3 – Blog a30 – Life’s Lies

Our management style is called chaos. It is all about logistics. Stu, Mike, and John have swim practice at five; Scott is now driving them; I figure he’ll like visiting Lydia, waiting for band practice to be over: they are back on again. After Out Crowd practice at Michael’s, Dave and Jazz will go to Out & Proud. Robby, Jack and I have play rehearsal after school; then we all go to Michael’s to work with the cover band, go home to eat, and get back by 7 pm for False Gods’ band rehearsal. The Jacettes come some evenings, except Jenna, who works also with The Out-Crowd, has dinner with Michael and stays when the other girls come for the older band’s rehearsal. Max will go wherever he wants and come home with me; on special nights he can go home with John if Mom Watt agrees. That leaves Grant hanging; he says he can get his mama’s car to come to Michael’s by 7 pm.

We talk about new songs for the concert. We learned in New York that our shorter songs work best in rap mode. Instead of making the lines longer, we will write more songs about Miami, with a blues feel or maybe rhythm and blues with some soul influence. Also, we’ll do some fast thrash metal to get the crowd excited. Our goal was to get a solid set from playing road houses. New York only showed we need to write more songs and revise the current ones. New songs mean we need to test them at parties before the concert. Frat parties! We talk about money. We agree that regular members will all get an equal share. Bonus money will go to special appearances like Iggy, Grant, Jenna, and Jill. Half of all proceeds go to Mike Sr. for expenses and future investment, like studio time, equipment, and publicity. Someone asks where Jimmy Olson is. After my experience with Jon Landau, I can care less. Michael points out he is the main reason people came to the Viscaya show.
“If we’re just doing frat & house parties, we don’t want too many people showing up.”
“Wrong,” Michael asserts. “Getting press for whatever reason is all good. No such thing as bad publicity.”
“If it gets people to come to the concert to see us, great.” I agree.

We talk after practice. It is time for the Out-Crowd to show us their current set. Max and I sit by John. He is so happy to see Max, getting down on his hands and knees to play with him. Max loves it, playing right along, expecting second-hand weed at any moment. John looks at me with the same expectation. Naturally I have a joint behind my ear. Jazz and Dave sit with us while we give Max his afternoon fix. Stu, Mike Jr and Jenna watch us get high. They usually are gone when we indulge. I lay down with John. Max lies on his back, his legs kicking spasmodically, as we rub his belly. John rolls around with him and ends up against me with Max on top and my arms around them both. It’s too much for Stu, who kneels down next to us.
“Do I havta get high to pet Max?” he asks.
“No, duffus. Get down here. The pot is for Max.” I avoid telling him he should not smoke. I can imagine Scott’s expression when Stu tells him, which is a guaranteed event. Soon Mike Jr and Jenna are on the floor, too.
“Why don’t you do a dog song and get Max on stage with you?” I suggest. “How about Elvis’s ‘Hound Dog?’
“Naw, that’s about stealin’ yer best friend’s girl,” Dave remarks.
“How about Bowie’s ‘Diamond Dogs?” Mike Jr suggests.
“That’s pretty X-rated,” Jack objects.
“The Out-Crowd isn’t ready to really rock?” Robby eggs them on.
“You guys get all the really cool songs,” John observes.
“Can you change the lyrics so it’s not about drugs and sex?” Jack says. “And change the name from Jack to Max?”
“How’s this sound?” John gets up and plays the psychedelic guitar licks.

“Whoa. When did you start playing like that?” I am stunned.
“It just came to me now.”
It is so like Jace, I cannot stop myself from tearing up. Jack holds my hand. Jace would have punched me. I need the pain. John starts over and Mike Jr changes the lyrics slightly:

‘As they pulled you out of the oxygen tent
You asked for the latest party
With your silicone nose and your freak show clothes
Dressed like a priest you was, Tod Browning’s freak you was
Crawling down the alley on your hands and knees
I’m sure you’re not protected, for it’s plain to see
The diamond dogs are poachers and they hide behind trees
Hunt you to the ground they will, mannequins with kill appeal
(Will they come?)
I’ll keep a friend serene
(Will they come?)
Oh baby, come unto me
(Will they come?)
Well, she’s come, been and gone
Come out of the garden, baby
You’ll catch your death in the fog
Young girl, they call them the Diamond Dogs
Young girl, they call them the Diamond Dogs

The Halloween Max is a real cool dog
And he lives on top of Manhattan Chase
The elevator’s broke, so he slides down a rope
Onto the street below, oh Maxie, go man go
Meet his little hussy with his ghost town approach
Her face is sans feature, but she wears a Dali brooch
Sweetly reminiscent, something mother used to bake
Cracked up and paralyzed, Diamond Dogs are sableized
(Will they come?)
I’ll keep a friend serene
(Will they come?)
Oh baby, come unto me
(Will they come?)
Well, she’s come, been and gone
Come out of the garden, baby
You’ll catch your death in the fog
Young girl, they call them the Diamond Dogs
Young girl, they call them the Diamond Dogs
Call them the Diamond Dogs
Call them the Diamond Dogs


In the year of the scavenger, the season of the rich
Sashay on the boardwalk, soiree to the ditch
Just another future song, knowin’ it’ll kitch
(There’s gonna be sorrow)
Try and wake up tomorrow
(Will they come?)
I’ll keep a friend serene
(Will they come?)
Oh baby, come unto me
(Will they come?)
Well, she’s come, been and gone
Come out of the garden, baby
You’ll catch your death in the fog
Young girl, they call them the Diamond Dogs
Young girl, they call them the Diamond Dogs
Call them the Diamond Dogs
Call them the Diamond Dogs
(Bow-wow, woof woof, bow-wow, wow)
Call them the Diamond Dogs
Call them the Diamond Dogs
Call them, call them
Call them the Diamond Dogs
Call them, call them, ooo
Call them the Diamond Dogs
{Keep cool
Diamond Dogs rule, okay}
Beware of the Diamond Dogs
Beware of the Diamond Dogs
Beware of the Diamond Dogs
Published by
Lyrics © Sony/ATV

Our young protégées want to grow up. They are excited and into it. The lyrics may be too much for the pre-teen set.
“Okay. Make sure everyone knows it’s a song for Max. You should repeat the bow-wow-wows.”
“I can get him to bark,” John claims. He plays the ‘Call them the Diamond Dogs’ line, then he looks at Max and sniffs.
Max barks twice, thinking John has sniffed out weed. John repeats the line and sniffs the different barks and woofs to the beat. Max has perfect pitch and rhythm. Everyone cheers.
“Okay. Max is a natural star. But you can’t play it at a dance party. Next party we play, we’ll have you come out, leading Max. If we get an encore, you’ll play instead of us.”
“All right.” They are stoked.

Scott walks in, ready to take the boys home. He nods at me and Jack. He seldom shows the humor we shared through our many pranks and antics together in the past. I do not expect much from him. I worry that once Stu tells him about the pot smoking, he will make them quit the band. It is that rigid thinking that makes it impossible for him to accept that he loved me. It still hurts. I am more concerned that three members of The Out-Crowd may be forced to quit. Jack reaches over and holds my hand. Is he being possessive or does he sense my unease?

Once the kids are gone, we continue our discussion about the set we need for the Skynyrd concert.
“We’ve got to play more blues,” Michael asserts.
“Why can’t we play a few covers to get the crowd going?” Robby wants to know.
“Wanna try doing that with this song I’m writing?” Jack suggested.
I’m amazed and speechless. Usually I write lines and we all work on the music together. Jack never said he wants to write. I’m not jealous, just pleased he’s into it.
“It’s called Life’s Lies,” and he takes my guitar, playing a slow heavy chord pattern. I’m thunderstruck; when did he start playing guitar?

“This is our life,
Our pride alive
Its our times
Lost our minds
Stupid rules rule
Demand we act
Just like fools
To be like you.

Look at me, you havta scream.
You think we be freakin’
You gotta be fast to not be seen.
No wonder we’re always sneakin’

I want to kiss him. I want to slap him, as well. Is he trying to better me as songwriter? He looks up at me. His eyes tell me he only wants my approval. I smile ear to ear. I tell him I like the internal rhymes. The slow tempo allows me to riff off of them. I rush over and pick him up, shaking him.
“We can now sing and play together.” I think how much it was like Jace and me. “Why didn’t you tell me that you play?”
He just shrugs. Maybe he did not want to upset Casper. It does not matter now.
“We’ll go to Spec’s and get you your own guitar.”
“S’kay. I have a Stratocaster at home. You really like my song?”
“Of course. We can go from it right into ‘Sneakin’ Around.’
“I’ve got a faster part that brings it back to the opening verses. Wanna hear it?”
“Jesus, don’t stop now,” Robby adds.

“These lives…
Are mine to give.
Live your lies….
Death’s negative
It’s no surprise
When you die
To realize
You had no life

Some friends are gone
Way too soon
Missed for what they did
Missed for what they didn’t

You live the 9 to 5
At home the baby cries
Like desperate housewives
Bills eat you alive”

We all get up and practice the new song, coupling it with ‘Sneakin’ Around.’ It’s taking a short song and turning it into an anthem, like Queen does. Jack uses Dave’s guitar (my old Mustang) to play his song. I’m glad when we do the old Sneaking song that he puts down the guitar and comes around behind me, to sing over my shoulder, grinding into me. Since we do not usually do that in practice, everything comes to a screeching halt. Mike Sr comes into the music room, asking what is wrong.
Michael avoids the grinding issue, “Jack’s playing guitar now. He never told us that he plays.”
“Just like when Jace was here…” Mike Sr realizes he may be hitting a painful nerve and trails off. Jack looks quickly for my reaction.
“Nope,” I say “Jace was showing us how to play. Jack’s showing us how to write songs that go with our other songs.”
Jack beams, until I sit down hard, unable to stem the tears.
“I’ll never replace him,” he promises “I just wrote them this morning in class. First time I’ve been away from y’all. It made me start missing you.” Jack looks right at me. I feel like a waste case, having gone off with Grant to get high, while all he wanted to do is help the band.
“I need you more than I needed him. He was the one who needed us.” I break down completely.
“How about pizza?” Mike Sr tries to calm the waters.
“Can you order in? We need to work on the new songs, at least one more time through.”
“Sure. I’ll go pick it up,” Mike Sr is glad to get away from the teen drama scene.

We work on the transitions between the songs. I really let all my emotions go into the blues riffs in Jack’s songs. They make the sadness lift from my heart.
“I got another one, if’n you wanna hear it?”
“’Course, asshole. You’ve been holding out on us. We need more songs. Why didn’t you play them before?” Robby demands.

“It’s called ‘You.’”

“I say, …you…
You’re such a fool
You’re just a tool
But I love…you

I say…. you…
What can we do?
You said we’re through
What can I….. do

I say,…. you…
We break the rules
We look like fools
I really need…. you…
I say, …you..”

It really freaks me out. Is it about us breaking up? Am I to blame? I need him so much at that moment.

“Pizza’s here,” Mike Sr announces.
Everyone just sits there, looking at Jack.
“It’s from Sorrento’s, boys. What’s wrong? No teenager ever turns down pizza.”
“It’s okay, Dad,” Michael says. “Jack’s written a song that’s scares us. That’s all. I think it’s what we do. Scare each other, then come back stronger.”
Michael is so wise.
Jack looks at me, and then at the others.
“It’s just a song. I imagined what it’s like to break up. It’s not what’s happening.”
He runs over to me, hugging me, until I hug him back. All I can think is how I was getting high and fending off Clyde, while he was writing that we broke up. The guilt I feel is ridiculous. It hits me. The emotions of the song are so powerful. I feel what the blues is about for the first time, really feel it.
“It’s brilliant. It’s desperate and powerful. It’s our first blues song. All we usually write is about having fun and adventures. This is so much deeper.” I hug Jack.
I pick up my guitar and play a long, slow riff with dark, minor chords and muted leads. Mike Sr puts the pizza down. Jack sings all the words, barely looking at me, not daring to do so.
“Then, we can go into the first sex song:”

“He’s the boy who breaks all the rules.
He takes his time until you’re primed,
then gets it done 60 seconds flat.
Out the door always wanting more.
Don’t tell him you’ll do it later when you know
he’s gonna do you now.
Love it.”

“Jesus,” Mike Sr says as he walks out.
A minute later he returns, with two six packs of PBR tall boys. Cracking one himself, he tells us to grab a beer with the pizza.
“Yesterday I have the Archbishop of New York telling me Tim has performed a miracle and should be sent to a seminary to become a priest. Today you’re singing bawdy songs about getting it on with your boyfriend. I have no problem with you boys being together. I just don’t wanna know about it.”
“We havta sing about what’s real,” I assert.
Grant takes Mike Sr’s side. “Being gay is okay but all the drama is killin’ me.”
“Your best friend’s gay.”
“You mean you or Clyde? I’m down with the gays. I like it that you have someone. I just don’t wanna know all about it.”
I keep my head down, trying to get my feelings to stop boiling over.
“Mike, you chewed me out when I broke down at Spec’s because I couldn’t take you being so nice to me. I straightened up. Look how far we’ve gone. I think we’re all over-wrought after the long road trip and the Easter performances, all the shows in New York.”
“I think we have to be real when we sing about love and sex,” Jack argues. “Bowie, T-Rex, the Dolls, they all sing about it without directly saying either way. It’s called androgyny. It gives hope to lonely gays that there are people who understand how they feel without telling straights to fuck off.”
“So you boys go both ways?”
“We both have real girlfriends. It’s just that we love each other more, not them less.”
Michael jumps in. “That’s why Jenna likes them going out with Flo and Edi. They love them but are not going to have full-on sexual relationships. We’re all too young.”
“Well, thank god for that,” Mike Sr. sighs.
“At sixteen, it’s just easier to be with a boy,” I assert. “Nobody’s getting pregnant. We’re learning how to make a relationship work. Girls actually prefer us because we don’t pressure them all the time.”
“Sounds more like friendship than love,” Mike Sr. counters.
“There’s guy friendships and girl friendships. They’re different. Girls don’t want to share with other girls. Guys aren’t so emotional. We can have as many friends as possible. It’s the love and sex part that’s different.”
“We’re with you, Mr. Antonio, we don’t care to know the details. I’m just happy they have each other.”
“Girls like us when we fag off on stage. Their boyfriends get jealous and wanna kick our butts. The girls stop them from actually doing it.”
“I don’t want to see you boys get attacked or hurt.”
“We get the crowd riled up. Energy, even hate, needs to get out. As long as it stays on the dance floor, we’ll be safe.”
“I must be the only parent in the world that can have this conversation.”
“We don’t see you as a parent. We know that you’re a great dad to Michael. You taught me how to get my dad to come around. For a time, I so wanted you to be my dad. Now I love my own dad just as much.”
“Tim, you are too much of a charmer.”
I know he is right, as usual. It works for me.

We finish the pizza and beer. I ask Mike Sr. to discuss a business idea I have.
“Can I get your assistant to contact Ry Cooder’s studio in Memphis for help us with the Skynyrd concert?”
“Sure, but what’s up?”
“It’s about our set list. We may need to pump it up.”
“Well, come by the office tomorrow after school. I’ll tell Jay you’re coming.”
“Great. Jay does a great job for us.”
“Just don’t have him doing things behind my back.”
My charm is working on Mike Sr.

Everyone splits. When Jack and I get to my house, the folks are sound asleep. It’s midnight. I leave Susan a note that we want to eat dinner with them tomorrow night. We cannot wait to get in bed together. For the first time I am the sixty-second man. But I am not out the door. I let Jack have his way with me, enjoying the feeling of letting go to his demands. I no longer care if bottoming is my role. I figure I can catch him in the shower in the morning.
He rolls off of me. “I’m sorry I upset you with my song. It’s the first time we were separated in the longest time. I was feeling the loss. It became a song, just not about us. It was as if we broke up.”
“Never. We’ll never break up.” My usual doubts are no longer there.
My OCD kicks in. “Hey. We haven’t seen Jill and Wilkie for the longest time. We’re their gay parents. We’re neglecting our straight children.”
He gives me the strangest look. I forgot that it was Jace who was my co-parent. Instead of feeling lame, I know it is something we can share together.
“Let’s get Jill to sing a Rod Stewart song at the concert.”
“Sure,” Jack sleepily agrees, “As long as it’s a ballad; he sucks at rock n roll.”

By Wednesday, we are back into the school/practice routine. We are even on time to Mr. Clark’s class. There we continue reading aloud scenes from ‘The Tempest.’ I’m not really into more Shakespeare. We have two months to get it together. Jack’s nerds start hanging out with us at Nutrition, braving the general disdain for socializing with stoners. It may be a step up the high school social order from their point of view.

After School, Jack and I go to Mike Sr.’s office. We meet Jay in person for the first time. He was so much help during our ‘tour.’ We need to thank him. I also think he seems gay. I am intrigued to find out what he is really like. He has to be at least in his twenties to be working.
“You think Jay’s gay?” I ask Jack when we get to the office.
“You usually talk to him. Should I be jealous?”
“Let’s try to bring him out. He can be our ally in the music business,” I deflect the jealousy. “Let’s both treat him that way and really flirt with him.”
We walk into the office. Just as Jay looks up, Jack and I kiss him on either cheek. He does not flinch and looks quite pleased.
“That’s for helping us so much the last few weeks. We wouldn’t have survived without you.”
“Just doing my job, boys,” he beams. He is about 25, well dressed and extremely confident. We have an excellent ally. “What can I do for you today?”
“You know about our band? All we used to play were cover songs at parties.”
“Yeah, I read the articles. I sent them to Ry Cooder. I used to play in a band when I was your age.”
“Great. Then you can understand how freaked out we are about opening for Lynyrd Skynyrd in a couple of weeks?”
“Well, yeah. But you boys seem to handle the pressure. The tour went well. You got to play your own songs and all.”
“Well, the truth is we’re much better as a cover band than doing originals. The crowd really gets into the songs they know and love. Our songs lack that familiarity.”
“You just want to keep playing covers?”
“We’re hoping you can get Ry to get us rights to play a few covers to get the crowd on our side. We’ll keep the excitement going with our songs.”
“Well, he’ll want to cut your performance fee to pay the royalties.”
“The money’s not as important as putting on a great show. How much are we being paid anyway?”
“You don’t know?”
“We just let Mike take care of the money. We don’t get much until we’re 18.”
“What covers do you want to do?”
“Any Southern Blues hits – Allman Brothers, Doors, Jefferson Airplane, ZZ Top. Also, any English Invasion bands, like the Animals. Maybe he can get a deal on certain songs so we don’t lose much on the fee. We can play anything that everyone knows.”
“So, you want me to work my magic.”
We hug him. This time he does turn red. He tells us he will call with a list of approved covers.

“He’s hot,” Jack notes after we leave the office. We make heads turn with that comment. We must look strange, two 16-year-olds, barefoot and in ratty jeans, on the twelfth floor of a fancy Brickell Avenue office building in downtown Miami.
“No smoking pot around him,” I forbid Jack. The looks we get.

The next few days we fall back into our school routine. Eating with my folks is silent torture, but everyone is happy to be together, especially Max. The first night we eat at the Stones, Jack’s nerd pack of D&D players show up before cocktail hour. We entertain them in his room. Isaac is over-excited to be with us. He spills the beans on Jack’s guitar playing.  It seems Jack tried to start a band with the D&D group. He is so embarrassed when Isaac tells me that Jack wrote a slew of songs. If he is trying to make me mad at Jack, it’s a dud. I am so happy to have more songs to work with. We are desperate. We cannot play covers. All we have are the roadhouse songs and some new ones that have not been played in front of anyone. Jack brings out a notebook of his songs, Dungeon Dweller, Lords of Time, Apocalypse Now, Four Horsemen. They are all ponderous with fancy words no one knows. Perfect for our Southern Blues debut. I grab Jack. We hurry to Michael’s to work on the songs.

I am showing Jack how to change the tempo and the chords, while keeping the lyrics. I figure it will confuse him to write new words. I use slow blues riffs as the intros for each song. At the end of the songs I add long guitar solos. Jack does not know what to do, so I show him how to play rhythm on my old Mustang.
Michael walks in.
“You’re early.” Jenna is peeking around the corner. We interrupted their regular make out session.
“We’ll just go into another corner and make out, too.”
Michael’s placid demeanor momentarily changes to an odd expression.
“What song are you playing?”
“Jack has a bunch of songs he wrote for his old band. We’re working them into our style of Southern Rock. They’re pretty gothic.”
“Kool.” He is interested and sits behind his drum kit.
Jack plays the rhythm track to Four Horseman. Michael is soon following along. Hippie and Robby come in together. Soon we are rocking out to a whole bunch of new songs. With the two from the morning, it is seven new songs, plus our original eight songs. We have a 15 song set. Progress.

I stay over at Jack’s. I ask him to tell his nerd friends to come to our practices at Michael’s. He pulls out all these costumes he made.
“Why did you fool me into thinking you weren’t in a band before?”
“I like you telling me what to do. Why do you think I was your understudy for ‘Midsummer’s Night?’ I’ve been in drama club for years. I was so crushing on you, that being your understudy was what I wanted.”
“Get over here. There’s under-studying to be done.”
He jumps on the bed. He definitely is crushed back.

The next morning Jack and I both dress as preps. After school we go around to the University frat houses and commit to house parties the next weekend. We just walk into the frats and find out who the social chairmen are. They have all heard about the party we played at Christmas and the Wilkie send-off. We up our price to $300 a night plus 25% of the door. They are glad to pay.

Next we go to Out & Proud. Clyde has obviously moved in on Phillip, ordering him around and generally taking charge. It is a match made in Hell. They are oblivious to our scrutiny.
“You seem to have passed job training,” I observe.
“Of course,” Clyde agrees. “Felix asked if you will do a photo shoot for the catalog. It comes out next month.”
“Just us two?” I was not sure the Out Crowd guys should strip for Felix.
“He wants me, too. He has come up with a design for the man with bigger equipment. It’s called a boxer brief.”
“Anything to satisfy the customers.”
“Great. Go get changed. We’ll shoot it at the Annex. The kids can be spectators for a runway show.”
He really has taken over.
He sets up so each of us walks up and back with the skivvies showing above the waist bands of our jeans.

Then we strip behind a screen and come back out in just underwear. He sets up the cameras, with Dave, Jazz, and Phillip at various positions. We’re ready to roll in fifteen minutes. The kids are totally into it, yelling and screaming when we do the first strip. We cannot help laughing and walk unlike any runway model would ever walk. After the shoot, the kids all demand to buy the used product with our autographs written on the backs.

Escaping the kids, we go over to Jill and Wilkie’s place in the Grove. They are glad to see me. I introduce them to Jack, my boyfriend.
“Our little fishboy is growing up and not so shy,” Jill remarks.
“Tim was shy?” Jack exclaims.
“At 14, I was his only friend,” David claims.
“Well, there was also Stu.”
“The 10 year old motor-mouth? You can’t count the ankle biters.”
Everyone laughs at me, which feels cool.
“We want to get Jill to sing with us at the Skynyrd concert. It’s in two weeks.”
Jill beams and David shakes his head. “Still trying to horn in on my girl?”
“We’re your gay parents. She needs more to do than hanging around and pressing your Speedos.”
“Bloody Women’s Libbers, are ya?” in his precise English accent.
“Just standing up for ‘our’ Jill,” I quip back with a fractured Brit accent.
“Right wanker, y’are.”
Jill takes Jack aside for girl talk. They are soon fast as thieves.
“How’s yer cousin Joey doin?’”
“Hard to tell. He’s stuck in a bungalow in West Hollywood. I call but he never picks up.”
“Sounds like a drug problem.”
“I am worried.”
“Well, you can’t always save the world, Tim, let alone those you love.”
“I’m finding that out. We went to New York for Easter. The Catholics and Baptists are setting up youth shelters in Jace’s name. We’re really tight with Andy Warhol. He’s coming here this Spring to see our Shakespearean play. You wanna meet him?”
“I wish. I’m off to England soon. Shooting for the Olympics next year.”
“Will Jill go with you?”
“Once she graduates in May.”
“Aha. You do need your gay parents, after all. You can’t just run off and expect her to twiddle her thumbs at home.”
“Twiddle dee dee,” he breaks up.
“What are you boys laughing about?” Jill walks back in with Jack.
“We’re needed as gay parents again, Jack. David’s off to Jolly Old England, leaving this damsel in distress.”
Jack gives me a look because I have mixed him up with Jace again.
“Right. I never told you that Jace and I made sure Jill didn’t stray last Christmas when David was gone.”
“I’ve always wanted to parent. I just didn’t expect my children to be older than me.”
“You have an old soul,” Jill encourages him, holding his hand.
I reach for Wilkie’s hand, but he sees it coming and backs away.
“It’s all set. Jill will sing ‘Reason to Believe.’ We’re responsible for fending off groupies,” I crow.
We all laugh. I feel an undercurrent of sadness that they are separating again.

We are back to my house for dinner. We have more to talk about, as we’ve been working all afternoon, making money. Dad requests the details of our negotiations with the frats and how much the modelling is paying.
“We should clear $2000 for the frat parties. Felix will pay us for the modelling once the catalog comes out. He pays 10% of sales. It may be a lot or if nothing sells, not much.”
“Sounds like he treats you like a partner. You only get paid if the product sells.”
“It’s just for fun, Dad. If it succeeds, we get paid, if not, it’s only time wasted.”
“Time is money, son.”
“Jeez, Dad. We’re only sixteen. You know that Mike Antonio has set up trust funds for college? Half of what the band earns goes into the funds.”
“I have to admit the band has turned into quite a success.”
“We are doing what we like. Somehow the money just follows,” Jack pipes up.
Dad isn’t used to Jack acting like one of the family. I change the subject.
“How are the wedding plans coming? Have you chosen the groomsmen yet?”
“Terry and Helen are coming with the boys. I’ve asked my boss at work and Joe Mertz. You have any suggestions?”
“I know Jack would be pleased. I consider him family.”
Jack and Dad both turn bright red. Dad hates being put on the spot, but he is learning to put up with me.
“That sounds great. Do you really want to do it, Jack?” he asks.
“Sure. It’ll be a thrill. Is there a Bachelor’s Party?”
“I’m not sure I approve of that,” Susan rescues Dad.
“How about if Tim and I put on a sketch at the rehearsal dinner?”
“As long as it isn’t the Great Coming Out.”
“Oh, it will be all about the bride and bridegroom.”
“I can hardly wait,” Dad groans.

Once we all finish, Dad makes a great show of feeding Max the scraps. Jack and I know Max is only excited because we are going to band practice where he gets his pot fix. Riding to Michael’s with Max trotting along beside us, we reflect on the fun of just being kids, still riding bikes.
“I kinda want to get my license soon. We have permits,” Jack announces.
“And give up the pleasures of wheeling through the Gables?”
“You are really happy, huh?”
“What’s not to like. We have total freedom, the band, friends and each other.”
“Don’t you want to travel and meet new people and see new things?”
“We will, but we always will be together.” I’m feeling crushed that Jack needs more.
He looks at me and knows what I feel.
“Don’t be afraid of what may come our way. I’ll never leave you.”
We lean over and kiss each other, still pedaling along the tree-shaded streets. We’re still 16 after all.



Next: https://timatswim.com/3-blog-a31-two-weeks-to-skynyrd/