Falling Off a Log
Copyright © 2003, 2015
When I was getting ready for school the next morning, I put my little Walkman in my book bag with some of the tapes that Scott's Dad had made. If I found out who else played instruments or sang, I was going to get them to listen to it and see if they were interested in a band that played that kind of music. I thought the idea of not saying it was me and Scott right away was pretty good. Just tell people that's the style we wanted to do.
I walk to school - it's not far. Scott has to take the bus and it's usually the last bus to get there. I always wait for him, but we usually have to hurry to make the bell.
I was pretty sure I'd see Keith Hensley, though. I usually did. He was OK. A big lanky kid, but he always seemed pretty nice, and he had a lot of friends. I saw him in front of school talking to a kid named Nick. Him I didn't know, except his name, and that he was supposed to be tough. He wasn't a heck of a lot bigger than me, though. A dark skinned kid with black hair. I think he was Italian. Keith was big, and I guess you'd call him kinda red. Red face, reddish hair.
I stood near them. Looked around, tried to get up my nerve to talk to Keith. The nerve didn't come. Damn it anyhow! Why did I have to be such a chicken? This wasn't anything bad.
I finally worked up enough courage to walk by and say "Hi, Keith."
"Hey, Joe. Where's Scott?"
Everybody thought of us as a unit.
"Not here yet. Hey, I was at his house and his father said you might play the drums."
"Yeah, I do."
"What kind of stuff? I mean, what music do you like?"
"@@@@@! He RULES!"
Yes! "Are you in a band or anything?"
"No, I wish. It's just me and Nick."
I looked at Nick. "You play?"
"Yeah, bass guitar."
"Well ... I play guitar a little, and Scott sings. I was kinda wondering ...." I pulled my backpack off and put a tape in the walkman. "You can only listen one at a time, but this is the kind of stuff me and Scott wanna do."
Nick grabbed it, and put the earphones on and pushed the play button. He listened for a minute and, talking real loud because of the earphones, he said, "Wow! Who is this? I never heard it before. This is awesome!" He stood there a while as he listened to both songs, then took the earphones off and handed the player to Keith. "I like that! Who's the band?"
"I'm not sure of their name. Scott's father gave it to me. It's brand new."
"You gotta find out who they are! I wanna buy the album!"
Keith was sorta playing air drums while he listened. And you could tell he was really listening closely - trying to work out the rhythm in his head. Trying it out with invisible drumsticks. He looked like he was really getting into it.
"Where'd you get this? Who are these guys? This is great! They need a real drummer - that's all fake rhythm. But the songs are just too cool!"
"You really like it?"
"I loved it. That's the kind of band I wanna be in someday."
"Um ... think you'd like to try something with me and Scott? I mean someday. You can think about it. But that's the kind of stuff we like, too."
"Can you play any good?" Keith asked.
"I been learning for four years. I do pretty good. How about you?"
"You kidding? I been playing since I was four. I been in the fife and drum band and school bands since I could talk. Drums are my life!"
I said, "Scott can really sing good, too!"
Keith looked pensive for a second, then shrugged. "I guess we can try. Nick?"
Nick looked at me, "I started to learn guitar about four years ago, too. I was doing okay, but then I got hooked on the bass. I love it! What kinda guitar you got?"
I almost said a PRS, but thought better of it. "It's a Strat copy. But I just had it set up at Mike's and it sounds pretty good. I got a brand new Twin amp, though. What kinda stuff you got?"
Nick seemed enthusiastic. "I got a Fender bass. It's pretty nice, and an old Bassman amp. It's okay, but it needs help."
Keith said "I have decent drums - Gretsch, but my cymbals suck."
Scott's bus rolled in, and when he got to the door he just about rolled out. He caught himself this time. I yelled to him, and he saw who I was with and hurried over.
"Scott! We got a band ... at least I think we do. Wanna try it, Keith?"
Keith looked at Nick, who nodded. "OK, let's give it a try. When? Where?"
"Let's talk at recess. We gotta hurry!"
"See ya then."
"Good morning, Joseph." Such sarcasm.
"Scotty, they heard the tape and loved it. Nick plays the bass. It's all we need. It's worth a try!"
We had to really hurry up the steps and, for once, Scott made it all the way without dropping anything. We got inside and had to split for our different classes. "See ya at recess!"
I turned around. "What?"
"Meet me in the boys room after class?"
He didn't look at me, just at the floor, "Nothing."
I looked at him for a second, then he turned and walked towards his class.
I called out, "I'll be there!" Then I ran to my class.
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