It was cold as hell outside, and I was standing on a street corner waiting for the bus. I guess that’s my typical mid-October weekday morning though. It was the same thing every day, five days a week: alarm at 6:00, shower at 6:15, breakfast at 6:30, music at 6:40, leave at 7:10, bus picks me up and 7:20, bus drops me off at 7:40… monotony. But for the first time in a long time, I was actually excited about the upcoming 6:15 shower, 6:30 breakfast, and 7:40 school arrival. It felt as if my entire quality of life had been improved. I just wanted to get out and go to school; go through my day and live it! And I know today might not be the greatest day, and that it might have a few rough patches. I know I might get that AC/DC fact all mixed up, or I might annoy someone with my defacing of Telecasters, but what the hell! I know one thing for sure though: I, Carl Leech, am here on this Earth, and I intend to make good use of my stay! So let it be known; Carl Leech is here to stay!
By the time the school bus came to a halt in front of I.E. Weldon, I had frantically scribbled a verse down on a scrap piece of paper. The fact that we drove over potholes galore didn’t really improve my near-illegible hand writing, and I feared that I myself wouldn’t be able to read it by the end of the day. But when an idea comes strolling by, like it did on this particular bus ride, you can’t just watch it walk away; you have to capture it using whatever means possible.
I crammed the scrap paper into my pocket while I stepped off the bus and into the school, carelessly making my way towards my locker. Grubbs was already at his locker, and greeted me once I arrived. I swung open my locker, and tossed my bag inside.
"What the hell has you so happy?" Grubbs questioned, watching me curiously.
"I honestly don’t know."
"I think I do," Grubbs said in a teasing manner, and jokingly winked. I knew what he was referring to.
"So, about Why," I said, in an attempt to change the topic. "It’s going good; we just need a bassist."
"I’m one step ahead of ya!" Grubbs boasted. "I’ve got this school covered with flyers. Tryouts are next Tuesday. I convinced Mr. Thorne to let us use the music room after school." Mr. Thorne was the music teacher at our school, as you may have figured out.
"Nice!" I congratulated Grubbs, giving him a friendly slap on the back.
Me and Grubbs talked about the future of Why for a bit longer before Jessica came around, waving to us while she was walking through the halls.
"Hello boys," she cheerfully exclaimed, coming to a stop in front of Grubbs and I. "I saw the flyers; they’re really cool."
"Thanks," Grubbs said, smiling at his accomplishment.
"So, what should we do until we have an official bassist?" I asked, as I didn’t want to delay any progress just because we were short one person.
"I dunno," Grubbs replied, shrugging.
"We could write some music I guess," Jessica suggested. "We’ve never actually written a song as a group before."
"Yeah, we’ve just used Carl’s shitty songs," Grubbs jokingly shouted, giving me a playful shove. I knew he was joking when he said that, mainly for the fact that he was a horrid lyricist himself. He’s the only person I’ve ever known to take cat and dog and call it a rhyme.
"Fine, I’ll be at your house by five," I said to Grubbs, shoving him back. "Sound good?"
"Sure, my house," Grubbs agreed.
"Sounds good to me," Jessica complied.
Grubbs suddenly sighed as he looked down the hall.
"Oh boy, here comes the biggest douchebag of all time."
I turned my head to see what Grubbs was talking about, and saw Dale walking down the hall in our direction, accompanied by someone who looked like just as big of a jerk.
"Hey, f--k-head!" He growled, giving me a not-so-playful shove. "I hear you’re looking for a bassist for your shitty band!"
Dale and his friend began to laugh. I don’t know what aspect of his comment he managed to find humorous.
"Yeah, I play a bit of bass myself." He bragged, although nobody asked him. "And I bet I am a way better bassist than any shitty player you can find! Hey, maybe I’ll start my own band, just so I can kick the shit out of yours!"
Dale and his friend began laughing again, and continued down the hallway.
"I really don’t like him," Grubbs mumbled.
"You’re not alone," I assured him.
At this point, the bell began to chirp its familiar high-pitched squeal, signalling the beginning of class. I grabbed my history textbooks, crammed them into my backpack, and began making my way through the crowded halls.
Grubbs, Jessica and I had our song writing session that night. We were able to write lyrics to two songs by 6:30, and decided to call it a night at that point.
"Well, good work team!" Grubbs exclaimed as Jessica and I got ready to depart. "I think we better hold off writing music to these until we have a bassist though."
"Good idea," Jessica replied. "Three days off is always a good idea!"
By this time, my dad had pulled up in his truck, and honked the horn, signaling his all-but-graceful arrival.
"Well, that’s my ride," I announced, walking towards the truck and waving goodbye at the same time.
"See ya, bro."
I arrived home at seven, and began settling down for the night. Well, when I say settle down for the night, I don’t mean curling up by a fire with a good book like one might expect. I mean cranking the stereo and blaring whatever band I was in the mood for, playing along to all the songs I know, as well as some I don’t. Before firing up the stereo for tonight’s session, I emptied my pockets out, and rediscovered the lyrics I had written on the bus that morning, amongst a loonie and a pair of ear buds. I haphazardly tossed all these items on my desk, and turned on the stereo for the night.
Although the weekend was my "day off" from both school and the Why, I knew it was going to be far from a vacation when I awoke the next morning. The first thing I had going on in my head when I got out of bed was another verse, repeating itself over and over again before I finally scribbled it down. Looking back, I think I might have been schizophrenic; having all these voices repeating rhymes in my head. If that’s the case, I guess I have schizophrenia to thank for my success as a lyricist. In fact, I wonder if the lyricist in my head was the guy playing the guitar in there as well.
The next three days of off time from Why was pretty much spent, oddly enough, writing music for Why. I simply didn’t want to have down time from Why; I just wanted to keep pushing the band forward. Maybe I was becoming a bit obsessive, but I had actually started to draw up a set list for when we got our first gig, although the idea of us having a gig hadn’t even been acknowledged yet. Hell, we didn’t even have a full band yet, and I was already practicing how I would sign autographs!
By the time Tuesday came around, I was pumped about the tryouts. I eagerly wanted to fill the vacant position in the Why’s line up, so we could get a move on! By the time the final bell had rung, I couldn’t hold my excitement in any longer, and ran up to the music room after tossing my backpack into my locker.
By the time I had arrived at the music room, Grubbs had already set everything up. He had cleared a space in the center of the room, in which he had positioned three chairs. In front of each of these chairs was a music stand, which supported a couple sheets of paper and a pen. A couple feet away from the seating, located in the front of the room, was a bass amp. Grubbs had already seated himself in the chair on the left, patiently waiting for the tryouts to begin. I took a seat beside him, in the middle, and Jessica came in five minutes later, taking the remaining chair.
"So, what time are they supposed to be here?" I asked impatiently.
"Twenty to three," Grubbs replied. I looked up at the clock; it was 2:30. At this point, I was anxious to start, and didn’t think I could wait another ten minutes.
"Do you know whose coming, Jeremy?" Jessica asked Grubbs.
The first person came by at 2:35, cautiously walking into the almost-empty music room.
"Bass tryouts?" he asked, looking around the room and realizing he was the only one currently there with a bass.
"Bingo," Grubbs casually replied. "You got another five minutes before they start."
I recognized Russell Wilcher from my Science class, but never really knew him that well. We were more or less casual acquaintance, and I didn’t even know he played bass until now. Russell quietly made his way towards one of the side walls of the room, and leaned up against it, patiently waiting for tryouts to start.
In the next five minutes, four more bassists trickled through the doorway, and Grubbs was ready to begin.
"Alright, first things first," Grubbs began. I just hoped he wasn’t going to do a big speech; I just wanted to know whether anyone here was a talented bass player or not. "You’re all here to try out to be a bassist for a band called Why. If you are here for any other reason, please don’t waste our time, and leave right now."
The five bassists just stared at Grubbs, and didn’t move a muscle.
"Excellent then!" He happily exclaimed. "Let’s get started! Who wants to go first?"
At that point, one more bassist walked through the door. Now, in all my life, this was probably one of the most shocking moments I have ever witnessed. No, the fact that he was later wasn’t the shocking part, but instead who it was that was late. I was utterly baffled as I watched him stand beside another bassist, holding a large black case.
"Sorry I’m late," Dale Poulin mumbled, as he removed the gleaming white bass from its sturdy case.