Hi folks, here's another tale of love gone wrong. Another somebody done somebody wrong song ... I mean story. Anyway this time, you'll be helping me out with the ending. Nope I'm not doing that two endings thing, because some of you hate that. I'll explain how we're doing this at the end of the story. But for now. Thanks to Mikothebaby for everything she does. For compassion, for words of encouragement and even for kicking me in the butt when I need it and especially for editing these things. Okay, here we go. SS06
I'd waited two weeks for this evening. I'd gone through two weeks of repressing my anger and pretending that everything was fine. In a small town like ours, where everyone knows everyone else, it was easy to get help taking care of my problem. It was especially easy when the problem was caused by one of our own. But it was also very difficult to keep everyone else from knowing that I had one.
The grunt of my electric blue 2011 Mustang GT's FlowMaster exhaust system was like music to my ears as I drove towards the high school. I'd graduated from that school, as had most of my friends. I volunteered like everyone else in town whenever the school needed anything. My wife taught at the school.
Tonight was one of those nights where it seemed as if all of the stars lined up. Just this once, two very special occasions happened to coincide. The high school's annual "Adult Evening," which was one of my favorite nights, happened to take place on my wife's birthday.
I'd been planning a special present for her birthday for two weeks and tonight was the night that she'd receive it. We were supposed to have dinner with her parents in one of the town's nicest restaurants. What happened before that was the reason I enjoyed the "Adult Evening" so much.
Back in my youth, I used to play in a band with my four best friends. We often played talent shows and concerts at the school. As we improved, our shows became big events. We were playing a concert tonight at the "Adult Evening."
Actually we often got together to rehearse, even though we'd all been out of school for a long time. I'm thirty five years old and have a seventeen year old son who attends the school and will be graduating this summer. Our rehearsals aren't really anything serious. We'd all given up our dreams of being rock stars years ago as real life intruded on our dreams.
Back in the day, we did have a record company or two sniffing after us. But college and kids and jobs and girlfriends who in most cases became wives took away the single minded focus that you need to have in order to climb to the top of the music business.
I put on my turn signal, checked my rearview mirror and moved into the passing lane. Then I put my heavy right foot down and the car surged forward. My pony loved to stretch her legs and this was a great chance for it. As I watched the road with one eye on my speedometer, we shot past a white Dodge Challenger. The guy driving the car looked over at me and waved and then tried to keep pace.
He didn't have a chance. His car was great and if he was chasing anything in town other than my Mustang, the results would have been different. But with my car being almost two hundred pounds lighter and having over a hundred more horsepower, it simply wasn't a fair comparison.
As we hit the series of twisting turns leading into the town proper, it became laughable. I'd modified my Pony's suspension and steering with Ford's Track Pack handling system. It included many of the same suspension components that made the 302 Boss such a dream to drive.
I also had several things on the car that were unique, including functional side scoops that channeled cool air to cool off the brakes. That, added to cross drilled and slotted oversized rotors and huge brake calipers that were painted the same electric blue of the car's body panels and my car could stop halfway across a dime.
The ability to stop faster meant that I could brake later and get back on the gas even sooner. That was a deadly combination in maneuvering through sharp turns at a high rate of speed. The charger was soon just a distant dot in my rearview mirror. It didn't matter since we were both going to the same place. I needed to get there before he did though. And for him, getting his ass kicked on the road, yet again, was only the beginning.
A few moments later I drove past a gate and into the large parking lot that surrounded the school. I got out of my car and hot footed it to the back door. Ordinarily this door was used for deliveries, but during special events and performances it was the stage door. I fumbled in my pocket for my security badge, but the chief of security, who was normally the school's bus driver/ security guard waved me through.
"Good luck, Danny," he said. The expression on his face told me now sorry he was for me. I tried to smile as I nodded but I'm not sure I made it. Even two weeks after the fact, I have trouble wrapping my head around the idea.
I scurry further into the school and away from the door as the sound of another car skidding to a stop alerts me to the fact that I'm not that far ahead of my ex-friend. I duck around the corner and lean back against the wall to listen as he starts screaming and whining about not being allowed in.
I almost laugh as he shows his security badge and is told that he isn't on the list of performers.
After a few moments of listening to his frustration fueled anger, I've had enough fun. I head into the back stage area to see the other guys in the band.
I'm the last to arrive and the other guys look up when I walk in. No one says anything. I guess they're trying to gauge my mood. Friends do that.
"Hey, Mike," I say as he looks across the large room at me. "Are ya ready to get out there?"
"Are you sure that you want to do that song?" he asks. Mike and I, in fact all of the guys and I have known each other since kindergarten. We played little league together, we played football together. We were all at each other's weddings and now that we've grown up, at least age wise, we bowl on the same team and play golf together.
Mike's concern stems from the fact that he thinks I'll be embarrassed if everyone in town finds out what I'm going through. I guess in his mind, this is the kind of thing that should be handled quietly and perhaps privately.
"Mikey, they say that the truth shall set you free," I told him. "Anyway, the town is so small that everyone will know sooner or later anyway. It's better for me to get out there ahead of this. At least that way I can let everyone know that I might be hurt by it, but I won't let them, or it, beat me."
He nods at me and tries to smile. Pete starts to twirl his drumsticks and he pats me on the back as I go by. "This actually makes things better," he said. "Instead of kicking him out of the band, we ought to be kicking his ass, though."
"I don't like the bastard anymore and I'll never trust him again," said John. "But I still don't see how his absence makes things easier."
"Johnny, Johnny, Johnny," laughs Pete. "When we play golf, it's weird because we're always a five-some instead of a foursome. What about bowling? The whole league is set up for four man teams, not a four man team with a rotating alternate. Everything will be easier now. And truthfully, now that we know what a God damned snake he is, do you really want him around your wife or your daughter?"
"Not on a bet," said John. "It's just odd. I mean we've all been friends for so long that it's strange. It feels kind of like finding out that your brother has been stealing from you. I mean you know that it's wrong. You're also pissed about it. But deep down inside, he's still your brother. So you keep wondering why he'd do it, that's all."
"Look guys," I said. "I really appreciate you standing by me like this, but I don't want this to be anything that anyone doesn't feel good about. If you want we can take a vote about this and figure out something else. It's not too late to go out there and bring him back here and you guys can still play the show."
"Danny, there's no need for you to try to be a martyr," said Mike.
"I'm not trying to," I said. "Did you notice that I said, "You guys could still play the show? They don't have a stage anywhere in the world that's big enough for him AND me."
"I'm just amazed at how well you've kept your cool," said Pete. "If it had been me, I would have gotten into his ass from the very beginning. Both of us would be all beaten up right now..."
"I wanted to," I said. "And there's a very real chance that it may still happen like that, but sometimes an ass kicking alone isn't enough."
"The worst part of it is the betrayal," said Mike. "It could have been any one of us. We're always at each other's houses. Remember when I had to go to Nebraska for that executive training seminar a month after I got married? Right now I don't think anyone of you understands just how glad I am that I asked Danny to look out for Leanne instead of Greg. I mean at the time Greg was already married to Amanda and you were still single, Danny. There was also the fact that Greg lived right down the street from me then. But it just didn't feel right even back then."
The door opened and my son, Jordan, walked in.
"Everything is ready, Dad," he said. "Are you sure that I can't..."
"Yep Jordy, I'm very sure. I really appreciate your help and I hate to drag you into this ... Anyway all we have to do is push the button right?" I asked.
"Yep," he said shaking his head. I reached into my pocket and handed him some bills.
"What's this for?" he asked.
.... There is more of this story ...