. . .the continuation of chapter 6. . . .here's what happened.
‘Wish I hadn’t thrown away my bed,’ Zach mused. He had tossed his mattress and bedsprings out along the highway in a grand gesture of farewell; it seemed poetic at the time; very angst-ridden and tragic, probably would have made a very touching scene in some really bad “B” movie; Grand Gesture or not. . . Now if he went back, where was he going to sleep?
‘Oh Crap!’ he suddenly realized. ‘We have “Dungeon” in three days! We haven’t even played the room!’ He snapped open his phone and dialed the club manager’s number.
“Dave. . .Josh Reynolds. . .yeah; ‘Rage’. . .Dude, you think me and the band can come by and scope the room?. . .We gotta get the feel of the stage. . . Uh. . .tomorrow?. . . We gotta rehearse before the gig. . . About 3?. . .won’t take more than an hour. . .Oh Cool. . .hey, you’re the bomb, dude!”
‘Perfect!’ he thought. “Now I got a reason to call Harper Bailey without it seeming like I Need him or something. . .’ but then reconsidered. ‘Nope. . .call Josh; let him set up the deal. . .that way, won’t have to see Harper Bailey ‘til rehearsal time. . .’ and felt a little less nervous having decided.
Josh was supposed to pick up Harper Bailey and make sure he got to the club; he blew him off. Harper Bailey was being difficult and Josh couldn’t take it anymore. . .so. . .he left him sitting in the garage and waiting; well, waiting and whining. . .an awful lot of whining. . .
“Where’s Harper Bailey?” Zach asked when he arrived.
“He was being a jerk so I left him back home. . .he’s got his bike. . .he’ll be along---”
And everyone heard Harper Bailey stomp into his way the club.
“You coulda TOLD me you was gonna just leave me sittin’ there doin’ nothin’!” he shouted as he stomped his way down to the stage. “Man. . .my legs be all sore now. . .why this club gotta be UP hill?. . .Huh?. . .Oh. . . Hey Zach!. . .you remember me, Right?” Harper Bailey asked, a hopeful little grin on his face. “. . .I’m Harper Bailey. . .”
“I remember you,” Zach said, and found he was actually blushing.
“Dude,” Josh said to Zach. “What’s the matter with you? Your face just went all red; you sick or something?”
“Oh, yeah. . .got me a fever,” Zach replied, busying himself with the guitar stand. “Dudes. . .we got this room for like an hour. . .think we better practice. . .”
“We got any new stuff?” Kirby asked. “That reviewer guy liked our own stuff. . .we got anything besides Harper Bailey’s Monkey thing?”
“Ain’t nothin’ wrong with my ‘Monkey Love’ song----” Harper Bailey whined in protest.
“Didn’t Anybody Say There Was!” Kirby snapped; he was still a little ticked off over Barry giving Harper Bailey money. . .”I Just ASKED if there was anything else. . .don’t gotta fly outta your hair, dude.”
“Uh. . .Okie-Dokie. . .” Harper Bailey said, shocked that Kirby raised his voice; Kirby never spoke in any voice that wasn’t just above a whisper. “Geez, Kirby. . .you mad at me?” Harper Bailey asked in his best ‘What’d I do?’ voice.
“Can we get ON WITH IT!” Zach shouted, bringing the band to attention. “Tick-Tock, dudes. . .and don’t say a damn thing, Harper Bailey. . .it’s just a saying. . .’
“Oooh. . .Oooh. . .Zach. . .Zach. . .You see my new sneaks?. . .They Red!. . .”
“Yeah, dude. . .I SEE that. . .CAN WE GET ON WITH IT?!?!”
“They just like yours---” Harper Bailey pointed out.
“Yes, I see that. . .” Zach nodded.
“Well. . .exceptin’ mine got these there holes and stuff. . .but. . .you and me. . .see . . . They Red!”
“Yes. . .can we practice now?”
“Oh. . .and. . .uh. . .uh. . .guessin’ my laces be like different. . .mine all kinda grey. . .and Hey. . .and yours got them high tops and mine be. . .uh. . .uh. . What?”
“CAN WE PRACTICE NOW?!!!”
“Yeah. . .yeah. . .sure,” Harper Bailey said. “Everybody so damn touchy!. . .Hey. . .HEY?. . .Zach. . .Zach. . .But you like?”
“What?” Zach asked. “Do I like what?”
“My new sneaks?”
“OHMYGOD! Harper Bailey. . .you’re going to make me crazy. . .can we PLEASE just practice?”
“Okie-Dokie!. . .uh. . .but do ya?” Harper Bailey.
“Do I What?” Zach asked.
“OHMYGOD!. . .Yes. . .Yes!. . .I Like ‘Em. . .I Like ‘Em. . .They’re The Most Freakin’ Fabulous Damned Sneaks I Ever Saw. . .They’re So Freakin’ Fabulous I Can’t Stand It!. . .Gotta Have ‘Em For My Own Damn Self. . .NOW CAN WE PRACTICE?!!!”
“Oh. . .sure. . .but you know you can’t have ’em. . .Right?. . .nothin’ personal. . .they just be mine, is all. . . .but glad you like ‘em.”
So, they got down to it. . .and they sounded . . . lazy.. . .they sounded like what they were. . .a band that never practiced; and Harper Bailey sounded like a singer that didn’t sing.
“What’s up with the voice, dude?’ Kirby asked. “Not sayin’ you stink, but---”
“Yeah!” agreed Josh. “Why do you sound like . . . that?”
“”Uh. . .I dunno. . .” Harper Bailey shrugged.
“Somethin’s different,” observed Kirby. “You just sound like the old you. . .where’s that voice you were singin’ with the other night?”
“Uh. . .I dunno. . .” Harper Bailey said again.
“Well, try it again,” Zach suggested, but when Harper Bailey did, everybody got the same result.
“I know what’s different,” Zach said, putting his guitar away. “Harper Bailey?. . .you want a Madness Thingy?”
“OH SURE!” said Harper Bailey with a smile.
“We’re on break,” said Zach, and he and Harper Bailey headed for the bar.
A “Big Mistake” later and a fuzzy Harper Bailey took the stage and sang; he might not have known exactly where he was, or who he was with, or how any of them got there, but he knew how to sing. . .yes, indeed, he knew how to sing. . .and by the time his “fuzzy” wore off he also knew that Zach, Kirby and Josh all had diamonds spinning over their heads. . .Zach’s was Very Green; Josh’s had a little yellow tint to it, and Kirby’s was red. . .like Harper Bailey’s new used sneakers. . . But without the holes.
“Dudes. . .you got things on your heads. . .” Harper Bailey whispered into the microphone, trying not to look.
“What do you mean. . .things?” Zach asked.
“Uh. . .spinny things. . .they be. . .uh. . .uh. . .spinny. . .twirly things. . .like. . .twirly. . .Ya Know?” and he sure hoped they did, because he didn’t have any other way to explain it.
“I don’t know what the hell you’re talking about, dude. . .but, I’m hungry, “ said Josh. “Can we quit for now?”
“I’m hungry, too!” said Kirby. “And I gotta pee real bad!”
Yeah. . .yeah. . .sure.” said Zach. “We can finish up at home. . .com’on, Harper Bailey, maybe you just need some air.”
But even in the air, even in the sunlight, Zach’s green diamond spun away.
“Do I got me. . .uh. . .uh. . .one them things?. . .Huh?. . .” Harper Bailey asked.
“One of what things?’ Zach asked back, wondering if he shouldn’t give him a hug; Harper Bailey looked straight-up scared.
“Uh. . .them things. . .“ Harper Bailey said, pointing at the plum bob he saw over Zach’s head. “Uh. . .look n’ see. . .uh. . .seein’ you somethin‘?. . . I got me one?”
“Nope,” said Zach and caught his own reflection in a passing cab; there was nothing on his head. “Com’on, Harper Bailey. . .let’s go home. Leave your bike, dude. . .I’ll drive.”
And in the reflection of the windows of “Dungeon“, Harper Bailey saw a diamond spinning on his head. . .a bright green diamond. . .just like Zach’s. . .a bright green diamond all his own; “Crap. . .uh. . .Zach?. . .uh. . .LOOK!. . .Right There!. . .”
As before, Zach saw nothing: “Where?”
“There!. . .Right there on my head. . .” and Harper Bailey started to cry.
“It’s okay! It’s okay, dude. . .“ Zach said in a panic; he’d never seen Harper Bailey cry before. Not knowing what else to do, he said, “Oh. . .That!! Hey. . .not a worry, dude. . .Everybody’s got one of those,” and shoved Harper Bailey into the car and drove back to his parent’s house as fast as he could.
“You gotta go to bed,” Zach ordered when they pulled into the driveway of his parents’ house. “You’re lookin’ kinda sick; for real sick, dude. . .not cool sick. . .” and he took Harper Bailey to his room.
“Stuff all loud and bangy,” Harper Bailey whined.
“Bet it is,” said Zach, and he helped Harper Bailey lay down on the bed. “But, you’ll feel heaps better after you sleep.’
“Yeah. . .uh. . .hey?. . .where I be?. . .” Harper Bailey mumbled.
“You’re home with me,” said Zach, pulling out his phone.
“Home with you. . .home with you. . .” Harper Bailey repeated as he drifted off to sleep.
“Dude,” Zach said, when Josh answered the phone. “We got a problem. . .I’m at my folks’ house. . .can you get Kirby over here? Something’s wrong with Harper Bailey. I’m gonna give Taylor a call----tell you about it when you get here---just get here.” and then he called Taylor. “Taylor. . .we got a big problem. . .it’s Harper Bailey. . .uh. . .he’s gone crackers again. . .yeah. . .can you come over to my parents‘ house?. . .yeah, he’s here with me. . .can you come Now?. . .yeah, Now. . .Great. . .See ya.”
Zach stood over the bed, looking down on a sleeping Harper Bailey; Harper Bailey mumbled, gave a snort and then mumbled something again, before knotting up his forehead and giving out a heavy sigh.
“It’s okay, Harper Bailey,” Zach said in a low voice. “You’ll be fine. . .I’ve got you.”
“What do you mean by crazy?” Taylor asked Zach, as she sat down next to Josh on the sofa. They had all been there for just a few minutes, but Taylor didn’t want to waste any time.
“Crazy. . .just crazy. . .he’s seeing things again---”
“When did it start?” she asked, like a detective getting at the facts.
“We were at the club, practicing. . .then he started seeing things,” Zach explained.
“But first he had a ‘Big Mistake’.” Kirby offered.
“Well, why did you let him do that?” Taylor asked. Would these Boys never grow up?
“Cuz he can’t sing without them,” Josh explained.
“Yeah!” agreed Kirby, as Zach shamefully kept silent.
“So you make him crazy. . .and then say. . .‘Gosh. . .Look. . .He’s Crazy!’” Taylor pointed out. “So why are we all here?”
“It’s different, Taylor. . .this isn’t ‘Big Mistake’ crazy. . .this is plain, straight-up crazy----“ Zach said, his voice tense with concern. “And you shoulda seen the look on his face. . .like he was scared outta his wits!. . .No, something’s wrong. . .you remember the time he ran away. . .it was like that!”
“So, what should we do?” she asked, just as concerned as Zach, but far madder at them all for letting it happen.
“We got to get him better enough for the gig on Friday,” Josh said, reaching out for Taylor’s hand; but she snatched her hand away.
“That’s what’s important to you all? The gig?. . .Just the gig? Not him? ” she asked, irate.
“He is,” said Zach, standing up and heading for the stairs. “Forget the gig! If he’s gone nuts I’m not letting him go on the stage---”
“But Zach!” protested Kirby and Josh in unison. “’Dungeon’ is the bomb! It’s gonna make us---”
“US?!. . .“ Zach cried out. “There is no Us. . .there’s only Harper Bailey. . .that reviewer called us average. . .he raved about Harper Bailey. . .Harper Bailey fronts. . .he’s what people see; Com’on Taylor, let’s go make sure he’s okay.”
And Taylor and Zach stood watch while Harper Bailey slept; like parents to him; like the lovers they were for him; they stood watch. Concern for him made their hearts grow heavy.
‘I shouldn’t have broken up with him‘, thought Taylor. Poor little guy seems lost.
‘I never should have left him,’ thought Zach. Poor little guy seems so alone.
Harper Bailey stirred. . .a troubled little frown creased his forehead. . .how fragile he suddenly seemed to them.
“He’s trying to say something,“ Taylor observed.
Zach and Taylor worriedly bent over him. . .and in a whisper Harper Bailey said, “Whattcha mean I ain’t gettin’ my money back?”
Harper Bailey woke up, a little foggy, but basically as clear-headed as usual, which as we know isn’t very clear-headed to at all, and found he was powerfully hungry; he also found Zach reading in a chair beside the bed.
“Dude?” he asked, “Where the hell am I?”
“Home with me,” Zach said, putting his book away. “How you feeling?”
“Home with you. . .mmmm. . .our home?. . .cuz. . .this don’t look like our home. . .oh Hey. . .I know me this room!. . .“ and then very worried, he asked, “Hey!?. . . Ohmygod. . .Are we back in school?”
“What do you mean. . .‘Back‘?” asked Zach, but seeing Harper Bailey frown with concern, said, “Just messing with you, dude. . .naw, we’re not back in school; it’s still Now. . .You want anything?”
“Uh. . .sure could use me. . .uh. . .uh. . .Oooh. . .Oooh. . .I know. . .uh. . .uh what that thingy called?. . .it be all flat. . .you know. . .Flat?. . .and all gooey stuff inside?. . .you know. . .Gooey?. . .Flat and Gooey. . .you know. . .Oooh. . .Oooh. . .I know. . .a grilled cheese sandwich. . .Hey. . .I had me a messed up dream, dude. . .uh. . .uh. . .everybody got them a spinny thing, all shiny. . .Even Me!” and he patted around on the top of his head just to make sure there wasn’t anything there.
“Do you see them Now?” Zach asked.
“Pffft!. . .No. . .I awake. . .uh. . .and that grilled cheese sandwich?. . .”
“Oh, yeah. . .yeah,” said Zach, relieved that Harper Bailey wasn’t seeing things anymore. “I’ll get right on that. You wanna come downstairs and hang with Taylor? She’s still here---”
“At home with us?”
“Uh Huh. . .sure. . .at home with us. . .com’on down. . .I’ll make you that sandwich.”
Harper Bailey’s phone was ringing; he ignored the wonky vibes he saw coming from his pants pocket and answered the phone anyway. (Life sure was getting strange.)
“Harper Bailey? It is Isabella. . .Is it rude for me to be calling you?” she asked. She had been raised to believe that a nice girl didn’t call a boy she liked; a nice girl waited for him to call. But Isabella was a little tired of being a nice girl; nice girls didn’t seem to get to do anything.
“Uh. . .rude?. . .naw. . .it ain’t rude. . .lots a people call me, “ he said. “Oooh. . .Oooh. . .girl. . .me and my band be playin’ ‘Dungeon’ tonight. . .it gonna be so damn epic. . .uh. . .people be like ‘Sweet’. . .you know. . .like ‘Sick, dude. . .that’s awesome’. . .wanna come?. . .I can leave your name at the door. . .Hey. . .Taylor gonna be there. . .”
“Is she?. . .“ Isabella said, and then under her breath whispered “Aquela bruxinha malvada“. . .and then continued on saying to Harper Bailey, “It might be nice to see Taylor again. . .what time is your show?"
“We go on at 11. . .I know. . .kinda early. . .but club gotta close by 3, so. . .Pffft! Whattcha gonna do?. . .Huh?. . .Hey. . .Hey. . .uh. . .you see where Thing Somebody put my money?. . .Huh?”
“What’s that?” Isabella asked. “I don’t know what you mean.”
“Ah. . .uh. . .never mind. . .that’s okay. . .you can’t help it. . .never seen him my own self. . .Hey. . .uh. . .Hey. . .look me up when you get to the club. . .Okay?”
“Of course,” she said. She hadn’t understand most of what he said; but at least she knew to go to ‘Dungeon’ before the band went on at 11. She’d have to find out just where ‘Dungeon’ was.
Harper Bailey had Isabella added to the list of guests when they got to the club, along with Taylor and Barry.
“I’m gonna check this place out,” he said to the guys. “I ain’t never been here before. . .”
“You were just here two days ago,” Kirby said.
“Not me!. . .you musta got me confuzzled with somebody else,” Harper Bailey said. “ . .uh. . .Dudes. . .Lookie. . .caskets!. . .hehehehehe. . .sparkle dweebs. . .”
“But you Were here!” Kirby insisted.
“Zip it!” warned Zach. “Don’t go messin’ with him. . .if he doesn’t remember, he doesn’t remember. . .let it go.”
“Well, alright. . .but he Was here.” Kirby said in a grumble, as he watched Harper Bailey run off to see if he could fit in any of the coffins.
When Harper Bailey wandered into the basement room, the first place he headed to was the bar.
“I’m Harper Bailey---” he said to the bartender. “I’m with the band.”
“Good for you,” said the man behind the counter. “Suppose you want your comp drink now----”
“Uh. . .what’s that?” Harper Bailey asked, ears on end; did he hear drink?
“Your ‘freebie’. . .band members always get a comp.”
“Like. . .uh. . .for nothin’? You just gimme one?” Harper Bailey asked. The bored bartender just nodded. “For Real?. . .this be free. . .Right?. . ” Harper Bailey asked again, just to make sure. “Free?. . .Coolness. . .gimme a ‘Madness Thingy’ or a ‘Big Mistake’. . .you know. . .whichever one you know how to make. . .you want I should show you how to make it?. . .cuz. . .uh. . .I know how to make ‘em. . .You think maybe?”
“Pretty sure I got this, kid.” the bartender muttered and he went about making the drink.
“Hey. . .Hey. . .uh. . .uh. . .Oooh. . .Oooh. . .I know. . .uh. . .them guys upstairs know you gimme this?”
“Now how would they know that?” the bartender barked.
“Oooh. . .Dude. . .you know. . .spy cameras. . .walkie-talkies . . .thumbprints. . . uh. . .Hey!. . . you ain’t very friendly. . . “
“I’m not paid to be friendly. . .I’m paid to serve drinks. . .Why you want to know all that crap about spy cameras and such, anyway?”
“Uh. . .no reason. . . Just Askin’. . .” Harper Bailey quickly drank his drink and headed back upstairs.
“Hey. . .I’m Harper Bailey, “ he said to the bartender in the video lounge. “I be with the band. . .You got you a spy camera?. . .you know. . .Spy Camera?. . .peekin’ at people?. . .innocent people who just be doin’ stuff?. . .like innocent stuff. . .not crim’nl stuff. . .you know. . .just innocent stuff like drinkin’ they drink? You got you a spy camera for that?”
“What?!” the confused bartender asked.
“You seen me before?. . .uh. . .on your spy camera?” Harper Bailey asked again; people sure were difficult to talk to; they never seemed to Understand Anything!
“I don’t Have surveillance cameras, if that’s what you’re asking,” the still confused bartender said. “. . .so, I guess No, I haven’t seen you before.”
“Uh. . .Sweet. . .Can I have my ‘freebie’ drink now?. . .you know. . .cuz I be with the band?”
“Oh. . . Sure; what’ll you have?”
Harper Bailey was at the third bar when Zach finally found him.
“Dude!. . .where have you been?” Zach asked, still worried. “. . .We go on in 15 minutes!. . .Ohmygod! What have you been doing?”
“Dude. . . Zach. . .uh. . .uh. . .hey!. . .why come you leave me?. . .you know. . .before. . .who gonna take care of Me?. . .Huh?. . .Oooh. . .Oooh. . .Dude!. . .they gimme FREE stuff here. . .Free Stuff!. . .like. . .uh. . .for free!”
“Ohmygod,” Zach moaned. “Like free ‘Big Mistakes‘?”
‘Oh. . .Yeah. . .like that. . .SURE. . .Uh. . .Uh. . .Jus‘ say you be the band. . .they ain’t got spy cameras. . .don’t know you already got one. . .Smart, huh?”
“NO!. . .No It’s Not Smart!. . .how many have you had?” Zach asked, now Very Worried.
“Uh. . .uh. . .lemme think on that a minute. . .uh. . .uh. . .Oooh. . .Oooh. . .seein’ me somethin’. . . TWO!. . .Not So Loud!. . .Shhhhhh!. . .Shhhhhh. . .it a secret!. . .two. . .Hey. . .Hey!. . .HEY. . .you want I should sing?. . .I sing you know. . .You Ever heard me Sing?!. . .Huh?. . .Cuz, I sing. . .You want I should sing Now?. . .You think maybe?”
“Yes. . .Yes. . .Sing. . .that’s just what I want you to do! Com’on! Are you okay?”
“Dude. . .I be Sweesomastic!. . .You Too. . .Hey. . .Lookie. . .Red Sneakers!. . .I got me Red Sneakers. . .Just Like You!”
“Yeah yeah yeah. . .red sneakers, just like me; Com’on!”
“Rage” took the stage a like an invading army; at least with as much noise as one; Josh was ticked-off that Harper Bailey had gone AWOL and was cursing him out; Kirby was alarmed at the size of the crowd and kept saying to no one in particular, “This is a Bad Idea!”; Zach was attempting to shut Josh up by shouting at him, and Harper Bailey was obsessed with his sneakers and wouldn’t stop rambling.
But the minute they got into place, Harper Bailey was “ON”; with a smile that burst wide open, he said to the band, “Dudes. . .Loud. . .and With It!” and “Rage” gave a performance the likes of which “Dungeon” had never seen before. Harper Bailey might have been foggy; he might have been crazy; he might very well have been certifiable while he stood there; but one thing was Certain. . .he was a Star! He swaggered his way through every number, pushing the band to excess; he was electric, he was mesmerizing, he was magnetic. . .
Between each song, the audience hung on his every (rambling) word; applauding his vague and fuzzy “wonderings”; cheering his rants against “Thing Somebody” (whoever that was? Was he “The Man“? The Cops? The Bully down the street? Didn’t really matter. . .Just about Everybody at ‘Dungeon’ had a “somebody” who messed with their lives.). And when Harper Bailey suddenly froze in place, seeing all around him spinning diamonds and thought bubbles over the heads of the audience, they all froze as well, waiting to hear what he had to say:
“Thing Somebody!. . .Dude!. . .Flip The Switch!. . .Cain’t see me None of this No More.”
. . .and all of the Losers, the Oddballs, and Misfits, All the Grown Children who Didn’t Belong, roared their approval, chanting “Flip The Switch! Flip The Switch!”; They had found their Messiah-----
At the very back of the room, Taylor and Isabella stood side by side; both thinking the exact same thing; “I have Got to Make That Boy MINE!”
. . .okie dokie. . .that there's what happened. . .phew!. . .di'n't think I ever be able to get it all out. . .Think I need me a nap. . .THANKS!!!
Life and Times of Harper Bailey 6A
Feb 19, 2012 by orlov
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