The following story is about me, Seth Harrison. That’s my actual name, I am more widely known as Taylor Blaze, lead guitarist of Black Appendage.
Now that you know my name, you have probably heard what happened. The end of Black Appendage and the beginning of my life as
an inmate of Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary.
The following is the story of the events leading up to my incarceration. I am regretful for my actions and fell a huge sense of remorse. The prison shrink claims that this will be therapeutic.
Burning Appendage was on tour supporting our album, ‘Black Death March’, in the summer of 2007. It was me, Phil, Kelso, Robin, Gizmo and our manager Kevin all cruising up Interstate 35 in Oklahoma. It was exactly how you would picture it, weed being smoked and alcohol flowing. What made our band different was that we all loved the board
game Monopoly. It really helped on long trips between cities, towns and venues. I was always the top hat. Our drummer Phil wouldn’t play unless he was the thimble. The other three band members didn’t care, and Kevin was always on his phone or laptop. Kelso said, “Let’s make this round a lot more interesting. Let’s use real money.” The bassist was already stoned when it was suggested. I shrugged my shoulders and Gizmo said, “Hell yeah!” Robin just sipped her wine, trying to keep a poker face while giving one solitary nod in
agreement. Phil said, “I’m in!” Kevin spoke up, “Where the hell are you going to get the money for the bank? You know it’s over twenty thousand dollars, in different denominations.”
“Why do you always have to use such big words? Are you trying to make us feel stupid?” Asked the lead singer, Gizmo.“Calm down, Gizzy.” Robin had a cute pet name for everyone. She was
so sweet and innocent off stage. When she was perched up on here riser, behind her Hammond organ, she was a raving maniac. She would stand on the keys, throw simulated cat meat and stuffed dog heads into the audience. She was a crowd favorite at the live shows. On the bus, though, she was very quiet.
“Of course, I’m not trying to make anyone feel stupid, but if you’re going to play Monopoly with real money, then you are going to need a lot.” Kevin answered. “Three of the last four shows were paid to us in cash, let’s use that. It’s just for the game, nobody is taking any of it.” I interjected. Kevin stood silent looking at his “kids” and laced his fingers through his hair. “Fine! Let’s not make it a habit!” He walked to the back of the bus to the safe and retrieved twenty thousand dollars. “You’ll have to modify the rules because there are no $50’s, $5’s or $1’s.”
The band was excited to get this game underway. The money was divvied up between the five band members. It was surreal seeing all that cash. I got out my secret stash of Apple Crown Royal and made everyone a shot. One turned into another, then two more after that. By the looks of things, this was to be just another trip on the rock and roll highway to the next show.
“Yes!” Gizmo cried out. “Ventnor Avenue. I will buy it and now I have all the yellow properties.”
“Big Whoop! Phil has all the railroads and New York & Tennessee. He only needs St. James Place for the orange ones. Have you paid attention to what everyone else has? I mean, I have all the light blues and the electric company.” Robin was flashing her property cards at Gizmo. “What do you have, Kelso?’, she said looking over at his stuff.
“Not much. Uh, Water works and this.” Kelso produce an old school cigarette case. He pushed the clasp and the cover popped open to reveal five tightly rolled joints.
That little move broke everyone up and the game resume without a hitch, at least for a little while. They continued drinking and smoking getting really drunk and stoned.
“You can’t put four houses and two hotels there! You don’t own all three properties yet. Plus, it’s four houses for a hotel.” Phil called out Gizmo. “The hell I can’t!” Gizmo retorted.
Robin spoke up, “Come on, Phil, It’s just a game.” “Yeah, but you want it to be fair.” Kelso said. “Screw this!” I said and threw the top hat at Gizmo, hitting him above
the left eye. “You gotta be friggin kidding me!” Gizmo said, standing up quickly and dumping the game board and money everywhere. He placed his hand over the spot. When he pulled his hand away, the palm had blood in it. “I’m bleeding. I’m bleeding! Kevin! Get in here and control your monkey!”
Phil was laughing hard enough to keel over. Kelso just stood, frozen in shock before the giggles took over.
“What in Christ’s name is going on in here? Jesus! What happened?” Kevin asked, staring at the trickle of blood making its way down Gizmo’s
cheek, then looking at the chaos of the room.
I was standing by the kitchenette, leaning against the sink holding a bottle of Jack Daniels. Phil was sitting Indian style on the floor with Kelso kneeling next to him. They were both still laughing. Robin was blotting Gizmo’s cut with a paper towel. There was a spilled, open bag of pot on the table next to where the Monopoly board was. Cash all over the place. Turned over drinks and
broken bottles. “This sore sport got all pissy when I put a house on Pennylvania. Then…” Gizmo was cut off mid-sentence. “Look here, you little pansy, you’re a cheater. Every damned time we
play, you cheat. We let you get away with it because you’re a cry baby lead singer. Up yours.” I said and gave him a very good view of my middle finger.
Phil and Kelso were no longer laughing, although they did still have tears running down their faces. Robin was in shock, still holding one of Gizmo’s shoulders. “You guys are this upset over a stupid game? I can’t, I just can’t. You guys figure it out before Tulsa.” Kevin said before walking to the back of the bus.
I watched Kevin pass by and on through the curtain separating the sleeping quarters and the common area. Once Kevin had pulled the curtain closed, I looked at Gizmo with a very evil grin. I have no idea where it came from or why this hatred took over. I walked slowly over to him, stepping over Phil’s outstretched legs. I got right in his face, leaned to his right ear and said, “You would be smart to shut your mouth before I rip out that money maker of yours. Drop it, Giz. Drop it!” I said this in a low-toned whisper. It was like a demon speaking.
I turned to walk to my bunk behind the curtain and try to cool down. That’s when Gizmo pushed me. It wasn’t super hard but there was enough force for me to stumble over Kelso and Phil. I caught myself on the countertop. I stood up with my back to the group. As I turned to face them, I extracted the 9mm from my front belt holster and pointed it at Gizmo. There I was, like an old western, with a bottle of booze in one hand and a gun in the other. Quite a sight.
“Whoa, man, whoa. Put that thing away.” Phil was no longer giggling and had begun his ascent to a standing position, which could be imposing to some. He was six-foot-seven, but as skinny as a rail. “Don’t be stupid, Taylor. Come on, bro.” Kelso said. Robin had her hands out in front of her in a calming gesture. “You’re just messing around, right? Can you please put that back in the holster? You’re making me very nervous.”, she pleaded.
“Really, Taylor? You’re going to shoot me because you were losing?” Gizmo asked, with an unwarranted arrogance. BLAM! A single shot rang out. “I wasn’t losing, you were cheating. Say
it!” Taylor commanded. “Argggghhhh! You shot me in the leg! What is wrong with you?!” Gizmo immediately grabbed the leg right above the bullets entrance. Robin screamed out in horror. Kelso covered his ears and Phil yelled out for Kevin.
Louie, the bus driver, was startled by the shot and swerved slightly. “What the hell are you doing back there? You scared the crap outta me!” He called out front the front cab area.
Kevin was screaming from behind the curtain. “That’s it! You’re all getting docked. This is ridiculous!” He flung the curtain open and stormed forward, head down like a bull. “Am I the only one that cares about the money you people sacrifice every time you get in an argument?” I swear, if I can’t get some work done…”
Just as he approached where I was, I lifted the 9mm and shot him right between the eyes. I didn’t even turn around to face him. He fell straight back, bumping the back of his head on a shelf on the way down, which would’ve hurt had he been alive. Blood and brain matter saturated the walls and hallway. There was a pool forming under his lifeless body, as well.
My eyes never left Gizmo’s. Robin fainted and fell into the small stairwell the stepped up into the bus. Phil made a sudden movement in my direction; I suppose to disarm me. Without thinking, I held my left arm up to guard against his attack and shot through the bottle I was holding. I got him twice in the chest, pushing him back onto the recliners.
I really liked Phil, but he was coming at me. It was like a reflex, and I wasn’t thinking clearly. Phil was the only one in the entire band that I considered my friend. We often hung out together even off the road. Out of the five murders that night, his still hurts.
Kelso said, “Look, Taylor. I got no beef with you. We’re cool, right?” A memory of an incident flashed in my mind. We were touring Europe and I was getting chummy with a really hot brunette. I excused myself to use the bathroom and when I returned, Kelso was all over her. I had all but forgotten that until he asked if we were cool. That’s the exact thing he said when I returned from the bathroom that night. I fired two shots at him, dropping him where he stood, and over his dead body, I said, “yeah, we’re cool.”
“I’m pulling over, you’re nuts!” Louie yelled out. I answered, “Drive until I tell you not to. Do you understand?” “Yeah, yeah, Everything’s cool, Taylah.” Taylor came out Tay-la with his
thick New England accent.
“What has gotten into you, Taylor?” Gizmo asked, not quite as concerned with his wounded leg. “You gonna kill me? Is that your end game?” I squatted down to his level and said, “Well, Giz, that certainly wasn’t my intention when we took off from Dallas this morning, but here we are. You know, you’ve been an arrogant prick for years and I guess it just came to a head. Kevin is, I mean was, such a hard ass that he had to go. I really hate that I shot Phil, he was my bro. Kelso? Wrong place, wrong time I suppose.” It was right about this time that I stood up and noticed blood all over the place. “What about Robin? You gonna kill her, too?” Gizmo asked. He wasn’t as high and mighty as usual in his tone. I scratched my head and answered. “Not sure. My adrenaline is way up and I’m still pretty buzzed, but I am horny.” “Jesus, Taylor! She’s like our little sister.” Gizmo said, rubbing his leg. BLAM! That’s when I shot him in the other leg. “Noooooooooo. Oh my God! Arrrgggghhhhhh!” Gizmo was in a lot of pain now.
I heard Robin start to stir. “Awe, man! I think I broke my arm when I fell. Christ, this hurts!” She said standing with one leg higher than the other. She turned to face the scene and I could see her getting woozy. “Help her, Taylor!” Gizmo commanded. Those would be the last words he ever spoke. I was never a big fan of authority or being told what to do and him telling me to help Robin,
well that caused my finger to squeeze the trigger one more time. I faced him and aimed at his throat. His lips barely parted and before a sound emitted from them, there was a quarter-sized hole in his neck.
When Robin saw this, she screamed and cried. Her arm was not broken, as she brought them both up and covered her mouth with her hands. “Oh, My, God!” was clearly heard although muffled through her hands. I held a booze-soaked finger in front of my mouth and said, “shhhhhh. It’s all good now.” I was high from the killings and from the alcohol, not to mention secondhand weed smoke. Robin brought her hands down and starred at Gizmo. He was sitting with a blood-soaked hole in each pant leg, his neck a bloody mess and his eyes still wide open. She turned to look at me and was face to face with the barrel of my gun. Her mouth fell open. This is where the alcohol started talking. I said, “You know, since your mouth is already open…” I probably gave her what I presumed was a sexy look. Just shameful.
“You can’t be serious, Taylor! We’re surrounded by four dead bodies and there’s blood everywhere. What planet are you from to make you think that I want to go down on you? Even in a normal situation, it would never happen!” Robin said emphatically. I closed my eyes and fired. I was pissed that she would say that to me. I looked down on her and fired my last shot of the evening. I aimed for her crotch and heard the blast of the gun as I walked over and around the carnage I created. That was uncalled for, but dammit, I was really upset.
I peeked through the opening to where Louie was sitting. He was gripping the steering wheel so tight his fingers and knuckles were white from the lack of blood flow. He was trembling and staring straight ahead. “I’m coming up, Louie. I’m not going to shoot you, so please just drive a little further.” I said, as calmly as I could. “I see that we’re not that far from Oklahoma City. After this exit coming up, I want you to pull off the side of the road and let me out. Once I’m out and you’re far enough away, call 911. I’ll wait for them around here.’
“Ok, boss. Whatevah you say.” Louie said.
It was only another five minutes or so when Louie started slowing the bus down. I opened the door, took one step down and looked up at my driver. “You’re a good guy, Louie.” I said as I exited the bus.
I found a decent sized boulder to wait on. I laid back, it was still warm from the heat of the day, but I didn’t care.
I stared up at the stars, soaking in my last hours of freedom.