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club I played was under construction and devoid of citizenry. Perhaps because of the popularity of a national sporting event, the city was deserted, and, because few people were on the streets, even fewer were in the club watching my show.

I suspected Wilmington might present a people problem. Still, I was seduced by the city because the Wilmington promoter, a trustworthy gentleman, had offered a “guarantee”—-that is, a guaranteed amount of money for my band whether or not a people problem presented itself. In dollar form, the guarantee was equal to the lowest three-digit number that exists in Cartesian mathematics.

Many musicians oppose guarantees. “Guarantees aren’t punk!” they exclaim, grow scraggly beards, and cook with excess garlic. I take exception to this mentality because I support “making gas money” and “eating.” So, if you’re a promoter offering a guarantee, you will have few problems seducing me.

There was a spot of trouble, however, when the promoter’s subordinate—-a new employee—-had to pay me last night.

“Well, we didn’t do too well tonight,” the newbie said.

“Indeed,” I said. “Wilmington has a people problem.”

“We are splitting the money evenly amongst the bands,” the newbie said.

“That is fine with me,” I said. “As long as you give me the previously-agreed-upon three-digit guarantee.”

The newbie hesitated. Would the promised guarantee be reneged? I pondered my options. I had a decade’s worth of experience on the newbie. However, he was taller and larger than me. In lieu of fisticuffs, I used the Jedi mind trick on the Newbie. C’mon newbie, I beamed. Give me the previously-agreed-upon three-digit guarantee.

“Okay,” the newbie said as he paid me. “I will give you the previously-agreed-upon guarantee.” My Jedi mind trick had worked. This was a relief. I do not excel at fisticuffs.