THE JACE EXPERIENCE Chapter 7

The D&D boys dispatched to their homes, to explain the unexpected sleepover and subsequent church visit. Isaac, the boy who feels Casper, is Jewish. He sticks around after the others leave. We’re lounging by the pool, baking out the last of the night’s pot hangover. After trying on some of Jack’s swim suits, which are so tight on me that my dick insists on growing to noticeable size, I just wear the gay briefs. I can’t tell the difference between them and my old Speedos. Jack can’t help himself from snapping their waistband, while we recline together on a chaise. Isaac seems oblivious to our flirting.
“It’s the Jesus thing that I can’t figure out,” he admits. “Gay isn’t an issue for me.”
“Well, Jesus was Jewish. The gay issue is all conjecture.”
“We think Jesus was just a man. Worshiping him violates the commandment about revering no other God than God.”
“That’s the theme of our band, False Gods. Come to practice and hear our songs. But do you want Jesus in your heart?”
“We’re taught that Christians, especially Catholics, despise us as the killers of Christ.”
“Many Church teachings make it hard to love Jesus. Since 1965 the Church declared that Jews are no longer responsible for refusing to accept Him.”
“The Church now welcomes us?”
“I believe the Church lost its way. There are many haters who resist change. I’m less concerned with the church and more concerned about the kids who come to it with pure hearts and become mean-spirited and hard-hearted.”
“What I felt last night was a kiss that means I’m accepted?”
“From what I’ve seen, those who feel this spirit are those who want to accept him into their hearts.”
“I do.”
Casper is sitting with Jack and me. He moves over to lay with Isaac, caressing his hair and embracing him.
“Wow. That’s incredible. It’s the same feeling but ten times stronger, all over my body.”
“Accept it into your heart and you’ll always know where to find it. For you, it’s not just Jesus. It’s wanting to be accepted and the ability to let those you love into your heart. It could be a rabbi who teaches you because he cares about you.”
Casper has Isaac reach over and touch my hand.
“That’s so amazing,” he enthuses.
“What will you tell your parents and Jewish friends?”
“That I went to Church and people, some people, welcomed me and accepted me even though I don’t have Jesus in my heart.”
“They’ll be fearful.”
“I’ll just be calm and open to them.”
“There are haters. You’ll have to protect your heart from them.”
“I’m used to doing that.”
“Don’t hate back.”
“That’s your secret. So many people hate you for being gay, but you don’t hate them back.”
“We don’t discriminate.”
“Will girls like me now?”
“Well, you’ll always be a nerd.
“Yeah. Maybe there are nerd girls out there.”
“Not playing D&D,” Jack adds.
Isaac gets up, “I’m think I can face my folks. I know they love me. It should be easy now. Thanks Jack and Tim.”
“Say good-bye to my mom. She’s a stickler for etiquette.”
“Sure. I’ll thank her, too.”

We lay there awhile, soaking in the sun. I get too warm and jump in the pool, yelling to Jack to join me. I do a few laps before he eases himself in. Tim 273 I immediately attack him, but he panics from fear of the water. I put him on my back and do butterfly to give him a ride like the dolphins do at Marineland. tim-713He has his arms around my neck, his hardening boner urging me on. We slip into the hot tub. With the bubbles on, no one knew we’re getting each other off with our feet, first time at Chez Stone. Lying on the chaise together, I realize it’s for decorum’s sake that we restrain ourselves here. Embracing  each other on the deck is just fagging off. Having sex is to remain private. I luxuriate in doing nothing. I needed a day off. Being Teen Jesus is exhausting.

After several hours of playing in the pool and mostly just laying out, Mr. Stone comes out and sits with us.
“Jack,” he said tentatively.
“Dad,” he answers with a big smile.
Dad has a whole speech prepared. “We’re so proud of you, son.”
“That I got a girlfriend?”
“That’s silly. I can see you love Tim. I’m glad that doesn’t stop you from liking girls as well.”
“You love Mum. It’s a good example to follow.”
“In our self-involved way, we do love each other. I’m impressed that all your friends seem chang by your example. All those pagans at Church today. I feel like Father Flaherty from Boy’s Town.”
“You both are good sports.”
“The mark of the truly genteel.”
“You guys are just alike,” I note.
“Well, I’m officially middle class, now. I’m one of the guys.”
We all laugh.
He pulls out a credit card. “This is a BankAmeriCard, Jack. I’ve given your brothers one. Use it in an emergency, but also, if you need to buy something or pay for services.”
The passing of privilege from the older to the younger generation for the very rich. Not quite middle class yet.
“It’s okay to use on our road trip to New York?”
“That’s why I’m giving it to you now. If I get a bill that says you took everyone to dinner at Sardi’s, I will yell at you.”
Jack jumps out of my arms and into his dad’s. “Thanks, Dad. I’m free. Free at last.”
I don’t quite see the parallel with Dr King, but I share the enthusiasm.
“Don’t let Robby know you have it,” I warn Jack.
“Right.”

We’re sitting on our bed in my house doing homework later that evening. Max is whining about going to Robby’s for his fix. Once Jack gets high, homework will be over. I have to make copies of all Robby’s exercises and papers, as English is the only class he cares about. He must listen in class, at least, since he’s passing the tests without too much copying from me. I should get two diplomas.
I call the Watt’s.
“Hi, Mom.”
“Tim. How are you?”
“Teen Jesus took 8 D&D kids to Catholic Mass today.” aussie02
“Way to go, Teen Jesus.”
“Can we talk about John a bit?”
“Sure. He’s had an up and down week. Did something happen?”
“Remember how Martin had you chatting about Jace during the movie shoot?”
“It was nice to remember him on his birthday. Gosh, Tim, he would have been only 16.”
“Well, no one told you, but Martin was filming all the reminiscences like that.”
“I’m in the movie?”
“Probably. He’ll make sure it’s the good stuff you said. But he got John to open up as well.”
“Was he okay about that?”
“He was happy and really liked Martin. He was really smiling.”
“Well, it may have been too much. The last few days, he’s refusing to talk. Even Stu has given up on him.”
“Coach Earl warned me about once he got comfortable enough to open up. All the bad memories might come rushing back and he’d relapse.”
“Are you going to tell me what happened to him before Jace was shot?”
“Jace told me, but I promised him and later John I would guard their secret. It’s horrific.”
“My poor boy. Should we send him to a shrink?”
“It has to be someone he trusts. It may mean years of weekly sessions.”
“How about I read to him. Scott always perked up when I read him ‘The Little Prince,’ even as a teenager.” little prince
“That’s great. I’ll have Casper spend nights with him. John seems better after Casper’s been there.”
“Thanks for letting me know. I love our extended family.”
“That’s why you’re Mom.”
“Love ya, Tim.”
“Me, too, Mom.”

Jack was listening. “John’s not talking?”
“Yeah. Coach told me that might happen. It means he’s getting stronger but still not able to deal with the memories.”
Jack is polite enough not to ask what those memories are. Casper has gotten very sad, so we sent him off to be with John.
“Sex pact is suspended for tonight,” he signs.
Time to hit Robby’s and the love weed. Max is out the door. Since his rescue of Robby, he now has front door privileges there. We burst into the room, startling the stoners and tackling Robby. Tim 117 This time everyone joins in, even the girls. Max is barking. Finally Robby’s mom bangs on the door.
After massive bong hits, Jack has to be restrained, until we get to our room. Pot definitely makes him aggressive. He has my face in a pillow while he plows my ass from behind. Tim 22 Each thrust makes me groan, which go higher and higher in pitch.
“You sound like a little boy,” he complains.
I drop the moans to grunts until he spills his load somewhere in the depths of my belly. Every time he cums, the tip of his dick whips around like a garden hose when nobody is holding it. Skinny or not, it’s totally exciting. I don’t want to say it, but he is a better fuck when Casper is gone. Maybe he feels he has to please both of us and always ends up in the middle of our 3-ways. Casper generally is a top with Jack. I’ll talk to him. I’m still intensely in love with Casper, having him come back from the dead. I’m really falling for Jack, too. We all have to avoid screwing it up. I never try to freeze my feelings about people and events, always looking around the bend of time to what was coming next. Being alone with Jack is better for both of us, but any reduction in my need for Casper will destroy me. Feelings and relationships have to change and grow. Can Casper change since he’s dead? Again I ‘mover thinking it. I have to concern myself with John, out of love for Casper. And, stop thinking so much. Then I realize I’m getting head from Jack Tim 85 while being a million miles away. Since I haven’t gotten off, I started fingering Jack’s ass, which causes a big smile on his face. I get off quickly once I’m inside him. And, he’s ready to go again once I go limp, rolling me on my back and putting my legs around his waist. He teases me with his dick prodding and rubbing my butt hole. The stimulation quickly makes me hard.  Mission accomplished, He throws my legs over his shoulders and plows me like a trooper Tim 61 – a Cossack, not a State Highway Patrolman. I used to limit Jace to one anal session a night, but judging from Jack’s determination, he was going to beat his topping record of three tonight. I might as well as enjoy it. Be careful for what you wish for. The second I relax and gave in to the pounding, I feel a totally new sensation. I’m being worked and love it. Soon I’m squeezing back, totally into it. Jack senses these new feelings, dominance/submission. He rides me like he’s in the Kentucky Derby. As he goes over the edge, he raised his arms, pushing my legs higher (causing my prostate to be doubly stroked), and letting the garden hose whip and spray my insides. He yells out, “Take that and that and that.” I have created a monster and he’s in our bed. In my passive mode, I cuddle up to him. He takes me in his arms. I start to purr like a cat. Max growls. We laugh.
“You really like that, getting fucked like a whore,” he asserts.
“Mmmh,” I purr. He kisses the top of my head. “Maybe we should use lube next time before we start.”
He massages my ass, kissing and licking it. I know where that’s going. I roll over and stuck my ass up when I see he’s already hard again. So am I. That’s all the invitation he needs. Tim 26 Grabbing my hair he pulls me back until my ass is fully arched. Sliding the hose easily through my well-stretched and lubed anal chamber he finds all the right spots. Having eased me into the proper position, he stroke my neck with his thumbs, and asks, “Ready?” Tim 24
“Do it,” I reply.
He goes from zero to sixty instantly, driving in and out of my ass like he was packing a musket. He pulls my hair each time he drives in, so I’ll arch fully to take him. Tim 23 Reaching around, he grabs my straining dick and gripes it in a vise-like jerk off. I relax as before, happy to make him do all the work. He again senses my submission, which makes him rock his whole body in celebration of his dominance. I feel all warm in my lower belly, knowing I’m giving him all he wants. His thighs are slapping my ass which sounds like a pumping oil well, with gushes and squishes sounding gross as he goes in and out. I visualize my poor ass looking like an open-pit mine, it’s so loose. He switches to rapid ins/outs deep inside me. My prostrate goes from being tickled to feeling it’s in a Cuisinart turning out a smoothie. That thought makes me climax suddenly. Jack changes back to deep thrusts and pulling my hair back as far as I can go. My ass is ready for his load. It cums again and again, until he collapses on my back, pushing me forward and down. The little head start he has given me is enough for my cock to be ready for him. I roll over and sit him on my dick. His hole is soaked in sweat and I enter easily. Tim 53 I have his legs squeezing me and pull him close to my chest. I feel his dick hardening against my stomach. I hold his eyes open. We stare at each other the entire time I fuck him. His mind was deep into the fuck until he becomes aware that he’s about to cum again. I bounce him faster and faster and beat him to the punch, but not by much. After we finish he collapses against me, sound asleep. I find a towel and clean our stomachs and asses from the spilled seed which was smeared there and dripping out. Trying to save our sheets is a Sisyphean task. I accept the 3-2 dominance loss with grace, remembering that feeling of falling when I gave in to him and relaxed. He is teaching me now. My dreams have Jack sitting in a circle with his D&D buddies telling each one they have to wait their turn for him to fuck them. The gay hater is the most anxious to be fucked. Boys.

Monday morning, the week before Easter Break: As we walk into Mr. Clark’s English class, Robby points at me, “Looks like someone isn’t walking too straight today. Someone’s bed buddy too frisky last night?”
Everyone stays silent, waiting for my come back.
“No. Max smoked too much of your love weed and had his way with both of us.”
That gets a laugh, but for once Mr. Clark knows we had gone over the line. “Settle down, or we’ll have a pop quiz.”
Robby, needing the last word, “Tim has already popped.”

Grant and his boy Clyde came up to us at Nutrition.
“Bin hearin’ ‘bout yer Easter plans. Goin’ to New York?”
“Yeah. You need to transfer to Mr. Clark’s English class so you can speak the language.”
“I’m the street prophet, speakin’ the words and sounds of my peeps.”
“How’s that workin’ fer ya?”
We all laugh.
“Anyway,” he tones it down, “We’re throwin’ y’all a ghetto farewell. Bon voyage on Thursday night – a send off.”
“That’s really cool, man.”
“Here’s a flyer. Maybe you’ll play?”
“Why not. Your crew doin’ Doo Wop?”
“’Course. We’re the home boys.”
“Any Ganja?”
“Any presidents?”
“Yeah, we’ll be flush.”
“Just don’t be flashing it in my neighborhood.”
“’Course.”
“See ya, then.”
“Not if we see you first.”

Dave says everything is good at Out & Proud and flashes me his Jacksons.
“You puttin’ that in your college fund?”
“Shit, this is my pizza and beer fund.”
“Can we come by and get a sendoff today?”
“Sure, but don’t cut into our commissions.”
“You like being an underwear model?”
“Sure,”and he flashes me the day’s special. At least it isn’t paisley. Tim 143

When we show up, all the kids surround us. Someone yelled, “Teen Jesus.”
“I’m not Teen Jesus,” I complained. “How y’all doin.’”
“Jimmy had his older brother busted for beatin’ on him,” someone announces.
Everyone was patting Jimmy on the back.
“It’s good you’re standing up for each other. But it’s sad that Jimmy’s brother’s an asshole.”
“That’s right.”
“How are Dave and Jazz doing? You enjoy having ‘em play every day.”
Right on cue, the Out-Crowd starts tuning up. The kids were kicking off their shoes and the sock hop starts.
Felix comes over to say goodbye.
“We’ll be back in two weeks. You want us back? The kids like the sock hop.”
“Your jobs are safe. Those boys don’t sell shit. Jazz is a spazz Tim 604 who will never look good modelling anything. Dave stares real hard at anyone who looks at him when he shows his briefs.”
“Not exactly gay boys. They said they still are making their commissions.”
“I still pay ‘em, but its more for keeping all the kids in the youth center than bringing in business.”
“We’ll shop Soho and bring back what’s hot.”
“Cool. I hear you’re playing road houses on the way up. It won’t be like the old Eros Lounge.”
“Yeah, they won’t be throwing money at us, just beer.”
“Well, be careful.”
“No problem, guard dog Max will protect us.” Tim 314

I call Mike Sr.’s assistant, Jay, to check on all the arrangements. He has the Chelsea booked for five nights, in case we needed to stay longer in New York. St Patrick’s has called with all kinds of restrictions on us for their Easter High Mass. He directed them to Martin Scorsese’s production company, which is negotiating the rights to film there. The Church asked if we’ll speak at their youth group on Saturday which Jay knows we want to do. The booking agent in Memphis has sent a list of road houses willing to book us. Since Easter week is slow, all we have to do is show up and we can play. They’ll pay us $300 for two sets, but only if we finish both sets. It seems dire. Father Frank contacted the Church and has a schedule of youth groups along the whole East Coast. Jay called Hippie’s Baptist church which has provided the same. Jack calls the uncles who are all gassed up and ready to go. I bet they are.
I speak with Mike Sr.
“Thanks for arranging our tour. Jay is great. There’s one last favor.”
“Here it comes,” he jokes.
“Can you call Jace and John’s parents and get Jace’s real mother’s address and contact info. This whole tour idea started when he wanted to find her. He never really knew her. He didn’t even know her name. Maybe his dad knows where she is.”
“I’ll try, but I’m not their favorite attorney.”
“But maybe the most charming one.”
“I’ll let you know.”
Casper hugs me for trying.

Thursday English turns into a send-off, as we plan to leave from Hialeah after the ghetto party, ditching Friday classes. Jack and I sing our latest song about Miami:

SOUTH FLORIDA

“Go deep to the South
When you can go no more
Find our city to make a score
Come to our cool house

We bewilder with our drug
Whether it be love
Or just need of a hug
We’re free to meet the need

Miami’s here to serve
keeps you safe and sound
Southern man beats you down
That’s just what you deserve

Miami drug
Life too rough?
Take the time
Follow our sign

Girls are free
Always please
Jack your shit
Get into it.”

The kids love it. Mr. Clark says it was drug oriented and misogynistic.
“Just what those rednecks want,” Robby defends us

Mike Sr. talks with me while the equipment is being loaded into the De Soto and Chrysler convertibles. He has a packet of information from Jace’s dad on his mom. It seems they are being more helpful.
“I should tell you what’s happening with John,” I say, as he is his legal guardian. I relate his opening up to Martin Scorsese, then regressing. How the Watts are giving him room, but that he stopped talking this week. Mike Sr. wants to have him professionally evaluated but agrees to wait until we get back, to let the Watts deal with it in their old-fashioned way, ‘love the child, spare the shrink.’

Casper goes ape shit about seeing the info on his mom. We run into the bathroom. He devours it all. Her last address is near Daytona. There’s no phone number. There were a lot of pictures, mostly old. She’s a dead ringer for Jace, long, stringy blonde hair, deep blue eyes, long horsey face. Tim 385 The pictures are from when she was just a year or so older than he is. The likeness is striking. I warn Casper that she may seem much older, especially if she’s had a rough life. He doesn’t care, but is worried she no longer loves him and can’t see or feel him.
“She will definitely feel you,” I assure him. “Seeing you is harder, but we’ll sign for you.’
“We’re going to find her?”
“Definitely. We’ll start looking tomorrow in Daytona. Maybe we’ll play a club, and she’ll be there.”
He looks so hopeful. It breaks my heart. He has so little family.

Mike Sr. has really come through
“I’m aghast that I’m trusting my 16-year-old to another 16-year-old to go on a two-week tour of the Eastern US. We’ll be in New York for Easter. I wouldn’t miss St Patrick’s for the life of me.” Then he hugs me.
I know better than to say we have responsible adults to chaperone us.
Mary comes over with her father. We speak in Spanish, the gist of which is that none of the girls can go with us. Mike Sr. explains how miraculous it is to perform at the Cathedral in New York. Her father thought St Patrick’s was a bar. He still refuses to relent. Mike Sr. says they could travel with his family just for the Easter performance. No tour of the South for the Jacettes. They’re devastated. Jack is even comforting Edi, drawing nasty looks from the parents.
Finally we packed everything. Everyone piles into the convertibles for the party at Grant’s house. Suddenly I’m nervous. All the details are fine, but the responsibility of everything is too much. Jack bucks me up. Casper signs that the only important thing is to find his mom. Everything else is a lark. The same letting-go feeling I get when Jack dominates me, starts in my stomach. I’ve fallen into the adult trap of worrying about the unknown. We had a ghetto party awaiting us. Let’s go.

Twenty minutes later we’re at Grant’s. He has a lookout and knows the moment we pull up. All his friends are car buffs. Soon Tam and Steve have their hoods up, showing off their massive V-8 engines. Gas is now over a buck, but the Uncles say not to worry . They have us covered. The girls are all loving Max.
Clyde jumps in, standing in the back, throws out his arms, and begins singing the De Soto jingle,
“It’s delightful, it’s delovely, it’s DeSoto,” DeSoto01 never realizing he was singing a show song by Cole Porter. Jack jumps in with him and sings the original’s first verse:

 

“The night is young, the skies are clear
So if you want to go walking, dear,
It’s delightful, it’s delicious, it’s de-lovely.
I understand the reason why
You’re sentimental, ’cause so am I,
It’s delightful, it’s delicious, it’s de-lovely.
You can tell at a glance
What a swell night this is for romance,
You can hear dear Mother Nature
Murmuring low,
“Let yourself go!””

Songwriters
PORTER, COLE
Published by
Lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.

Clyde is not to be upstaged and kisses Jack right there. Everyone cheers. Grant slaps me on the back, “I told you.”
Jack runs over to me and blows a kiss to Clyde.

Everyone goes into the backyard for the Bar-B-Q, leaving the lookout to guard the vehicles. All our black classmates are there, including the Doo Wop crew. We know most everyone, so few introductions are needed. Grant asks where the girls are. I explain how their parents had put their foot down.
“But Michael’s dad is flying them up for the St Patrick’s Easter Mass.”
Grant’s mother joins our conversation, “I once attended services at Harlem’s Abyssinian Baptist Church. Their choir is heaven-sent.”
“Mama asked me if you’ll perform your version of ‘Amazing Grace’ tonight, as a warm-up for New York?”
“Of course, but you have to join us.”
His mother beams. He can’t refuse.
“How about after the Doo Wop crew?” she suggests. “You boys always get everyone movin’.”
Hippie and I go out and get our guitars.
“You don’t have any problem performing here, do you?”
He gives me a funny look. “We Baptists may have gone our separate ways, but we still worship the same God.”
“Praise the Lord.”
“Praise the gays,” and we giggle.
Grant’s mama is right. The Doo Wop crew gets all the kids moving, just like the Out-Crowd, but with better dancing moves.
When they’re done, Hippie and I hook up to the amps and step up with Grant, His crew stays with us, humming and adding nonsense words in the background. Hippie starts and Grant comes in on the second line;

they sang to each other, while Jack and I do the high parts and finishes on guitar. Tim 115 We sing it through twice, with the whole crowd singing at the end. There are lots of hands and arms in the air, but no holy rolling.
I grab Grant, “You have to come with. This will be so great to do in New York.”
“Mama ain’t gonna let me go.”
“What if Martin books us also at the Harlem Abyssinian Baptist? And you and your mama can fly up with Michael’s family and the girls?”
“You crazy, boy,” he looks at me wide-eyed. “Mama, com’n here.”
I worry she’ll succumb to her fried chicken diet, but the tears of joy are worth it, at least to me.
I call Mike Sr. and explain we already have a change. He agrees to call Martin and seems confident it will happen.
“Shall I get him to book a temple in case Passover happens to coincide?”
He only complains little that this holiday is already costing him an arm. Now I’m taking a leg.
“Com’n. Mike. You can start your campaign for DA from the Abyssinian Baptist Church.”
“Don’t be cynical.”
“And you thought you would get away with just buying me a guitar?”

With the parents and kids mostly gone, I gather the high schoolers and Grant’s crew around the amps.
“Wanna hear our new song about Miami? It’s called ‘South Florida.’”
It sound great in the open air, temperature 78 degrees, winds off the water at 5 mph and the feeling that the old Miami is about to become the new trendy Miami Vice. We’re about to find out what the rest of the country thinks about it.
“Onward Kimo Sabe, the second star to the right, and straight on till morning.” Jack tells the Uncles, and we depart.

Somewhere in the middle of the night we arrive in Daytona. The Uncles get 2 rooms at a moderate motel near downtown and leads us like little kids to our room. Michael and Hippie are tucked into opposite sides of their bed with Robby in the middle, while Jack and I are separated by the invisible Casper, who tosses and turns all night in anticipation of looking for his mom in the morning. Her name is Carol, Carol Conning if she has not remarried, or Carol Fleming, if she went back to her maiden name. As we ate breakfast in a coffee shop, I go through the phone book. There are no Connings and the Flemings all have male names attached. We jump into the De Soto and search out the address Jace’s dad provided. It’s a small bungalow in a sketchy part of town. Jack and I go to the door, but no one answers. The house is obviously occupied, so we conclude the occupants are at work. I goto the neighbors, finally finding someone who knows the residents. I show them the photo.
“I believe there was a woman who stayed there several years ago. She looks similar to the picture but much older.”
“The photo is 16 years old.”
“Well, that could very well be her.”
Encouraged we go back to the cottage and leave a note, saying we’” be back at six pm. Casper is deflated but anxious to return later.

The Uncles insists we see the sights, taking both cars out on the hard-packed sand by the ocean. Apparently anyone can drive on the beach. The original car races were held there. The Daytona 500 is at the newly built Speedway. The Uncles are giddy from driving fast on the sand, 1Daytona sands while we whoop it up, yelling at other cars doing the same as we are. Our classic ’50s cars are the toast of the beach. The Uncles need a nap after the excitement and from driving most of the night. I look at what the booking agent prepared for the Daytona area. There’s a bar & grill west of town that has us booked us for that night. Uncle Tam tosses me the keys. Armed with my driver’s permit we head to check it out. The De Soto isn’t easy to drive, so Hippie takes over after I keep going onto the sandy roadside.

The roadhouse is a square concrete box with a big parking lot and no neighbors. We all pile out and walk in together.
“Gonna need ta see some ID boys,” The bartender says.
We all showed our new permits.
“I mean IDs saying y’all is 18.”
“We’re the band that’s booked for tonight, sir.”
“Hey Jake, com’n out here,” he yells.
A big bellied man saunters to the bar.
“These boys say you booked ‘em for tonight’s band.”
“Y’all from Ry Cooper’s Songs of the South Studio.”
“We’re from Miami. Ry booked us to open Lynyrd Skynyrd’s tour there next month.”
“You don’t say. Why would such a famous opening act wanna play this dump?”
‘We’s drivin’ up north for an Easter show and need to try out our new songs to a real audience.”
“They don’t have real audiences in New York?”
“Not real Southern audiences, sir. “ I look at him hopefully. Bennie 01
“Think you can smile and look pretty and I’m gonna let you play here.”
“No, sir.”
“Least you got manners. You play good enuff to get these local boys drinking and you gets 20% of the bar take.
“We get 25% in Miami.”
“Maybe they throw their money away down there.”
“Maybe you should pay us what the studio agent said, $300 for two sets.”
“You play real good, you’ll make more’n that.”
“We’ll play good alright and we have a deal – 25%.”
I stick my hand out and we shake.
“How old are you boys.”
“Their IDs say they’re all 16 but that one over there must be a retard ‘cause he’s 17,” the bartender says pointing at Robby.
“I ain’t retarded, I just ditched all year and got put back.”
“Well, shit, he’s feisty anyway. Must be the drummer.”
“Number one drummer,” Robby responds. Tim 328
“How many drummers you got?”
“Two.”
“Well, ya must be Skynyrd clones then.”
‘We’ll play Skynyrd. Then you can tell us if we’re just clones,” Robby is getting riled up.
“Yeah, we know 15 minutes of Free Bird guitar solo.”
“We do it as a duet. I just do an intro on the guitar,” I explain.
“Well, you be sure to play it ‘cause those boys are locals. Fans may take exception to you Miami boys changin’ the lyrics.”
“We’ll do that. We’ll play lots of covers and take requests, but we want to see how our new songs hold up against hits.”
“Well, this ain’t band camp, so you just get ever’one drinkin’. It’ll work out fine. But no drinking yerselves.”
“Just stick some cold ones outside fer when we take a break,” Robby insists.

“I told you that drummer’s a firecracker.”
“Be here at eight, ready to do two sets.”
“Yes, sir.”
“And stop bein’ such a kiss ass.” The manager tells me.
“Yes, sir.”Bennie 03
“Jesus!”
”Yes?”
“Get outta my bar.”

We jump into the De Soto and tear out of the parking lot, fishtailing as we whoop it up. It’s our first commercial gig. We drive back to Daytona and go by Casper’s mom’s old place – still no one there. Casper signs for me to go to the local police station to ask if his mom is known there. They check their records but no one with her name shows up. One cop says her picture looks like a runaway he knew several years ago. They had nothing about her at the address we have. Next we goto the pier, after returning the De Soto. We forget to clean out the trash we’ve accumulated from 7/11. The Uncles are not pleased, but maybe more upset that we woke them up.

The pier has all sorts of shops on it, with tourists milling about, afraid to spend their vacation dollars. At the head of the pier a group of teens are hanging out, passing out ‘Jesus Saves’ pamphlets, with a seedie looking man in his late twenties supervising . I recognize him from my first week in Miami Beach. He’s the pimp who tried to trap me.
“Remember me?” I say as we walk up.
“Remind me,” he answers, looking away to avoid my stare.
“You were pimping girls in South Beach, Miami two years ago. Y’all still go by Chuck?”
The kids start walking away, apparently aware of his past.
“Y’all runaways? He pimping you, too?”
They all start running away. A shopkeeper comes out and thanks me.
“He brings those kids here every day. I see him take the girls off somewhere. I suspect it’s prostitution.’
“If he comes back, have the police check his ID. I’ll bet he has a record and isn’t supposed to be around children.”
Teen Jesus to the rescue.
A more legitimate teen group is also working the pier. We talk. When they find out we’re driving to New York for Easter services, they invite us back to their church. It’s just a storefront. They know about the other group, but don’t think it was their responsibility to tell the police. They have no evidence.
“Are there many runaways here?” I ask.
“Lots during the winter. They’re mostly abused or bullied at home and come here looking for friends. The adults who exploit them are scum.”
“Can they sleep here?”
“The police say if we shelter runaways, it’s a crime. All we have is what you see. They’d have to sleep on the floor.”
“We pay a city tax for our motel. There must be money to save the runaways from prostitution. It doesn’t make for a nice visit for the tourists.”
“The police just want to make them leave Daytona. It’s hopeless.”
“There’s always hope if you have Jesus in your heart.”
“It’s hard.”
We give them all the money we have. Time to wake up the Uncles and go eat.

Luckily I have a large petty cash fund, mostly in traveler’s cheques. We replenish our wallets and hit the pizza joints; they’re everywhere in Daytona. We swear none is better than Sorrento’s. That doesn’t stop us from pigging out.
It’s nearly 6 pm. Casper ss as anxious as Nelly to resume the search for his mother. The Uncles are in the midst of their cocktail hour and toss me the keys again. I only drive off the road twice. Hippie say he better drive back. A twenty-something man answers the door and lets us in. He took over the place from a couple who moved further from town. I show him the photo.
“Yeah, that could be her if she cleaned up real good.”
“They leave a forwarding address?”
“What’s it to ya?”
“She’s my friend’s mother.”
‘So, what’s it to you?” He wasn’t a hater, more of a skeptic, not worth the effort to change.
“My friend wants me to tell her something.”
“Listen, kid. This is a bad neighborhood. If she left, there may be a reason she wouldn’t want anyone to know where she went.”
“We just want to meet her. Her son was our guitarist. He was shot and killed on New Year’s.”
“Well, she goes by Candy, her old man is Bill. Last I seen ‘em was about two years ago.”
“Thanks. Was she working?”
“She’s got a couple of kids. Little ones.”
I sign Casper, “She’s got 2 kids.”
He gets very excited and creates a whirlwind of rosy wisps of clouds.
“How about her old man?”
“He kinda lives off her welfare check and does odd jobs.”
Great.
“Any last names?”
“Didn’t know and didn’t wanna know.”
“Thanks. It’s more than we knew before.”
‘Hope you find her.” He says, a little less cynically.
We knock on other doors, but no one remembers her.
We drive back to the motel to pick up the equipment van (the Chrysler) and the Uncles.
When we describe the Bar & Grill, they lose their enthusiasm.
“We’ll go out in two cars. Once you are set, we’ll take the DeSoto back to the city and find ‘our’ kind of bar.”
“Actually, best we just take the Chrysler. We ‘re going more for a rough trade look and you might get hurt.”
“Fine,” they shriek.
We load up. With Max in the back seat, we fly out the highway to the bar. We parked at the back, banging to open the door and unload the equipment. Max is left to guard the car. They have a PA with two mics, so all we need are the drums and amps. Checking the bar, we see it’s already busy. I check on how much they  charge for drinks. It’s Friday night and the place is crowded. You don’t notice how rundown it really is. Scanning the crowd, I’d place the average age about thirty. No need for show tunes and Sinatra.
“Metal or Country?” I ask everyone. The jukebox is playing country.
“Metal,” everybody agrees.
The bartender comes by with four cold beers and place them by the back door, turns around and winks. We tune up, but our volume is below the crowd’s din. We decide to start with “Smoke on the Water,’ which is slow and heavy. We’ll turn it up until they have to hear us.
Robby grabs the beers, and we go back to the car and toke up.  A couple of local boys wander over to share our weed. They want our beers, but we told them the bartender would 86 us if we shared.
“You boys ain’t expectin’ to get in there?” the bright one remarks.
All the more incentive for them to stick around and for us to get in there and play.
“Okay, after Smoke, Whole Lotta Lovin, Stairway, and Paranoid. Then we stop and take requests.”
“Yer the band?” their brilliance is amazing. We all goin together, They stand at the side, expecting a bouncer at any moment.
We pick up our instruments. Hippie and I play the first riff and we turn up the amps to ten. People stop talking. Jack steps up, “We all went down to Montreux….”

 

Girls are bobbing and weaving with drinks in their hands. The guys hold onto them.
“Yeah, Deep Purple,” someone yells. “Sucks,” a nay sayer answer.
We did the two Zeppelin songs and then ripped into our usual opener, Sabbath’s ‘Paranoid.’

Hippie and I turn our amps down to 4 and Jack does his first intro.
“We’re from Miami. Gimme a beer. We play metal. What do you wanna hear.”
A poet and he didn’t know it.
Someone yelled “Aerosmith.”
Jack turns around and mouthed, ‘Walk this Way,’ and yells into the mic,

“one two three four…Backstroke lover always hidin’ ‘neath the cover…Walk this way, talk this way
Walk this way, talk this way
Walk this way, talk this way
Walk this way, talk this way
Ah, just give me a kiss”

Songwriters: STEVEN TYLER, JOE PERRY
© BMG RIGHTS MANAGEMENT US, LLC

He’s strutting across the small stage, hands on his hips and staring menacingly at the crowd.

“Stones,” someone yells when we finished.
We do ‘Sympathy for the Devil,” starting out slow and quietly,

Even the Stones can’t perform that song in 1975. I start to hear a cry for ‘Free Bird,” from the loyal locals.

“ZZ Top,” We do ‘Gimme All Your Lovin’.

Followed by ‘Tush.’

“’CSNY,’  someone dares us. We did ‘Southern Man’, changing the lyrics:

“Southern man, better keep your head
Don’t forget what your good book said
Southern change’s don’t come fast
Now your crosses are burning last
Southern man
I saw prisons and I saw shacks
Tall white gives a smackin’
Southern man, when they pay you them back?
I heard screamin’ and bullwhips crackin’
How long? How long?

Southern man, better keep your head
Don’t forget what your good book said
Southern changes don’t come fast
Now your crosses burn at last
Southern man

Lily Belle, your hair is golden brown
I’ve seen your man’s still comin’ round
Swear by God, I’m gonna cut him down
I heard screamin’ and bullwhips crackin’
How long? How long?”

Song Writer: Neil Young
Published by
BROKEN ARROW MUSIC

Apparently our drunk fans aren’t listening as their automatic response to Neil Young is to throw things at us. We quickly play ‘Sweet Home, Alabama’

and rejoin the fold. They cheer us but continued to throw beer, as we duck and weave. Tim 363

Next I jump into Leon Russell’s ‘Honky Tonk Women,”

Jack switches gears and sings low as I provides the heavy back beat. Hippie is flying around the stage, some Southern gene. I play the piano notes individually on my guitar, just like a honky-tonk piano.

“Gimme gimme gimme the honky-tonk blues.”

We even got a few cheers from the crowd.
I step up to the mic, “Did someone yell ‘Free Bird?”

A big cheer goes up. Jack and I get up to the mic for our duet. He puts his arm around my shoulder as I play a 15 second guitar intro. Casper looks disgusted when we started singing to each other:

 

 

“If I leave here tomorrow” (I sang to Jack)
“Would you still remember me?” (He sang back)
“For I must be traveling on, now,” (I returned.)
“’Cause there’s too many places,” (He returned)
“I’ve got to see.” (We both sang)
“But, if I stayed here with you, girl” (Me )
“Things just couldn’t be the same” (Jack)
“’Cause I’m as free as a bird now” (Me)
“And this bird, you can not change.” (He finished.)
… and together we sang the long chorus:

“Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh
And the bird you cannot change
And this bird you cannot change
Lord knows, I can’t change
Lord help me, I can’t change
Lord I can’t change
Won’t you fly high, free bird, yeah?”

Songwriters
VAN ZANT, RONNIE / COLLINS, ALLEN
Published by
Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

“Did we pass the audition?” I ask. People clap and stomp the affirmative.
“Can’t a 16-year-old get a beer around here?” I ask, and we all run off the stage. There are four cold ones by the back door.
“I think that went quite well,” Jack remarks about his performance as lead singer.
“Quite,” I quip.
“Why the disgusted look?” I sign Casper.
“You cut Free Bird’s guitar solo,” he complains. He is a purist.
“Well, next time you can have Allen Collins do it for your appreciation.”
“Don’t ask for what you may not want,” he signs back.

Our fellow backdoor mates come around from the front, showing they have stamps to get back in. They brought along several more buddies.
“Y’all hadda pay ta git in?” I ask the newbies.
“Five bucks.”
“Were we worth it?”
“We’re just huntin’ pussy.”
“How’d that work fer ya?”
Casper is signing for me to cool the Southern jive.
“Speakin’ of that. You boys ever see this chick?” I show them the photo, “Her name’s Candy.”
“Sure, man. She’s always here. Her old man’s the bartender.” Our ‘four-frosties-by-the-door’ man.
“If you see her, can y’all tell her to come talk with us.”
“Out of your league, boys. She’s gotta be thirty at least.”
“We just wanna talk to her.”
Casper s already gone, looking for her. Good hunting, brother.
“Y’all gots guts to play ‘Southern Man.’ No one does that and lives.”
“You hear how we changed the lyrics?”
“Maybe, but Neil Young will remember.”
So much for editing.
Robby pull out the obligatory joint Tim 89 We get ready to play our own song set. I just felt excited, not nervous. Fuck ‘em if they hate us. We’re from Miami.
The whole crew piles in with us and a bouncer comes by to check their stamps, but they have it covered.

I jump up to the mic. Tim 115
“We’re False Gods. Hope you liked that first set of Southern Comfort rock. Lots of Skynyrd fans here tonight. Go out and support their new album coming out next month. We’re supporting them by opening at the hydroplane concert in Miami. Come and see who does the better Free Bird.”
A few scattered boos come from the back.
“Okay. We can’t play their hit without paying them, so see how you like our songs.” and I turn around and mouthed ‘South Florida.’

“Go deep to the South
When you can go no more
Find our city where to score
Come to our cool house

We bewilder with our drug
Whether it be love
Or just need of a hug
We’re free to meet the need

Miami’s here to serve
Keeps you safe and sound
Southern man beats you down
That’s what you deserve

Miami drug
Life too rough?
Take the time
Follow our sign

Girls are free
Always please
Jack your shit
Get into it.”

They were into it, so we repeated the ending chorus, “Get into it.” Tim 259

“How about a little ‘Sex Part 1?’”

“ 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.”

“Part 2:

“You who acts so true,
finding me sometimes blue,
take me in your arms,
calm me with your charm,

I need you to give,
what we need to live.
Take my hands,
shake my hips,
all that we can,
kiss my lips,
invade my mind,
don’t leave my side,
forget my pride,
I need you inside.”
take me inside
take me inside.
take me inside.
take me.
take me.

• You act so true,
• With me so blue,
• take me
• calm me
• you need me,
• a reason to love.
o Take my hands ,
o Take my hips,
o all you can,
o kiss my lips,
o invade my mind,
o don’t leave my side,
o forget my pride,
o I need you inside.
take me inside.
take me inside.
take me inside.
take me.
take me.
take me.
take me.

The guys are butt-bumping their girlfriends or elbowing their buddies. No beer flying yet.

“How about ‘Love?’ Tim 101

“I never feel this way.
Just happy full of play.
I wake up every day,
You’re by my side,
You reach and touch,
I say goodbye.

There’s no future,
But we have now.
Don’t ask,
Some way,
Somehow.”

“We’re perfect for each other,
I never think of another.”
Can’t be love, but who can say
I know you’re here to stay?”

There’s no future,
But we have now.
Don’t ask,
some way,
somehow.”
‘We can’t live by ourselves.
We need people that we love
We hate those who hate themselves
We know what they’re made of.

Love, love, love

I need your love
I need your love
I need your love
I need you”

“Too slow,” someone yells
We play ‘Paranoid’ to perk up the crowd.

 

 

“Too fast,” someone else yells.

“This is ‘Sneakin’, When you’re 16 you gotta be fast.

Tim 232

Sneaking around
Never been caught
All over town
Better than not.

Thrill’s in the chase
No time to waste
Folks on my case
All is in haste.

Waiting’s the worst
You are my first
I need you now
We’re on the prowl.

Back of an alley
Sprawled in the dirt
No time to dally
Who will cum first.

shaka shaka love?
‘shaka shaka love shaka shaka
Shaka shaka love shaka shaka.”

The crowd turns the heat up. You can feel their excitement as they press forward toward us. I run up, stop and played riffs, moving the neck of my guitar like I’m fucking Casper, who takes it up the ass with a huge surprise on his face. Miroku04a

“This song we wrote about Robby and Michael, our double drummers. When Robby was ten he set Michael on fire. Michael was nine and when Robby told him he had saved his life by rolling him up in a rug. Michael punched him out.”
Everyone cheers and we do ‘Look before You Leap.’ Tim 231

‘Look before You Leap?’”

‘Wanna
set you’re your buddy on fire,
Better buy a rug.
Wanna
send your friends to hell,
Better get a priest.
Wanna
Beat up a bully,
Better get a gun.

Look before you leap
Better to say no
End up in the shit heap
No place to go.

Leap, leap, leap
You fuckin’ freak
Leap, leap, leap
Strip and streak.”

Wanna
Beat up your friend
Get new friends
Wanna
Steal a new car
You won’t get far
Wanna
Rape some sweet lass
A beating comes fast

Look before you leap
Better to say no
End up in the shit heap
No place to go.

Leap, leap, leap
You fuckin’ freak
Leap, leap, leap
Strip and streak.”

Now comes the final test, ‘False Gods.’
“Boys, this is our band’s song, ‘False Gods,.’ You can worship us from afar after we get famous. Get on your knees.” Tim 228

“Where others feared to tread,
they gave us up for dead,
memories linger on eternally,
as Lucifer’s proud plea,
a world of our own,
on high a black throne,
we sing to make them see,
to be happy for eternity
…we are False Gods, we are False Gods…
a world meek and blind,
laugh at all of mankind,
fools misunderstand,
we’re of Satan’s band,
a world of endless flaws,
facades and miracles applause,
eulogized but despised,
shed your false disguise,
fall to your knees,
utter useless pleas,
cause
…we are False Gods, we are False Gods…

pray in foreign tongues,
shoot useless guns,
sacrifice hallowed sheep,
shun cold, dark streets,
you’re just nasty fleas,
Set your minds to be

…False Gods, False Gods…

We will live eternally
To hear your painful screams
Just wait 20 years or so
You will know just what we mean

….We are False Gods, False Gods..”

… False Gods”

SONGWRITER: David Delgado/Tar Larner
© MIB

 

Southern boys love their death rock and bible prophecies. Everyone is yelling for more as we walk off. Finally I went up to the mic, “Well, nobody’s gotten me a beer, so we’ll be back with our star performer, Max.”

There were four more beers by the door. I go back and find the bartender.
“Bill?” I began tentatively. “You hooked up with Candy?”
“I’m not Bill. That’s her ex. If you want a piece of him get in line.”
“Naw, we gotta meet Candy. She here tonight?”
“Somewhere. She don’t pull them tricks no more.”
“That’s good. We’re friends of her son.”
“Those boys ain’t out of pre-school.”
“No. Her first son. He just turned 16.”
“From the asshole dad who never sends her check.”
“We really need to meet her. It’s all good. He’s our original guitarist.”
“You rock pretty good.”
“Thanks. He taught me all I know.”
“I’ll find her. You sure this ain’t about child support or nothin.’”
“No. We hate her asshole ex-husband. It’s a long story, but Jace made us promise we’d find her.”
“Y’all playin’ another set?”
“You still selling drinks?”
“We may run out.”
“We’ll finish up strong. We’d never played those last songs before. Whatcha think?”
“It ain’t band camp, kid. All I can say is after you played Southern Man sales went way up and have stayed that way. You comin’ back Saturday night?”
“Sure,” I grin.
“Well, get out there. I’ll find Candy.”

I race out back and get my beer from Jack, who’s holding off the hoards. Our backstage is so way-backstage, any one gets in. Robby has endless joints for them. When someone claims it’s ‘weak,’ I show him where to hold the Robby special hole so it’ll draw.
“Fuckin’ city boys,” he complains. Then he looks at me, “Sorry. Y’all ‘s cool.”
“Hey,” I announce to the band. “There’s a good chance that Jace’s mom is actually inside here tonight. The bartender’s her old man. He’s looking for her.”
Everyone cheer. Jack hugs me, losing half our new posse.
“You boys ain’t faggots, are you?”
“Who’s askin’? We’re picky about who we let fuck us.”
That confuses them.
“We ain’t gonna fuck you. We’re gonna fuck you up.”
Just at that moment, a Harley roars around the corner, skidding to a stop next to the Chrysler. All in black leather and no helmet is Iggy. Tim 300
“Am I missing the action?” he yells.
Max barks as Iggy knocked down the local who was ready to fight. All hell breaks out. Robby jumps on the back of one of the harassers and digs his fingers into his eye sockets. It’s like the rodeo with Robby bull riding. Michael is wielding his drum sticks like nun-chucks. I punch the nearest guy in the gut and put him down with an upper cut. Tim 112 Hippie stands there waiting for inspiration on how to fight. I get tackledimg938 and ended up grappling a guy twice my size.  The original group who snuck in with us decides it’s a free for all and attack their friends who are intent on getting us. Jack is hiding in the car. But the excitement (and the pot) gets the best of him. He copies Robby’s move and launches himself from the car’s hood and hangs on to someone who wasn’t really attacking anyone. The bouncers come storming out, well prepared for some action. We rush back on stage, picking up our instruments. I mouth ‘Wish You Were Here,” our new Pink Floyd anthem.

“We’re back, after a little Daytona hospitality in the parking lot. (a few cheers) And this song is dedicated to Candy, if she’s out there. A little English Pink Floyd about what we feel for her son, Jace. Tim 352

• “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?
A smile from a veil?
Do you think you can tell?

And did they get you to trade
Your heroes for ghosts?
Hot ashes for trees?
Hot air for a cool breeze?
Cold comfort for change?
And did you exchange
A walk on part in the war
For a lead role in a cage?

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

A tall lady with long straight, blonde hair comes running up. Tim 233
“You’re friends with my long-lost baby?”
“He sent us to find you. We all love him so much. Stay here. We have to talk after we’re done.”
She looks around anxiously, then totally relaxes with an angelic expression. Casper is hugging her. Tim 448 He’s still in her heart.

We play mostly blues and country for the last set. People are ready to sit down and enjoy the show. Bar business is down, but there’s a finished feeling to these songs. We even do a few Fats Domino New Orleans style blues hits from the 50s.

 

We get our biggest applause after we finish. We do Zeppelin’s ‘Ramble On’

and ‘Good Times Bad Times’ as encores.

As we finish the Zeppelin, Iggy comes charging through the crowd backed by his new friends from the fight.
“Enough of this English shit. We’re Americans. We want American metal.”
He jumps on stage and attempts to pull the mic away from me. The bouncers are on their way.
“Okay. Okay,” as I give him the mic. He mouths ‘Raw Power’ to the band and jumps around to face his fans.

 

 

He rips through it and goes right into ‘I Wanna be Your Dog.’ Max runs on stage and barks with Iggy.

The crowd loves it. The bouncers finally get there and haul Iggy away. His posse follows to keep him from a beating. The show  stops. We’re done.

Instead of leaving the stage, we all circle Candy, Jace’s mom. Everyone is crying. The Bartender comes over and is holding Candy. Her look show she knows it isn’t good news. Casper keeps hugging her, but the angelic look was gone.
I swallow and start to explain.
“Candy, Jace started and was the inspiration for this band. He never stopped wanting to find you. He was angry and troubled but the inspiration he found to create this band changed him. He was a musical prodigy. When he died ten thousand people came out to his memorial.”
“He died?”
“His stepbrother shot him after years of abusing him. It’s partially my fault because I beat the bully up and told him to stop. Instead he got a gun. Jace was shot, dying at the hospital.”
Casper is tucked up in her lap. Tim 42
Pointing to Max. “This dog loved Jace. Jace loved him because he had been protecting Jace and his younger brother. Jace was holding Max back when his older  brother tried to kill the dog and instead shot Jace.”
At first she hugs me, but ends caressing Max. He gets all the ladies. Tim 316
Nate, the bartender, comes over. She sobs in his arms.
“We can feel Jace all around us. We have him in our hearts. If you still have him in your heart, take some of his love from us. You will always feel him there.”
That angelic smile comes back, as she cradles Casper in her arms. Nate lets each one of us hug her and try to express the love we felt for Jace. He gives us their home address and says to come by after 1 pm so we all can talk. I run over and kiss her on the forehead.
“I loved him the most,” I confess. I did my version of the goofy grin and Candy instantly recognizes it. “That’s Jace’s smile.” j togo 01
“I know. We were happy together.” The tears are spilling but I don’t sob.

Jake, the bar owner, comes over and settles with us. I figure there were 120 people in the bar buying $3 well drinks at one per hour for 5 hours. The take would be $1800, so we’re due $450. The owner smiles at me, “Best night of the season,” and hands me $500.
“Comin’ back tomorrow, Nate says.”
“Yup, wouldn’t miss it.”
“Tell me, you gonna do all those covers in concert?”
“Nope. Playing here was the first time we did a set of only our own songs.”
“The second set?”
“Yup.”
“Well with double drums you give Skynyrd a challenge, just don’t play Free Bird, you look like fags.”
“That would be correct, sir. Usually the duet is with Robby’s girlfriend but the parents wouldn’t let any of the girls come.”
“Good thing.”
“Any more advice?”
“Don’t listen to big fat good ol’ boys.”
“No, sir, we’ll be back.”

I go back outside where everyone is hanging at the Chrysler and getting high.
“That’s intense,” Michael says.
“I saved yer asses,” is Iggy’s point of view, everyone pounding him on the back. We all compared our injuries, hors de combat. Jack might get a black eye. We all had scrapes and bruises.
“Y’all wanna come back tomorrow?”
Unanimous yes.
“Is Iggy part of the band?”
Somewhat less enthusiastic but still unanimous.
“He deserves a new name. How about ‘Nick,’ for in the nick of time.”
“Yay Nick.”
I wasn’t sure if he saved us or started the fight.
“Still trying to steal my job.” I accuse him.
“Already did,’ he observes.

As we were ready to leave, Casper signs he was going home with his mom. I’m so happy for him. We kiss until he starts licking my ear. Jack grabs him too. They twirl around and kiss. Tim 84Gays!