The Undertow is a small city concert venue. Panoply of D-struction is tonight's band. You're going to the show as a fly on the shoulder of whoever you choose to ride with. It's a warm, sticky, unpleasant summer night. A night for plans that don't go right and for questioning the choices that we've made. A plan is afoot that will lead to surprises for everyone involved. Douse that sweaty restlessness in some ice cold guitar solos. As the unfortunately cheesy line on all the postcards says, "Get pulled into The Undertow."
[[Ramón 1<-Enter with Ramón.]]
[[Aamaal 1 & Tiff 1<-Enter with Aamaal & Tiff.]]
[[Raven 1<-Enter with Raven.]]
[[Billie 1 & Danny 1<-Enter with Billie & Danny.]]
[[Dodge 1<-Enter with Capt. Dodge.]]
[[Melora 1 & Shawn 1<-Enter with Melora & Shawn.]]Ramón arrives at 7:30pm, pushes past the line and pulls the door open. Someone shouts after him, but he shouts back. "I work here!"
Inside the door he nods to the womyn working the box office.
"Ooo, no, no, no, where's Starlight?"
Ramón shrugs. "Couldn't make it, I guess. Tessa called me in."
The box office womyn snorts. "Keep your mouth shut tonight and mix fast. Good luck."
He's behind the bar by 7:39. He's the one who closed up last night, so everything's in good shape.
He gets a text at 7:52. It's from Starlight.
"Girl called Raven gonna be there. DO NOT TELL HER I WORK THERE. YOU DON'T KNOW ME."
He rereads it over and over and eventually just sends back a "K."
The doors open at 8:00, the first patrons are in the space by 8:01, the first person is at the bar by 8:01:30.
[[Ramón 2 & Aamaal 2<-Ramón meets Aamaal.]]Aamaal & Tiff enter the space right as the doors open, first in the line, first in the space.
Aamaal shows her phone to the womyn working the box office. She checks it quick and stamps their hands. They're inside in seconds.
"I'm gonna hit the merch now," Tiff says. "They got new tshirts!"
"Sure, what do you want to drink?"
Tiff turns to the merch table tucked into the corner beside the entrance hallway. Aamaal walks to the small bar over to the side of the space.
[[Tiff 2<-Follow Tiff.]]
[[Ramón 2 & Aamaal 2<-Follow Aamaal.]] Raven enters the building hot on the heels of the first people in line.
"Is Starlight here?" she asks the womyn at the box office while she gets her phone scanned.
Raven walks on into the space and right up to the bar, waiting for the male-presenting bartender who's taking his sweet ass time to pour two lousy drinks for the person in front of her. Someone else tries to muscle in front of Raven, but she shoulders her way back into her rightful place. The person at the bar finally takes their drinks and goes. The bartender points at her.
[[Ramón 3 & Raven 2<-Raven meets Ramón.]]Melora and Shawn enter the building once the band is already going. Shawn deals with the box office womyn as Melora texts a "we're here" to Aamaal.
Melora watches Shawn and smiles. She knows a surprise has been planned and though Shawn is impossible to deal with when she's hiding something, Melora thinks it's adorable she's trying to turn this into a big event.
When Shawn finishes at the table, she catches Melora staring and smiling. "What?" Does she know? Shawn wonders. She probably at least knows something's up. She can't know what it is, though, she'd probably be furious. Oh god what if she's furious, Shawn worries.
"You're adorable, that's all," Melora says.
"She's gotta stamp your hand," Shawn says, reddening.
Melora gets her hand stamped and stays close to Shawn by the table.
As Shawn goes in for a kiss, she is interrupted by a loud shout.
[[Tiff 13 & Melora 2 & Shawn 2<-Tiff joins Melora & Shawn.]] Billie and Danny enter the building and move quickly through the box office person's phone check and hand stamp routine.
"I gotta pee so bad," Danny says.
"Go, go, don't wait for me," Billie says.
Danny pulls Billie to him and kisses them hard. People trying to come in behind them protest, "Come on, man."
Danny releases Billie and runs into the space.
[[Danny 2<-Go to the bathroom with Danny.]]
[[Tiff 4 & Billie 2<-Stay with Billie.]] Captain Loretta Dodge steps uncertainly into the building behind what she thinks is a pair of gay guys. She's the oldest person in sight by at least 20 years and carries a pocket of negative space around her that the more excitable young'uns seem afraid of entering. But the womyn at the ticket table looks like someone she could talk to.
"You here for the show?"
"Yeah, I think my daughter's, uh, my daughter's friend got me a ticket? My name is Dodge?"
"I don't have anything here, did you get an email?"
"My phone is dead, I... Probably, but I don't have it."
The box office womyn waves the next two people in line forward and checks their phones at the side of the table while attending to her new challenge. "Is your daughter here?" She stamps two hands.
"Uh, not yet, she's not supposed to be-"
Waving the next people forward, "Well all I can say is wait until she gets here and hopefully her phone's working."
"She's not supposed to... She doesn't know... Can I just buy a ticket?"
Waving the next people forward, "You certainly can, give me just one second, have to be cash only."
"That's all I got," Capt. Dodge says checking her wallet. "Do you have a military discount?" She kind of means it as a joke and as a way to ease the tension, but the womyn doesn't joke.
Holding the next people back, "We don't, no. Look, you're sure your daughter bought you a ticket?"
"Yes. Her friend did. Her girlfriend. Yes."
The womyn makes a little motion with her head. Capt. Dodge doesn't get it. The womyn makes a motion with her hand. Capt. Dodge thinks she gets it, but doesn't want to assume. The womyn spells it out, "Just go in."
Waving the next people forward, "Please."
[[Tiff 5 & Dodge 2<-Head in with Capt. Dodge.]] "Any specials tonight?" Aamaal asks.
"We're trying to get rid of this IPA, so it's only $3." Ramón smiles from behind the bar.
"You sell it so well. Give me a whiskey rocks and a G & T."
Ramón keeps his mouth shut and works fast. Thirsty patrons are beginning to line up.
Aamaal hands him a credit card.
"Tab?" he asks.
Ramón studies the card, holds it under the lamp next to the register.
"Problem?" Aamaal asks.
"Just making sure I get a look at your name. Connect name to face, you know?"
Aamaal walks away as Ramón points to the next person waiting.
[[Aamaal 3 & Tiff 3<-Follow Aamaal.]]
[[Ramón 3 & Raven 2<-Stay with Ramón.]]Tiff buys a tshirt and puts it on immediately.
Her phone vibrates. A text from Shawn.
"We're coming early I couldn't stop her"
"Its cool. Here already"
"She has NO idea"
She asks the merch person where the nearest trash is. The merch person has a bag behind the table so Tiff hands her old shirt over asking them to toss it. She then walks into the space.
The Undertow was a tiny old black box theater for a while, maybe in the 90s. Then it was an empty rat-infested dust box for a while. Now it's a rat-infested black-and-dust-box music venue that does pretty well for itself considering how shitty it is.
The entrance and merch table and bar are on the ground level. The space goes down from there, wide and naked black steps walking down to the stage like a really small amphitheater. No chairs.
[[Aamaal 3 & Tiff 3<-Aamaal returns.]]"Don't point at me," Raven says.
"Uh, sorry, what can I get you?" Ramón asks from behind the bar.
"I thought Starlight was working tonight."
Ramón pauses a half-second too long before saying, "Who?"
Raven isn't stupid. "She fucking told you I was coming, didn't she?"
"I don't know what you're talking about. Did you want a drink?"
"Forget it." Raven shoves the spinning napkin-and-straws holder off of the bar.
"Oh, come on!" Ramón whines as Raven stalks off.
[[Raven 3<-Stalk off with Raven.]]
[[Ramón 4<-Stay with Ramón.]]Aamaal rejoins Tiff on the naked black steps of the seating area. She hands the drink over.
"They're early," Tiff calls over the music playing. "Be here soon."
"Did you hear from her mother yet?" Aamaal shouts back.
Tiff looks at her phone. Nothing. "No."
As she's holding the phone, a text comes in. Again from Shawn. Aamaal presses against her and they both read it.
"Fwding u her moms ticket. Make sure everything's cool with box?"
"Sure. Haven't heard from her yet?"
Tiff checks her email for the ticket.
"Want me to go?" Aamaal offers.
"No, I got it."
Aamaal waits for a kiss, but doesn't get one.
[[Aamaal 4<-Stay with Aamaal.]]
[[Tiff 4 & Billie 2<-Go off with Tiff.]]Raven stalks to the top of the naked black steps of the seating area as someone pushes past her headed up and out toward the hallway. She's looking for trouble now. She eyes a hot Middle Eastern or Indian chick standing alone a few steps down looking at her phone. Raven jumps down the couple steps.
[[Aamaal 5 & Raven 4<-Raven meets Aamaal.]]Aamaal's phone buzzes with a text from Melora who must be sitting right next to Shawn in the cab.
"U guys there already?"
Before Aamaal can respond, someone literally jumps in front of her onto the step she's standing on. She can feel the shitty wood beneath her tremble.
[[Aamaal 5 & Raven 4<-Aamaal meets Raven.]]Billie and Tiff suddenly find each other standing face to face at the top of the seating area.
"Oh shit," Tiff says.
"Well nice to see you too, asshole," Billie smiles.
"Sorry, yeah, that was- I didn't know you'd be here."
"Why would you? I haven't talked to you in like four years."
"Yeah, it's just... Melora's gonna be here tonight."
Billie shrugs. "So? We're adults. It was a long time ago."
"No, I mean...," Tiff is having a hard time putting words together.
"What? Tiff, what? Is she with someone? Good for her, so am I."
"Oh you are? Okay, good," Tiff breathes a bit easier.
"Were you seriously worried- Look, nevermind, Tiff, I don't need the drama, enjoy the damn show."
Billie turns toward the bar as Tiff heads back out to the box office table.
[[Billie 3 & Ramón 5<-Follow Billie to the bar.]]
[[Tiff 5 & Dodge 2<-Follow Tiff to the box office.]]
Ramón bends to pick up the fallen napkin holder, but most of the napkins and all of the little red straws are down for the count, soaking and sipping up the dampness from the perpetually wet floor. More people are waiting.
"Sorry, what can I get you?"
Lots of whiskey tonight. Very little mixing. Occasional beer but no one wants to touch the $3 IPA. He doesn't push it too hard. Keep your mouth shut he was told. He works fast. He's good at his job.
[[Billie 3 & Ramón 5<-Ramón meets Billie.]]
The Undertow has one unisex bathroom with four stalls in it, but the stalls have full doors with doorknobs. Everything is black and mirrored except for the stained white porcelain of the toilets and sinks. In the stall, Danny hums his favorite Panoply tune, 'Fishwife.' He flushes and walks out to wash his hands.
[[Danny 3 & Raven 6<-Danny bumps into Raven.]]"Where's Starlight?" Billie asks Ramón, playing piano on the bar with their fingers.
"Don't know her," Ramón lies.
"Then how do you know her pronouns?"
Ramón kinda smiles, then cancels it. "What can I get you?"
"So we're just gonna skip right over that?"
Ramón just shrugs in a hopefully good-natured way.
Billie doesn't want to deal with it. "Shot of cheap tequila, then a tequila and tonic and a seltzer with a lemon AND a lime."
Ramón pours the tequila shot first.
[[Dodge 4 & Ramón 6 & Billie 4<-Capt. Dodge comes up to the bar.]] Just past and just before the busy box office table, Capt. Dodge and Tiff pass each other unknowingly.
[[Dodge 3<-Go into the space with Capt. Dodge.]]
[[Tiff 7<-Go to the box office table with Tiff.]]The space is dark, damp, claustrophobic. She breathes deeply just to make sure she still can. There aren't that many people, but they're all clustered right here. She can see that the space dips down past the crowd, but no one's really going down there yet. The bar is to her left. It's clearer than where she is now and a fine place to set up for the night.
[[Dodge 4 & Ramón 6 & Billie 4<-Capt. Dodge goes to the bar.]]Tiff talks to the box office womyn as she continues admitting people into the space.
"Hey," Tiff starts.
"Has an older woman come in here?"
An eyebrow raised. "Older than who exactly."
"I'm waiting to meet my friend's mom, she's supposed to be here."
An eyebrow lowered. "She just got here."
"Oh yeah. You musta walked right by her."
Tiff turns to look, but the short hallway has emptied into the darker pit beyond. Tiff leaves the table headed back into the space.
Tiff gets back into the space. She realizes she has no idea what Melora's mom looks like, or even what her name is. But she's gotta be the oldest person here. She looks over at the bar but Billie is there, standing there holding two drinks staring right back at Tiff. Billie doesn't seem to know they're staring, and Tiff watches them suddenly realize it. They make a face, then look off at someone behind Tiff. Tiff turns and finds herself facing a vaguely familiar person who's just come out of the bathroom.
[[Danny 5 & Tiff 8<-Tiff meets Danny.]]Capt. Loretta Dodge stands at the bar beside Billie who picks up their tequila shot and downs it with a grimace. Ramón sets a tequila and tonic and a seltzer with both lemon and lime slices in it on the bar.
Billie is ready with a credit card. "Tab please."
"Sure thing," Ramón says, studying the name on the card for a moment.
"What?" Billie asks, holding the two plastic cups.
"Nothing, just connecting a name to a face, you know?"
"That's fine. But do NOT call me by that name, okay?"
Capt. Dodge has kept her eyes on the bar through this exchange. As Billie begins to turn away, Ramón starts to point at her but cancels the gesture and just asks, "What can I get you?"
Capt. Dodge turns involuntarily to look into Billie's face as they turn from the bar. Billie looks back for a second. They both share an odd moment of confused and unplaceable recognition before looking away. Ramón notices the moment. Billie pauses before moving away. Capt. Dodge runs her eyes over the row of bottles on the bar shelf.
[[Billie 5<-Move off with Billie.]]
[[Dodge 5 & Ramón 7<-Stay at the bar with Capt. Dodge & Ramón.]]Billie stands at pause for a second. How do they know that woman? They realize they're staring straight at Tiff again who's just come back in from outside. Behind Tiff and past the merch table, Billie sees Danny come out of the bathroom. Tiff turns to look too, and Danny starts talking to Tiff.
"Please tell me they don't know each other," Billie says out loud, forgetting the strange feeling of recognition from the woman at the bar.
[[Danny 6 & Billie 6 & Tiff 9<-Billie joins Danny & Tiff.]] Capt. Dodge says again, "Uh...." Something is sticking in her head about that person's face she just looked at. "I don't know...."
Ramón seizes the opportunity. "We have an IPA on special tonight. Only 3 bucks. If you're a beer drinker." Ramón, as politely as possible, sizes the woman up. She doesn't match the rest of the crowd. She doesn't look comfortable here.
"Uh, sure." Capt. Dodge remembers. "Oh!" She looks back to see if the person she recognized is still there, but they're lost in the crowd already, which has begun moving down into the main space of the theater.
"Bottle ok? It's that or plastic cup."
"Sure, sure, fine," Capt. Dodge replies.
Ramón keeps an eye on her face and puts the bottle on the bar.
"Sorry, $3 you said?"
"No rush, just catch me before you leave." He'll remember her.
She doesn't move away. "You don't have seats. At the bar."
"No, I mean, no one ever sits here. You can't really see the stage, you know?"
She doesn't move away.
"I... do have a stool back here though if you'd like to sit."
For the first time, Capt. Dodge looks at him. She nods. "That'd be great."
Ramón passes a black metal stool over the bar, and Capt. Dodge sets it down off to the side, completely in shadow, leaving plenty of space for people to get in for drinks still. But everyone seems to have moved down into the main space.
Ramón starts picking up the napkin-straw detritus strewn on the floor behind the bar. "You're ok not seeing the band?"
"Oh, I'm not here for the band. I'm here for my daughter. I think that was one of her friends actually. I should have remembered."
"You're meeting her here?"
"It's a surprise thing, her frie-, her girlfriend, is doing for her. She doesn't know I'm coming."
Ramón smiles and nods, much of the mystery solved. "That's really cool. Is it her birthday?"
"No, no, it's... something else." Capt. Dodge remembers that there's a beer in front of her, and she should probably drink some of it. She sips.
Down on the stage, a guitar starts to ping and snap, warming up.
"Where's your bathroom?" Capt. Dodge asks.
"Right over there past the merch table."
"Thanks." Capt. Dodge gets up, unsure of whether to take her beer or leave it. She takes it. But she looks back at Ramón with a slight drop of her guard and says, "Save my seat."
Ramón catches a glimpse of a more relaxed and funny person as she looks at him. He smiles. "You got it."
[[Dodge 6<-Go to the bathroom with Capt. Dodge.]]
[[Ramón 8<-Stay with Ramón.]]Aamaal lifts her eyes to Raven's. Raven smiles, displaying teeth.
"Need a drink?" Raven shouts over the recorded pre-show music.
Aamaal lifts her drink to her mouth and takes a sip.
Raven's teeth go away. She scowls and stalks off.
[[Raven 5<-Stalk off with Raven.]]
[[Aamaal 6<-Stay with Aamaal.]]Raven mutters words she feels bad about muttering as she stalks away. She trips over the top step of the seating area and thinks she hears someone laugh. She should just get the fuck out of here. Bathroom first.
[[Danny 3 & Raven 6<-Raven bumps into Danny.]] Aamaal goes back to her phone to reply to Melora's message.
"Yeah we're in. You two close?"
She looks off after the woman who was just in front of her. More people have come in than she realized, and they're starting to spread down over the naked black steps of the seating area. The woman is gone. Aamaal's phone buzzes.
"Yeah couple blocks I think. I hate the undertow, how is it tonight?"
"Fine. Getting crowded."
"Shawn is being weird."
"She's really nervous."
Is she planning something?"
"Not that I know of."
Aamaal is surrounded by women already. She sips her drink. She doesn't recognize anybody. She hasn't been out in a while.
"Please don't try to hide a surprise from me. Remember my birthday?"
Aamaal does some quick calculations. Melora really will hate it, most likely. But if Aamaal says something now, Melora will force the cab to turn around and they'll never come. And Shawn put a lot of work into making this happen tonight.
"Honestly, I got nothing."
Melora doesn't reply right away which means she doesn't buy it.
"She's gonna figure it out," Aamaal says out loud, though she can barely hear herself in the small but energetic crowd.
Melora doesn't reply. Aamaal drinks.
"Omg is she performing??"
Shawn and Tiff and one of the Panoply guitarists were in a band together in college. Shawn hasn't played on a stage since, but always talks about starting up again. That isn't the surprise tonight, but it easily could be. And it would most definitely keep Melora off the trail of the real surprise. Aamaal really hopes the real surprise goes well or Melora will feel - rightly - pretty damn pissed about all the lying.
"Yes. Please don't tell her you know."
Why wouldn't she tell me??
Oh fuck did she write me a song"
"Oh fuck. Ok."
"I'm sure I still will be."
"You will," Aamaal says out loud.
[[Aamaal 7 & Tiff 11<-Tiff comes back.]]Danny and Raven find each other face to face in the Undertow bathroom.
"Shit. Fuck, right, sorry. Wow."
"I'm just gonna-"
Danny washes his hands.
"Enjoy the show," Danny says starting to leave.
"What are you here for?"
"...For the show."
"I mean... Fuck, you look great."
"I'm here with someone."
Raven darkens. "I wasn't trying to pick you up."
Danny opens the bathroom door. "Let's just both try to have a good night, ok?" Danny goes.
[[Danny 4<-Leave with Danny.]]
[[Raven 7<-Stay with Raven.]]Danny lets the bathroom door shut and shakes his head. "Of course," he mutters.
Stepping out of the bathroom he finds himself face to face with a vaguely familiar person who seems to be staring at him.
[[Danny 5 & Tiff 8<-Danny meets Tiff.]] Raven slams a stall door and sits down. She pulls out her phone and starts a text to Starlight.
"Star you have to talk to me"
She takes a deep breath. Her leg shakes, bouncing one knee.
"Please just reply"
She hears the bathroom door swing open, and she reaches up to lock the stall.
"I'm in the fucking undertow bathroom right now"
Graffiti on the stall door says, FUCK THIS PLACE.
"You owe me a fucking reply"
On the stall wall to Raven's left is a beautifully drawn image of a female-presenting person on a bicycle speeding down a hill with her hands in the air.
"I'm crying in the fucking undertow bathroom you fucking asshole"
Someone has much more crudely drawn a monster with a gaping mouth and lots of teeth waiting for the bicycle woman at the bottom of the hill.
Raven holds her phone pressed between both hands and lets herself cry, as silently as she can. For a while. She's got no one. Except...
She takes a deep breath and goes back to her phone. Before she sends the text, she changes the name in her contacts from Danika to Danny. Then she starts typing.
"It's raven. (or maybe I'm still in your phone?) I seriously didn't mean to deadname you just now. Are you still here?"
Someone knocks on the stall door. "Fucking occupied!" Raven shouts.
She keeps typing. "I'm kinda crying in the bathroom and I don't have anyone right now." She sends it.
She stares at the FUCK THIS PLACE, written in thick black letters in a square. "Yeah, fuck this place," she whispers, then starts sobbing. She slaps herself in the face, can't even do that well, and keeps crying. She doesn't really hear the flush two stalls over, or the handwashing at the sink. So when someone says, "Hey, you ok in there?" at the door, it scares her. She slams open the stall door.
[[Dodge 7 & Raven 8<-Raven meets Capt. Dodge.]] Danny and Tiff share an odd moment of vague recognition.
Danny makes a guess. "You know the band, right?"
"Yes! Did we meet before?" Tiff still can't place him.
"I think we just comment on the same stuff all the time."
"Oh your profile pic! Right!"
Tiff and Danny share a laugh.
[[Danny 6 & Billie 6 & Tiff 9<-Billie joins them.]]Billie steps in holding two drinks. "Please tell me you two don't know each other." They hand one to Danny.
Tiff stops laughing. "Oh. Are you..."
"Yes, Tiff, this is my current man meat, Danny."
"Hi," Danny smiles.
"Oh. Cool," Tiff shrugs, trying to process something.
Billie doesn't like to waste time. "Tiff is confused because I was in a long term relationship with her friend who is a woman, and she didn't know I also liked dudes."
"That's not-" Tiff starts. "I'm fine with it, obviously."
"Well good for you," Billie congratulates.
"I gotta find Aamaal..."
"Tell her I said hi."
[[Tiff 10<-Leave with Tiff.]]
[[Billie 7 & Danny 7<-Stay with Billie & Danny.]]As Tiff moves down the naked black steps of the seating area towards where she left Aamaal, her phone buzzes. It's Shawn.
"We're pulling up."
"Shit," Tiff says out loud.
[[Aamaal 7 & Tiff 11<-Tiff rejoins Aamaal.]]"Dark past I should know about?" Danny asks.
"No, she was weird to me when I got here. Her friend, my ex, is gonna be here tonight, which I am fine with, but she is being really weird about. Do you two actually know each other?"
Billie and Danny drink as they move down onto the naked black steps of the seating area. They stay near the back. One of the performers is onstage tuning a guitar.
"Who is that?" Billie asks.
Danny knows everyone in the band, and isn't sure. "I don't know."
"That's Amber's spot. We just saw her last night."
"Maybe she got sick..." Billie now moves their attention to Tiff and Aamaal who are moving up the stair-seats talking. When they get close, Billie catches the phrase "Melora's mom," and it clicks. "Oh fuck no."
The woman at the bar was Melora's fucking mother.
Aamaal and Tiff have moved off the steps. Billie bounds up and after them.
[[Billie 8<-Bound up with Billie.]]
[[Danny 8<-Stay with Danny.]]"They're pulling up, and I haven't found her mom." Tiff's getting panicky.
"Is she even here yet?"
"Yeah, the womyn out front said an older woman came in, it has to be her."
"Well there's nowhere she could be. You checked the bathroom? The bar?"
Aamaal starts to pull Tiff up the stairs as someone comes out onstage and starts warming up their guitar.
"Wait who is that?" Tiff asks.
Aamaal and Tiff look back at the stage.
"I don't know," Aamaal says.
"That's Amber's spot."
"Maybe they have a roadie now? To tune the instruments?"
"That's not Amber's guitar. Is Amber not here??"
Aamaal has pulled Tiff almost to the top step.
"They're here," Aamaal says, looking at her phone. "We have to find Melora's mom before they run into each other, then we can deal with that."
Tiff twitches a bit.
"Hey, breathe," Aamaal cautions, "You go out front and meet them, I'll keep her mom out of sight."
Aamaal wants to go in for a calming kiss, but Tiff runs off.
[[Tiff 12<-Run off with Tiff.]]
[[Aamaal 8<-Stay with Aamaal.]]Tiff covers the short hallway quickly and her heart squeezes in on itself when she sees Melora and Shawn already standing at the box office table. Play it cool, she tells herself.
"You're here!" she shouts, a little too enthusiastically.
[[Tiff 13 & Melora 2 & Shawn 2<-Tiff joins Melora and Shawn.]]Aamaal looks over at the bar, but there's only the bartender. She didn't even know The Undertow had male-identifying bartenders. Poor guy will probably make shit for tips tonight. As she turns to look over toward the bathroom, someone grabs her arm, and she instinctively yanks it back and puts a hand up in defense.
[[Aamaal 9 & Billie 9<-Billie confronts Aamaal.]] Billie sees Tiff running off out of the space again and Aamaal stopped in the empty area at the top of the stairs looking towards the bar. They grab Aamaal's arm, and Aamaal whips around with a hand up to protect herself.
[[Aamaal 9 & Billie 9<-Billie confronts Aamaal.]]Danny watches the stranger onstage tuning. It's not like Amber to miss a gig. Something must be up.
Danny's phone vibrates. As he's taking it out of his pocket, the crowd starts cheering and whooping. The rest of the band has come out onstage. He whoops with the rest for a moment then looks at his phone. He has a text from Raven.
"It's raven. (or maybe I'm still in your phone?) I seriously didn't mean to deadname you just now. Are you still here? I'm kinda crying in the bathroom and I don't have anyone right now."
"Oh shit," Danny says frowning. He looks back at the stage before deciding what to do. True to form, without any kind of greeting or introduction, Panoply of D-struction launches into a loud first number. It's "Fishwife."
Danny puts the phone in his pocket.
Danny's head and shoulders bounce along with the slamming of the drums. He doesn't sing-shout along with the song though he knows all the words. The band is just too perfect, even with the new guitarist, he doesn't want to get in their way. He looks up and back to find Billie but can't see them anywhere.
As 'Fishwife' comes to a close and the next song slams in, he looks at the message from Raven again and starts to feel bad. He gets up to go find her. As he gets to the top of the stairs he almost runs right into her.
[[Raven 12 & Danny 9<-Danny almost runs into Raven.]]The Undertow bathroom consists of four separate stalls with floor-length doors. Everything is black and dirty. Captain Dodge knocks on the first stall. "Fucking occupied!" someone inside shouts. She puts a buffer stall between herself and the shouter. She puts her full beer down on the back of the toilet. Graffiti on the stall door, right at eye level once she's sitting, says FUCK THIS PLACE.
As she reaches back to flush, the person two stalls over starts sobbing. Captain Loretta Dodge flushes. She looks at the three-word graffiti tag, bold black letters neatly arranged in a square, as she pulls her pants up.
The sobbing continues as she approaches the sink, washes her hands, and dries them on her pants, seeing nothing else to dry them with. It's not really her style, but she feels a kind of pressure to reach out. Back at the first stall again, she says, "Hey. Hey, you ok in there?" The stall door slams open.
[[Dodge 7 & Raven 8<-Capt. Dodge meets Raven.]]The woman walks off to the bathroom. Just as she passes the top of the seating area, two people come up off the steps having an intense discussion. One of them is wearing the band's tshirt that's on display right behind them at the merch table. The other one Ramón recognizes as the first person who came up to the bar earlier. He has her credit card here. He looks through the short stack. Aamaal, that was the one. When he looks up again, the tshirted person is gone and Aamaal is yanking her arm out of the grip of a new person who seems to have come up behind her. It's the person who was just here for the tequila shot. They both start arguing and gesturing. Ramón thinks he better check in. He comes out from behind the bar and approaches them.
[[Aamaal 10 & Billie 10 & Ramón 9<-Ramón joins Aamaal & Billie.]] Aamaal looks up into Billie's face and moves from an involuntary panic into a confused anger.
"Whoa, it's me, Billie!" Billie says, putting their own hands up.
"Fuck Billie, don't fucking grab people from behind, shit."
"Sorry, sorry, I know, sorry!"
"Fuck." Aamaal is breathing heavy.
Billie starts to feel like shit. "Shit, Aamaal, I forgot, I'm sorry, right."
Aamaal puts a hand back up, a hand in control this time. "Forget it. I'm fine. Just don't ever do that to a woman."
"Don't do it to anybody, really."
"Don't fucking start with me right now."
"Aamaal, fuck, I'm sorry!"
Suddenly the bartender is there beside them.
[[Aamaal 10 & Billie 10 & Ramón 9<-Ramón joins Aamaal & Billie.]]Ramón the bartender says, "Everything cool?" with what he hopes is a disarming smile.
Aamaal turns on him, "We can take care of ourselves!"
"We're fine," Billie says, waving him off. "Aamaal we have to talk."
The crowd starts making noise. Ramón looks down towards the stage. The band has come out.
"What, Billie?" Aamaal spits.
The band launches right into its first song. Ramón starts nodding along immediately.
"Yo, dude, excuse us maybe?"
Ramón looks back at Billie, "Oh, sorry," and turns back to the bar.
[[Ramón 10<-Step away with Ramón.]]
[[Aamaal 11 & Billie 11<-Stay with Aamaal & Billie.]]
"Yeah, we're here," Melora says, trying not to laugh. Tiff has the stress of surprise-hiding written all over her face.
"Great," Tiff says, stopping in front of them, blocking them from actually going in.
"Can we go in?" Melora asks. "Sounds like they started already. I hear 'Fishwife,' you know that's my favorite."
Tiff obviously can't think of a good enough reason to keep them from going in.
"Yeah! Yeah, we can go right in!" Tiff and Shawn share a look.
Melora has to push past Tiff before she guffaws at them both. "Great, here we go."
[[Ramón 13 & Aamaal 14 & Tiff 14 & Melora 3 & Shawn 3<-They all go in.]] Ramón steps back toward the bar. He feels a little dumb for butting in, he was just trying to help. They're arguing again, he can't help overhearing. They're talking about someone's mother who's here. For a surprise. He's staring at the empty bar stool. Oh. He turns back to them.
[[Ramón 11 & Billie 12 & Aamaal 12<-Ramón rejoins Aamaal & Billie.]] "Melora's mother is here!" Billie shouts over the music.
"I know. We invited her."
"Are you out of your minds?"
"Billie, this has nothing to do with you."
"Aamaal, does Melora know her mother's gonna be here?"
"No, it's a surprise."
"Do you have any fucking idea what you're doing? Don't you know what happened between them?"
"I knew they were estranged, Shawn thought we should reunite them."
"And you don't know WHY they're estranged? Didn't you stop to think- This is bad, this is so bad."
"Melora's here, she's coming in any minute."
"Where's her mother?"
"I don't know I was gonna find her and-"
The bartender is back.
[[Ramón 11 & Billie 12 & Aamaal 12<-Ramón rejoins Aamaal & Billie.]]
"She just went to the bathroom," Ramón shouts, back beside Aamaal and Billie.
They both look at him.
"Sorry, I overheard, the woman who's been sitting with me at the bar said she's here for a surprise for her daughter. She just went to the bathroom."
"I got this," Billie says starting to walk off. They call back to Aamaal, "We can't let Melora see her!"
"Let me come with you!"
"No, I know her. Keep Melora away from the bathroom!"
[[Billie 13<-Go with Billie.]]
[[Ramón 12 & Aamaal 13<-Stay with Ramón & Aamaal.]]Billie passes the bored human at the merch table who seems like they couldn't care less about the actual show going on.
"Hey, you know the band?" Billie shouts.
The person looks up from their phone. "Yeah?"
"Where's Amber, the guitarist?"
"She ran off with some girl."
Billie was just with Amber last night though, they think, Amber and... "Shit," Billie says, pushing open the bathroom door a little too hard, hitting someone with it on the other side.
[[Billie 14 & Dodge 8 & Raven 9<-Billie joins Capt. Dodge & Raven.]] Aamaal watches Billie go, feeling troubled. Onstage, Panoply of D-struction is slicing and caterwauling their way through one of their best songs. They always start strong.
Ramón raises his voice. "Hey, sorry about before, I didn't mean to butt in, I just wanted to make sure everyone was safe."
Aamaal looks back at Ramón. "It's fine."
"Lot going on here tonight, huh?"
Aamaal doesn't get a chance to respond before Melora comes in with Tiff and Shawn in tow.
[[Ramón 13 & Aamaal 14 & Tiff 14 & Melora 3 & Shawn 3<-Melora, Tiff & Shawn join Aamaal and Ramón.]]Capt. Loretta Dodge, now face to face with a tough-looking crying girl, doesn't quite know what her plan was in engaging and feels more out of her element than ever.
Raven, ready to fight kindness with fists if necessary, looks up at this random old woman and for a frightening second thinks her mom is back, haunting her in The Undertow bathroom because of course.
"You... ok?" is the best that Capt. Dodge can muster.
Though it's not really her style, Raven decides to open up to the mom-faced woman. "My girl ran off with someone. She just... she fucking left me."
Capt. Dodge keeps trying to put words together. "That's... I'm sorry, that's..."
"It's fucking tragic," Raven weeps.
"Ok," Capt. Dodge says, starting a hopefully sympathetic smile as she's hit by the opening bathroom door.
[[Billie 14 & Dodge 8 & Raven 9<-Billie joins Dodge & Raven.]]"Sorry," Billie starts, slipping in behind Capt. Dodge who rubs the wrist the doorknob just hit.
"You just hit her with the fucking door!" Raven shouts from inside her open stall, jumping up.
"It's fine," Capt. Dodge says, seeing that the person who came in is the friend of her daughter's she recognized at the bar before.
"You sure?" Raven asks, coming out, ready to do something.
"Yes, I'm sure, it's ok."
"You should apologize," Raven says to Billie.
"I did!" Billie replies.
"It's ok, really." The Captain puts her hands out.
Billie moves on. "Hi. Mrs. Dodge, right? Do you remember me?"
Capt. Dodge nods. "I think so, yes. You're a friend of Melora's, right?"
Raven stands with them, completing the triangle like she's a natural part of the conversation.
Billie looks to her. "I'm sorry, can we have a minute?"
Raven juts her chin out. "It's a public fucking bathroom."
Billie notices the streaks on Raven's cheeks. She glances back at Capt. Dodge. "Do you two know each other?"
Raven gets closer. "She was trying to fucking help me. Fuck you." Raven pulls the door open and leaves the room.
[[Tiff 16 & Shawn 5 & Raven 10<-Leave with Raven.]]
[[Billie 15 & Dodge 9<-Stay with Billie & Capt. Dodge.]]Melora, Shawn, and Tiff join Aamaal, who's standing with Ramón just inside the space. Panoply continues to wail onstage.
"Hey, Aamaal..." Melora says with a cheek kiss. "Who's your friend?" She looks at Ramón.
"Oh, he's not-" Aamaal says, looking at him.
"I'm the bartender," Ramón replies, smiling.
"I feel like you'll be a good friend to have then," Melora smiles back.
"Yeah, why don't we go get drinks for everyone," Aamaal suggests.
"Yeah, yeah," Tiff says, "Good idea. I'll talk to Shawn."
Shawn just nods.
"What do you want?" Melora asks Shawn.
"Nothing. Or whatever. I probably won't drink much tonight."
"Ok," Melora says, turning to walk with Ramón and Aamaal over to the bar. "I won't ask why," she says for only Aamaal to hear.
[[Ramón 14 & Aamaal 15 & Melora 4<-Go to the bar with Melora, Aamaal & Ramón.]]
[[Tiff 15 & Shawn 4<-Stay with Tiff & Shawn.]]Ramón slides behind the bar again. Melora jumps into place.
"Tequila shot, plus a tequila and tonic." She looks to Aamaal. "Please do a shot with me. You have to." She updates Ramón. "Two shots."
"Plus a tequila and tonic," Ramón says, "Got it."
Aamaal is looking back at Tiff and Shawn who are gesturing and whispering. They're like twins, Aamaal thinks, always have been.
"Look at them freaking out," Melora says, and Aamaal looks back to the bar. "They're like siblings aren't they?"
"I was just thinking that," Aamaal says, taking her shot.
"Excuse me, I was going to toast! Hey, um, what's your name?" she asks Ramón.
"Ramón, I need another tequila shot cuz my friend here jumped the gun. Actually, make it two." Melora takes her shot.
Ramón pours two more shots. "Did you two want limes for these? Salt?"
"Oh please," Melora says. She lifts her second shot. "To our stressed out women and their stressful as fuck surprises."
"Yep." Aamaal and Melora take their second shots. "You can put this all on my tab," Aamaal says.
"It's not my birthday," Melora says.
"It's ok, you still deserve it."
"So what's the surprise?" Ramón asks. Aamaal immediately eyes him.
"Well, I'm not supposed to know," Melora begins dramatically, "But my girl wrote me a song and is gonna join the band for tonight to embarrass the fuck out of me."
Aamaal has been watching Tiff and Shawn again. Now Billie's out of the bathroom talking to them both. "Uh, stay here, I'll be right back."
"Ok," Melora shrugs. "Go make the surprise happen."
Aamaal walks away from the bar.
[[Aamaal 16<-Walk away with Aamaal.]]
[[Ramón 15 & Melora 5<-Stay at the bar with Melora & Ramón.]]
Tiff and Shawn huddle close so they can whisper.
"Is her mom here?" Shawn asks.
"She's supposed to be but we haven't found her."
"We can't let Mel see her until it's time! We have to find her!"
"We have another problem too. Amber's not onstage."
"She's not onstage?" Shawn tries to peer down over the crowd on the stairs that step down to the stage.
"No, there's someone else on lead guitar!"
"But she's the one who was gonna call me up onstage! She said she'd clear it with the rest of the band, I don't even know if they know! The whole plan depends on her!"
"Who's this merch person, maybe they know."
[[Tiff 16 & Shawn 5 & Raven 10<-Go to the merch table with Tiff and Shawn.]]
Billie doesn't waste time. "Mrs. Dodge, you need to go."
"You need to leave. Melora doesn't want to see you."
"Her girlfriend asked me to be here. I thought-"
"Well her girlfriend doesn't understand. It's a surprise that's gonna go real bad."
Capt. Dodge frowns. "I'm a very different person than I was back then. Whenever you two were friends and you met me."
"We were dating, actually, but of course she didn't want to tell you that."
Capt. Dodge involuntarily looks Billie up and down, shakes her head. "Look, I'm here to support her today. To show her I've changed. That I support the wedding."
"The wedding. The proposal. That's why Shauna invited me."
"You didn't know?"
"I'm not actually friends with Melora anymore. I'm just here by accident."
Capt. Dodge rubs her wrist again. "So you don't even know. Maybe she does want to see me. You don't know!"
"I don't have the spoons for this tonight. This is gonna be a flaming disaster. Good luck, Mrs. Dodge."
Billie walks out the door.
[[Billie 16 & Tiff 18 & Shawn 7<-Leave with Billie.]]
[[Dodge 10<-Stay with Dodge.]]Loretta Dodge looks at herself in the shitty warped mirror.
"CAPTAIN Dodge," she mutters.
She should go, she knows that. This probably is a disaster of an idea. She just wants to see Melora again. She's ready to try to make it work.
[[Shawn 8 & Dodge 11<-Shawn enters the bathroom.]] As Tiff and Shawn walk the few steps to the merch table, Raven emerges from the bathroom wiping her eyes and pushes between them.
"Jeez," says Tiff.
[[Raven 11<-Follow Raven.]]
[[Tiff 17 & Shawn 6<-Go to the merch table with Shawn & Tiff.]]"Hey, do you know where Amber is tonight??" Shawn shouts.
The merch person shouts back. "Yeah she ran off with some woman today."
"She ran off???" Shawn starts sweating.
"Yeah, she's not here. That's my sister in her place, though, she's good! She's usually here doing this merch crap. I don't really-"
Shawn turns away from the merch person. "What the fuck are we gonna do?"
Just then Billie comes out of the bathroom.
[[Billie 16 & Tiff 18 & Shawn 7<-Billie joins Tiff & Shawn.]]
Billie steps out of the bathroom and finds themself stopped by Tiff and Shawn standing at the merch table.
Billie launches right in. "You all really fucked this one up, Tiff."
"What??" Tiff shouts, not hearing.
Billie shouts back, "Melora's mom is in the bathroom right now! You shouldn't-"
Shawn runs past Billie into the bathroom.
[[Shawn 8 & Dodge 11<-Follow Shawn.]]
[[Billie 17 & Tiff 19<-Stay with Billie & Tiff.]]Shawn steps in to see Capt. Dodge standing at one of the bathroom sinks.
"Hi," she launches in, "You must be Melora's mom! I'm Shawn."
"You're Shauna?" Dodge asks.
The bathroom door closes behind Shawn who's stepped further into the room. "Yeah... Is that a... problem?"
"No, I'm sorry, I just didn't expect. Sorry. What's going on? That other friend that was in here said Melora doesn't want to see me."
"I don't even know who that was," Shawn begins. "Melora will be surprised, yeah, but I'm sure she'll appreciate you showing up. She's here now, she's over at the bar. We might have to keep you in here til we can get her down close to the stage. My friend in the band it turns out isn't even here, but we're gonna figure it out. I know the other band members, I'm sure we can catch them at some point. We'll have you at the bar or something, and then when I'm onstage I'll call you up. Before I propose. Or maybe after. After she's said yes. Which I'm assuming she'll say yes. God she has to, right?"
Capt. Loretta Dodge just stands there.
"Anyway thanks for coming, is it ok to have you stay in here for a couple minutes? I'll come back or I'll send Tiff in. I guess you haven't met Tiff, but you will."
Capt. Dodge can see the horrible possible outcomes of this whole scheme. "Hey. Hey, stop a second."
"Sorry, yeah, I'm nervous as fuck. Sorry. I swear a lot. We all swear a lot."
"Has Melora ever talked to you about me? About us?"
Shawn does stop. "...No, not really. It was almost impossible to get your number, I had to-"
"I'm suddenly not feeling so great about this idea."
"But. But we're all here already."
"I don't think this is the best way to... get us back together."
Shawn stands stopped.
Capt. Dodge continues, "Maybe I'll leave, you can just tell her I want to see her again, and she can get in touch with me if she wants to. And you two can just enjoy tonight."
Shawn's face breaks a bit. "But we're all here."
"I think it's sweet you wanted to make this happen, but it might be too much. For me, certainly, it might be too much. So for Melora I can only imagine. We haven't spoken in years. And that's my fault. It's all my fault, I know that. But this is not the way. I thought maybe it'd be fine, cuz I thought she must have talked to you. But she hasn't has she? At all."
"Well what is it, what happened?"
Shawn is hit in the ass as the door opens.
[[Aamaal 26 & Shawn 9 & Dodge 12<-Aamaal comes in.]]
"Is that the wannabe bride??" Billie shouts.
"How did you know??" Tiff shouts back.
"You have no idea what you've done bringing her here!" Billie shouts.
"Shawn?" Tiff shouts back.
"Melora's fucking mother you idiot!"
Behind Tiff, Billie sees Aamaal collide with the crying girl from the bathroom.
"Shit, Aamaal just..." Billie just points as they notice Danny also standing there and starting to help the crying girl up.
Tiff runs to Aamaal with Billie close behind.
[[Aamaal 18 & Tiff 20 & Raven 14 & Billie 18 & Danny 11<-Tiff and Billie join Aamaal, Raven, & Danny.]] "I want one more shot since Aamaal is buying," Melora stage whispers.
Ramón laughs and pours it.
"Tell me about you, Ramón." She shoots, hisses. "I didn't know they even had boy bartenders at The Undertow. Sorry, I'm assuming you identify as boy, mostly from the facial hair, but that's still me assuming."
Ramón is looking past her, concerned, to where Aamaal has run into someone and knocked them to the floor.
"Yeah, yeah, I'm in the 'he' pronoun category. Uh, I think your friend had a little collision."
Ramón comes out from behind the bar and leaves Melora.
[[Aamaal 19 & Tiff 21 & Raven 15 & Billie 19 & Danny 12 & Ramón 16<-Go off with Ramón.]]
[[Melora 6<-Stay with Melora.]]
Time to get back to getting the fuck out of here, Raven thinks. But as she's about to pass the top of the stairs down into the seating area, Danny appears.
[[Raven 12 & Danny 9<-Danny appears beside Raven.]] After turning from the bar, Aamaal sees Shawn run past Billie into the bathroom and has a bad feeling something's about to go wrong. She starts to run and collides with Raven who has stepped out of the seating area with Danny behind her.
[[Raven 13 & Danny 10 & Aamaal 17<-Aamaal collides with Raven and Danny.]]"Hey," Danny says.
"What??" Raven shouts back, the band having kicked into its next caterwaul.
"Hey! I got your text, I was coming to find you!"
Raven is touched in spite of herself.
"Come sit with us if you want!" Danny yells, gently leading Raven onto the top step of the seating area.
"Thanks but I gotta get the fuck outta here!"
"I'll walk out with you if you want!"
Raven curses the wetness in her eyes. "Okay!"
As Danny and Raven move to cross the no-one's-land between the seating area and the exit hallway, Aamaal runs smack into Raven from the direction of the bar, knocking her off her feet.
[[Raven 13 & Danny 10 & Aamaal 17<-Aamaal collides with Raven and Danny.]]
"What the fucking shit!" Raven curses as Danny starts to help her up off the floor.
"I'm sorry," Aamaal sputters, "I didn't-"
"Watch the fuck out, bitch!" Raven shouts, immediately embarrassed by her own response.
Suddenly Billie and Tiff are on the scene.
[[Aamaal 18 & Tiff 20 & Raven 14 & Billie 18 & Danny 11<-Billie & Tiff join.]]Tiff gets to Aamaal. "You ok?"
"She fucking knocked me over!" Raven shouts as she struggles against Danny's help.
"You're having a shit night, aren't you," Billie tries to joke as they jump in to help Raven up.
"Fuck off, dyke!" Raven yanks herself away from Billie and stands up on her own.
Ramón appears from the bar.
[[Aamaal 19 & Tiff 21 & Raven 15 & Billie 19 & Danny 12 & Ramón 16<-Now Ramón is here too.]]"Hey, you ok?" Ramón asks Raven as she rights herself in the center of the circle of Tiff, Aamaal, Billie, Danny, and Ramón himself.
"I'm fucking fine!" she yells at Ramon.
"I'm sorry I called you a bitch!" she yells at Aamaal.
"I'm sorry I called you a dyke!" she yells at Billie.
"Nobody fucking touch me," she says to everyone as she starts breaking through the circle.
Everyone realizes the rest of the place has gone quiet. The lead singer screams over the mic, "Hey! Keep it down up there!" before counting back into the song.
Melora joins them as Raven runs out.
[[Raven 16<-Run out with Raven.]]
[[Aamaal 20 & Tiff 22 & Billie 20 & Danny 13 & Ramón 17 & Melora 7<-Stay with the group as Melora joins.]]
Melora chugs about half her tequila and tonic before turning around to look where Ramón went. The music is getting to her already. And/or the tequila. Her head throbs somewhere in the distance. Someone she doesn't know is yelling at the bartender, and Aamaal, and... Is that Billie? Melora chugs the rest of her tonic and moves over to the crowd of her friends new and old as the person who got knocked down goes running out into the hallway.
[[Aamaal 20 & Tiff 22 & Billie 20 & Danny 13 & Ramón 17 & Melora 7<-Melora joins the group.]] Raven stomps down the hallway, her face hot. The box office womyn is on her phone.
"I know you know Starlight. Has she said where she is? I just want to know she's ok."
"Look, I'm sure she's fine," the womyn says, taking stock of the state Raven's in. "Whoever she is."
Raven hears Danny calling from the hallway.
[[Raven 17 & Danny 14<-Danny catches up to Raven.]]
"Friends new and old!" Melora announces with a big grin, looking around at Ramón, Aamaal, Tiff, Danny who she doesn't know, and Billie who she hasn't seen in years. "Hi Billie!"
Danny crosses the circle, following Raven out. "Raven!"
Billie grabs for Danny, "Wait, you know her?"
Danny looks back. "We used to date."
Danny goes off after Raven, calling her name.
[[Raven 17 & Danny 14<-Follow Danny.]]
[[Aamaal 20 & Tiff 23 & Billie 21 & Ramón 18 & Melora 8<-Stay with the group.]]
"Billie, are you just here by accident?" Melora asks, tequila-delighted.
Aamaal says privately to Tiff, "Is Shawn-?"
"In the bathroom, yeah," Tiff answers.
Billie turns on Melora, looks at Aamaal and Tiff. "Melora-"
"Billie, don't-" Aamaal starts.
Ramón looks from one face to another.
"Melora, your mom's in the bathroom."
Tiff gasps audibly. Aamaal frowns. Melora laughs. Then stops laughing. She shouts.
Billie shouts. "Your mom is in the bathroom and your girlfriend is planning to propose to you tonight."
Tiff explodes. "Billie what the FUCK?!"
Melora looks a lot more sober and feels a lot less.
Ramón starts to back away. Someone walks by the group headed for the bar and gives this very serious crew a quick side-eye.
Melora holds it together. "Aamaal. Is my mother here?"
"In the bathroom. With her."
"So the surprise tonight was..."
Melora moves past Billie toward the bathroom. Ramón turns away to attend to the bar. Billie goes off after Danny, and Tiff follows them. Aamaal just stands there.
[[Melora 9<-Follow Melora.]]
[[Ramón 19<-Turn away with Ramón.]]
[[Tiff 24 & Billie 22<-Go with Billie & Tiff.]]
[[Aamaal 21<-Stay with Aamaal.]]"Danny, you don't have to take care of me," Raven says as Danny catches up.
"Hey, it's cool, I'm just checking in, you seem like you're having a rough night."
"Well I am!"
The box office womyn looks down at her phone.
Raven rubs her eyes. "I am. Fuck."
"Do you want to talk about it?"
"Not with you! Talk to my old ex about my new ex, I don't think that's-" Raven starts sobbing again.
"Hey, hey, it's fine, I won't-"
"Fucking Starlight," she talks to the box office womyn as well, "Walked out on me today, SNUCK out on me with some fucking guitarist chick! I caught them leaving the building."
"Oh shit," the box office womyn says.
"Oh no, Amber...," Billie says, remembering something.
"What?" Raven asks.
"We were out with Amber last night."
"The Panoply guitarist?" the box office womyn offers.
"Yeah. And Starlight. Billie knows her. We introduced them. I had no idea, Raven."
Raven just looks away. "I'm out." She goes outside.
[[Raven 18<-Go outside with Raven.]]
[[Danny 15<-Stay with Danny.]]There's no relief outside from the sweaty heat. It might even be worse. Raven pops a gummy in her mouth and wishes she'd brought something more fast-acting or had eaten it when she'd been in line. She checks her phone. It's not even 9 yet. "Waste of money," she says out loud thinking about what she spent to get in on the off chance Starlight had come to work today. She leans against the clammy stone of the building and closes her eyes, practicing the breathing exercises she's supposed to be practicing. She lets time pass.
The Undertow's door opens, and Billie comes out with Danny close behind.
[[Raven 19 & Billie 24 & Danny 17<-Billie & Danny join Raven outside.]] Danny watches Raven go out, then looks at the box office womyn. She shakes her head as she goes back to her phone. "Drama, drama, drama."
Billie and Tiff come up, arguing.
[[Danny 16 & Tiff 25 & Billie 23<-Billie & Tiff join Danny.]] Melora walks up to the door of the bathroom, passing the merch table where someone whose night is going much more simply is playing a game on their phone. The band smashes on through another song. Melora's head throbs.
She stands at the bathroom door, putting it all together. Shawn wanted to propose. She didn't know about Melora's mom, must have thought they'd just lost contact. Melora supposes she should have had that conversation at some point. But even so, this is how Shawn wanted to do this? And Aamaal and Tiff went along with it. And now Melora's reunion with her mother would be four tequilas in, in front of friends and strangers, at the goddamn fucking Undertow. She puts a hand on the door.
"No. No, I don't have to accept this."
She turns from the door and walks back to where Aamaal is standing alone, watching her.
[[Melora 10 & Aamaal 22<-Melora returns to Aamaal.]]Ramón walks back to the bar figuring this is a great time to leave that drama alone and get back to work.
The person at the bar orders and he pours a beer.
"What the fuck's going on with those people?" the orderer asks.
Ramón isn't sure what to say. "Lot of drama," he lets out.
"Seriously." They take their drink and go.
Ramón sees Aamaal standing alone watching Melora who's coming back from the bathroom already. Melora says something close in Aamaal's face, then walks out. Aamaal looks like she's gonna cry.
He feels most sorry for this Aamaal woman. He can't quite follow this whole thing, but she seems at the center of it. And the most upset by it.
She looks over at him watching her. His heart kinda squinches. She's pretty. He waves and tries an understanding smile.
She waves back. She walks over.
[[Ramón 20 & Aamaal 24<-Aamaal walks over.]] Billie keeps moving as Tiff comes after them.
"Why the fuck would you do that, Billie?!"
"You all have no fucking idea what you're doing."
"Why would you do that?!"
They come upon Danny standing by the box office.
[[Danny 16 & Tiff 25 & Billie 23<-Billie & Tiff join Danny.]]Aamaal stands in the middle of the no-one's-land between the door to the hallway and the steps down into the seating area, between the bar off on one side and the merch table and bathroom off on the other. She watches Melora at the bathroom door, deliberating.
"Why did I let this happen?" she asks herself aloud as the band riffs on. Of course this was a bad idea. Dangerous. Insensitive. Ignorant. Aamaal can see the end of Melora and Shawn here. Shawn really thought this was a good idea. Melora can't be with a person that oblivious. She can see the end of her and Melora's friendship here, too. If anyone should have thought this through, at all, it should have been the best friend, Aamaal herself.
Melora is walking back, having decided not to go into the bathroom at all. She's walking right back to her.
[[Melora 10 & Aamaal 22<-Melora returns to Aamaal.]] "Who thought this was a good idea?" Billie asks, stopping next to Danny and turning on Tiff.
"We all did! We've been planning this whole surprise for MONTHS!" Tiff trembles.
"Melora's mom was a hurtful fucker. You don't SURPRISE someone with a visit from their fucking abuser."
"Abuser??" Tiff honestly doesn't know.
Billie breathes. Danny makes contact with Billie, holds their back.
"Yes, Tiff. They didn't just fall out of touch. I know I haven't seen Melora in years, but I really can't imagine she'd be ok with this."
"So you just blurt it out!"
"Because she needs to know! I'm done. Can we go, Danny?"
"Yeah, of course," Danny says.
"I think it was totally shitty of you!" Tiff says, still wanting to fight. Billie's already leaving.
"I think we're done," Danny says to Tiff.
[[Raven 19 & Billie 24 & Danny 17<-Go outside with Billie & Danny.]]
[[Tiff 26<-Stay with Tiff.]]"Oh god it's disgusting out here," Billie moans, then notices Raven leaning against the building beside the door. "Oh. Hi again."
"Doing ok?" Danny asks Raven.
Raven exhales very slowly. "Fine."
"Let's get a cab," Billie says to Danny, and Danny takes out his phone.
Danny's thumb swipes as Raven and Billie look off into the sticky night. The building quiets as a song ends and someone starts talking into the mic inside.
"Two minutes," Danny says. Billie nods, and Danny looks to Raven wondering if they should be offering her a ride.
The door opens again and Melora walks out with tears on her face.
[[Raven 20 & Billie 25 & Danny 18 & Melora 13<-Melora joins them outside.]]The box office womyn, still at her table, still looking at her phone, says to Tiff and to no one, "Too much drama drama."
Tiff turns to walk back inside.
[[Tiff 27 & Melora 12<-Tiff walks back down the hallway.]]
Melora gets close enough that she won't have to shout. "I know I haven't opened up much about my mom, even to you, but I would have hoped that alone would have given you enough of a clue to not let this happen. Not in this way. I'm going home, I don't feel safe here right now."
Aamaal just nods. Of course.
Melora walks out of the space.
[[Melora 11<-Walk out with Melora.]]
[[Aamaal 23<-Stay with Aamaal.]]The tears start as she fights back against the voice in her head that wants her to believe this is all her fault for not telling Shawn sooner, for never telling Aamaal, that she's only reaping the trouble she's sown for herself for, as usual, not wanting to talk about the tough stuff.
But that's bullshit.
"Bullshit," she reaffirms.
[[Tiff 27 & Melora 12<-She runs into Tiff.]] Aamaal feels tears coming. She feels the two tequila shots, too.
Onstage, the Panoply lead singer is introducing the new guitarist. "We're real fuckin' lucky to have her tonight!" The crowd hoots their agreement.
Aamaal looks over at the bar. Ramón is watching her. He waves. She waves back. She walks over to him.
[[Ramón 20 & Aamaal 24<-Aamaal walks over to Ramón.]]"Can I get you anything?" Ramón asks. "On the house."
"No. Don't let me drink anything else," Aamaal says.
"I am not gonna ask what's going on, but feel free to talk if you need to."
"It's just... all-" She realizes something. "Oh fuck, she doesn't even know."
Aamaal turns and walks away.
[[Aamaal 25<-Follow Aamaal.]]
[[Ramón 21<-Stay with Ramón.]]Panoply doesn't talk much during shows, but they're talking now, plugging an upcoming gig or something. Aamaal tries to fight the voice in her head that says over and over this is all her fault, she's the one who should have stopped it. Tiff and Shawn get in a mode and can't check each other. It was Aamaal's job to follow the logic of it all and she hadn't. She was the cop on duty and she had let herself turn a blind eye. She won't think about why that was (maybe things haven't been as awesome with Tiff lately so she hadn't wanted to start anything by expressing reservations but let's not even go there right now), but she can't silence the voice. This was all her fault.
[[Aamaal 26 & Shawn 9 & Dodge 12<-Aamaal goes into the bathroom.]]Ramón watches Aamaal cross to the bathroom and go in.
The next second Tiff comes from the hallway and looks around, seeing no one. She looks to Ramón and he points across to the bathroom, since that's where it seems everyone involved that hasn't run out of The Undertow is right now.
He watches Tiff follow Aamaal into the bathroom.
Onstage, the band has been plugging an upcoming gig, and several people are taking the opportunity to approach the bar. Ramón gets back to work. Lots of whiskey refills. The band gets back to work too.
The mini-rush clears.
[[Ramón 22 & Dodge 16<-Capt. Dodge returns to the bar.]]Melora is suddenly in front of Tiff. But she barely slows down as she moves past her.
"Melora, I can't believe Billie did that, I'm sorry-" Tiff attempts.
"Billie's the only one who had my back in there," Melora calls back.
Melora passes the box office womyn. "Hope you have a better night than me!" she says as she walks out the door.
[[Raven 20 & Billie 25 & Danny 18 & Melora 13<-Walk out with Melora.]]
[[Tiff 28<-Walk back in with Tiff.]]Melora joins Billie, Danny, and Raven who are standing around on the sidewalk.
"Melora!" Billie says.
"It's disgusting out here," Melora says.
"Are you ok?" Billie asks.
"Let's just... not get into it."
Raven eyes Melora up and down. "I'm having a rough one, too," she offers.
Melora glances at her. "Yeah, tonight... sucks."
A car pulls up. Danny waves a hand at the driver. "This is us, hun," he says to Billie.
"We're getting the fuck out of here, Melora," Billie says, "You want a ride somewhere?"
"I should... I don't know, no, I'm gonna walk for a bit," Melora shakes her head.
"Ok. Do you need me to stay? So someone's here with you in case..."
"No, no, I'm getting out of here," Melora nods her head.
Raven speaks up, "I don't know what's going on, but I got her back if shit goes down."
Danny's holding the car door open. "Oh. Yeah, Billie, Raven, Raven, Billie."
"Sure, yeah, we're doing that now," Billie says, "Melora, Danny, and Melora, I guess, Raven." Nods all around. A pause. "Good luck, Melora."
"Yeah, thanks, Billie. Good night."
"Raven, you good?" Danny asks.
Raven's still staring at Melora. "Yeah, I'm good."
Billie and Danny get into the cab.
[[Billie 26 & Danny 19<-Leave The Undertow with Billie & Danny.]]
[[Raven 21 & Melora 14<-Stay on the sidewalk with Raven & Melora.]]Tiff walks back into the space looking for Aamaal and Shawn. Shawn can still run out and catch Melora. They can still salvage this, she's sure. She's furious with Billie.
There's no one left in the no-one's-land just inside. Tiff looks over at the bartender and he points across to the bathroom. Helpful.
[[Aamaal 27 & Tiff 29 & Shawn 10 & Dodge 13<-Tiff joins the others in the bathroom.]] Aamaal looks from Shawn to Capt. Loretta Dodge, Melora's mom, the apparent monster-of-some-kind, this stout, put-together woman. She'd been in the Army or something, that was all Aamaal ever knew about her.
"Ow, you hit me right in the ass with the doorknob," Shawn whines.
"Melora's gone," Aamaal says. Capt. Dodge notes the tears in her eyes.
"Wait what?" Shawn cries.
[[Aamaal 27 & Tiff 29 & Shawn 10 & Dodge 13<-Tiff appears behind Aamaal.]]Tiff shouts over Aamaal's shoulder. "Melora's outside, you can still catch her!"
Shawn feels lost. "What the fuck happened?"
"Billie told her everything!" Tiff trembles.
"Who the fuck is Billie??" Shawn runs from the bathroom leaving Capt. Dodge with Aamaal and Tiff.
[[Shawn 11<-Run with Shawn.]]
[[Aamaal 28 & Tiff 30 & Dodge 14<-Stay here with the others.]]Shawn runs around the merch table and into the hallway, feet slipping, heart pounding. Melora found out, and she IS furious. She hates surprises, why did I do this, Shawn thinks.
[[Raven 22 & Melora 15 & Shawn 12<-Shawn goes outside.]] Capt. Loretta Dodge stands by the bathroom sink looking down. Tiff and Aamaal stand in the doorway with the door still open. Panoply of D-struction finishes plugging their next gig and slides into a rare electric ballad.
Aamaal keeps an eye on Capt. Dodge. Tiff can't take the wordlessness another second and steps forward.
"I'm Tiff! You're Melora's mother?" She extends a hand.
Aamaal steps into the room and lets the door close. As soon as it does, it opens again, hitting Aamaal in the hip. Three new people come in and stop, eyeing the assembly blocking the way.
"Oh we're not waiting, go ahead," Aamaal mutters as the three people squeeze past everyone into stalls.
Tiff's hand has fallen back to her side unshaken.
"Melora left?" Capt. Dodge asks.
"She went outside," Tiff says, "But we can get her back. We can still make this happen, don't worry."
"Tiff," Aamaal begins, "I don't think-"
"Yeah," Capt. Dodge adds in, "I don't think... I think it's done."
One of the people comes back out of a stall. "Did one of you leave a beer in there? There's a full beer in there." They can't get to the sink, so they just leave.
"Oh, I never paid for my beer," Capt. Dodge says, and starts to walk out.
"Wait!" Tiff calls, "When Melora comes back in, she'll see you! We can still do the surprise!"
Aamaal puts a hand on Tiff to stop her.
[[Dodge 15<-Follow Capt. Dodge out of the bathroom.]]
[[Aamaal 29 & Tiff 31<-Stay with Aamaal & Tiff.]]As the car pulls away from the curb, Danny finds Billie's hand.
"You think our exes are about to hook up?" he asks.
"Yes, I think they are," Billie responds.
"I get the feeling that's... That's not gonna go well."
"Not at all." Billie slides over closer. "Sorry I made you leave."
"No, I defintiely get the feeling it's better we got outta there. Plus, you know I'm always with you. Whatever you need."
Billie looks into Danny's face. "I know."
They kiss as the cab takes a corner and The Undertow disappears behind them.
-PANOPLY OF D-STRUCTION AT THE UNDERTOW-
by mark william lindberg
[[Entrance<-SHOW HAND STAMP FOR RE-ENTRY.]] Raven, eyeing Melora still, pushes off of the wall she'd been leaning against.
"Melora, right? Sweet name. Hey, you wanna get out of here?"
Melora looks at Raven as The Undertow's door opens and Shawn comes running out.
[[Raven 22 & Melora 15 & Shawn 12<-Shawn joins them on the sidewalk.]]Capt. Dodge shakes her head as she walks from the bathroom to the bar, feeling for her wallet. As the pounding ballad of the band pokes at her, she bumps into a person bringing a couple drinks back from the bar. "Sorry." She looks into the person's face. The way they look back makes her see herself. Out of place, surprising in this environment, aberrant, queer, old, adult. The person with the drinks moves on. She fishes a bill out of her wallet as she approaches the bar.
[[Ramón 22 & Dodge 16<-Capt. Dodge returns to Ramón at the bar.]] "Tiff, it's done," Aamaal says.
"I don't understand what's happening right now," Tiff replies.
Both other people come out of their stalls and take turns at the sink.
"We fucked up," Aamaal says. "We never should have done this."
"Why are you saying that all of a sudden?"
"I should have thought, I shouldn't have let you two get so carried away."
They're alone again.
"Yes, Tiff," Aamaal starts in, "You and Shawn put this whole thing together without even thinking about whether Melora would want this! You didn't even think about it!"
"Why didn't you say something?!"
"Because I didn't think about it either. It was me too, I know!"
"How were we supposed to know?"
"Shawn knows Melora doesn't want to get married! This whole thing was, like, set up to make it impossible for her to say no! It's like fucking coercion!"
"It is! She's not gonna marry Shawn, especially not now. I don't know if she'll speak to either of us again either."
"She's that mad?"
"I gotta try to catch Shawn."
"Yes fine, walk away from me again," Aamaal puts both hands on the sink.
"What??" Tiff turns back.
Aamaal is dizzy. "Forget it, forget it."
[[Tiff 32<-Leave the bathroom with Tiff.]]
[[Aamaal 30<-Stay with Aamaal.]]Shawn bursts out onto the sidewalk where Melora is standing with Raven.
"Melora," Shawn starts.
"Shawn, I can't right now," Melora replies.
"I don't understand."
"No, I know you don't. I can't be here right now, so I have to leave."
"Melora," Shawn starts again, then notices Raven standing like she's part of this. "Are you Billie?"
"Billie's gone," Raven says.
"Then could you give us some space please?"
Raven smirks, "You must be the one who fucked everything up."
Shawn gets even redder.
"I'm walking home, Shawn, alone-" Melora says.
"You're WALKING??" Shawn shouts.
"And I gotta go before she comes out here. This was... this was not a good idea."
"Can we talk about it??"
"Of course, but not now. I gotta go." Melora starts to walk away.
"Rough," Raven says, looking at Shawn.
"Who the fuck are you?" Shawn says.
Raven shows her teeth and follows Melora down the sidewalk.
[[Raven 23 & Melora 16<-Leave The Undertow with Melora & Raven.]]
[[Shawn 13<-Stay on the sidewalk with Shawn.]]"Hey, wait up," Raven says falling into step with Melora.
As The Undertow starts to shrink behind them, Melora hears Shawn calling for her. She doesn't look back.
"What the fuck went on in there?" Raven asks.
"I really don't want to get into it."
"That's ok." Raven produces a dark gummy. "You want one?"
Melora looks at it, then up at Raven. "I'm going home. Alone."
"Fine. You can still have it if you want it."
"...Thanks." Melora takes it and eats it.
They reach the corner.
"I'm gonna go alone from here," Melora says.
"You sure?" Raven offers.
"I could make you feel better."
"Nothing against you, but no, you couldn't."
Raven's face hardens back up. "Ok."
"Tonight was such bullshit."
"Yeah it fuckin' was."
Melora walks off in one direction. After a moment, Raven walks off in another. The Undertow soon vanishes amongst the other shitty architecture behind them both.
-PANOPLY OF D-STRUCTION AT THE UNDERTOW-
by mark william lindberg
[[Entrance<-SHOW HANDSTAMP FOR RE-ENTRY.]] Shawn watches Melora walk away, fighting every instinct to chase her.
"Melora?" she calls after her. "Melora!" Melora doesn't turn back.
"I was wondering if you wanted to marry me..." she says to herself.
The thick air is making her sweat. Or it's the humiliation. How did this all go so wrong? What was the big deal? She starts feeling angry, at herself, at Tiff and Aamaal for letting her go through with this, at no one and everything.
She pulls open The Undertow's door.
[[Dodge 18 & Shawn 14<-Shawn goes back in.]] Capt. Loretta Dodge puts a 20 on the bar. "I never paid for my beer."
"Sure thing," Ramón says.
"Keep the change."
"The beer's only $3."
"It's fine." Capt. Dodge offers her hand.
Ramón shakes it.
"Take care," she says.
"You too," Ramón replies.
He watches as she walks out to the hallway, guessing the surprise did not go as planned.
[[Dodge 17<-Follow Capt. Dodge.]]
[[Ramón 23<-Stay with Ramón.]]Capt. Loretta Dodge approaches the front door and box office table, but stops before exiting. Melora could still be outside, and she doesn't want to force a meeting.
The box office womyn looks up from her phone. "Hey, you find your daughter ok?"
Capt. Dodge looks at her. "No. No, I didn't."
The door opens and Capt. Dodge's stomach twists, but it's Shawn again, looking defeated.
[[Dodge 18 & Shawn 14<-Shawn joins Capt. Dodge.]]Ramón checks his phone and he has another message from Starlight.
He glances up to see Tiff disappearing out of the space.
"Yeah and it's a mess here tonight. Wtf did u do to her?"
He waits but gets no reply.
[[Ramón 24 & Aamaal 31<-Aamaal comes to the bar.]]Tiff tries not to think too hard about how angry Aamaal is. She also seemed drunk, but when did she have time to drink that much?
Tiff finds Shawn shouting at Melora's mother in the hallway by the box office table.
[[Tiff 33 & Dodge 19 & Shawn 15<-Tiff joins Shawn & Capt. Dodge.]] "What a mess," Aamaal says into the sink. The bathroom door opens and someone goes right into a stall. Aamaal turns and walks into a stall as well, shutting the door and sitting on the toilet. On the back of it rests a full bottle of beer. She sniffs it, tastes it, then chugs it, then belches, then laughs, then starts weeping.
"I gotta, I gotta get out of here."
She gets herself to standing, and leaves the stall and the bathroom. She crosses to the bar.
[[Ramón 24 & Aamaal 31<-Aamaal joins Ramón.]] Shawn and Capt. Dodge find themselves back together.
"Is she outside?" Capt. Dodge asks.
"No, she's gone, she's walking home!" Shawn shouts, angry. "What did you do to her?!"
[[Tiff 33 & Dodge 19 & Shawn 15<-Tiff comes running up.]]"Hey, Shawn, it's ok!" Tiff jumps in.
"I'm gonna, I'm gonna go," Capt. Dodge says, pushing past Shawn to the door.
Shawn is mad. "Seriously, what the fuck did you do to her?"
The box office womyn mutters, "Wow y'all are having a NIGHT."
Tiff holds Shawn back as Capt. Loretta Dodge leaves The Undertow.
[[Dodge 20<-Leave The Undertow with Capt. Dodge.]]
[[Tiff 34 & Shawn 16<-Stay back with Tiff & Shawn.]]"You have my credit card!" Aamaal shouts.
Ramón puts his phone in his pocket. "You leaving?"
"Yes! As quickly as possible!"
Ramón runs Aamaal's card, and waits for the receipt to print. "Are you ok?" he asks.
"I got drunk somehow! I don't drink a lot."
"How are all your friends?" He puts the receipt down with a pen.
Aamaal scratches out a signature. "I gotta go find out."
He hands her the card. "Have a good-" She's already walking away.
[[Aamaal 32<-Walk away with Aamaal.]]
[[Ramón 25<-Stay with Ramón for the rest of the night.]]Aamaal has her phone out already and is calling for a car. Just two minutes away. "Thank you," she mutters.
[[Aamaal 33 & Tiff 35 & Shawn 17<-She joins Tiff & Shawn by the box office table.]] Ramón never hears back from Starlight. He makes shit for tips the rest of the night, but the band is actually pretty good so he doesn't mind the music. He's left with Billie's credit card when he closes up, though he can't remember which face went with the name. They'll be back for it, he's sure.
"Were you following that whole drama club contingent?" the box office womyn asks as they're leaving later.
"Who? Oh, yeah a little I think."
"One of them was Starlight's ex! Starlight who isn't here because she ran off with the guitarist from tonight's band who it turns out these other people were expecting to be here for something, I think something to do with that older womyn who was here to surprise her daughter or some shit. Drama."
"Wow," is all Ramón can say.
"You get through the night ok?"
"Yeah, not my most lucrative, but the band was good."
"I don't know what Starlight's gonna do, but unfortunately you're on call again if she flakes on us."
"Yeah, no problem."
As Ramón walks away from The Undertow, he puts the night's drama, however peripheral he was to it, behind him. All he can think about is a big plate of cheese fries from the diner by his apartment. He's had better nights, he's had worse.
-PANOPLY OF D-STRUCTION AT THE UNDERTOW-
by mark william lindberg
[[Entrance<-SHOW HAND STAMP FOR RE-ENTRY.]] Army Captain Loretta Dodge walks away from The Undertow towards the bus station. She feels shaken and anxious. For all the possible things she expected could have happened tonight, nothing at all was not on the list. Melora might never have even been there as far as she knew. It had been a big risk to come, it was certainly out of her comfort zone, but she accepted the invitation because she wanted to do something to start making things right. She genuinely does want that. But she's not sure now things can ever be made right. And maybe she'll have to live with that. She turns back just in case (in case what, she's not sure), but she can't even see the front of The Undertow anymore.
-PANOPLY OF D-STRUCTION AT THE UNDERTOW-
by mark william lindberg
[[Entrance<-SHOW HAND STAMP FOR RE-ENTRY.]]
Shawn turns on Tiff. "Why didn't you stop me?! Melora is gone!"
"We had no idea!" Tiff says.
The box office womyn stands. "Can you two calm down, or should I help you outside?"
"We're ok," Tiff says to her.
"We're not ok," Shawn says, "What the fuck happened tonight?"
[[Aamaal 33 & Tiff 35 & Shawn 17<-Aamaal joins them.]]Aamaal holds her phone up to Tiff and Shawn. "There's a car coming in a minute, we should all get in it."
"I need a drink," Shawn says, and starts back into the space.
Tiff goes after her, "Let's just go-"
Aamaal calls after them, "I'll be outside with the car, be quick!"
[[Tiff 36 & Shawn 18<-Follow Tiff & Shawn.]]
[[Aamaal 34<-Go outside with Aamaal.]]Tiff catches Shawn before she makes it back inside. "Shawn. Come back with us, we can have a drink at our place."
Shawn turns back, a tear falls down her face. "Did I fuck it up? Did I fuck it all up?"
Tiff pulls her in. "No, no, we can fix this. We got you. Let's get out of here, though."
Onstage, Panoply is smashing and wailing through "Nothing Ever Happens."
Tiff and Shawn mutter along as they head outside.
"You told me to be patient/You told me we'd make good/But nothing ever happens/To fix your shit ass mood..."
They join Aamaal outside.
[[Aamaal 35 & Tiff 37 & Shawn 19<-Leave The Undertow with Aamaal, Tiff, & Shawn.]]"Wow it's gross out here," Aamaal says out loud. She can hear the band playing on inside. "Oh yeah, the band." She bends over and spits up a little. "Okay." The car pulls up. Tiff and Shawn come outside.
[[Aamaal 35 & Tiff 37 & Shawn 19<-Leave The Undertow with Aamaal, Tiff & Shawn.]] The three of them get into the car at the curb.
"I feel like I just got here," Shawn says.
"I do too," Tiff says.
"Sorry, Panoply," Aamaal says.
No one speaks as the cab pulls away, Shawn sits between Aamaal and Tiff.
As The Undertow disappears out the back window, Tiff tries to catch Aamaal's eye. Aamaal looks down and focuses on not throwing up. Shawn scans the sidewalk up ahead, ready to leap out of the cab if she sees Melora walking.
"We fucked up," Aamaal says, then starts to puke.
-PANOPLY OF D-STRUCTION AT THE UNDERTOW-
by mark william lindberg
[[Entrance<-SHOW HAND STAMP FOR RE-ENTRY.]]