Joe couldn't shake the feeling that something was about to go wrong. It wasn't the usual break-a-string, minor-feedback, short-in-the-mic-cable kind of wrong, but more of the epic, the ambulance-is-on-its-way and the police-have-been-called kind of wrong.
Joe had gone through his morning routine with no real anxiety to speak of. The boys arrived at the venue on time. The venue was happy to have them there. These were all good signs. The stage was ready for the set up and sound check. Joe decided to speak with the bartender. "How are things?"
"Can't complain," the bartender replied. "What can I get for you?"
"Vanilla French Soda," Joe replied.
"In recovery?" the bartender asked as he mixed those familiar three ingredients.
"You could say that," Joe replied. Joe paid for his drink and took a sip. He watched the boys set up the equipment. They had practiced this, timed it, perfected it. Crispin hopped down from the stage to grab his bass. Frankie put the finishing touches on his drum kit and stepped back to admire his handiwork. Somehow he misjudged the length of the stage and fell off. Thankfully, Crispin was there to break his fall. Before Joe could make a move to help, Marty and Jamie were right there on the scene for triage and good-natured teasing.
"Your kids?" the bartender asked.
"Yep," Joe said with a sigh.
"Oh, it's gonna be a good night."
"Yeah," Joe said.
"Are they the reason you're in recovery?"
"No, but they're not helping either." Joe put the glass on the bar. "I'll take another."
"Coming right up."
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