“Look at them, Phillipa. They’re such ruffians. I can not believe that we have to be the support act for them!” Those were the conceited words of Eleanor Constance Cleary, the guitarist and lead singer of indie-pop band Hymenium. She was 1.7m tall with a flawlessly thin body and flawless 34C cleavage. Her heart-shaped face was similarly flawless, with wide hazel eyes and a small nose which seemed to be pointed up very slightly. Her hair was flawless too, in curly blonde locks which reached down her body to her hips. As for her clothes, they too were flawless. An expensive-looking white halter top with matching skinny jeans held on with a black leather belt and golden buckle. She was wearing white pumps on her feet. The look was rounded out with a red plaid top, just for a touch of indie cred. A plain black guitar strap was slung over her shoulder, holding up her Schecter Banshee-6 FR Passive guitar – pink, of course. “How anyone could ever consider them to be musicians and not noisemongers is beyond me!” she said as she watched an all-female metal band performing on the stage they were hiding behind.
Phillipa Buckingham-Lennox was a little bit shorter than Eleanor, at just 1.6m. She didn’t look as flawless as Eleanor, being a blue-eyed brunette with short hair down to just her shoulders. She had more of a “girl next door” look to her. Were she not the keyboardist in a band, one could almost imagine seeing her in the street and feeling smitten. She was wearing a cute little red dress and brown cowgirl boots, almost like she’d applied to be in a country band and had been turned down. After all, most country bands wouldn’t touch a synthesiser with a barge pole. “I know! And can’t the blonde one afford any shoes?”
Eleanor gave a very posh-sounding laugh. “They all dress in such a cheap and classless way. The Chinese one’s trousers are all ripped.”
“They claim it’s ‘style’. It’s just ugly. Kind of like their keyboardist,” Phillipa smirked meanly, exchanging a high-five with her bandmate.
The band finished the song they were on and walked behind the drumkit. They all picked up buckets and walked over to the front of the stage. The “Chinese” bassist/lead singer gave an announcement. “It’s come to my favourite part of the show. It’s slime time!” The crowd cheered eagerly as the five musicians launched the buckets forwards, thick green gunge surging forwards out of them and splattering on the heads of the crowd below.
“What on Earth are they doing now?!” Phillipa scoffed.
“Sliming the audience. Just, so uncouth. Why would anyone ever willingly want to have their hair and clothes ruined by that stuff?” said Eleanor as she nodded in agreement.
“It’s probably the closest that these people have ever come to a shower, to be fair.”
Once again, Eleanor laughed. “You are sooo right, Phillipa! You can smell them from here!”
At that moment, another woman turned up behind the stage carrying a small tray with three plastic bottles on it. They were all blue and contained some variety of alcopop or another. She was wearing black trousers and a white tank top with white ballet pumps. Compared to the flawlessly thin Eleanor or beauteous Phillipa, she was a little bit more muscular, and had the shortest hair of the three – chin-length black hair with a fringe just above her blue eyes. “Smell what from here?” she asked.
“The smelly metalheads in the crowd,” said Phillipa, taking a bottle from the tray.
“Thank you for the drinks, Arabella,” said Eleanor as she took a drink herself. “No doubt that lot are violent lager drinkers.”
Arabella Hollingsworth was the third and final member of Hymenium, and she was the drummer. She looked a bit perplexed at the way her bandmates seemed to be talking about the crowd. “You can’t stereotype an entire crowd, especially one you’ve just performed for,” she said as the band on the stage launched into another song.
Clearly her words went unnoticed by Phillipa and Eleanor as they just laughed.
“What’s so funny?”
“They’re not going to hear us, darling! We can say what we want!” the blonde said, downing the contents of the bottle and throwing it onto the stage. The soft plastic hit one of the guitarists (a pale brunette) on the head, making her lose her place in the song for a brief moment.
“We’re going back to the tour bus. We’ll see you later,” said Phillipa, throwing her now-empty bottle onto the stage too before walking off. It narrowly missed anyone, but the barefoot blonde guitarist stepped on it and slipped, falling on her backside. She pouted and stood up. Normally she wouldn’t make a big deal of it, but that was one of her solos!
The guitarist stood up and glared in the direction the bottle had come from, aggressively shredding a discordant solo over the song. “YOU’RE GONNA REGRET THAT, BITCH!” she squealed. Thankfully she wasn’t near a microphone at the time, so it went unheard. The song ended shortly after and the blonde threw her guitar down.
“Becky, wait!” the other guitarist called out, running after the blonde, who was now stomping towards Arabella with some force. The bassist, drummer and keyboardist tried to smile and keep the crowd vaguely happy as pandemonium erupted. Thankfully they were planning to end the set after that song anyway, but it still felt awkward. They threw drumsticks and guitar picks into the crowd, as was tradition in rock shows.
Meanwhile, the two guitarists from the metal band were stood right in front of Arabella. “What’s the big idea, huh?!” the blonde demanded. “Are you jealous that we got to headline tonight while your pop group got some polite applause and nothing more?”
“Becky, please calm down,” the brunette said, placing her hands on her bandmate’s shoulders.
“She tried to ruin our set, Shel! Didn’t you see her throw the bottles at us?”
Becky started to stammer awkwardly. “B-but she’s… I mean…”
The one they called ‘Shel’ just sighed. “No you didn’t. I’ll deal with this, you get a shower and chill with the fans, okay?”
The blonde guitarist looked to her bandmate indignantly. She then turned to Arabella (who was now cowering in terror) and said “This isn’t over.”
At that point, a tall and muscular man with a shaved head walked up to them. He had a yellow polo shirt on and a plastic armband with some kind ID card in it. Clearly he was part of the security detail. “Is everything okay? I heard shouting,” he said.
“I’m glad you turned up,” said the brunette. “Some people threw bottles at us from backstage, and I think this girl might have been involved.”
“I didn’t do anything! It was–”
“Calm down, and we’ll get this resolved. Michelle Massey from The Kayotics and Arabella Hollingsworth from Hymenium, correct?” said the bouncer. The two musicians nodded. “Okay, tell me what happened, Michelle first.” The two women gave their side of the story. Michelle said first how she’d been hit with a bottle and how Becky tripped on another, and when she’d gone after Becky to stop her going crazy, Arabella was the first person they found. Arabella then said how it was her bandmates who had made disparaging comments about the Kayotics’ fans and threw the bottles, with the security guard taking notes the whole time.
The next day was an off-day on the tour. Arabella hadn’t slept well. “Eleanor and Phillipa are my friends, my bandmates. I totally betrayed them,” she thought as she watched them sleeping from her bunk. “At the same time though, I’d done nothing wrong. It was all them!” She sighed and got up, her bare feet digging into the fluffy shag carpet on the floor. She looked in the fridge and found butter, ketchup, smoked bacon and free range eggs, all Waitrose. All the components of a delicious breakfast (if expensive for a touring band). “I hope The Kayotics won’t hate me either,” she thought as she got a loaf of sliced white bread out of an overhead cupboard. The smell of sizzling bacon awoke Eleanor. She got up, stepped into a pair of white slippers, walked down the static tour bus and took out her phone.
“Oh my gosh! Arabella, have you seen the Kayotics’ Twitbook?” she gasped after a few moments.
“They’re slagging us off! How dare they?! Who do they think they are?!” she shouted.
Phillipa sat up and mumbled “What’s going on?” “Those metal rubes have declared war on us! They say we’re elitist snobs and regret ever inviting us on tour with them!”
“Who are elitist snobs?” Phillipa asked with a yawn. Eleanor tightened her grip on the phone. “I quote. ‘We are so sorry for how tonight’s show ended, but little did we know that a band we liked enough to invite on our UK tour were little more than elitist snobs-exclamation-exclamation-exclamation. The behaviour of the Hymenium girls was appalling, as they threw bottles at Becky and Michelle and called metal fans a bunch of dirty violent thugs, and that our allegedly-stupid signature gunge wave is the only shower that metal fans ever get-exclamation-exclamation-exclamation. Well we say that Phillipa, Eleanor and Arabella are hypocrites of the highest order. We did nothing to you, but you decided to spoil our set through violence. Who are the real violent thugs here-question-exclamation-question-exclamation. Once this tour is over, we want nothing to do with you. Fans, sorry I didn’t come out last night. I was too pissed off with these stupid girls. I’m still angry, honestly. Sludge, love and rock ‘n’ roll, Becky.” Her tone was simply oozing with derision and mockery.
Phillipa burst out laughing. “Oh, they are so stupid it’s hilarious! Wait, which one’s Becky? Is she the Chinese one?”
“She’s the lead guitarist. Blonde, doesn’t like footwear,” Arabella answered, her skin crawling as she heard Becky’s words through Eleanor followed by Phillipa’s laughing. “And for the record, Yumiko is not Chinese. She’s half Japanese, half English.”
“You almost sound like you’re their friend,” Phillipa smirked.
Arabella just shrugged and finished making her sandwich. “If you want a feud with them, whatever, but just remember that they outnumber you five against two.”
“Three,” said Eleanor.
“Two. I did not join a band in order to get into feuds with people.”
“Well, feud’s clearly on. We’ll put them in their place. First though, breakfast!” Eleanor declared.
Poor Arabella just sighed and headed for the door. She needed some alone time. Opening the door and sitting on the step, she didn’t expect to see someone outside. The person outside was a woman. Specifically, it was Kassidy. She was wearing an old Slayer t-shirt, some blue jeans with huge rips in the knee and black high-tops. The ginger drummer looked to Arabella with some wariness. “You…” she muttered.
Arabella looked at Kassidy remorsefully. “I don’t want trouble,” she said, taking a bite out of her sandwich.
“Well, Becky’s still mad at you guys. She doesn’t want to speak to you unless you guys are going to apologise.”
“What about you? What are you doing here?”
Kassidy shrugged her shoulders. “Michelle told me that you grassed your bandmates up. Is that true?” she asked. Arabella gave a nod. “I see. So, you had nothing to do with it?”
“That’s right. I would never do such a thing,” said Arabella, looking deep into Kassidy’s eyes. “It doesn’t fix anything, and it’s probably not my place, but I am so sorry for what the…”
Seemingly out of nowhere, an egg splattered on Kassidy’s forehead, clear and sticky goop spreading over her face and into her beautiful red hair. Arabella watched mortified as the Kayotics’ drummer took a deep breath and growled. Kassidy rather foolishly placed her fingers into the yolk, bursting the yellow bubble and making it seep over her fingertips and run down her face. Clearly, her attempt to get it out had backfired. “Get a shower, metalhead!” Eleanor yelled out of an open window.
“Oh my God…” Arabella whispered in shock. Kassidy’s hands formed tightly clenched fists.
“Arabella, come with me,” she hissed, walking over to the other drummer. Arabella didn’t even try to resist as Kassidy grabbed her under the shoulders and marched her into the other tour bus. The Kayotics’ tour bus was much the same as Hymenium’s, but with a few more bunks. It had all the necessities for living on the road, but was a little bit more unkempt. Oddly, Arabella felt a bit more at home in it, or she would if it wasn’t for four sets of eyes looking at her and the now-eggy Kassidy.
“What’s going on?” asked Chloe.
“I went over to offer an olive branch and this one’s little friends egged me!” Kassidy frowned, throwing Arabella to the floor.
“You’re joking,” sighed Michelle. Becky shook her head.
“What did you expect? They’re a bunch of brutes!”
“I had nothing to do with anything the others did!” Arabella said, looking at Chloe with pleading eyes. The Kayotics all looked at her in disbelief, with one exception.
“I believe her,” said Michelle.
“Why?” asked Becky.
“I said before that she told the bouncer last night that the others in her band threw the bottles. Why would she grass up her own bandmates? It’s simple. Unlike them, she’s honest,” Michelle reasoned.
Arabella smiled for the first time all day, until Yumiko finally broke her silence. “I did see who threw the bottle at you, too, just out of the corner of my eye. It wasn’t her.”
“We still need to send Hymenium a message! They hit Shel with a bottle, tripped me up and now egged Kassie! Nobody messes up Kassie, other than the rest of us!” Becky declared. “Ararabella, isn’t it?”
“It… Not quite…” Arabella muttered, picking herself up off the floor.
Becky looked into Arabella’s eyes and grabbed her chin between her index finger and thumb. “You don’t really think the gunge wave is stupid, do you?” she said with a wry grin.
Arabella knew a trap when she heard one. If she said yes, the Kayotics would be offended and probably gunge her. If she said no, they’d probably take it as her being up for a gunging. If she didn’t give an answer, they’d press her into giving an answer either way.
“Not at all! In fact, I think that you should subject my bandmates to it,” she said, desperately trying to get out of the situation.
“Wow, Ararabella! You have no loyalty to your friends, do you?” Becky smirked and took on a more sultry tone. “Or is this some kind of fantasy of yours? If it is, I totally get it. Your friends my be stuck up little bitches, but they are pretty, and would look even prettier covered in gunge!”
Chloe shook her head and sighed. “Rebecca…” Becky stifled the giggle she always got when someone used her real name on her. “How many times do I have to say it? Not everyone is a complete nympho!”
“I’m not a complete nympho!” Yumiko sighed.
“Enough bickering, you guys. Are we going to send Arabella’s friends a message or not? Just wondering since I have an idea…”
Later that day, Eleanor was dressed in a white tank top and white jeans, and relaxing in her bunk with some kind of soppy novel. Suddenly she received a text message. “U guys come 2 kayotics bus Becky has something 2 say 2 u”.
“It’s a trap. She’s been forced to send a message,” Phillipa declared immediately, looking back from the TV.
“Don’t be silly. Those metalheads aren’t smart enough to make a trap. They’re going to apologise and say how we’re simply flawless musicians!” With those words, Eleanor headed straight for the bus. Phillipa rolled her eyes and followed her. They approached and saw Becky waiting with Arabella, sat in lawn chairs. There were two empty lawn chairs in front of them too. Unbeknownst to them, the rest of the Kayotics were hiding in the shadows.
“Good afternoon, my bandmates,” Arabella smiled.
“Yo,” Becky added. “Take a seat.”
Phillipa whispered into Eleanor’s ear. “Seriously, I don’t like the looks of this. Let’s go back to the bus.”
“Something wrong, Pippy?” Becky smiled innocently.
“Yeah, you’re being way too nice,” said Phillipa, trying to hide her annoyance at being called “Pippy”. “What are you planning?”
“I just want to bury the hatchet, Pip. I was a bit out of line last night.”
“Damn right you were!” Eleanor snapped at Becky, standing over her. As much as the singer/guitarist towered over Becky, the Kayotics’ lead guitarist wasn’t worried. “You were out of line with your baseless accusa–” She was soon cut off by the feeling of something running up the side of her right leg. She looked down and saw that Becky playing footsie with her. “What are you doing, you freak?!”
Becky pouted. “I thought it would feel nice for you!”
Eleanor sat down on one of the spare chairs, glaring at Becky the whole time. “Look, Becky, I don’t like you. I don’t like any of you Kayotics. I don’t even like metal. The only reason that we agreed to tour with you was because the label offered us a lot of money to do it. Got it?”
“That’s a shame. I was hoping to settle our silly argument,” Becky said, almost sounding genuinely sad. “What don’t you like about us?”
Phillipa shrugged her shoulders and sat down with the other girls. Clearly nobody else was going anywhere. “Metal is just noise. Why can’t you make proper music?”
“And what’s with your gunge obsession? It looks so foul and makes you look like a bunch of utter children,” Eleanor added.
“Also, we have fans because we can actually play our instruments and because Elle can really sing. You only have fans because you go around on stage in skimpy costumes and pose provocatively while that Chinese girl sings songs about boys! Except, you’re not even good at being sexy since you’re all ugly and smell as bad as your fans!”
Becky huffed. “Well, you’ve spelled it out for me very clearly. I feel I must apologise. I’m sorry you don’t think that four girls with diplomas in music and a girl with a degree in music can’t play their instruments or sing.”
“You guys actually have qualifications in music? Exams really are getting easier!” Eleanor chuckled. “Anyway, you were saying?”
“I’m sorry that you think that having a harmless quirk that all your fans love makes you less mature than injuring your fellow musicians with no provocation,” Becky continued.
Eleanor scoffed. “Becky, gunge is for kids and creepy internet fetishists. If you’re not kids, you’re obviously some kind of sexual deviants.”
“Sexual deviancy is probably my best trait, and one I’d happily share with you” Becky said, batting her eyelids. “Except that you’re so fucking fake, which leads me to my next point. I’m really sorry that we don’t fit your definitions of beauty because we don’t pad our bras, wear the exact same goddamn makeup as every other bimbo or spend our daddy’s money on plastic surgery that makes us look the exact fucking same as we did before we went in.”
Eleanor and Phillipa both gasped. “I do not pad my bra!” Phillipa protested, crossing her arms over her chest.
“And I have never had plastic surgery! Why would I? I’m flawless as I am!”
“Are you done with your fake apologies, Little Miss ‘So Fucking Fake’?”
Becky just shook her head. “One last thing. I’m sorry you can’t admit you’re in the wrong in this. I really hoped we could settle our differences, but it’s clear you’re a pair of stupid, spoiled cunts. I was hoping it wouldn’t come to this.”
“Come to–EEK!!!” Eleanor started, but she was cut off by something hitting the top of her head. Her flawless hair soon turned into a slimy, sticky green mess. Through the deluge of green gunge, she could just see Michelle and Kassidy (now egg-free) stood over her with a pair of buckets. The white top and trousers she was wearing quickly turned the same bright green as her hair and face.
Phillipa tried not to, but she couldn’t help laughing at Eleanor, even if the odd drop was splashing onto her (though it was nothing compared to the splash-back that Michelle and Kassidy where dealing with, of course). “I told you it was a trap!” she laughed.
“I don’t know why you’re so happy,” said a voice from behind her. It was Yumiko, and she was stood with Chloe. The two of them were both holding buckets too. “Oh, and stop saying I’m Chinese.”
The keyboardist’s heart sank, knowing she wouldn’t get away from this encounter even remotely clean. She slipped her mules off and kicked them under her chair. Hopefully her red dress would survive the imminent deluge. Deciding there was no point in fighting it, she closed her eyes and waited for Yumiko and Chloe to do their dirty work. In a single moment, the two members of The Kayotics turned their helpless captive into much the same sort of mess that Eleanor had become. “Eurgh, this is awful,” Phillipa moaned.
“It’s horrible,” added Eleanor. “You’re all horrible!”
“I dunno, I think you look great,” Phillipa teased, wiping some of the goo from her face. There was little point, of course, as the gunge above it simply replaced it.
Eleanor stared at Phillipa, eyes narrowed under the thick coating of green ooze. “Are you serious? We’ve just been humiliated and you’re making jokes?”
“No, I mean it. Green is so your colour.”
Eleanor scoffed. “You’re covered in gunk too, you know! We both look ridiculous!”
“Yeah, and the world will see how ridiculous you look,” said Arabella, gesturing to a camcorder in the window of the Kayotics’ tour bus. “Now, apologise.”
Eleanor and Phillipa felt themselves freeze. Whether it was the frigid cold slime or the piercing stares from the other women there, they didn’t know. Phillipa was the first one to speak. “I… I’m sorry.”
“No you aren’t, and neither am I! I swear, when my daddy finds out what you’ve done, you’ll end up with so much negative publicity you’ll have to go into hiding!” Eleanor declared, stomping off back to her tour bus. “Assuming you CAN hide when you’re so identifiably ugly and smelly!” she shouted as she slammed the door.
Phillipa flinched at the door’s slam. It shook the tour bus. “This is why I say on her good side,” she said quietly. “Like, really try to stay on her good side. I didn’t mean most of what I said. Sorry for hurting you all.” She looked deeply into Becky’s eyes as she spoke, toes curled and hand on heart.
“I’m sorry too, for thinking you were as bad as Eleanor,” smiled Becky.
“And for having me gunged?”
The Kayotics’ lead guitarist let out her usual perky giggle. “Hee hee! Nope! You look fine, Pip! The only gungy thing I’ll apologise for is not preparing some for Arabella!”
Arabella gasped, albeit jokingly, while Phillipa let out a chuckle and said, “A compliment and a promise of a future gunging for our mutual friend is good enough for me! Now, I must retire and cleanse myself of your foul ooze!”
As Phillipa left, Arabella looked over The Kayotics, one by one, from Michelle to Kassidy, to Chloe and Yumiko, and finally to Becky. “Are you really going to gunge me too?” she asked.
“Sure.” “Probably.” “I guess if you want to.” “Yeah!” “Someday.”
Arabella couldn’t tell who said what as they spoke at once. All she knew was how she’d answer the idea. “I’d be honoured.”
“Well, that’s all we have right now,” said Michelle. “Guess you’ll have to look forward to it some other time.”
I know this isn’t Kirsten’s Tale Part 4. I am working on it, but the fact I’ve left this story unfinished has been bugging me. I’ve got a reason for writing this beyond just thinking “hey, The Kayotics should humiliate a couple of snobs”, but I’ll explain that in a separate post.