Leaving Blues Delta and reentering the path, the band caught a glimpse of light further down the magical archway. When they reached the end, they were greeted by the bright lights of the Twisty Road Café. There were cars of every era– exotic, classic–every model and make, and people were funneling into the Café’s small entrance. Then they saw it. The neon sign read, “BATTLE OF THE BANDS TONIGHT; RIP ‘N TIME VS. TARBORGS.”
Although Riley was glad that the band had finally arrived at their predetermined destination, she was confused by the Twisty Road Café’s ready accessibility. “I mean, this was quite an ordeal for us to get here– Magical Land of Guitar, the Seven Legends and so on and now it looks like you can drive right in! What was that Travel Goddess thinking?” said Riley. “We’ve hiked so far –we’ve gone over the hill! We’re on the other side of the Santa Monica Mountains!” said Riley.
“Well we’re here, let’s just get on with it,” said Langston.
“No, I want some answers,” said Riley. So she clicked her toggle switch three times and . . . .
“What’s up?” asked the Travel Goddess.
“Why didn’t you tell us about an easier way to get here?” Riley asked.
“I told you. There is an easier way—the 405—but it’s closed,” the Travel Goddess said.
“That’s next week!” said Riley. Oh never mind, let me see your boss!”
“I told you before; she’s not my . . . oh whatever,” said the Travel Goddess.
And then the Goddess of Guitar appeared.
“Maybe, Oh great Goddess, you can clarify some things for me. First you say that the Twisty Road Café is surrounded by the Magical Land of Guitar, and now it looks to me like a typical club in the Valley. I mean, with all due respect . . . which or what is it?” asked Riley.
“It is both. For you and Rip ‘N Time, it is in the center of the Magical Land of Guitar and it was totally necessary for you and the band to follow this particular path (not the 405) to the Twisty Road Café. You see, it is an imaginary land where the Café exists –for you. For others, it is as you say– a club where one can listen to music, have a good time and so on,” said the Goddess.
“Well what about all these other people here– are they aware of the Magical Land of Guitar?” asked Riley.
“That I cannot say–perhaps, perhaps not,” said the Goddess. “What I do know, is that the mission has not changed– you must defeat the Tarborgs in a Battle of the Bands at the Twisty Road Café. You know what to do,” said the Goddess. And with that she vanished.
“‘You know what to do . . . you know what to do’ . . . r . . . i . . . ght. But wait, she’s right. Riley, think, think– think back to the curse and the legacy ‘ . . . Seven . . . entities . . . possessing individual powers that when joined together would defeat . . . threats to the guitar’s existence.’ The Seven Legends are, of course, the present day entities and the Goddess said specifically that I am the vessel for the Seven Legends. Yeah, yeah OK . . . OK,” said Riley.
Riley closed her eyes just for a moment, and just the mere fact of thinking of all the lore surrounding the Playing Her Guitar Suite and all its implications made her shudder. She also had a sensation that she had never experienced before—a sense of purpose…strength of will, confidence and a new found . . . power. When Rip ‘N Time reached the performer’s entrance at the side of the Café, they were greeted by a couple of techs –one for sound and the other for lighting. They said that they just wanted to introduce themselves and would be available for any needs or requests that the band might require. Just then, a young production assistant/stage manager type arrived with a clipboard in hand and directed the band to their dressing rooms and told them where to find their rehearsal space. “Good hunting,” she said and then, “I’ll be back in a minute with your time slot and stage direction,”
She came back with an 8×10 one sheet neatly typed:
RIP ‘N TIME stage left; amps set up, drum riser position, lighting– predetermined per agreement.
TARBORGS: stage right; no amps, no drums necessary.
TARBORGS: 8:00 to 8:13 RIP ‘N TIME: 8:13 to 8:21
TARBORGS: 8:21 to 8:26 RIP ’N TIME: 8:26 to 8:29
TARBORGS: 8:29 to 8:31 RIP ‘N TIME: 8:31 to 8:32
RIP ‘N TIME and TARBORGS: 8:32 TO?
Riley held Mr. Snugglewhumps while she read the sheet and the rest of the band huddled around her looking over her shoulder. Before the stage manager could leave, Riley said, “Hey, what is this?”
“What do you mean?” the stage manager asked.
“First of all ,how did you come up with this time schedule –I mean the Tarborgs get almost twice as much time to play—how’d that happen?” Riley asked.
“Coin toss, you lost,” she said.
“Coin toss –whwhw what coin toss?” said Riley.
The stage manager just stared back blankly as if looking through or past Riley.
“Well what about our so called sound checks and how we’re going to set up . . . and . . . ?” asked Riley.
It’s in the contract—read the fine print,” said the stage manager.
“OK, forget that– I can see where this is going and yeah I figured out that Rip ’N Time and the TARBORGS are going to eventually play at the same time. But at least tell us what the 8:32 to question mark means,” said Riley.
At that point, the stage manager turned towards the door and let out with a grade “A”, B-flick, mirthless laugh that echoed down the hallway like a fart from Satan.
“That stinks,” said Vincent.
“She stinks,” said Riley.
“Yeah, what a beeyatch,” said Akemi.
“Amen,” said Langston.
“Hiss,” said Mr. Snugglewhumps.
“OK gang, we just had our melancholy moment—we’ve got to move on. Let’s get to the rehearsal space,” said Riley.