It all happened so damn fast, none of them had time to react or to adjust, to comprehend. Within minutes, they'd gone from talking about recording their next album, arguing about where to tour, focusing on rotted tomatoes and tuna on rye sandwiches... to this.
Brian was the first to move. Brian, actually, was the only one to move. He'd been thrown forward. His nose was bleeding, having hit his face on the stick shift. AJ had been thrown over him, into Nick, who'd hit the driver's side window with the side of his head - hard.
Howie was shoved into the window in the backseat, too.
The two seats in the front had closed in around Brian, but they hadn't crushed him. In fact, other than the bloody nose, Brian wasn't hurt at all.
He struggled backwards, slipping out from between the two chairs.
Blood coated both windows on the driver's side, and poured down his face, staining the center consoles.
Nick's iPod was sitting at his foot, lit up, paused on the screen for I Just Wanna Live. The irony didn't have time to sink into Brian's mind.
"Fellas," he whispered, picking up the iPod and sitting up, his head slamming. "Fellas?"
Nobody else moved.
"Guys..." Brian turned to Howie, "Howie."
Suddenly there were bright red lights, and the commotion outside stole Brian's mind away from the other three guys around him. People were gathering around the intersection, horrified expressions on their faces. A FedEx truck was blocking his view out the window on the passenger side.
"Shit," he said.
He looked at the guys again. "Guys, we got hit by FedEx," he said.
Once, they'd snuck into a radio interview in Toronto by riding in a FedEx truck, he remembered.
Intending to point this out to him, Brian reached for Howie's shoulder and shook him. Howie slumped forward.
His heart nearly stopped.
"Oh Jesus," he whispered, realizing what was happening.
An EMT was forcing his way between the front end of the FedEx truck and the side door of the van and opened the sliding door as far as he could. Brian looked at him, "They can't be dead, they can't be dead," he said, repeating the words over and over again, his voice panicked, "They can't be dead."
"We're here to help you," the EMT said in a calm voice.
"They can't be dead," he said again.
"We're gonna do what we can to help," the EMT crawled down into the van.
Brian shook his head, "They can't be dead."
"It's gonna be okay," the EMT said.
Brian looked at AJ, Nick and Howie.
"Make them wake up."
"We're going to try."
"Trying isn't good enough..." Brian whispered.