The Star

The audience wouldn’t arrive for another hour. The stage was set up for the evening show. Brian paced back and forth, his cellphone glued to his ear. “C’mon. C’mon. Answer the damn phone.” He pulled it away from his ear when it went to voicemail. Brian slipped the phone into his back pocket and walked back to the stage.

“Any luck?” Paul was the drummer. He was the most reliable member of the band.

“No. It went to voicemail, again.” Brian flicked a cymbal. “I hate it when he does this.”

“We all do, mate.” George had joined the band in Australia when their original bass player got deported.

Haley smiled as she walked past him with a beer in her hand. “Don’t worry. He’ll show. He always does.”

“He’s never been late before. He’s never been unreachable before. I can’t help but worry. There’s no show without him.”

“Don’t sell yourself short, man. You’ve got a great voice. We can play without him.” George went back to tuning his guitar.

“He said that we’d be playing a new song that he wrote. We were supposed to have time to rehearse before the show.”

Brian pulled out his cellphone and dialed again. “C’mon, Danny, pick up.” And just as Brian was about to hang up, the call went through. “Danny? Are you there? Hello?”

“Yo! Brian? Are you responsible for all the voicemails? I was in the shower. What’s up?”

“I’ve been calling for the past half hour. You don’t seriously expect me to believe that you were in the shower the whole time.”

“Whatever. What’s your problem?”

“At the moment, you are. You’re late for rehearsal. We won’t have time to learn your new song.”

“Don’t worry about that. We’ll just play our usual set tonight. I’ll be there in time for the show.”

“Promises, promises,” Brian muttered as he slipped his phone back into his pocket. He picked up his guitar and strummed a few notes from a song that he’d been working on. He’d composed quite a few songs that people would never hear. The band played what Danny wrote. The people came to hear Danny sing. He was the star. Brian had accepted that a long time ago.

Danny was always late, but he always showed. But ten minutes in, the crowd was getting restless. Brian began to strum his guitar. George followed along on base. Haley and Paul soon joined in as Brian stepped up to the microphone and started to sing. The crowd fell silent as Brian’s voice filled the hall.

After their set, the bartender turned on the news. “Tonight, local police were called to the hotel room of rock star Danny Cage, lead singer of Perjury Gods, after complaints of a fight lodged by fellow guests. His room showed evidence of a fight. Several lamps and tables had been damaged. A search of the room did not turn up any evidence of foul play. However, Danny Cage has disappeared. His bandmates could not be reached for comments of Cage’s disappearance. Police believe he may have been kidnapped.”

Brian was the first one out the door as the band members ran across the alley, entering the hotel through a service entrance. While police were busy detaining the other three, Danny walked to the center of the mess and knelt beside a pile of ash. He shook his head. “I warned you not to hook up with that chick. Her name alone should have been a red flag. I mean, what vamp in his right mind would date a girl named Mina.” He stood up and dusted off his hands. “Especially if her last name is Van Helsing.”