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[A_NINmas_Carol: Chapter_1]

by Mimi Jones-Taylor

          Trent Reznor hunched over the mixing board in the middle of the hall, staring sternly at the band, who were shivering where they stood. Raising an eyebrow, Trent moved a few level bars, and gave the band the signal to begin. Jeordie White took the cue to speak into his microphone.
         “Is this the final take?”
         “It’s the final take when I say it’s the final take,” growled Trent. “Right now, this song sounds like shit. You’re going to keep playing it until it’s perfect.”
         “Hey Trent,” said Jeordie, “do you think you could turn up the heat just a little?”
         “What, do you think, I’m made of money?” said Trent. “It costs $100 a month extra to heat the place up to the tropical temperatures that you sissy boys keep crying for. Besides, heat changes the sound of the instruments, and the last thing I want is a warm sound for this song.”
         Jeordie sighed, and the band began to play the song once more.
         “No no no no no!” Trent interrupted, screaming over the echoing music. “What the hell was that supposed to be, music? You guys suck. Especially you, Alessandro. Are you actually using your fingers to play the keyboards or are you just pounding them with your head?”
         “Signore Trent,” said Alessandro, “We are all very tired. And it’s Christmas Eve and I have to catch a plane to Roma.”
         “Well, bully for you,” said Trent. “Don’t you think I was tired as I slaved over the instruments recording The Downward Spiral practially by myself? Do you think I stopped in the middle of recording, just because it was some damn statutory holiday? Christmas. Bah, humbug, I say. You know, my old keyboardist never used to complain during these long nights.”
         “Sì,” said Alessandro, “But I haven’t seen my family since the summer, and I would really like to see them for di Natale.”
         Trent slammed his fist on the board. “You are going to keep working until you get it right. You don’t work for your family. You work for me.”
         “Sì Signore,” said Alessandro.
         The telephone beside Trent sounded a loud ring.
         “Hello? ...Yes, this is the Nine Inch Nails session…another two hundred dollars an hour? Holiday rate? Bah, humbug!”
         Trent spoke into the mic again.
         “Well it turns out that they’re going to charge an extra $200 per hour because it’s a humbugging holiday. So we’re going to finish for the evening.”
         The band heaved a collective sigh.
         “But,” continued Trent, “don’t travel very far from your computers. We can do the session early tomorrow morning from each of our homes via Garageband. So I’ll see you all online tomorrow bright and early at 7AM.”
         “Ma Trent,” said Alessandro, “I am going to be in Italia with my family. I will have the jetta lag.”
         “7AM Eastern time,” said Trent. “No exceptions.”
         The band sighed and grumbled, and exited the studio. Trent was packing up his gear, switching all the slides on the board to “off”, when the lights in the rehearsal hall faded with the slide of the bar.
         “Is this another one of your childish jokes, Jeordie?”
         Trent turned around to find himself in an empty space.
         “Humbug,” he muttered, switching back on the light, and returning to his gear. He halted in mid-movement as the intense pounding of the starting beats for “Eraser” came from the direction of the stage.
         “What the… that humbugging Alessandro,” Trent cried to himself. “Leaving his samples on. Great. Now I have to take down his gear, too. If he costs me any more damn money…”
         Trent flipped on the stage lights and gasped as he caught sight of the figure hunched over the drum kit. He carried heavy chains around his body that rattled as his arms raised and lowered in rhythm.
         “My God…” Trent froze in fear.
         “Hey there, ex-roomie!”
         The figure put the sticks down. His chains rattled as he stood up and moved away from the drum kit.
         “But… but… that’s impossible,” said Trent, “You’re…”
         “Dead?” The figure smiled a sly smile. “Old band members never die. We just do exposés on VH1 and episodes of The Surreal Life.”
         “How did you get in here?” said Trent. “Never mind. You have to go. They’re going to start charging overtime in about five minutes.”
         “Oh Rezzo, you never change, do you? You win a ton of money in your court case and you’re still pinching pennies like they’re going out of style. That always made me laugh.”
         “Look, what are you doing here?” said Trent.
         “Since you’ve put me on a time restriction,” said Chris Vrenna’s ghost, “I have to make this quick. Dude, you can’t treat your band members the way you treated us. I mean, first of all, the cost of living has gone up exponentially since 1994. And secondly, these guys for some reason actually like you. Don’t treat them like shit.”
         “Why not?” said Trent. “They play like shit. Don’t you remember the times we used to get together and bitch about how bad the rest of the band was? How we didn’t need them anyways?”
         “Look, do you see these?” Chris held up the chains attached to his body, as Trent nodded. “They were attached to my body by old fans and secondary band members of the netherworld.”
         “Whatever for?”
         “I’m wearing these chains as punishment for the way that we used to mock the other band members and keep all their money for ourselves.”
         “Oh good humbugging lord,” said Trent.
         “My friend, you should see the set of chains they’re making for you.”
         “What?” said Trent. “I don’t deserve to be wearing these chains.”
         “You deserve that and worse,” said Chris. “But there is still a way you can redeem yourself.”
         “You mean pay the band more? Those humbuggerers don’t deserve it.”
         “Listen,” said Chris, ignoring Trent, “tonight you’re going to be visited by three spirits of Christmas…”
         “I quit drinking,” said Trent.
         “Would you shut up for two fucking minutes and stop making jokes?” Chris was getting pissed off. “The first ghost is going to be showing up at midnight. Listen carefully to what these ghosts have to tell you, because it’s your last chance to be redeemed. If you don’t change your ways after their visit, then you’d better bulk up to be three times the size you are now, and you might be able to wear the chains that they’re making for you.”
         “Bah, humbug,” said Trent. “You’re just going to spike my mineral water.”
         “Believe what you want,” said Chris Vrenna, “but I have to go now. Don’t say I didn’t warn you, Rezzo. Take care of yourself, bud. I’m outta here like last year.”
         Trent Reznor scoffed, and turned back to look at the clock.
         “Why it’s nearly midnight now, and…” Trent looked around the room. Chris Vrenna had gone, leaving no trace that he had even been there.
         “Ghosts,” muttered Trent, “Bah humbug. Humbug I say! I’m probably hallucinating from lack of caffeine and sleep.”
         Trent closed the door to the hall behind him. His watch beeped to indicate that it was midnight.
         “Just in time,” said Trent, as he pressed the call button for the elevator. “I’d like to see them charge me overtime now.”
         The elevator arrived, and the doors opened. As Trent stepped in, he noticed another person standing in the corner. Trent’s mouth dropped to the floor.
         “You’re… you’re…” he stammered. “You’re Joey Ramone!”

                                                            ...to be continued.

Posted by Mimi Jones-Taylor in tales_of_terror | Permalink


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Sheer genius! Dickens himself would weep tears of joy, even if it is a little disturbing to have variations on the phrase "Bah humbug!" constantly pouring out of Trent's mouth. Can't *wait* for future installments!

Posted by: maise | Dec 19, 2005 11:31:54 AM

I like the part where Trent's complaining about $200. Also, I want to know what Trent's former keyboardist wasn't complaining about on those long nights... Was that back in the days of fishnets and roses?

Posted by: Jane | Dec 19, 2005 11:41:29 AM

MIMI!!!! Outstanding! Maise got it right with, "sheer genius!" You absolutely rule. I was laughing hysterically the whole time. Especially with:

“Dead?” The figure smiled a sly smile. “Old band members never die. We just do exposés on VH1 and episodes of The Surreal Life.”

Have you gotten Gabriel out of your system or something? This is clear evidence that a blockage has been removed.

I bow to you.

Posted by: Baal Glyttr | Dec 19, 2005 11:50:36 AM

Best line in the whole story:

“Ma Trent,” said Alessandro, “I am going to be in Italia with my family. I will have the jetta lag.”

Posted by: maise | Dec 19, 2005 11:55:21 AM

Yes, Mimi, I was going to ask you how you were doing with that whole...Gabriel...thing.

Posted by: maise | Dec 19, 2005 11:56:20 AM

Mimi, you kick so much ass.

Posted by: Dierdre | Dec 19, 2005 11:58:29 AM

Well now I see what you've been doing after your exams, kiddo. You do realise that you're walking on thin ice with this one, sis...this is one of my favourite Christmas stories of all time...don't fuck it up!!

Posted by: Buttercup | Dec 19, 2005 12:06:29 PM

Merci cheries! I am how you say en arrière dans la selle again. I am glad you like this chapitre.

Et maise...Gabriel qui?? :-)

Posted by: Mimi | Dec 19, 2005 12:58:29 PM

A-fucking-men. Who needs boys in any language?

Posted by: maise | Dec 19, 2005 1:02:39 PM

Boys suck... Unless they are big, sweaty men named Trent, with full-throated roars, sharp eyes and scrumptious hairy bits.


Posted by: Dierdre | Dec 19, 2005 3:01:45 PM

Trent is probably a woman's worst nightmare, but who cares? It's Trent!

Meanwhile, I have my suspicions as to who will be playing Tiny Tim in this latest of Mimi's brilliant series...we'll say if it plays out. ;)

Posted by: maise | Dec 19, 2005 3:12:06 PM

Oh, come on! I bet he's nice... but not TOO nice.

Posted by: Dierdre | Dec 19, 2005 3:17:29 PM

I'm almost sure, in a relationship, Trent is an asshole. Just like all guys are.

Would it stop me from banging the shit out of him? Of course not. I bet he has fucked up his fair share of relationships though.

Mimi, I love this one. Trent saying "Humbug I say!" makes me feel so happy inside. Keep it up!

Posted by: Nicole | Dec 19, 2005 3:59:29 PM

You know what bugs me? Assholes on e-bay who download the sin font, type out nine inch nails, print it out, iron it on a shirt, then sell it for $25.

I feel really bad for the bastard who buys that, or a shirt that has N.I.N across the chest. Terrible.

Posted by: Nicole | Dec 19, 2005 4:28:04 PM

I'm almost sure, in a relationship, Trent is an asshole. Just like all guys are.

Would it stop me from banging the shit out of him? Of course not.

Nicole, truer words have never been spoken. PMS + a windchill of -7F has put me in a dour frame of mind, especially where men are concerned.

Posted by: maise | Dec 19, 2005 5:37:07 PM

Maise, I so feel you on the PMS and the Windchil. Cramps and shivering combined = complete and utter suckness.

I've been going through the worst break-up of my life so far as of late. Men are on the top of my shitlist right now and will probably remain there for quite some time.

I'm listening to that Ongoing history of new music thing on Trent right now. That, I am enjoying.

Posted by: Nicole | Dec 19, 2005 6:06:42 PM

Nicole, I am most sorry to hear about your breakup.

PMS takes on a new combination of symptoms every month for me. December 2005 brings us water retention, mild acne, a permanent mild headache, and suicidal depression! Yay!

Posted by: maise | Dec 19, 2005 6:10:50 PM

I agree with Maise, that is the best line evar. Jetta lag. *snicker*

Posted by: Kim | Dec 19, 2005 6:46:00 PM

I so don't miss PMS right now...I get to be bitchy and eat whatever I want and nobody can say ANYTHING!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAA! (Not that I'm advocating pregnancy as a cure for PMS or an excuse to act bitchy, but if you find yourself bloated for any reason, you can always just give people a look and say "fuck you, bitch, I'm pregnant!")

Nicole, you're better off without that dumbass, anyway. Boys suck big rocks. As I say to everyone, I live with the best boy ever, my dog, who is neutered.

Though I must say that with all these crazy hormones floating around my body, it's like I can smell Trent's hottness through the computer pixels...:shock:

Posted by: Buttercup | Dec 19, 2005 7:05:17 PM

You know, I'll bet Trent is nicer than you all give him credit for. He's probably not quite as nice as *I* give him credit for in my daydream where I'm making out with him until I can't remember my own name, and his lips are just the right amount of soft and his grip is just the right amount of hard, but I doubt he's really an asshole. I'm sure he's difficult, but truly an asshole? Call me a dreamer, but I imagine that his worst is behind him.

Plus, who cares, if you get to ride that hot ass?

I have to call bullshit on this whole "men suck" line of discussion. I have had my fair share of heartache caused by run ins with men who fully should never have done the mean, misguided shit they did, but in my experience, they are mostly not assholes, even when things are horrible, because when they are horrible, there are circumstances.

Posted by: Dierdre | Dec 19, 2005 8:51:50 PM

Oh, if Trent were all *nice* in relationships and shit, it would make his utter unavailability that much harder to bear.

As for men, they sure have a way of making the worst of "circumstances."

I'm in a mood today. Only Eric Idle circa 1970 can cure what ails me.

Posted by: maise | Dec 19, 2005 9:59:42 PM

Maisey, I'm going to go ahead and give you a special dispensation to think men are fucking nightmares all you want, honey. You deserve it. I hope Eric's special powers work their magic.

The rest of you better stop calling my man an asshole, though. I WON'T STAND FOR IT!

Posted by: Dierdre | Dec 19, 2005 10:17:08 PM

Okay, maybe he's not a pure asshole.

Missguided is a good euphemism.

He's missguided, just like all other men.

I couldn't hate him if I was riding that ass.

Oh man.

Posted by: Nicole | Dec 19, 2005 10:54:55 PM

No worries, D. It's all good.

Posted by: maise | Dec 19, 2005 10:58:57 PM

Can we all just take a moment of silence, and picture riding that hot ass?


Posted by: Dierdre | Dec 20, 2005 1:28:31 AM

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