Jace’s Place Chapter 6 Part 2

All the stations had us on. Luckily Robby’s cum-stained comment was cut. All the cheering kids made it a festive report. The last picture on several reports was of Max in his pose. We all laughed.

Finally I found a chance to call Jill. She was devastated about Jace.Tim 234 I asked her to come to our show and be with the Jacettes, even if she didn’t sing. She said she’d like to sing. I told her about the early outdoor show. She promised to make it. The lineup was set for New Years Eve.

Robby insisted he sleep over. There had been no hangout that night. Maybe we needed the rest or just everyone was too emotional about Jace. As I fell asleep with Robby by my side, I saw Jace sitting in the window. When we woke up, Robby was on one side, Jace on the other side and Max at the foot of the bed. I thought maybe the dog could see Jace, since he didn’t try to snuggle in where Jace was.

The paper was full of our news. It stated that the show at Viscaya was definitely on and that there would be an outdoor performance before the main party for anyone who didn’t have an invitation. I called the Watts and told them to come to my house early with the boys. Then they could attend with my folks. Mike’s parents wanted to attend, so they would meet at my house too. Felix brought over outfits he thought reflected the fifties. They looked like cowboy outfits, but there were Mouseketeer sweaters and black trousers as well. He also had some gay underwear for me, which I quickly hid from Dad. Seeing my dad tim-845 lecture Felix that overpaying me at work was ruining my sense of values made me think I was in the fifties. Susan and Mrs. Watt got along well. I told them that I called them both Mom, which helped them bond. Hippie came by, embarrassed that he didn’t know what to say, bringing Marge and Meg, who hugged me tentatively. I had Stu and Mike get in his car with Robbie and me. Hippie drove carefully to Michael’s. Stu was in top form, chatting with everyone, as if he’d always known them.  Mike looked slightly embarrassed, but he was used to Stu. I figured all the 12-year-old girls would eat him up. He didn’t look like he needed sex ed. Mary asked him how old he was and he said 14 and five sixths, just like a kid. I had Jace’s guitar which I took out and tuned. It didn’t need it. Jace came over and was running his wispy hands over it. When I started to hit a few chords, I could feel his light touch guiding my fingers.

Viscaya has a large parking lot for tourists during the day. It is a large estate for one of the Chicago farm equipment magnates at the end of the Nineteenth Century. The front door opens on a large patio which runs down to Biscayne Bay. Already people were filling it up. As I hoped, it was mainly kids, some with parents, but not many of our usual college age fans. No metal tonight. Jill ran up to my open arms The swim team parents knew who she was and asked when Wilkie was returning. She said he was flying in on New Year’s, tomorrow. Stu of course knew her. She hugged him and asked where Scott was. Stu wouldn’t answer, and she figured Scott was odd man out. We set up on the top of the stairs. There was lots of help, and we were ready in plenty of time. Michael was anxious to find Jenna, so we all went inside. I explained who the parents were and their connection to the band. Jill was asked who her child was. She said it was Stu, but I explained she was our singer. The Jacettes hung out with us and were all atwitter about the Romeo and Juliet romeo_et_juliette_romeo_and_juliet_1967_portrait_w858 scenario for tonight. I told the parents that Michael and Jenna’s families were Italian and business rivals, so this romance had many family members excited. Michael was under the microscope because Jenna was just turning 15. Romance was in the air. Our job was to make Michael look good, giving him enough time to sneak away for a while but not too long. My dad and Mr. Watt both agreed I was the crazy one who created all this drama. Michael’s dad came over and thanked my dad for his heroics. He complimented me on being the most astute young man he’d ever met. He explained that he was the band’s temporary manager and how we had already paid him back all the money he had lent to set us up. My dad commented that I had been working on learning the value of money. Mr. Antonio assured him I had excellent business sense.

Mike was doing a good job of keeping Stu from spinning out of control. The Viscaya manager came up to warn we were approaching the limit for people outside. He said at least three thousand were already there and that the Police had called to say that traffic was backed up on Biscayne Blvd. He suggested that parking be diverted to an outside commercial lot and the regular parking lot kept open for attendees. He noted the age of most people was so young they did not anticipate crowd control problems, but the Police had sent ten additional officers to help with traffic. All the band members sneaked a look out the patio windows and were blown away. People were packed shoulder to shoulder as far as we could see, many carrying candles that were lit in memory of Jace. I spoke with Michael’s dad and said we should start playing soon. After we did our oldies set, they could start letting the uninvited kids in. We would do our Jace memorial to those left outside, which was all Velvet Underground songs, more appropriate for older fans, who could get closer once the kids went inside. Also, the parents would like the progressive rock songs. I saw Jace looking out the window and laughing at all the people at his memorial. tim-656
It was time, we all trooped out, me carrying Jace’s Gibson SG, Robby and Michael behind their drums, with Michael slightly more prominent for Jenna’s sake, Hippie on the right, the three Jacettes and Jill on the left with their own mic, and finally Stu and Mike bounced out to gasps from all the kids who started cheering that we had young singers. They were wearing matching outfits with bow ties Tim 305 and saddle shoes, looking really cute. Tim 123 I turned around and saw that Michael’s dad had set up projectors. A kaleidoscope of pictures mostly of Jace were shinning on Viscaya’s white walls. It pushed me over the edge. I sat down and sobbed, while the cheers continued. Stu came over, hugged me, and finally gave me a kiss on my head. Jace was pounding away at my arm. I swallowed and nodded to Stu and Mike.
“Happy New Year’s, Miami,” Stu announced. “The band is False Gods, but tonight we’re just Friends of Jace, who you all know was the founder of the band and was murdered Sunday.  He planned this show in honor of Jenna Lombardi, whose boyfriend is Michael Antonio on the drums, Hippie’s on bass, Robby’s on second drums, these are the lovely Jacettes, Mary, Flo, Edi, and by special arrangement my friend Jill. On lead guitar and filling in for his best friend Jace is Tim. I’m Stu and this is my best friend Mike.”
Stu sure could go on. I stood up and he sang. “Let’s Go to the Hop,’

Bah bah bah bah, bah bah bah bah
Bah bah bah bah, bah bah bah bah
At the hop

Well, you can rock it, you can roll it
You can stop and you can stroll it at the hop
When the record starts spinnin’
You calypso when you chicken at the hop
You do the dance sensation
That is sweepin’ the nation at the hop

Let’s go to the hop
Let’s go to the hop, oh baby
Let’s go to the hop, oh baby
Let’s go to the hop…
Come on, let’s go to the hop, let’s go
…Bah bah bah bah, bah bah bah bah
Bah bah bah bah, bah bah bah bah
At the hop”

Writer(s): John Madara, David White, Artie Singer
Copyright: Unichappell Music Inc.

They were jumping all around, doing the little hop steps. All the young girls rushed forward and finding space, started mimicking the boys. Stu reached out and two girls came running up the steps and started dancing with them. Most of the parents near the front moved to the side and soon there were at least five hundred kids pretending it was 1955. Some of the parents were from 1955.
We ran through the sha na nah play list,

Boney Maroney,

Rockin’ Robin,

Splish Splash,

Witch Doctor,

 

 

Blue Moon,

Alley Oop,

and Charlie Brown (He’s a Clown).

Stu was a whirlwind, running into the crowd and bringing more girls up the stairs. Mike kept his cool, which meant all the cuties surrounded him. When Stu knew Mike had the song’s lyrics down, they sang duets to each other. Then we moved to the 60s with Motown and the Beach boys. After two hours, we took a break.

Michael got up and made the announcement. Jeremy Dufour 01
“We didn’t expect this many people tonight and Jenna doesn’t want anyone disappointed at her party, so she’s gonna come up and let you know how to make this party rock.’ He motioned her up and held the mic for her with his arm around her shoulder.
“Hi.”
A loud ‘Hi’ and cheer came roaring back. She looked at Michael in a bit of a panic, but he smiled and reassured her.
“We don’t have room for everybody inside,” She started out softly, “and the Police say there’s 8,000 people out here. As you already heard, this is for the kids. Jace wanted a real party for my friends. He was such a loving person.” A big cheer went up. “So if you’re 14 or younger, as many as we can allow can come inside and continue with Jace’s band to party until midnight. And I hope you’re there to kiss me, Michael.’ another big cheer.  “So come in if you’re a kid, come around the side, while the band plays more progressive (they call it) rock in memory of Jace, here outside. And for the parents, there will be refreshments in the parking lot so you can relax while your kids rock n roll inside,” she shouted.
She got a sustained cheer and then a big ‘ Oow’ when Michael kissed her. Tim 36Then she ran back inside and Michael took his place at his drums.Tim 231 I got up front and took the mic.

“I’m Tim and my best friend was killed two days ago. I know he’s watching and I can see his big grin (and I could) as you all celebrate his life. He was the most selfless person I’ve ever known. The only being who really loved him was his dog Max.” And Max bounded up on stage and stood by me with his tail wagging. “On Halloween we decided to form our band, False Gods. We soon discovered he was a prodigy on this guitar (which I held up),  able to play any song in his head by ear. He taught us to play and all we want is to make people happy, dance, and shake their booty. (Cheers) Normally we take requests and try to have a show that leaves you wanting more. I know he’s guiding my fingers tonight and everyone is playing the music he loved  so much. I usually sing, but I couldn’t do it tonight, and my friends Stu who’s twelve and Mike who’s fourteen, filled in because they know what kids like, ‘cause they’re kids.” A cheer came up as they took a bow. Tim 33

“Now we’re going to do our Velvet Underground set in Jace’s honor. He sang ‘Take a Walk on the Wildside’ the last night he was alive and called me little Tim , the hustler. He knew me well.”
We kept getting cheers. I’d never performed before so many people. I ripped into it:

“Paula came from Miami, FLA (big cheer)
Hitch-hiked her way across the USA
Plucked her eyebrows on the way
Shaved her legs and then he was a she
She says, Hey babe
Take a walk on the wild side
She said, Hey honey
Take a walk on the wild side

Candy came from out on the Island
In the backroom she was everybody’s darlin’
But she never lost her head
Even when she was giving head
She says, Hey babe
Take a walk on the wild side
Said, Hey babe
Take a walk on the wild side
And the colored girls go
doo do doo do doo do do doo “

And the Jacettes riffed on the ‘doo do doo do dodo do doo’
Then came me:

“Little Joe never once gave it away
Everybody had to pay and pay
A hustle here and a hustle there
New York City’s the place where they said, Hey babe
Take a walk on the wild side
I said, Hey Joe
Take a walk on the wild side

Sugar Plum Fairy came and hit the streets – I pointed at Robby who sneered at me
Lookin’ for soul food and a place to eat
Went to the Apollo
You should’ve seen ’em go go go
They said, Hey sugar
Take a walk on the wild side
I Said, Hey babe
Take a walk on the wild side
All right, huh

All the way to the end. Tim 261

Songwriters
LEWIS ALLEN REED, LOU REED

Published by
Lyrics © SONY ATV MUSIC PUB LLC

Then we did “I’m Beginning to See the Light”

and I felt Jace at my elbow leading me to all the right notes. I smiled at him and he smiled back. Tim 115When the slow part came up, “Here we go again..” I felt him surround me and I riffed like he always did. He was kissing my ears Tim 80 and I felt myself get hard. The crowd started cheering again, not knowing he was stroking me as the hard-on grew in the crazy cowboy pants Felix had me wear. He was snapping my butt with the waist band of the gay underwear. “How does it feel to be loved?’ I sang over and over. Tim 11Then I went into ‘Pale Blue Eyes,’

“Thought of you as my mountain top”

“Linger on”

“I had you but couldn’t keep”

Songwriters
LEWIS ALLEN REED, LOU REED

Published by
Lyrics © SONY ATV MUSIC PUB LLC

The tears were flowing, a hush went over the crowd. Kyo Kara Maoh 03

Candles were waving, people were holding on to their loved ones. Robby came over. I sunk down, lying on my back. The Jacettes were there. Jill reached over and kissed me. A sigh went up. Hippie lowered the mic as I sang ‘linger on.’ Jace was lying in my lap Tim 118as I picked the single notes. Tim 190  I finished to silence, then a huge sigh came from the crowd. I stood up and played ‘White Light/White Heat’ with an up-tempo beat.

People were moving down below and dancing with arms raised. Hippie heaven.
Then I played ‘I am waiting for my Man,” but couldn’t get through it entirely, so I changed to ‘Sweet Jane,” remembering my first love.

We finished with ‘Rock n Roll.’

 

 

“It was alright” and I played the horn parts on Jace’s SG. I got knowing cheers from different areas of the patio. Then I did the rock n roll leads while Jace smiled at my sweet notes.”Life is saved by rock n roll.”
I stood up and bowed to his pictures on the wall j togo 00 j togo 01 Konstantin02 and he held me as I stumbled off the stage into the castle, playing Hendrix leads as I left. I collapsed with him around me as the cheers built after everyone else stopped. I put down the SG, rushed out, bowed, bowed to his pictures, and finally left. He stayed to his adulation. I was the vessel, he was the wine. The cheers didn’t stop. I had to go back out. When I appeared, a big roar went up. I sat on the top step. Hippie lowered the mic so I could play and sing. I didn’t know what to play. I started talking, to eight thousand people.

“You know that Jace was my boyfriend,” I started, getting a big roar, “ but it didn’t start out that way. He was hiding out at my house from the abuser that killed him. He had asked to stay but he was really nervous ‘cause everyone knew I was gay. The first night he fell asleep and woke up in bed with me. When I woke up, he was staring at me and asked if we’d ‘done’ anything. I laughed ‘cause he never had a friend where he just slept over. I realized he was afraid, so we just became best friends, playing guitar and singing. One night we listened to Pink Floyd’s ‘Dark Side of the Moon,’ and laying there we fell asleep holding hands. In the morning he kissed me, saying he knew he loved me now because I never tried anything with him. We were really active boyfriends after that. (Cheers) At school that morning, we agreed that the dark side of the moon was where we’d be the lunatics on the grass. And this would be our special song.” I had been picking the opening notes and then the long instrumental intro to “Shine on You Crazy Diamond.

All the band was ready and I went into the vocals as they all came in,
“Remember when you were young, you shone like the sun
Shine on you crazy diamond
Now there’s a look in your eyes, like black holes in the sky
Shine on you crazy diamond
You were caught in the crossfire of childhood and stardom
Blown on the steel breeze
Come on, you target for faraway laughter
Come on, you stranger, you legend, you martyr, and shine
You reached for the secret too soon, you cried for the moon
Shine on you crazy diamond
Threatened by shadows at night and exposed in the light
Shine on you crazy diamond
Well, you wore out your welcome with random precision
Rode on the steel breeze
Come on, you raver, you seer of visions
Come on, you painter, you piper, you prisoner, and shine”

Songwriters
WATERS, ROGER / GILMOUR, DAVID JON / WRIGHT, RICK
Published by
Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., IMAGEM U.S. LLC

The Jacettes and Jill sang the first “Shine on you crazy diamond” with me. The second time everyone there, all 8,000, sang with me and from that point on everyone who knew the lyrics was singing to the pictures of Jace on the Walls. I was singing to him, as he sat with me, wispy tears rolling down his cheeks. I next played ‘the Dark Side of the Moon’:

‘The lunatic is on the grass
The lunatic is on the grass
Remembering games and daisy chains and laughs
Got to keep the loonies on the path.

The lunatic is in the hall
The lunatics are in my hall
The paper holds their folded faces to the floor
And every day the paper boy brings more.

And if the dam breaks open many years too soon
And if there is no room upon the hill
And if your head explodes with dark forbodings too
I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon.

The lunatic is in my head
The lunatic is in my head
You raise the blade, you make the change
You re-arrange me ’till I’m sane.

You lock the door
And throw away the key
There’s someone in my head but it’s not me

And if the cloud bursts, thunder in your ear
You shout and no one seems to hear
And if the band you’re in starts playing different tunes
I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon.

Eclipse.

All that you touch
All that you see
All that you taste
All you feel
All that you love
All that you hate
All you distrust
All you save
All that you give
All that you deal
All that you buy beg, borrow or steal
All you create
All you destroy
All that you do
All that you say
All that you eat
Everyone you meet
All that you slight
Everyone you fight
All that is now
All that is gone
All that’s to come
And everything under the sun is in tune
But the sun is eclipsed by the moon.’

Songwriters: ROGER WATERS
Brain Damage lyrics © T.R.O. INC.

“THERE IS NO DARK SIDE ON THE MOON REALLY!”

“It didn’t take long for everyone to know. The change in Jace was obvious. This band grew from that change. We all love each other so much.” I motioned for Flo to come and sit by me and Jace embraced her. “People ask how I can love a boy and a girl at the same time. It’s easy when we all love each so much. Love is not a zero sum game.” I looked in her eyes and started playing, ‘Wish You Were Here.’

• “So, so you think you can tell
Heaven from Hell,
Blue sky’s from pain.
Can you tell a green field
From a cold steel rail?
….
• How I wish, how I wish you were here.
We’re just two lost souls
Swimming in a fish bowl,
Year after year,
Running over the same old ground.
And how we found
The same old fears.
Wish you were here.”

• Songwriters: WATERS, ROGER/GILMOUR, DAVID JON
© Warner/Chappell Music, Inc., IMAGEM U.S. LLC

All the girls were hugging me. The cheers went on for it seemed hours. I was spent. Jill was holding me up, when Wilkie ran up the steps. He had come back early when he heard about Jace. I hugged him and wouldn’t let go. They took me to the front of the stairs, raising my hands to the crowd. They were kissing me and kissing each other. They pulled me off the stage and we all collapsed behind the doors. The rest of the band remained and I heard Hippie singing ‘Amazing Grace’ in his high tenor.

I looked into Wilkie’s eyes not believing he had come.
“I had to be here. I had lost one of our gay parents.”
Stu came over with Mike. They were in awe of Wilkie, who smiled at them, a first. Stu hugged me and asked in my ear if I could play the final show.ryan kelley 01
“Can you do it, little bro.”
“Yes, big bro,” his enthusiasm snapped me out of my gloom. Tim 255
The rest of the band had finished and came in the big door. I embraced Hippie, who just glowed. “It’s all I knew to sing,” he said.
“Ready for the kids?”
He smiled and nodded.

We walked into the ballroom. It was filled way past capacity, probably 800 kids, all nervously waiting for something to happen. Stu had been singing a Capella with Mike to keep everyone busy. He grabbed the mic and announced we were ready. Dave, Jazz, and John were busy moving the drums and amps in from the patio. Jace looked at me and nodded to the crowd, beaming. They weren’t in a mood to mourn. They were kids. They wanted to sing and dance. We quickly set up and I mouthed ABC. We were the Jackson 5.

Stu was Michael and Mike was Tito. Next I had Max come out to many cheers. I told the boys to do ‘Ben,’ but change it to ‘Max.’ They laughed and really smiled. Stu got down and sang to our dog,

 Tim 311

“Max, the two of us need look no more
We both found what we were looking for
With a friend to call my own I’ll never be alone
And you my friend will see, you’ve got a friend in me

Max, you’re always running here and there
You feel you’re not wanted anywhere
If you ever look behind and don’t like what you find
There’s something you should know, you’ve got a place to go

I used to say, “I”, And “Me”
Now it’s “Us”, Now it’s “We”

Max, most people would turn you away
I don’t listen to a word they say
They don’t see you as I do I wish they would try to
I’m sure they’d think again if they had a friend like Max
Like Max, like Max”

Songwriters
Scharf, Walter / Black, Don

Published by
Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

All the kids had stopped dancing and were cheering every time the boys sang ‘Max.’ He was Miami’s most famous canine. He looked out and gave his signature single bark.

Stu held up his hands and everyone actually quieted down. Looking at the host’s table, “Jenna, honey, come down. Michael has asked me to sing this song for you.” She got up, while Stu frantically motioned Michael to come out from his drums. When they were both there, Stu joined their hands, turned to the band and mouthed “I’ll be there,” and when we were ready he and Mike sang, with the Jacettes doing the backups,

 

 

“You and I must make a pact
We must bring salvation back,
Where there is love, I’ll be there. (I’ll be there)
I’ll reach out my hand to you
I’ll have faith in all you do.
Just call my name and I’ll be there. (I’ll be there)
I’ll be there to comfort you,
Build my world of dreams around you,
I’m so glad that I found you.
I’ll be there with a love that’s strong,
I’ll be your strength,
I’ll keep holdin’ on. (holdin’ on)
Yes I will
Let me fill your heart with joy and laughter,
Togetherness, girl, is all I’m after,
Whenever you need me, I’ll be there. (I’ll be there)
I’ll be there to protect you, (yeah baby)
With unselfish love that respects you.
Just call my name, I’ll be there. (I’ll be there)
I’ll be there to comfort you,
Build my world of dreams around you,
I’m so glad that I found you.
I’ll be there with a love that’s strong,
I’ll be your strength,
I’ll keep holdin’ on.
Oh oh oh
Yes I will (holdin’ on, holdin’ on)
Yes I will
If you should ever find someone new
I know he better be good to you
Cause if he doesn’t
Ill be there (ill be there)
Don’t you know baby I’ll be there
I’ll be there I’ll be there
Just call my name, I’ll be there (I’ll be there)
Just look over your shoulders honey! Oh!
I’ll be there, I’ll be there,
Whenever you need me, I’ll be there (I’ll be there)
Don’t you know baby,
I’ll be there, I’ll be there
Just call my name, I’ll be there (I’ll be there)
Oh oh oh oh I’ll be there, I’ll be there”

Songwriters: Davis, Hal / Gordy, Berry Jr / Hutch, Willie / West, Bob
© Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group, ABKCO Music Inc.

Michael folded Jenna into his arms halfway through the song, and at the ending gave her an innocent but extended kiss. All the kids were whistling. Stu held up his hands and announced that the next song was a slow dance for just Jenna and Michael, turning around to us and mouthing ‘Never Say Goodbye.’

 

 

Michael twirled Jenna to the open space by the band and slow danced her in his arms. I saw Mr. Lombardi clapping Mr. Antonio on the back. Teen romance was alive and well. At the end, Stu mouthed, ‘Stop in the Name of Love’ and The Jacettes lined up at their mic and put their hands on their hips and did the whole Supremes dance bits.

All the girls on the dance floor lined up and mimicked them. Stu and Mike must’ve planned this because they were shaking and moving in front of the Jacettes and all the other boys found girls to shake and move to. Jenna and Michael looked like they wanted to escape, but Mr. Lombardi waved them over and gave Michael a big hug, When he kissed Michael on the cheek, I was afraid it was the Mafia kiss of death, but he repeated the kiss to Jenna and all was well, except for Michael’s obvious embarrassment. Mr. Antonio repeated the ritual, kissing Jenna on the cheek and what started to be a full mouth kiss on Michael. Then he pulled back and laughed at Michael’s horror and hugged him like a dad should. Italians.
The parents wanted the couple to sit with them. Stu came to the rescue with Chubby Checkers’s ‘Twisting the Night Away.”

Jenna and Michael jumped up and joined all the kids. All was well, except Robby, freed from competition, decided it was time for a drum solo. Stu stood there with his hands on his hips in frustration until I threw a cup at Robby, which was unfortunately filled with punch. He was furious, but Stu used his chance to get us to do the Wahtusi,

the Mashed Potato,

and the Chicken Dance

 

which he and Mike did by flopping around the floor while everyone clapped and hooted. The dance songs kept us clapping until I noticed it was 11:55 and we had to do a countdown. I motioned to Stu and pointed to the big clock over the door,
“Okay, everybody. It’s eleven fifty-five. Is everybody ready for the countdown to 1975?”
Kids started looking around. I saw Michael and Jenna in an alcove out of sight of their parents. The kids’ parents had been ready all night.
Stu gave instructions. “In case you’re clueless, that means you need a partner for a kiss to shove out the old year and a better kiss to welcome the new.”
He looked at Mike, “Come here, Mike. We’re a team.” All the girls screamed. Ten girls ran up to protect him.
“You always do this to me.” Stu mock complained. A younger group of girls surrounded him.
“And who’s going to kiss Max?”
Max barked at his name. I ran over and hugged him, to the glee of many.
Stu looked at me, “How soon we forget. Who will throw a kiss at Jace?” He pointed to Jace’s pictures on the wall. I hugged Max really hard and he barked several times. I had Jace hugging both me and Max. Max tried to lick Jace but it looked like he was just slobbering in the air. I opened my arms to Jace and he settled in to kiss me. Tim 178

Stu counted down, while the clock stood at 11:59. “Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, ( everybody was counting) five, four three two one, one half,” he paused and I thought of all that had happened in 1974. I looked at Jace with tears in my eyes and he with that angelic smile that I knew to mimic. “One quarter…” The minute hand was frozen. Then it clicked, “Happy New Year.” Jace embraced me and Max barked.
Hippie went to the stage mic and started singing ‘auld lang syne,’ with the Jacettes and Robby on drums.

Everyone joined in, singing to each other. I saw how happy Jace was with the two beings he loved the most. More wispy tears but when I punched him my fist went right through his arm. Bittersweet.

Putting down our instruments, all the guys (Robby, Hippie, Stu, Mike, Wilkie and I) got on one mic, while the girls, ( A huge roar – Mary, Flo, Edi, & Jill) got on the other mic. The guys started, “Goodnight, Ladies.”

The girls answered , “Goodnight, gentlemen.”
Everyone else serenaded their partners, friends, family, and in my case, dog, to end the evening. A roar went up. Stu & I raised our arms to the host’s table in thanks, with all the kids and chaperones raising theirs. Michael and Jenna ran up to their parents (thank god for small favors) and the night’s success was finalized.

Except when the whole band walked out the door to the patio, we were greeted by thousands of fans who had waited for us. Max immediately noticed the whiff of marijuana and bounded out to fix his addiction. The crowd spontaneously started singing the Beatles, “All You Need Is Love.”

We were speechless. As they ended, I stepped up and sang, “What would you do if I sang out of key, Would you stand up and walk out of me?” a huge ‘No.” rang out. “Lend me your ears and I’ll try not to sing out of key, I get high with a little help from my friends.”

 

 

A bigger cheer and they all sang, “Do you need anybody?” The whole band sang, “We need somebody to love.” “Can it be anybody?’
“I just need someone to love.”

The band raised their hands and shouted “Love.”

The crowd shouted it back ten times louder. They surged forward as we went to greet them. The kids and their parents were just coming out. We moved back to the steps and for the next two hours, people filed up to us all, especially me, to hug, kiss, tell me they loved Jace, that I made it easier to be gay, to be young, and to have lost someone. Finally the Police told us they were closing Viscaya, explaining they were at the end of their shifts. Michael’s dad herded us into his caddy, with Michael and Jenna going with the Lombardi’s. Were they already married. In the car, we bemoaned that it was so late, we were sure Sorrento’s was closed, but we kept driving in that direction and found they had stayed open at Mr. Antonio’s request. The entire staff turned out and all bowed to Mr. Lombardi, who it turned out owned the place. Pizza and beer forever. Even Max got his own bowl. There was a table for the parents, the Watt’s plus Stu and Mike, Marge and Meg, Robby’s folks, my dad and Susan; it was a colorful group. Mary’s parents, as well as Flo’s and Edi’s were at the Spanish Table. I sat with Mr. Antonio at the Italian table; he introduced me to Jenna’s dad. I looked for a ring to kiss, but he was direct.

“Mike tells me you were the brains behind tonight. How you did it, I’ll never understand. I guess it’s the resilience of youth.”
“We just wanted Jenna to have a party and see Michael play. With everything that’s happened, it spiraled out of control. I had Michael’s dad ask you to open it to everybody.  It looks like ten thousand people showed up.”
“Yeah, I’m sending you a bill for the extra expense.” He smiled at me.
“Well, Mr. Antonio is our manager. I’m sure he can handle it.”
We both laughed.
“I feel you may be the godfather of my first grandchild.’
“Being a godfather sounds too Italian for me.”
He slapped me on the back and nudged Michael’s dad. “You’re right, Mike. He’s firecracker alright.”
Did I pass the audition? I was already a gay parent, how about a gay godfather.
I excused myself, again thanking them all for their support. They all looked at me and said how sorry they were for my loss.
I passed by the Jacette’s parents and wished them ‘Felix Ano.” They all clapped me on the shoulder. Edi and Flo were there, so I asked them to join the kids table. They just shook their heads. I grabbed Edi and gave her a huge hug. Their parents were clucking, but I told her that I knew how much she was suffering. Jace signed to me to tell her he had always loved her.
“Jace told me he really loved you. We didn’t have him for long enough.” She started crying. I watched Jace bend over and kiss her on the cheek. She looked up and smiled, then hugged Flo. I grabbed Flo’s hands and kissed them. Her dad watched but didn’t give me the evil eye. I excused myself. I told Mary to try to get them to come to our table. She went over and they all returned. We were all there. Jill and David hadn’t come with us, saying they needed to catch up. He had come to the show directly from the airport. I settled into the booth, thanked everyone, and the huge emotional load of the evening hit. I was instantly asleep, dropped into a dream.
“Did you enjoy my funeral,” Jace asked me j togo 01
“You can talk to me?”
“This is a dream.”
“Oh, yeah. I saw you enjoying yourself. Did you ever read Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn going to their own funeral?”
“I saw the movie. They weren’t really dead.”
“I know you’re dead but I can love you still, like you’re alive.”
“You think too much.”
“You’re right, but you never complained before.”
“I never had any complaints when I was with you.”
“How about your evil brother.’
“I knew you would stand up for me.”
“I failed you.”
“Remember the last thing I said?”
“You said my name.”
“I died loving you, having you hold me.”
I thought I should be crying but I wasn’t.
“You were so strong tonight. You may never cry again just for sentimental reasons. It’s okay if you cry at my funeral. Those are tears of pain.” He was reading my thoughts.
“Did you think I was silly for being so sentimental?”
“I loved you for everything you did and said.”

I reached out and found I could actually hold him, touch him.”
“Ready for a wet dream?” he kidded me.Tim 188

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