Up All Night
Tonight’s show had been a hard one, we’d played outdoor venues plenty of times in the past, but this time the heat had been almost unbearable. Our clothes were stuck to our sweaty bodies, and costume changes were a complete nightmare. Some fans may think our wardrobe assistants have the perfect job – getting to undress the Backstreet Boys – but let me tell you, it’s not pleasant trying to peel soaking wet clothes off of an equally soaking wet body, and then having to put something else on and be back on stage in about one minute. It was no wonder all any of us wanted to do afterwards was take a nice cool shower and then go back to our hotel to literally chill in our air-conditioned rooms. I don’t think any of us were up for a night of clubbing...well…not at the moment anyhow!
“See you in the morning” Brian said as the elevator doors opened and we all stepped out. His room was the first on the left and as always, he was eager to get back to his family. Not that there is anything wrong with that – I’m a married man with a young son too - but sometimes it would be nice if he’d socialise with the rest of us a bit more.
Even though I’d had a shower at the venue, I couldn’t resist the urge to take another once I’d got to my room. I stood under the multiple shower heads and let the cool water run down my body, revitalising me. Maybe a night out with the boys wouldn’t be such a bad idea after all!
It wasn’t to be.
Nick couldn’t be bothered to get dressed, he was sitting in a pair of shorts playing some game on his laptop and seemed like he was there for the night. AJ, well he wasn’t answering the door when I knocked and his phone was unavailable…no doubt he was on the phone to his girlfriend, where he would most likely spend a good couple of hours.
And so I walked dejectedly back to my own room with no plan of action. My wife (who had stayed home with our son) would be fast asleep by now, and I didn’t want to wake her just because I was bored, that would be selfish of me.
As usual there was nothing on TV worth watching, and so I found myself flipping open my laptop. I decided to see if there were any good reviews of our recent shows. Every once in a while I was pleasantly surprised to see reporters actually taking the time to write up an honest review, instead of the usual crap about us being an aging boy band trying to regain our youth via nostalgia tours. Didn’t they do their research? We were still making music, still working hard at what we loved. No way were we just a nostalgia act!
Anyway, after reading a few reports I decided to log in to Twitter and update the fans, maybe even tweet a few. Being curious, I clicked on one of their profiles and saw a link to another site and the words ‘just updated’. I clicked on it and was taken to a fan fiction site.
“Wow, are these still around?” I mumbled to myself. Obviously I’d heard of fan fiction, in fact there was one incident in which a fan thrust a folder containing a story she’d written right at Nick as we’d been trying to get into our hotel. We’d all had a laugh over that one, how Nick had fallen in love with the girl at first sight and went on to have a dozen kids and live happily ever after. But that was years ago, back in the old days. I hadn’t realised fan fiction was still around and certainly hadn’t read any in years. They never seemed to be about me anyway, always Nick!
The story I’d clicked on wasn’t making a lot of sense, probably because the link had taken me to some point halfway through the story, and so I went back to the home page of the site. Do I really want to read this stuff? It might freak me out to see what fans write about us. I had nothing else to do and once again, my curiosity got the better of me.
I found the site easy enough to navigate and saw a whole page full of stories to pick from. Some of these writers made elaborate banners to go with their stories and I had to admire the thought and effort they put into it. Others merely let the story summary do the talking, and I had to admit, I was curious enough to read on and find out more. But a knock on my door stopped me before I could click on the one story which had caught my attention with both the banner and the summary. It was called Song For The Undead and it looked really good.
“Hey D, you in there?” called AJ from the other side of the door.
“Hang on” I called and pushed the laptop to one side.
“So…what you doing?” AJ said, walking straight into my room once I’d opened the door “watching porn?”
“No” I quickly replied. That wouldn’t really help me sleep now would it?
“Fanfics? You’re reading fanfics?” AJ queried as he sat down in front of my laptop.
“Erm…no, I was just…” I stumbled.
“Hey, I read them too. In fact, I have to tell you, this story is epic. I’m a bad ass, gun toting zombie killer…”
“Wait, you mean you’ve read this?” I asked
“Yeah, in case you hadn’t noticed, we have a lot of time between shows and there has to be something to do to pass the time. So when I’m not hanging with you guys, I read fanfics” AJ shrugged.
I was completely surprised. But then again, this was AJ, so nothing should really shock me when it came to him.
“Are there any about me?” I asked hopefully.
“Oh yeah, but you’re usually in the background winking or some shit” he laughed “but this story, you’re one of the main characters”
“Cool” I grinned.
“But, you start off as kind of an asshole” he told me.
“Thanks, go on, spoil it for me!” I shook my head.
“Hey, is this a new chapter?” AJ grinned at the screen.
“How would I know, I’ve not read it yet!” Howie retorted, a little pissed off that AJ was hogging his laptop when he himself wanted to read that story.
“OK, I can take a hint” AJ said, backing away from the computer.
“Sorry” I replied “you can stay and read if you want to”
“No, it’s OK; I’ll go back and read it in my own room. I might even work on the story I’ve been writing” he chuckled.
“You write fanfic?” I asked, completely shocked by his admission.
“Hey, it’s a little bit of escapism when my monkey isn’t around…you get me” he grinned.
“You mean you write…” I could hardly bring myself to say it. My friend was not only reading fanfic, but writing the stuff too…and knowing him it was of the graphic kind.
“Uh-huh” he nodded
“And you post it online?” I questioned.
“On this very site you’re on” he admitted.
“Oh my god”
“I’ll leave you to try and find my user name. See ya” he waved and headed out of the room.
What had he said about this story? Epic, or something like that. Well I would have to find out for myself.
And so I did.
I stayed up practically all night reading, with every chapter I became more attached to the characters, even my own, who had started off as a pompous asshole, full of his own importance, and then become one of the team. I even felt the sting of tears when the dog died! Poor Spunky! AJ had been right, this story was epic and I wondered about the fans who’d written it, was it even the work of AJ himself? No, if anyone was going to write about zombies it would’ve been Nick. A quick check revealed that this was in fact the work of not just one, but two writers, neither of them AJ.
The sun was up when I finally finished reading, and I bookmarked the page so that I could keep checking back for further updates.
“So, did you read it?” AJ asked later on that day.
“I stayed up all night reading it! I couldn’t drag myself away” I admitted.
“What did you think? Awesome right?” he smiled.
“I think the word epic fits” I laughed “so…how did your writing go?”
“Find out my user name and you’ll see for yourself” he shrugged and chugged down his coffee.