Well, this is it. Time to go. Got to do it. Yep. Shauna stared at her bedroom door and willed herself to open it. She’d taken a shower and shaved her legs and put on an outfit that her mom had purchased for her. She felt uncomfortable but she knew she looked ok, at least in terms of what society thought was ok, or as ok as she would ever look, considering what she had to work with. She wore a skirt that went to her knees, and flat shoes that pinched her toes and a purple blouse that came in at the waist, with little flower-shaped buttons down the front. Even her hair was styled in that way the hairdresser had suggested. The whole look had taken hours to put together. Did normal people seriously do this everyday?
Now all she had to do was go outside and walk through Pointe-Claire village in search of a job. Any moment now she would walk downstairs and open the front door and go outside and head out. Yep. Any moment now.
“That was awesome!” Cerise clapped her hands with genuine appreciation. She knew Parisses Squares weren’t exactly the most polished band in existence but for garage rock or whatever you called it, they were pretty good.
They weren’t literally in a garage, it was actually the basement of a house in
Dorval that Lloyd and
Bernie shared with a bunch of other twenty-something guys. Jeff apparently had an apartment downtown and
Tom still lived with his parents in Baie D’Urfe. And maybe they were more like glorified filk
than rock but Cerise wasn’t exactly an expert at musical genres.
After an hour of listening to the band rehearse, Cerise decided she’d bring earplugs next time. She wondered how the neighbours could stand it, but the house was near the airport so maybe the neighbourhood was always noisy anyway.
Tom suggested Cerise join them for Fire at Will and Jeff made some lame protestation so she told him to shut his piehole and boldly stepped up to the microphone Tom provided. Maybe Terry was right; maybe Jeff was into her and that’s why he kept giving her a hard time even though everyone else was enthusiastic about her joining the band.
Shauna practically ran downstairs in the hopes of maintaining her nerve but when she reached the front door her mother stopped her.
“Where do you think you’re going?
“To look for a job.”
“Oh well, alright then.”
Shauna rushed outside and stared down the street. Just keep walking. One step at a time. One step at a time.
“Fire at will, shoot to kill. Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. He’s the best poker player in the neighbourhood. Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good, he’s the best poker player in the neighbourhood. But that’s his only skill, hence fire at Will. And always shoot to kill.”
They finished the song and Bernie hollered with excitement, declaring that to be the best song ever and Parisses Squares to be the best band ever.
“Relax, it wasn’t that good,” grumbled Jeff.
“But you admit it was pretty decent,” smiled Tom, walking over to his computer. He played back the song and they all listened carefully.
It was so weird to hear herself sing. Did she really sound like that? Was her voice too nasally? Too high-pitched? No one seemed bothered by it, not even Jeff.
“I guess we don’t completely suck,” he admitted.
“We’re totally awesome and that song is hilarious,” beamed Lloyd. “Especially the part where you’re like, sir I protest, I am not a merry man.”
“Can you bring your computer on stage?” asked Cerise. “’Cause what if like, we inserted samples from the show into the song? Like after we say the line you hear Worf in the background saying it. Could be funny.”
“Totally!” Tom enthused and the others nodded, even Jeff.
So awesome. Cerise was totally part of a band!
Shauna slowly walked along Pointe-Claire village and looked into every store window. There was a clothing shop, a shoe store and a coffee shop with help wanted signs. She walked past each one and kept going, then circled around and walked down the other side of the street. First she had to do recon before going into any places, right? She walked down the left side of the street and looked into the store windows. A touristy shop had a help wanted sign. So four places. Four places where she could apply. So she just had to walk down the street again and go into the stores.
She turned around and walked up the right side of the street. She approached the clothing store. She’d never get hired there because she wasn’t fashionable and those places only wanted stylish people. She had the same basic thought process as she passed the shoe store and at the coffee shop she panicked as she realized that she didn’t even have a CV or whatever. Weren’t you supposed to have a resume or something? But she’d never worked before. And even if she did have a CV no one would hire her because everyone always instantly hated her. She’d never get hired anywhere!
Cerise sat on the sofa while the guys discussed various song related things she couldn’t quite understand. They used words like treble, bass, pitch… words she had no frame of reference for and she realized she was in over her head. She had no business being in a band.
Tom asked her to sing the Do Re Mi thing so he could record her range. She wasn’t sure what he was talking about but took her best guess. She sang and her voice cracked on Ti.
“You have absolutely no training, do you?” asked Jeff, not unkindly.
She shook her head in embarrassment.
“None of us have training,” said Tom.
“We’ve all had music classes. We can all read music. I’m sorry but Avril Lavigne here knows nothing about music.”
“Ok, first of all, Cerise is way cuter than Avril Lavigne,” said Bernie. “I mean Avril has a fucked up nose.”
“Cerise is a natural,” said Tom, ignoring Bernie’s comment. “You heard her.”
“I thought we’d already decided this was a go,” said Lloyd.
“Maybe Jeff’s right,” Cerise shrugged. “I don’t have training and I don’t know anything about music. I’m just a poseur. I’d probably just drag you guys down.”
“Not like we’d have far to go,” snorted Jeff.
“Listen, this doesn’t have to be a big deal,” said Bernie. “We bring Cerise to a few shows and see how it goes. I mean we all know performing live is totally different from recording or rehearsal. Maybe she won’t be able to cut it but maybe she’ll rock it. All we can do is wait and see.”
They all nodded in agreement and Tom brought up their touring schedule on his computer. Their first show was in
Montreal, downtown at some club and it was in
less than a week! A freaking week!
“Oh my god, I’m so not ready!” Cerise exclaimed. “I didn’t know I’d have to do anything so soon.”
“See? She doesn’t even wanna do it!” said Jeff.
“Jeff, fuck, shut up! Stop ragging on Cerise. What is your problem?” asked Tom in exasperation.
“Fuck! Seriously? Why am I the only one who sees this?” Jeff asked, equally exasperated. “It’s nothing against Sunshine McGee over here,” he jutted his chin at Cerise. “But like isn’t it kind of insane to add another member at the last minute? Even just us four we’re not ready to go on tour. I mean, we’re called Parrisses Squares for fuck’s sake. Our songs are retarded. We can’t even play our instruments. We only started this stupid band to have fun and now it’s like you’re trying to make us a real band, with a chick singer and everything. I just don’t feel like we’re there.”
Lloyd sighed. “Fuck, not this insecurity shit again. Jeff, why do you always have to be such a baby? Sorry but I don’t have the time or energy to be your therapist. Just fucking get with the program or get out.”
“God, way harsh,” said Bernie. “Jeff is just being Debbie Downer as usual. He’ll get over it as soon as we do our first show and rock it. Like he always does.”
Jeff was clearly embarrassed and for the first time Cerise felt bad for him. He rolled his eyes and called them all assholes but he was obviously hurt by Lloyd’s words.
Fuck it. She’d never get a job so why even try? Shauna walked into Clyde’s and sat at the bar. She ordered a beer and drank silently and was was about halfway through her drink when a shadow appeared. She realized someone was standing next to her but she didn’t want to look up. Perhaps if she ignored them they’d go away. Or maybe it was just someone trying to get the bartender’s attention.
“Hey.” The voice was male and deep.
Maybe he wasn’t talking to her. She ignored the voice and stared into her beer.
“You look kinda familiar,” the voice went on. “Do I know you?”
She sighed and looked up. Oh shit! It was that guy from high school, that total douche. He was one of the popular kids; one of the biggest assholes. Part of Cerise’s crowd once she’d started dating that hockey guy. Shauna scanned her brain for a second and recalled his name: Andrew Lester.
She didn’t want to let on that she knew who he was and simply shrugged. He was probably going to say something mean or beat her up or something. She wasn’t sure if she should just up and run or what.
He cocked his head to the side and smiled. “Did we like go out at some point?”
She chuckled with surprise. He didn’t remember her at all. And why should he? She wasn’t very memorable and she was dressed totally different from usual, with her sleek skirt and boob-hugging blouse.
“Yeah, sure,” she replied with a smirk, not bothering to hide how amusing she found this situation to be.
Andrew Lester smiled at her. “Maybe we should go out again.”
She knew that look. It was the look Stan and his friends had given her when they wanted sex. Was it possible that Andrew Lester wanted to fuck her? She laughed out loud at the possibility. It was too funny. How hilarious if she were to sleep with the most popular guy from high school? He was a huge player and always picked the prettiest girls. Either this was a trick and he wanted to torture her or he thought she looked ok and wanted to fuck her. Most likely it was a trick. Even though he’d never directly done anything to her she knew he was one of the biggest pushers of the Porta-potty chick label. But what if it wasn’t a trick? What if he actually thought she was a normal person? She couldn’t let this opportunity go by just because she was afraid of getting hurt. She’d end up hurt no matter what, might as well take the chance to do something major.
“Is that a yes?” he asked, grinning, apparently taking her laughter as a positive sign.
“Well I dunno if I wanna go out. Let’s just do it here,” she shrugged.
He grinned again and she tried to control herself. She felt butterflies in her stomach and quickly chugged the rest of her beer in the hopes of generating some courage. She stood up and he took her hand, leading her into the men’s bathroom.
He grabbed her and kissed her. Holy shit! Was this really happening? He pushed her into a stall and lifted her skirt, shoving his hand into her panties. They were pink and frilly. Even though she’d known no one would see them she figured she’d go all out with the fancy outfit today. Thank god she had! Andrew Lester didn’t suspect a thing. He had no idea he was about to fuck the Porta-potty chick!
He unzipped his pants and took his dick out, which was smaller than she’d imagined. She wanted to laugh again but held it in. He produced a condom from his jeans’ pocket and tore it open with his teeth, then expertly rolled it onto his little weiner. Without a word he roughly turned her around and bent her over the toilet, ripping down her panties. She didn’t feel turned on but her pussy moistened anyway, which was good because a second later she felt his dick enter her. He pushed over and over again, grunting softly as she looked around. The walls were covered in graffiti, some of it funny, some of it racist, some of it both. The toilet lid was dirty and the stall smelled strongly of urine. This was so nasty. It was like being in a porno. She could totally be a porn star if she wanted. Like for people with Porta-potty fetishes. Perhaps a minute went by and then Andrew Lester was done. He pulled out and she could hear him zipping up his jeans.
She pulled up her panties and adjusted her skirt, turning around to see him leaving. “Uh, I’ll call you,” he said as he checked his hair in the mirror.
“No you won’t,” she chuckled indifferently. She didn’t want a relationship with this asshole. She just wanted to know that the most popular guy in school had slept with her unwittingly. Either he had really low standards or he thought she was pretty enough to fuck. Either way it was awesome.
“You’re right, I won’t,” he said with a shrug of his shoulders.
“I wouldn’t have answered anyway.” There were so many other things she wanted to say. All the possibilities ran through her mind. She could tell him he wasn’t worth her time, that he was a bad lay. Or that he was ugly or stupid or that his dick was tiny or that he smelled. Or she could tell him he’d just fucked the Porta-potty chick, and that he thought he was so cool but he’d just fucked the biggest loser in school and didn’t even realize it.
But before she could make up her mind he was gone.
Tom played a recording of the band without Cerise and then played one with her contribution. To her ears they sounded better with her but she couldn’t be sure. Tom, Bernie and Lloyd all hollered about how exciting this was. How the tour this summer would be the best thing ever if Cerise came along. Jeff sat silently and forlornly.
Tom played the two tracks again. “We suck, we suck, we suck so bad,” he chimed in with the first track. “We rock, we rock, we rock so good,” he said as Cerise sang in the background.
“We even play better when she’s singing,” said Bernie enthusiastically. “It’s like we try harder or something. Even you, Jeff.”
Jeff snorted. “We should get matching outfits. We’ll all wear black pants and Converse and white button-down shirts with black ties, even Cerise, except she’ll be in a mini skirt and she’ll have fishnets.”
“Are you being sarcastic?” asked Lloyd, echoing Cerise’s thoughts. “’Cause that’s actually a really good idea.”
“The only thing I would suggest is to practice your breathing,” Bernie said to Cerise. “Sometimes you don’t have enough air to get through the words, and that’s when your voice cracks, see at the end of neighbourhood there?”
She nodded and Tom suggested they keep practicing. They went on for hours, practicing various songs. Cerise’s throat was killing her and Tom kept feeding her tea and honey, explaining how she’d have to take care of her voice from now on, teaching her how to breathe from her diaghram and so on. It was all so much more work than she ever would have anticipated.
She sat on the sofa taking a break and watched the guys practice a song from before her time. All the guys were sweating, their faces set with concentration. They were all so into this. Her stomach lurched as she once again realized she was in over her head. Was this really happening?
Shauna emerged from the bathroom and saw that Andrew Lester was nowhere to be found. She walked up to the bar and the bartender asked her if she wanted anything else. Without even thinking she asked for an application.
“Do you have any experience working at a pub?”
“No. I don’t have any experience at anything… except taking shit from assholes. So I figure I’d be pretty good at this,” she said, indicating the bar.
The bartender chuckled and regarded her. She smiled and tried to look sexy. Maybe she’d fuck this guy too and maybe that way she’d get a job.
“Well we don’t need anyone right now,” he said.
“Doesn’t hurt to do an interview,” she suggested, trying to sound alluring. “We could just go to the back and see what happens.” She grinned in what she hoped was a suggestive manner.
He stood up straight and screwed up his face like he was grossed out. “When we’re hiring we post the listings online.” He was obviously totally turned off. He knew she was nothing more than the Porta-potty chick.
“Oh, ok,” she stammered, suddenly feeling queezy. God, she was such an idiot. She rushed outside and walked home, feeling like a slut and a loser.