Preface: (If you have read "Summer Nights", you can bypass this.)
Oswald MacDonald (call me Mac) met and fell for June Jones during a battle of the bands at Naked City nudist colony. His band, Slip Stream, won the contest and a recording contract. Her band, Jonesville, won nothing but got a lot of gigs from the publicity. Their romance flourished over the summer, but now that it is fall school and working with the bands is causing friction.
I knew it was too good to last. June was a beautiful girl and a great guitarist, why would she want a string bean like me? Now she was even letting her brothers give excuses for her. All she had to do was to tell me it was over and I would understand.
Ever since that magical summer night at the nudist colony I have expected it to end. Now that school was in session again there were too many constraints on my time. Slip Stream was very popular and the gigs were farther away than ever before. The recording company would think nothing of booking us in Chicago one night and Cleveland the next. We were never the headliners, but we did prep the audiences for some big name bands. June's band, Jonesville, was getting more popular as well. They hadn't won anything at the contest where I met her, but word of mouth from that event was enough to keep them busy all around the Logansport area.
I had just finished practice and was in a bad mood anyway when I got the message from June's brother Jed. They were going to play a party in Valparaiso and wouldn't be back until Sunday. June would not be able to see me tonight. That was the situation all too often lately.
I say that I was in a bad mood from practice, and that was Dana's fault. Dana and Taylor Bernstein along with Janet Elms and Rex Rogers made up the rest of Slip Stream. She has been getting more and more of an attitude since the recording session in Memphis. Her prima Donna act was getting old. After finding June I had been hoping to work with her in some way; either to bring her into Slip Stream, or work with her brothers in their band. The distance between Logansport and Lafayette made both of those ideas difficult at best. I was hoping that June would consider moving in with me while I finished school, but she has never brought up the idea, and I am afraid to.
The recording contract was another bone of contention. All bands dream of getting a contract with a major studio, but when it happens they are often disappointed. In this case, the studio wasn't all that big, and all they wanted from us was two songs, an A and a B side. Our contest winner, "Summer Nights", was the required A side, and I chose "Dynamite Day" as a B side. I reasoned that it was not all that great a song and would be no great loss when the company kept us from using it later. I could see that coming and had held out my rights to the music I had written. Dana thought that I was being unreasonable and causing strife with the label. I knew better. The label had a bunch of country artists and didn't know how to promote a rock band. More than once we were paired with shitkickers and the audience didn't care for us a bit. Sales of our single had been lackluster at best and I was about to call it quits, I just didn't have the time or patience required for this.
Now June was giving me the runaround. Things had been great for us all through the rest of the summer after we met. She had spent a lot of time in my small apartment and we had dated as much as I could manage. I took her to clubs and dinner and had even gone swimming with her several times. I wasn't quite so embarrassed to be seen in my swim suit after being at the nudist camp earlier this summer. The drive from Lafayette to Logansport was only about an hour and a half, but the time built up after a while. It seemed to take longer and longer the more often I had to drive it.
We practiced guitar together as often as we could, but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get us together in a band. Her brothers wanted nothing to do with me and Dana and Janet put the kibosh on her joining Slip Stream. I didn't think I wanted to remain in the band anyway. I was obligated to stay for another 3 months until the contract ran out with the record company, but that would be it for me. We had signed a six month contract with the label, and I knew they would never extend it. Dana was counting on a new contract, but she was wrong. I think even my buddy Rex has had enough of Dana's attitude. When he first joined up with the girls he was sleeping with all three, but now I understand that Taylor is the only one gracing his bed. I am being considerate and I am asking around school and at the music stores to find someone to replace me. I was also looking for some players to work with me and June in another band. I guess that was a waste of time now that she seemed to be avoiding me.
Maybe I should go to the gig they had in Valparaiso and see if there was a chance to fix things. Slip Stream did not have to play anywhere this weekend for a change so I had some free time. Maybe her mother would know where the gig was, I could call her.
"Mrs. Jones, this is Mac, could I talk to you for a minute?"
"Sure, Honey, what can I do for you?"
"I wanted to surprise June and show up where they are playing tonight. Do you know where that is, Ma'am?"
"I think you must be confused, Dear, they aren't playing anywhere tonight. The last I heard John asked June to come over to his house to practice some new music."
"But Jed called me to tell me that they were playing a party tonight. June was supposed to go out with me tonight and he called to say that she couldn't."
"That doesn't sound right. June was planning on meeting you after practice."
"Thanks, Ma'am. I'll check it out and talk to you later."
Now I was confused. What the hell was going on? The only way I am going to find out is to go and confront June. I need to know one way or the other about us.
My van knows the way to Logansport just like a horse knows the way home. I was driving on autopilot and seething the whole way there. I knew where John lived; I had been to several practices in his garage. The last I heard from June is that his wife had left him again and Jed was living there now. Jed was a muscle bound asshole and had never been married, in fact, very few of his dates lasted the night. He played bass for Jonesville, and he wasn't even very good at that. My buddy Rex could run rings around him. That and John's mediocre drum lines are what kept June's band from winning anything and the contest this spring.
I finally pulled up to the curb in front of the house and heard music coming from the garage. The door was locked, so I walked around the house and let myself in through the broken back door. John had gotten drunk and lost his key a few weeks ago. I think that may have had something to do with his wife leaving. I walked through the poorly kept house, crap was thrown over everything, and the music got louder the closer I got to the garage. When I opened the door to the garage, the scene inside took my breath away. The music was blaring, but it must have been a recording because the occupants of the garage were all naked and otherwise engaged. June was on her back on a table with her arms and legs tied down and her brothers were fucking her, one at her head and one between her legs.
John was fucking her mouth and then pulled out for a moment, "Keep your teeth back bitch, or I'm going to cut off your goddamn tits. You've been putting out for that asshole string bean and it's time we got some." He plugged back in, but that was all I needed to hear.
I looked around and saw a baseball bat leaning up against a bench by me. I hadn't been noticed yet, but I was about to change that. I wasn't very good at many sports, but baseball was the exception. The bat felt familiar in my hands as I tried to line up the hits to do the most harm and keep them from retaliating. They were both big guys who looked like they had been lifting weights, and while I was taller than them, I just looked anorexic. I decided on collar bones, painful and disabling, but repairable. I could justify the damage to June's mother, but as much as I wanted to kill them right now, I knew that I shouldn't. I quickly moved to the table at June's side and swung. First was at John, and I caught him right below the neck. I could feel the impact through the bat and thought that I could feel something break. I quickly reversed direction, hoping to get to Jed before he could react, but the snake was a little too quick for me. As John fell back Jed was able to get his arm up just enough to deflect the bat up into his face. The bat smashed into his face right between the nose and mouth. I know that bone broke, and probably the right cheekbone as well. He is lucky that I was trying to direct the bat downward or the blow could have shoved the cartilage of his nose up into his brain. As it was he would never look the same and would have trouble breathing and eating for a while.
Neither brother moved when I dropped the bat and cut June loose with my pocket knife. She grabbed my neck as I picked her up and walked out of the garage. She was crying into my shoulder until I set her onto the passenger seat of my van.
"Do you need to see a doctor, June? Should I take you to the hospital?"
"No, just take me home. Mama can take care of me."
"Well, what about the police? Should I call them and get your brothers arrested?"
"No, I don't want to have to go to trial, Mac. Are they hurt, did you do a job on them?"
"Yeah, they are broken up pretty bad, do you want me to call an ambulance?"
"No, to hell with them. Can you go back and get my guitar? Jed owns the amp and he can keep the goddamn thing, I just want my Gibson."
"Sure, I'll be right back."
I ran back inside and into the garage. John was trying hard to stand up, and Jed was doing all he could to breathe. John was cussing at me as I gathered June's clothes and put her guitar in its case. I could see where her blouse had been ripped off of her. After I closed the guitar case, I stepped over to John and kicked him hard in the stomach to shut him up.
"Listen up, asshole. You and your cocksucking brother are going to need an ambulance real quick. When you try to explain what happened, my name and June's had better not come out or I'll be back and do a lot more damage next time. You are damn lucky that June doesn't want to press charges and that I didn't do what I wanted to do and kill both of you. You won't get that lucky twice."
I ran back out to the van and threw June her clothes, then put the guitar in back.
When we got to her mother's house, June told me to wait a couple of minutes before I went in so she could explain to her mother.
I waited for about fifteen minutes, then I saw June's mother at the door waving for me to come in. No soon had the door closed behind me than Mrs. Jones was hugging me and crying.
"Thank you, Mac. I cannot thank you enough for saving my baby from those fucking barbarians I raised." Now I knew where my sweetheart got her foul mouth from. Mrs. Jones was built more on the scale of her sons than that of her daughter, so her head almost reached my chin, and her arms were strong enough to make breathing difficult. When you add to that the massive mammaries pressed into my abdomen and the overpowering scent of lilacs, I was glad when she backed off to look up at my face. "June said that you hit them with a baseball bat, did you hurt them bad enough?"
"I don't know if it was bad enough or not, Ma'am. I wanted to strangle them both, but the first priority was to get June away from there. I'm pretty sure that John has a broken collarbone, maybe two, and Jed has a broken nose and cheekbone as well as losing a few teeth. I could have done a lot more, but I restrained myself for your sake, Ma'am."
"You needn't have worried about me, Mac. As far as I'm concerned I have no sons, they can take care of themselves from now on." She gave me another hug, and then moved over to the kitchen counter, "Would you like something to drink, Mac? I think June is likely to be a while getting clean."
"Sure, Ma'am, coffee would be great if you have it."
"Coffee it is. Please call me Doris, Mac, you're almost like family now. Could I ask you a question?"
"Sure, Doris, ask what you want."
"Why haven't you asked June to move in with you? It would have prevented tonight's problem and saved you a lot of driving."
I looked down at the cup of coffee she had just given me, "I was afraid to, Doris. I've never had a girl friend before and I didn't want to move too fast and scare her off. I love June with all my heart, but I keep expecting her to find someone else and leave. I thought that if she wanted to stay with me she would say something."