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Old 11-30-2008, 07:35 AM   #1
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WC - Some Days Are Better Than Others

Here's my response to Diane's Writer's Club challenge...
Usual disclaimer: all fiction, don't know the band, etc.

You have been given the glorious job of pizza delivery person. On your first day, you are sent to the studio where U2 are currently recording the new album. Bono being Bono wants a second (or quite possibly third) opinion on a song. What do you do once you're inside the studio?

His first night in a new job, Anthony consoled himself with this thought:

"At least it's not Pizza Hut."

Botticelli was a quality establishment, a proper sit-down Italian restaurant... they also happened to have a delivery service. They needed drivers; Anthony had a car and a cash flow problem. The solution was obvious.

Anthony knew it was stupid to have standards about a part-time student job like this, but there it was. Perhaps it was because his ego was smarting - his marks at university had dipped and he'd lost his performance-based scholarship. He knew he'd been lucky not to need to work until now, so things could have been worse. And while the work would be the same either way, at least he wasn't working for a faceless multinational mega-corporation.

He'd barely set foot in the back door of the restaurant when he'd been handed his first delivery, which he was sure was a prank. He checked the address again... nobody lived on the docks! He'd called them on it back at the restaurant, but they'd eyeballed him and said that they delivered to this place every so often. No name on the order.... it was obviously a joke, the only question was whether his new bosses were playing it, or some smart-arse customer. He would just have to grit his teeth and take it on the chin.

It didn't help that Anthony had gotten turned around twice on the way here... but he wasn't too worried about delivering cold food to a phantom customer.

He finally found himself parked in an alley, surrounded by warehouses.
It was dark and cold, and he waited while a brief shower of hail clattered over his car. This was ridiculous, he thought. How long was he supposed to hang around here and look for whoever had supposedly ordered the cooling pizza and pasta? With a sigh, he climbed out of the car when the hail eased, and walked along the alley, shoulders hunched.
Ah, there was a door. And a door-bell, why not? Anthony pushed the button, and heard a buzzer faintly from within. He leaned against the wall.

Just as he was prepared to call an end to the hoax, and having composed a beautifully eloquent tirade for the guys back at Botticelli, he heard whistling approaching the door, and then a voice singing.

"... hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's amooooré..."

The door sprang open, and there was Bono, smiling.

Anthony blinked.

So did U2's lead singer. "Where's Matt, then?" He peered up at Anthony.

"I don't know," Anthony said, a little shocked. "I'm new." He started looking around for a hidden camera.

Bono shrugged. "Maybe he's got the night off. Come on in," and he stepped back, holding the door.

He hadn't been given much in the way of training, but common sense aside, one thing Anthony had been told was never to go into a customer's home, even (or especially) if invited. He retreated behind his role.

"I've got a large Botticelli pizza, a large Margherita, and a Fettucini al Funghi," he said, checking the insulated bag. "That's... uh... €38.65."

Bono nodded. "Sounds about right." He didn't move, or make any attempt to take the food from Anthony.

"Sorry it took so long," Anthony tried again.

"It's not gettin' any warmer," Bono said. "Are you gonna stand out here all night?" A small smile and a raised eyebrow.

All right. "Is this a joke?" Anthony blurted. "My very first delivery, they send me out here where nobody bleedin' lives, some dark alley on the docks, no name on the order... I thought they were playin' a prank."
Would the famous Bono participate in a prank on a lowly pizza delivery guy?

"I'm not jokin', I'm hungry," Bono said. "I was expecting Matt, he usually delivers, but you'll do just as well. We need a fresh pair of ears. Come in... Anthony," he repeated, leaning forward and peering at Anthony's name tag.

Anthony decided he wasn't going to be assaulted. What the hell... it's not every day Bono invites you in.
He followed Bono inside in a state of some bemusement. He wouldn't have called himself a fan, but you couldn't live in Dublin without knowing who U2 were. He realised this must be their studio - the rooms filled with musical instruments and technical equipment were a dead giveaway.

"What took you so long? I'm feckin' starving," The Edge complained from a couch. Several beer bottles were in various stages of consumption on the table before him – the musicians were clearly relaxing after a day's recording.

Anthony reddened defensively, not realising Edge's words were aimed at Bono. "Sorry... took a wrong turn..."

"Don't mind him," Bono said, finally taking the bag from Anthony and putting everything on the table. "He gets cranky if he misses a feed."

"Feck off, Bono Vox," Edge said cheerfully. "Pass us a fork, will you?"

Soon, half of U2, and another man called Danny, had all been introduced and were sitting down, stuffing their faces. Anthony had declined three offers to join them, but Bono had insisted, so he was perched on the edge of a chair, nibbling a slice of pizza. It was definitely cold by this point, but nobody seemed to care, engrossed as they were in what seemed to be at least two simultaneous conversations.

Finishing his slice, Anthony stood up again. "I really should be going," he said. "I don't want to be fired on my first night."

"Nonsense!" Bono exclaimed. "I know Simon, I'll have a word to him. Sit down and have some more pizza, then we can road-test some songs on you."

"If you don't mind, that is," Edge put in, rolling his eyes.

So that was what he meant by needing a fresh pair of ears. "No, really, I don't think that's a good idea..." Anthony went to collect the insulated bag and started checking his pockets for his keys.

Bono took the bag back again. "Please, don't worry about Simon or your job. I won't even tell him the pizza was cold," the frontman winked. "Take a seat, please?"

"Uh, sure, I guess," Anthony said, and sat down again.
It wasn't just his job he was worried about, but Anthony didn't know how to tell them that he really wasn't a fan. They probably just wanted to hear him say how fantastic he thought the songs were... he could always lie. Right?

"So, Anthony," Bono said around a mouthful of Edge's pasta, "what do you do when you're not delivering pizzas?"

Edge glared at the food thief and moved himself and his dinner further down on the couch.

"I'm a student," Anthony replied. "Biology and genetics. I'm in my third year," he added, pre-empting the usual questions.

"Really?" Edge suddenly became a lot more interested. "Are you going into research?"

"I think so. Maybe. I'm not sure," Anthony confessed. He reached for another slice of cold pizza. "If I can't pay the fees, it won't matter much."

"Have you been working all the way through?" Bono asked.

Anthony shook his head. "Only since this year. Loft the ffholarfhip," he mumbled with his mouth full.

"What happened?"

Geez, these rock stars were nosy. "I dunno. My marks slipped, I guess I started losing interest or motivation or something. I don't know what else I want to do, though."

"I think it's unreasonable to expect people to have their whole careers mapped out when they're barely adults," Bono declared.

"You've got your whole life to figure it out," Edge agreed. "If you really want to do something, you can find a way to make it happen."

"It's all right for you," Anthony muttered, then clamped his mouth shut. But Bono laughed.

"Yeah, I know, lucky bastards like us can't talk. We should just shut up an' stick to makin' music, right?" He smiled at Anthony. "Come on Danny, let's see what he thinks of our music making..."

The guy called Danny got up and poked at some buttons on a console. "Which one?"

Bono got up and joined him, while Edge swooped on Bono's abandoned pizza. "Try that for starters," the singer was saying, and music finally emerged from the studio's sound system.

Anthony listened, feeling acutely uncomfortable. There was no doubt who had made this song, and he had no idea what he could say about it beyond that.
"I'm not the best person to be askin'," he said. "There must be other people..."

"He dragged a Canadian girl in here last week," Edge commented, chewing unconcernedly. "All the staff and half their families have heard it. You're fine."

Edge's and Danny's feet were tapping. Bono started singing over the recorded lyrics, and Anthony wondered if he was still working on the wording, because they didn't always match up. He forced himself to listen, and tried not to wish that this had been a prank delivery after all.
Maybe his phone would ring, and rescue him... But no, he'd left it in the car.

The song ended, and Bono watched Anthony expectantly.

The biology student-turned-pizza boy-turned-music critic swallowed, digging around in his brain for something to say, wishing he was anywhere else but there. How the hell do you tell Bono you don't like his music? Now that the time had come, he couldn't bring himself to lie. He broke out in a cold sweat as the silence dragged.
Say something. Anything.
"Uh, it's definitely a U2 song..."

Edge smirked. "He thinks it's crap."

"No, you think it's crap. He didn't say he thought it was crap."

There was clearly some history between Edge and Bono about this song, Anthony thought. Nice of them to haul him in to arbitrate.

"It's not crap," he made himself say. "It's just not my thing, that's all. Sorry."

Bono didn't seem to know what to say, which Anthony imagined didn't happen often. This time Edge laughed.
"We should apologise for dragging you in here," the guitarist said.

Anthony was a trifle mollified. "This isn't how I thought me first night was gonna go."

"Come on, this has to be better than deliverin' pizzas all night," Bono said.

"How would you like it if..." Anthony groped for a name, "if Mick Jagger played you his latest song and you didn't like it? Or Paul McCartney or someone like that?"

"It would be bloody awkward," Bono acknowledged. "Will you listen to another one? You can't judge the whole album on one song..."

"Who said that one's going on the album?" Edge protested. Bono ignored him and played another song through the speakers.

This one sounded grittier, and Anthony was a little relieved. "Nice. I don't mind that one," he said.

Bono seemed to bristle at the word 'nice'. "It's only a rough cut," he said.

"I'm not sure it needs much more polishing," Danny put in.

"You've been hanging around with Brian for too long."

"Back me up, Edge..."

"He knows how I feel about it."

"Anthony?" Bono put him on the spot.

"... It's all right how it is. I dunno what would happen if you polished it. It's your song," he said, feeling grossly unqualified to be spouting his opinion.

"What music do you like, Anthony?" Edge asked, while Bono was mouthing 'all right?!' with an indignant look on his face.

"I dunno, lots. Linkin Park..." He had a CD of theirs in his car at the moment, they were the first band to come to mind.

"Hybrid Theory is a great album," Bono said, having recovered his equanimity.

"I prefer Minutes to Midnight," Anthony replied.

"I guess we won't bother you with the ballads, then," Edge chuckled.

Anthony shrugged. "I don't mind some ballads," he said. "But yeah, I usually prefer heavier stuff."

Four more songs later, Anthony was beginning to wonder if Bono would let him leave until he'd become a raving U2 fan. In which case they were all in for a long night.
"Look, why did you even bring me in here?" he said, frustration overcoming any sense of awe or intimidation. "There must be thousands of fans who'd give their right arms to be in here, and they'd tell you all this stuff is brilliant. If you wanted someone to tell you they love everything you do, you'd have been better off getting a fan in."

"No, that's not why I wanted to bring you in," Bono said. "We've been holed up in here for months--"

Edge snorted.

"-- and you go a bit stir-crazy, you know? You've made some songs but you've heard them so many times, you can't tell if they're any good. Do you get that with your essays? You re-write it so many times you don't know whether it's great or crap anymore?"

Anthony grunted. "I'm lucky if I write more than one draft these days."

"But you know getting someone else to read it would give you a new perspective on it. They'll see somethin' you won't."

"Yeah, I guess. But I don't think my perspective's helpin' you much. You're not gonna change your sound just 'cause I don't like it, and I'm not gonna suddenly change my taste in music. You can't make everyone happy, there are always gonna be people who don't like your stuff." Anthony shrugged.

"We know that," Edge said.

Bono looked unhappily resigned.
"Well, since we've made your ears bleed, why don't you show us what you like to listen to... we've got a decent collection here..." Bono beckoned Anthony into another room, which boasted shelves full of CDs.

Anthony started to protest, but Bono waved his words aside. "Come on, there must be something there you don't hate," he smiled.

There were several things there he didn't hate, as it turned out. He couldn't have said whether the others hated it or not, but they must have heard all these CDs at least once before, he figured.
The conversation became a lot less awkward once they got off the topic of U2. Bono could talk the ears off a mule about the humanities and politics and sociology and Africa, but Edge talked circles around him when it came to electronics or any sort of hard science. Danny left at some point, calling it a night, while they were having a spirited debate about stem cells and genetic engineering. That turned into Edge telling Anthony all about the research various people were doing on the growth of blood vessels (angiogenesis), which had potential applications for anything from transplants to treating heart disease and cancer; Bono seemed content to make do with the occasional interjection as the conversation got more and more technical. Finally Anthony's questions exhausted even Edge's accumulation of information on the topic.

"That sounds fascinating," Anthony was saying. "I'll have to search the journals for the research behind it..."

"Wait a bit, I'll give you some websites to check out," Edge said, before finding a piece of paper and scribbling on it. "They're making some amazing discoveries."

"Thanks," Anthony said, pocketing the paper. He glimpsed what looked like a series of chords on the other side, and hoped it wasn't important.

"Do you think we'll ever learn everything there is to know about the human body?" Bono mused.

"Not in our lifetime," Anthony said. "The closer we look, the less we understand about how it all works at the smallest scale."

"Can you believe they thought there was nothing left to be discovered near the end of the 19th century?" Edge said. "The prevailing opinion was that everything had been figured out, and we understood it all. Then Einstein came along, and Mendel's work was rediscovered, which put Darwin's theory into a whole new light..."

"Come on, The Edge, we'd better let Anthony get home some time tonight," Bono said, giving his bandmate a nudge.

"Oh sure, you didn't want to let him go when you were tryin' to peddle your wares," Edge said with a laugh.

"They're your wares too, mate," Bono reminded him.

Anthony wanted to get out of there before they made him listen to any more U2 music. "I do need to get going," he said, checking for his keys again. He grabbed the insulated bag and stood up.

"Thanks for indulging us," Bono said, leading him to the door.

"That's okay... thank you," Anthony replied to both musicians, although he wasn't sure what he was thanking them for, exactly. Getting him out of work for a night? What were his new co-workers going to say? "Uh, are you sure you can talk to Simon?"

"Yes, don't worry about it. I'll take care of everything," Bono said, opening the door. "Have a good night!"

"Thank you," Anthony said again, waving before he walked down the dark alley and back to his car. He turned back to see Edge and Bono both waving, before they retreated inside. Not a hallucination, then. Probably.

Anthony sat in his car for a couple of minutes, replaying the evening. It was easily the most bizarre night of his young life. He finally started the car, head full of angiogenesis and new ideas about the possible direction of his career, and nearly drove back to his house before he remembered that his shift wasn't actually over yet.

He didn't know whether Bono would call Simon right away, or wait until the morning, so it was with some trepidation that Anthony walked back into Botticelli's delivery room. All eyes turned to him when he entered, with a mixture of sympathy and apprehension on his behalf.

"Where's Simon?" Anthony asked the room in general.

"Never mind that, where've you been?" someone else asked him. "Simon's been tryin' to call you for the last two hours."

Anthony checked his phone – seven missed calls. "I left the phone in my car," he said. "Bono made me listen to half his album."

Several of the longer-serving staff nodded in understanding, and went about their business, the mystery explained.

"Does he do that a lot?" Anthony asked.

"Now and then," his original interrogator replied. "Oh, there's Simon..."

Simon walked into the room, talking on a cordless phone. "Yes, he's just come back, safe and sound," he was saying, winking to Anthony. Anthony breathed a sigh of relief. "No, I understand... Yes, of course. Glad to hear it... all right... goodbye," he went on, finally ending the call. "So, my boy, how was your first delivery?"

"Not quite what I was expecting," Anthony said, perfectly honestly.

Simon laughed. "The next one won't take so long. Just give the money to Andrea and we'll send you out again..."

Anthony's heart stopped for a millisecond. The money... "Aw, shite!"

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Old 11-30-2008, 11:36 AM   #2
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Loved it

Hope mine is as enjoyable

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Old 11-30-2008, 04:00 PM   #3
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I love this!!!...and the ending was really good too....but then I would have left more than the money behind...
Upcoming gigs: U2-Moncton-07/31/11 OMG I had so much fun! So sad it's over though.

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Old 12-01-2008, 08:34 AM   #4
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Loved it - and the ending made me laugh. Poor Anthony!
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Old 12-01-2008, 02:47 PM   #5
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Alisaura- that. was. really really cute. so different!!! I was smiling through the whoel thing! I loved that he WASN'T a fan.
and the details of the conversations and thoughts were perfect. very Bono and Edge!!
Anthony is such a believable character.

Never thought i would read something without... you know.... some 'lovin', but i enjoyed it very much..
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Old 12-01-2008, 09:17 PM   #6
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i love it.
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Old 12-02-2008, 11:08 PM   #7
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Do you want me to add this to the Writer's Club LJ?
Upcoming gigs: U2-Moncton-07/31/11 OMG I had so much fun! So sad it's over though.

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Old 12-02-2008, 11:27 PM   #8
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so cute!!!
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Old 12-03-2008, 06:19 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by blm View Post
Alisaura- that. was. really really cute. so different!!! I was smiling through the whoel thing! I loved that he WASN'T a fan.
and the details of the conversations and thoughts were perfect. very Bono and Edge!!
Anthony is such a believable character.

Never thought i would read something without... you know.... some 'lovin', but i enjoyed it very much..
Thank you, blm! Glad you enjoyed it... nothing wrong with some differentness

Originally Posted by dianepm View Post
Do you want me to add this to the Writer's Club LJ?
Please do!

Thanks everyone

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