I wonder what the hell is keeping John…this time. Everybody had arrived and the first round of drinks had been served – many of them by me, personally. The followers of each clique had found their leader and settled in. I had even finished my initial female fishing expedition, catching the beautiful and talented Jones’ twins, and wearing one on each arm. And yet still no John Truman. Hell, some of these people traveled over a thousand miles, all the way from the West Coast. All Truman has to do is walk down the fucking stairs.
It seems like I’ve spent half my life waiting for him. When we first met, back in the ninth grade, I just finished up another session with my advisor, Mrs. Gardner. She was a nice lady and sort of sexy in a teacher kind of way. I liked her, but I think she expected more out of me than I could give. She would say stuff like, “Mr. Eastman, if you would just put your mind to it” or “Paul, there’s more to life than girls” or “Mr. Eastman, it’s okay to apply yourself” or “Paul, I believe in you.”
After a couple of years of this, one day she called me into her office. I didn’t think much of it until she went on and on about how she’d tried everything and how I didn’t care. She looked really tired. When she said the words “lack of academic productivity”, she began to cry.
The next thing I knew I blabbered something about wanting to do better and needing some help. Those must have been the magic words, because she acted like she just received an I.V. of Red Bull. Before I knew what hit me, she said she had someone she wanted me to meet, thought we might be good for each other.
A few minutes later she came back in her office, smiling from ear-to-ear, telling me it would be a couple of minutes before my tutor arrives. At that point, I didn’t care what or who or anything. I was just glad to see Mrs. Gardner happy with my situation, for once. I like it when people are happy.
So we waited…and we waited…and she went on and on about how “wonderful” this new arrangement would be. Another fifteen minutes, filled with subtle glances toward the door, passed by. Finally, she got up and told me that she’d be right back. I didn’t mind waiting, especially when the alternative was being in class. I called a few girls, and then I overheard Mrs. Gardner talking to somebody in the next room.
“Come on John,” she coaxed. “It’s okay. Just give it a try. All I’m asking is two weeks.”
He stuck his head just around the doorway and peeked in at me. He didn’t look familiar – intense brown eyes, straggly brown hair, slim, average height, hands sunk deep into his pockets. He looked pretty wound up, so I smiled, and he seemed to relax a bit.
Mrs. Gardner made the introductions: “John, this is Paul Eastman. Paul, this is John Truman.” I stood up and extended my hand. He looked at it, hesitated, and then shook mine. Sweaty - nice touch, Johnny.
“You gentlemen already have four classes together, so that should make this arrangement easier.” Hell, I can’t remember everybody.
And the rest is history: his brains combined with my personality and looks. Another unbeatable combo - Batman and Robin, the Lone Ranger and Tonto, Hope and Crosby, the Green Hornet and Kato, Guinness and happy, John and Paul. I really don’t think I would have survived high school without him, and vice-versa. Someday I should thank Mrs. Gardner.
Over the years, I’ve gotten pretty used to John’s quirks, like showing up late to anything involving other people. I try to cut him some slack, because I know social stuff seriously freaks him out, especially parties like this one. He’s always had some good excuse, usually about working on something important or not feeling well. But there is such a thing as party momentum, and with or without John, the party must go on.
Maybe if we just start playing, he’ll show up.
I looked over at the band – bassist, drummer, keyboardist and saxophonist all in place. Just behind me stood three lovely ladies looking like a cross between the Supremes and the backup singers for Robert Palmer’s “Addicted to Love” video. Man, they look fine.
Picking up my guitar, I sat down and tuned it for a couple of minutes. I looked back at the band.
“You guys ready?” Nods all around. I glanced over at the stairs, shook my head, and then stood up.
“Let’s do it.” Grabbing the mic, I tapped it a couple of times to get everyone’s attention.
“Welcome to…Carpe Noctis!” The crowd cheered in response.
“A one, two, a one, two, three, four.”
“Doot, du doot, doot, doot du doot, doot, du doot”
The girls sound great tonight. Our rendition of “Walk on the Wild Side” always went over big. We opened up every party with it. John liked it.
I loved this part: just a minute ago, everybody was doing their own thing, hanging with their friends, drinking, laughing, all in their own little worlds…and then the music started. The conversations stopped, everyone turned my way, and the dancing began. The next thing you know, we were all on the same page, doing the same thing, together. For some reason, it reminded of that scene in “It’s a Wonderful Life” where Jimmy Stewart asks god to let him live and he suddenly realizes how special life is in boring old Bedford Falls.
We usually stretched this song out pretty long, and tonight it seemed like everybody wanted it to go on and on. So, we did. Six or seven minutes had gone by, and still no John. Come on dude, you can do it. Take a walk on the wild side.
Several minutes later and we’re still playing the same song. Dammit, John! Get down here!
Through the smoky haze, I scanned the audience. They seemed to still be enjoying our extended version - joining in with the backup singers and getting louder each time around…everyone, but Susan. Our eyes met and we exchanged a brief knowing smile. She pointed up. I nodded.
Maybe she could get him down here – Martian to Martian.
She headed out of the living room toward the stairs. Nice ass.
“Doot, du doot, doot, doot du doot, doot, du doot”
(Thanks so much for reading Chapter 2. The Father's Child is available for a special price of only 99c on the following platforms: Kindle-US, Kindle-UK, Nook, & Smashwords - Sony, Palm, Stanza, etc. Keep up to date by visiting my website, twitter, or facebook. Cheers!)
It'll never get old.
1 week ago