“Just walk in there like you own the joint,” Jeremiah said, “if you look like you belong no one’s going to question you.” He handed me a lanyard with a piece of white laminated paper hanging off it. “Wear this around your neck and people will think you got a backstage pass.”
I looked at it and looped it around my neck. “There’s nothing printed on this man, it’s not gonna fool anybody.”
“Sure it will,” Jeremiah said. “They’ll just think it’s turned around.”
I sighed and resigned myself to this foolhardy scheme. “So what happens if I actually get backstage and into his dressing room? What do I tell Mr. King then?”
“First of all, don’t call him Mr. King. Ya gotta call him BB. All you have to do is get his autograph. It would be really cool if you hand him a Sharpie and roll up your sleeve. Get him to sign your forearm. You’ll be in for sure!”
“Are you sure you don’t want to do this one Jeremiah? Somethin’ tells me I’d have better luck giving the mayor a hotfoot than pulling this off. There’s probably 10 layers of security between this loading dock and Mr. King. I’m never gonna make it.”
“Come on brother, have confidence.” Jeremiah spun me around, patted me on the back and gave me a little shove towards the door.
I filled my cheeks up with air and blew it out slowly. Here goes nothin’. I pushed on the door and, much to my amazement, it opened. I stuck my head in and looked up the short passageway. Deserted – no one here, just an empty chair, so I walked forward; when the hallway took a sharp turn to the right so did I. There was another door at the end. I paused and considered whether membership in ΣΟΙ was going to be worth this initiation. I grabbed the knob, twisted, and pushed.
To say I entered another world would be an understatement. There must have been 30 people moving everywhere at once. They were shouting to one another. They were shouting into cell phones. They were carrying cables, amps, and boxes. They were busy! A skinny guy with long blonde hair and a lot of acne scarring broke off his conversation with a hot blonde chick when he saw me come in. “Are you the extra rigger?” he asked, and I nodded my head. “Grab those mike stands and get em on stage. Find Mr. King’s guitar case and take it to him. It’ll say ‘Lucille’ on it and it should be back o’ the drumstand. Then find Jimmy and do whatever he tells you to do.” He turned back to the blonde and took up his conversation again.
“Damn,” I said under my breath, I went and grabbed the microphone stands and followed the stream of people out the door on the other side of the room. It was pretty easy to find the stage where a red faced guy showed me how he wanted the stands positioned. I found Lucille’s case; I ducked behind a bank of amps, and used my phone to take a selfie. Me and BB King’s guitar case – I made sure that ‘Lucille’ was clearly visible – too cool. I came back out and saw the red faced guy staring at a girl in a black tank top. I don’t think he was looking at her face though. “You Jimmy?” I asked.
“I’m supposed to take this,” I held up the case, “to Mr. King. You know where he is right now?”
Jimmy pointed back the way I had come and said, “Green Room.” Then he swiveled his eyes back to the tits under the black tank top. I decided that right then, it would be a mistake to ask him where the green room was, so I started back. I figured I could ask someone else who wasn’t so preoccupied but, I didn’t have to. I saw a door that I hadn’t noticed before. It had “GREEN ROOM” stenciled on it.
I knocked and entered. There he was, the legend himself. Mr. BB King. I had made it! He was sitting on a couch drinking from an Arrowhead water bottle. Lucille was on the couch next to him. “Come on in,” he said, “see ya got Lucille’s case with you. Good. Can you lean it next to the door there, please?” He watched me do as he asked, and said, “You’re new, huh?”
“Yes sir, Mr. King. In fact I’m so new, I don’t even work here.” He raised one eyebrow and studied me. I came clean with the man. I told him that this was an initiation for a fraternity, Sigma Omicron Iota.
“How are you supposed to prove you saw me?” he asked.
“I’m supposed to have you sign my forearm.” I said, rolled up my sleeve and proffered the Sharpie.
“You here by yourself?” he asked and took the pen.
“No, Jeremiah is waiting outside.”
“Want him to owe you?”
“What’s your name?”
“Really?” he asked.
“Yeah, my dad is from Edinburgh.”
He nodded, grabbed my wrist and wrote on my arm. He wrote ‘To Angus and Jeremiah – Great meeting you boys. BB King’. Then he reached into his vest pocket and pulled out two tickets to tonight’s show. “Good luck, Angus” he said.
“Thank you, sir”
I made my way back out to the loading dock. Jeremiah was sitting on the edge, kicking his feet and smoking. “Shit,” he said, “It hasn’t been five minutes, they booted your ass out.”
I rolled up my sleeve and showed him my arm. “I took care of you man, let’s go.”
We both smiled and headed towards the street. I had to find Beth, no way was I taking Jeremiah to a BB King show.
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