Concert

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By the late Fifties the tour itinerary of The Jills was much larger than before, encompassing the entire western half of the United States. The Jills even played a gig at the foot of the Matterhorn ride in Disneyland. But despite the larger geographical footprint, in terms of total cities played their road show was slightly abbreviated compared to the earlier tour because little Hailey had to tag along too, and her summer vacation ran for only about three months.

The album created by the Jills in the fall of 1958 was called Suicide Club, which would have eerie reverberations a few years later when they operated a company called Cryoscan.

The first album by The Jills had been recorded in a garage with egg cartons lining the walls to improve the acoustics. Their second album had been recorded in a professional studio, but they had to book time there, and they only had short slots, sometimes as brief as two hours, to lay down what they could. But for Suicide Club, The Jills built their own recording studio with an eight-track system, and they actually lived in it for three months while they created their record. And when they were finished, the studio became a source of income when other artists lined up to get time in it.

The sound was exotic, morbid, even Gothic, and certainly ahead of its time. Jill traded in her piano for an organ. Audrey used a store-boughten fuzz box between her bass and the mixer board. Trish would pick up a sitar as often as she would pick up a guitar. Gina slowed things down a bit from the earlier days and developed a more stately, deliberate beat, but there's was still a drum solo or two that was hotter than anything anyone else was doing at the time.

No less than five cuts on the record garnered airplay including "No Love Lost," "Forever," "Pipe Dreams," and "All Or Nothing" But the biggest hit on the album was "Life and Death Are the Same" and this became the eternal war cry of the B’nei Elohim. In February 1959, after the Day the Music Died, The Jills would put this maxim to the test.

"Shit, Jill, it's slipping!"

Trish had gotten past the halfhearted pat down at the box office without being stopped, but she neglected to wrap the tape more carefully around her thigh, and a bottle of brandy slid down the inside of her long skirt and shattered on the blacktop.

Jill didn't break her stride or even look back. "You brought that in here?" she gasped, with mock indignation. That brought knowing chuckles to some of the others walking on the long, crowded, landscaped path leading to the Carter Barron Amphitheater near Washington DC. Jill was probably hoping her own bottle of hootch wouldn't slip next.

As Jill and Trish picked their way to their seats their band was warming up, with Gina beating out a long drum solo and Audrey doing some live improvisation on electric bass. The "gimmick" of the Suicide Club era Jills was a sort of bad-girl mystique. They encouraged the rampant rumors floating around that the lead singer was wanted by the authorities, which was in fact the case.

Jill pointed out to Trish that besides the usual concert bouncers there was a heavy law enforcement presence around and behind the stage. They had formed a gauntlet up there, determined to intercept the mystery woman before the show, if and when she showed up. Trish wanted to abort the whole thing, but Jill said there was no stopping it now. The presence of DECON agents in their fedoras and DC city police merely added to the crowd's feeling of anticipation.

By an unspoken signal, part of the crowd suddenly rushed down to fill up the space in front of the stage. Jill and Trish started diving over the newly vacated seats to join them, pushing their way through them right up to the edge of the stage. After a word from Audrey to a couple of bouncers, Jill and Trish were physically pulled up onto the stage. The crowd, clued in on the mythos of The Jills, cheered the clever way Jill and Trish had bypassed the heat behind the stage, and they began to grow excited.

Tubby low tones began boinging out of the electric bass guitar Audrey had strapped on, interacting with Gina who was beating the crap out of her drum kit yet still improvising her rhythms in, and around, and under Audrey's more precisely timed bass lines to give The Jills their very unusual but organic sound. In a reversal of convention it was Audrey who kept perfect time and Gina drumming was the "human" element of subtle randomness.

Meanwhile Jill and Trish ranged all over the stage, dancing, doing the flashy legwork of putting on a good show as the roar and whistling of the crowd rose to a deafening level

"Good evening, Washington DC! It's good to be out of the Seattle rain for a while. I'm Jill. My friends Trish and Audrey and Gina are gonna play some tunes with me, starting with this old familiar favorite--"

Jill was interrupted by police and DECON agents swarming the stage from its perimeter, apparently on a prearranged signal. Earl Roland was with them. He moved close enough that Jill could hear him shout over the noise to say, “Becky, what the hell are you doing?”

Jill decided to appeal to her fans. "Hey folks, it looks like the POE LEECE don't want us to play for you tonight! So what do you say to that?"

The crowd expressed their great displeasure, booing, throwing stuff at the stage, pushing the security guys back and some of them even wedged between the bouncers and clambered up onto the stage to confront the cops. A riot was a hair's-breadth away and Earl Roland knew it. He made a chopping motion with his hand. The men released the band and returned to their positions just off-stage. They could afford to wait.

The crowd cheered again, excited by this full-participation theater The Jills were putting on. Jill wasn't sure how long they'd get to play before the hammer of the Law dropped and her father moved in again so she told the band to play No Love Lost.

The opening bars of the hit from Suicide Club filled the stadium, and the fans went wild. Jill started belting it out.

Date her, mate her, take good notes And rate her, you hypocrite! But you don't know There’s no love lost!

Booze her, use her, try your best To lose her, cruise holy writ For a reason why! There’s no love lost!

Your goody-good book Bible Baptist bitches are gonna know this time!

Eve was framed by Adam but Blaming the victim won't Fly this time!

Jump her, pump her, Then go ahead and dump her, Tell yourself it's to save her soul. There’s no love lost!

Stalk her, block her Get your flock to mock her She won't submit to the status quo! There’s no love lost!

Trish had just launched into the blistering slapped bass solo that bridged to the middle third of the song when shots began to ring out.

Jill went down on the stage, bullets having struck each leg. She marveled that there was no pain. Gina, Audrey, and Trish dove into the crowd and scattered away. Roland didn’t want them anyway.

In a nearby hospital, after doctors had stabilized Jill, her father came calling. Jill remained under heavy guard, both to keep her in the hospital room and to keep her friends out.

“You’re thinking your own fame was your downfall, aren’t you Becky? You’re thinking I saw that thing in Life magazine, recognized my own daughter, and here I am.”

“Naw, Daddy, we all know your DECON agency is watching us.”

“That film was the damndest thing I ever saw,” he said. “I’m talking about the one you showed in the Senate. At the time of the incident it rather faithfully recorded I don't remember you bringing a movie camera to the house.”

“So you're saying we faked it, Daddy?” Jill asked.

“No, Becky, it was real enough. I can only surmise that you took it from your own memories, somehow. Such a thing would be unbelievably useful to me at DECON. Think of the coercive pornography I could make from the head of some whore, with the President or Senator she’s sleeping with never realizing he’s being filmed!

Jill snorted. “Good luck with that idea, Daddy. The stuff we used to make the movie is literally out of this world.”

“Nevertheless, you will tell me all about it. And also you will tell me all about the Golden Gift. And the flying saucers. And where we can find the Ark of the Covenant. And how your friends always manage to escape when they are caught.”

“And if I refuse to tell you all that, Father? Will you run your own daughter through the wringer?”

“Becky, the doctors tell me that despite the bullet that lodged in your right leg they can remove it without much more damage. You’ll limp but you shouldn’t lose the leg. But I’m thinking, no, the surgery would involve general anesthesia, and I think I remember from when you were a little girl that you are allergic to that. I’m thinking the ether or chloroform or whatever they want to give you when they take the bullet out might kill you. Still, if we leave the bullet in your leg, that will kill you too, only slower. So I’m thinking the only option you have is that we must amputate the right one. Without anesthesia.”

“You would do that to your own daughter? Are you insane, Daddy?”

“Insane? Becky, I’m shocked. I’m only interested in doing what’s best for you. In fact, that left leg too, where the other bullet grazed you, I know the doctors say it doesn’t look too bad, but now that I can see it closer, I think it might need to be hacked off too, after they do the right one. They say, Becky, that most people can almost bear it when the doctor is sawing through the skin and the meat, but when he starts sawing through the bone, they can’t bear that part at all. So do yourself a favor and talk to me.”

But she did not talk to him, and right up to the point when the doctor commenced the procedure she kept expecting Lilith or Yeshua to yank her out of there with a fold-door, but it never happened.

She didn’t do an End of Cycle like she did the last time Roland tortured her, when part of her was still Jerry Shybear, but she did supply her own general anesthetic before the doctor started to cut. Only during the evening after the surgery, when she was still unconscious in recovery and even her guard fell asleep for just a few seconds, did she get pulled out of there to safety.

When she awoke her doctor had been replaced by Yeshua Bat-El, and the room had changed. Jill felt curiously light. “That took long enough, Lord,” she said, and she looked down at her legs expecting them to be good as new. But she had a pair of short stumps cut above the knees, wrapped in bandages.

Yeshua said, “I could have removed the bullet and saved the right leg, Jill, but I can’t make you a new leg, let alone two. That’s some father you have who would maim his own daughter.”

“Where am I, Lord?”

“This is the Moon, and it’s about twenty years down the timeline for you.”

“If you can manipulate time, Lord, then please go back to 1959 and talk me out of doing that concert so I don’t lose my legs. Or at the very least pull me out of that hospital before my father cuts ‘em off.”

“I’m sorry, Jill. I can certainly do what you ask, but I must not do it. There’s a historical thread my mother and I call the Narrow Way that allows us to defeat Mastema and in that thread you must lose your legs to make it work.”

“But you’re talking about my legs!”

“I’ll make it up to you, Jill, after we win through to the other side. An eloah promises this! Besides, even if I do what you asked me to do, there would only be a copy of Jill who saves her legs. This original version of you, right here, wouldn’t get her legs back no matter what I did. I’m sure you know this must be true. You’ve thought about a similar situation many times when you developed your notion of a True Death.”

“Then why does your ‘Narrow Way’ require that I lose my legs?”

“I’m sorry, Jill, if I gave you that information, you might work to nullify your own role and the Narrow Way would be lost.’’

“To hell with your Narrow Way, Yeshua! You’ve just lost me as a willing participant anyway. I’m going to whatever I can to fight you. I’ll even join with Mastema.”

“Jill, I told you I would make it up to you after all this is over, and there are some among the B’nei Elohim who will make a far greater sacrifice than you with your two precious limbs. If that is still not enough for you, then proceed to the camp of Mastema and hurt your friends exactly as you described. But I will protect the Narrow Way.”

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