Phil took the next day to arrange locations and dates for the tour with Ash and Les. Of course, he got the okay from his three bandmates before doing so, as he didn't want Tim to wring his neck. Kitten Soup was going on tour for six months, hitting over thirty different U.S. cities including Atlanta, Dallas, Hollywood and Albuquerque. It was their first tour, though they had already performed in several different states.
After going over every detail of the upcoming tour, Phil wandered the studio, reminiscing the band's early stages. The four boys had met in Sacramento, California, clear across the country from their current home in Philadelphia. It was a Friday night. Larry was out with his cousins, Ash and Les, looking for talent, so that they could sell it. Ash and Les had just graduated from college as double majors in Music and Business, and were ready to put their skills to the test. And since Larry had learned to play guitar when he was eight years old, they had already prepared the foundation of the up and coming band Kitten Soup.
After months of attending cheap shows for awful-sounding underground bands, hoping that maybe they'd find a musician with even the most miniscule trace of skill, they were about to give up and go home...until they found Phil on that street corner, strumming away to nobody but himself. They picked him up and took him out to a bar to get drinks and discuss the possibility of the band. At the bar, future KS members Tim and Robby were performing together with two other musicians, possibly from the UK. What they were playing was loud, nasty, and of course, the most beautiful thing Ash and Les ever heard. Tim was playing guitar, and Robby was, of course, on the drums. Phil particularly liked the way Tim could look so serene while playing such gritty-sounding music.
When their performance was over, Phil made Larry call Tim down from the stage so they make an arrangement for him to join them. At first, Tim didn't want anything to do with the band, since there were already two guitarists, and he'd make a useless third, but Robby had followed him off of the stage like a lost puppy and asked Larry about his idea. They told Robby they still needed a drummer, and fortunately for them, percussion had been Robby's specialty for a longer time than he had even known Tim. If Tim hadn't been best friends with Robby, he would've simply let him go with Larry...and Phil. But no, Tim joined on the grounds that Larry and his two money-hungry cousins would pay for him to learn to play bass. Tim and Robby left their first band without even saying goodbye. Fortunately, Kitten Soup went on to be far more famous than any of the bands Tim and Robby had ever been in before. After Kitten Soup's first hit single, Abigail, they were offered the studio in Philadelphia and took the offer the first time, as any homeless man would.
"You think you're gonna meet a nice girl in Dallas?" Phil was staring into Lars and Robby's shared room. Larry was vegging in there with a tall can of beer in one hand and Susie the kitten resting silently beneath the other. Phil took this as a sign Larry was already tipsy, since he normally hated cats.
"Well yeah, I think I'm gonna meet plenty'a girls in Dallas. But I doubt any of 'em'll be nice." Larry said, winking at Phil. "The nice ones never last long. And they always go back home to daddy anyways."
"True," Phil agreed. He entered the room and sat down at the foot of Larry's bed. He knew they needed to discuss the information he'd just gained on the tour, but another thing entered his mind first. "So, your mom doesn't like me?"
"Oh, she likes you just fine." Larry sipped his beverage.
"You act like that's some incredible act of generosity."
"You take everything too seriously, Phil. Chill, my mom likes you. What do you care about what my mom thinks, anyway? You got a thing for older women?" Larry raised his eyebrow at Phil.
Susie the kitten awoke, looking offended at the stench of alcohol coming from Larry, and pranced over to Phil. This sudden small act of kindness made Phil decide to stop complaining. "Nah. By the way, nice piercings you got goin' on." He prodded Larry right in the earlobe. It seemed as though Larry had gotten his ears pierced twice on both sides the night before, perhaps due to an excess of alcohol.
Larry winced. "It hurts like a motherfucker," he hissed. "I don't even remember getting these. I must've been sooo smashed last night. And I don't even remember the occasion!" He threw his hands up into the air and laughed to himself. "But they are pretty cool, if I do say so myself. And I do say so myself. Maybe I'll get a few more while we're touring. Chicks dig a man who can accessorize."
"Maybe I'll get a lady during the tour, too."
"...Maybe." Larry maintained a straight face as he agreed with Phil.
Susie suddenly looked up and sprang off of Phil's lap onto the floor. She skittered over to the door and stared up at the doorknob.
"Even the cat doesn't like me!" Phil shot up and posed in an unintentionally dramatic way with his fingertips on his bottom lip.
"Maybe you should just get yourself a nice big tub of chocolate ice cream...to make you feel better."
"Ice cream is such an empty promise," Phil said, quite seriously, even though Larry was really trying to help. "...Could you tell Robby about the tour? I don't want to get beat up again for no reason." He pointed to his nose, on which there was still a bandage.
"Thanks." Phil pulled open the door, only to come face to face-or chin to forehead, with Robby. He had nothing to say to the man, so he walked around him, down the hallway and into to the foyer.
Robby bent down to pick up his cat and cradled her in his hands, completely unaffected by Phil ignoring him.
"We were talkin' about the tour," Larry told Robby.
"That's nice," Robby said. "I won't really have much of a say in it. But that's okay, I don't really care where we go."
Larry set his beer down on the dresser between their beds. "Am I gonna have to butter you up as well?"
"You don't have to do anything. I feel fine. I just helped fifteen puppies get adopted. It's Phil who needs help. That boy's gonna drive everybody mad." Robby sat on his bed and set his kitten down next to him, where she promptly fell asleep. "I've got a positive way to vent. He'll probably go out and text his mental breakdown to his friends."
"Take him with you next time you-"
Robby made eye contact with Larry. He wasn't about to allow Phil into the animal rescue center.
"...right. Well, I guess I should tell you about how the tour's gonna go."