"Hey!" a voice called from behind John as he made his way to the small corner stage.
"Better tune that thing up. I know it was in the back of that ninety-five degree Jeep all day long. I'll bet the strings are like rubber bands," Brad spouted in his usual boisterous tone. He had his sleeves rolled up on his white shirt and a dishtowel slung over his shoulder. He had a dirty red apron tied around his waist with the name Sundowner scripted on it and the print of a fading yellow sun behind the lettering. He was a lanky man with curly blond hair. His teeth were a little oversized for his face and gave him a look of always smiling. This was not a bad thing but it was hard to tell when the man was angry.
"Love the apron," John remarked and then turned back around to open his guitar case.
"I don't know why you won't leave your guitar here like we do."
"She's my baby," John admitted. "You just don't leave your baby lying around."
Brad shook his head and shrugged his shoulders. "I'll be ready to play when the guys show up." He turned back toward the bar and asked, "You work out any of the originals?"
"Not really," John said. "I'll thumb my way through like I usually do." He looked up but Brad was already back behind the bar cleaning up. He took a few minutes to plug into his electronic tuner and sat on one of the stools on the stage. It was a cramped stage with a shabby, blue and black colored carpet covering it. John didn't like the carpet because it made him trip where the holes had been patched with duct tape. He thought it would be better to just leave the wood and not even bother covering it, but he was out voted and the carpet stayed. Brad did say that he was going to get new carpet for the whole place pretty soon. Meanwhile the nightmares still toyed with John's mind as he saw himself tumbling out on somebody's table during one of their sets.
John finished tuning up and practiced with his guitar unplugged. He felt bad about not going over the originals like Brad had asked everyone in the band to do. Their hopes were to make it with their own songs. That couldn't be done playing cover tunes.
Brad was walking back over and this time he had lost the apron. "I heard back from one of the demo tapes we sent out last month," he said as he turned on his keyboard and got the PA system going.