Finally our band had its first paying gig and I slid into the costume then stood up to let it drop down to seat itself. I strapped on wrist braces to hold the wings off my hands enough to play then the tech worked the guitar over the head of the raven costume. Three years I had played without any costume for nothing except for occasional studio gigs, but finally Vladov, Yuri, and I created Quoth the Raven and after four months of playing in parks and wherever people might here somebody got interested in a trio playing music in bird costumes.
I walked onto the stage and the bar was packed, but mostly with drunks, not with the kind of person who seemed like they would be interested in our music. Vladov sat down at his drums while Yuri went to the microphone with his bass slung low.
“We are Quoth the Raven, and this is The Murder.”
Vladov started off with a slow beat, but as he slammed hard on the bass drum I started thrashing out the chords on my guitar. It was a sonic wave and it woke up even the hardcore drinkers from their stupor. An old lady looked up at the stage from her nearly empty glass and screamed. She threw her seat to the ground and charged at the stage, more specifically me. She screamed about the giant birds as she she dove into my legs. I shifted my balance to stay on my feet, but beyond that I had no clue what to do. The costume made playing guitar hard let alone doing anything else, and I didn't want to hit this lady. Vladov pounded away on the drums apparently unaware of the lady's attack, but Yuri had stopped playing and was just laughing.
His mirth was cut short when one of the other patrons shattered a chair over the back of his head and sent him sprawling to the stage. Vladov stopped playing, stood up, and with his costume got tangled up in the drum set and fell down with a clatter. I turned to the left and saw another guy coming toward the stage and I took a punch to the face, the costume providing some padding, but the mask got turned around and left me blind. I staggered, but with the lady holding onto my legs I fell to the stage. I felt more kicks and stomps to my body with slightly more cushioning as the suit was thicker in that area before I finally started to hear the sirens of police cars. Normally that meant time to flee before they broke up our sidewalk performance, but this time it meant safety.
The beating slowed as the sirens drew nearer, but it didn't stop until the sirens had finished their approach. Somebody hauled me to my feet and tugged the mask around until I could see out of it again.
“Looks like you boys can't run away from us this time.”
“We were supposed to play here,” I said.
“Did they want you to start a riot?”
“Probably not, but I didn't ask,” Yuri said.
The pithy response got him a police baton to the midsection and he doubled over gasping for breath. The cops pulled us out of the club with the drunk lady still screaming about the giant birds attacking. Afterward came a bunch of the assailants. Thankfully the band got our own paddy wagon to the station, and I knew this was the final time I was going to play music in a bird suit.