Rebels for the Cause
Kevin slapped his flip-phone shut and threw it on the seat next to him on the Boys' tour bus. The other guys took notice of both his actions and the weary, pissed off expression he wore.
"Who was it that called?" Brian ventured.
"You don't want to know."
Howie meekly asked, "Management?"
"Telemarketer?" AJ quipped.
"What's worse than telemarketers?" Nick wanted to know.
Kevin didn't answer right away. In fact, after a couple of minutes his face began to turn red and shake violently. AJ reached over and smacked him on the back. A giant puff of air exploded from Kevin's lips. He began to breathe quickly and deeply.
"Thanks, man. I didn't even know I was holding that."
"You never do."
"Who called, Cuz?"
"No!" Nick screamed. "Why won't they leave us alone?"
"I feel, ya, Nicky. But, I'm not sure they can be stopped."
"Go feel someone else, Howie."
"It's just an expression, Nicky."
I know I'm going to regret this, Brian thought, but, "What did the writer's want this time?"
Kevin didn't answer and the Boys noticed his face turning red again.
"Breathe, Kevin!" they shouted in unison.
"Thanks, guys," Kevin whispered breathlessly.
"I hate it when he holds his breath without even realizing it."
"At least you're not the one who just got to experience the stale exhale in your face. Twice," Brian said. "Trade seats with me, Bone."
"I don't think so."
"The writers -"
"Right. We've got a new opening act joining us on the next leg of the tour," Kevin started.
"Let me guess, an all-girl quintet of lovely and often barely dressed honies," AJ said sarcastically.
"How'd you guess?"
"Because they make us take on a new girl group and fall in love with them every week. I don't know about the rest of you, but I need a break."
"And we could all probably use a good dose of penicillin or something after being forced to sleep with all these different bimbos," Brian put in.
"These girls, they won some implausible radio contest or something and have no real experience otherwise but somehow they managed to become a sensational act ready for their big break any minute now despite never having paid any dues whatsoever. Am I close?" Howie asked cynically. They'd been through this too many times.
"Shit!" Nick shouted throwing aside his copy of Great Expectations.
"I'm not thrilled about going through it again, either, but --"
"Not that, Bri. Did anyone else see that sign?"
The guys all shook their heads.
"Outside. Dammit, breathe, Kevin!"
Kevin exhaled as commanded and took several deep breaths trying to replenish his oxygen supply.
"Thanks. I didn't even realize -- "
"I know. Look,
fellas, we just entered
"Bus crash," the five tired singers chorused in unison.
"Whose turn to go through the window?"
"Don't look at me. Last time I went through the window I got impaled on a fence post," Brian asserted.
"And I went through the windshield. I coulda lost some tattoos."
"Well, I've gone through the window, too, so I guess it's up to Nick and Kevin."
"Okay, I'll go through the window, Bri, if you take the coma and near-death experience they always give me."
"What about Kevin? I know, the bus could roll over on him. We haven't done that in awhile."
"Okay, but who's going to make the inspirational speech that brings Brian back from the brink and then leads the rest of us in song so we can give him the will to live and stuff like that?"
"Whoever's most ambulatory."
"It means 'walking around'. I do read things besides comic books, you know."
"Sure, Nick. Whatever you say."
"Okay. Whoever can get around the best will do it," Kevin said. "I say we all go to bed now. The sooner we let the bus crash, the sooner we can get it over with."
His bandmates agreed and headed back toward the bunks except for Kevin and Nick who remained in the main, and insanely pink, 'living room'. After all, they had to crash through the windows soon.
"Kevin - "
"Why isn't there a roof on this bus?"
"What?" Kevin looked up and saw that the bus, indeed, had no roof.
While the two men stared through the rectangular opening running the length of the 'living room', trying to figure out why they saw no stars above or felt no breeze coming inside, Howie pulled AJ aside for a private conversation.
"Before we get too busy with the crash and stuff, there's something I need to tell you."
"What is it, D?"
"Well, um, this isn't easy for me. What I have to tell you, well, you might end up hating me, but I hope you won't. You're my best friend and ---"
"D, did the writers make you gay again?"
Howie nodded his head even as he stared at his feet, afraid to face his closest friend, afraid of the rejection he might find there.
AJ looked up to the heavens. "Okay! Which one of you writers screwed up? D is gay every fourth story. This is only the third and we have that girl group coming in! For cryin' out loud, this bus could fit through that plot hole!"
"Look, D, we're still cool. But, if we don't see each other much for awhile, it's probably because the writers decided I should be a walking hormone again and boink two girls to make up for the one you won't be using. Nothing personal."
"I know, man."
Nick and Kevin rose from their seats, still staring through the opening in the bus roof. Something strange was coming at them. Something pale pink in color and moving of it's own accord.
"Is that what I think it is?"
"It looks like a giant hand!"
Suddenly the whole front of the bus was lifted from the road, soon followed by the rest of the vehicle. The young men tumbled around crazily.
The bus began to swing in a huge arc like some sort of possessed carnival ride. Kevin and Nick grabbed for anything they could find to keep them flying around the interior of the bus, or out of it. Sure they knew they had to go through the windows but they were determined to let things calm down first.
If they let go now, they'd probably end up sailing through the air clear to the next county, the one where the entire population consisted of childhood friends, long-lost relatives and illegitimate children they had no idea they had fathered somewhere along the way. Hey, they all liked hanging out with the family as much as the next pop superstar, but, there was such a thing as too much family.
And then there would be the inevitable road rash as they skid to a stop.
In the rear of the vehicle, the other three young man bounced around like they were part of a Gnip-Gnop game. Or rather, it was like a game of Gnip-Gnop for Howie who was old enough to remember Gnip-Gnop, while Brian and AJ bounced around like popcorn kernels in a high-powered commercial microwave.
This wasn't like any of the other bus crashes, Brian thought, as he rolled on top of AJ only to be sent flying in the opposite direction a second later as the bus lurched again.
Damn, this was a long fucking bus crash, AJ thought. Usually, there was sharp impact and then they'd stop cold. This time they seem to careening back and forth and bouncing all around. He hoped that didn't mean they, probably him, would have to climb out of the steep, rock-strewn ravine.
He really didn't feel like exerting that kind of effort tonight. Besides, the writers would have him in the most inappropriate clothing possible for the schlep and then have him fretting over it the whole way.
Howie's mind was filled with thoughts of Nick, desperately hoping he wouldn't be hurt badly going to the window. On the other hand, if he did get hurt, he could offer that big, hunky man comfort and then hold him in his arms.... Nick? Why Nick? They always had him fall in love with Kevin except for the couple times it was AJ.
No! Howie screamed internally. Falling in love/lust with a fellow-BSB was the writer's fantasy not yours! Him and another BSB? Eeeeeewwwwww.
Nick lost his grip on the hard pink plastic seat he was holding and went flying toward the hole in the roof of the bus. He squeezed his eyes tightly shut. He did not want to watch the ground as it approached his face at break-neck speed.
Kevin screamed as he saw Nick sailing out of the bus. Another even more bloodcurdling scream escaped his lips when he saw how Nick's right arm was still tightly gripping the seat near the front of the bus.
Shit! His whole arm had been torn off.
Hmm, Kevin thought, dismemberment was a little different. Strange, though, the complete lack of blood and exposed arm-innards .
Finally the bus came to a crashing halt. Each of the young man took a moment to assess the situation and each found they were still alive. That was a relief. Or maybe not, depending on what kind of tired drivel the writer was planning.
Brian opened his eyes slowly and found himself wedged in the tiny closet. After testing each joint one by one and learning that they were working, he came out of the closet. He looked around for his companions and saw Howie crawling out from under the bunk from which he slid. He seemed okay.
"AJ!" He called. "AJ, are you okay, man?"
AJ opened his eyes, and discovered his face was smashed up against the only window in the bunk room. At least didn't go through it, he thought.
"AAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!" AJ screamed, noticing for the first time what was on the other side of the window. A pair of huge purple eyes, surrounded by hot pink stars, clearly a bad makeup job, stared back in him. Pushing away from the window, he was treated to a full view of the ghastly horrific face: a giant smashed red nose, oversized demonic grin, and rainbow-colored afro.
"Of shit, oh shit." AJ struggled to get away from the horror as fast and as far as he possibly could. Why was the writer making him face that? Anything but that!
"Mary Sue! Did you finish cleaning your room yet?"
"Well then, come on. Daddy wants to take us out for supper."
Mary Sue turned back to the toy box and looked down at the Barbie bus she had filled with her favorite dolls, even if they didn't belong with the bus.
"'Bye-bye, Backstreet Boys . We'll finish playing after supper."
Mary Sue closed the lid of her toy box and skipped out of the room to join her parents.
Kevin had been the only one to hear the exchange and learn the identity of their current puppet-master.
Mary Sue? Oh shit. This was gonna be even worse than they thought.
Originally published on Mary Sue Must Die
© 2000 by Mathinus