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Ricky stood beside the tour bus, watching as the demons bickered and jostled each other over who would get on first. They were all accounted for, and that was what mattered; not the show, which had gone badly, not the audience, which hadn’t enjoyed Maelstrom’s style of music, and not even the gig itself, a charitable event Ricky had agreed to as a favor for a friend.
Vic stalked up to him and bared his fangs. “Don’t you ever book us outdoors again unless the sun is fully down, primate. It was painful. Understand?”
“I’m sorry. I have no control over last-minute schedule changes, but I appreciate that you were a trooper about it.”
With a sniff of contempt, Vic climbed onto the bus. Ricky turned around to find Lazaro glowering at him, his face so close Ricky nearly choked on the drummer’s foul breath.
“Audience was ignorant.”
“I realize that,” Ricky said. “They’re probably more of a country or Christian rock type of crowd.”
“No, I mean stupid. Mushy brains.”
“I guess you would know.”
While Lazaro started up the steps, grumbling about how he hated the taste of mushy brains, Nevin approached. For a moment, Ricky felt hopeful, since the keyboardist could see the good in nearly everything. To his disappointment, Nevin gave a reproachful sigh. “I’m very disappointed.” His gentle voice made the words cut all the more. “It was so terribly disorganized, and our presence wasn’t appreciated.”
Ricky silently agreed. Why had he signed the band up for this? Ego, pure and simple.
Kalila shoved Nevin onto the bus and gave Ricky a withering look. “This was the most inappropriate, mismanaged event you’ve ever booked us at. Do you think I can’t fire you?” She didn’t give him a chance to answer. “You’re getting complacent and forgetting why I hired you. See to it that it doesn’t happen again.”
Ricky watched her climb the stairs. What an idiot he was! And now here was Bo, leering at him in that vulgar way of his. “Okay, let’s hear it from you, too, and get it over with. What did you hate about the gig?”
Bo gave a little shrug. “Nothing.”
“You must mean you liked nothing.”
“No, I mean I hated nothing. It was a fun time.”
“But everyone else said it was awful. Why did you—”
Bo grinned. “How many times have you said you don’t want to hear me talk about sex? Just use your imagination, what little of it there is. This was a fantastic event, and you can book us here every year as far as I’m concerned.”
Ricky stared after him. After everyone else’s criticism, the last thing he had expected was praise, and from Bo, of all people.
Satisfied that he had made at least one of the demons happy, Ricky climbed the stairs and the door shut behind him. Obviously a good gig was all in the eye of the beholder.
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