"I got your call," Charles Foster Ofdensen said carefully as he walked into the studio. "What do you boys need?"
The "boys" were settled in their normal way; Nathan Explosion, their singer, was practicing his growls in the corner of the room. Though quite muscular, the frontman was developing a drinking habit and a beer gut was beginning to form. Their drummer and back-up vocalist, who went by nothing more than Pickles, was a scrawny boy lying half passed-out over an amp. Magnus Hamilton, Dethklok's guitarist, was arguing loudly with the newest member – a depressing bassist named William Murderface. From what Ofdensen could gather, Magus and Murderface were quarrelling over guitars.
Nathan immediately turned around when he heard their manager enter the room, revealing a clean-shaven face with greasy black hair matted and tangled in front of it. He was sweating after practicing, but didn't seem out of breath.
"Hey, Ofdensen." Nathan was casual, poking Pickles' stomach to get him up. The red haired beauty sat up with a grunt and lazily saluted. He fell back down, obviously high.
"What do you need?" Ofdensen persisted. Magnus scorned him angrily, finally turning from his debate with Murderface.
"We don't need anything," sneered the angry guitarist.
"Yes, we do," growled Nathan. "We need another guitarist. A lead guitarist. Magnus is good for, uh, rhythm. But not solos."
"And, how do you expect me to, ah, fix this?"
"We put all our money together and bought you a plane ticket to Sweden."
Ofdensen pushed his glasses up his nose. "Why Sweden?" He knew immediately that the response would be some sort of racially incorrect statement.
"Sweden got da best guitarists," Pickles piped in. "Ya got Mikael Akerfeldt, and Yngwie Malmsteen…and…" His tenor voice faded.
"So, you already bought the tickets?"
"Ticket," Nathan corrected. "There's only one."
Ofdensen pinched the bridge of his nose in frustration.
The plane ride, though turbulent, was pleasant as a whole. The flight attendant was a tiny Swedish girl who spoke with a heavy accent and seemed to be flirting the entire trip. She often made needless excuses to be standing near his seat.
"Hello," the attendant huffed after ten minutes of leaning heavily on his seat with no avail. "Are you having good flight?"
"It's just lovely, thank you."
"Is there…anything…I can get you?" The girl gave a wink, batting her long fake eyelashes at him.
"No, not at all. Thanks, though. How much longer until we get to Stockholm?"
"An hour, perhaps?" she tittered. Ofdensen nodded, then waited. Eventually, the pilot announced over the speaker that they were flying over Norway, only a half an hour until they would reach Stockholm. The manager nodded again to himself.
When the plane finally made its bumpy landing, Ofdensen was the first off. He had only one suitcase and was determined that he'd buy a ticket back to America before he even had to re-wear any of his suits. He was immediately welcomed by his driver, who asked him where he wanted to go.
"I guess I'll search west to east," he muttered to himself. He quickly opened his map and pointed at the westernmost place on the map. "Hässelby," he directed.
The cab driver finally turned onto a street in Abrahamsberg, where a small crowd was gathered. "Pull over here," he commanded, hoping the driver would understand. He appeared to, although Ofdensen's gestures may've given him a clue as to what the foreigner wanted. Ofdensen quickly rushed out of the car and pushed past the crowd. It was there that he saw for the first time a lanky blonde with ability superior to anything else in the world.
Ofdensen's eyes were wide, his mouth agape as he heard the sheer speed and power behind the guitarist's fingers. It was an acoustic in his arms, but the sound emanating from it made a noise like the ancient gods themselves were speaking. The manager knew this was the perfect lead guitarist for Dethklok the instant he heard him.
The crowd cleared after about ten minutes of pure playing, so Ofdensen took that as an opportunity to make his move. "Excuse me, sir, I'm Charles Foster Ofdensen and I think –"
"Vad? Vad säger du?" asked the young man timidly, tilting his head to the side. He cradled his guitar carefully, as though it were the only thing in his world.
Ofdensen cursed. He'd forgotten the language barrier. He pointed at the guitar, then mimed flying on a plane. "What is your name?" he asked, pronouncing each word carefully.
"Mitt namn är Skwisgaar Skwigelf," the man said confidently. "Gitarr." He pointed to his instrument.
"Guitar, yes. Fly to America and play it."
"Amerika. Av vilken anledning?"
Ofdensen hit his forehead with his hand. He knew very little Swedish. "Ah…du talar nå engelska?" he asked. It was one of the only things he knew, and it meant "do you speak any English?" He waited for a response.
"Lite," he murmured.
"I want you to come to America and play guitar –" he quickly pointed at the guitar, " – for a band called Dethklok."
"I can buy a plane ticket right now and be in America by tomorrow."
The boy seemed to be pondering. At least he understood coming to America with his guitar. And that, for the moment, was all he needed to know.
America. Skwisgaar knew it was the land of freedom and opportunity. But…he couldn't bear the thought of leaving. Sure he'd be far from his mother and following his dreams, but what about Nilsine? Over the last week, he'd fallen into a sort of love with her. He couldn't leave. He couldn't even speak English.
The man stared down at him with hope set deep inside his brown eyes. Brown eyes, another thing never seen in Sweden. The hope of a new life continued to build within him, but the thought of Nilsine threatened to tear it back down. She was the light in his darkened existence. Her halo of silvery locks seemed to be a crown deeming her the queen of his life. He was sure that he loved her, but did she love him? How could he possibly leave without knowing! How could leave at all without her?
The man called Ofdensen continued to stare down at him expectantly. "No," he finally breathed. "I cannot." And with nothing more than that, he stood and began packing up his guitar.
He walked down the dimming streets slowly, savoring the scent of Stockholm. It was industrial and smoky, but pleasant. If he breathed hard enough, he could even smell something like Nilsine's perfume; floral and sweet, almost like nature itself. And yet, he found himself considering the option of traveling to America. The idea stirred around in his brain as he rounded onto Nilsine's road. That had been his dream all along; to fly somewhere else and play his guitar professionally. So now that it was placed before him, why did he even hesitate?
He knocked at the Kriget's door, which little Viveka opened graciously. She gasped at him, and the graceful Nilsine stepped behind her, allowing Skwisgaar to enter. She was wearing a long-sleeved dress with a diagonal hem from her left hip to her right knee. It was purple and flowing and suited her petite frame well.
"Good evening, Miss Kriget," he joked with a smile. She smiled back.
"Did you earn many kronor?" She seemed genuinely concerned that he wouldn't be able to make it once he was kicked out.
"More than usual. Rush hour was good." He grinned, then faltered. "I got something better today, actually."
"What could be better that money?"
"An opportunity," he replied quickly, setting his guitar case down. "An opportunity to go away to America and play professionally."
"So you are leaving soon?"
"No!" he snapped, then frowned at her wince. "I mean…well, no. I'm sorry for being angry, but I can't accept it."
"And why not? You know I must revoke your right to live here in two weeks anyway!" She stroked his cheek gently.
"I can't leave Sweden. I can't leave the city."
"Is there a certain reason for that?"
"You," he responded bluntly, looking down at his guitar. "I can't leave Sweden because I can't leave you."
"Nilsine, I think I love you. And I owe you at least the money I've earned for letting me live here before I go anywhere."
"You can't stay here because you love me."
"Because, I can't love you back. Skwisgaar, I'm…engaged."
Skwisgaar was horrified. "What? Engaged?"
"Not of my own free will," she assured him quietly. "But my father has promised me to another. And I agreed when I was far too young to know what I was agreeing to. You have to go, Skwisgaar, or I won't be able to follow through on my promise."
"Run away with me," he said abruptly. "I'll find that Ofdensen man, accept the offer, and take you with me."
"No." She was shaking her head resolutely. "I can't do that. Please, just take the offer and go, before I do fall in love with you." Nilsine turned on her heels and fled to her room.
The young guitarist didn't know what to do. He was alone again, but everything seemed wrong. The books and the movies and the songs…all of them told him that if he loved a girl she was entitled to love him back. But Nilsine had rejected him like his mother, so he felt there was no choice but to begin his search for Ofdensen in the morning; after all, what more than the Krigets were in Stockholm for Skwisgaar?
As for the Magnus/Mayer controversy: I have no idea what Dethklok's original rhythm guitarist's name is/was. Honestly, I don't care. I'm only going with Magnus because it's the more popular and well-known version. Yes, I've watched all the zoomed-in videos on the contract...I still don't know what to think. So as far as this story goes, his name is Magnus. ~ Sanathia