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Common Goals: The Three Rockerteers

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Common Goals: The Three Rockerteers

Authors’ Preface

A short time ago, while conducting an intellectual inquiry into the history of rock bands at the turn of the twenty-first century, my collaborator and I found curious references to a band which history and the musical charts have long since forgotten, called Common Goals.

What caught our attention was not so much the peculiar lyrical content of their songs, nor the fact that this band once played sold out shows at the world’s largest arenas, but rather most fascinating tabloid headlines with such titillating titles as “Rock Stars Sexcapades Exposed: When Plungers Are Not Enough” and “Sodom in the House of Athos.”

I immediately suggested to my collaborator that we go to a library to do further digging into this biblical phenomenon, to which she replied, “What’s a library?”

We proceeded to Google, hoarding all references we could find, using such keywords as “Sodom” and “Athos” and “Sexcapades,” our efforts finally paying off when we discovered what appeared to be an abandoned blog, at one point maintained by the lead guitarist of Common Goals, a Mr. Adam Athos. The blog was called “My account of how I lost my wife and learned to build relationships based on mutual respect.” We found this particularly enlightening as it had become obvious to us during our research that “Mutual Respect” was in fact the name given to the last documented tour by Common Goals.

Now, it is the retelling of this precious manuscript that we hereby present to our gentle readers, and beg for them to lay to our account, and not that of Mr. Adam Athos, the deepest pleasure or the profoundest boredom they may experience.

This being understood, let us proceed with our absolutely accurate historical account of these events.



Chapter 1: In which we find Treville very irate




As was the custom in London, it was raining. Athos had a headache and was engaged in a stare-down with his own guitar. The insolent instrument was winning. Porthos was occupied with trying to balance an empty beer bottle on the tip of his surprisingly long tongue. Only Aramis seemed aware enough of their surroundings to step out of the way as the door swung open, with an unusual amount of violence, even for their manager.

Treville stormed into the studio, waving the morning's paper in her hand like a militant suffragette. "Again. Again, you bastards?"

Aramis leaned back in his chair and cocked one shaped eyebrow at Athos, who glared back. "Why the hell are you looking at me? I was with you all night."

"And a fat lot of good that did." Treville unfolded the paper, brandishing the headline: TRUTH ABOUT ROCK STARS’ SHOCKING SEXCAPADES. "’Common Goals lead guitarist, Athos, and frontman, Aramis, narrowly escaped arrest for indecent exposure outside a south city church.' A church? Because we really need to give the Christian extremists another reason to hate us?"

"That was last week," Athos tried to argue, at the same time as Aramis replied, "We were worshiping our Lord and Savior. They should approve of that."

"I'm not going to even get into who you were worshiping," Treville shot back.

Athos tried to salvage the situation. "You're holding The Globe. No one reads that tabloid trash."

"Wrong. Supermarket Moms read this shit, and then they go home and tell their teenagers that they’d rather see them snorting coke off a hooker's ass than attending one of our concerts. Do you know what this does to ticket sales?" She turned her gaze to Porthos as he snickered. "You think this is funny, you walking ginger sexual harassment suit?"

Porthos cocked an eyebrow, giving Treville the wide, lopsided smile that he secretly called his groupie magnet. "Come on doll, don't be like that. I'd never sue you, the sex is just too good."

"Fuck off," Treville replied, raising the paper again. "’The band's drummer, meanwhile, proves to have even more questionable morals, and spent the evening in a private room at the Crystal Lounge with a group of the band's fans, which included eight women, three men, and a goat. The required entrance fee to the event, a source states, was to remove your knickers to prove that you shaved.’"

"That's complete bullshit. There was no goat. Shaved goats are utterly unappealing." He paused for a moment. "Though I suppose someone could have snuck one in the back.”

“The back of what?” Aramis interjected.

“I was too busy having my brain sucked out through my cock to notice," Porthos completed his train of thought.

Treville gave a growl deep in her throat that sounded dangerously unsettled. "Look, I don't fucking care if you're topping the rock charts and selling platinum records in your sleep. How the hell am I supposed to get rid of the slanderous lies Athos's ex-bitch spreads about you if you're proving them right every time I turn around? No more orgies in strip clubs, no more fucking in public, no more defiling churches, and for God’s sakes, no more goats! Do you hear me?"

“What about orgies and fucking in private..?” Porthos started, but got cut off by Treville’s scorching look.

“Define ‘defiling’.” Athos leaned forward with an interested look on his face.

From the studio door, they heard a soft cough, and turned to find a young man in leather pants and a Common Goals t-shirt hovering nervously in the doorway. "Um. Are you Emily Treville?"

She gave an exasperated sigh. "Oh God, and now we have groupies in the studio. Well, you can't fuck any of them,” she growled, indicating Athos, Porthos, and Aramis with her hand. “And how the hell did you get past security?"

The boy swallowed hard. "Um. I'm not fucking - I mean, I'm not a groupie. You invited me here for the audition." At her blank look, he wet his lips nervously, which were painted slightly unevenly in black lipstick. "For bass player? I'm JJ d'Artagnan?"

Athos's eyebrows knit together as he looked the boy over. "You? Treville, he doesn't even look old enough to drink. And he looks like Justin Bieber got into his mother's makeup."

Treville stalked towards the newcomer. "Oh, right. Jimmy Joe.”

“It’s James Joseph,” the boy mumbled barely audibly underneath his breath.

“Whatever,” Treville cut him off with a halting hand gesture. “Clean criminal record, never been arrested for public drunkenness or indecency, hasn’t knocked up any bints, raised a good Christian boy in suburbia of San Antonio. Tell me, boy, what do you think of blow?"

"What?"

"Drugs. Do you do them?"

"I - I'm a vegetarian," the boy stammered, and Treville gave an approving nod.

"Perfect. You're hired. Now wipe off that ridiculous makeup and start looking more wholesome. You're exactly what this band needs."


Chapter 2: In which d’Artagnan manages to change some minds




“Exactly what this band needs?!” Porthos whispered hotly into his friends’ ears.

Athos shrugged and set his guitar to the side. “Let’s all go down for a drink at Le Chat d’Or. Boy!” The young man looked up from his napkin, which was smudged with the vestiges of his black lipstick. “If, that is, you are in fact old enough to drink...”

“I’ve been drinking since I was twelve!” the boy shot back indignantly.

“Ah, so that explains your stunted growth,” Athos mumbled.

“Well, as long as his fake ID is good enough that’s all that matters.”

“Jeez Louise! I don’t need a fake - I’m legal in England. Hot damn.”

“Legal in England?!” Aramis’s eyes got very wide. “Well, Christ... Emily Treville will be the death of me.”

Porthos was still staring at the newcomer. “Did he seriously just say ‘Jeez Louise’? What the bloody fuck is this, an episode of ‘Leave it to Beaver’?”

A few minutes later, the four musicians walked through the doors of their favorite pub, the aforementioned Le Chat d’Or, and Athos quickly headed towards the bar, as if to avoid any further discussion.

Porthos, however, undeterred, continued his line of inquiry.

“And did I hear you say you’re a vegetarian? How the fuck are you supposed to go on the road with us? Sometimes all I eat for days is haggis.”

“He’s lying,” Aramis quickly pointed out.

“What the heck is haggis?” the boy’s knitted eyebrows spoke of worlds of confusion.

“Jesus Titty-fucking Christ, d’Art!” Porthos stretched out between two chairs, his legs resting on the back of one of them, rather precariously. “Now, tell me this, kid. If God didn't want me to eat animals, why did he make them so delicious? Especially bacon? Aramis, what do you think?"

Aramis cast a quick glance towards the bar, where Athos was balancing what looked like an inordinate amount of shot glasses.

“Um.... That depends. Is cock - meat?”

“Well, if all y’all insist on being jerks about it!” The boy stood up and took a threatening step back, as if to make room for a scuffle. Unfortunately, whatever his militant intentions actually were, they were left unaccomplished, as with his backwards step he ended up tripping over the foot of Athos, knocking all the shot glasses to the floor, and landing on top of the older man in an unwieldy heap of limbs.

“Ah! Son of a BITCH! You crushed my hand, you ASSHOLE!”

“And wasted the fucking booze!” Porthos seemed almost as incensed.

“Um... sorry?” the kid mumbled, becoming increasingly mortified, yet still failing to get off of Athos.

“Sorry? You’re SORRY??!!” Athos unceremoniously pushed the younger man off of his chest, finally liberating his abused appendage. “I have to play tomorrow! I think you sprained my goddamn thumb!”

“Jeez Louise! I said I'm sorry, alright? Just put some hot-damn frozen peas on that shit.”

Aramis winced. “I’m not sure if I’m more insulted by how stupid you are or your repeated raping of the English language.”

Athos was no less outraged. “Frozen peas? That's your suggestion? I don't know what it is they do in Tijuana or San Ysidro or wherever the fuck you hail from...”

Young d’Artagnan could take it no more.

“San Antonio! It's TEXAS, you dick!” And with a spirited leap, he jumped on top of Athos again, trying to punch him in the face.

“Fiesty little fucker!” Porthos looked almost gleeful as he joined the fray, jumping d’Artagnan and making Athos give a breathless grunt at the extra weight.

“Wherever it is, you have absolutely no manners,” Aramis noted with a disapproving frown. He grabbed a pitcher of cheap-looking beer off the tray of a passing waitress and upended it over the scrabbling trio. Much to his chagrin, this gesture only provoked further struggling, pulling Aramis down onto the wet floor along with everyone else. Someone’s little claw came deleteriously close to his eye.

“Not his face, you fucking wanker!”

“Yeah. One of us has to be pretty.” Porthos smirked, then narrowly ducked a flailing limb.

“Shit!!!” With seemingly supernatural strength, the boy struggled onto his feet.

You’re shit!” Athos shouted back.

“No, no! You guys! It’s the paparazzi!”

“Oh, fuck.” Even Aramis was unusually profane. “Quick, the back room.” Regardless of the slick floor, they were all on their feet in an instant. A wink from Aramis was enough to get them past the bartender and into the back of the pub, where they stopped, panting against the wall, adrenaline pumping. They were still for a few moments, hops-reeking brew dripping down some of their clothes, listening with bated breath for any more sounds of trouble.

Finally, d’Artagnan took a breath and, meeting Athos’s eyes with his own, said, “Your MOM’s shit!”

Contrary to the boy’s expectations, this seemed to break something inside Athos because he started to laugh uncontrollably, finally sliding down the wall, gripping his stomach.

Porthos gave a little approving nod. “Corny, but ballsy.”

“And good eye too,” Aramis added, trying to suppress his own fit of laughter which seemed imminent under the circumstances.

“Treville would have had all our asses on a spit,” Athos added, getting control of his breath.

“Especially after the whole goat thing,” Porthos muttered with a rueful grin. “But he definitely needs new clothes. Send him shopping with Grimaud.”

“What’s a Grimaud?” The boy asked, a shy smile spreading across his flushed face.

“It’s Athos’s personal assistant. He’s really gay. So he doubles as our fashion consultant.” Porthos explained.

“Gay.... or French,” Aramis mused.

“There’s no way to know really - he seldom speaks,” Porthos added.

“But he does wear a lot of scarves,” Athos cocked his head to the side, as if contemplating this fact.

“Scarves are pretty gay,” Porthos agreed, grabbing a bottle of wine from the rack to one side and starting to uncork it. He looked up at d’Artagnan. “You don’t wear scarves, do you?”

“Should I?”

“Not unless you’re trying to be the next Bowie,” Aramis replied with a snort, taking the uncorked bottle of wine from Porthos and taking a swig. “Besides, I’m already the pretty one.”

“Yes, so do go easy on the eyeliner,” Athos suggested helpfully, taking the bottle from Aramis and drinking far more from it than his bandmates would have liked. Porthos snatched it back before he could finish the whole thing, offering it to d’Artagnan.

“So, d’Art. No regrets about deciding to throw your lot in with us?”

“Well,” the boy started meekly, mouthing at the bottle and earning a scathing look from Athos.

“Don’t fellate the bottle, kid, just drink!”

D’Artagnan drowned the remnants of the wine obediently and handed the empty receptacle back to Porthos with a little cough. “I do still have concerns about...”

“What? Out with it!”

“Well, what happened to your last bassist,” he added another perfunctory cough.

Porthos automatically reached for another bottle of wine and started to uncork it.

“Yes, well, long story, for another time, possibly when Athos is more drunk,” Aramis quickly steered the conversation away from the infamous Rochefort incident.

Porthos took a good sized swig of the wine before passing it to Athos. “As long as you’re not a complete moron you’ll be fine, boy.” And then he added, “Now, where did you come from again? Utah?”

“Dag nab it! I’m not a frickin’ Mormon! San Antonio! You've heard of San Antonio!”

Porthos looked uncertain. “What is even in San Antonio?”

“The Spurs,” Athos mumbled, taking over the newly uncorked bottle and earning a bewildered look from Aramis. “What?” he asked his floored bandmate. “I like sports.”

“I would have gone with the Alamo, myself,” Aramis smirked.

Oh yeah!” Porthos chimed in, excitedly. “I remember the Alamo!” A communal groan echoed this outburst.


Chapter 3: In which some light is shed upon the events leading up to these events


We hope the reader will bear with us while we are forced to backtrack a little in time in order to establish the historical setting in which these events are taking place. Specifically, the formation of Common Goals in its current roster, or, even more specifically, the sudden and torrid breakup of the previous band to which some of the members had the misfortune to belong.

It was, some would reflect, a lot like The Beatles. Except significantly more of a train-wreck and with a great deal more sexual deviance. So really, not at all like The Beatles, except for the fact that the band’s demise was most definitely caused by one very devious, self-serving woman.

The woman in question was one glamorous pop-music princess named Milla D. The solitary “D” stood for something vaguely Eastern European and mostly unpronounceable, and she was only too happy to exchange that moniker for the more appealing surname of her husband: the aforementioned Adam Athos. Athos himself had no doubt that her eventual goal was to drop all surnames all together and reach the coveted One Name Only status with the likes of Madonna and Oprah, if not from talent then from the infamy of the sheer amount of drama she caused. Not that he would have admitted that at the time of their nuptials. No, to all observers, Milla and Adam looked entirely happy, perhaps even too happy to be properly endured. And as it happens to all musicians in love, as soon as they tied the knot, they got matching tattoos and started a band. That band was called “ATHOS” - after them.

The problems started when Milla proved to belong to the all-too-common pop star mindset that anything could be bought with sex, including the undying devotion of the band’s bassist, Leslie Rochefort. This poor young man’s real name had been Leslie Ducheez, and having been convinced to change his last name to something more presentable, he did not have the heart to do anything about his rather androgynous given name. This anecdotal information aside, Rochefort’s devotion was as much to the band’s leader (and main composer), Athos himself, and when given the opportunity to enhance his relationship with the power couple sexually, he jumped right on it, if you catch our drift.

Our gentle readers will surely forgive us for going into a bit more detail than you were probably anticipating, but in our quest to make this historical account as truthful and factual as possible, we must persevere, even at the cost of disgusting you!

While actual documentation of this event remains as yet to be uncovered, it was widely alluded to in the press that the tragic eye loss suffered by the bassist of ATHOS was indeed a result of this coupling, or rather, more specifically, the accidental coupling of Leslie Rochefort’s eye with the cock of Adam Athos.

But we digress, and generally get ahead of ourselves in our desire to explicate things more quickly. The truth was that up until now, no one had truly known the reason for Adam Athos filing for divorce from Milla D. What had been known, beyond the shadow of a doubt, was that this divorce took place, was very ugly, and resulted in the departure from ATHOS of both Milla and Rochefort, and the subsequent renaming of the band’s remaining members into “Porthos” and “Aramis,” thus finishing the formation of Common Goals in their form at the opening of our narrative.

Holding the band together and everyone’s sanity in check had been the accomplishment of the group’s long-time manager, Emily Treville. She performed her job with aplomb, thanks in no small part to a combination of industry knowledge and experience, and in even greater part her unquestionable chutzpah. There were rumors that she whipped the band regularly to keep them in check, and while those rumors could never be confirmed nor denied she was without a doubt one of the best in the business at handling the press and smoothing over PR nightmares.

These aforementioned PR nightmares were innumerable following the breakup of ATHOS, due partially to Milla’s vindictive allegations and Rochefort’s blatantly missing eye. At first the scandal helped boost album sales, but, as the months went on, it seemed that Milla’s efforts were becoming more successful than anyone would have liked.

Not helping matters were the rapid descent into drunkery by Athos, who had proven himself incapable of writing a single note after the divorce without the aid of a large loading dose and an equally large maintenance dose of vast amounts of alcohol. Treville’s attempts at getting her lead guitarist into therapy seemed to backfire, since self-reflection only made Athos more introspective, and even less of a good time than his dour nature had previously made allowances for: an unbearable trait for a burgeoning rock star.

Aramis, who in addition to being the new frontman for Common Goals was also the primary supplier of the band’s lyrics, at the same time of Athos’s decline, began to regularly threaten to leave the band to take vows with the Catholic clergy. And even Treville had to admit that Porthos - formerly the most scandalous, sex-addicted member of the band - was now the least of her worries.

Meanwhile, the position of bassist remained open, Treville suspected due to the fact that no one had any desire to lose an eye, even if it had been through a mutually consensual encounter with a celebrity. Only someone equally as insane as the trio she had become responsible for, or someone unabashedly stupid, would have risked their physical and moral perdition to join Common Goals. The choice between the two traits was obvious to Treville, and young JJ d’Artagnan became the perfect fourth member, but whether his wholesome appearance would help things was yet to be determined

Having filled in these blanks to our readers’ satisfaction, we now proceed to the rest of our tale, where we can find our protagonists almost exactly as we last left them: drunk and at a bar.


Chapter 4: In which our young hero becomes aware of the complexities of women in frills




It was par for the course to end up at a bar after a concert; preferably one that Treville had arranged with lots of security and a carefully monitored guest list. It all seemed very extravagant and a little alien to d’Artagnan, who was used to after parties that happened at run down houses where the lineup to the bathroom was always three people deep because of the amount of people doing things in the bathtub that he didn’t want to question. He’d lost sight of the rest of the band shortly after arriving, and spent much of his first hour trying to drink all of the things that were placed in his hand by scantily clad women and a few over-amorous men.

Finally he managed to find Porthos in one of the corner booths, perched on the back of the banquet with a beer in one hand and a girl on each arm and several more glassy-eyed groupies squished in along the benches. “It’s completely possible to jizz on yourself,” the drummer was rather drunkenly telling an aptly attentive man. “You just point and skeet. Of course, there’s usually much nicer things to jizz on....”

“Porthos!” d’Artagnan hissed, and getting no response, tried again more loudly. “Porthos!!”

“Hello little Alamo,” Porthos replied with a grin, stepping up onto the table and kicking over a few empty shot glasses as he crossed to hop down in front of him. “Are you enjoying yourself?”

D’Artagnan decided to forgive the ridiculous nickname. “I’ve drunk all the things. I’ve signed all the autographs. What the hell else am I supposed to be doing?”

Porthos raised an eyebrow in amusement. “Please don’t tell me that we need to teach you how to party. Drink more. Wench. If you smell skunk, find it and smoke it. If you want something harder, let me know and I’ll hook you up with Mousqueton.”

“Um... Moose...what the fuck?”

“He’s in procurement.”

“Eh?”

“He’s my dealer.”

“OH.” D’Artagnan looked momentarily paralyzed. “Er... pass?”

“Fine then... Well... Get to know the fans. I have a key to the back room if you’d like, but we’ll all end up joining you. Or would you like to join us?”

“Er.” Even in a half-drunk state, d’Artagnan couldn’t help but remember something he’d read in the paper about a shaved goat. “I think I have to wash my hair.”

Porthos ruffled his hair affectionately, and as d’Artagnan snuck away he heard the drummer turn to his entourage. “Well, my darlings, how about we take this some place more comfortable?”

D’Artagnan escaped into the men’s washroom to splash his face, taking a moment to stare at his reflection and attempt to see past the alcohol. Being a rock star was turning out to be a lot more work than he’d anticipated. He was beginning to think that he could safely take a few moments to sober up when a trio of hipster looking guys entered. The leader, who was dressed in nothing but skinny jeans and suspenders, slung an arm around his shoulder. “Hey, you’re the new bassist, right? Sick tunes tonight, man. You want some nose clams? You’ll totally feel like Mick Jagger.”

“I - uh - I’m nose clammed out,” d’Artagnan managed to stammer, ducking out from under his arm and giving a consolatory fist bump to him and the guy behind him in pink clam diggers. British fashion was weird. “Thanks man. Rock on.”

Creeping out of the washroom with his virgin nose safely intact, d’Artagnan surveyed the bar helplessly. Surely there had to be someone on the guest list that believed there was more to life than sex and drugs. Scanning the room with a hopeless gaze, his eyes focused on Athos, who was smoking what appeared to be a very angrrrrry cigarette, based on the length and frequency of the drags he was taking, the heel of his boot resting on the back of a person who appeared to be passed out on the rug. Following the line of Athos’s look of disdain, d’Artagnan saw a coffee table, or rather, a stripper on top of a coffee table, out of whose navel Aramis had taken a body shot of something green and suspicious, much to the mirth of all the fawning admirers surrounding him.

“Whoa, that doesn’t look like a good time,” he muttered under his breath, deciding not to join them. He narrowly avoided the exploding beer can opened by a group of frat boys nearby. “Jeez Louise!” Maybe there was a quiet corner where he could sit for a bit and sober up....

There was a darkened alcove past the bar that he headed to, managing to make his way through the crowd with only one unopened can of Pabst Blue Ribbon pushed into his hand. When he reached the alcove, however, he found it more occupied than he’d hoped; a trio of muscular looking douchebags in Ed Hardy surrounded a young woman in a pink gingham dress. As he watched, one of them grabbed her waist, pulling her close as she tried to push away. “Come on, baby, you know you want some of this...”

“Gross!” She tried to wiggle out of the embrace. “I said no, leave me alone!”

Chivalry kicked in, and d’Artagnan moved to her side quickly. “Hey, the lady said no. Let the yonder looker be!”

One of the guys pushed his sunglasses up onto his spiked, bleached hair. “Get out of here, hipster. This is none of your business.”

“It’s my party, and it is darn straight my goddamn business!” D’Artagnan tried to make himself seem taller and more intimidating. “Now get the hell out of this bar before I call a bouncer and have you banned from all our concerts!” He paused for emphasis and added, “Hot damn.”

“Fuck, man.” The first man let go of the girl with a sneer of disdain, stepping back. “The old bassist was cooler. Come on guys, there’s girls here that aren’t frigid bitches.”

“She’s not a bitch!” d’Artagnan yelled after them as they disappeared into the crowd. “And I’m not a goddamn hipster!” He turned back to the girl, expelling a long breath and trying to calm down. “You okay, little miss?”

The girl looked a little shaken, but managed a wide smile, smoothing down the ruffles on her dress. “I’m fine, thanks to you. I didn’t realize Americans were such gentlemen.”

Her smile only made her prettier, d’Artagnan thought, returning it and noticing now that he was closer how blue her eyes were. He puffed out his chest and declared with pride, “American by birth, Texan by the Grace of God, miss!” He took a step closer and smoothed down a strand of her caramel hair. “Heck, any decent guy would help a pretty little thing like you. I’m JJ.”

“I know,” she replied with a wink. “I was at the show. I think you’re much better than the old guy.”

“Thanks,” d’Artagnan replied, feeling suddenly bashful. “Hey, um... can I buy you a drink? You’re cute as a possum.”

She laughed, slipping her arm into the crook of his. “I think it’s supposed to be the other way around, Mr. Handsome Rock Star. I’m Constance, by the way. But my friends call me Connie.”

D’Artagnan shook his head. “Where I’m from, women don’t pay for things,” he said firmly, turning towards the bar.

“And where’s that?” the girl asked, coyly. “1859?”

Poor young d’Artagnan blushed and coughed into his fist to cover up his confusion. “Er... Come on... Connie. We’re friends, right?” At these words, he found himself blushing even deeper than he thought possible and a part of him wished he had Porthos to whisper some better lines into his ear, Cyrano-style.

“Friends,” She affirmed with a strange little smile, following him to the bar and letting him buy her a Cosmo. He bought one for himself as well and sipped it a little awkwardly, not quite sure what else to say. Girls in England seemed so much more complicated than the ones back home.

Just then one of the girls that had been hanging off Porthos came up behind him, leaning in to speak close to his ear, almost as if summoned by his earlier wishful thoughts. “Porthos says the back room is full, but if you go out the door behind the bar one of the limos is waiting.”

“Uh, thanks..,” d’Artagnan managed to reply, looking back at Connie’s smiling, expectant gaze. “Um... you wanna talk someplace quieter?”

“I’d love to,” she replied, draining the rest of her Cosmo.

Once they were settled in the limo, d’Artagnan happily grabbed a bottle of water from the ice bucket, uncapping it. “Would you like some water? I just need to sober up a bit, sorry.”

“Sure.” She took it from him with an amused little quirk of her eyebrows and sipped it as he opened a second, and downed half of it in one go. “You’re not like the other guys, are you?”

“It’s kind of a different world here,” d’Artagnan admitted with a rueful smile. “I guess I’ll get used to it soon enough.”

“You’re not afraid?” There was almost a wink in her voice.

“I ain’t afraid of shit!” young JJ affirmed.

“What about Milla D? I hear she’s totally psycho. Like, straight off her rocker. Aren’t you afraid of her?”

“Dunno,” he muttered, which was the truth - very little of what he’s heard of the former founding member of ATHOS made any sense to him. “Evil thoughts are like chickens, I reckon. They always come home to roost.” He took an absentminded sip of the water.

“What does that mean? I call blotto!”

“It’s a saying,” d’Artagnan shrugged and stared into his bottle, not daring to look up at the pretty girl’s face.

“It’s okay,” she replied with a smile, sliding closer and wrapping an arm around his shoulders. “I think you’re cute. Hey, this limo is really fancy... any place we can go in it?”

“The only place I know here is my hotel,” d’Artagnan replied without thinking, surprised when the girl leaned in to press a kiss to the corner of his jaw.

“JJ, that sounds perfect.”


Chapter 5: In which d’Artagnan has lost count




The next morning d’Artagnan awoke to light streaming through the hotel window and a splitting headache. He burrowed his head under the pillow with a groan, reaching towards the warmth he could feel against his back to pull the blankets over him more securely. When his searching hand encountered bare skin instead of blanket, he froze.

Memories of the night before came back in a blurred rush. He’d offered Connie a drink when they’d gotten back, surprised when she’d turned down alcohol in exchange for splitting a bottle of orange juice. A little glass bottle had appeared from the depths of her purse, something she’d promised him would give him a lot of energy so they could talk all night. It had tasted disgustingly salty and made him feel more drunk than anything else. Drunk... and really horny.

“Geez...” More memories filtered back, and his eyebrows knit together. They’d had sex. A lot of sex. Probably more sex than he’d ever had before in one night. What the hell had been in that energy drink?

“Good morning handsome,” Connie murmured sleepily, wrapping a thigh over his hips. D’Artagnan’s cock twitched, remembering very nice things about those thighs, and he turned into her to pull her closer, kissing her sleepily. The tour bus didn’t leave until two, so surely there was time for one more round....

Suddenly something occurred to him, and he sat up with a start. “Oh shit. Oh shit, babe, I’m so sorry, I’m dumb as a bunch of rocks - “

Connie looked up at him, blinking sleepily. “What’s wrong, handsome?”

“We made love without a wrapper. Twice. Er. Three times.”

“Four,” she corrected, stretching sleepily. “Don’t worry darling, I’m on the pill.”

"Oh," he replied, somewhat awkwardly. “Uh, okay then.”

Connie sat up to kiss him, then started hunting for her dress on the floor. “I have to meet my mates for brunch....”

“Will I see you in Manchester?” The words came out of his mouth anxiously before he could stop himself.

Connie stopped, then turned to him with a little smile. “If you want. I know someone who’s driving out, but I don’t have a place to stay....”

“Well, you can stay with me, right?” He fumbled for a pad of paper in the bedside drawer. “Here, I’ll give you my phone number. Um. But I don’t know if I remember it, it’s really long and British....”

“It’s okay,” she replied with a giggle, leaning down to kiss him again. “Just leave my name with the backstage security guard, I’ll meet you there after the concert.”

“Okay.” D’Artagnan couldn’t help but grin, getting out of bed and trailing her out into the common room of their hotel suite. He ignored Aramis, who was sitting at the table reading the morning paper. “Do you need cab fare or anything?”

“I’ve got it, handsome.” She turned at the door for another kiss. “I’ll see you later.”

“Wait!” D’Artagnan awkwardly stretched his head as his late night guest turned around. “Um... I don’t know how to say this, but... to leave your name with the bouncer.... uh... Connie What?”

“Oh sweet Lord..,” he heard mumbled from the direction of the table.

“It’s Goodskies,” she said, laughing that patented well-natured laugh of hers. “Connie Goodskies.” And with another wink, she ran out of the hotel suite.


Chapter 6: On ramifications of copulating with women in frills




Young d’Artagnan remained stupefied for a few moments in the doorway until he realized that he should have probably put some clothes on prior to coming out buck-naked into the suite. He turned slowly towards Aramis and gingerly cupped his gentalia with his hands.

“Um... ‘morning.”

“Connie Goodskies? Really? Since when are you boning hippies?” Aramis folded the newspaper neatly and set it aside, while sipping his coffee.

“Since when are you boning anyone at all,” the bear-like growl which passed for the voice of Athos on mornings such as these sounded from the toilet, followed by a flush. “And has Treville signed off on this?” The lead guitarist appeared in the doorway with a complacent smirk.

“I don’t have to ask permission to date a pretty girl,” d’Artagnan replied, with a contrarian air and lifting his head up higher. “And I’ll have you know that Connie’s special.”

Athos looked away with a snort. “Groupies are only after fame and fortune, boy. Don’t mistake that for love.”

“Ah, leave the boy alone.” Porthos emerged from his room in boxer shorts, scratching his balls before crossing into the kitchen and grabbing a beer from the fridge. “He’s only just getting introduced to the manly art of wenching.”

“And the manly art of herpes,” Athos sneered.

“Hey, you had more sex than Casanova before you and Milla got married and your cock’s still not falling off,” Aramis interjected suddenly.

“Don’t you say her name to me!” Athos snapped and made a very expedient exit back to his own room, the door slamming behind him.

“What the... hissy fit was that?” D’Artagnan was bewildered.

Porthos finished his beer and trashed the empty before stepping closer to d’Artagnan. “If you’re ever worried, I’ll give you the address of the clinic I go to. All you have to do is give them my name.”

D’Artagnan looked at him confusedly. “For a pregnancy test?”

“No, for... oh God, you did use protection, didn’t you?”

“Uh... “ d’Artagnan flailed a little helplessly. “She’s on the pill!”

Porthos pulled a box of condoms out of one of the kitchen drawers and handed it to him. “Don’t trust random bints. Put a wrapper on your zapper. And don’t get blow jobs from girls with cold sores. Or boys.”

“Words of wisdom,” Aramis mumbled, still drinking his coffee although noticeably more irate. “And for the love of all, put some clothes on already!”


Chapter 7: In which Treville blames Athos for everything




“What do you mean, you got married!!” Treville’s screech was loud enough to wake even Porthos, who opened the door to his hotel room room to find Athos and Aramis standing quietly behind the kitchen bar in the suite, watching the show. D’Artagnan stood in the middle of the living room, trying to make himself wince less.

“I’m in love with her!” he tried, jutting his chin out. “This is about more than just the shimmy-sham! Rock stars can find love too!”

“... Shimmy sham?” Porthos asked in genuine confusion, completely ignored by Treville.

“You think this is love? You married a goddamn groupie!”

“His first groupie,” Aramis added, earning a scathing look from Treville.

“I wasn’t talking to you!” she shot, before turning back to d’Artagnan. “You were supposed to be the wholesome one, dammit! What would your mother think of you?”

At that, it was as if something inside d’Artagnan snapped. “My mother taught me to be a responsible young man who takes care of his family! And if you have a problem with that, I’ll quit!”

“Surely, Emily, it would be worse if he had a bastard out of wedlock,” Athos offered, almost in a conciliatory fashion, although by the look on his face one would not surmise very much good will.

“Don’t you Emily me, Athos!” she veered on him, producing some amount of wind as she turned. “This is almost as much your fault as it is his!”

My fault? How the heck is any of this my fault?”

“I expected you to bring him up properly! You know, with just the right balance of good manners and misogyny! To keep him addicted to mild booze and away from twat!”

“What? Bring him up? Since when is he my responsibility?” Athos took an angry gulp from the cup he was holding, the contents of which could only be guessed at this point.

“Well, aren’t you the so-called leader of this godforsaken band?” She spun like a top, fixing all four men in the room with an icy stare. “Huh???!!! Of ruffians!”

“Well, bloody hell, Emily... I’m a musician; I’m not fucking Robin Hood!”

“And I’m not a damned child!” D’Artagnan interjected, becoming more outraged at the dismissive attitude Emily was exhibiting towards him, not to mention everyone’s blatant refusal to join in the happiness of his nuptials.

“I like Frills!” Porthos suddenly announced.

“Her name is Connie!” D’Artagnan was so confused by the entire situation that he did not notice that someone had actually supported him in his time of tribulation.

“Oh you just shut your face, Porthos! And you...” Emily turned towards d’Artagnan, her finger extended so far that he thought it might probe into his brain through his nostrils. “You....” The finger trembled and made little jutting movements. “MAZEL TOV, ASSHOLE!” And she stormed out of the room, pausing at the door to glare back over her shoulder. “And for fuck’s sakes, don’t cheat!”

Aramis winced as the door slammed behind her, rattling the wall. He looked over at d’Artagnan with a long suffering sigh. “D’Artagnan. Groupies are for fucking, not for marrying.”

“And definitely not for impregnating,” Porthos added, taking a beer out of the fridge.

“Have you considered the abortion alternative?” Athos mused and wicked smile crossed his face.

D’Artagnan looked absolutely horrified. “You want me to murder my own child?”

“Oh God,” Porthos muttered from behind his beer.

“Aramis, help me.” Athos twitched.

Me? I’m Catholic.

“Fuck you very much for the reminder,” Athos snarled and squinted his eyes into dangerously narrow slits.

“Regardless, he’s already a lost cause,” Porthos muttered, then brightened. “At least someone else will be in the tabloids for once.”

“Wonderful. Tell Frills - Welcome to the family!” Athos emptied the contents of his cup down the gullet and withdrew to his quarters, where a few minutes later Grimaud was summoned, with an assortment of leather accessories and accent scarves.


Chapter 8: The Plot Thickens




“Wow, asking a woman to take your last name is a big deal, even if she is... what are the kids calling it these days? Your baby mama?” Porthos was nursing what was by all accounts his seventh beer of the night.

“I don’t get it,” young d’Artagnan protested, not fathoming why anyone would think twice about the honor and the glory of adopting his family name. “She’s my wife! Shouldn’t she have the same name as I?”

“She’s your wife, not your chattel wench, JJ,” Aramis sneered. “Let the hippie keep her own name if it’s so important to her.” He turned to the man behind him, “And stop drunkenly copping a feel on my ass, Adam!”

“What?” Athos looked down at his own hand, surprised, and allowing his face to dissolve into a complacent grin when faced with the evidence of his own doings. “Oh. Sorry. I’m old.”

“I don’t even know what kind of an excuse that is,” Aramis looked exasperated.

“Sometimes, I need support to stand.”

“It’s because you’re three sheets to the bloody wind; not because you’re old.”

“That must be why I’m groping you,” Athos nodded agreeably. “I’m sooooo pissed.”

“Hey, how did you guys pick your names, anyways?” Giving up on any semblance of continuing the discussion about his family life, d’Artagnan tried a tangent.

“Well, we wanted them to rhyme with this asshole’s name, obviously.” Aramis rolled his eyes at Athos, who shrugged and demonstratively placed his hands behind his back. “At the end of the day, I’m pretty sure I just pulled mine out of the Scrabble box.”

Porthos emitted a good-natured laugh. “I can attest to that! What a stroke of luck for you to pull those letters. You could have ended up with anything... really... like Anus?”

Before Aramis could strike him, d’Artagnan quickly placed himself in between the two men and quickly redirected, “What about you, Porthos?”

“I was drinking a port... and feeling lazy.”

“Let them not say alcohol has done us no good!” Athos raised his beer in toast and clinked glasses with his drummer.

“Fascinating,” d’Artagnan concluded outloud, despite having exactly the opposite thought.

“Really, the best decision we made that night,” Aramis said, suddenly looking nostalgic, “was to change our name from bloody ATHOS to Common Goals.”

Athos and Porthos laughed, sharing in a joke that d’Artagnan could not even grasp at, as evidenced by his confused face.

“Oh, Little Alamo,” Porthos took mercy on him, “That’s because Rochefort had ATHOS 4 EVER tattooed on his forearm!”

D’Artagnan found himself immediately sharing in the glee. “Oh my gosh, y’all, that’s brilliant!”

“What a fuckwit,” Athos concurred.

“I pity that twat,” Aramis added.

A sudden lull in the conversation was filled with with one of Aramis’s fawning sycophants, a roadie named Bazin, appearing with a tray of shots, which were all duly shot back by those assembled.

“What’s this?” Athos suddenly pointed to a small envelope which had apparently been perching on the corner of the tray.

Bazin shook his head in confusion. “I don’t know, sir. I had not noticed it before, sir.”

“Is it the bill?” Aramis asked, calmly, picking up the piece of paper and twirling it in his fingers. Upon closer examination, the bill theory had to be ruled out. “JJ, this has your name on it - see? ‘Jimmy Joe.’”

“Fuck! I hate being called that!” the young man snapped, and tore the envelope out of Aramis’s hand. He opened it, and quickly scanned the contents of the note which had been located inside. As his eyes moved quickly across the page, his hand trembled and his facial expression grew remarkably slackened, apparently as a result of mounting shock.

“Great Scott, d’Art!” Porthos exclaimed, having to prevent JJ from suddenly collapsing. “What is the matter with you? You look like you’ve seen a ghost!”

“C -- C -- Connie...” the young man stammered and passed the note to Athos, who quickly read its contents out loud.

Dear Common Goals Assholes,

If you would like to ever see Jimmy Joe’s pregnant wife alive again, you will immediately surrender all the lyrics Aramis has been working on for your upcoming new album. You will be contacted in due time with drop off instructions. Do not involve the coppers, or else Little Miss Goodskies will start losing fingers.

Sincerely,
Go Fuck Yourselves

“Cuntface!” Aramis was the first to explode. “Cunty cuntface!”

“You’re jumping to conclusions there, aren’t you?” Athos interfered before Aramis had an aneurism. “JJ, call your wife. How do we even really know anyone has her? And you,” he turned towards Aramis again, “You don’t know this is Milla’s doing.”

“Of course it’s Milla’s doing! Who else would be such a cunt? And I’ll tell you right now, I’m not giving some of my best lyrical works to some washed-up bint just because she used to polish your sad trombone!”

“Hot damn!” d’Artagnan exclaimed, slamming his phone down after repeated failed attempts at getting in touch with Connie. “We’re not giving it to her because she used to polish... whatever! We’re giving it to her because she has my wife!”

“Look, everyone, chill the fuck down. We can’t know that for sure,” Athos pointed out.

“Yes we can! I don’t know why you’re even defending her!” Aramis was clearly outraged.

Porthos, who had spent this entire time, scratching his head, lost in salacious contemplations of whether or not to tell Aramis that he had an orgy in their personal library the night before, finally cleared his throat.

“Ahem, look... Athos is right. We shouldn’t overreact. We got very little to go on. Let’s all just... go back to our place and regroup and see what Treville might have to say about this whole thing.”

“Porthos, thank you for being the voice of reason,” Athos gestured for the limo and the band quickly exited through the kitchen. The last thing they needed at that moment was to encounter some overzealous paparazzo, because there was no telling who might end up punching such a hapless personage in the face that night.

JJ, who had not been able to contain his visible trembling, decided to lock himself in the bathroom for the foreseeable future, or at least until the arrival of their manager. The last thing he heard as he was locking the door was a heart-rending outcry from Aramis, followed by “You sprayed my best art books with she-juice, you fucking barbarian!”