Dana got us into this. She said that we had it wrapped up. We couldn't lose. I've heard that before.
I'm Oswald MacDonald, but everyone calls me Mac. I'm 6'6" tall and I weigh almost 165 lbs dressed and wet; a beanpole, in other words. I exercise and lift weights, but I still don't gain weight. To add to that, to all intents and purposes, I'm the invisible man. People just act like I'm not there most of the time. They talk about me while I'm standing in front of them. The only thing I have to counteract this is my guitar. I picked one up when I was in 6th grade, and it was a natural fit for me. When I have my guitar in my hand, people notice me.
I didn't think I was all that good at first. But then I started playing out in front of crowds, and the reaction changed my mind. They would clap and cheer after some of my lead parts.
The band was called "Slip Stream" and I wasn't even supposed to be a part of it.
Rex Rogers lived next door and we had been best buddies forever. He picked up a bass right after I got my first guitar, and we learned together. The last couple of years of high school and then the summer after our first year of college, we tried to form a band, and had little success. Nobody seemed to care enough to put in the time needed to do it right. We were both going to Ivy Tech, me for computer science, and him for auto mechanics. The fall of our second year I was in the music store at the mall getting new strings for my Telecaster, when I saw a pretty little blonde putting a notice up on the bulletin board. I looked over her shoulder, not hard to do since she didn't even come up to mine, and saw that she was advertising for a bass player.
I stepped back and waited for her to turn around, "What kind of group do you have?"
She jumped back and looked up at me, "Oh! You startled me."
"Sorry. I didn't mean to."
She looked up at me a little closer, "That's okay buddy, I don't think you can help it. My sister and I have a rock band with our friend, and we need a bass player to finish it off. We would prefer another girl, but a decent guy would work."
"My friend is a bass player, and he is pretty good. Do you have many songs ready to go?"
"We've worked up about two dozen, but we need the bass to get them right. Do you think he would be willing to audition?"
"I'm sure he would. We have been talking about getting into a band for years. If you guys are any good at all, he'll be able to work with you."
The girl turned and reached back, tearing a tab off the notice. "Here is my number. Have him call tonight if he is interested. My name is Dana Bernstein."
I took the slip of paper, "I'll let him know."
Rex called that evening and went over to audition the next day. Apparently the girls thought that he was the greatest because they asked him to join them.
Two weeks later I got a call from Rex. He wanted me to come over to their practice. When I asked why, he said that he needed my opinion on something. I was to bring my guitar and amp with me.
When I got to the garage I could hear them playing in it. The voices sounded great, but the music was just so-so. They had the right chords, but it may as well have been karaoke. Drums and bass were working together pretty good, but the guitar and organ were just supplying fill. Rex probably wanted me to teach the guitarist how to play lead. It sounded like she might be able to learn, so I would be willing to try. I got my axe and amp out of the van and knocked on the garage door at the next quiet spot. Rex lifted the door up and helped me roll my amp into the garage. I nodded to the girl I had met, Dana, and leaned the guitar case against the amp.
"What is he doing here, Rex? I don't remember you saying anything about another guy coming in." This was from the blonde behind the drum kit. She looked a lot like Dana, so I figured her to be the sister.
"I asked Mac to come out and give us a hand, girls. He can do things with a guitar that you won't believe. Right now we sound okay, but nothing special. With Mac joining in we'll be great. He also writes songs so we can do something besides covers. You don't have to make a decision right now, but let him join in for a few songs and see what you think."
"Hold up, Rex. I thought you wanted me to help Dana here with playing guitar, not join in with you. She'll be good enough with a little training. There is no need to do any more than that."
"You just go ahead and get set up, Mac. We'll let them choose what they want."
I shook my head and went ahead and set up my stuff. All I used was a couple of stomp pedals, overdrive and chorus, and a good wah-wah. My amp was a Randall 120 watt head and a cabinet with four 12" speakers. When I plugged the Fender Telecaster into this set up I had all the power I should ever need at my beck and call.
Once I was tuned to the organ, Rex started them out on an old Heart tune called "Wild Child". I'd never played it before, but I loved Heart and knew what Rex had in mind. Dana was doing the basic guitar part during the singing, but the lead on this thing was a real bear, and from what I had heard, she wouldn't be up to it. Having never tried it myself, I would be working on memory, but I thought I could do it.
I was surprised when the drummer came in with the lead vocal. She had a really deep and dramatic voice that came close to Ann Wilson. I blended in during the first verse, just adding little slides and rasps to accent the vocal. When the lead came up, I rolled the volume up a few notches and wailed it. I wasn't perfect, but Dana and the keyboard player stopped playing for a moment to watch me, but Rex and the drummer kept up the background so I didn't stumble. Everyone joined back in before the vocals were due, and we finished up in style. I was pleased with it.
Dana was the first to say anything, "How long did it take you to learn that lead part?"
I kind of mumbled, "I've never played it before, but I've heard the song a couple of times. I don't think I got it all the way right, I'd have to play along with the album to do that."
"Bullshit! There is no way you could do that cold. You set us up Rex." She took her guitar off, set the Gibson SG on its stand, and took off into the house.
The tall brunette behind the keyboard looked at me, "You really haven't played that before?"
"No, without female singers, there is no reason to learn most Heart tunes. I love their music though and listen to it all the time. I'm more familiar with Led Zeppelin and Blue Oyster Cult songs. Rex and I used to work on them a lot."
The drummer spoke up then, "Do you really think that you could teach Dana to play like that?"
"Sure, it really isn't that hard to do. Most lead parts are built up from tricks and scales. Many guitarists have special little things they do that give them a unique sound. Figure out those things and you can play their parts."
"This is Taylor Bernstein, on drums here, Mac. The keyboard player is Janet Elms. You are much too humble, my friend; I haven't heard very many leads that can do what you do. Go ahead and do your warm up exercises so they can get a handle on you."
I shook my head again, but did as he asked. My warm up was a set of scales and riffs that got faster and faster till at the end I was doing what I called the bumble bee. I would be picking as fast as I could and running up and down the neck at the same time. The whole thing took about 5 minutes.
When I finished Dana was standing in the door and all three girls were staring at me. That was the day I joined Slip Stream.
The songs the girls had when Rex and I met them were of the pop and bubblegum variety. Rex had already started to move them to a more hard rock stance before I joined. "Wild Child" was as far as he had gotten them by then. Once I was in we kept getting harder and harder. Dana and Janet could really wail the vocals as we moved them more into our area of expertise. We practiced hard and were able to play out at some parties, and when there was a battle of the bands, we ruled. Slip Stream was the darling of the northwest Indiana area and we worked hard for the last couple of months of the school year.
Taylor and Janet were second year students at Purdue and Dana was in her first year. Janet and Taylor were doing liberal arts, while Dana was into engineering. I thought about asking one of them out on a date, but when practice or the gig was over, I disappeared to them.
I wrote a lot of songs over that school year. I wasn't dating, so I had a lot of time on my hands. Most of the songs were just mediocre, but some had impact. The best one came out just after spring break. I had been in my room working on riffs, when I started thinking about what a perfect summer would be like. "Summer Nights" flowed out of my fingers and the words just seemed to follow naturally. When I played it for Rex and the girls after they got back from Florida, they all loved it. We worked it up pretty fast, and even made a few recordings. That was what led to today's trouble.
Dana had read about a summer song contest at the music store, and entered us in it. She hadn't paid attention to all the details, so here we were, parked outside the entrance to Naked City Indiana. We had already found out that the entry money was non-refundable, and in order to win, the band would have to play nude. The prize was a pretty good one, $10,000 and a recording contract, but there is no way I can do it. Rex acts like it is no big deal, and even the girls aren't hyperventilating, but my heart is beating so fast I think I am about to pass out.
"Come on, Mac. It's not that different from spending a weekend with a girl at a cabin or something. What's your problem?"
"You asshole. You know I don't date. When do you think I would have time to get used to the idea of being around a naked woman?"
"Well, I figured you had to have gotten some experience while I wasn't around. We don't spend all that much time together any more."
"The only girls I have been around for over a year are these three, and you're dating all of them."
I turned and stomped away. Around behind a building I found a few picnic tables. The first one was empty, and there was one girl at the next. I sat down facing away, toward the parking lot, and tried to think. How the hell was I going to get out of this?
I sat with my back to the table for about ten or fifteen minutes, my thoughts just swirling around inside a maze of my own design. Soon though, a sound began to impinge on my consciousness. I concentrated on it, and realized that the sound was sobbing. The girl at the other table was crying.
"Pardon me, Miss, can I help you?"
"Only if you can take me the hell away from here," she said. As she said this, she raised her head and I could see that her eyes and cute button nose were red.
"That's the best idea I've heard yet. I'm more than ready to get away from this damn place."
"Why would you want to leave? You're a guy."
"I may be a guy, but I'm sure not ready for something like this. My band is here for the summer song contest, but we didn't know about the conditions until we got here. I don't think I can do it, I can't get up there and play naked."
"My brothers got me into this, they think it's funny! They didn't tell me until we got here, and now I don't have any way to leave." She paused for a moment, "I hate to tell you this, but whoever did the application had to sign to the fact that all bands would perform nude. Jed thought it was so funny when he showed me the form. Someone had to know and didn't tell you."
"Damn Dana, that little slut. I bet she didn't even consider that she might need to tell me." I paused in thought, "To give her credit, she probably wasn't trying to be mean, it just didn't occur to her that I might object. When I'm not playing they tend to forget I'm even there."
"That doesn't sound very nice. What do you play?"
"Lead guitar for Slip Stream. What about you?"
"I play lead as well, for Jonesville, the Jones family band. My brothers Jed and John play bass and drums. I'm June."
"Glad to meet you, June, I'm Mac, Oswald MacDonald really, but everyone calls me Mac. At least they do when they notice me."
She looked me up and down, "Come on now, Mac. You aren't exactly easy to miss."
"You'd be amazed June. Most people look right through me. When are you supposed to play?"
"We're up fourth, and you guys are next at fifth. If your song is any good at all, I don't think we'll have much of a chance against you. I've heard of Slip Stream and the word is that you guys rock. Jed took a song we had about a rollercoaster and changed the words to some bullshit about summer. There is no way it's going to win. John and Jed just think that it is such a big goddamn joke that the first time I get naked in front of a guy; it's going to be at a goddamn circus. If I didn't have to live with them, I'd just walk away and call mom to come get me. If I do though, they'll make me regret it."
"Can they do very much to you?"
"Oh yeah, they can make my life miserable. Mom won't do anything either. She lost control of them long ago."
"Why don't you move away?"
"I don't really have anywhere to go, and I like the thrill of being on stage. Everyone watches me when we play. Jed does most of the singing, but I'm told they come back for my guitar."
"Damn, I'd really like to hear you play. Where are you from?"
"Logansport. What about you?"
"We're from Lafayette, but I'm not sure I'll be playing with them anymore. Not after this bullshit."
"Don't do that, Mac. If you win this contest you will have a good chance at a future. You get to make a recording and I understand that there is even the chance of some air time on the local stations."
"They are not likely to win without me on stage today. I'm not going to be able to do it. Every time I even think about it I want to run away screaming."
"Like a Slip Scream, huh? What is so hard about it for you, Mac? I know I'm a shy twenty year old virgin, what's your excuse?"
"The same one, I don't want the first time I'm naked with a woman to be with a bunch of bitches who don't want anything to do with me. I want the first time to be with someone I care about."
"Oh, that is so sweet." She looked me up and down, "I think I have an idea. Why don't we make our first time naked be with each other? I think I could do it a lot easier after that." She looked up then as we heard the first band start to play. Each band was to do a thirty minute set, ending with the summer song. We didn't have a lot of time.
"I'll bet my asshole brothers are shitting a brick trying to find me now. If we're going to do this, we need to do it quick."
"One question, June?"
"Would you go out with me later? I can drive to Logansport easily enough."
"Why would you want to go out with me, Mac?"
Damn, I'm never gonna catch a break. "Cause you're pretty, and nice too. I understand if you don't want to, I'm just a big skinny fool. I was kinda hoping, is all." I stood up and started back the way I came.
"Wait, Mac, where are you going?"
I stopped and turned to look back, "I'm leaving. Those girls don't deserve a damn thing from me. You can do what you want, I'm out of here."
"You don't want to see me nude?"
"You don't have to..." I suddenly couldn't say anything else, because June was unbuttoning her blouse. June had dark red, extremely curly hair that was shaped like a ball around her head. Her neck was long and slender, and as the blouse slipped down I could see that her shoulders were narrow and the lightly freckled skin was pale. I couldn't have moved if a comet came down and hit me.
She reached behind her back and suddenly the bra sprung loose and I was looking at half-grapefruit sized breasts with little pink nipples.
I must have made some kind of sound because she looked up at me, "I don't think I can go any farther without help Mac. Why don't you take off your shirt too?"
I tore my eyes off her perfect tits and moved up to her eyes, I could see the fear there, fear that I wouldn't like what I saw. I reached down to the bottom of my T-shirt and pulled it out of my pants, "You are so beautiful, June. I feel privileged to be here now." I pulled the shirt up and off as quickly as I could.
"Thank you, Mac. I know my tits are too small, but it's nice that you are willing to lie about it." She reached down and started pushing her shorts down her legs.
"No lie, June. They are the most beautiful things I've ever seen. Please don't make me do this, June."
"Make you do what, Mac? Are you afraid that you're going to show me how much you like how I look? In answer to the question you asked, yes, yes I would be glad to go out with you."
"Oh, damn, June." I loosened my belt and unzipped my pants.
June stood up wearing just a pair of pink panties. I let my pants drop, and toed my sneakers off as I stepped out of them. All I was wearing now was white socks and red striped boxers. I could see June's eyes were stuck on my middle.
"What the hell is that, Mac? It's too damn big to be your cock." She didn't let her eyes waver a bit as she bent and pushed her panties down, uncovering a fluffy dark red bush.
I couldn't stop now, no matter how much I wanted to. I couldn't look at her as I pushed my shorts down, and when I stood back up, my erection bobbed out horizontal.
"Hey, June, June, there you are. What the hell are you doing out here? We go on in 20 minutes, June." I looked up to see two guys walking over toward us. I assumed them to be June's brothers. I quickly pulled my shorts and pants back up, as June bent and pulled her panties up.
"Damn, those bastards. You promise me that you are not going to date anyone else before you go out with me, Mac. You don't leave this place before we get together again. Promise?"
"I promise, June. I guess I'll go help unload my van. I'll be watching when you play, June. Please watch me too."
"I wouldn't miss it, Mac." June was putting her bra on, and by this time her brothers were right beside her, "You assholes hold your horses, I'll be ready in a minute."
"What the hell are you doing back here with this fucking beanpole, anyway, June? We've been looking all over the place for you."
"I was trying to decide whether or not to even do this, you idiots. Mac here gave me enough courage to not just start walking, so you better thank him for saving your goddamn entrance fee. He's probably also the guy who is going to beat us today."
"Nobody is going to beat us, June. Now get back and help us get set up." I was dressed now, and moving away when he addressed me, "You just leave our sister alone, freak."
"I'll decide who I see, not you, John. Here, Mac, take this in case we get split up." June reached into her purse and pulled out a slip of paper and a pen. She wrote something on it and held it out toward me. "This is my number, and you make damn sure you call, Mister." As I picked the paper from her hand she turned to the other man, "Okay, Jed, this is the last favor I owe you two. You know I would never have been here if you hadn't fucking tricked me, and you are damn well going to pay me back somehow." I realized then that pretty little June had a fiery temper and a foul mouth when she was incensed.
My vision of beauty walked away from me, followed by her brothers, who glared back at me over their shoulders.
I left to find my band mates.
I found them back by the gate where they had been when I left. Rex and Dana were arguing with a naked guard. Everyone was already nude.
"Mac! Here you are. They won't let us in unless we are all together. We need to get our stuff set up pretty damn soon, guy. Where the hell have you been?"
"I've been trying to keep from dumping all your shit on the ground and driving off. You guys knew about this and didn't bother to tell me. You're lucky I met someone who talked some courage into me."
Dana spoke up, "I don't know what your problem is, Mac. No one is going to be looking at you anyway. They're all going to be staring at us." She waved her hands around at her and the other two girls. I could see the outlines where their tiny bikinis had been; they obviously didn't wear much at the beach on spring break. Nudity wasn't that big of a step for them. They had probably spent a lot of time topless in Florida as well.
"Let's just get this over with. I'm going to have to think long and hard about our future after this."
I quickly stripped down and put my sneakers back on bare feet. After having seen June naked, I didn't even pop wood for these three. They were attractive enough, and Janet had a nice set of jugs, but I was having trouble getting June out of my mind.
I drove the van through the gate, following a tanned middle-aged woman with a red hat declaring her to be "STAFF". She directed me where to park. I got out and followed Rex and the girls after that. We stood backstage and listened to the first band finish up with their summer song. This battle was set up right. They had two stages, and while one band played, the next one set up. The first band finished, their summer song was a bad rip-off of Blue Cheer's "Summertime Blues".
I'm not sure what the audience attraction was for this contest. The first group was four middle aged white guys and featured the lead singer jumping around on stage with his little willie bouncing all over the place. The next group at least had a female lead. She was chunky and had lots of tattoos. They did Fleetwood Mac and Joan Jett covers, then a very lame summer song. It seems that writing music is not as easy as one would think.
The third group was four black guys and a big fat black woman doing blues tunes. They were pretty damn good, and the woman had an incredible voice with over a two octave range. I just wished that she would quit warbling all around and hold a note once in a while. Dana and the other girls were staring at the long dicks of the black guys, but I was watching Jonesville set up on the next stage. My dick started to get hard as I saw June walking around over there.
"Damn, would you look at that, Taylor? Mac has a dick every bit as big as those black guys. Why have you been hiding that away from us, Mac?" She looked around, "What are you getting hard at, the fat woman?"
"None of your business, Dana, you just get your shit on stage when they are done and try to remember your part."
Dana sniffed and looked back at the Black group as they started their summer song. This one was competition, a well written and performed blues tune. It was a bit different in that the song was sung by two of the men while the woman did a scat melody in the background. This was going to be hard to beat.
I had to listen to June while setting up my stuff. Our normal stage set had Rex and Taylor side by side in the back, with Janet and I forward a bit on each end. Dana was up front in the middle. She did most of the singing with the other girls blending in often. Rex and I would add our baritone and bass voices when they were needed. Sometimes we would sound like a complete chorus.
In the background I could hear Jonesville start out with Led Zeppelin, followed by Rush and Triumph. June took the normal power trio guitar and added shit I'd never heard before. I was really looking forward to sharing techniques with her. This girl was damn good. When they began their summer song I heard what she had been telling me, the music was very good, it flowed like rapids in the spring, but the words didn't match. You could tell that it was a stop-gap measure for the contest. I would probably like the song in its original form. From where I was I couldn't actually see June playing, which was a good thing, because my erection subsided. My dick was still dangling half way to my knees, but at least it was dangling.