CHAPTER 1: THE BREAK UP
Bits of old, half-minute videotape was all he had remaining of his old, long forgotten life. He turned the camera on, pressed play, and laid back in his dingy, cheap motel bed. His emerald eyes were alight with tears from having to see all of those happy memories. At least they could be together again for now. Pickles felt himself about to sob as he watched the screen of the camera. It was a kid no older than twenty-one, with caramel-colored, long hair and eyes as pale as the mist; the kid looked over to the video camera, ignoring the steady madness of the carnival that was taking place behind him. "Looks, Pickle," he exclaimed, grinning broadly into the camera. "looks what I wons!"
There was a slight pause before a voice, one with a distinctly Wisconsin flair to it, replied, shaking the video camera unintentionally, "Great jab; can we go home now? I hate the fair."
"But Pickle, we—" the screen was overtaken by static and the voice of Toki became distorted and repeated, "But Pickle, we ams having fun? Don't you like fun?"
The drummer's voice replied to the guitarist, "Nat this kinda fun…" and there was more static on the screen and then the camera picked up filming at another location, at another time completely. Now the whole band was gathered in a circle backstage at a concert, making an impassable barrier between their musical genius and the rest of the world.
Now Pickles wasn't holding the camera, it was Toki. He shakily pointed it at Skwisgaar and prodded, "Ams you nervous?" The Swede put some of his long, blond hair behind his ears and sneered down at his Norwegian companion.
"Nos way, now turns that stupid camera offs before I—"
"Whats about you, Pickle?" Toki inquired as the camera brought the drummer into view. "Ams you nervous? There ams a lot of people back there."
The redhead shrugged nonchalantly and drank some from the bottle he was holding. "Nah, nat one bit."
"Nathans ams you—"
"Toki, put the damn camera away!" the singer growled, reaching out to get it. Toki backed away and the screen was over taken by static for another moment before becoming clear again. Now Murderface was in view for a moment.
He glared at Toki and lisped in his usual manner, "I didn't wanna get him the shtupid camera, but you guysh had to get it for him anyway, and now he won't shtop!"
"What about you, dude?" Pickles cut in, taking the camera from Toki and aiming it at the Norwegian.
He was half drunk, so the picture was unsteady and dizzying as the guitarist bit his lower lip and announced bravely, "Nopes, I ams not nervous."
"Nat even a little bit?"
He shook his head and insisted, "Nots even a littles."
The scene disappeared in waves of new, fresh static appeared. In a moment the camera was shut off and thrown onto the floor of a dingy room. Pickles let his eyes close and slowly he covered his face with his hands. The hotel he was staying in was a more than run-down, it was a complete wreck. The camera was now laying amongst numerous cheap beer cans and empty bags that had once been occupied by a hit or two of crack. Ever since Dethklok had broken up the drummer had disappeared into the shadiest depths of L.A., and, not quite knowing what else to do or how to pick up the remaining pieces of his ruined life, he had lost himself in a world of cheap alcohol and crack. Now all he had left to remember that old life by was snippets and 30-second clips from the band's old home movies. Pickles glared down at the video camera and spat ruefully, "Fuckin' bullshit…why ain't I dead yet?"
He often spent his time contemplating his now meaningless and disgusting existence. He was something below the realm of a 'regular jack-off'; he was pathetic, desperately stumbling thru each day as though it was the only time he had left to spend on this Earth. Sometimes he prayed for death, especially when he was getting his cheap thrills from the drugs he spent his money on. It was the only pleasure he had left, the only thing worth any small value in the world. Pickles laid on his the moth-eaten, ratty sheets of his hotel bed thinking of this now. He wondered in some deep, dark part of his brain—or what was left of his brain after so many forty-eight-hour crack binges—what had become of the rest of the band. He was quite sure that they'd all returned to their parent's home after breaking apart. The only reason that the drummer himself hadn't gone seeking refuge at his parent's house was because he had decided long ago that he'd rather be dead than begging them for anything, especially a place to live. Pickles sighed and opened himself up a can of beer. He took a deep sip from it, grimaced at the strong, burning taste, then placed the can shakily on the little table beside his bed.
The drummer remembered the last few moments he'd spent with the band before they all caught their separate flights and left for…wherever. He'd mostly spent it with Toki, trying to tell him that it was okay. Despite everything, all the fighting that the band had been doing during their last few months, the Norwegian had still seemed sorrowful as he watched Skwisgaar walk away with his many suitcases of luggage and leave. He had tried so hard to put on a brave face, to show everyone that he was still bitter over the many insults that he'd received and the fight's he'd been a part of, but Pickles had been able to easily see thru this. Before he had gotten on his own plane back to L.A., he'd gone up to Toki and pulled him into a quick, cautious hug. Nathan was still with them, after all, and so the policy of brutality was still in effect no matter how idiotic it was.
"S'gonna be okay, dude."
Toki had scoffed, acted indignant to the drummer's attempt to comfort him. "Ja, I knows that."
Pickles awkwardly shrugged, let his green eyes, which were now so full of remorse—sure, the band hadn't been getting along, but they could've worked it out, right?—and sorrow drop to the floor. "Where are you gonna end up when it's all over with?"
The guitarist thought for a moment then said almost bitterly, "Backs with my mom, I guess."
"What're you gonna do for money?"
"Gets a job."
Pickles nodded. "Yeah, cool." What more was there to be said? Nothing, but still he couldn't bring himself to leave, not like this. Without restraint, he pulled Toki into another hug and whispered in his ear, "Be careful."
Toki didn't act strong or angry now; he held the drummer close to him and said, his voice breaking horribly, "I really don't wants to go back to that place." The redhead knew that by 'that place' the guitarist meant his old childhood home. Pickles became fearful at the thought of Toki going back there again. The Norwegian had spent so many long, painful days there growing up…the thought of him going back was a truly frightening one.
"S'okay dude," was all he could think to say. "It's gonna be fine."
"I'm still reallys pissed off abouts everything—Nathans, Skwisgaar...why do we haves to breaks up? I know that everyone ams mad, but that doesn't mean that we can't works it out like we did befores, does it?"
Pickles didn't respond to this. Instead he gently patted Toki's shoulder, ended the hug, then turned away. "G'bye, dude. It's been great." And he walked away. He had a flight to catch, and if he was late then that would mean he'd miss it and be stuck here for another night, trying to bring more false comfort to poor Toki.
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Now Pickles laid there on his bed drinking and trying not to cry. Honestly, what was this life that he lived now? It was a pitiful trick to distract him from his real, horrible existence—all of the cheap drugs, the booze, the endless hours he spent glued to that video camera watching little scraps of static videotape. The all amounted to nothing. That's it, there was no point. Gradually the drummer got up out of bed and went to look out of the dusty window of the hotel. His money had run out months ago and he wouldn't be able to afford another night in the cock-roach ridden place. His funds were exhausted and so was he. Pickles ran his fingers along the cool glass, closed his eyes. He could do it, couldn't he? He was on the sixth floor, just above a busy street…the people, the stupid people who once idolized him, who were once his fans, would scream out as his body hit the pavement with a loud and sick crack. As he imagined the brutality of the scene, he couldn't help but to smile a little.
Toki had probably killed himself already, slit his wrists, overwhelmed by the memories of his painful and forgotten childhood…Skwisgaar was most likely dying slowly, working a stupid, dead-end job like any other regular jack-off…Murderface was a joke. He was better off dead…Nathan. Nathan was a complicated case; he was tough, brutal, harsh and unyielding in his hatred and remorse for the world. That alone probably meant that society and the pressure of living a regular life might not have driven him to self-destruction…yet. It would, though. Pickles supposed that he'd just be someone that they all thought back to—the drunk redhead, the one who transferred all of the anger and bitterness he'd experienced thru his life onto a simple, harmless drum kit. He was pathetic.
Pickles opened up the window, let the cool air of night caress his face. He gripped the windowsill so tightly that his knuckles turned white; his whole body became ridged as he proceeded to climb up on the sill. The drummer teetered on the edge, embracing the steady feeling of death and utter hopelessness that was slowly filling his heart. Just let go….just let go, just fall…die. DIE. End it before it ends you. What was 'it' exactly, Pickles didn't know, but he did know that he needed to put an end to 'it'—to everything. Just as he shut his eyes and prepared for his six-story free fall, the phone rang. Pickles cursed and tried to do it again, but he just couldn't. Now he was distracted and annoyed; so the world didn't even respect him enough to let him commit a peaceful suicide? That seemed about right.
Angrily, he jumped off the windowsill and stumbled over to the telephone. He picked it up and spat, "Yeah, whadda want, dildo?"
"Is this Pickles?" the voice was deep, familiar. It sounded unsure and hesitant, almost as if it were afraid to find the person it was seeking to talk with.
The drummer rolled his eyes, took another sip of beer, and said, "Yeah, so what? Who is 'dis and whadda want? I'm busy."
"Can't you spare fucking five seconds, you idiot?"
Suddenly Pickles' mind flashed back to the last time that he and Nathan had spoken. The singer and glared at him, said venomously, 'Can't you spare five fucking seconds to say goodbye, you idiot?' Now the drummer sighed and rubbed his tired, burning eyes. "Hey, Nathan. Sorry. What's up?"
"It's Ofdensen…you remember Ofdensen, right?"
"Yeah, dildo. I ain't that stupid."
Nathan said under his breath, "Don't be too sure…"
Pickles threw his half-empty beer can onto the carpet, unable to contain his temper anymore. "Look, if all you did was call to insult me, then—"
"I wouldn't have wasted my time. Do you know how hard it was tracking down this hotel number?"
"Then why the hell did you call?"
The voice on the other end of the line faltered but finally said, "Ofdensen…something happened…"
Pickles felt his heart turn to ice. He swallowed, tried to keep from sounding too scared as he asked into the phone, "What about him? He's okay, right? I mean, nothin' happened to him or—"
The drummer let out a little surprised gasp and began shaking his head. A thousand thoughts—mostly memories of how Charles Ofdensen had put his neck out on the line for him and the rest of the band—filled his brain as he sputtered, "I don't…what? How—I mean, he was just…he called me last week, asked how I was, if I was okay and if he could do somethin' for me…"
Nathan's deep, harsh voice said, "I know. He called me last month and we talked. He was a good guy, really cared about us, I guess…" his voice trailed off as he thought aloud, "I wonder if he called Toki and Skwisgaar? Wouldn't it cost a lot to call them in Norway and Sweden?"
Pickles was still in shock. He let himself fall onto his bed. "I…I don't get 'dis at all…how did he die?"
"It was an accident—he had a little too much of that expensive brandy crap he always used to drink and—"
"But why are you callin' me?" was the drummer's next question. "If you hate me so much, why didn't you just let me watch the damn news and find out?"
"Because I…" Nathan took a moment to pull his thoughts together before sighing tirelessly and saying, "You know he still managed to own the Mordhaus, don't you? He still was able to keep it even after we broke up."
"He left a will."
"So what the hell does 'dis have to do with me?" Pickles decided that he needed another drink, so he got up and opened another beer.
"We're all in it—you, me, Murderface, Skwisgaar, Tok—"
"What the fuck are you talkin' about?" he howled in frustration. Why couldn't anything be simple? Why did it seem as though the more time he spent on this shitty Earth, the more his life became complicated. Suicide was complicated, getting high was complicated, and now…
"He said he wanted all of us to have a part of it—of the house—but he didn't say which parts."
Something in the drummer's mind seemed to click. He began shaking; he wanted to vomit and hang up, but something inside of him restrained him from doing this. "So you're all gettin' back together again?"
"Yeah, and we'd really appreciate it if you were there with us to sort all of this bullshit out." Nathan said. His voice was full of that old, dull anger and hatred for the man that he was talking to as he added, "Ofdensen would've wanted that—for all of us to be together again, don't you think?"
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"Boys, let's just please consider everything that we're putting in jeopardy by-" Ofdensen began, but he was drowned out by the yelling of Dethklok. Skwisgaar and Toki were yelling, as were Murderface, Nathan, and Pickles.
"You never lets me have anything, you fuckins prick!" Skwisgaar howled. Toki rolled his eyes and scoffed loudly at this.
"Are you kidding me? I've given you everythings, you ungrateful bitch! I've given up most of my careers just to makes sure your huge ego ams satisfied! I'm sicks of it! I want credit for all the songs I writes myself-"
"You don't writes none!"
"You knows I've thrown in lines heres and there, but you just takes them and steals them from me, just like everythings else!"
"You do not write songs, you fucking retard!" Nathan argued, slamming his fists down on the table. "When will you get it thru your thick, useless head that we really don't need you at all?"
"Don't you fuckin' dare yell at him, you asshole!" Pickles broke in, rushing to Toki's side. "The kid's right, he's thrown ideas at us, but all we ever do is make him feel like crap. I'm sick of 'dis bullshit—you're nat the only one in the world who has talent, Nat'n! All you ever do is come up with stupid, bullshit lyrics and scream 'dem into a mic to make money!"
"Boys, please, let's all just-"
"It'sh more than you do," Murderface blurted, pushing the drummer roughly away from Toki. "You're fulla shtupid ideash—you're drunk half the time we need to play, and on top of it all you shtick up for him?" he motioned to the Norwegian and cried, "That'sh a load of crap! Everyone shticksh up for him, becaushe he'sh like a damn kid, he'sh innocent, he'sh-"
"Shut your fuckin' mouth!" Pickles demanded, his hands balling into fists. "Don't talk about Toki! He's-"
"A total, useless idiots who gets free ride just 'cause he ammnest goods with the ladies!" Skwisgaar cut him off. "They swoon over hims for no reason! It ammnest pathetics! 'He ams adorables', they says. Fucks that shit!"
"Will you all please sit down?" Ofdensen pleaded. All of his screams for order were met with even more yelling; Nathan tried to strangle Murderface, and Skwisgaar attempted to smack Toki. The Norwegian flinched back, but he needn't have done this, because in a moment Pickles was in front of him hitting the Swede in the ribs.
"I said don't touch him, nobody even think ab-" Nathan had delivered a firm punch to the drummer's stomach. Within a few seconds the whole room had descended into chaos, and before anyone knew what was happening—before even Ofdensen could react to the situation—Toki was on the ground with a bloody nose and a mouthful of blood. In the end nobody would be able to recall if they'd been the one to almost knock the rhythm guitarist out, only that it had been done as Toki turned and tried to stop the fighting.
This finally seemed to signal the end of the punching, kicking, and name-calling. Everyone was brought back to reality, and they all grew gravely silent. Pickles quietly tried to help the Norwegian up, and Ofdensen did the same. Toki just rose up on his own, wiped the blood off on his shirt, then declared, his pale eyes teary and full of hurt, "Is quit."
Skwisgaar nodded and looked down at his boots; he said in a nearly inaudible voice, "Ja, mes too."
"I wanna quit." Murderface chimed in.
"And so do I." Nathan said. They all looked deliberately away from each other, awaiting the next words to be said. Pickles, on the other hand, stared from one man to the other—from Murderface to Nathan, from Nathan to Skwisgaar, and from Skwisgaar to Toki. The rhythm guitarist was trembling, sniffling and trying hard not to allow himself to cry. Pickles felt a firm lump forming in his throat, and for an instant he felt something he hadn't felt in years—the urge to sob.
"I...uh..." he cleared his throat, tried to dismiss his sorrow, but found himself unable to. "I guess 'dat I'm done too, then."
Ofdensen somehow knew that this had been coming for a while, because he seemed oddly nonchalant about the whole situation. Instead of doing what he had done before—trying to urge them to stick together, to apologize—he just nodded coolly and straightened his tie. "Of course you're all done; I expected as much. I'll make the arrangements." he proceeded to walk out of the room, but the voice of Toki stopped him.
"W-Whats you mean 'arrangements-es'?"
"For you to go home; you can't all live here if there's no Dethklok." strangelyenough, Ofdensen's the normally robotic and monotone voice broke then, and he glanced over his shoulder back at the band, fighting back tears. "I'd hoped that you could all be mature and-" he cut himself off and made a swift exit before anyone could read further into his dismay.
Once everything was over, they all walked shamefully out of the room, knowing deep down inside of them that this was the best thing for everyone—or at least they hoped it was.
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Wow...it's been a while since I last put up a story. Sorry, but life finally caught up with me, and summer's over. My senior year of high school has started, and so I'm trying to keep my head above water in these last few long, excruciating months of academic learning. After that? I don't really know, but I'll still try to keep putting stuff up. Hope you liked this first chapter. Trust me, it will be better, and a little happier. Anyways, I've been chewing over this story for months, so I've finally decided to post it. Hope it's a good are appreciated.
PEACE & LOVE