Andrew, I mean Edu, released a brand new song today called “Tomorrow And Today” by way of the Italian music blog www.ondarock.it.
But the song isn’t actually brand new. In fact, it was intended to be on Tally Hall’s “Good & Evil” (notice this has the recurring “And” in the title, as well).
Here’s my translated version of the Google-translated version of the blog:
If you say “Tally Hall” here in Italy it means nothing, but go across the ocean to discover that in the U.S. this sweeping pop quintet of colored ties, active since 2002, is the subject of a good bit of devotion. While the band is in the midst of a pause for reflection, the “green tie” Andrew Horowitz, keyboardist and composer of songs of the group, has embarked on a solo career with the moniker of “edu” (pronounced ee-doo). The same sense of intimacy and sweet innocence that emanates from what was the childhood nickname of Andrew is reflected now in the music of Horowitz, a lo-fi pop in pastel shades on which occasionally light a vaguely uneasy psychedelia. All of this is found in the atmospheres of “Today And Tomorrow”, a song originally written for the second work of Tally Hall (“Good & Evil”), but never appeared on that album. ”I tend to treat the songs as matured meat,” he admits Andrew. ”I let it rest until they become soft and ripen.” And the right time to taste the best delicious “Tomorrow And Today” has finally arrived with OndaDrops.
More is coming down the pike from Edu, including music video(s), and we’ve still got that interview with him which we’ve got saved up… and hope to publish along with the first video debut.
For now, here’s Tomorrow And Today!
The other Tallies tested their instruments and everything went well enough with them. It’s not important to know the details of these tests since none of the other instruments were guitars. But since a bass at least looks like a guitar, the reader is permitted to know that Zubin’s black Fender Jaguar had a bit of a hiccup when it was played.
Having not generated any Sound Gates in the month Tally Hall had rested from touring, Zubin’s bass was less than cooperative when it was prompted to make a shield. But again, a bass is not a guitar and is therefore less relevant, so no more shall be said about it. Zubin only wished that no more would be said about the plan to rescue Casey. Joe had whipped out a tactical map and for the past hour and a half had been yammering on about what could possibly go wrong, in this dimension and in alternate ones.
Zubin glanced wearily at Rob who was trying to remain attentive, but the slight twitch in his eye gave away his impatience — that and the fact that he’d been incessantly popping his fingers since the first half hour rolled by. Ross stood next to Joe, his arms crossed and his eyes tired, as if staring at the tactical map for so long was making his pupils do pushups.
Every fifteen minutes or so, Coz’s voice would sound out from one of their phones (and one of the rooms in the fan base) testing their communication and checking to see if they’d gone to find Casey yet. After awhile, Andrew took to walking out into the hall and shouting that they were still there, not just to silence Coz but also to get a break from Joe the Perfectionist.
“And here,” Joe said as Andrew walked back in with hunched shoulders, “would be a tight fit for anything but a Deaf Rider.” He pointed to a niche in the hologram, a small corner of the warehouse Casey was last seen in.
“Shouldn’t we be going soon?” Ross said lightly. “You know, before he’s eaten or something?”
“My dear Ross, you know that Deafcaps don’t eat people. They only maim them, and steal their voices, and leave them emotionally scarred for life.” All this Joe said with a bright smile.
“All the same,” said Rob, “I don’t think any of those things are on Casey’s bucket list, so can we…?” He made a swirling, wrap-this-up-or-I-will-cut-you gesture with his hands.
Joe frowned, because now they would not have a course of action planned in case the Deafcaps had nerve gas leaking out of any warehouse corners. He turned off the projector and straightened his tie in his most dignified way, letting the others know he was going to finish up with something very important to say. With his tie smoothed out, his shoulders back, and his curly hair as tidy as it could be in the morning, he said in his most impressive manner, “I’m gonna use the bathroom.” And he walked out.
As he went up the steps and into the hall, the others just stared blankly at him, still not through defragging their brains of Joe’s plans. Ross, who was constantly defragging his head of all the things the others said, was the first to return to his senses, and he called after Joe, “Do we need to do anything?”
“You could get a voice thingy out of the junk room,” Joe called back. Yes, Joe thought, a voice modifier would help if they ran into a cloud of nerve gas. An added bonus of voice modifiers was their ability to filter not only voices, but also air. Another bonus was that it could freshen your breath after a day at the onion farm. The down side was that breathing through a voice modifier was like breathing through a harmonica, and the metallic taste in your throat usually left you gagging worse than any nerve gas would. One might also gag just by sharing one voice modifier with several people. Joe had quite forgotten about the existence of saliva when he said to get just one.
“I’ll get one for each of us,” Andrew volunteered. Ignoring Zubin’s slight about being a helpful little elf, Andrew made his way to what Tally Hall and their fans referred to as the junk room. It was the largest room in the base, filled with innumerable oddities that were classified as junk in the junk food sort of way — magical, marvelous, and detrimental to your health. Only two steps into the room and Andrew had immediately set off a box full of small mechanical monkeys that hissed and spat at his foot. He bent down and carefully set them on top of a cubicle contraption filled with clocks, hoping he wouldn’t step on a box of combusting marbles next.
Many of the things Andrew passed in the junk room were kept in glass cubicles like the clock machine. He liked to think of the glass containers as the type of jars in candy stores to hold things like jellybeans, but really they was more like the glass used to hold lab specimens (as several things in the junk room really were).
With no one around to call him an elf again, Andrew skipped merrily through the aisles the glass boxes made, trying to find what he was looking for. Electric rocking chair…love tester…ellipsis maker… Ah, the odds and ends shelves! Crammed between a stack of floating music boxes and a vending machine for spray tans were the vertical rotating shelves where one could find small gadgets that, out of everything in the junk room, were the most useful and the least likely to electrocute you.
Andrew scrolled through the waterwheel of shiny objects before stopping at the small pile of silver lip-shaped mouthpieces. While swiping a handful of them off the shelf, his elbow knocked one of the music boxes, making it spin like a top. As it slowed, he could more clearly see the face painted on the top of the box: the face of Marvin Yagoda, a gray-haired man on whose broad shoulders he wore red, white, and blue striped suspenders.
Most of the things in the junk room were castoffs from Marvin’s own assortment of oddities, a collection which was by far more vast than that of the junk room’s. With all the dangerous knickknacks that he sent over, Andrew suspected Marvin actually made novelty weapons for a living. At this Marvin would always insist that he was just a collector of odd things, and that the Tallies should just enjoy his gifts and let him get back to polishing his ray guns…er…Potato Head figurines.
Resisting the urge to stop and dance to the tune coming out of the Yagoda music box, Andrew stuck the voice modifiers in his pockets and beat a hasty retreat from all the bleeps, whirs, and pops of all the junk room memorabilia. “No, we haven’t left yet,” he shouted as he got into the hall, not bothering to wait ‘til he passed Coz’s door, and he returned to the monitor room where he joined the others in their merrymaking.
Soon after, Joe also returned and walked up behind the others, who were all focusing on a screen where they had a video up. “All right, fellows, ready to be the big dang heroes?”
No one responded.
“Guys? Guys!” He tapped Andrew hard on the shoulder.
“Shhhh!” Andrew hissed, holding up a finger and not looking away from the cartoon mermaid onscreen. “Not now, woman! This is my song!”
Joe frowned once more, not because the others were now wasting time with princess sing-a-longs, but because he couldn’t decide on a course of action to take just in case the aliens did plan on eating Casey.
“Catching up” with Rob is hard to these days. In fact, I had fully planned on posting a combo review/interview of Andrew’s solo project “edu” by this point, but I’ve been too busy tracking the skyrocketing success of Rob’s solo endeavors over the last week. Even before I got a chance to write up a blog entry about the “Actual Cannibal Shia Labeouf” internet meme he created, I receive word of another huge project of Rob’s in the works.
So, rightfully so, let’s first take care of the Shia business. Although, if you follow HITS on Facebook, Twitter, or Tumblr, I don’t need to tell you much at all. So I’ll keep this brief.
Rob, being the independent musician than he is, now that Tally Hall is on unofficial hiatus, put together an online portfolio of music he’s written. He uploaded songs to a SoundCloud profile and streams them through www.robcantor.com. But he didn’t say anything about it. So when it was brought to my attention by Billy Vaughn, I quickly posted a link on HITS’ Facebook & Twitter, and well… through a series of actions, he ended up being interviewed by The Washington Post, created an internet meme, and has been talked about on tons of music and humor blogs, big and small. I’m sure the craze is not close to over, either. You can read more about how it all happened on KnowYourMeme.com.
But for those of us who are die-hard fanatics, we’ve also been wondering about the other songs on Rob’s portfolio. Today, we now know.
OoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOo DRUM ROLL OoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOoOo
Rob has been working with Rick Lax on a musical! Rick, being an author is penning the script, and Rob is writing the music and lyrics. Rick says they’ve always envisioned it being a web miniseries. So, when Amazon announced yesterday that it was beginning to accept proposals for original programming to be distributed via Amazon Instant Video, they uploaded everything they had.
What do they have? It’s called
“Mr. President, There’s an Asteroid Headed Directly For the Earth: The Musical”
and you can read Act 1 of the Pilot script here: http://studios.amazon.com/projects/9984
In every disaster movie, some guy bursts into the Oval Office and says, “Mr. President! There’s an asteroid headed directly for the earth!” This is that guy’s story.
Calvert, our geeky hero, meets Kayla at an astronomy lecture. She misread a flyer and thought it was an astrology talk. Her mistake will prove to be the most devastating event in the course of human history.
If you go to http://asteroidmusical.com (password:calvert) you can listen to the music as you read the script. But it’s important to download, rate, and comment on the Amazon project page if you wish to show Amazon your support of this project.
Rick says Amazon may not get back to them for at least a month or two, so we probably won’t hear much more about this anytime soon.
“I think you’ll find our request to be more important than a soap opera,” said Rob.
“You say that with such indifference, but Giselle came back from the dead again. This is serious business!” said Bora.
“Dude, calm down. You’re on speakerphone.”
“Is Kate Beckinsale standing nearby?”
“Then it matters not.” It then sounded as though Bora held the phone away from himself for a moment, and he shut off his television using voice command. After bringing the phone back to his ear he said, “What can I do for you fellows?”
Andrew tucked the model of the panther-like Deaf Prowler under his arm and walked up to the speaker. “We’re in need of a man with an accordion,” he said.
“Accordion? This must be a big job.”
Indeed, though there were those who scoffed at it, the accordion was one of the most powerful instruments known to musiciankind (along with the ukulele and kazoo). More than once had Bora’s accordion been used to get Tally Hall out of a bind. One such incident was when Joe, Rob, and Zubin’s singing had attracted some Deafcaps. Not only was Bora able to singlehandedly ward off the aliens with his accordion, but he was also able to soothe everyone’s posttraumatic stress from the ordeal by playing a polka ditty.
“Put me on a projector,” Bora said, and Rob consented, finding a port on Coz’s keyboard to place his jPhone. As it clicked into place, light rays from the phone’s small screen scurried together to form the hologram of Bora Karaca, a man around the same age as the Tallies who had dark curly hair, five-o-clock shadow, and some kind of visual impairment. He was taking a pair of thick-rimmed glasses out of his shirt pocket as he simultaneously put his own jPhone into a hologram port.
“This is about Casey isn’t it?” he said casually once his glasses were on.
“How did you — ?”
“Don’t ever doubt my ability to find things out,” Bora said darkly.
Andrew crossed his arms in an unimpressed manner — the manner in which keyboardists tend to react to everything other musicians say. “Are we the only ones ever in the dark about these things?” he said.
“It’s not that we’re in the dark,” said Joe. “It’s just that everyone else is in the light.” (Joe was very philosophical, i.e. a lot of the things he said were confusing.) “Speaking of which,” Joe continued, “I’ll just bet Al knows what we’re doing this very minute, and it won’t be long ‘til he takes a teleporter here to stop us.”
“Ew, I hate teleporters,” said Bora. “I prefer planes.”
“Yeah,” Coz said, “always comfortable.”
“Don’t encourage him,” said Zubin, suddenly straightening himself up in his seat. “We had to suck it up and teleport here. Don’t you dare take a plane.”
“You know, Zubin,” Bora said as his hologram strolled around the room, “you can be a real jerk when you haven’t had your coffee.”
“I did have my coffee.”
“Did I say coffee? What I meant to say was you can be a real jerk when you breathe.”
“Just around friends,” Zubin said, relaxing back into a slumped posture and not worried at all about getting a bad back later in life. “I only insult the people I really like or the people I can’t stand. You guys are on the positive end of the spectrum. Most of the time,” he added under his breath.
“Oh, I feel so honored,” Andrew said in a monotone. “I’m just drowning in your ocean of brotherly love.”
“That’s nice, Horowitz — ”
“Drowning,” Andrew went on, “as in death by submersion in liquid.”
“Speaking of death,” Coz interjected, again grabbing everyone’s attention by being blunt as a month-old razor, “we need to help Casey before anything happens to him.”
“We?” said Rob. He tucked Casey’s message in his pocket and sighed. “Coz, I’m sorry, but you can’t come with us. We know you’re a keyboardist and all, but the Music Industry has regulations. It’s difficult enough bringing Bora without him being registered as a band member.”
“It is not difficult in the slightest,” said Bora, which prompted Ross to jab the jPhone’s mute button like an ugly mosquito. The other band members had seen this flyswatter imitation, but they said nothing. The last thing they wanted to bring with them on such a dangerous mission — besides an adorable little chinchilla — was one their fans.
Now, it wasn’t unheard of for a band to bring a fan with them on a mission. In fact, Tally Hall did this more than most other bands would. It looked unprofessional, but with ninety-nine percent of their fans being able to play at least one musical instrument and with Deafcaps roaming around like free-range chickens…well, why not?
But this mission would be a perilous one, and there was a big difference between bringing a fan and bringing in someone like Bora. Bora was a professional. More importantly, he had signed a pretty piece of paper. This particular pretty piece of paper that Bora had signed for Tally Hall said, in essence, “If I am attacked by an alien on one of your band’s missions, I solemnly swear that neither I nor my family will sue you for your mortal soul.”
Of course, Coz was also trained in the Music Industry, and he probably wouldn’t have been averse to signing some kind of contract. Really the reason why Tally Hall was unwilling to bring him was because the band only had one extra tie, for Bora, and it wouldn’t look right if they had a party member who wasn’t wearing one.
“You know,” said Coz, who was facing away from Bora and completely oblivious to his frantic hand waving, “I don’t have to actually go with you guys to help.”
“Holograms aren’t a good idea either,” said Rob. “Sure, your Sound Waves will be able to get to the Deafcaps, but then theirs will be able to get to you. We can’t risk that.”
“I mean there are things I can do from here at the base,” Coz offered.
Without waiting for another rebuttal, he leaned over Zubin’s slumped shoulder and tapped a few buttons on the keyboard. On the massive screen before them, the 3-D map of the world twisted and turned in correlation with Coz’s finger movements. The next instant had the map protruding out of the screen as a globe-shaped hologram, looking like a large man’s stomach after a long day in the buffet line.
Once removed from the screen, it zoomed around the left side of the keyboard, passing through Bora’s hologram and making him flinch as their pixels clashed. The globe hologram minimized just before sliding into a frame propped up on the keyboard, right next to where Joe was leaning his elbow.
He looked upon the frame with curiosity as Coz plucked it from the keyboard and held it at arm’s length. The little globe spun like a carousel within the boundaries of the frame, and Andrew instantly felt an insatiable desire to poke it.
“With this,” Coz said while tactfully keeping the frame out of Andrew’s reach, “I can keep track of y’all and direct you to Casey’s exact location.” He paused to zoom the screen in on America, then Pennsylvania, and finally Glenside. “That is, if you don’t see any danger in it.”
Rob rubbed his chin and considered any accidents that could occur with such an arrangement. The worst possibility was Coz getting carpal tunnel from moving the map around, which would mean they wouldn’t have anyone to answer fan questions. That didn’t sound so bad to Rob, though. They could always con Ross into doing it.
“It certainly would be helpful,” Rob said finally. “You wouldn’t mind doing that?”
“I’m here to help. That’s what people in fan bases are paid to do after all.”
Rob looked guilty. “But you’re not being paid.”
“I know. I just wanted to hear you say it.” And with that, Coz turned and walked out of the room with his handheld computer screen.
As he walked into one of the foyer’s adjacent rooms and his footsteps died away, everyone left standing in the monitor room looked to one another for what to do next, except Andrew, who returned his attention to the Deafcap models.
“Great, so we have a means of tracing Casey when we do this thing,” Joe said to the others. “We should have codenames for this.”
“Right, I’ll be Gray,” Ross said dryly. “You can be Red. Zubin’s Blue…”
“Your vat of creativity astounds me.”
Meanwhile, Bora had stopped silently mouthing at the others and began instead to use violent hand motions to get their attention. Zubin stared with a vacant expression at the jPhone’s mute button as Bora frantically pointed at it. Growing weary of having a transparent hand so close to his personal space, however, Zubin eventually turned the volume back on.
When Bora spoke, it was as if he had been gagged the entire time the volume was off, for he immediately took a deep breath of air and his eyes bugged out like a stress toy’s. “At the risk of being muted again,” he said in an exasperated tone, “may I make an observation?”
“You may,” said Rob.
“Your instruments,” said Bora, “are indisposed.”
“No, we just got them back,” Joe corrected.
“And those new Effects?”
“We were just about to check them.”
Joe and Rob then proceeded to withdraw their jPhones from their pockets and locate their spacesaver apps. The other members of Tally Hall held back for the time being, because Joe and Rob both had guitars, and everyone knows that the world revolves around guitar players.
Joe braced himself for the weight on his shoulder as his Stratocaster materialized, already strapped. Rob, however, preferred to grip his Les Paul by the neck as it reformed, and he then put the strap over his shoulder manually. This time a few other things also appeared with the instruments. At their feet, both had a metal board with pedals, knobs, and other shiny things on it. These were called pedal boards, because pedals-knobs-and-other-shiny-things boards didn’t exactly roll off the tongue.
By their sides, both had a square screen suspended in mid-air next to them. Looking at the side of these screens, one would see they were completely flat, and yet from the front they appeared to have what looked like a hotplate stuck inside them. These screens, however, did not serve microwavable pizza, but they received sound from little magnets called pick-ups, added current to the signal to greatly increase volume, and then played said signal out of a loudspeaker.
These were called amps. A simple name for a simple device.
With one final piece of equipment left, Joe and Rob brandished them — their trusty guitar picks — from their pockets. They looked at each other; the others looked at them; and Andrew looked at the Deaf Flyer model he was clenching in his hands.
“After you,” said Rob.
Joe nodded and positioned his foot over one of the pedals. Placing his fingers on the proper frets, he strummed his guitar, and a Sound Wave emerged from the amp, a transparent mass making ripples in the air like smoke from a fire. The Sound Wave, ironically, made a sound — the deep, rich tone of an E chord.
Joe then began tapping the pedal with his foot, and the Sound Wave undulated like rolling hills. The sound of the chord changed along with the motion of the Wave, now sounding uncannily like an obese toddler trying (and failing) to pronounce “water” over and over and over. Despite that somewhat disturbing description, the sound was not unpleasant.
The Sound Wave faded away just before colliding with one of the monitor screens. When Rob conjured Sound up, however, it not only collided with a monitor screen, but also the keyboard, the ceiling, and Bora’s hologram. He hadn’t stepped on his pedal board so much as stomped on it, and the resulting Sound Wave had blasted around the room like sparklers on crack.
“Oops,” Rob muttered as the fireworks of his guitar’s Wave dispersed.
“Oops indeed!” Bora exclaimed. Some bits of Sound that nicked his hologram were still fading away into the depths of his apartment, not revealed on the projector. He walked around the keyboard and snatched something in the air. When his hand made contact with the object, the holographic system revealed the orange tie he was grabbing from a shelf in his room.
“I’m gonna get my stuff ready while you finish testing your instruments.” He picked some lint off his tie. “Don’t you guys just love all this traveling we do without sleep? I do. I like to pretend I’m the vessel of an ancient power when my hands shake from all the coffee I drink.”
“Whatever, just don’t take a plane to get here,” said Zubin.
“You could use a little more coffee, Zube.” Bora began reaching for his jPhone to switch it off. “I’ll see you guys in a bit. And Andrew…”
Andrew looked up from the figurine in his hands.
“Next time, don’t eat right before teleporting. I may very well wind up using the port that you threw up in.”
Before Andrew could again respond in an unimpressed manner, Bora vanished, leaving them all with feelings of bewilderment and slight indigestion.
“I’ve always wondered why my friends can’t be counted on to answer their phones but wrong numbers will always pick up after the first ring.”
That was the response Andrew gave when prompted by a voice in the monitor room to prove it was really him.
There was a terse, “Yeah, okay,” in reply, and the metal doors parted, revealing the blinking lights and superb air-conditioning within.
The monitor room was circular in shape, kind of like the Oval Office except the guy running the monitor room was actually well-liked. This man’s name was Coz, and he looked like he was trying to kill his keyboard using Chinese finger jabs.
He was answering the abysmally numerable questions submitted by Tally Hall fans. These questions covered every computer screen in the room, questions like, “When will their next tour be” and “Is Zubin married”.
In answering the fans’ questions, Coz was slamming his fingers so hard on the keyboard encircling him that the hoverpads supporting it would buckle from the force. Every time he went from “A” to “L” too fast, all his keys did the wave like a bunch of football fans.
The Tallies all stepped down into the room, except Joe, who felt the need to jump over the three steps instead of walk down them. The loud clunk of his boots hitting the floor caught Coz’s attention, and he swiveled around in his chair to face them all.
Coz didn’t look much different since the last time they’d seen him: same height, same weight, same gender. His eyes still held a cold, calculating gaze, even when he glanced at the Diet Pepsi in his free hand, and he still had his office-boss beard — the type of facial hair that says, “I’m in charge, so get me a biscotti.”
At the moment, though, a biscotti was as far from Coz’s mind as the idea of becoming a ballerina. The normal sharpness of his eyes was diluted with worry, so Italian biscuits and dancing in tights was obviously out of the question for now.
“Heya,” said Coz, getting up from his chair, and the Tallies returned the greeting with happy faces.
“Sorry I wouldn’t let you in here at first,” Coz went on. “Jillian found a voice modifier in the junk room, and I was afraid it was just her trying to get me to open the doors.”
“But you usually leave them open,” said Andrew. “Why wouldn’t you want them in here?”
Coz placed his fizzing drink on an open part of the keyboard, next to his models of the four kinds of Deafcaps. “Have you seen what those two have been doing in there? I’m surprised you let them handle your instruments.”
Joe shrugged slightly, his shoulder being weighed down with his guitar now strapped on. “You know they weren’t actually handling our equipment. We didn’t even send our stuff over ‘til we had our fingerprints encoded on the spacepac,” he lifted the tuna can in his hand, “so they couldn’t have touched our stuff even if they wanted to.”
“And I’m sure they wanted to,” Coz said with a smirk.
The Tallies all smiled politely at his joke (however true it was), and Joe checked his guitar for scratches one more time before taking out his phone. His guitar dematerialized as his finger jabbed one of the empty blocks shown on his spacesaver app.
“Of course, these were just downloads,” Rob said to fill the silence. “We wouldn’t have even considered Jennie’s offer if our instruments needed tuning or something and had to be physically held. I’d be afraid of the girls dropping something.”
He took the spacepac as Joe handed it to him, and he repeated Joe’s action of taking out his jPhone and scrolling across the screen to find his spacesaver. “Can you imagine having to lug all this stuff around?” Rob said once he found the right icon.
“I wouldn’t be in the Music Industry if we had to carry all our junk out every time we needed it,” said Andrew, who was losing a staring match with one of Coz’s Deafcap figurines.
“I was referring to having the girls moving our stuff around, but you make a good point. I don’t particularly like the idea of carrying our equipment myself.”
A moment after saying this, Rob sighed in annoyance, having forgotten that his metallic thumb wouldn’t work on the fingerprint-reading lock of the spacepac, a lock that, if it could talk, would have said, “What is this silver thing being shoved in my face? It is too bulbous in proportion to the rest of this man’s hand, and it doesn’t even have ridges for gripping things. Whoever attached this thing to something besides a toaster oven should be dragged into the streets and shot.”
But because this lock could not actually speak, it remained silent as Rob pressed his other thumb to its reader and held his jPhone up to it. His guitar and other equipment made the transfer as a Technicolor mist.
“Well,” said Ross, “that strategy might actually work. You know, carrying our stuff everywhere, having to set it all up before we can use it. My drums would be especially fun. Then the Deafcaps might laugh themselves to death.”
“So, what happened to you?” Coz asked, and he nodded at the bleach stain.
Ross felt the need to look down at his vest again, perhaps fascinated by the contrast of white on black. “Cleaning droid at the hotel,” he said. “We do have multiples of our uniforms, but I was afraid of running into another droid before we got here.”
“So you just walked around all morning with bleach stains?” said Coz. The others snickered. “Surely you have an app on your phone to take care of that?”
Ross paused and let Coz’s question sink in. “Oh…So I do.” Rob patted Ross’ head as a man pats a dog that’s brought him a dead squirrel.
“Why’d you stop at a hotel anyway?” said Coz.
“Just the two teleports here were exhausting, and we’d already gone through six yesterday,” Rob explained. “We just needed to rest.”
“This is why I always travel by plane. Always comfortable.”
“But they’re way too slow, and they cost more. Besides, we would’ve been going through security all day just to get on the plane.”
“Okay, Coz, what’s going on?” said Zubin, who until now had been listening to the others with a passive expression.
Of course, all the members of Tally Hall had noticed the look in Coz’s eyes the moment they walked in, but all had thought better of trying to rush any answers out of him. Though Zubin had come off as rudely impatient, he was in fact genuinely concerned. They had been talking to Coz for a full minute and he still hadn’t said something remarkably snarky, and Zubin recognized this as a sign of the apocalypse.
“You look worried,” said Zubin, “and you asked us to come in person for this news. It must be a bombshell.”
Coz sighed and sauntered back to his swivel chair, snatching his drink off the keyboard as he walked. He threw himself down in the seat and leaned back as he took a long sip, wanting to delay telling them if only for a few more seconds. After emptying the can, he lightly placed it next to one of several delete buttons, and he drew in breath.
“It’s about Casey.”
“Kasem?!” Andrew gasped.
“Yes, Casey Kasem,” said Zubin. “He’s back on radio and probably wants to interview us. Casey Shea, you ding-dong!”
“Ah, yes, Casey Shea,” said Andrew, “our dear old friend who toured with us a couple years ago. A solo artist and guitar player. Likes cake.”
Everyone stared blankly at Andrew.
“Why are you talking in exposition?” Ross said with a raised eyebrow.
“Talking in what? Sorry, I blacked out for a second. What were you saying, Coz?”
Coz blinked stupidly. “Er…About Casey?”
“Yes, about Casey,” Rob said, his voice rather anxious. “What happened to him?”
“It’s not really about what happened to him, but what could be happening to him. I’m trying to think of a way to put it delicately…”
“You know us, Coz. You don’t have to sugarcoat anything,” said Ross. ”Be as blunt as you like.”
“Blunt? Oh, well, in that case, Casey’s probably had his voice sucked out by some Deafcaps.”
The Tallies’ mouths fell open like the doors of refrigerators that have been pushed over. After a moment Ross slowly said, “Yes, that certainly was blunt.”
“Wait, what do you mean he probably had his voice sucked?” exclaimed Andrew. “Since when are people unsure if they’ve had their voices ripped out? I hear it’s a pretty memorable experience, and not in the Disneyland sort of way.”
“Well, as you just bizarrely pointed out, Andrew, Casey works solo. He was by himself, so no one knows exactly how it happened.”
“How what happened?” said Rob.
“How he was taken by Deafcaps.”
There was a stunned silence full of equally stunned faces, but one of those faces gradually changed to express good humor. “Are we being punked?” said Joe. “We’re being taped right now, aren’t we?”
He looked at all the screens lining the walls of the room as if one of them would betray all the others and say, “Yeah, I have a camera right here.” But like the lock on the spacepac, the screens couldn’t talk, and even if they could, they would be lying if they said Coz had just pulled a cruel, sick prank.
“Why would I kid about something like this?” said Coz.
“Because you have a dark side just like the rest of us?”
“But I’m not joking.”
That wiped the smile clean off Joe’s face. “That doesn’t make sense,” he said. “Deafcaps have never kidnapped anyone. They may drag people off to take their voices, but they let them go afterwards. All but the Prowlers do, anyway.”
“This time they didn’t let their victim go. I know it’s strange.” Coz pulled a silvery, square-shaped communicator out of the pocket of his pants. “I got this from Al. It’s the message Casey sent to the Music Industry asking for help. He was probably taken right after he ended the transmission.”
Rob took the communicator in his hand and turned it over a few times with his thumb. “And why didn’t Al let us see this? Didn’t he think we might’ve wanted to go after Casey?”
“Yes, that’s exactly why he didn’t tell you. He knew you would take it personally.”
“Casey is our friend, so I’d say that makes it personal,” said Zubin.
“Some band called the System had already taken the job when Al finally got this message. That band that went after Casey never come back. Al didn’t want you guys to go missing too. That’s why he told me about all this. He knew I’d find out eventually anyway, and he told me not to let y’all know.”
“But you told us anyway?” said Andrew.
“Remind me to stop telling you my secrets,” Joe said with his signature boyish grin.
Zubin walked with purposeful strides over to the keyboard, and Coz got up from his seat to give him room. With a few button taps, Zubin cleared all the wall screens of fan questions, revealing desktop wallpapers of Coz’s cats. Coz cleared his throat.
Rob and Joe crowded in with them at the keyboard while Ross found an app on his phone to get rid of the bleach stains. Andrew, meanwhile, had also gone over to the keyboard, but stood on the opposite side of the others and had taken one of Coz’s figurines in his hands.
With a few voice commands and a URL code, Zubin had brought up a 3-D map of the world on the largest of the monitor screens. “So where was Casey when this happened?”
“Here in Glenside. That’s the main reason I asked y’all to come here for the news. I knew you’d want to get right to it.”
“We can’t go immediately, though,” said Joe. “We’ll have to prepare.”
“You’re always about preparing, right down to the last detail,” Rob groaned, “and we have no idea what those aliens might be doing to Casey right now.”
“Joe’s right, Rob. We can’t rush into this,” said Ross, coming to join them with clean clothes. His comment was immediately followed by a very dirty look from Rob, not aimed at Ross, mind you, but at Joe, and Joe was more than happy to return the this-band-ain’t-big-enough-for-the-two-of-us glare.
Seeing the dissension he had inadvertently caused, Ross quickly elaborated, “We don’t have to go over every detail of this, but there are big things we need to do before we get Casey, like making sure our instruments work, for one.”
Coz cut his eyes at Rob and Joe to gauge their reactions. The former, not being one to frown for very long anyway, had ceased scowling and had followed Zubin’s gaze back towards the computer screen. Joe on the other hand still looked angry, but he probably wasn’t still annoyed with Rob. Joe just had a tendency to forget what his face was doing if he fell into deep thought.
Following Ross, Andrew spoke up. “First things first,” he said, and he stopped playing with the alien figurine. “We have to call in Bora.”
And who is Bora, you may ask? The same question was once posed to Tally Hall by one of their newer fans, and Rob had answered thus:
“Bora Karaca is a good friend of ours. He plays several instruments, knows martial arts, and is a very good cook. I’m going to marry Bora.”
Bora, it should be added, was a mercenary, one who for the past decade had been hired out exclusively to Tally Hall. If there were aliens to be fought or free food to be consumed, Bora was there, and with the fierce voice of any mercenary did he answer his phone: “You kinda caught me at a bad time. I’m watching my stories.”