Rebelmania — the newest reincarnation of Sherman Merkava and his Fayetteville Four — finally had an agent, a demo video, and were booked through Valentine’s Day at the Indian Hills Casino. “We’re takin’ off, Foxy,” he’d just finished saying to his wife of twenty-five years, as they toasted each other with their third long-neck Bud. His cell phone rang.
“Don’t answer it, Babe,” Foxy pleaded, but he picked it up on the third ring.
“Might be out agent with more good news. Hellll-ooo,” he sang. “What?” As the seconds ticked off, his smile disappeared along with his buzz.
“What, Babe?” Foxy said when he put down the phone and stared at the black TV screen.
“Bobby’s been arrested for rape.”
Sherman nodded. “His step-daughter. Says he’s been messin’ with her since she turned thirteen. Chuck says the newspaper identified him as being the drummer for Rebelmania.”
“Aw, shit.” Foxy collected the empties and headed for the kitchen. “I hope they string him up and cut off his balls.” Sherman tuned on the Steelers game. On the field were twenty-two gladiators who fought over a ball that wasn’t even round. In the stands, thousands of fans rooted for their side and against the other.
“Call the newspaper and tell them he’s no longer with the band, Shermie.” Foxy had returned with a tray of mugs, a pot of coffee, and sugar and cream, prompt and tidy. She always had coffee ready — a habit from her Denny-days.
“I can’t do that, Foxy. You know Bobby ain’t the kind to mess with no kid. He raised that girl like she was his own.”
“A woman doesn’t make a charge like that unless there’s some truth in it.” She handed him a mug of Joe — half cream, no sugar.
“The hell she don’t,” Sherman said, wincing and skimming his lips with his burnt tipped tongue. “Tiffany’s been a liar ever since she could talk. Remember those girls in junior high who wanted to kick her butt for tellin’ tales about them? If it weren’t for Bobby…” He was back in the Fayetteville County Jail with a public defender, being told to do the smart thing. Even if he was innocent, he was going down. His singer was underage and couldn’t legally give consent. I didn’t touch her, Sherman heard himself say for the hundredth time. Or was it the millionth? He’d copped a plea anyway. He couldn’t raise the $100,00.00 bail, and was going crazy.
He stared at Foxy, her face tense and her fist gripping her mug like a boa constrictor. Bobby was livin’ out everyman’s nightmare, and there was no way he’d sell him down the river. Bobby’s reputation was irreparable. They’d lose gigs if he kept him on. But the Casinos were full of men who’d give him knowing nods when their wives went back to the gambling tables. Some would tell their own tales of being poor and accused.
“Who’s winning?” Foxy said.
“Nobody yet,” Sherman said. And nobody does.
©2012 This work is the property of the author.