A Man Out Of Time
part ONE: Just A Thought
"To murder, my love, is a crime
But will you still love
A man out of time?"
"Noodle!" Russel called from outside her room, "You ready yet? We gotta go, or we'll be late!"
The Japanese girl in question looked away from the mirror in her bathroom a moment to shout a "Hai!" at the closed door, then turned her attention back to the mirror. Carfully, she took the small eyeshadow brush, shut her eye, and expertly swiped it across her eyelid. She shut the other and did the same.
Russel knocked on the door again, sounding impatient. "Noodle, we have to leave right now!"
She shut the small case and grasped a small tube of lip gloss. "In a minute, Russel-san!"
In the corridor, Russel sighed and ran his fingers over his bald head, visably annoyed. 2D, dressed in a green t-shirt and dark jeans, was sitting on the floor next to the drummer, absentmindedly playing with his switchblade. Russel looked down the hallway, then stared down at the blue-haired man. "All right, where's Murdoc? We have a concert in twenty minutes."
2D shrugged. "He's still in his 'Bago, I think."
Russel made a noise that sounded like he was ready to explode.
2D hesitantly knocked on the door to Murdoc's Winnebago. The door swung open, revealing a large mound of dirty clothes piled in front of the entrance. Murdoc stood in front of an open closet, peering at the singer over his shoulder. "Whaddya want, dullard?"
"Russel's gettin' antsy." 2D said, the pile of clothes blocking most of his view of Murdoc. "He wants to know if you're ready yet."
"I'm lookin' for my concert jacket. I wear it to every shitty little gig I go to." Murdoc replied, rapidly emptying his closet. "How come I can't fucking find it?!"
2D sidestepped a pair of discolored orange briefs that had overshot the pile and landed on the concrete floor of the Carpark. " …'Home of the Whopper'?" He asked, reading the letters printed on the backside of the underpants. "Murdoc, do you ever throw anything out?"
Murdoc, not listening, tossed more clothing out of his closet. "GODDAMMIT. I've had that jacket for over two decades! Where the hell is it?!" he screamed.
The lift in the carpark dinged, and the doors opened.
"Russel-san, please! I'm not chilly!" Noodle said, carrying her instrument bag. Dressed in a sleeveless purple top with a plunging neckline and a short white skirt, it was obvious to see why Russel was trying to get her to wear something over it.
"Oh, c'mon Noodle. I-I'd feel a lot better if you wore this tonight." Russel said, holding up a long matronly black sweater.
Rolling her eyes, Noodle took the sweater out of his hands and put it on, leaving it unbuttoned as she stormed over to the Geep in adolescent rage.
The drummer sighed, realizing his plot had backfired. Well, his little baby girl was a teenager now. This was to be expected. But the first guy to ogle Noodle tonight would find himself with a snare drum shoved down his throat, along with the floor-tom and cymbals. "2D! Murdoc!" He called. "We're leaving now!"
The grubby clothing came pouring out of the Winnebago at an even more frantic rate then before. "Fuck-fuck-fuck-fuck-fuck-fuck-fuck-fuck-fuck."
In the end, Murdoc, who still hadn't found his concert jacket, was forcibly dragged out of his Winnebago by the much larger drummer and shoved into the rumble seat of the Geep, along with a silently fuming Noodle.
It was a quiet drive. Noodle spent the ride over staring at the buildings flashing past. She hated how Russel refused to treat her like an adult. In a way, she could almost understand why: he was the closest thing she'd had to a father figure, and she'd probably always be his baby girl, even in her thirties, but sometimes she just wanted to be able to act and yes, dress the way normal sixteen-year-old girls did.
Why was it so difficult for him to accept that she was growing up?
"Club Evermore." Murdoc announced as the club came into view, interrupting her thoughts. "Home to such greats as the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, the Sex Pistols, Elvis Costello, and The Clash back in the day. And now Gorillaz."
"What day?" 2D asked from the front seat.
"Yeah, and we're only arriving twenty minutes after the show was supposed to start." Russel said. "We'll be lucky if they don't tear us to shreds."
After parking the Geep, (and Noodle 'accidentally' leaving the long sweater in its backseat), the three men climbed the stairs to the performer's entrance, Noodle sullenly behind them.
Noodle's head snapped up. She hung back on the landing, right outside the entrance leading into Club Evermore. The others, in a pre-concert euphoria, didn't notice. The door swung shut behind Russel.
Noodle stared at the brick wall next to the metal staircase leading to the performer's door. She heard another grunt come from the other side, then a shout, and the sound of flesh slamming against flesh.
The Japanese girl / super solider quickly sprinted back down the steps, her guitar case swinging wildly from her back. Silently, she rounded the corner of the narrow alley.
Three teenage boys were crowded around a fourth. One was restraining the unlucky victim's arms behind his back so he couldn't fight back as the other two smiled mischievously, punching and kicking him in the face and stomach. The boy getting beaten up, dressed in a dark-red leather jacket, sputtered out an insult, which wiped the smiles off the faces of the others almost instantly.
One of them, the oldest one, reached into his ripped denim jacket and pulled out a flick-knife. The blade flashed from the light of a streetlamp nearby.
Noodle's stomach lurched as she realized what he meant to do. Setting the guitar case down, she launched herself at the three boys. Before they'd had time to react to her presence, she'd knocked the blade out of the oldest teen's hands with a well-placed jab and done a powerful roundhouse kick to his chest, slamming him into the brick wall. He slumped over, unconscious.
She turned to the other two teenagers, her face a mask of skilled viciousness. The one holding the teenager in the red-leather jacket suddenly released him, and both of the attackers ran past her, out of the alley and into the summer night.
The teen fell to his knees and groaned. "Ohh Jesus, that hurts."
Noodle bent over him, concerned. "Are you all right?"
He waved her off. "Yeah, yeah. I'll be fine." Pushing himself up into a sitting position, he ran a hand across his face, and seemed unsurprised at the blood on his fingertips. "Got a tissue?" He turned to look at her.
Noodle found herself staring into two mismatched eyes: one red, the other dark black.
In a small voice, she replied, "Gomen nasi, but I don't have a tissue."
He shrugged, wiping at the blood with his hand. "Oh well." He looked at the assailant Noodle had KO'd, who still out cold. "That's pretty fuckin' impressive, y'know that? That lug intimidates everyone he meets. Never thought a crazy kung-fu girl would be able to take 'im down so quick."
"Thank you, but it was nothing." She turned away from him and quickly walked to where she'd left her guitar. 'I'm going insane. I must be. In a moment, I will look back and he won't be there.'
"Hey! Wait a minute, will ya?" The boy called, rising to his feet. "Where you runnin' off to?" He looked her up and down in the streetlamp's light, and grinned, apparently liking what he saw.
"I-I have a gig." Noodle said, picking up the instrument case. "At that club." She gestured towards Club Evermore's sign. "I have to go or Russel will be mad at me."
The boy stood stunned for a moment, then started to laugh. "Girlie, last time I checked, The Clash didn't have any female members."
"The Clash." She repeated stiffly. 'Didn't they disband in 1986?'
"Yeah. They're playing here tonight. I was gonna go see 'em before my skinhead brother Hannibal and his pals decided to steal my ticket, and then decided to beat me up for the hell of it, the bastards."
Hannibal was the name of Murdoc's older brother, currently in jail for stealing hubcaps off of parked cars. "Oh." Noodle said, backpedaling away from him. This was just too weird for her to comprehend."I'm sorry, but I really have to go right now."
The teenaged Murdoc grabbed her wrist. "Hey, 'fore you dash off…"
Noodle looked up at him. "Yes?" She squeaked, pulling her hand free.
He grinned slyly again, the blood still running down a small cut on his temple, then gently kissed her on the forehead. "Thank you."
Noodle felt her cheeks flush red.
Taking off the dark-red leather jacket, Murdoc placed it around Noodle's shoulders. "Better take this. Looks a little cold tonight."
She fingered the fabric. Up close, she recognized it as Murdoc's concert jacket, the one he'd been unable to find today, without the wear and tear of twenty-five years in Murdoc's possession. "Won't you need it?"
He gave her a pointed-toothed half smile. "Someday. When I have the world's greatest band. But not now, though." The grin widened. "I'm sure we'll meet again before that, anyway. You can give it back to me then."
She put her arms through the sleeves, and grabbed her guitar. "It's a promise." Noodle said, running up the stairs to the performer's entrance of Club Evermore.
"You bet, girlie." Murdoc called from the bottom of the stairs.
Noodle found her way backstage, finding her bandmates in a small panic at her sudden disappearance and the irritated cries of the crowd on the other side of the curtain, impatient for the show to start.
"Where were you?" Russel asked from behind his drum kit as Noodle plugged her guitar into the amp and strummed a chord. His eyes bugged out when he noticed the dark-red leather jacket she was wearing. "Where did you get that?"
"A friend gave it to me." Noodle said. "He lent it to me, actually." She threw her arms around Murdoc's neck and drew him into a hug. "Isn't that right, Murdoc-san?"
"Gluck." said the unsuspecting bassist.
END: part ONE
MarqueeMoonGirl SEZ: I believe this is the oddest little story I've ever written. Lemme know what you guys think, because I'm curious.
'Home of the Whopper' was a slogan of Burger King from the 1960s to the 1970s. And yes, 'Home of the Whopper' briefs do, in fact, exist. This was intended as a small nod to Tom Servo on the TV show 'Mysterey Science Theater 3000', who had one pair in his underwear collection, along with a vintage Joe Namath netted slingshot brief (prototype).
Club Evermore is my own creation; its name is a reference to the Led Zeppelin song 'The Battle of Evermore'. Just be glad I didn't name it 'Misty Mountain Hop Cafe'.
The title of the story and the song lyrics are from Elvis Costello's 'Man Out Of Time', while the chapter title is a song from Gnarls Barkley's 'St. Elsewhere' album