HT Tour Entry #1
A fifteen-passenger van pulled up in front of my home in the early morning hours on March 1st 2023. It was still dark outside, and I would have otherwise missed its sudden arrival if it wasn’t for the screeching brakes and uniformed marching that followed. A line of heavy boots raced up my driveway before I had a chance to rub the crust from my sleepy eyes. For an all to brief second, I considered closing my eyes and pretending to be asleep, but this was all too real and I could not deny it because I knew they were coming. I knew because they had told me they would.
What began as a joke (or perhaps a promise) had suddenly turned into a twisted reality, I realized. The cadre of musicians were in desperate need, and I was their saving grace – a missing cog in the machine! Never mind the lack of a definitive answer from my end. I was so enthralled with their debacle that I failed to say anything at all when they requested my drumming services. The quick successions of winks and hearty laughs that followed was a matter of comedic effect, at least that’s what I thought. I never would have considered these goons would have taken my sarcasm to mean: YES, I’LL GO ON TOUR WITH YOU CRAZY ASSHOLES!
“The drummer’s toast,” the lead singer told me with a grimace the day before. “This tour is in jeopardy, ya know?”
“Toast?” I asked. “I’m not sure I know what you mean.”
“Combusted,” the bassist clarified.
“Combusted?” I said.
“Spontaneously,” the guitarist added.
That’s when I stopped asking questions. Surely this was all a big joke, a razz at my expense.
“Toast, I understand,” I told them matter-of-factly, then threw a wink at the singer. The first of many that would follow. “I understand now,” I added.
“Toast,” the singer repeated flatly. “So, we’ve decided to take you along with us. You’re our new drummer.”
It was the final hardy laugh I gave that effectively sealed my fate. Flash forward less than 24 hours later and the same group was charging my doorstep in Blitzkrieg fashion. By the time I made it out of bed they already booted down my door. The three musicians who voluntold me for the drumming gig entered, followed by the largest damn American I’d every seen. He stood a foot and half taller than everybody else in the room. He was so big I nearly missed the fifth person sidling behind him. She was tinier than all of us, and standing next to the behemoth, it appeared comical, but one look in her eyes and I knew she wasn’t fucking around. Like the rest of them she was there to pack me and my musical belongings into the van by choice or by force.
Standing before the five touring members in nothing but my underwear, I stalled by raising my hands in surrender. I told them that I wanted no trouble and the singer responded forcefully: “Neither do we!”
The shrill tearing of tape filled the room as the tiny woman extended a roll of adhesive in her hands. The large bearded man stepped toward me with his two arms extended in front of him like Frankenstein. I attempted to push past the other musicians, but they shoved my backward, straight into the arms of the giant. I struggled, but only for a moment; the two burly arms wrapped around my chest were far too tight, and before I could scream for help, the tiny woman slapped a large piece of duct-tape over my bubbling lips. The giant continued to squeeze me like he was juicing a lemon, and as the air sapped from my lungs, the tiny woman started to tie my hands and feet together. The singer stepped forward and stared at me with two bug-eyes.
“Don’t make this harder than it needs to be,” he told me. “You’re coming with us, no questions asked.”
I started to flounder again, but before I could struggle any further, the giant flung me over one of his shoulders like I was a rucksack. With my head laying against the his back, the little woman stepped around and slid a pair of headphones over my ears. A low-hum filled started followed by the drone of an old man speaking.
“...now that you’ve taken a step back from the elephant, you can see a bit clearer now, can’t you? The less you “huff the stuff” them more you’ll recognize. This is humanities final state of emergency and no one knows it…”
The singer patted the back of my head and told me,
“Listen and take it all in. It’ll make more sense when we get to where we’re going.”
The troupe filed through the broken front door with the big man and myself the last to leave. I had given up on fighting and instead was trying to decipher the message being read in my ears.
“…they stay wet in the Ocean whilst we stay dry. Hell, I’ll take life straight and pure at the cost. How about you? Any second thoughts on staying outside this time?”
It all sounded terribly familiar, but I was sure I had never heard this man in my entire life. This peculiar moment of déjà vu continued as the big man and the singer strutted toward the backside of the van while the rest of the group took their seats. The singer opened the double doors, and the giant tossed me in. Sandwiched between a guitar amp and a stack of cardboard boxes, the pair of goons pointed shaky fingers at me.
“Welcome to the High Tolerance Tour, ya sonovabitch!” the giant hollered suddenly.
The entire group erupted in cheers and the giant quickly slammed the double doors, leaving me in near darkness. The van’s engine roared to life as if on cue and I could hear muffled voices coming from the front, but the old man’s voice in the headphones blocked out all else.
“...I heard about the Brothers getting to you… no refresh on you I hope? This is what they do. If you’re not compliant, they make it so. Normally we’re all okay to move along, like sheep...take the dose and jog on, but not you and me amigo…