Maelstrom Extra: Werewolf Strike (Part Two)

Thursday, April 30, 2009 reviews (Comments): 5
Ricky shoved open the studio door and looked around. It was ridiculous that Kalila should pawn this problem off on him. She had hired the werewolves, so she should be the one to make things right. The band was booked through summer, though, and anything that affected their reputation affected his as well. He couldn’t afford to let the crew strike.

Luckily, Calvin was on duty, which meant the strike hadn’t yet begun. Ricky walked over. “Hey. You doing anything important right now?”

Calvin looked up from a computer. “Just checking out what my cousins are like.”

Ricky looked over his shoulder and noticed he was watching a documentary about coyotes. “Hoping you’ll meet some when we go on tour next month?” Before Calvin could answer, he added, “Can we talk frankly? It’s about the strike.”

Calvin’s features became guarded but he dutifully paused the movie. “It’s nothing personal,” he said, waiting for Ricky to sit down before continuing. “Kalila pays well and you’ve all been good to us. Our quarrel isn’t with you; it’s with the treatment of werewolves as a species.”

“Treatment in what way? During a full moon, your kind consider my kind a food source. I think a bit of wariness is justified.”

“But the rest of the time, we provide valuable services. We don’t just roadie for bands and handle equipment, you know. There are werewolf security guards, bodyguards, and drivers all over this country, and we’re the most loyal ones you can find. It’s our canine nature.”

“Then if you’re so loyal,” Ricky said, leaning forward, “Why the strike? Don’t you see that it’s a betrayal? If others are being treated badly, take a day off and march with them or whatever you’re planning to do as a protest. Don't punish us.”

Calvin snorted in disgust. “You humans are so dumb. It’s not a punishment, okay? Pack animals obey the alpha and our alpha is the head of the Local 666. If he says strike, we strike.” He turned his back on Ricky and tapped a few computer keys so he could resume watching his movie. “Now go away.”

Ricky got slowly to his feet. He had his opportunity and he had flubbed it. “Fine. We’ll hire non-union, then.”

Calvin growled but didn’t turn around.

“Maybe we’ll even hire humans.”

“Good luck with that.”

“Well, if you strike, you’ll leave us with no choice but to take action.”

Calvin turned around. “Hire scabs, and when the full moon comes, we’ll have no choice, either.”

Ricky took a step back and waited until Calvin was engrossed in his documentary before cautiously making his way to the door. This was a bigger job than he was cut out for. He was going to need help or miracle, and had no reason to believe either was forthcoming.

To Be Continued…

NOTE: Please read the announcement below or in the header about this Saturday's Maelstrom concert, right here and virtual!"


Tuesday, April 28, 2009 reviews (Comments): 1
Hi, everyone. Just a few announcements to share.

First, the new Maelstrom logo t-shirts are now available. They came out pretty nice, and even Bo, who usually opposes wearing clothes, approves. You can buy one via the Merchandise link in the sidebar or get with one of the band members at one of their shows.

Actually, forget I said that about getting with the band members. That might be dangerous. I'm at most of the shows anyway for damage control so just ask me for a shirt, okay? Or order one online, which is probably the safest way.

Next, you may have seen the notice already, but we’re offering free drinks and cover to our friends from Come in Character this Saturday, May 2, at Cabal. It’s going to be a fun time and we hope to see you there!

And finally, we're all optimistic that the werewolf strike will be over in the next few weeks, so the band still intends to go on tour from May 23 through June 4. They’ve promised to blog every day of the tour, which will hopefully not result in any incriminating evidence. More details about the tour will be forthcoming, but for now, put this site in your blog reader or sign up as a follower so you’ll get all the tour news.

And that’s it! Oh, wait. Lazaro wants to share his thoughts about the tour with you.

Zombie Haiku:
Tours are good
Travel far.
Sample new cuisine.

Thank you for this artistic travesty, Lazaro. At least it’s nicely ambiguous for once.

Maelstrom Concert Announcement

Sunday, April 26, 2009 reviews (Comments)
Type: Virtual Party

Date: Saturday, May 2, 2009

Location: Cabal

About: Drop by this site anytime on Saturday, May 2, to party with Maelstrom at Cabal. We’ll have music, video, drinks, and opportunities to hang out with the band and your friends. Free cover and one free drink for everyone visiting from the Come in Character blog. After-party will be at Come in Character, so if you’re not already a regular over there, go check it out!

See you at the show!

Still not sure what this is all about? Never been to a virtual party? Check out our last event, a charitable concert benefiting domestic rabbits.

Maelstrom Extra: Werewolf Strike (Part One)

Thursday, April 23, 2009 reviews (Comments): 7
“We have a problem, Ricky.”

Ricky looked up from his computer. Kalila had that single-minded air that always indicated something more than a mere ‘problem,’ and with Vic right behind her, it was probably more on the order of a catastrophe. “Don’t you guys ever knock? Or at least say hello?”

Kalila waved a hand. “We don’t have time to indulge in any petty human customs. It looks like the werewolf strike is on.”

“Are you sure? I thought the talks were going well.” Ricky pushed back his chair. “You pay above union rates. Calvin and the others won’t strike.”

Vic gave a scornful look. “Guess again, human. Their allegiance is to the Local 666, not us. They took an oath.”

“Wolves are pack animals,” Kalila added. “Loyalty is in their nature.”

“But they’ve said all this time that their loyalty was to us, the ones who pay them.” Rick stood up. “I don’t appreciate this kind of deceit. We buy them steak tartare, for Christ’s sake.”

“There’s no need to invoke your god.” Kalila flung herself into Ricky’s empty chair, leaned back and folded her arms. “We just want to know what you’re going to do.”

Ricky gave her a disbelieving look. “What do I know about werewolf strikes? Besides, no offense, but you really don’t need a crew. You play small venues and support gigs. Everyone else at your level manages their own equipment. You’re getting a reputation as a bunch of prima donnas.” Seeing that this response didn’t satisfy, he added, “Okay. I’ll see if I can get you some scabs.”

Vic lunged toward him, baring his fangs. “Snack chips won’t solve anything, human.”

Ricky jumped back. “I mean non-union crew. Temps.”

“You mean strikebreakers,” Kalila said. She mulled the idea over, then shook her head. “Unacceptable. There must be a better solution.”

“Well, I can’t imagine what it might be.”

Vic turned away in disgust. “I knew it was useless to come here. What do humans know?”

Kalila got up and made to follow. “Figure something out, Ricky, or we’re going to have to start cancelling shows.”

Ricky watched them leave, then returned to his chair and slowly sat down. He didn’t know much about the werewolf union, what their goals were, or why they were calling a strike. He only knew that the band had gigs lined up at Ziggurat, Cabal, and Club Nostradamus, and even if he could get them through the next few weeks, an extended strike would leave them without a road crew for their tour at the end of May.

He rested his chin in his hands. There had to be a way.

To Be Continued...

Maelstrom Extra: Foreign Words

Sunday, April 19, 2009 reviews (Comments): 1
Two-thirty, and he couldn’t find them anywhere. He had caught Vic napping and he found Bo seducing the front desk clerk, but where were Lazaro, Kalila, and Nevin?

Ricky went outside, his sense of foreboding turning to panic when he discovered a set of heavy footprints leading toward the uncleared land behind the hotel, accompanied by a deep groove in the earth that looked like a drag mark. Ricky followed the footsteps, lost them, found them again, then lost them for good among the brush. He was about to give up when the sound of someone speaking stopped him in his tracks.

It was a gentle, querulous voice, and although he couldn’t make out the words, the speaker appeared to feel strongly about something. Following the sound, Ricky picked his way through the undergrowth and hesitated on the edge of a clearing.

Lazaro stood over a muddy patch of recently turned earth, his features closed and hostile to Nevin’s pleading. Kalila cut Nevin off with a gesture and began shouting in a fast skittering language, punctuating her words with sharp gestures. Lazaro snarled and made the occasional blunt response, to no avail.

Ricky watched and listened for several minutes, then decided to put an end to the matter. He stepped into the clearing. “That’s enough, guys. You mind telling me what’s wrong?”

All three fell silent and stared at him. It was Kalila who spoke first. “There’s nothing wrong, Ricky.”

“Nothing that’s your business,” Lazaro added.

Nevin offered a tentative smile. “And it’s resolved now, anyway.”

“Well, you’re running late. You’re supposed to set up at three, and instead you’re out here in the mud, up to no good.”

Kalila came toward him. “Honestly, Ricky, paranoia is very unattractive. Don’t we pay well enough for you to hire a therapist who can help with that?”

“All I know is that Lazaro isn’t into nature walks, and whenever you talk in your demon language, it’s so no one will know the latest trouble you’ve gotten into.”

She took his arm and started leading him back toward the hotel. “You’re such an American. I bet you don’t know any other languages except your own, do you? When you’re multi-lingual, some words just come more naturally in one language than another. It doesn’t mean we’re hiding anything.”

“If you knew how complicated English was, you’d understand why we don’t like it much,” Nevin said, falling in behind them.

“Too many consonants and strange word constructions,” Kalila agreed. “Our own language flows. It has a rhythm to it, like the way water flows. It’s easier to speak a language that isn’t cluttered up.”

“So please don’t take it the wrong way,” Nevin said.

Ricky nodded, reassured, then stopped and looked back. Through the branches, he could make out Lazaro stomping on the mud, as if tamping down something that lay beneath. “Tell me he’s not doing what I think he’s doing.”

Nevin turned to Kalila, wide-eyed, and blurted something Ricky didn’t understand. Kalila answered with a scowl and a gesture.

“If I find out anyone’s gone missing from this hotel…”

Kalila said something that sounded like an order, and Nevin dashed toward the trees. Then she tugged on Ricky’s arm again, all smiles and placating words. “You need to trust us. We’ve been around a lot longer than you have, you know.” She met his skeptical gaze and gave a little shrug. “Okay, don’t believe us. Be paranoid whenever we speak in our own language. But about that therapist…”

Maelstrom Extra: Across a Crowded Room

Wednesday, April 8, 2009 reviews (Comments): 5
From his spot at the bar, Ricky saw her moving through the crowd. Resplendent in black leather and gold jewelry, with her long red hair flowing down her back, Kalila didn’t ask anyone to clear a path. If they didn’t do it out of respect, she’d make them want to move. Djinns had their ways.

Ricky had saved a spot and was already thinking what he would say about the first set and what he would recommend for the next, when a rangy, dark-haired man jumped into Kalila’s path. Intense and eager, he shouted his questions in an effort to be heard over the club music. A flicker of annoyance crossed Kalila’s face, then vanished in a friendly smile. Without so much as glancing Ricky’s way, she let him lead her to another part of the bar and order her a drink.

Annoyed, Ricky reached for his beer and tried to reassure himself. Kalila was good at giving impromptu interviews. He wasn’t worried that she might mention old friends from the eighteenth century or the crazy bet with Thor that had led her to found a rock band. It was the other behavior that unnerved him, the way she would lead a man on, selling with her stunning looks a musical talent that needed no additional endorsement. It was a game to her, a ploy as amusing as a high-stakes bet to a gambler, and Ricky had seen it often enough not to be fooled. Still, he squirmed as he watched her lean toward the reporter in just the right way for him to get a good look down the front of her leather bustier.

Ricky stood up. He should’ve told her to wait for him back stage after the set. He should’ve waylaid the reporter himself, since he could spot the parasitic bastards from a block away. He should’ve by now learned to never, ever, let Kalila make him jealous, because what could a human do about the behavior of a djinn?

He shoved his way toward the door, making sure to catch the eye of the bouncer so he would have no trouble getting back in. Outside, the soft spring air wrapped itself around him like a caress, gentle in contrast to the harshness of this inner-city neighborhood. He leaned against the rough bricks of the building and looked up at the sky, hoping to find a star to focus his thoughts upon, but found only the glare of sodium lights.


He drew in his breath and willed himself not to look around.

Kalila walked up to him. “What did you run out like that for? I thought we were going to talk about the show.”

“It’s going fine.” He struggled to keep his voice neutral. “Good job scoring an interview.”

She edged closer, the spicy scent of her skin overpowering the parking lot smells of old oil and stale beer. “You’re jealous.”

“Don’t be ridiculous.”

She kissed him, and her mouth was warm, her body electric. All was right with the world again, and although he could never have her for his own, he had this moment, and it was enough.

Maelstrom Extra: Bunnies Rock! (part 4)

Thursday, April 2, 2009 reviews (Comments): 14
Ricky looked around the room. Lazaro was tapping a rhythm on the coffee table with a pair of snare sticks, Bo was flipping through a magazine about nudist cattle ranchers, and Nevin perched on the edge of the sofa, fussing with a bundle on the seat beside him. Kalila sat alone, tapping her foot, her lips pursed in impatience.

“As soon as Vic gets here,” Ricky said, “We can start the meeting.”

“Might as well start it without him,” Kalila said. “He’s lurking around the Red Cross headquarters again, trying to find out when their next big blood drive is.”

“It’s kind of important that you all be here. I want to discuss the Bunny Benefit Bash.”

Nevin looked up. “I think it was wonderful. The bunnies and their owners had a very good time.”

Ricky sighed and pulled a piece of paper out of his pocket, resigned that he would have to do the recap without the lead singer. “Turnout was good,” he agreed. “Reasons for attendance varied, with some wanting to help Rabbit Rescue and others just there for the party, but as your first-ever dedicated charity event, it came off well. You raised nearly $300 in Canadian dollars, which is pretty good when you consider that a lot of the attendees were rabbits and had no income.”

“We should do more now that we have the knack,” Nevin said.

Lazaro scowled and Bo lowered his magazine as if he would comment, but it was Kalila who spoke first. “Helping rabbits or any other creature is fine, Ricky, but what does it do for us? We have goals of our own, you know.”

Nevin fidgeted and made a nervous gesture. “Fame isn’t everything, Kalila. There are more important things than just us.”

At that moment, the door banged open and Vic strode into the room. “That’s right, Tinkerbell. There’s me, and I’m much more important than you.” He made to throw himself onto the sofa, and Nevin let out a yelp.

“Stop! You’ll crush him!”

Vic stared in wide-eyed horror. “Dammit, Nevin! I said no rabbits!”

“You said no rabbits on the tour bus,” Nevin reminded him. “You said nothing about the studio.”

“I didn’t think I had to.”

Kalila stood up. “That’s enough, Vic. It’s my studio, my tour bus, and my band. If Nevin wants his bunny and he can care for it properly, it can stay.”

“I’ve got one for you, too,” Nevin said.

“You what?” Vic bared his fangs. “This is not acceptable, and I don’t care what the djinn says. It’s ridiculous, inappropriate, and I just…




Aw…he’s cute.” Vic took the chocolate bunny and smiled as he examined its fangs. “Thanks, Nevin. Sometimes you’re okay, you know?”

AUTHOR'S NOTE: Thanks everyone for coming to last weekend’s Bunny Benefit Bash. If you missed the party or were waiting for your first of the month paycheck so you could make a donation, the party with video, buffet, and donation information is archived. As we near Easter, please spread the word that a bunny is a big responsibility, not to be undertaken casually. Plush Bunny Adoptables make a good alternative, or you can just Make Mine Chocolate.

This concludes the Bunny Benefit Bash series. Thanks for all your support!