This is a massive rehaul of a story I had written before. The reason I decided to re-write it is: It was terrible.
I had hated every inch of it, and it was horrifying to see. It needed to be destroyed, effective immediately. So, after I grew past the mortification, the idea of fixing it came to me. The story deserved a second chance at life, so I re-vamped and changed the plot and gave it a new spin.
So, here she is!
I also want to state that I love making characters come to life. Constructive criticisms are welcome, but keep it classy. We are not savages, and everyone with the internet lives in a polite society. Let me know if something feels off or the dialogue doesn't flow well. I especially appreciate criticisms about the characters. Thanks, Ciao!
Chapter One: The Girl On The Keyboard
She was lying on the bathroom floor of a dive bar in San Francisco.
It was small, dirty, and dingy with poor lighting.
The bar, not the bathroom, of course. But it wasn't like the bathroom was any better.
It had gross stuff she knew was mold creeping up the walls and across the floor. The color of the tiles looked like a vintage white but was probably from never being cleaned.
The sink didn't work, and the toilet would only flush if you took the top off. The mirror was a jagged mosaic, and there were water stains on the remaining shards. Iron bars were covering the window a few feet out of her reach.
Even with all that, Mary still lay there. Her feet lay pressed against the door while her neon blue heels sat by her shoulder.
On the other side of the door, Mary could still make out the sounds of the fight going on. She wasn't sure what had started the brawl this time.
But lately, the fights have been getting worse.
Yesterday, a fight had started over a guy bumping into another one's table. The second guy believed it to be the highest form of disrespect and cracked the first guy with a bottle.
And from there, the fight started, and it only ended once the cops brought the tear gas.
Mary tapped her feet against the door. She was humming an unidentifiable tune under her breath.
This bathroom had become a haven of sorts. Who has time to go to the restroom when a fight is happening?
Suddenly, the doorknob jerked, jolting Mary from her thoughts. 'Someone made time, apparently.'
She pressed her feet harder against the door. The person on the other side jerked harder at the knob before giving up and banging on the wooden frame.
"Hey!" A woman's voice hollered through the door. "What the hell are ya' doin' in there, huh?! Are you takin' a shit or somethin'? Hurry the fuck up!"
She sighed. 'She sure is belligerent. Usually, the person would give up and move on.'
The banging on the door grew louder. "Hey! I know you hear me!"
Mary sighed again. "Hold on!"
"I ain't holdin' shit!" The woman yelled.
"You heard what the fuck I said!" She shouted back. "So, hold the fuck on!"
"Hey, bitch," Mary climbed to her feet, ignoring the rest of the woman's tirade. She collected her heels and slipped them on. Mary braced herself for whoever was outside the bathroom. A woman with shocking white hair and a fierce scowl stood there when she swung the door open.
Mary brushed past her. "All yours."
"Fuckin' bitch." The woman spat before slamming the door closed behind her. The roadway signs nailed to the wall rattled, causing Mary to roll her eyes.
"Hey, Ravenwaves!" The bar owner, Marty's, large frame clumped from around the corner. "I don't pay you to hide away in the bathroom made for customers! You're here to entertain, so hit the stage!"
"That shithole was made for rats!" She scoffed.
"Yeah, yeah, whatever, kid." Marty tossed a thumb over his shoulder. Mary scoffed again when she saw flour dusting his mustache. "Go do your job!"
"I better get paid on time, Marty." She sneered and stomped past the towering man. "Or you and Tommy will be ass up in a sewer drain!"
He grumbled. "Sure, sure."
"And stop calling me 'Ravenwaves'!"
"Just get to work!"
Mary was still scowling when she walked onto the stage. She looked around the bar to assess the damage.
There were fewer chairs than there were earlier and even fewer people. Who knows what happened while she was hiding?
Thankfully, no one had lifted her keyboard while she was gone. Mary wouldn't be surprised if one of the unruly patrons used it as a weapon.
With a deep breath, Mary started playing.
Just a little longer.
If she could hold on for just a bit longer, all of her hard work would be worth it.
. . .
After her final set, Mary collected her check from Tommy and waited outside for her cab. She rubbed her temples, breathing in the waxy air through her nose.
It looked like it was going to be another long night.
Mary didn't react as she leaned against the front of the bar to wait. She had grown up in New Jersey, and anyone can be 'you.'
"Hey, don't act like you can't hear me!" Suddenly, the woman from earlier stood in front of Mary. She had her hands on her hips, and a dark scowl twisted her features. "I'm talking to you!"
"What makes you think I want to hear it?" Mary sneered.
"Listen, bitch I don't know what you're problem is-"
"What do you want?" She caught the other woman off. "I don't have time to waste."
The stranger leaned back, crossing her arms. "The name's Roxy."
"And I care why?"
"Cause I saw your act on stage, and we wanna offer you a spot in our band."
"Band?" Mary's eyebrow ticked upwards. "I'm not interested in playing outta somebody's garage."
Roxy rolled her eyes.
"This is an actual company; it's called Starlight Music, and one of the bigwigs is managing our band."
She eyed the other woman wearily. "How am I supposed to believe that? I don't know you, your band, or this 'bigwig'!"
"Ha!" Roxy tossed her head back. "I told you she had a mouth on her, 'Zazz!"
It was then that she saw another woman a few feet behind Roxy. She had vibrant green hair and a brown trenchcoat. She could tell right away that this woman was a handful. There was a fire in her eyes, a rebellious twist to her lips, and her shoulders curled in defensively. She felt out of place outside Marty's bar, yet she blends in perfectly with the smoke and leather.
She was a woman who stood out amongst a crowd. And Mary felt awe the moment their eyes clashed.
"Where you from, kid?"
"No shit?" Mary tried not to wince when Roxy's loud snort rang in her ear. "I'm from Philly!"
"What else can you do," The green-haired woman sauntered closer. "besides the keyboard?"
"I can sing, and I write lyrics." Mary shrugged.
"So, that song in there was yours?"
Mary nodded reluctantly.
"What's your name, kid?"
Roxy scoffed. "Mary? Are you for real?"
"And what's wrong with 'Mary'?" She snapped.
"It sounds like some old windbag's name. You bake cookies for the Church social or something?"
"Like your name is any better! 'Roxy' sounds better on a rottweiler!"
Roxy gnashed her teeth and growled. "The hell it does! You better watch your mouth, you-!"
"Roxy!" The other woman's tone was sharp and commanding, making the taller woman fall silent.
Mary felt a trill of trepidation numb her arms and scalp.
"So, Mary," The way the older woman drawled her name caused Mary to cringe. "Are you gonna spend the rest of your life playing out of some rundown dive?" The woman stepped closer as her black boots gleamed under the streetlights. Something about this woman belonged in the spotlight. Mary felt as if the universe would cave to her whim.
"Or do you want more?"
Mary cleared her throat, but her voice still came out hoarse. "More of what?"
"Of everything." With that simple statement, accompanied by a careless shrug, Mary knew what she wanted more than anything. And Mary knew her goals were short-term.
But at this moment, she could taste power.
A power she'd never had herself.
All these months, she had been looking for this chance. The opportunity that she had been praying for! Then the doubt kicked in: How could she be sure if this was her chance? They could be scamming her. Or perhaps they were setting her up. Did she dare trust two strangers? Craig would freak out if he saw this.
"What if I want more than everything?"
After a brief moment of eye contact, Roxy and the woman burst into laughter.
"The name is Pizzazz." The woman, Pizzazz, slung an arm over Mary's shoulders. "Welcome to The Misfits, kid."
She felt a rush of delight shoot to her head. The Misfits sounded mischievous, tacky, and bold. This woman exuded glamour, and Mary wanted in. If she moved too slowly, the opportunity would pass her by. Her mama always told her: 'Never shut your mouth at the table. No one will wait for you.'
"The Misfits? Got a nice ring to it."
Pizzazz smirked. "So, whaddya say?"
Mary mirrored the feral smirk on the other's face and said. "Show me whatcha got."
Anywho, that's all for today fellow netizens! This is the level my skills are at currently, and I hope with more work and practice I'll get better. Thanks for reading, and stay sane out there!