Falling Off a Log
Copyright © 2003, 2015
We had ten minutes between home room and first period because there were two buildings and some kids had to go between them. I went into the boys room and combed my hair until Scott came in. He didn't look too happy.
"What's wrong?" I asked.
"You went and started a band and didn't even ask me?"
"I didn't start a band. I just asked those guys if they wanted to try some stuff together. They listened to our tape, and that 's the kind of music they like, too. We just decided to give it a try is all."
"I wish I'was there to decide some of this."
Oops. I'd gone too far? "I'm sorry, Scott. I didn't even think of it that way. It's just that your bus is always late, and if I didn't talk to Keith when I saw him. I don't know when I'd get to."
"I guess so." He still looked a little pouty. "How'd they like the songs?"
"Blew 'em away! Nick wanted to know who it was so he could buy the album!"
Scott got enthused, "Really? What'd you tell 'em?"
"That your Dad gave me the tape and I didn't know the name of the band. Said it was somebody new."
"We better go. Meet us at recess and we can plan some things. Together."
Scott smiled a little. Then hugged me and gave me a quick kiss on the cheek.
"Thanks, Joe. See ya at recess."
Let me explain this recess thing. Our high school was on the same grounds as the elementary school, but the high school was being renovated and a lot of the building was off limits. We had to share classrooms with the elementary school, which had already been expanded, and they got recess. Until the construction was done, it made scheduling easier if everyone had recess, so we got a half hour off after our second period. Everybody loved it. The little kids had a playground, and the older kids got to hang out in the quadrangle for a nice break in the day.
I found Scott, then we met up with Keith and Nick.
"Nick - I don't even know your last name. I'm Joe Goldman, and this is Scott Johnson."
"Nick Cassarino," Nick said. We all shook hands.
"So, guys. I guess we can practice at my house. I got my drums set up in the rec room and nobody else comes down there," Keith said.
"My bass and amp are already there. I hardly ever bring them home," said Nick.
I asked, "Do you have anything Scott can sing through?"
Keith said, "No. Can't you plug a mike into your guitar amp?"
I said, "Oh yeah! I guess he can use my old amp for now. Scott - you got a mike?"
Scott gave me a sly grin. "Yeah, I think I can find something." I guessed that he probably could find anything we needed. "When ya wanna start?"
Keith said, "Actually, today's good for me. I got band on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and I can't do much on Saturday 'cause of fife and drum. How about you guys."
I looked at Scotty, saying, "OK by me. I got Temple on Saturday. Scott?" He nodded.
I asked Keith, "Where do you live? I gotta figure out how to get my amp there."
"Right on Pratt Street. My brother's picking me up after school. We can go to your house and get it."
"Great," I said. "We'll meet you by the front steps."
Keith and Nick got up and left. I took Scott's hand. "Looks like we're on our way, pal. I hope they're good. This could be fun."
"Maybe you should hold back a little until we hear how they sound. It's not a good idea to embarrass them if they're not any good."
"I thought of that. I just told them that I had my old Strat copy and everything. I bet they're probably pretty good. Keith's been playing drums forever, and he probably wouldn't play with Nick if he stunk."
Scott looked at me, "I guess. How come you can talk to them so easy? It's not like you."
"I was scared to go up to them this morning. I almost didn't. But it was too important, so I did. After we started talking it was easy - I guess because it was something I wanted to talk about. I don't know. Keith's always nice, anyhow. And Nick doesn't seem to talk any more than you and me. So, why'd you call last night?"
"I wanted to talk."
"I guess I just didn't want yesterday to end. It was the coolest stuff we ever did .. playing through my Dad's equipment and everything. Then us being up in the meadow, nice and lazy like. And .. and what we did. I felt a little funny after, but nice, too. Closer to you. A better friend."
I put my arm over his shoulder and my ear next to his. "I liked yesterday, too. It's probably the best day I'll ever have. I liked what we did too. I'm not sure why ... probably just because it was you and me after being with everybody else. I'll tell you one thing, though."
"It's probably a good thing you don't live near the railroad tracks."
Scott's face got red. "Sonovabitch!" He took a good swing at my arm, but I managed to dodge it. He gave me a big smile. "Don't flatter yourself, boss. It was the mayo. Honest."
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