England's Rose

Chapter Six: A Band In Crisis

“Oh, I give up.”
Mary Phillips, better known now to the world as Stormer, the synth player and songwriter for hot rock band the Misfits screwed up her sheet of manuscript paper, tossing it across the room and into the rubbish bin, burying her head in her hands. It was almost ten o’clock at night and she had been working since six o’ clock at getting the main melody of the new song to fall right.
It worked, up to a point, but there was something missing, something major, and try as she might no additional medleys would fit in the way she wanted them to.
“We’re too limited. No scope.” She muttered to herself, getting to her feet and walking to the window to get some fresh air. “Three instruments aren’t enough, even with my synthesiser playing rhythm. How am I meant to come up with something new if I can’t diversify? Oh, this is hopeless. We’ll never have this one ready for the concert, and Pizzazz is gonna be mad when she finds out it isn’t done.”
Stormer had been a Misfit for a little over a year now, and in that time she had learnt a lot. She had begun very naïve, and in a lot of ways she still was, lacking the self-belief that would make her realise how important all her hard work was to the success of the band. It was Stormer who wrote the songs, Stormer who worked out the lyrics, and Stormer who took care of any musical glitches when the group were onstage. In a lot of ways, though, she liked it that way. Pizzazz, or Phyllis Gabor, the spoiled only daughter of a billionaire and Roxanne Pelligrini, a high school dropout from Philadelphia had no real attraction for work of any kind. Causing trouble was far more their specialty. To begin with the two girls had sparred almost all the time, but over their year and a bit together both had come to respect the other’s sense of mischief and they were quite a lethal team, often dragging Stormer herself in before she knew what was going on. Not that they were what anyone could call ‘friends’. Both girls had scorned the concept of friendship long ago, and their alliance was built out of tolerance and respect, nothing more. Stormer had long since given up trying to work out the good points her band-mates had, though she was sure that there were some there somewhere. And if she was honest, though they scared her sometimes, she was fond of them both, in an odd way. Particularly Roxy, for the two girls had known each other longer and were in each other’s debt.
She had never been quite confident enough to fight back against their ideas. They had a strong influence over her and she longed in many ways to be like them – daring and loud, with no lingering thoughts as to the consequences of their actions. She knew that deep down she wasn’t, and never would be, but most of the time she played along anyway. It was safer for her if she did, after all. Neither Pizzazz nor Roxy liked to be argued with.
The Misfits had had a rollercoaster of a year, she mused, as she pushed open the window, leaning on the sill as she allowed the cool night air to ruffle her hair. The project of Eric Raymond, a young and ambitious manager, the group had hit their first hurdle when Jerrica Benton, co-owner of the music company that had signed them had brought her own competing band on the scene. Jem and the Holograms had seemingly had a lot of breaks since then. Jerrica had gained control of the music company, Starlight Music, and the Misfits had been forced into second place.
This was something which Pizzazz was never prepared to sit back and accept. She wanted to be the best – fame was everything to her now.
 She had convinced her rich father to buy a music company to back them, known now as Misfit Music and run by the irreverent Raymond, and much of the last year had been spent trying to sabotage Jem and the Holograms’ success.
Not that they’d succeeded to any great degree. Stormer sighed, sinking back down into her chair. Somehow the girls from Starlight Music always seemed one step ahead of any prank the Misfits tried to pull.
Deep down, Stormer half-wished the rivalry would end, but she would never dare voice such treasonous ideas to her band-mates. Reluctantly she scooped up her manuscript book once more. She had a song to finish.
“You still working?”
A voice from the doorway made her turn and she met the disbelieving gaze of the group’s guitar player, known to all and sundry simply as ‘Roxy’. Roxy had become involved in Eric’s plans after circumstances had led her to Stormer’s house in a storm – the house was currently shut up, for the Misfits were staying in a big house owned by Pizzazz’s father – and she had more or less invited herself aboard. Stormer did not know much about Roxy’s past, only that she had dropped out of school when she had been fourteen and had been fending for herself since then. From the odd, cryptic hints that she dropped here and there, Stormer had decided that Roxy’s childhood had been far from happy, and had chosen not to pry. After all, the girl was doing okay for herself now. From being a nothing in the worst part of Philadelphia, she had become one of the Misfits, a band that was well known across the whole nation and who packed out concerts of their own wherever they played.
Okay, so maybe Jem and her group were more popular, but the Misfits were far from being nobodies.
“Yeah, I’m still working.” Stormer frowned. “Trying to finish that song.”
“The same song? Sheesh, Stormer, you’re not done yet?” Roxy demanded. “Let me see that.” She took the main melody sheet from the table. “What’s up with it? Looks okay to me.”
It had been a long hard battle to make Roxy learn how to read music, but in the end necessity had forced the platinum blond to give way, and now she was fairly competent at recognising notes. The fact that reading language was a skill that still eluded her was something she was extremely touchy about, but she had long since shrugged off the need to read. After all, she had a career already.
“Something’s missing. I just wish I could put my finger on what.” Stormer replied. “Oh, I don’t know.” She set down her pen. “I’ve had enough of it, anyway. Pizzazz will have to make do with this.”
“I can’t believe you spent four hours on a dumb song.” Roxy shook her head. “Stormer, you’re no fun, you know that? You always shut yourself away with this stupid book – you never want to do stuff any more.”
“If I don’t write songs we don’t have songs. We’ve been performing a lot lately and we need new material.” Stormer replied quietly, collecting up the sheets of paper and piling them neatly together.
“Cool out.” Roxy replied. “If I didn’t know better I’d say you actually like working.” She smirked. “You’ll never guess where Pizzazz and I were this afternoon.”
“Oh?” Stormer looked interested. “Where?”
“Starlight Music.” Roxy replied.
“What were you doing there?”
“What do you think? We were causing trouble for Jerrica.” Roxy shrugged. “We snuck into her office, switched all her files about and totally trashed her shelves. It was a blast.”
“You’ll get into trouble!”
“I said, cool out.” Roxy warned her. “Noone saw us. It was just a bit of fun, anyway. No hard feelings.” She grinned. “But we found something out, you know, while we were there.”
“Go on, what?”
“Well, some creep phoned the office while we were there and Pizzazz took the call. Pretended to be that cream puff secretary of Jerrica’s. Apparently there’s a rumour that Shana’s left the Holograms.”
“She’s what?” Stormer stared. Shana was the percussionist for Jem and the Holograms, a black girl with a determined attitude to life, and one that Roxy had had several run ins with before. “Quit? Did they have a row?”
“Who cares?” Roxy shrugged. “Don’t you get it? Jem’s lost her drummer, and they go on tour real soon, don’t they? If they don’t have a drummer, how can they perform?” she winked. “Maybe we should offer to do the tour for them.”
“You really think it’s true?” Stormer asked. Roxy shrugged.
 “Just telling you what Pizzazz said. The person on the phone was some designer woman or something – I don’t know. But isn’t it brilliant? And we didn’t have to do a thing. Jem and the Horrorgrams are finished!”
“You think so?” Stormer looked doubtful.
“Stormer, use your brains! They need four of them to bash out that soppy rubbish they call music.”
“Maybe they’ll get a new drummer.” Stormer suggested.
“In time for the tour? Yeah, right.” Roxy snorted. “Even Jem and her saps can’t work that quickly. I’m tellin’ ya, the stage is as good as ours.”
“I hope you’re right.” Stormer replied.
“Stop being a spoilsport. Relax!” Roxy instructed. “And forget the dumb song, huh? We’re going out – you can come with us.”
“I…” Stormer paused, then nodded. “Okay. Guess I need a break. Where are we going?”
“Down town.” A glint came into Roxy’s eye. “To make a little Misfit mischief.”

 * * * * * * * * * * *
“You can’t be serious?”
In the lobby of a Los Angeles hotel, a man with spiky bleached hair put his hands on his hips, staring at his companion with utter shock. “You just can’t be serious…Jetta, you can’t just walk out on us like this!”
Jetta ran her fingers through her thick dark hair with a sigh.
“Listen, Snake, I told ya. I’m not comin’ back to London with you lot when you go.” She responded wearily. “Coming to America ‘as been a dream of mine for long enough and now I’m here I want to explore a bit. In any case, I’m bored. I need something new.”
“Has Allie been saying things again?” Snake, leader of the amateur band the Tinkerbillys demanded, naming his girlfriend Alison, whom Jetta had never seen eye to eye with. That was partly Snake’s own fault, for Allie was innately jealous of anyone spending time with her man, and Snake had been attracted to Jetta the first time he’d met her. Not that she’d ever given him any reason to think that she might be interested back – that just wasn’t her style. She was independent, quick thinking and shrewd, and Snake admired her for it.
“It’s nothing to do with Allie.” Jetta shook her head. “I just want a new challenge, that’s all.” She shrugged. “What can I say? Nothing lasts forever.” She offered him a grin. “Ain’t the end of the world, Snake. You can find a new sax player, no trouble. The Tinkerbillys ain’t quite the small time band they were – you’ve done America now.”
“Yeah, and look at the reception. We’ve barely had a good crowd one night we’ve been here.” Snake rolled his eyes. “Guess the yanks just don’t understand what we’re tryin’ to do here.”
“I don’t blame them.” Jetta thought to herself with a slight smile. The Tinkerbillys were not the most musical of groups, and it had taken her some time to get used to their unique sound.
“Look, Snake, me mind’s made up.” She said now with a shrug.
“How are we ever going to replace you?” Snake demanded. “You’re dynamite, Jetta. Pure dynamite. We’ll never find anyone as good as you in a million years.”
“I ain’t that good, and you’ll have no trouble.” Jetta responded dryly. “It’s sweet of you to say, love, but the Tinkerbillys were a group before I came along and I don’t see why this is such a crisis.”
Snake shook his head slowly. How could he explain to her how much it meant to him for her to stay? He was not one to reveal his own feelings to people, and Jetta herself scorned anything that came under the heading of ‘mush’. She had never let him get as close to her as he’d have liked to, and now it seemed he’d never get a chance to break her down.
She was leaving them.
“You will play out our last concerts tonight and tomorrow, though?” he asked her.
“Of course.” Jetta nodded. “Finish with a bang.” She grinned. “Cheer up, duckie. Think of all them American birds you could be making the eye at tonight!”
Snake stared at her. He had had no idea that she knew only too well how his train of thought ran.
“Not much point. Allie would go mad and I can’t smuggle ‘em back in me luggage.” Was all he said, however. Allie was so clingy he had not yet been able to shake off her affections.
“Allie’s a drip.” Jetta looked scornful. “My advice is put ‘er on a plane to Malaysia with a one way ticket an’ leave her to it.”
“Sometimes I’m tempted.” Snake sighed. “Hey, what are you going to do over here? You don’t have a work permit. How are you going to find work?”
“I’ll think of something. Don’t worry about me, Snake, I can take care of meself.” Jetta shrugged, though the work permit problem was something that concerned her, also. “Anyway, it’s gettin’ late an’ I need to change if I’m gonna play tonight. I’ll see you later, okay?”
With that she sauntered towards the lift, heading back up to her room to shower and change for the concert.
Left alone, Snake sank down into an empty chair, burying his head in his hands. He knew that there would be no changing her mind now. Once Jetta had decided something, that was it. And he knew he was going to miss her, worse than he’d ever realised.
“She’s more than just the band’s saxophonist, she’s part of our sound and more…I want her to stay.” He told himself, banging his fist angrily down on a nearby coffee table. “We’re nothing without her these days – and I might never see her again if she doesn’t fly back with us.” He sighed. “She can take care of herself, though, and she doesn’t need me. She doesn’t need anyone…she’ll make things work.” He stood, slowly walking towards the lift himself. “And who knows? Maybe one day she really will be a star.”

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“Stormer, where’s that song?”
Pizzazz sent the synth player an irritated look. “You said it’d be done by today and I’m sick of waiting for it.”
“It’s here.” Stormer reached into her bag with a sigh. “But I’m still not sure about it, Pizzazz…something’s missing.”
“Give me that.” Pizzazz snatched the sheet music from her companion, skimming over it. “What’s wrong with it, then?”
“It needs a counter melody.” Stormer looked surprised, for Pizzazz was not usually interested in the composition of songs, merely in how good they sounded when she performed them. Not that Pizzazz felt that the group relied on Stormer, more that they left the boring stuff to the submissive younger girl. She was certain that she could write a song if she wanted to, only it was too much like hard work, and pointless when Stormer’s songs would do just as well. Over her time with the band, Stormer had learnt the kind of lyrics and beat Pizzazz expected from her, and had honed the style to perfection to avoid as much criticism as possible. Roxy had a short attention span, in any case, so any chance of working on the song as a group to improve it was very remote indeed. Stormer wrote every song she did with Pizzazz’s vocals in mind, and ninety percent of the time her work met with grudging or unspoken  approval…that was good enough for her. She had no mind to lose her place in the band by refusing to produce music – she was nothing without the Misfits.
At least, that was what she had been led to believe, and, being the trusting soul she was, she had taken the idea to heart. Whilst Pizzazz and Roxy both treated the world at large with a self-centred, suspicious air, Stormer preferred to believe the best in people.
She had not allowed herself to form too much of an opinion of the Holograms. Too dangerous to try it, with Pizzazz so dead set against them. The two groups were rivals, and that was that. Stormer had learnt to think of them as a nuisance, but she had very little actual malice for the other band. In fact, she had very little actual malice anywhere inside of her. It made her an unlikely Misfit.
“Well, if it needs a counter melody, smarty pants, why doesn’t it have a counter melody?” Pizzazz’s eyes narrowed.
“We…we don’t have enough instruments to play one.” Stormer faltered. Pizzazz was intimidating when displeased, and that was most of the time. “Even if I program my synth to take the beat.”
Pizzazz rolled her eyes.
“Great.” She muttered. “Always some excuse, isn’t there? Well, I suppose it’ll have to do, won’t it? Without the counter.” She glared at Stormer, then took the music, setting it down on the unit as she reached for her guitar. Stormer bit her lip. It could have been worse. Many had the time been when her hard work had been greeted with a sneer and her precious manuscripts had wound up in several pieces on the floor.
At least this time it seemed the melody would pass muster, even if it wasn’t one of her best.
“Where’s my part?” Roxy demanded.
“Here.” Stormer held out the sheet for bass guitar, glad at least that Roxy had knuckled to learning to read music. All of her sheet music was marked in the corner with a star, so she knew it was her part, and each song had been numbered, for the blond was incapable of reading song titles. All the backing lyrics were recorded by Stormer onto cassette for her companion to learn, and so far her illiteracy had been more or less kept a secret from the scornful Pizzazz and the ambitious Eric Raymond.
Though she would never admit it, Roxy was ashamed of her lack of reading ability. School had never been important to her in the past, and she had little regret for dropping out as young as she had. But it had begun to occur to her that not learning to read hadn’t done her any favours. It was too late now for her to consider beginning – her pride was dead set against it – and she had shrugged it off with a nonchalant ‘so what?’ But deep inside of her it bothered her that she wasn’t able to read everything that her companions could. It was more than a little humiliating to have to have her lyrics recorded to tape in order for her to learn them, but at least Pizzazz hadn’t yet found her out. That was one humiliation she wasn’t sure she could take.
She picked up her bass guitar, glancing over the music with a frown. It was typical. Stuck practicing some dumb new song when they could be outside topping up on their tans by the pool of the big Gabor mansion. Life was a drag sometimes.
Roxy liked the high life that being a Misfit had brought her. No more scrounging for food or shelter, or risking her neck by stealing here and there. She had never had any attention bestowed on her as a child, so she, like Pizzazz, loved the idea of being a household name.
Stormer sighed, setting herself to programming a new beat into her synthesiser, and then glancing idly over her own part. She knew it pretty well already, after all, she had written it. She played the opening few bars, then stopped. It still lacked something.
“Maybe when Pizzazz sings over it it’ll sound less jerky.” She told herself. “I hope so, anyway. We don’t have enough variety of instruments and it’d be nice if those two would help me out sometimes with ideas – I think I’m running dry!”
“Good morning, girls!”
Eric made his entrance at that moment, looking unusually cheerful. He didn’t often involve himself directly in a Misfit practice session – bruises acquired from flying bits and pieces had taught him that it was safer to remain outside, but that morning he decided to try his luck, hoping that neither Pizzazz nor Roxy were in a throwing mood.
“What’s got you so perky?” Pizzazz demanded, pausing in her appraisal of the music with a displeased frown on her face. “We’re trying to practice here, you know, and if you keep butting in we’ll be stuck doing this even longer.”
“Oh, nothing in particular.” Eric responded with a smile. “How’s the new song coming?”
“It isn’t.” Stormer sighed, sliding her synth off her shoulder. “Eric, how am I supposed to write new songs when I’ve got only the same three instruments and same eight basic notes to work with? It isn’t possible.”
“Excuses.” Roxy rolled her eyes.
“Now, I’m sure it’s great.” Eric did not seem to be paying much attention to Stormer’s complaint, but then, he very rarely took much serious notice of complaints raised by any of them. They had become useful to him in more ways than just musically – he had managed more than once to manipulate their sense of mischief to doing his bidding in other areas, convincing them that they were getting something out of it. He was a shrewd operator and he had his three protégées well sussed out.
“When you’re done, come up to my office.” He continued. “I’ve something that I need to discuss with you.”
“But Eric, it’s almost nine o’ clock already!” Roxy protested. “You gonna keep us here all night?”
“Not at all, my dear Roxy.” Eric sent her one of his patently false grins. “I just have a little proposition for you three to consider, that’s all. I’ll leave you to it.”
“What do you suppose that jerk’s up to now?” Pizzazz asked once he had left the room, looking suspicious.
“Who knows?” Roxy shrugged. “He’s plannin’ something, though.” She scowled. “He’d better not be planning to keep us here too late, I wanna go out tonight!”
“Like he could keep us locked in his office.” Pizzazz looked scornful. “We’re three on one, girl. Even with Stormer, we could still have him tethered to his pot plants within minutes.”
Stormer ignored the jibe, turning her attention back to the song and playing the opening bars again.
“Pizzazz, maybe if you tried the vocals?” she asked hesitantly, for she knew better than to tell the singer what she should do.
Pizzazz’s eyes narrowed, but she snatched up the lyric sheet, glancing over them.
“Well, least these aren’t so bad.” She said. “I Like Your Style…whose style, Stormer? Another of your make-believe people?”
“I…I don’t know.” Stormer admitted. “I just…thought…”
“Well, it ain’t gonna be about Jem.” Roxy smirked. “Hey, you think that Shana chick really has quit on them?”
“I’m counting on it.” A slow smile spread across Pizzazz’s face. “Best move that cream puff wimp ever made, leaving those no-hopers.” She tossed the piece of paper aside. “Okay, lets give this song some life, huh? Stormer, you’ll have to play my part. I can’t sing and play.”
“But…” Stormer’s eyes opened wide.
 “No buts, Stormer!” Pizzazz interrupted her. “What do you want me to do, huh? Sing or play?”
“Okay.” Stormer sighed. “Let me just set up the synth…”
It wasn’t impossible for her to play both parts, for they harmonised fairly well together, she mused. And she was all too used to having to take on the extra melody, for Pizzazz, whose forte had never been guitar, all too often waltzed off with the microphone, casting her own accompaniment aside. It was, in all truth, a good thing for the Misfits that Stormer was such a natural musician, else they would have found themselves in dire straits long before this.
A gruelling hour later, the song was beginning to sound more like a song and less like a cacophony. As she finished the vocal line for the eighteenth time, Pizzazz turned and tossed the microphone clean out of the studio window.
“There, bored with it.” She announced, shutting the window firmly. “I’m not singing that thing again till we’re on stage, all right?”
Stormer, who was used to Pizzazz destroying bits of musical equipment wondered idly what poor soul the microphone had landed on this time. Having grown up with so much money, Pizzazz rarely considered how expensive her destructive behaviour was for her father’s company, and even if she had known she probably would not have cared. Her father was there to indulge her many whims, whatever the cost.
“Guess we’d better go see what that creep Eric wants.” Roxy observed with a frown. “Where does he get off telling us what to do, anyway? Jerk.”
“He’s a loser.” Pizzazz nodded. “And I want to know why he’s so happy today…come on, girls. Let’s go beat it out of him.”
Stormer knew that practice was over for the day and she put her synthesiser safely back in it’s case, following her companions upstairs to the big office Eric called his own. Life outside work for Eric Raymond held little meaning, so the office was almost his second home.
And Pizzazz delighted in upsetting him by wrecking it from time to time.
Not today, however. Today Eric was seated at his desk, filing tax reports and damage claims when the girls entered – no Misfit ever knocked – and he bestowed them all with a smile.
“Well, my dears, how goes the song?” he asked.
“Like you care.” Roxy snapped. “Come on, Raymond, out with it. What’s this big proposition of yours?”
“Well, firstly I think you should take a look at this.” Eric pushed a magazine across the table, and Pizzazz snatched it up, leafing through the pages. Her eyes narrowed as she registered what was on the front cover.
“A talent search?” she demanded. “Jem and the Holograms are having a talent search?”
“It seems they need a new drummer.” Eric nodded his head.
“Yeah, we know. So?” Roxy demanded.
Stormer nodded.
“They can’t get one in time for their tour.” She said, then paused. “Can they?”
“Well, Jerrica seems to think that they can.” Eric replied. “And fliers and articles have been posted all over the place to get people’s attention.”
“How’s that such a good thing, Eric?” Pizzazz exclaimed.
“If you’ll trust me, I have a plan.” Eric responded, his expression infuriatingly calm. “We’re going to upstage them.”
“Upstage them? How?” Stormer asked.
“Well, if you’d just listen to me for a moment, I’ll explain.” Eric retorted. “I’d appreciate it if…”
“Oh, get to the point, will you?” Roxy snapped. “We do want to leave this dump sometime tonight, you know!”
Pizzazz’s gaze ran down the article.
“I still don’t see why this is such a good thing, Eric.” She said, her tone petulant. “Listen to this. ‘The nationwide talent search that’s gotten under way in the last few hours looks to be the hottest news of the year, as percussionists from all over the country travel to Los Angeles in the hope of being selected. Word of Shana’s disappearance has spread fast and in the urgent race to meet the deadline for the start of the Holograms’ tour, the presses have been buzzing louder than ever.’ We’re going to have to go some to upstage that. This idea of yours had better be good, Eric.”
“Oh, it is.” Eric nodded. “In fact it’ll be the last thing any of them are expecting from us. I hope you had no special plans for tonight, ladies…I’ve a little assignment for you.”
“What are you gonna get us doing now, Eric?” Roxy demanded. “Just remember who’s working for who around here, all right? You can’t tell us what to do!”
“Yeah, we’re the Misfits.” Stormer nodded her head.
“Give me strength.” Eric rolled his eyes. “Pizzazz, are you done with that article now? I’d kind of like to get this settled tonight. We haven’t any time to lose.”
Pizzazz was paying little attention to her manager.
 “The question that everybody is asking is ‘who will be the new drummer for Jem and the Holograms.” She read aloud. “That witch and her group are getting tons of free publicity out of this! It’s driving me crazy!” She tore the magazine in half, tossing it onto the floor.
“Come on, we have clubs to visit.” Eric smiled his infuriating smile once more.
“Clubs?” Now Pizzazz stared at him. “For what?”
“For the one thing that will knock Jem out of the news.” Eric paused for effect. “A new Misfit.”

 * * * * * * * * * * *
“Are you really quitting on us, Jetta?”
Bongo, drummer for the Tinkerbillys for many a year now eyed the sax player in consternation as she tuned up her instrument. She turned, nodding her head.
“Yep, I really am, Bongo.” She responded, sitting herself down on the bench. It was quarter of an hour before her last ever Tinkerbilly appearance, and despite herself she felt a buzz inside of her. This was the end of one era, but the beginning of something new. She didn’t know what the future would hold for her, but she was determined that she was going to get somewhere, and be something. The Tinkerbillys had served their purpose, but there was no challenge, no excitement. She needed something new.
“Well, I’m glad she’s going.” Allie scrutinised herself in the mirror, examining her make-up. “Good riddance to bad rubbish.”
“Thanks.” Jetta smiled dryly. “Allie, if you stare into the mirror much more you’ll break it with your ugly mug. You ain’t working any miracles with that makeup so give up. It’s not gonna hide your singing voice, anyhow.”
“Why, you…” Allie scowled, tossing her lipstick at her foe, who dodged it with little difficulty.
“I won’t miss you either.” She said with a shrug, turning back to her saxophone.
Bongo glanced across at Snake, who usually broke up spats between Jetta and Allie with a curt few words, but tonight it seemed their leader was lost to the world. He had not said anything to anyone about his feelings for Jetta, and knew he never would, especially not to the girl herself, but he was not looking forward to going back to London without her. And, emotions aside, he knew that they would be hard pressed to find another sax player with as much class.
“But we’ll have to try.” He told himself. “I’ll be damned if I’m going to let the Tinkerbillys fizzle out and die just because one of our number is going AWOL.”
“Tinkerbillys? Five minutes.” A club employee put his head around the door of the makeshift dressing room the group were tuning up in, and Jetta got to her feet, saxophone in hand. After a glance at her reflection to make sure that her hair and make-up were okay, she slid the saxophone’s strap over her shoulder.
“Guess we should make it a good one tonight.” She said thoughtfully. “Or as good as we ever get,” she added to herself silently.
“We always do.” Jerry, the laid back keyboardist of the band sent her a grin. “You want a good send off, huh, Jetta?”
“I’ll give her a good send off.” Allie muttered under her breath. Jetta just rolled her eyes, swinging open the door.
“Come on.” Was all she said, however. “Let’s go.”

“This was a bad idea.” Roxy grumbled as the Misfits followed Eric back out to his car. “We’ve done five clubs and they’ve all been awful. Worse than awful. How long do we have to do this?”
“Yeah, what exactly are we s’posed to be looking for?” Pizzazz demanded. “You can’t just make someone a Misfit, Eric. It takes a special kind of person.”
“I know what kind of person it takes.” Eric retorted, glancing between the two musicians. “Shut up your complaining, will you? Do you want Jem to have all the publicity to herself?”
“No, not unless it’s bad publicity.” Pizzazz clenched her fists. “That witch Jem always has to be in every paper or t.v show – it makes me sick! Who wants to see old pink hair and the wimpograms anyway?”
“Then come on.” Eric pulled open the car door, allowing his companions to get inside. “Trust me.”
“Yeah, right.” Roxy snorted. “You better not be wasting our time, Eric.”
“This isn’t exactly a fun night out.” Pizzazz agreed.
Stormer remained silent. She was, if she was honest, in two minds about Eric’s idea. Sure, a new band member would solve her musical crisis, for she would have another instrument to write for, and from that point of view she was keen as anything. But then…she dreaded to think what sort of person Pizzazz and Roxy would approve as a new Misfit. Dealing with two of them was often hard enough work. She wasn’t sure how well her sanity would stand up to three.
“Still, if it gets Jem out of the news Pizzazz will stop her tantrums.” She told herself with a sigh. “So I suppose it’ll work out in the end. And who knows? The new member might not be so bad. I guess I just have to let it go and wait and see what happens.”

Chapter One: Life in London
Chapter Two: The Saxophone
Chapter Three: A Friend In Need
Chapter Four: Never Again...

Chapter Five: Sheila's Decision
Chapter Six: A Band In Crisis
Chapter Seven: First Night
Chapter Eight: Making It Happen

Chapter Nine: The Misfits In London
Chapter Ten: On Every Screen...
Chapter Eleven: A Musical Reunion
Chapter Twelve: Jealousy
Chapter Thirteen: An Old Acquaintance
Chapter Fourteen: Doing London
Chapter Fifteen: Sabotage!
Chapter Sixteen: The Final Straw
Chapter Seventeen: Opening Night
Chapter Eighteen: Jetta

(The Misfits and Holograms and other animated Jem characters are copyrighted to Hasbro Inc. All characters who do not appear in Jem episodes are my own creation. This story is copyrighted to E.A Woolley (2001)