Wake-Up Call

Notes: This is a TCP, set in the Marvel Universe. John Crenshaw is my property, as is everything else in this story. Please request permission before archiving. The concept of mutants as used in this story is Marvel's. I am not making any money off of this.

This was loosely inspired by Seraph's "Music of the Night" (I'm sure that's not the actual title, and I apologize humbly for getting it wrong), but it's been languishing for a while; I finally got a burst of inspiration and finished it tonight (2/21/2000). Feedback is worth more than gold: hutch @ jazmer.com.

The phone was ringing.

It had probably been doing so for several minutes, but John was still swimming up from a haze of unconsciousness when he realized that the buzzing sound in his brain wasn't coming from within after all. He forced a hand through a tangle of sheets and groped for the receiver. Finally landing on it more by accident than design, he grasped it as firmly as he could and drew it back under the pillow to his ear.

"Yeah?" he managed, through the gritty morass of his mouth.

"Good morning, Mr. Crenshaw. This is your wake-up call."

The hotel's desk clerk sounded entirely too perky, he thought, annoyed. Grunting his thanks, he removed the receiver from beneath the pillow and, after several fumbling tries, managed to replace it in its cradle.

Wake up call. That meant it was noon. Probably he should be awake now, although he didn't really want to be. Heaving a sigh, he shoved back the covers and stumbled towards the bathroom area, managing to avoid tripping on the clothes he'd shed all over the floor last night.

The hot water helped to clear his thoughts to some extent. As he stood before the mirror, toweling dampness from his thick black hair, he shook his head in some amusement. This was all he really had, despite whatever anyone said to the contrary. Suave good looks inherited from a father he only vaguely remembered; brown eyes that had been at various times called "deep", "mysterious", or his favorite, "to die for".

He heard that most often from women, usually his fans - and occasionally someone in the business, trying to charm him. It never seemed to work, though. John knew, better than anyone else, that there was nothing worth dying for in his eyes.

John Crenshaw had been thirteen when he'd discovered that he was a mutant. He still remembered, very clearly, how it had happened. He'd been taking choir as one of his electives in junior high - not because he liked singing or anything, but because some of his friends were in the class and it was supposedly an easy A. Then one day, a couple of weeks before the winter concert, he'd opened up his mouth and out had come the most amazing voice he'd ever heard.

No practice, not even a vague attempt at trying; the voice was just there, independent of any effort on his part. The choir teacher had been thrilled; suddenly, John had a solo, was the star of the choir whether he wanted to be or not. After that, he'd joined bands, been courted by every local group; a few of them had even kicked out their current frontmen in order to get him to sing for them.

And it had all rung wrong, inherently wrong. John had never tried to stand out in school. He'd never been the best of students, nor the worst; he'd thought about trying out for the football team, maybe try college down the road. He had gone to college, on a full paid scholarship to Interlochen in Michigan, where he'd been immersed in music. None of it had stuck; the classes didn't do much when he already had a perfect voice, a tenor that could do anything he wanted it to.

So he'd given in, gone into the music business anyway. It didn't take any time to get a contract and start putting out albums. His tours sold out, women threw themselves at him - they'd been doing that since he was fourteen, so nothing was new there - he had enough money to keep five families in comfort for the rest of their lives, and he was completely and utterly miserable.

With a snort, he threw the towel in the sink and started getting dressed. His tour manager would be around soon to collect him; he had some radio interviews scheduled before soundcheck for the night's gig. What was the point of wasting time thinking about what a godawful life he had? Most people would kill for this.

"They can have it," he muttered, pawing through his suitcase to find a clean pair of jeans and a decent shirt. Somehow he couldn't help thinking that he must be going crazy now, if he was talking to himself.

Yeah, being a mutant had set him up for life. He was doing great, only problem was he hated his life. His last girlfriend had pinpointed the problem just before she walked out the door, too. Remembering her words now, he let out a sardonic laugh.

"You know what your problem is, John? You never worked for a thing in your life," she'd spat. "All this shit you got, it isn't worth a dime because you didn't earn it. No wonder you don't care if it burns."

And she'd been right. John gave himself a quick glance in the mirror, flicking a hand through his hair just as a knock sounded on the door. He hadn't worked to earn anything; it was all because of an unearthly, unreal voice that he hadn't even asked for or wanted. How could he feel as if he'd accomplished anything when he hadn't been the one to accomplish it?

Sometimes he wondered what his life would have been like without his so-called "gift". If he'd had to work for his dreams, if he'd had to set goals to achieve, would he have felt more fulfilled?

Opening the door for his tour manager, he gave an inner sigh. John Crenshaw, multi-platinum recording artist, would never know.



this page last updated on 18 january 2003