Logs:(Not So) Fresh Talent

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(Not So) Fresh Talent

"New York ain't the place for punk, boys, not with how the big labels have it locked down. You gotta move on to bigger things."

Dramatis Personae

Nicole and Rictus as himself and ST

27 October, 2017

Rictus stumbles across an old record for an unheard of band and ends up with a trio of ghostly musicians haunting the record shop. Nicole resolves her first ghosts.


Just for the Record

It's Friday night when Ric calls Nicole up, inviting her over to Just for the Record, the business he's just taken over to help out an ex-girlfriend. He probably doesn't mention that part. What he /does/ mention is that there's something that she just /has/ to see. Something about a record.

When she shows up, Ric's pacing around in the upstairs (well, ground floor, but it's upstairs from the basment bar and studio) record shop. He's wearing his usual uniform - faded Eulogy for Apathy t-shirt, loose black jeans, shitkicker boots, ghostly, punkish leather jacket. The mohawk is up, dyed solid black with dark blue tips.

Music's playing from the bar down below. Something punkish, although just slightly dated, more in tune with the 90s than current punk-rock. Ric has, of course, a half-empty bottle of vodka in his hands, which he swigs from now and then as he stalks around the shop. Waiting has never been his forte. His dark blue eyes are bright, excited.

Maybe thirty minutes after the call, Nicole rocks up at the shop, her arrival somewhat loudly announced by the rumble of a motorcycle outside. Kicking it onto the stand and stowing the helmet, she wanders on towards the door after a brief once-over of the building as a whole. Tap tap tap-tap tap!

Assuming it's answered, either by being opened or a shout to come in, Nicole ducks into the apartment, flashing a lazy smile at the punk. "So, another business under your belt, Rainbow Dash? I'm curious to see it. And.. a record?"

Rictus looks up as Nicole enters and flashes one of those broad, rather wolfish grins of his. He rolls his eyes at the nickname, but he's still grinning, "Back to Rainbow fucking Dash. You know, I googled that shit, and I'm gonna fucking get back at you." He winks at her, then grows more excited as she mentions the record. He nods, then gestures with his bottle of vodka towards the stairs leading down to the bar.

"Yeah. Was scrounging through some old boxes of shit, filling up the merchandise and shit, and I came across thie band I ain't never heard of. Phantom Voting Booth." A pause, "With a name like that, no wonder they weren't a big fucking hit. /Anyway/, I figured fuck it, so I played the goddamned record." Dark blue eyes glint.

He reaches out, snagging her arm, drawing her towards the stairs. He pauses, a few steps in, and grunts, grinning, "Oh, yeah." He tugs her in, then, unless she objects, for a rather firey, thorough, mouth-to-mouth kind of greeting. Then, tugging her down the stairs.

While upstairs is a typical, if punk-inspired, music shop, then downstairs is a bar, with a stage, a recording studio in the back. Still punk inspired, but pretty sweet. It's empty, now, except for them. And, well...

On stage is a band, jamming away. Three members, with lots of leather, patches, pieces, and one even has a mohawk. They're wailing away about social justice. And they're also very dead. Not Ric and Nicole dead, but ghost dead. Their instruments, dated now, aren't hooked up to anything. A chill radiates from them, as does plasm.

Ric shoves the bottle of vodka towards Nicole and growls, "They ain't fucking stopped playing since I put the record on." A pause. "The record quit playing a fucking hour ago."

"Everyone gets a nickname. No exemptions, no excuses, and no take-backs unless a better one is earned or thought of," Nicole replies with a laugh as Ric admits to googling the cartoon character. "Besides, your hair-dye bill is big enough that it suits." She turns towards the stairs as he gestures, nodding at the description of finding the obscure record. "Never heard of them," she agrees at the mention of the band name, cocking her head as she catches some of the music playing from downstairs, which she naturally assumes is from the sound system. "Not bad, though?"

Arm caught, she lets herself be towed along with a brief pit-stop for a more tactile greeting, one which she leans into and returns with an equal kind of ardour, ending with a brief squeeze of the punk's ass. Definitely superior to the drummer's, though getting her to say that out loud might be pushing it. Then downstairs they go, and she does a slow three-sixty look around, pausing as she sees the band. "Huh. Some kind of charm? Memorabilia?" she guesses, watching the ghostly band do their thing, taking the offered bottle and sipping a few times. "Do they respond to anything or do they just keep jamming?" is the next logical question, and she takes a step or two towards the stage after passing the alcohol back.

Rictus flashes Nicole a grin, "I didn't no, did I? I just said I'd fucking get you back." And then there's that greeting. The ass-grab gets a growled, "Be careful, I don't got an off switch." Followed by, "Or fucking don't, I don't got a fucking off switch." He winks at her, then watches as she takes in the ghostly band, his grin growing, as if he's personally responsible for their presence. And they're... well, they're not /good/, but they're not /terrible/, either. Probably had room for growth, if they hadn't, you know, died.

At her question, he grunts, "I think it was a fucking fetter. The record. Long as it's fucking out, from what I can tell." He accepts the vodka back, taking a swig as he follows after her. The singer lifts a hand to Ric, which the German returns, answering Nicole's next question.

"They think I'm fucking joking when I say they're ghosts. Keep asking me for blow and shit. And talking shit about Bush." He doesn't clarify which one - does it matter? "Jinks, Zand, and Grillo. Fucking stage names, right? Who even comes up with this shit." Says the man who goes by 'Rictus'.

He glances over at Nicole, mischief in his dark blue gaze. "I wanna send 'em off. But, shit, don't they deserve one last fucking she-bang? Let's get 'em fucked up and send 'em off." Although how one gets a ghost 'fucked up' is a good question. Still, Ric's not detered!

The off-switch comments draw a decidedly mischevious smile to Nicole's lips, and a sidelong glance back at Rictus. "I'll remember that," she promises, though soon returns her attention to the ghostly trio. "Sorry guys, he's right. You're dead. You just haven't passed on yet," she offers, as if a second opinion is going to be any more convincing than the first one.

"Could try giving them the vodka," Nicole then suggests thoughtfully. The logic being that they wouldn't be able to take the bottle, thus proving that they're ghosts. "Though they might just think they're too wasted to hold onto it or something." Hm. Back to square one. "-Is- there such a thing as a ghost drug?" she then asks, uneducated in such things if they do exist.

Behind her, a gathering darkness forms into the shape of a man's sillhouette, her Geist deigning to make an appearance, wandering the shop with apparent curiosity, though ignoring the ghostly punks on the stage for the mostpart after an initial glance..

At Nicole's words, the singer cups his ear in an universal 'I can't hear you' gesture, then goes right on singing and playing that ghostly guitar. Ric barks a laugh and glances at Nicole, "You're right fucking on. They think it's like 1992 and we're some big club and they're gonna get fucking noticed." A the question of ghost drugs, he frowns slightly, "Maybe, but it's probably coming out of Opia and fuck that place."

He lets that go and focuses on the moment, looking up at the stage. "What if we just make them /think/ they're fucking partying? I mean, convince 'em they are, like a... whatcha call it? Placebo or some shit?" Meanwhile, his own Geist responds to Nicole's showing himself, although there' smuch more overlap with Ric.

The shadow of a wide brimmed hat, of a long, dark coat, around Ric's otherwise punk-rocker form. A faint clink of metal on metal, ominous and disturbing. A hint of wine, although Ric's drinking vodka and there's no one else about.

"I looked 'em up. There wasn't fucking much. Car accident, best I could gather. That's why you gotta be fucking /careful/, you know."

The cupped ear gets a flipped bird in return from Nicole, and she turns her gaze back to the /living/ singer, reaching out for the bottle, to take another nip of vodka. "Could try, sure, though I've got nothing in me to push that emotion. I read them, rather than making them," she then murmurs a tad dubiously; it also isn't as if she's carrying around bags of fake ghost-drugs either.

A faintly puzzled expression crosses Nicole's features and she asks, "I'm sorry, did the crowned king of crazy-as-hell driving in Maine just give advice on road safety?" she asks, brows raised, though there's an undertone of teasing to her voice. "I mean, at least these guys probably weren't driving into parking meters, I'd bet?"

The tapping and scent of wine is distracting enough then that Nicole asks, "Is that part of their set too, the clinking?" She can't see anyone playing a triangle, but maybe it's a silent and missing fourth member or.. something.

"Could always just fucking let 'em play, too. Fuck, they seem to be enjoying themselves. I mean, if ghsots can even fucking enjoy themselves. It's debateable, but fuck. Maybe when they simmer down, we can get some fucking information from 'em. Shit, who knows when the last time was somebody played that fucking record. That's what brought 'em out."

There's a grunt at the parking meter comment and he shrugs, "City organization has gone to fucking hell. They put shit in the most stupid places." Like on the sidewalk, where no one is supposed to drive.

At the question about clinking, he grunts again. "No, that's me. Well, shit, you know. Dickhead." There's a smirk as the shadows darken slightly around them, then lighten up.

"Sure. Though that could be for a while; as I understand it, ghosts stick to patterns they know. Do they even get tired?" Nicole wonders, then grins briefly as an idea occurs, though she doesn't give it voice just yet. "Gonna get tired of the same five songs though." Raising her voice she calls to the stage, "Hey, you guys know any Hendrix?" Because that's clearly how to cheer on a band playing their own songs.

"Parking meters don't jump out in the road. Besides, I'd have thought you would be more of a two-wheels kind of guy. Or is it just that the van is for band kit?" Nicole then enquires, her smile returning, then fading again as he indicates the sound belonging to his soul-squatter. "Ah. No worries then." A nod. "Guessing he's not a fan of punk music?"

Rictus offers a shrug at Nicole's question, "Wouldn't fucking think they do. Except maybe in their minds and shit. I mean, they ain't got no fucking bodies to get tired, right?" He takes a swig of vodka as he calls out to them, snorting. The band nods enthusiastically, then breaks into a song about Jimi Hendrix and psychadelics.

Ric grunts, then snorts at Nicole's words, "Spent more time on fucking airplanes than anything else, only they never let me fucking /fly/ them. Damn shame. Shit, I don't even got a fucking driver's license." He probably shouldn't say that to someone he's driven around. He doesn't seem concerned.

At the comment about the soul-squatter, he smirks, "He's a little old school and shit." He doesn't go into much more detail than that. "Fucking lurkers, right?" Because he caught that glimpse of Nicole's, too. Then, "I usually just fucking talk to 'em. Ghosts, I mean. I mean, they gotta stop for a fucking beer or something, right? Or I guess you could just club 'em. Kinda rude, but would probably get their goddamned attention."

"I could break them out of it," Nicole assures Rictus with a sly smile, something about that expression suggesting she's just dying to give it a try, whatever her idea is. "Though that's not a bad cover." His comment about flying gets a roll of the eyes - and then when he admits to not having a licence, she shakes her head. "Well, that's an easy thing to fix, then. I'll teach you to drive so you can pass it. And maybe not almost-kill anyone every time you head down to the bar." A firm nod goes with that - she's practically doing her civic duty.

Deciding that she is in fact going to 'break them out of it', Nicole lifts her arms, a stream of plasm curling from her hands around her body as tightly as a mummy's wrappings, before all that ghostly energy shifts, solidifying and changing her - quite a shift. No longer is she a leggy brunette, but a pot-bellied man in his fourties with a stained vest and ripped jeans, a chain running from belt to pocket, some cliche spiked wristbands at each wrist. Yelling out something incomprehensible s/he runs for the group, 'diving' the stage like an overexcited and underappreciated long-time fan.

"I don't think it's a fucking cover..." It's about Jimi, but it's not a Jimi song. He gives a grunt as Nicole changes in front of him, taking another swig of his vodka. He doesn't move to interfere - he lets her do her thing.

The band looks a little confused as suddenly the man's running at them and hopping on stage. Yet, after the initial shock, they seem delighted. They move to help him up, which of course does no real good, but they don't seem to notice. They're busy cheering and whooping.

The music, as a result, does pause for a moment.

With the music stopped, the aging fan gets up to his feet and goes to shake hands with the singer, only - well, that doesn't work, does it. His hand goes right the way through. Adopting a look of horror, fanboy stares at his fingers, then the bandmembers, waving an arm right on through them and their instruments. There's nothing pretty about the way he demonstrates the physicality of their situation, flailing like a mortal would.

And then, then there are tears, the sad sound of an adult man blubbering like a child, sobbed words about his favourite band being dead and not believing it when he read it in the news and this was the best day of his life and now it's /not/ and he's /hallucinating/ and they're /gone/. Hiccup. Snotbubble. WAAAH.

It's hard for Ric to just stand back and do nothing. He's resolved quite a few ghosts in his time, and it comes naturally. Still, anything he could do would likely shatter Nicole's illusion, so he forces himself to hold back, watching. He does take a moment to pull out his cell phone, however, and order up some pizza.

In the meantime, the band seems confused by the sudden fanboy. Glances at each other as they 'help' him up - at least in their minds. Finally, the bassist speaks, a dark-haired man with shaggy curly hair and a lot of piercings, "Uh... are you like a... recruiter or something?" Ok, he's not the sharpest marble in the sack. Still, ghosts aren't always logical - he's hoping.

This is where the lack of training and experience becomes obvious; Nicole has some ideas about how to convince a ghost that they are exactly that, but how useful those are? She-as-fanboy continues to interact with the band within the bubble of their personal reality, trying to break that mindset from inside it by demonstrating that there's nothing to touch, nothing to play, but clearly the band have a firm grip on their delusions.

Clearly, Nicole no idea how to feed them plasm to help burst that bubble, or even that doing so would help with what she is attempting to do. So she maintains trying to use logic and demonstration with the group, getting nowhere. Fanboy glances over to Rictus, a clear 'a little help here?' expression in place.

To be fair, Ric doesn't actually know the trick about the feeding of plasm. He's only resolved ghosts two ways - by talking to them, or by 'killing' them. The latter was only in the Underworld, and only in life or death situations. Ric's a talker.

Now, however, the pizza's ordered and he's leaning against the bar, watching the interaction as he swigs from his vodka. At Nicole's look, he offers a wolfish grin and growls, "Talk to 'em. Give 'em a reason to fucking pass on. I'll help." And with that, he closes his eyes. Some help.

Yet, as he does, plasm ripples around him, dissipating into the air, wafting through the room. Emotions being to grow. The feeling that anything is possible. That tomorrow holds something better. That things are looking up. Hope, in other words.

The band members are already feeling it, in their confusion over whether or not the old gent is a recruiter or not. Could this be their big break?! Yet... something's not quite right. All three of them can feel it, but they can't put their finger on just what (literally). Yet... is it possible? Is there really a stairway to heaven?

Yes. Hope. Maybe that's the key. Certainly Nicole-as-fanboy latches on to Rictus' words, the tears drying in an instant, the visage shifting to one of smiles and well-acted handshakes. "Yes! Well done boys, well done. Amazing set. Loved the one about Hendrix." Back-pat for the singer, fist-bump for the other two.

"So, I've got a little something lined up, a couple of gigs in Augusta, you follow? Nothing too big, but maybe get you folks some exposure, some cash in the bank, you with me?" the 'recruiter' suggests, patting the pocket where presumably he has a wallet if the chain is any indication. "You guys okay with leaving Fallcoast, right? Not too much of an imposition?"

The band grows confused briefly as Nicole-fanboy shifts courses, although their memories are fleeting and it passes quickly. Instead, they're listening intently to those spoken words. Nods at the mention of the Hendrix song and the bassist mumbles, "He's one of our biggest inspirations." Finally, the singer and guitarest speaks up, "What kind of exposure? Like, recording?" The drummer chimes in at this point as well, "Can we get pyrokinetics?" The other band members both glare at him with ghostly eyes. The drummer quiets back down and then all three are looking intently at Nicole, moving closer, hungry.

Ric, meanwhile, continues lounging. There's a brief chuckle at the Hendrix comment, which sends a little ripple through the feeling of hope heating the room, but otherwise he's just chilling, swigging slowly from his vodka, almost as in a trance. Well, because he's in a kind of trance.

The band members look at each other, then back to Nicole. The bassist says, "Fallcoast? We're in New York."

"Maaaaybe recording," the recruiter agrees slyly, dangling that hope. "And sure, pyrotechnics! Fire from the front of the stage, how's that sound?" He glosses over the mention of Fallcoast, continuing with, "New York ain't the place for punk, boys, not with how the big labels have it locked down. You gotta move on to bigger things."

A brief glance to Rictus for his reaction, and then Nicole-as-pudgy-man repeats, "Bigger and better things. You with me, yeah? How soon can I get you in front of the microphone and into the studio, boys?" She's hoping that their agreement will be enough, though she's fumbling her way through this with only that bit of guidance.

Recording? Pyrotechnics? It could be their big chance! That's what they were waiting for! In fact, weren't they on their way somewhere... well, it's all foggy, hazy. Leave New York? That's crazy talk. But... maybe the recruiter's right. The ghosts look confused for a moment, like they might just suddenly pick up their ghostly instruments and start playing again.

But then the bassist says, "Hey, maybe we could stop at my folks along the way? I got a feeling they miss me..." He looks like he's not quite sure why that is, but it is. The singer nods, then says, "Maybe culd stop by and see Sarah on the way, too. I miss those beautiful blue eyes..." Were they blue? It's so hazy. The drummer pipes in, "I wouldn't mind stopping and beating the snot out of that asshole who married my girlfriend." Well, that escalated quickly. Still, it seems they all have goodbyes to say. Which means part of them is acknowledging that it might just be goodbye.

The band members set down their ghostly instruments slowly and nod. The bassist says, "He's right. Why're we sticking around here for? We are going to be /great/. We just have to get /out there/. Let's do it." The others are nodding in agreement. It's time. They're going to be stars.

And so they step towards Nicole, the fanboy, the recruiter, and each reach out to shake his hand. As they make the gesture, they dissolve. Off to... their future.

Handshake, handshake, handshake, and then.. the fanboy is alone on the stage. Taking a deep and cleansing breath Nicole lets the illusory shroud fade, remaining up on stage for just a moment longer before hopping down, heading for the bottle of vodka wherever it may be - on a shelf, in a hand, whichever. Snag, drink. Just a few swigs, enough to burn on the way down, then she puts it back.

"Phew. That was weird. Thanks for the tip," she croaks, wiping a hand over her mouth and exhaling quietly. "Is it always like that? Ghosts stuck in their bubble and unable to realise the situation?" Nicole asks, ever quesitoning, ever the curious student.

As the ghosts move on, Ric lets the Boneyard dissolve, that feeling of intense hope lingering and then slowly fading. Ric opens his eyes and flashes a grin as Nicole becomes Nicole once more, and he offers his vodka towards her as she comes closer. He growls, "You know, next time you should try a fucking pretty boy." He offers a wink, lightening the mood.

At her questions, he shrugs, "No. I mean, no two are ever the fucking same. I've shown them compassion, I've fucking threatened them, I've lied to them. Fuck, I once convinced a tableaux of ghosts I was goddamned god. I guess other people got other ways and shit. Ceremonies, tricks. I don't know none of that crap." Ric, the sweet talker. It's a bit ironic.

He flashes another grin, "So, you're a motherfucking hero. Better they pass on up here than down there. You did 'em a service, even if they were fucking growing on me. You owe me for that."

"Mm-m. When I do the wrappy-changey thing, I like to make sure it's really different from what I actually look like. Subtle changes would wig me out a bit if I saw myself in a mirror," Nicole murmurs, nodding at the suggestion of other things to be tried and mention of tricks. "Maybe I need to talk to Spankie or someone, see if I can learn a trick or two for next time."

The mention of oweing for helping the band move on draws a faintly lopsided smile to Nicole's lips. One last sip of the vodka and she moves over to stand in front of the punk, close enough for the tip of her nose to nudge against his, for her hands to reach forward and curl each forefinger through his beltloops. "I do now, do I?"

Rictus laughs at Nicole's comment about doing the 'wrappy-changey' thing. "Fuck, but your taste is goddamned /awful/. Last time I used that shit, I turned into a giant slavering beast with claws longer than my fucking dick." He gestures some outlandish length that isn't quite accurate, but the point is clear - bit claws. "I mean, go big or go fucking home, right?" He winks at her.

He smirks at the mention of 'Spankie', and then nods, "Yeah. Fuck, I could probably learn a few more tricks, myself. I don't suppose mine are going to work /every/ goddamned time." Then a lopsided grin, "Or maybe they will." Cocky, arrogant, but at least he acknowledges there are other methods, and has shown some slight interest in learning them.

When she pushes closer, the grin widens and his arms snag around her, one hand snagging back the vodka for a swig before she can feel the bottle pressed against her back along with his hand. "It gets lonely. All these cold, empty rooms." Nevermind Ric has two other places he stays at and plenty of folks around. Still, he presses a bit closer. "And my power's out so I ain't got heat or netflix. It's so /cold and lonely/." The lights are on.