he said, "Whatever. I'll try to be okay with being stuck in a cheap RV with five guys I hate."

I knew it was the closest to a 'yes' I'd ever get out of him. "So I'll tell the rest of the band we're leaving on Sunday?"

I knew he wouldn't answer, so I picked up my violin case and walked confidently to my car. I could feel his eyes on my back the whole time as I walked down the driveway, but Rum Of The Fair Danger was one step closer to fame.

I spent the next eleven hours in my apartment, mostly laying in bed and listening to music. I could barely sleep that night. It wasn't that I was excited - no, that'd worn off in the car. My cell phone started to ring.

"Far, far away

where the birch wouldn't grow"

I let it ring. I wasn't in the mood to be on the phone. On the drive home I'd been thinking 'what would it feel like to be doing this for days on end?' To me, it didn't seem too bad. Low and I liked roadtrips; he and I always went on vacation together. I tried to look at it from Calhoun's perspective, but I still didn't see anything wrong with it, other than the fact that he had the widespread reputation of being a complete asshole that had to be upheld.

"Far, far away

where the wind freezes your face;

there you won't be alone"

He could really be a bitch sometimes. But at least Novak and Ambjørn would be there. They were the peace-makers. It was impossible to imagine Ambjørn getting into a fight. He was half-deaf, so he didn't talk much - as if he would ever say something to make someone angry. Novak was more forceful, and he didn't particularly enjoy being surrounded by conflict.

"I would rather fly with eagles, to the snowy hills

I would rather run with wolves between the trees

I would rather be with trees than in the middle of noisy streets"

The song repeated then went to voicemail.

I must've drifted off at one point, because I woke up gasping for air when I heard someone banging on my apartment's door.

"Who is it?" I tried to call groggily, but then remembered the neighbors and the time of night. So, sliding out of bed, still fully clothed, I got up and answered the door to see none other than Rum's drummer, Tony, about ready to knock again, but putting down his fist when he saw me.

"Hey," he said, apparently wide awake.

"Dude, what is it?" I slurred, yawning. "Do you know what time it is?"

"Yeah, it's just around 2 or 3," he answered, walking in. "Can I stay here for tonight?"

That was like Tony; always straight-forward, telling people exactly what he wanted.

"Uh, why?" was all I could think of at that time. My brain needed a while to get the cogs turning. I looked around at my apartment; pretty shabby. "It'll be crowded as hell in here. Go stay with Calhoun or something." Calhoun was the only member who had his own full-sized house.

"It's just for the night. My girlfriend kicked me out. But it's my apartment, so she kinda has to let me back in. Anyway, you don't look too good. Are you sick or something?"

"No, I just don't usually wake up at 3 in the morning." I stifled another yawn and tried to be as awake as possible. "Do you want something to drink? Some coffee or. . .?"

"I'll have some beer."

That was like Tony, too. So I got a couple of beers out of the fridge and set them down on a wooden coffee table in the living room. I didn't usually have people over, so most of the time I just ate sitting on the sofa.

"Hey, you wanna be the first to know something big?" I asked. "Something about the band?"

"What?" he said more than asked, opening his bottle.

"Calhoun and I decided we're gonna try going on tour or something. Cross-country. Or as far as we can go without resorting to mass murder and suicide."

"Ah, man, are you serious? Is that what you guys were talking about back there? What was going on, anyway?"

"Some arguing, a lot of threatening; regular Calhoun-and-Derek type stuff." I answered with a wave of my hand. "But he and I agreed after everybody'd already left."

"You and Calhoun?" he said, "You gotta be shittin' me."

"I shit you not, my friend."

After making a toast to the band and downing our beers, I decided it was time to hit the sack. I mean, it wasn't as though I was used to getting, what - three, four? - hours of sleep and then being woken up by a very talkative drummer.