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Watching, Waiting

The Last Straw

Frank stared at the envelope, which lay before him on the table next to his coffee mug. Occasionally he would reach forward, his fingers hovering near the bright white letter, but always they would, instead, close on the mug handle and he would take another sip. Finally when there was no more coffee to drink, Frank snatched the paper from the table and inhaled deeply. He knew exactly what it was and what it would say. He didn’t want to open it, he didn’t even want to acknowledge it, but most of all, he didn’t want to be scared of it. It was Wednesday, the tour would set off on Friday and the first concert date would be on Saturday. Turning the envelope in his hands, he sighed heavily; this didn’t seem as though it would resolve itself, and certainly not before the tour. Flopping back on the sofa he ran a finger under the gummed flap and pulling out the sheet of paper within, he read its contents.

“Three days to live, Frankie. I’m watching you!”

“Who the fuck are you!” Frank shouted as he cast the paper aside and, slumping forward, dropped his head into his hands.

This was the fifth note he had received since Saturday, all hand delivered to his house. That was what scared him the most. This person was watching him, that’s what all the notes had said. He, Frank had assumed the person was male, knew where he lived, probably knew whenever he left the house, where he went. And all the time, while he watched and waited, he wanted to kill him.
Was it a crank? Was it genuine? Was it some stupid jealous boyfriend of a female fan that idolised him? It didn’t matter. Frank was scared. He knew he was, even though he didn’t want to admit it, even to himself. He knew he couldn’t ignore it, but talking to the guys just didn’t seem to be an option. They all got their share of weird mail; most of it caught by their press agent, but this was different, this was hand delivered. Frank’s own psycho was actually outside his house. He convinced himself that the others would laugh at him if he mentioned the problem, but even he wondered if it had more to do with his own refusal to face up to it.

Already some strange things had happened. There had been a gas leak in his home, one day he had come home to a broken window and he had nearly been electrocuted thanks to a loose wire in his toaster. All plausible occurrences, but under the present threat, they had taken on a more sinister angle. He was nervous and losing sleep. Tired and irritable, the final rehearsals before the tour had not gone well. Distracted and less able to concentrate, Frank had made numerous show-stopping mistakes and full-blown arguments had broken out, which, in his present mood, Frank had showed little interest in resolving. Gerard, in particular was angry with him. A perfectionist with their music, almost to the point of obsession, Gerard found Frank’s recent erratic and distracted behaviour both bewildering and frustrating. He had sunk into a foul mood four days earlier from which he had not risen. Each rehearsal had only made matters worse as all musicians felt the tension mount.

Frank had turned inward, they had all seen it; he rarely smiled lately. He made unaccountable mistakes in rehearsal and cursed over it, retreating further with each error. Frank had offered no explanation, if he were to admit the problem to them, he would first have to admit to himself that he was scared and he was simply not prepared for that just yet. So, recent rehearsals had inevitably ended in shouting matches between him and Gerard. Well, he allowed himself a small laugh, mostly Gerard. Frank couldn’t help but notice that while Gerard fumed and yelled, Mikey remained silent, his head cocked to the right slightly, watching, frowning. For brothers, there were times when they were nothing like each other.

Glancing at the clock on the wall, Frank sighed, it was time to head to the studio again. It bothered him immensely that something that normally he was so passionate about and that brought him so much pleasure had now become a chore and a source of bitter recrimination. There would be more rows; he knew it. He felt tenser than ever, but he’d survive. Briefly glancing at the letter, he corrected his thoughts – for three more days, at least. The death threat was targeted for the first day of the tour. He wasn’t sure if it meant some point during the day, perhaps travelling, the sound check or even on stage in front of all their fans. It made him feel sick just thinking about it. Perhaps he should just tell them, even if they laughed at him, did it really matter that much?

He tried to push it to the back of his mind as he picked up his keys and headed out to his car. But once outside, Frank couldn’t help but scan the area. Was he out there? Right now? The more he tried to shut it out the more it filled his every thought.


Gerard was already at the studio and in the live room warming up his voice when Ray arrived, rolling his eyes as he was greeted with little more than a monosyllabic grunt.

“All right!” he snapped. “This has got to stop!”

Gerard narrowed his eyes at the guitarist, not even bothering to ask what he meant – he knew exactly what was on Ray’s mind.

“That’s not up to me, is it? If Frank wants to come in here and screw up over and over then that’s his problem, it’s not mine!”
“Can you hear yourself? It’s all our problems!” Ray yelled back. “Do you think any of us like this?”
“He hasn’t learned the songs and we’re on tour in two days!”

Throughout the conversation Mikey had been leaning on the doorframe with his arms folded, willing Gerard to see what was so obvious to him, but it seemed he would have to point it out.

“Oh, for fuck's sake, Gee!”

Gerard glared at his younger brother. It was bad enough that Ray was blaming him without Mikey joining in too.

“You know he knows the songs,” Mikey continued, walking into the live room, “there’s something bothering him, can’t you see it?”
“I’ve asked him what’s wrong, and he said it's nothing.”
“I think your exact words were, ‘What the hell is wrong with you, man!’” Mikey replied, screaming Gerard’s words with venom.

Gerard fell silent and his shoulders sagged as the tension in him released.

“I did ask him,” he said quietly as he lit a cigarette, “before I said that. And he swore there was nothing wrong.”

Mikey watched his brother, deliberately not responding, making Gerard feel uncomfortable as he felt the innocent, yet reproachful eyes burn into him.

“All right!” Gerard gave up, taking a seat on an amp. “I admit; it’s not like him!”
“And you’ve been too wrapped up to care,” Ray added.

Gerard lowered the cigarette from his lips and looked up. The expressions on Mikey and Ray’s faces were deadly serious and the singer suddenly felt a sinking feeling in the pit of his stomach. Looking back down and taking a long draw on the cigarette, Gerard nodded.

“I… I’m sorry guys,” Gerard looked up and smiled for the first time in days. “When he gets here, we’ll have a talk, all of us, together. Whatever it is, we’ll sort it out.”


Frank turned the key in the ignition and pulled out of the driveway. The studio was only about a few minutes drive from his house, and already he knew it wouldn’t be enough time to push the turmoil from his mind. He had just about decided to speak to the guys about what had been happening when he felt something hard pushed into his waist.

“Keep driving, Frankie.”
“Wha…!” Frank turned his head and almost careered into a car in the opposite lane.
“Face forward and keep driving.”
“Where?” Frank asked, terrified.
“You’re going to the studio aren’t you?”
“Then drive there.”
“Who are you?” Frank asked, his knuckles turning white as he gripped the wheel tighter.
“You don’t know?” the man spoke with some irritation. “Well, for now, I’ll just be the guy that’s going to kill you.”
“Why?” Frank asked, finding it increasingly difficult to keep his mind on the road.
“If you remembered me, you wouldn’t have to ask why!” the man snapped pushing the gun harder into Frank’s side.
“Okay! I’m sorry!” Frank replied at a loss to know what else to say.
“It’s too late to be sorry, Frankie, much too late.”

Driving in silence for a couple more minutes, Frank pulled into the studio parking lot and shut off the engine.

“Now what?” he asked uncertainly.
“Now?” the man laughed. “You go into the studio and rehearse.”
“But… you…”
“You step out of the car and you walk in to the studio. If it even looks like you’re going to turn around or even glance back, I’ll blow your head off. Do I make myself clear?”
“Yeah.” Frank nodded relieved to have the gun removed from his side.

Unlatching his seatbelt, Frank opened the car door and headed for the studio.

“See you Saturday, Frankie!” the man called after him, followed by harsh laughter.

It was all he could do to stop himself breaking into a run, but the man had told him to walk and he didn’t dare risk doing anything else. Once inside, he slammed the door shut and sank to his knees. Moments later the door opened again, catching him and knocking him to the floor. Frank looked up at the tall, broad dark silhouette looming over him.

“No!” Frank threw an arm up protectively.

Bob stepped into the hallway and closed the door. Seeing the fear still etched on Frank’s face, he knelt at his friend’s side.

“What’s wrong, man? You look terrified.”
“Did you see him?” Frank ignored the question.
“Who?” Bob asked as he helped Frank to his feet.
“He was in my car, he hijacked me.”
“What!” Bob turned back to the door again.
“No!” Frank yelled pulling the drummer away from the door. “He’s got a gun! He’s going to kill me on Saturday.”

Bob turned sharply at Frank’s last words.

“He just told you that?” he asked suspiciously.
“No,” Frank shook his head realising only now that he should have spoken up a long time ago. “I’ve been getting threats for a few days now.”

Bob nodded, so many things made sense now.

“I think we should discuss this, don’t you?”

Bob held out his arm indicating to Frank to head to the live room. Watching as a still clearly shaken Frank headed to the live room, Bob discreetly locked the studio door and followed him.


Frank gathered his strength and headed down the length of the narrow corridor towards the live room; his emotions swimming with uncertainty. After the last few disastrous rehearsals and the rows that followed he had seen Gerard’s mood grow ever darker and he now had no idea how he would be received, even if now he was prepared to reveal the cause of his unpredictable behaviour. Following behind, Bob almost had to push him the last few feet.

As Frank entered the room, Gerard flashed him a warm and sincere smile; one that faded almost as soon as it appeared as he noticed Frank’s unnatural pallor. A pang of guilt cut through him like a knife as he jumped to the inevitable conclusion that his recent fixation on getting the music perfect, had made him blind to the detrimental effect it was having on his friend.

“I..I’m sorry, Frank,” he stammered unable to divert his eyes from Frank’s pallid face. “I know something’s wrong, I should have discussed it with you, coaxed it out even. Anything but yelling at you.”

Mikey swept a hand sharply across his brother’s arm in a gesture of ‘I told you so!’ as Frank merely stared in reply, appearing to all to be on the verge of tears.

“It’s not you fault,” he finally struggled to say. “It’s mine! I should have told you.” Tears fell from his eyes as he finally gave in to his fear. “I thought I could handle it alone, but I can’t and it’s selfish, you’re all in danger, not just me!”

Ray, Gerard and Mikey stared blankly. Of all the responses they had expected to hear, that was not one of them. Glancing at each other to check for any mutual understanding, they all came up blank.

“Frank,” Gerard spoke for the three of them, “what are you talking about?”
“I…” the diminutive guitarist wavered.
“Are you going to tell them?” Bob prompted. “Or shall I?”

Frank sighed heavily and fixed his stare on the pattern of the tiled floor.

“You know?” Ray asked, puzzled. “But how… how come… how?”

Gerard rolled his eyes and glanced sidelong at Ray.

“Very articulate, Toro!”
“Yeah, well, I…” Ray began.
“Hey!” Bob cut in. “Can we keep this about Frank?”

The room fell silent.

“Frank,” Mikey stepped forward noticing that the young guitarist seemed to be swaying slightly. “Come and sit down.” He added indicating to his bass amp.

Frank went easily and flopped down on the huge Fender amp.

“I found him by the door, on the floor, scared out of his mind. Some dude’s been sending him death threats.”

The room hung in silence for a few moments until finally Gerard uttered the words everyone was thinking.

“I can’t believe you didn’t tell us.”
“I know,” Frank agreed running a hand through his hair. “It was selfish of me, I was putting you all in danger…”
“What?” Gerard replied hastily. “No! Frank we’re your friends. Family! You don’t have to suffer this alone!”

A loud chorus of agreement ran around the room as everyone clustered around the frightened guitarist.

“It’s probably some crank,” Ray tried to be positive.

Frank shook his head vigorously.

“No, I wish it were,” he sighed, “he doesn’t post them, they’re all hand delivered and…” Frank paused, chewing his lip ring as he truly took in what had just happened to him. “He was in my car with a gun in my side.”
“He was what!” Gerard’s eyes widened to the point they could almost have been circular. “How could you possibly keep this to yourself? Frank don’t you know we…”

Mikey slapped his brother’s arm once more, nodding urgently to Frank who was huddling over at the words.

“Frank,” Gerard spoke softly as he dropped to Frank’s side. “I’m not yelling, I promise, I’m just worried about you. You don’t need to keep this hidden from us.”
“I… I didn’t want to believe it was real!” Frank admitted. “How could I tell you when I couldn’t face it myself?”

Gerard’s head dropped.

“I’m so sorry, Frank, I should’ve listened.”
“To what?” Frank shrugged. “I wasn’t saying anything, I couldn’t. And not because of anything with you guys, I just didn’t want to face facts, period.”

Kneeling at his side, Mikey gripped Frank’s forearm and looked up.

“Come on,” he smiled. “We don’t need to rehearse, we know the songs inside out. Let’s go to my place and we’ll get Brian, we’ll talk it through, work out a plan. What do you say?”

Frank stared down into Mikey’s soft brown eyes and his own expression hardened slightly.

“We’re not cancelling the tour,” he said adamantly.
“Frank,” Ray spoke up, “your safety has to be priority. I know Brian would agree. There’s a psycho out there! He’s already hijacked you, you don’t know when he’s going to strike next.”
“Yes I do,” Frank nodded. “He plans to kill me on Saturday.”

Gerard took a deep breath as he rose to his feet.

“I’m calling the police.”



@The Resurrectionist
So glad you're enjoying it, I'm never certain so it's good to know. I've added another chapter - hope you like it :) Thanks so much for reading and commenting! I really appreciate it! Sas xo

SaskiaK SaskiaK

Ahhhh still lovin this!!!

@The Resurrectionist
Another chapter is up - hope you like it :) Thanks, Sas xo

SaskiaK SaskiaK

@The Resurrectionist
Really? Oh, I'm so glad you like it! It's a pre-written one so i can pretty much add chapters on demand! I'll put up another now. Hope you like it!! Thanks!! Sas xx

SaskiaK SaskiaK

holy hell this is so good pls keep the updates coming I already love this