Becker Heiner, carefully balancing a tray of semi-cooked Angus cheeseburgers, deftly opened the door to his basement, using only his foot. He pondered at how he acquired his skill, but chose rather to not fall down the twenty steps to the basement floor. He had counted them time and time before. After all, they don't call it obsessive-compulsive disorder for nothing.
Becker was a tall, lanky 17-year-old junior at Harmony Hill Regional High School. He was an outcast of sorts: he played the bass drum in the school marching band, wore strange paganistic symbols about his neck, and hung around the dorkier types. But he was rather content with his life. He had no reason to complain.
He had wild, untamed dark brown hair that shot off in any direction and hung loose and straight. Staring down at his white Fender t-shirt (which ironically reminded him of a Guitar Hero game), raggedy jeans and worn sneakers, he laughed. He didn't bother with proper attire on band day. Heck, he slept in his school clothes, anyway.
He rounded the sharp corner to stare out into the 15' x 6' room. His bandmates sat around, the guitarists on their amps and Jay the drummer at his throne, lazily leafing through an FHM Eric had found in a dumpster behind the CVS. Becker, with a flourish, placed the tray of 9 burgers on the low tom; everyone got two, except for Becker himself. He was such a light eater.
Now to pray it doesn't melt the Tama drumhead. Jay snorted, reaching for his burger.
Becker had met Jay freshman year at Harmony Hill, when Becker had been abandoned by his list of old friends while they battled over a girl. Jay had taken Becker under his band dorky wing, and brushed the crumbs of inadequacy off him. Becker had come to the habit of referring to Jay as Jesus, mainly because of the my savior' thing. Jay had similar untamed hair, but his curled at odd angles and simply acted as its own mind. Jay was currently wearing a green long-sleeve polo shirt covered by his light brown army jacket and a pair of crisp jeans. Jay was probably the cleanest man in the dark basement, which was illuminated by a single light bulb Becker had properly placed right behind his own head when he played. His Fender Rumble Bass Amp had a bad habit of overheating and distorting, much to Becker's delight. No need for a pedal when your amp was slowly dying on the inside.
What finals do we have tomorrow, Jesus? Anson, the rhythm guitarist asked, leaping off his father's Gretsch amp and nearly diving for his taste of Angus. Because I swear, the history one tore my nads off!
Figuratively, I hope. Jay replied, biting into his burger.
Becker had met Anson last year, as well. But his relationship with Anson was more superficial. Anson showed up, played, chatted for a bit, and left. The two never particularly talked outside of band practice, which was sad, as they were essentially the same person. Anson had short black hair cropped up and curling slightly at his hairline. He was wearing a white Avenged Sevenfold t-shirt with a large silver crucifix hanging from his neck. His jeans were shredded, as if in an effort to appease his grunge god, Cobain. He played a 1987 Fender Stratocaster with a pale white finish his father had passed down onto him. His father had belonged to a small time band, Kameroon, which played out of a bar called Lackey's in the Bronx. Becker often wondered if Anson was just trying to live up to his father's potential.
Nah. Major discomfort in the crotchal area! Anson announced shamelessly, slinking back to his amp and sitting.
Thanks for that. It's going to haunt my dreams for weeks. Eric muttered, creeping over for his food like a starving hyena to a left behind water buffalo carcass.
Eric had been a close friend to Becker for years. He was a larger fellow, with broad, sloping shoulders and a weight in the two hundreds. He wasn't fat, mind you, but had a good mixture of fat and muscle. It also didn't hinder the fact he was 6'3, trumping Becker by two inches. He had a hair of strangely curly brown hair, and a strange black facial hair pattern that flooded his neck and around his mouth like a symbiotic disease. He was their lead guitarist, and played an Ibanez GRG with a fiery red finish. Eric also belonged to the Harmony Hill Swim Team, and ruled the breaststroke. It was due to his living adjacent to a lake, and having been on the Greenfield Lake Swim Team since he was 7. But Eric had a nasty little issue: women. He could never hold onto a girlfriend for more than a few weeks; three months at best. This led to some issues with him not showing up to practice, much to the chagrin of all the members.
Becker looked down at the tape on the bass drum's front. It read Chagrin, ironically, the name of their band. Strangely, they practiced in Becker's basement. He was the bassist, and found it odd that they practiced at his house. Why not Jay's? Quite simply, it was because Jay lived on church property, and the minister (his father) wouldn't appreciate the sounds of good rock music.
He strolled back to his lighted corner, took his Fender Jazz Bass with the natural finish in his hands and sat on the amp. Anson gave a light laugh.
What? Becker asked, slapping the E string lightly, beginning his way through Higher Ground'.
I just find it hilarious that the bassist runs about as a waiter. Anson answered with a stifled chortle.
Well, it is my house. Becker replied meekly. It's only polite.
Haha. Polite burn. Eric slapped Anson on the back with a mouthful of Angus beef.
Be more lame, dude. Anson shot back.
It was then Becker heard the strange noise coming from beyond the guitsrists' arguments. It was a strange clinking sound, like metal on metal. It could be only one thingor person.
Charlie! Jay called, tossing Becker the FHM. If you don't eat, the Martians will steal it!
Becker had forgot of Jay discontent toward Charlie, their singer. It was similar to Becker's discontent toward Eric, but to a greater extent.
Charlie poked his weary little head around the corner of the laundry room door, exposing his flat, messy head of light brown hair and ugly facial hair, which easily overthrew Eric's in regards to blegh' factor. He was a gruff fellow, wearing a bright red Harmony Hill Vocal Angels sweatshirt and a pair of black shorts. He was fiddling with something Becker could barely make out: the water line to the washing machine, which had been removed weeks ago and had caused the house's water pressure to drop to a drizzle.
Dude, do not mess with that! Becker ordered Charlie, who grinned dumbly.
Why? he asked, wrenching his hands around the hose.
It made it that much more amusing when he drenched himself in the black water.
Becker had just finished his foreign language final and was sitting calmly at a library table, with Jay opposite him, head buried in an American History textbook. Becker simply could not understand Jay's love of American history, as it was all disappointment and war. It was pretty much like slapping world history in the face.
Nothing on the Armenian Genocide in there, huh? Becker asked in a loud whisper.
Swear to God, you mention the Axis of Justice again was Jay's singular reply from behind the chapter on the Civil War.
Then came something Becker wasn't expecting. He suddenly felt two hands grip his shoulders from behind. He lazily tilted his head back to stare into the odd green eyes of one Jana Carlisle, a redheaded senior that Jay and Becker knew rather familiarly.
Howdy. She said, a bit too peppy for either of the bandmates.
A grumble came as her reply. She simply smiled it off and went back to her original mission.
So, as you know, I'll be graduating in less than a week
Yay said Jay and Becker simultaneously, and without any excitement. Jay didn't even lift his gaze from the book.
Very funny. Jana replied with a small grin. Anyway, I know you guys have a band.
How ironic, hm? Becker asked. Run by the bassist and the drummer!
It's because our guitarists are lazy s***s and the singer's about two knocks to the head from dropping out. Jay chuckled. Becker gave a light laugh at his jokeof sorts.
Well, I'm having a graduation party at Karen's house and I was wondering
Why you're not having the party at your own house. Becker finished in classical Becker fashion. Jay gave him a lazy high five without peeling his eyes off a portrait of McClellan.
No. Uhcould you guys play at the party? I'll pay.
Gas money to and back, and all the food we can eat. Becker offered.
You live like, a block from Karen's place! Jana said, much too loud for the library. The library nazi' gave her a dirty look, but she didn't notice.
Yes, but let's say hypothetically' we happen to get lost began Becker.
And we happen' to end up in northern New York Jay continued.
And when we happen' to get back to Jersey, we happen to find Karen's house
'Hypothetically', we'd have spent a good hundred bucks on gas.
You guys are d--ks. Jana laughed. It's on the twentieth, if you can do it
Yeah, we'll do it. Becker confirmed. Jay gave thumbs up from behind the text.
With bells on. Becker said. Jana smiled gleefully and walked away with a skip in her step.
Jay suddenly lowered his book to look at Becker.
What exactly does that mean? he asked.
I have no f--ing idea.