It all started on a Saturday. Like folks in most small towns, we spend our weekends doing yard work, taking the kids to soccer practice and coming up with new ways to vote Republican, but there was one Saturday that was different. It’s hard to describe, but there was something in the air. You could feel it. Heck, you could almost taste it.

It happened around noon. It started with a low gut-wrenching rumble out of the east. Soon, we could see a cloud of dust rising from the horizon and then…

They came in hundreds. No, thousands. All riding Harleys, they wore leather and sported tattoos with names like Ian McLagan, Jazz Jamaica All Stars and Handsome Family. They looked like they hadn’t bathed for weeks, and they all had long hair and scraggily beards. Most of the townspeople had never seen anything like this before.

However, I had been in the war. I recognized them for what they were. And I was scared. No, make that petrified.

They were booking agents.

They rode into the town square, their cell phones beeping like the hounds of hell, and they started booking dates. They put Finger Eleven in Detroit on September 9th, The Getaway People in New Orleans for the Voodoo Music Festival on October 28th and Barenaked Ladies in Orlando on October 26th. Trembling in mortal fear, we locked up our houses and hid our daughters in our basements.

The bookings went far into the night. By now they had taken over our town. They staggered down Main Street, swilling cheap beer while they booked dates for The Go-Betweens, Gary U.S. Bonds and Van Morrison. By midnight they were draggin’ for dates, with the winner collecting the commissions for Culture Club and Moby. As the sound of engines, breaking glass and whining promoters continued deep into the early morning hours, we feared we had lost our little town.

But when morning came, they were gone, leaving only dead cell phone batteries and empty beer bottles.

Let this be a warning to you. If you hear a rumbling in the distance, like a 500 car freight train coming at you faster than Rage Against The Machine canceling their San Francisco dates, don’t waste a single moment. Ring the fire bell, sound the air raid sirens, lock your doors, draw your shades and hope that the booking agents pass you by. Whatever you do, don’t try to be a hero.

And pray that the agents don’t make a date with you.