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Whitley Jones

Whitley's seen it all, man

0 · 322 views · located in Tour Bus

a character in “Gold Morality”, as played by Faith Fanon

Description

Name: Whitley Jones
Age: 60. What, already? Where did the time go, man?
Gender: Male
Sexual preference: Straight. Sure, we all did some experimenting back in the day, but I just like those honky tonk women. And I never said no to the soul sisters neither. There was this one mamma, down Alabama... Well, that was a long time ago.
Face claim: Tim Robbins in City of Ember
Image


Whitley is tall, gangly-limbed, with a little pot belly. He has back pain, made worse by sitting driving all day long.

He has unkempt grey hair and usually a week's worth of stubble.

He speaks with a drawl that sometimes tails off, and looks over the shoulder of the person he's speaking to, rather that at them.

He keeps his right-hand fingernails long for guitar-picking.

Personality

Likes:
Driving. It's about the journey, not the destination, man.
Creedence Clearwater Revival. And that Springsteen's pretty cool
Smoking weed
England. You ever been? You should go, man. We're all from there. Keats, Wordsworth, Lennon. Nah, I'm not allowed back there any more...
Mona. Yeah, come on in, there's enough room for you all

Dislikes:
The Man
War. Man, I marched against them all. 'Nam, Panama, Iraq, Iraq again. Not World War Two though. I wasn't born. And I woulda marched for that one, man. F*cking Nazis, man.
Heights
Eating meat
Television

Whitley may look and talk (and smell) like a old throwback, but he's fascinated by and very encouraging of young musicians, even if they don't play 'his' style of music. He tries to think the best of everyone, rationalise bad behaviour and see every point of view. Sometimes this leads to him contradicting himself, and to confusion, at which point he'll back away from any confrontation and take refuge in his driver's seat.

Equipment

Mona: Whitley's tour bus. It's old and kinda grimy, inside and out. But it's in perfect mechanical order, and is just about big enough for the band and their gear. 'That bass drum's gonna have to go on top. I got a tarp.' It's pretty spartan inside; the interior folds out into six narrow sleeping berths, but Whitley prefers to recline his driver's seat and sleep right there. He packs a camping stove and chemical toilets 'for real long trips, but mostly there's truckstops'. The only up-to-date equipment on board is the sound system. 'You know I had James Brown in here one day? Funny little f*cker, man."

A Gibson J50 acoustic guitar - 'like Dylan had, man'

History

Whitley grew up on a farm in Oklahoma, but left when he saw Creedence Clearwater Revival play when he was 17, to follow the rock'n'roll dream. He first went to New Orleans, then bummed around California for a couple of years, where he acquired Mona from a Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers tour. He's not entirely sure how 'because that Tom Petty is the meanest, tightest motherf*cker I ever met', but his name is on the registration so somehow it's legit.

He has accumulated a wealth of rock'n'roll road stories during three decades in which he's scratched out a living as a tour driver and occasional roadie but is self-conscious about boring younger musicians with his rambling tales and sometimes clams up because of this

So begins...

Whitley Jones's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Whitley Jones Character Portrait: Francis Malory
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He gripped the neck of his his guitar in two hands, raised it high above his head. Behind him, Keith Moon climbed to stand precariously on his drum stool. He swung the heavy body of the guitar down onto the stage as Keith launched himself bodily into the drum kit with an explosion of cymbals -

Whitley jerked awake in the driver's seat of the tour bus, which over the long years had moulded itself to the contours of his body. It was as comfortable now as a baby's crib. The crash of a falling drumkit had been real, not just in his dream. Day-to-day reality ebbed back. He was parked in a well-to-do suburb - taking up more room than the neighbours would like, he shrugged - waiting for this band to load up. Coupla boys, coupla girls, thin as whips and pretty as daisies. He'd heard one of their tapes too - wouldn't take them on the road without listening to their sound - and they were pretty good. Keyboards, though. He'd never been a big fan of keyboards. Stevie Wonder though.

One of the boys was at the door now. Dark hair. Pixie features. Looked tiny under the weight of a loaded old army duffel. Looked about 12 to Whitley but then so did everyone in pop videos these days. Whitley pulled the lever to open the door and the boy bounded on, clutching a keyboard to his chest. He had one of those tiny video cameras that looked like toys.

"Hey, Stevie Wonder," grunted Whitley. The boy nodded and went back to the living area of the tour bus. Shy type, Whitley guessed. That's okay too.

Whitley fumbled in the door pocket for half a joint he'd put out earlier. Glancing out the window at the drive of the house, he saw there were a couple of parental types with the remaining band members as they collected the last of their bits and pieces. Maybe not, he thought. Clean-cut area. Wait til we're on the road anyway. He thought about honking the horn to help everyone get a move on but thought better of it. What's the rush? They're just tying down a few last-minute nerves. So he waved vaguely at the group yet to board, and a girl with a guitar and an enormous suitcase started towards the bus. Whitley settled back in his chair, and closed his eyes. "Talkin' 'bout my... generation..." he sang under his breath.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Whitley Jones Character Portrait: Nicholas Gellar Character Portrait: Mitchell Pratchett
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Footsteps and youthful, excited chatter intruded on Whitley's consciousness again.

"Hello, I'm Nick. Sorry, got to go."

"Huh? Whu..." Whitley sat up, his head spinning as one of the boys rushed passed his seat and off the bus. His foggy eyes followed this Nick to where another of the band stood beside a pile that could only mean one thing: drumkit. Whitley groaned as he clambered out of his seat, pulling on the passanger seat for leverage. That was the only problem with the deep comfort of the driver's seat - impossible to get out of. Pain streaked across his lower back. In the back of the van, someone had put Steppenwolf's first album on the mini record player.

"Howdy fellas," he said, hitching up his old jeans as he walked over to the two young men. "Let it hang out baby, do the Baltimore jig," he mumbled to himself. Then: "Name's Whitley, Whitley Jones. Driver for this little adventure you got going here. Now, you're gonna need a hand with that kit? Drumkit ain't gonna fit inside Mona, I'm afraid. Mona's my tour bus. My lady."

The young men introduced themselves - re-introduced himself in Nick's case - and Whitley soon had them to work. "You go up top, Nick, and me and Mitch will pass up the gear. Then I'll come up and help you strap it all down. Hey, whaddya do to your arm, tough guy?"

They worked fast in their eagerness to get on the road, and Whitley could see they were firm friends - almost a band within the band. "So your the rhythm section then?" Whitley grunted as he hoisted a snare up to Nick. "Can't wait to hear you play. Where we off to first?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Whitley Jones Character Portrait: Nicholas Gellar Character Portrait: Kelsey Davies Character Portrait: Mitchell Pratchett Character Portrait: Julia Driscoll Character Portrait: Francis Malory
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"You know you love me Mrs. Driscoll." Mitchell said in a teasing manner as he walked up to his best friends in the entire world. For the picture he stood behind them and stuck his head between Julia and Francis and stuck his arms around them as well. After the click flash of the Polaroid camera, Nick addressed him. "Would you expect anything else from me, man?" He said as he began to make his way over to his drumkit. When Nick had offered to help, he looked over at him. "Yeah man, thanks. Wouldn't mind putting aside some pride to have a non-broken back." he said.

Nick ran inside to stow away his greatest treasure, while Mitch began fold down his kit for storage. As he began to get things ready, Nick came back out with Kelso as the both offered to help. He cocked his head over to Nick. "Your just jealous because Kelso can kick your ass." Mitch then looked to Kelso. He then spoke in his best Schwarzenegger accent. "Come ovah here Olympia, I need your muscly arms, yah!" Mitch then hoisted the bass drum unto his shoulders.

Right when he was about to move onto the bus. A man that could have passed for Trucker's brother came out, from presumably the driver's seat, and told them that their was no room on the bus for the kit, and it would have to go onto the roof. Oh, also that his name was Whitley. Mitch walked over with the bass drum on his shoulder and shook the man's hand. "Mitch, good to meet you man. I think you and Mona will provide me with a nice slice of home while on the road." He said to the driver as if it was an inside joke.

They then began to quickly and efficiently get the drumkit situated onto Mona.....which is literally the perfect name for a bus. Whitley then asked where they were going first. Mitch looked over at him. "I'm pretty sure our first gig is in Tampa? Anyway, everyone is an incredibly talented musician.....and then there's the drummer, me." he said with a bit of self-mocking laughter. He never really counted himself as a musician as all he does is bash plastic cylinders with wooden sticks.

After they were finished, Mitch decided to make his way onto the bus with his sling and jacket to see what it was like. Whe he stepped inside and saw the interior he froze.......it was perfect. It reminded him of home He closed his eyes and bowed his head in prayer. "Thank you, oh great Mooned Keith, for bringing unto us, literally the least trashy and overly hyped tour bus that was within your power. Our journey is a long one and it is comforting to know you are watching over us...Amen." He then walked forward a few steps, turned around and fell back ward right onto the floor in front of Jules and Francis. He then put his hands behind his head and stared up at the ceiling.

He had heard Jules comment about the toilet seat. "I plan on retaining my right as a "Chauvinist Pig" and do whatever I want in the bathroom as long as it stays in the bathroom." he said rather seriously to her....then began smiling to let her know it was a joke.

He decided to just lay there and wait for them to get going or something!

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Whitley Jones Character Portrait: Nicholas Gellar Character Portrait: Kelsey Davies Character Portrait: Mitchell Pratchett Character Portrait: Julia Driscoll Character Portrait: Francis Malory
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'Tampa? Okay, kinda a home gig then?' But the drummer had already bound on board Mona, another bundle of excitement, albeit a broader, taller, stronger bundle. What had he said about a slice of home? Whitley shook his shaggy grey head. He wasn't sure he'd ever had a band this young on the road before.

'Nick, get in here, man, I'll give you all the tour,' Whitley called up, and mounted the steps that opened onto the driver's seat.

'Alright, umm, dudes,' he called forward to where the rest of the band had gathered in the cramped shared area Whitley called the lounge. 'Uhhh, I ain't a schoolteacher type, so how bout I make this real quick while we're waiting for the tour manager. I got an itinerary here somewhere but we'd better hang on I guess.'

Nick came up the steps behind him, the rest of the band traipsed up the centre aisle. The low ceiling brushed Mitch's head. 'Right, I'm Whitley, and this is my seat,' he said, slapping the leather upholstery. 'That's my only rule, man. No-one sits in my seat. Alright? Alright. That's my guitar,' Whitley went on, pointing to the ceiling, where a battered acoustic hung by its strap from two hooks. A veritable forest of pine air fresheners hung from a dial on the dashboard. 'And that's my sound system,' he said, pointing at the dial, a CD player and a collection of buttons. 'Turns the speakers on and off all over the bus. We'll have us some good times with that. Y'all like Foghat?'

Whitley shrugged at the perplexed faces. 'Alright. Where most of you are standing, that's the kitchen.' The young musicians looked about their cramped surroundings. Kelsey, Julia, Mitch and Francis barely fit into the room, which was essentially a corridor. On the right as Whitley and Nick looked from the cab, and inset in a wall of cupboards, there were two electric hobs, a small microwave and a tiny sink, all grouped around a 4ft by 3ft window. The countertops were clean, but worn; in a couple of places cracks had been covered with duct tape. 'Go on, poke around.'

They hesitated; perhaps they felt like they would be intruding. Never mindd, Whitley thought. They'd soon feel at home. Kelsey was first to get involved, pulling open the cupboard to the right of the inset. Inside was a fridge. 'Don't have much call for keeping stuff on the road,' said Whitley. 'Just pick up milk when we stop places. Wanna tip for on the road? You know them tiny cartons of long-life milk? Rob as many as you can from diners and truckstops. Takes twenty of them to wet your Cheerios, and they taste like hell, but they're good forever.' Whitley lent past Julia and opened a cupboard on his left. Inside was a refuse sack full to the brim of of the tiny cartons. 'Got hundreds of them in there, help yourself!'

Whitley shuffled forward, pushing everyone back into the lounge. A rickety fold-up table was currently down on the left side of the room; a similar table was folded against the wall on the right. On either side of each table, facing the direction of travel and against the direction of travel, were low benches covered in worn red velvet. A seam was burst on one, and dark yellow foam protruded. The carpet was faded orange, and though it had obviously been recently cleaned, not a square foot of it wasn't stained. There were a number of cigarette burns on the left hand side of the carpet, though not on the right. Whitley saw sharp-eyed Francis had noted this. 'Smoking on the left, non-smokers on the right, see?'

Beyond the 'lounge', through a heavy felt curtain, was the sleeping area. On both sides of the narrow corridor were two bunks, each with another felt curtain across it. Beyond these, on the right, were two more bunks and, on the left, a dressing table and large wall-mounted mirror surrounded by lightbulbs. 'See?' Whitley grinned. 'I thought of everything, man. You girls got your own damn powder room!' Whitley assumed the surprise on Julia and Kelsey's faces was due to gratitude, not shock at the spartan conditions. 'Yeah, I know it's, like, harder for girls on the road. There's... well, there's not a lot of privacy in here. There just weren't girls and boys in bands together back in the day. I drove Tammy Wynette's crew once, but Tammy had her own bus. Man, her boys were dirty dogs...'

'Anyway, down there's storage. I see most of you already stowed your gear, I'll go tie it down later, just in case. And past that is the toilet on the left and the shower. It don't run hot most of the time, but it'll get you clean.'

'So,' Whitley proclaimed, turning proudly to the band. 'Whaddya think of my lady?'

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Whitley Jones Character Portrait: Francis Malory
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As the band expressed their opinions with what Whitley thought was admirable candour, he struggled forward to his driver's seat. Though not as tall as Mitch, Whitley's unkempt grey hair also brushed the roof of the tour bus in places, particularly what passed for doorways between the rooms. He pulled out a battered AAA road book. 'Tallahassee to Tampa, Tallahassee to Tampa,' he muttered, thumbing through the dogeared pages. Some of the pages were annotated with pink highlighter and green and red ink, but the page he stopped on was clear. 'See, I update the old book with roadworks and stuff,' he called back to no-one in particular. 'And what the cops are like in each town, if I've got a ticket, you know. And look,' he said, flicking to the map of states in the inside front cover, 'each state where it's legal, where it's kinda legal and where its really a no-go. I got a medical marijuana card in 18 states!'

'Tallahassee to Tampa, four hours. Hour for set-up, hour for getting lost. Gig time... What time to you go on?'

'Nine,' one of the girls shouted back from the lounge. Some-one was toying with a guitar, someone else was tapping a staccato beat on a table and window. A grin further creased Whitley's wrinkled features. They were settling in.

'Nine, right.' Whitley turned the key in the ignition. The huge engine coughed once, then shuddered as it roared into life. 'Don't worry,' he yelled back over the din, which had shocked the guitar player into silence. 'She'll pipe down when we hit the open road. Listen, we gotta get going really if we want to start the tour on time, good vibes, you know?'

He looked out the window at the black, oily cloud the backfiring exhaust had expelled into the worried faces of the parents still on the driveway, and waved and shrugged apologetically. A few worried faces had been drawn to windows further up the street by all the noise. 'Hold tight, here we go!' he hollered and depressed the pedal. The old bus lurched forward and Whitley indulged himself with a long honk on the horn. 'Yee-hawww!' The response from the lounge was three parts excitement, two parts nerves.

Ten minutes into the drive, as the bus made its way through light traffic on the US-90 through Tallahassee's outskirts, Whitley once again heard chatter from the band members in the lounge. 'Don't worry, it'll take you a while to find your bus legs. You know, man, bus legs. Like sea legs? Hey, Stevie Wonder - I mean, hey, Francis, come up here, I got something for you.'

At a red light, Francis stumbled up. Whitley reached under his seat and pulled out a battered white cardboard box. 'Those good ol' Followill brothers gave me this couple of years back. It's an internet thing. You get internet on the bus with it. You look like the dude to figure it for me, it's all a box of snakes to me, man. Oh, and look,' he said, digging in his pocket and pulling out a battered Nokia 3510, 'get one of the girls to call that tour manager, tell her we done left already. She's in this phone, Leona, or Ebony or something.' As Francis leaned over to take the phone, Whitley grabbed his shoulder and pulled him close conspiratorially. 'Hey, I got Emmylou Harris's number in there. Wanna ring her? Ah, what a woman, Emmy...'

A horn sounded behind the tour bus, shaking Whitley from his reverie. The lights were green. 'Tampaaa!' he roared.