It feels wrong playing in any town called Transylvania on Halloween.
But as a roadie I donít get to vote on the bandís gigs, and came along for the ride because I figured John, the lead guitarist needs someone with some practical sense, something the other band members lack.
Even Linda feels it. She† our long distance groupie, who follows the band to the far away gigs claiming someone needs to show support when she really knows she has less competition on the road than back at the Red Baron and our regular gig.
She tells me she feels as if something is watching us, which is the feeling Iíve been trying to put my finger on and couldnít, and now feel exactly the same way.
Transylvania, of course, is one of those made up names for a small one-horse town in Pennsylvania that wants a piece of the tourist trade and apparently is willing to put up with the obnoxious crowds one day a year for Halloween.
How they heard about us is anybodyís guess, since we barely have a following beyond the boundaries of Cedar Grove where our sword and sorcery routines plays to packed houses of weirdoes every weekend.
I think John likes to dress up in drag and his Kiss-like makeup hides the fact.
Linda gets off on the routine, and Iím told likes to lick off the makeup -- and when finished, keeps licking.
The rest of the band has more standard gear, store-bought costumes of classic horror characters that somehow manage to reflect their real personalities, though Iím not brave enough to tell any of them that to their face.
Bob, the base player, is a perfect Frankenstein, so tall and broad, he might have made a good full back in college if he could stay sober long enough. Girls generally go with him at night out of curiosity, then avoid him after that -- not bothering to go into details of the horrors they found in his bed.
Jack, the drummer, doesnít need his costume to make him look like a werewolf. He is a throwback to an earlier era of rock music when hairy cowboys rocked all the clubs. Iíve heard he mauls women behind the scenes, taking many places theyíve never been. Once I accidentally unpacked his private bag when setting up the band equipment and came up with rope, handcuffs and other things for which I know not the use.
Marylyn, our lead singer, is always a vampire. Her dark hair, red lips and fingernail suggests that she claws her way into menís veins, and has a collection of living dead men strolling after her pleading for more.
At the club, Linda stays close to me near the sound board, testimony to how uncomfortable she feels since she usually makes her way to the foot of the stage and stays there like a loyal lapdog, panting over every note and every shift in Johnís hips.
She tells me she doesnít like the
crowd, an unusual statement for a gal who has spent so much time back at the
Red Baron where our fans gave competition to the Rocky Horror Picture Show for
their dressing up.
But I agree with her. These people here seem -- well -- too real.
Although I only see one Frankenstein,
his green face seems to glow in a way Iíve never noticed others doing before.
The weir wolves actually growl. I canít count the number of vampires, but the
blood around their mouths seems unusually fresh.
Yes, too, each group gathers in front of his or her counterpart on the stage, explaining why Linda doesnít want her usual place.
The band members, in their usual oblivion,
seem unaware of the different nature of the crowd, or rather, seem to see it as
a tribute to the band and play all the harder for the intensity.
I tell John not to wander off when the band breaks after the first set. But he has his eye on a tall vampire and pays me no mine.
Jack has several female and male companions hairier than he is hooked onto his arm when he makes his way out to the car for a puff of something and perhaps something more.
Bob -- as strange as this sounds -- has found a female version of himself, with hair piled so high on her head she is nearly as tall as he is, and has hooked onto his arm leading him to some doom in the back of our currently empty van.
Even Marylyn has found several male vampires, who are begging her to go outside, and for once she abandons her usual bitch routine and complies.
Linda and I huddle at the sound board, which has become an island among the strange faces -- who having missed their opportunity to collect one of the band members -- eye us as the next best thing.
Linda says sheís scared. I tell her I am, too.
But Iím thinking of the band members, and what fate they might be suffering outside, and the long ride home later when they wake up from their ego trips to find their fiction turned into a painful reality.
I turn to Linda to find her smitten by a young male vampire, who convinces her to take a trip to the back room for ďa little necking.Ē
I feel so terribly alone. I wish I had a mask I could hide behind.
Then, †cute little vampiress touches my shoulder and wants to know if I want to go outside for a little bite.
I sigh, knowing Iím doomed.