A 1st draft abridged extract from the third Toten Herzen novel There Will Be Blood v.2 (The novel will be published at the end of Toten Herzen’s Malandanti world tour, some time in 2016.)
The band take a fateful decision…
For as long as Wallet had been with the band, he thought he had an ally in Rene. A foolish presumption. Rene always remained detached, mentally detached from discussion as if he were the band’s pet dog. TotenherzenDog.
And when the discussions became particularly buoyant, as now, with Wallet on the end of a three-way pincer movement, the only other male in the room sat and watched.
“It’s not just the fact you’re hopeless,” Susan said without any notion of irony in her voice, “it’s the manner in which you exhibit your hopelessness.”
“If I’m as hopeless as you make out, why do you persevere with me? You treat me like Raven. A piece of baggage.”
“At least Raven knows she’s baggage. She doesn’t complain about it.”
Dee didn’t agree. “She never stops moaning about it. She was moaning about it this morning. It’s like having the Canterbury Ghost wandering around.”
“Well, yeah, I supposed you’re right. She does go on a bit. But that’s just the way she is. You, Rob, you get worse every day.”
“I appreciate your candour.”
“My what? Anyway, I’m sure you’ll appreciate the fact that we haven’t just made all this up. The decision is based on a long list of episodes.”
Wallet didn’t want to hear the list, but he knew it was coming anyway. He stood at the window filled with the striated purple sky of a Rotterdam sunrise and considered standing there long enough to be incinerated along with the rest of them still reciting the list.
“Loose Women. I mean, words fail me, Rob.”
“And me,” said Dee.
“And how often does that happen, Rob? Dee Vincent lost for words.”
Wallet laughed. “Born talking, weren’t you?”
“Toten Herzen appearing on a daytime British television chat show surrounded by menopausal women and old seventies has-beens.”
Wallet bit his lip, hoping Susan wouldn’t read his expression contorted by her complaint. But Dee was quicker than Susan.
“Hang on, you’re not suggesting we’re all menopausal seventies has-beens are you?”
“They were Susan’s words, not mine. I never mentioned the seventies.”
“You cheeky twat. . . . ”
“We’re getting off the subject,” said Susan. She noticed Rene choking. “It’s not funny.”
“No, it isn’t,” he said. “Not funny at all.”
“And then, what’s this one? Desert Island Dust. What the fuck is Desert Island Dust?”
“Dust? Discs. Desert Island Discs. My handwriting’s not that bad.” Wallet checked the note. He still didn’t know how Susan had got hold of it.
“It looks like dust. Does that look like dust to you?” She held the note in front of Elaine.
“Dust, discs, it’s a fuck up whatever it says.”
Rene nodded at Wallet. “Wasn’t that one of your favourite programmes from the seventies?”
“Get stuffed, Rene.”
“It’s A Fuck Up. . . .”
Susan flustered for the words. “It sort of hurts me to say this, well it doesn’t really. I suppose it should, but. . . .”
“You’re fired,” said Dee. “There’s no easy way of saying it, so we might as well say it the hard way.”
“Fired?” said Wallet.
“Yes. Don’t take it personally,” Susan said.
“Oh, sorry. For a minute then when you said I’m fired I thought you meant me.”
“We do mean you,” said Susan.
“Well, how can I not take it personally?”
“Because. . . .” Susan couldn’t find the answer.
“It’s the publicist we’re firing,” said Dee. “Not the man pretending to be the publicist.”
Susan cruised the bookshelves. “Why don’t you see this as an opportunity, Rob? Try something new.”
“I didn’t know you like knitting.”
Wallet exmined Elaine for signs of inception, for a hint or clue that she was the engineer of this ‘letting go.’ She sat motionless, unmoved, quite happy to see Susan carry the flack, and that angered Wallet more than the firing. “Was this your idea?”
“No. A collective decision.”
“And who suggested there was a need for a collective decision?” Wallet stood in front of Elaine.
“That was a collective decision too. Look, we all know this is heartbreaking news, but you’ll still have your videos of us when you get a bit lonely.”
In the moments of quiet and four pairs of eyes looking for something to concentrate on, Wallet told himself that maybe his days with Toten Herzen had always been limited and that it was time to move on. Leave them to their dilemmas and disasters, their cunning and competition. Let Tom Scavinio deal with the lot of them. Good luck to him.
“Do I get compensation?”
“We can come to an agreement, I suppose,” Susan said.
“Did you have a figure in mind?” said Dee.
“Monetary figure,” Elaine said.
“Let me get back to you on that. You have to understand I’m not in a very employable situation, am I?”
“Man of your talents will get by,” Elaine said with no effort to hide her smile.