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Pitch Perfect

For those who can't follow their dreams on American Idol, you can always kill it the old-fashioned way.

Rob Brunet stops by the Gutter to show us that the porn-stache casting couch is still alive and kicking in Sleezeville.

Pitch Perfect by Rob Brunet

Humid club air swooshed Claire into the inner sanctum, the metal door slamming out all but the thigh-thumping bass. Although the cool green light of a lava lamp soothed her eyes after the nightclub’s flash and sparkle, she barely stifled a groan.

“I brought my track,” she said.

He looked her up and down and leaned in for a kiss. When he caressed her back and ran his fingers to her hip, she twisted out of his grasp.

“Slip these in.” She handed him a pair of ear buds with oversized foam inserts. “Push them. Deeper.” She helped wedge the foam tight.

He said, “Tell me about your music,” sounding like he cared.

Shoving him onto the futon couch, she told him to listen. “It starts slow. I promise you’ve never heard anything like it.”

“I’m gonna make you a star,” he said. “Come here.” He ran his palm in a circle next to him.

Did women still fall for the skuzzball’s casting couch? Should’ve gone out with big hair and chains. Three gold records produced in the ’90s, dusty on the wall behind him. Pretending the world hadn’t changed.

“Your mother was good,” he said. “You’re gonna be better.”


Only Claire’s deepest will kept her from gouging his eyes. Eyes that peeled the clothes off her body, even as he rambled on about how he and he alone had been responsible for the only real post-disco dance craze. How he’d laid the crown on her mother’s head, been heartbroken when she chose the needle. Like he hadn’t pressed the plunger himself.

She turned the volume to five. He bobbed his head, moved his arms to her ethereal groove.

For all she knew, this human refuse could be her father. Someone had to be. He must wonder himself.

But there he was, gesturing with his arms that she climb on the couch. Groove with him. Get down.


“The next passage is a treat,” she said, kneeling on his thighs, fighting the shudder as he groped her. She pulled handcuffs from her pocket. He grinned and let her slip one bracelet on his left wrist.

“Mmmmm,” he said, “so it’s kink, is it?” He ran his right hand up under her skirt and pouted when she guided it back over his head. She curled the cuffs around the metal bar of the couch frame and clicked the second bracelet into place. “Undo my pants,” he told her. And she did. Why not play it out?

She increased the volume. Eight.

“That’s loud enough,” he said. “Nice work. Take off your shirt.”

Claire slid off and pulled up a chair to face him. “Just listen.” She studied his face, knowing exactly where the piece was, nearly four minutes in.

“A LITTLE LONG FOR RADIO PLAY,” he shouted, not realizing how loud the music had grown inside his head. The crescendo gradual, insistent.

Nine. Fuck it. Ten. Give him the whole blast.


Claire’s smile was gone. She’d rigged the headphones herself, confident he’d never feel the electrodes buried inside the thick foam plugs. Her battery was triple size, fully loaded. Not much of a jolt when she tested it against the palm of her hand, but she’d burned the tip of her tongue, and that was at half charge.

He jerked his head to one side, struggling to shake the plugs from his ear. The foam held tight, skinny wires flapping. She could hear the discordant mess herself now, pulsating from his skull. His eyes grew wide in shock when she reached her fingers to her phone screen and swiped open a fresh menu. She turned it toward him, so he could see the big orange button.

FRY, it read.

She hovered her finger there, waiting for the final chord, the ultimate screech. The very second the music ended, she pressed it.

There was a faint BRZZZTTCHHK and his eyes snapped shut.

Tugging the plugs from his ears, Claire was only slightly disappointed at the lack of smoke. Who knew eardrums could bleed?

Rob Brunet turned to writing crime fiction after twenty years producing Web presence for titles like Frank Miller’s Sin City and the cult television series Alias. His fiction and reviews have appeared in Thuglit, Shotgun Honey, and Noir Nation. He tweets @RRBrunet and rants at His debut novel STINKING RICH is due out from Down & Out Books in 2014.