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“In the band. MORTIFIED.”

Jim remembered the picture in the ratted magazine. “I thought there was something familiar about you.”

Rudy’s eyes glowed. He leaned close, stroked the back of Jim’s head and purred, “There’s a lot more to get familiar with. A lot.”

Jim backed up against the wall, trapped. He inserted his straw into his mouth and looked away from Rudy’s intense face.

Bill said, “What do you know about the girl?”

Rudy eyes lingered on Jim a little longer before he said, “Not much. She has a nasty habit. Or used to.”

“Habit?” Bill looked at Jim knowingly.

“Yeah,” Rudy said, inching his body closer to Jim’s. “Blow mostly. Maybe heroin.”

Jim said, “Well, we don’t want to keep you from your show. Come on, Bill, we have to go. Now.”

Bill said, “Hold up, Jim,” and then turned to Rudy. “Is that all you know?”

“Look, he tore the band up when we were working on our second album.” Rudy pulled back from Jim. “You can have only so much anarchy, even in punk. You can have only so much violence, even in punk. He destroyed everything we worked for, three years down the drain.”

Rudy slumped against the wall, removed his wig and scratched the bald spot on his head. “Slade totally blew it. I’ve got this band now and I don’t need him any longer. He…” Rudy paused and sighed sadly. “We were tight. But he’s out of control. I don’t know what’s wrong with him. He needs help.”

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