Suspension of Disbelief
Arden Davidson


The band had never seen its fans so out of control. The frenzy had advanced
beyond standard pit moshing and was beginning to look more like a riot.
Three burly bouncers were doing their best to keep the crowd within its
boundaries, but every time it seemed they had gotten things settled down, the
drummer would drum harder, the guitarist would wail louder and the
mohawk-sporting lead singer would raise the pitch of his scream another two

Mind Scraps was halfway through the second song of their third encore before
the crowd finally started to thin out. The Slam was a fairly decent-sized
club, but when it was packed with screaming kids who thought death metal was
a brand new concept, Patrick Chafin couldn't help but think that he ought to
have risen above this by now.

Patrick had been the drummer for Mind Scraps for over two years, and although
he never said so out loud, he always thought he was more talented than the
rest of the band. He was still waiting for his very own fairy talent scout
to swoop down and carry him off to a real stage in a real amphitheater with
fans who actually came to listen to his band instead of just panting over
whichever thrash band happened to be headlining that night.

Somehow, the accolades of devil-worshipping teeny boppers no longer carried
the power to sufficiently boost Patrick's ego. And the same old dark, pagan
lyrics and empty thrashing licks and beats were beginning to grow ragged.
Patrick had also decided long ago that the whole
"we-love-Satan-but-live-in-the-suburbs" mentality he was surrounded by was
not only comical but pathetic. After all, as far as Patrick was concerned the
devil didn't even exist. Any more than God existed. Despite his band's
persona, Patrick did not consider himself a devil worshipper. It was all part
of the act; it was their hook. Not that it was much of a hook - Black
Sabbath had originated the concept over two decades ago. Patrick never liked
to label things, but if he had to, he would call himself and atheist. God
and the Devil were as meaningless to his reality as Cinderella and the Easter

When the encore was finally over, Patrick scanned the main floor for Kayla
before heading backstage. But just as he expected, she hadn't shown up.
There was a time when his girlfriend wouldn't miss one of his shows for
anything in the world, but those days were definitely gone. Somewhere along
the way she had grown up - or grown old, one or the other. Now she seemed
more content lying on their couch watching sit-coms then being a part of the
rock scene. Not that he could blame her, really. The scene had become
unbearably lame lately.

Patrick collected his share of the band's earnings, bullshitted around with
his buddies for a few minutes and then slipped out the back door before
anyone could insist that he join them at an all night drinking fest. Kayla
would probably be asleep by now, but he decided he'd better fire up his last
joint on the way home anyway, just in case she woke up and smelled it.
Normally it wasn't too cool to walk down the sidewalk toking on a "j", but as
long as he held it like a cigarette, he was sure he wouldn't be hassled.
Besides, any cops lurking around this neighborhood, this late at night, had
more important things to worry about.

Patrick already had a pretty good buzz going when he began heading down the
alley behind Food World and heard a scratching sound coming from inside the
trash dumpster. "Fucking cats", he muttered as he shook his shoulder length
blonde curls and continued down the alley. He stopped dead when the noise
took on a new persona. The light scratching sound suddenly became replaced
by a loud, insistent thumping.

Someone's trying to get out of there, Patrick thought as he took a final drag
on his doobie and flicked the roach onto the ground. He moved toward the
dumpster without an instant of hesitation, not because he was terribly
anxious to help whoever was stuck in there, but because he was incredibly
curious. What kind of asshole would get themselves locked in a trash

The brown metal lid was heavier than he anticipated, but he managed to lift
it over his head and peer down inside the deep metal box. It was dark, but
from what he could tell, there wasn't anything inside the dumpster but trash.
Certainly he would be able to tell if there was a person or an animal in
there. He wasn't that stoned.

Thump. Thump. Thump. The resumption of the sound made Patrick drop the lid
with a bang, as he jumped nearly 3 feet backwards. The noise wasn't coming
from inside the dumpster.

It was coming from behind it.

The moment he had that particular realization was the same moment he noticed
the shadow on the wall. Suddenly he didn't care who or what was making the
sounds, he just wanted to get the hell out of there. But before he could
even finish turning halfway around, a figure leapt out from behind the metal
box. Patrick felt leather, in the shape of a hand, violently seize his
throat. Then he felt the blood.

He was now six inches off the ground, and as he stared down at the gaping
hole in his chest, he felt a numb, sickening, brain-swelling repulsion. Then
he raised his head slowly to view the face of the man who had attacked him.
Maybe it was because he was so scared, or maybe it was the after effects of
the marijuana, but Patrick Chafin's final thought as the hand scraped out the
last pulpy remains of his heart, was that he was staring straight into the
eyes of God himself.


Copyright 1999 Arden Davidson
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