(Continued from School Kinda Sucks 4: Game of Life)
The next night, my dream continues, as it is wont to happen, on the occasion. As of late, my dreams run into each other, like oddly mismatched but related scenes of a strange movie.
I run into the delinquent pauper prince again. This time, he shows up outside, on the mini basketball court near the vegetable patch. Because he is familiar with street fighting, not to mention the fact that he also possesses some amazing martial arts skills, the guy easily beats out the kids on the court. Then, as befitting a true introvert, he refuses to join in on the regularly scheduled games each evening, out on the real court by the gym.
I somehow find myself by his side as he sits on a bench watching the other kids play.
“You’re good,” I said, by way of greeting.
He shrugged and said nothing.
“Is this your favorite thing to do?” I tried again.
“Nope.” He answered.
Great. He’s one of THOSE one-word warriors. This was going to be either long and drawn out, or short and sweet, depending on my level of tolerance.
“What else do you like to do?” One more try.
“I dunno. I do a little drumming sometimes,” he said, looking at something in the distance.
Now we were getting somewhere.
“Drumming? As in marching band? Or as in rock band?”
I smiled. “Cool! Me too. I’m a singer.”
He gazed at me askance with the same expression that I’ve seen when someone thinks I’m equating a karaoke singer with a real front line singer or entertainer.
“No, really,” I said with earnestness. “I sang with a band for several years. In fact, there’s going to be an audition later that I’m going to try out for. Wanna come and audition too? I know they’re also looking for a drummer.”
“No.” He said too quickly.
“Why not? You don’t think you’re good enough?”
“Didn’t say that. I just don’t want to, okay?”
“Fine.” I said, feigning disinterest. “They are pretty good, and they really only want you if you’re half-way decent any way.”
He scowled, not saying anything. That familiar distant look returning to his eyes. I sighed inwardly. Why do I have to be the one to try and work with this stick-in-the-mud?
“Well, it will be later this evening, right here at the basketball court. Come if you wish.”
And I left him to his own devices.
Fast forward to the evening, and there I was, chatting with the lead guitarist to find out when I was up for the audition. He hands me a slip of paper with handwritten notes, and I find my name, half-way down the list. I would be performing two songs, both of which were familiar standards that I normally used for auditions. No biggie.
I was running the songs through my head when the guitarist tapped me on the shoulder.
“Come over this way,” the guitarist indicated to me. “Take a look over there,” he pointed to a group of guys sitting around the speakers.
I smirked. There, in the midst of the chattering group of musicians was the pauper prince. He was the only guy in the group who did not say a word, yet looked as if he fit in, misfits as they all were any way.
“He said he’s with you, so this audition is basically just a formality.”
“Why?” I raised my eyebrows.
“If we’re getting you and him, then you’re both in, no further questions. He auditioned earlier and he’s awesome on the drums. He says you’re a pro at vocals. If he’s that good and he’s endorsed you, then you gotta be amazing!”
I turned away, not knowing what to say.
I hadn’t even auditioned yet, and just like that, I’d been accepted as a condition of someone else getting in. This wasn’t how I had envisioned the night would go down.
I mentally kicked myself for having forgotten one thing very important. This pauper prince may be a delinquent thug, but he was street smart, which meant he could always figure out a way to get what he wanted, by hook or by crook.
“I change my mind,” I said, turning away from the guitarist. “I don’t think I’ll be auditioning for vocals after all.”
“Why not? We need you!” He insisted.
“You’ve got all these other singers auditioning. Pick one from the list.” I said halfheartedly, shoving the piece of paper back at him.
“Come on. He won’t join us without you.”
“So I’m allowed to join only because you want him. What does that make me? A side-kick?”
“It makes you our lead singer and also someone who can influence a person who really needs a second chance at life. You know his background and what he’s been through.”
“I don’t know him that well. And any way, I’m pretty sure you guys can convince him to be your drummer without me having to be a part of all this.”
“You’ve got it all wrong,” the guitarist sighed. “I know his type. He won’t join without you because he’s leaning on you for strength. He can’t do this without you. Please. You’d be doing us both a favor.”
Well, since he put it that way, I couldn’t very well refuse, now could I?