We got to the Club Cassandra in record time -- thanks to Mikeís speedy driving. A slight tinge of homesickness caused my stomach to churn even more than it already was as I remembered my cybermotherís driving. I thought back to the cyberfamily fanfic and "Dianaís" too-fast driving and realized I really missed my nightly writing sessions with Enola.
I gotta get home so I can get back to Agnes and Alís lives, I thought.
As we walked inside with our myriad instruments to set up, Mike whispered in my ear, "Penny for your thoughts."
"Just a little homesick. Your driving reminded me of my cybermomís."
"You wanna stay in the audience tonight? We -- "
"No! I wanna play Mike. Iím up to it. Iíll be fine."
"Okay." He gently squeezed my shoulder, then walked over to the bandstand where Peter was carefully erecting his keyboard and Micky was setting up his drums. I laid the bass and acoustic guitar down on the edge of the bandstand, well away from Micky, and bent down to help. I briefly worried when I noticed he was wearing a crash helmet but I just bit my lip and pulled a rack tom from its case and screwed it into its holder. Working in tandem, we had the drums set up in just under three minutes.
"Letís do a sound check and tune up. Mick, you tune the acoustic. Len -- bass. Peter -- 6-string. Iíll tune the 12-string. Whoís got the tuner?" Mike drawled. Isabel shoved it into his hand.
Tuning the guitars took only a couple of minutes, then Micky and I tuned his drums. I silently thanked the percussion class Iíd tried to take my freshman year of college -- I had to drop it because I was struggling, but I did learn how to tune a drum properly.
Once all of our set-up and tuning was done, I glanced around the club. It looked just like the club in "The Spy Who Came In From The Cool." That brought another lump to my throat as I realized just how much I missed Madame, my cyberaunt. There were tables along the walls, with the middle of the floor completely open for dancing. Triangular pillows were scattered liberally around and small electric lamps were on each table. There was no front curtain on the stage but there were golden curtains at the back and sides of it. Exactly like in the show.
Isa brought drinks over from the bar for all of us. Sprite with cherry juice in it for me and Micky, iced tea for Peter and Davy, and coffee for her and Mike.
"I wasnít sure what to get you so I just got what Micky always has before a gig," she said. I grinned, downing the drink in one big gulp.
"Thanks. I needed that!" She took the empty glass, gaping at me. And when Micky also downed his drink in record time, her jaw dropped and she just stared at the two of us for a minute.
"Are you sure youíre not related?" she asked once she recovered. Micky and I both shrugged.
"Ready to play, Monkees?" the manager asked as he walked up to us.
"We sure are," Mike drawled. "And weíve got a whole new set list and new arrangements for all our songs Ďcause Mickyís sister has moved in with us and joined the band. Mr. MacTavish, meet Lenora Dolenz."
"Ah, yes. Easy to see the family resemblance. Wonderful to meet you." Micky beamed. Iíd let slip a few days before about how I sometimes curled my hair -- ending up with a fro much like his, and thus heíd insisted I curl it for the gig. Iíd borrowed Isaís curling iron and now I looked for all the world like a short, female Micky -- except my jawline was not quite so prominent. I saw Isa giving Mike a "you must be joking look" and getting a "later" glare in response.
"Well why donít you go backstage now. Weíll be opening the doors in five minutes." The manager then hustled over to the bar, getting stuff ready.
"I thought you said they werenít related!" Isa hissed at Mike.
"Theyíre not. But as far as MacTavish is concerned, they are."
"And to the cop we ran into in the parking lot and the guy at the DMV, Mike is my uncle," I giggled. "Canít let anyone know where I really came from!"
"I see. Well, guys, break a leg!" Isa said, then gave me a quick "good luck" hug, and whispered something in Mikeís ear before we headed backstage.
"You okay Len? Nervous at all?" Peter asked me quietly while we waited for our cue.
"Iím petrified, to tell you the truth. But Iíll be fine. I always am," I sighed. Then I looked up at him and saw the confused look in his eyes. "Iíve done quite a bit of public speaking before. Iím always very nervous but once Iím up there, I automatically do a great job. Iíll manage," I added.
"One minute!!!!" Micky shouted.
"Shaddup," Mike drawled, but there was a twinkle in his eyes as he did.
"Ladies and gentlemen, letís give a warm Club Cassandra welcome to the Monkees!"
That was our cue. We stepped out and moved to our places on the bandstand. I snagged the bass and took my spot toward the left side of the bandstand, right in front of the drums, in between Davy and Peter. Our first song was "Last Train to Clarksville." Then Peter carefully placed the acoustic guitar on its stand and moved to the keyboards for "She." Micky and I sang in perfect harmony, causing a couple of audience members to swoon.
Next I handed the bass to Davy and grabbed the electric 6-string. Mike reluctantly exchanged his 12-string for the acoustic. My stomach completely emptied of butterflies as we played the best performance of "Pleasant Valley Sunday" ever!
The gig just got better and better. My confidence grew with each song. Next up was "Circle Sky." I was back on bass for this one and since I wasnít doing any vocals, I was able to step back from the mike and just let my Torkaholic side come out as I danced around like Peter.
Then we did our new arrangement of "Never Tell A Woman Yes." By the end of the song, my ears were ringing from the shrill screams of the audience.
I left the keyboards and pulled a microphone from itís stand, moving to stand beside Micky while I provided harmony vocals on "Teardrop City" and "All the Kings Horses."
"Weíre goiní ta take a break. Weíll be back in a half hour," Mike announced. We all moved to join Isabel at a table.
"You guys were great!" Isa cried. A waiter came up and we ordered drinks -- same as weíd had earlier.
"Wonderful, boys, wonderful! Dolenz -- you and your sister make a wonderful singing team," the manager cried as he came to our table.
"Yeah, Ďeís right. You two do make a great team!" Davy said, beaming at me with those damn stars again.
"Dolenz and Dolenz. Almost sounds like a law firm. Davy -- donít you have a groupie or three to make eyes at? Youíre startiní to spook me!" I said.
Davy stuck his tongue out at me but got up and headed for a table full of women anyway. By the time we headed onstage for the second half of our set, heíd gathered phone numbers from at least half a dozen girls.
"Well, Davyís got enough dates for the rest of the month, Iíd say. Maybe two," I deadpanned while adjusting the bass strap. Davy was trying to get up to the bandstand but several girls were hanging on tight and not letting go. Micky collapsed over his floor tom in a fit of Micky-giggles.
Peter grinned and started plucking out a rhythm on his banjo. I picked up on it and added a bass embellishment. Micky wiped the tears of laughter from his eyes and gave us a snare drum roll, while Mike added the most complicated riff Iíd ever heard. Together, we accompanied Davyís trip up to the bandstand.
"Verra funny fellas. Letís get started, shall we?" Davy asked, brushing himself off.
"We were just waiting for you to provide percussion, little buddy," Mike drawled with a perfectly straight face. Davy rolled his eyes and gathered up his maracas.
We started the second half with a newer song of Mikeís -- "You Told Me." Then Mike and Peter did something of a flip-flop. Mike came over to the keyboards while Peter played lead guitar on his latest, "For Peteís Sake." They switched back for "Words." After that we played "Cuddly Toy" -- there were a lot of girls swooning during that one. I stepped backstage then for a short reprieve while the guys played "You May Just Be The One." Theyíd built a couple of breaks into the set list for me, since I didnít know many songs and I also wasnít used to performing for the entire length of a gig.
I came back out and sang on "Saturdayís Child" -- one of my favourites since I was a Saturdayís child. I took the acoustic guitar for "Letís Dance On," which got the entire audience, even Isabel, on their feet dancing. We finished off with a rocking version of "Mary, Mary," Micky singing the *right* words this time and Mike and I providing wonderfully harmonized backing vocals.
Shouts of "Encore!" and "More, more, more!" were heard from the audience before weíd barely finished playing.
"You want more?" Mike asked, deadpan. The audience roared. "Okay -- just one more."
He counted us off and we played "(Iím Not Your) Steppin Stone," adding extra improvised instrumental embellishments in between verses and ending with a really groovey psychedelic jam. As we walked off-stage, women were practically throwing themselves on the stage.
Mr. MacTavish was waiting for us backstage with papers in hand. "That was fantastic! Iíd like to sign you to a three month contract -- performing Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights for three hours each night."
"Three months?" Micky gasped.
"Three hours?" I squeaked. My fingers were killing me after an hour set with three breaks!
"Yes. What do you say, boys, and lady? I thought your sound was great before but with that lovely new voice itís even better!"
Mike snagged the contract from his hand and read it over. He passed it to me. I wasnít sure what to make of the dollar amounts because I wasnít sure what the nineteen-sixties dollar was worth but it seemed to be a good contract. There werenít any nasty loopholes or clauses that I could see. I handed it to Peter, who read it carefully and passed it to Micky. Micky skimmed it and handed it to Davy who read it twice before giving it back to Mike.
"Can we talk this over a minute?" Mike asked.
"Certainly." He left and moments later Isabel joined us.
"Itís a major mob scene out there!" she cried. "You guys are a hit!"
"Yeah, and look at this," Mike drawled, handing her the contract.
"Wow! This is great!" she exclaimed. "Sign, sign, this is just the break you need!"
By the time the club had cleared, we had a hefty contract and hundred dollar bonuses in each of our pockets. One hundred dollars in cash for each of us, for tonightís performance and as a signing bonus.
In the car we all talked about what we were going to do with our money. Micky needed new drumsticks, Davy wanted new maracas, Mike planned on getting some spare strings, and Peter wasnít sure.
"What about you Lenora?" Mike asked.
"Well, first off Iím going to stock up on beading and earring supplies. Iíve gone far too long without making a new pair of earrings or stringing a new set of love beads. Then Iím going to get some clothes."
"Wise choice," Davy said. I was still borrowing his clothes, even though I now had a couple pairs of flares and 8-button shirts of my own.
"Then letís go shopping tomorrow to celebrate!" Mike drawled.
Last updated 13 OCT 98
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