THE LAST GIG

A SHORT STORY BY
MATTHEW SOAMES

Looking out through blinds onto the beach, watching the waves roll in a style beyond clichéd, he died a little then and there before picking up his cell phone. Listening to the pulsing tones of anticipation, he was reminded of a car accident a number of years ago. Paul Vancouver answered on his end.

"Yah?"
"It's me."
"Yah, yah, you ready?"
"To rock and roll."
"Perfect. I'll be around at the dock."
"Time?"
"Any time now."

Got in his car, a midnightblue hatchback, and turned up the jazz station. It was a heavy tune, he felt like he was in a womb as bright rays beat down on him through glass. The terrible yellow-white saddened him. Everything had glowed, now it faded. Everything has changed. Nothing will be the same after tonight.

The drive was long. Pulling his hatchback into a space a block from the dock, got out and took a leisurely waltzing pace down. Few people in the area, most driving. Few people around this part of the city since the eighties. It had gone out of style, like a shirt or two he owned. Maybe some pants. Getting closer, hearing the sound of his leather-soled shoes on the pavement as he walked in an almost armyfascist march from hell to hell he cast a band down the street to play Elvis in his head. Concrete buildings and palm trees. An increasingly yelloworange sky. Arms swinging casually. His instrument in its case. It was set.

He was at the dock in under ten minutes from there. A few old boats, nobody in sight. Save Paul Vancouver, cavernous sunshades set to guard his eyes. The singular melody of his footsteps alone turned Vancouver around, like a tornado of music. Vancouver didn't look, he let it seep into his essence.

"The gig's in half an hour."
"Alright."
"You sure you want to do this?"
"Yes."
"There is no turning back, even now."
"I know."
"You know where we meet afterward."
"I know."
"We'll take my car. Peter and Simon are waiting at the hotel near the spot."
"Ohkay."
"Let's go."

He got into Paul Vancouver's long pink convertible for the ride. Paul Vancouver had booked a session for them downtown with Peter Ontario and Simon Quebec. They were going to blow their amazed onlookers away with quickswift notes and flawless time. He and Paul Vancouver met up with the two others at a Four Point Sheraton. They readied their musicmakers and positively charged straight through the downtown area on foot until they reached a First National.

Playing as quick as they could upon entry, not a soul there knew what to make of it. A shame considering the deadly crescendos descended one after another only to leave the masses shaking on the floor writhing before the band finished the jam.

When police finally appeared, almost as an afterthought, they found thirty-nine dead, imitationmarble walls reduced to the stucco plaster beneath its former façade, and the four shooters dead by their own notes.

All dead and dying were identified according to dental records.
The true names of the musicians were never disclosed.