paul stanley's eyes popped. he was putting on his makeup. his lips suddenly pursed. "a girl in distress. or is it a damsel?"
he and the other three kiss members rose as one and barreled into the girl's room. she stood on a chair with a towel draped in front of her nakedness and her finger pointed at the floor. "oh, my god! look!"
kiss looked. the thing on the floor was a gila monster. it was three feet long. it's tongue flicked at the air.
gene said, " maybe it's on the bill."
"well, it should be in it's own dressing room," peter said.
peter hurried to the frightened girl and stood on the chair with her. "i'll protect you," he said gallantly.
she caught him staring at her body and said, "i think i'll take my chances with the thing on the floor."
the incident was not taken seriously by kiss. peter wrapped a robe around the reptile's neck and dragged it outside. a mystery developed later when no one claimed ownership. no one had seen it before.
peter and ace tied the thing to a radiator and fed it. the next day they took it to the flushing zoo, where it was gratefully accepted.
a thought occurred to ace on the way back to the coventry. "that was meant for us, pete."
"how do you know?"
"because we changed dressing rooms with beth, remember?"
"hmmm...but we don't have any enemies. our fans love us."
"both of them do."
there was no more talk between them. ace frehley had only recently joined kiss, which had been a trio. he was high on science-fiction, read spider man and other comics dealing with space, aliens, creatures, and so on.
on the way back to the coventry, they experienced a close brush with death. as they were driving under an overpass on the highway, a stone loosened and fell. the one-hundred pound object crashed into the roof of peter's car only inches behind the front seats. pete swerved onto the shoulder of the road. "what the hell was that?"
ace looked behind him, saw the huge stone on the rear seat, and went pale. "you won't believe it." peter looked, and he too went white. he was stunned to speak.
ace gasped, "it coulda killed us!"
"call the cops..." peter touched the stone, and looked at the gaping hole in the roof of the car. "we...gotta report this." new york state highway patrol cruisers came by and lifted the stone out of the car. both occupants were terribly shaken by the incident, but managed to recover by evening to put on a good show. peter sold his heap the next day for junk, which he admitted the car was before the stone went through the roof.
both incidents occurred in 1973. there would be more mysterious "accidents" before the year was out. peter, paul, ace and gene were much too busy to give them much thought. still, they were annoying, and sometimes even dangerous.
while preparing for one gig in new york, all of their makeup disappeared. the loss was discovered thirty minutes before show time. gene roared," who the hell took it!" paul yelled, "i'll kill the bastard!" peter and ace turned the dressing room upside down in an effort to find the makeup.
they then scoured the entire club. fifteen minutes later the makeup was found on the bottom of a garbage can in the alley. kiss retrieved it only five minutes before the private garbage collection company was due to make a pick-up.
on another occasion, paul stanley was at a mirror applying his makeup when he suddenly howled in pain. "it's burning me! i'm on fire!"
the other three rushed to him and saw the makeup on his face beginning to smoke. hurriedly, they wiped it off with tissues and dabbed his face with cold water. when his face was clean again they noticed tiny blisters on his cheek and chin.
the makeup in the jars now started to smoke. gene put the covers on them and threw them out. "crazy! never saw the stuff do that before." he passed his own makeup to paul.
there was no permanent damage to stanley's face. the incident was forgotten quickly because at that time, 1973, tv director/producer bill aucoin had seen kiss perform and had expressed an interest in signing the group to a managerial contract.
good things happened fast after that. in short order, aucoin had convinced neil bogart to sign kiss to a recording contract. bogart, head of casablanca records, set up some session time to cut kiss' first album.
it was the winter of 1973-74. kiss was laying some tracks in a casablanca studio when suddenly the electronics equipment in the control room began to smoke. the damage was extensive. some 74 components had burned out.
another studio was set up and kiss tried again. this time a mixer blew out and a short circuit in the wiring blew gene simmons' guitar out of his hands. four fingers on his left hand were singed.
the guys joked about it. while the engineers were bringing in replacements, ace said: "what the hell's going on? our music is'nt that hot."
peter frowned. "ridiculous. no such thing as curses."
paul did'nt agree. " what about the animal in the dressing room? and the stone that damn near killed peter and ace, and the business about the makeup? gene may have something."
"but who would put a curse on us?" peter asked. "we got no enemies. we did'nt make enough bread yet for enemies to develop."
"maybe it's a parent of a fan," paul suggested. "you have to admit that not everybody likes us."
"yeah," ace said. "we do get hate mail." he sank onto a stool. "things like this don't happen in outer space."
"how do you know?" gene asked.
"i been there. it's all harmony out there."
the laughter eased some of the tension. kiss was able to get back to the business of recording their album "kiss", which was released in february 1974.
the group worked steadily for the rest of 1974 and completed another album, hotter than hell. it was released at the end of the year. there were no more incidents. the "curse" had been broken. or had it?
the most frightening experience of all, and still unexplained, occurred in detroit in 1975. kiss was scheduled to appear at cobo hall. all 12,000 seats had been sold. the night before the concert kiss checked into a hotel, reserving four adjoining rooms on the 15th floor.
at midnight, paul, ace and peter were playing pinochle on ace's bed. gene had hit the sack earlier, complaining of a headache.
suddenly, ace's door was flung open and gene simmons stormed in wearing his complete costume and makeup. he was growling, blood oozed out of his mouth.
paul groaned, "for christ sakes, gene-"
"what the hell are you doing?" peter said.
ace just stared. then he snorted, "come on, gene, i just had the best meld all night. don't fool around."
gene did not answer. instead, he strode across the room and grabbed paul stanley by the shoulders and slammed him to the floor. paul yelled, "what the hell's the matter with you? that hurt!"
gene then took a swing at ace and knocked him across the room. he then attacked peter, who tried desperately to get away from him. peter lashed out at gene with his arms and legs, but could not keep gene off him. paul and ace were now on their feet and trying to pull gene away from peter.
ace yelled, "gene, for god's sake! what's the matter with you?"
paul threw himself against the "monster" and bounced off harmlessly. ace tried to get an arm around gene's neck, but the latter just shrugged him off. somehow, peter got up and slipped away from gene's grasp.
now, gene stood in the middle of the room, hunched over, snarling, more blood dripping from his mouth. his eyes darted to each of the others.
ace laughed nervously, "okay, gene, fun's over."
paul said, "yeah, it was great. now let's get back to the game."
peter said nothing. he was scared. he had been the recipient of the full force of gene's power and it had frightened him. he stood pale and shaking.
gene continued to growl at the others, and now he spoke in a language no one in the room could understand. and again he charged, this time into ace. peter and paul moved in quickly because gene's powerful hands were around ace's throat and was beginning to strangle him.
ace gagged. gene's growl became a roar. paul jerked hard to free the victim, who was now sagging ti his knees as his air supply was being shut off.
paul and peter now exerted a superhuman effort and managed to pull gene away. but in doing so they propelled their mad friend across the room. he headed directly toward the window and paul gasped as gene crashed through it.
he and peter rushed ti it in time to see gene's body smash itself on the concrete in a side alley.
ace was on the floor, choking and grasping for air.
peter and paul turned away from the broken window. peter moaned, "oh, my god..."
paul was too stunned to say anything.
somehow, ace staggered to his feet, still somewhat dazed. "what...happened?"
peter told him. ace said "impossible!"
peter told him to look out the window. ace did, then snapped his head away quickly. "oh...god...oh...god...!"
no one said anything for a long time. they were in shock. finally, paul thought they ought to notify the detroit police department, then call cobo hall to cancel the gig. ace said that they should first go to gene's room and gather up his things. "once the cops get here we won't have time to do it."
all three left ace's room and headed for gene's. they walked in - and were shocked out of their skins.
gene simmons was sound asleep in his bed!
ace turned the light on to make sure. it was gene. he was snoring. paul shook him awake. "get up!"
peter said, 'you won't believe what happened."
good. then don't tell me. let me sleep."
paul told him the story. gene grumbled, "you guys are on acid. go to sleep."
they forced him to get up and follow them into ace's room. they wanted to show him the mess, the broken window, and the body in the alley.
but they were due for more shocks. there was no broken window, no mess. peter looked out the window. the body was gone. peter and ace did'nt believe him. they looked, too.
peter said, 'it's incredible. gene was here. he was a ghost."
"he was solid," ace said, rubbing his throat. "i oughta know."
paul rubbed his chin thoughtfully. "it's the curse again. we're dealing with a super-natural force."
"that's crazy," gene snapped. "people can't hex anybody."
"they do in haiti," ace said. "voodoo stuff. works, too."
"this ain't haiti," peter said. "besides, why would anybody want to hex us? we did'nt do anything to anybody."
"not now, we did'nt," paul said. "but what about in the past?"
gene shrugged. "i threw a book at a teacher when i was a kid."
"we mean something serious."
"that was serious. i got suspended."
"we got a real problem and you're making jokes." paul said.
peter criss said, "hold it. i don't think we have a real problem unless we make it one ourselves. we can't let this thing get to us. if it does, we're finished."
"well, what about tonight?" ace asked.
"nobody was even thinking about curses when this thing happened. how about that?"
peter had no answer. gene said, "maybe we should consult somebody. you know, a curse remover."
"this would'nt happen if we were in outer space."
"shut up, ace." we have some thinking to do."
kiss was silent for a long time. each searched his soul to see if there was something which might be triggering these incidents. no one was able to come up with anything. the other incidents did'nt worry kiss as much as the latest one. the others could be termed natural accidents. but this one was no accident. gene was real to all of them. he was no ghost. and there was no chance at all that all three of them had been hallucinating the same dream at the same time.
paul shuddered. "we have to do something."
gene snapped his fingers. "got it! we'll screen our mail thoroughly. might be something there, some clue."
as soon as possible, the four of them tackled the flood of mail pouring into their headquarters. the cobo hall gig had been a great success, and now they were back home and flipping envelopes.
after the ten-thousandth letter had been opened and the four of them were bleary-eyed from reading, ace said: "i think were wasting our time."
"no we're not," peter said, reading a letter. "we have a clue right here."
the letter he held was undated. it was written on plain white paper and was printed plainly in block letters. it read:
kiss: you should by now be convinced that you are under our spell. to remove it, all you need to do is change the monster character in your act to something else. - obedi
who's obedi?" ace asked.
"search me. where's the letter from?" gene wanted to know.
peter looked at the envelope and read "haiti."
"i knew it!...i knew it!" ace cried gleefully. "just like i said. voodoo stuff."
gene said, "i'm taking that letter to the fbi. they'll know what to do. this obedi character will be put in the slammer and that'll be the end of it."
"think again, gene," said peter, showing him the latter. "the message disappeared."
he was right. the letter was now a blank sheet of paper. gene growled, "son of a bitch, the evidence is gone. they must've used ink that disappears when the air hits it."
"well, there's only one thing left to do," paul said. "change the monster character and the curse will be gone."
"like hell i will! shouted gene. "that took a long time to develop. it's the best character in the act."
"i don't know about that," said paul, huffily.
"me either," said ace.