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The Warning: Part 1

In The 80's on March 15, 2012 at 10:17 pm

Warn1

It’s the early 80’s, winter. I have my big, blue Cadillac sedan, and am getting my shit together as far as what I want to do with my life. I know I want to be involved with writing, and I love music, so I’m considering combining the two. I’m not thinking there would be money in it- but it’s important to me to be happy. Most of the adults I know are miserable and hate their jobs so I’m sure as hell not taking their path or advice. 

I’ll start school in the Fall-at the local college. It’s seven months away to September, as the current semester is already under way.  I’m still of the mindset that summers are for slacking so summer courses are out. I’m nineteen years old, working part-time and hanging out with my musician friends, helping them shore up their acts by listening to them jam, filling in lyrics and critiquing their ‘look’. Also bar-hopping where they perform and taking notes. It’s backbreaking work.

The person I’m with most often with is Jess, my new best friend. Ever since Adrian and I broke up, we’d been hanging out. We met at one of Adrian’s many band auditions. Like most bands, there was a perpetual search for a good singer. Like quarterbacks on NFL teams, they were rare and valuable.

Jess showed up after answering an ad in ‘The Bargain News’ He sidled up to me during the audition and began taking shots at Adrian and the band, whispering such doozies as “Who dresses these guys?” (to be fair, the band wore  street clothes- jeans and flannel shirts- because it was mid-afternoon on a Thursday. Jess was in zebra spandex pants, black cowboy boots draped in silver chains, and a ripped up Aerosmith shirt, which I immediately coveted. It was like seeing a sliver of the moon in the daytime)

He auditioned, his white blonde mane, twirling about in a frenzy, but his voice wasn’t as impressive as his get-up.  He later blamed it on the band in a stolen whisper to me: “Their timing is too fast!”he spit.

I was off in my corner, reading a book-as usual ‘waiting’ for my boyfriend’s much more important than mine to-do list so Jess’s approaching me at all was a surprise. His comments struck me as ballsy- he had no idea what my relationship was to the band.  But since I already had one foot out the door with Adrian (which, come to find out was mutual) I found Jess’s comments funny.

I also recognized that though Jess had the  perfect stage presence for a front man, he was quite possibly the worst singer I’d heard that day. Or possibly, year. I would best describe his style as ‘caterwauling’. Though he seemed completely unaware, I was pretty sure that his only musical legacy might be to have custom ear plugs named after him. This is how I felt, though it is scathingly hard to admit.

This didn’t matter to me at all (I didn’t have a band-nor did I ever think to form one-damn you, Patriarchy!)) and I was happy to exchange numbers with him (undercover, like coke seals) on tiny pieces of paper.  I accepted his invitation to meet for a drink. It was a friendly invitation and there was no ‘I’m trying to pick you up’ vibe. I don’t know why- he certainly was cute enough. 

It was clear from that first drink that we would become good friends. He had me rolling with laughter, mostly mocking people, especially my ex, who I  caught cheating on me only days later. I walked into the Night Raven mid-week, on a whim and noticed him playing footsie with some girl with badly crimped yellow hair, who looked at me condescendingly as I walked over to their table. Adrian played innocent (the room they sat in was open and raised- one had to walk up several stairs to get to it. From the bar you could see the undersides of the tables, something these two rocket scientists couldn’t deduce. Which is how I witnessed the not-so- subversive ‘footsie’ playing)

“Oh, hiii!’ Adrian  said, fake smiling, looking nervous.

“Heeey!” he continued, a quick flash of ‘ut-oh’ in his eyes. I played cool.

‘Whatchya doin?’ I asked. They glanced at each other (totally in cahoots) and I said: “Be sure you don’t trip when you stand up. Looks like your feet are all tangled up under there” The girl gasped, and Adrian’s eyebrows shot up. With that I turned and walked away.

I pictured this new girl nested down in my old ‘reading chair’ for hours,(if she could read) bored to tears and begging Adrian: “Please-please! let’s go out  somewhere!” I’m sure she thought she’d won a prize, but it was the kind of plastic prize that tumbled from the silver slot of a gumball machine.

I stopped at the bar for a quick Kamikaze shot, which I downed in two seconds and headed out the door. I was shaking and humiliated.My pride was hurt- I didn’t think Adrian would actually cheat on me (and of course, I wondered how long it had been going on) . Worse yet, I thought I was  hanging on to him until a more convenient time to break up  (like when met someone new?) But the joke was on me. He had forced my hand, and in doing so, had done me a favor- though I couldn’t see it then.

'Undercover' Footsie

‘Undercover’ Footsie

I drove straight over to Adrian’s house from the Raven, mere blocks away.  I had a few books there, as well as some expensive Paul Mitchell conditioner (which Footsie certainly needed, but would get over my dead body) and a few incidentals. I rapped on the front door, until his brother Lance let me in, nervously babbling something like: “Adrian went to The Fortune Cookie with Steve”(he was the one brother of the three who was a shitty liar) but I busted right by him, heading downstairs for my stuff, and pointed out that I didn’t recall asking where Adrian was in the first place.

I grabbed ‘Interview With A Vampire’ and ‘Helter Skelter’, purposely leaving behind an old, tattered copy of ‘I’m OK, You’re Ok’ , crossing out the second OK and writing in: ‘A Dick!’ with a pen on the desk..There was a pack of EZ Widers on the dresser, which I flicked like a paper football, where it disappeared into the void. (Ten to one, they’re still there) I turned his desk clock back an hour, and took one last look around. 

After I left, I drove  aimlessly down the main drag, and tried to think of somewhere to go besides home. I was supposed to be meeting Suzy and Heather at the Night Raven, but I wasn’t going back in there tonight. I remembered I had Jess’s number in my wallet, so I pulled into the Pizza Den parking lot and searched for it. It was right underneath my Led Zeppelin ticket stub. I got out of the car and headed over to the pay phone, standing precariously on a little pile of dirty snow- depositing two dimes and dialing the number. Finn answered almost immediately. I started to explain who I was -he knew- and after  I told him about Adrian and the girl,  he laughed and said: ‘Oh, just be glad to be rid of him! If you come and pick me up, we’ll go out and get drinks, and you’ll be sure to forget about his ass!!” I loved it. I got directions to his place and headed over, cranking Van Halen’s ‘You’re No Good’ and singing along…loudly.

Warn6

Jess was standing outside when I got to his house. I recognized the shock of white blond hair, hanging past his shoulders and his pouty lips. He was wearing a white leather biker jacket, black jeans and snakeskin boots. He held a lit cigarette in one hand and a St. Pauli Girl in the other one. When I stopped the car, he nodded, and strutted around to the passenger side, easing himself in. ‘Ahaaa!’ he said, almost giggling ‘I didn’t know you drove a BOAT!!’ I laughed and headed slowly down the street. We decided to go to  a small bar we knew, located on a golf course, called ‘The Pines’. On the way we couldn’t stop talking about Adrian. Jess said he wasn’t that good of a guitar player, and I agreed- finally! I had the freedom to admit that! 

 Jess said he was glad they didn’t pick him to be the singer because he’d been jamming with a much better band, two towns over called Saint something or other.”If Adrian can’t see what a good singer I am, fuck him!’ he exclaimed.

I noted the phrase see how good of a singer he was, and realized that it was like being at a wedding when they say ‘If anybody here sees any reason why these two should not wed’ and that if I said nothing about his bad singing, I’d never be able to. I decided I was good with that. Besides, maybe he’d grow into his voice.

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