After making their intentions known, I get up from behind the drums and move towards the center of the room with my hands up. In the process of getting down on the ground, Barry and I were pistol whipped and kicked a few times, both in the face and back. Your natural inclination when someone speaks to you, and points a sawed off shotgun at you, is to look at them. They didn’t like that. “Keep your head down!” they’d say, and then whack you with the butt of the gun again. What is most disconcerting about being continually pistol whipped while being forced to keep your head down, is that the blood starts to run down around your ears, down across your face, over your cheeks and into your eyes. As we weren’t a Goth band, it wasn’t a good look.
In a few minutes, Dibbs joins me and Barry. He had been found coming out of the bathroom and forced back into the rehearsal space with us at gun point. They asked us where the drugs were. Dibbs said, “We don’t do drugs.” We suspected they were robbing the studio because the owners dealt drugs. We were caught in the figurative, and hopefully not literal, crossfire. They ask us for money. They’re told, “We don’t have any money”. In the stress of it all, I become the chatty Kathy problem solver. “Why don’t you just take the guitars?” I said. They responded with “If you give us their guitars what will they give us?” which was followed by another pistol whipping. Now, this causes a pause for thought: did they just remember that I was sitting behind the drum kit when they came in, or did they know the band and just reveal themselves as someone with a closer relationship? There was three of them so perhaps it was the Stray Cats? Nah, that’s a little too farfetched.
So, the misery continues…
They ask Barry how much money he has. After he answers, they tell him that if he has a dollar more or a dollar less, they will kill him. As they go through Barry’s pockets, my mind is racing: how much money did I have? What did I buy on the way here? How much was that sandwich and Pepsi? Did I include the tax? Meanwhile Barry’s pocket change is close enough to his pre-stated amount to satisfy the crooks. Now it’s my turn. After checking my pockets, whatever amount I told them was not within a dollar of whatever I had earlier calculated. I was at least ten dollars off. With the gun pressed firmly behind my left ear, I’m told, very calmly, “I’m going to have to kill you now.” While it was probably only a few seconds, it seemed like an eternity for the follow up question to be asked. “You don’t think I’d do it, do you?” “I think you’d do it”, I say calmly. From across the room another voice pipes up. “They got the message.”
We did. Well, I know I did.
…to be continued…
© Curt Weiss 2015