You’re in Fresno, California, and you’ve come for the tours.

The cold sweats drown your body while the shakes rattle your spine, almost as if the shop steward has come to collect your Teamster dues. It has been what, one, two, maybe three days since you last held a new date in your grimy little hands? But that brief sense of euphoria is long gone, and you need a new fix, maybe a date for Norah Jones or Cake. Just something to get you through another day.

Finally, a blue minivan pulls up to the corner. The cargo door slides open and a Guinness-soaked voice belches out from the darkness; “Get in.”

Fifteen minutes later the van pulls up in an alley. The driver turns to face you. You can see his beady little eyes in the darkness. He reaches under the seat and pulls out a paper bag, which he dangles in front of your face. You try to grab it, but he pulls it away at the last moment. His eyes stare into your nerve racked soul, and as he sizes you up he mutters a question.

“You got the money?”

Stupid question. Of course you have the money. You hand him the balance to your savings account, you give him the cash you advanced on your Visa and the change you raised from recycling your Bud long necks. “There,” you answer back. “There’s the money. Now, hit me!”

And hit you he does. Bang! It’s the new dates for Rufio and The Radiators. Wham! It’s the schedules for Bob Dylan, Sugar Ray and Shawn Colvin. The dates, cities and venues fill your senses. But you want more.

“I don’t know if you’re ready for this,” he says as he pulls a small vial from the glove compartment. Just came in yesterday.”

He tosses the vial on the floor and laughs as you scramble to catch each and every spilled tour date. Five new dates for R. Kelly and they are yours! That’s if you can scoop them up before they roll out the cargo door. Four… Five… “Got it,” you cry. “I got it! I got ’em all!”

Thirty minutes later the van pulls back up to the intersection where it all began and your battered and bruised body is dumped out onto the street. And as you lie in the gutter, totally enraptured by the warm glow brought on by dates for Reel Big Fish and Jason Mraz, your mind thinks back to an old public service announcement you saw as a child. A vision of a red hot frying pan and the sound of something frantically sizzling within. And that deep, foreboding, voice-of-god announcer’s voice saying, “This is your mind. This is your mind on tours…

“Any questions?”