The phone rang. Mrs. King picked it up.
"Hello? Ah, Mrs. Daniels. How are -"
"Yes, I understand, but he's only fourteen. He doesn't really get it yet."
More angry chatter broke through.
"Mrs. Daniels, I've told you before. I always ask him to turn it down, but as soon as I leave the room he cranks it back up again! I don't see how that's my fault."
Another pause. Mrs. King sighed.
"Very well, I'll tell him. Yes, this won't happen again. Sorry to disturb you. Good night." She hung up and trudged wearily up the stairs.
As the door closed behind his mother, Michael King flopped down on his bed. It was always the same. Whenever he tried to play, one of his stupid neighbors would come banging on the door, and his mom would yell at him. Nothing ever changed.
He sighed and reluctantly turned the amp volume down to 3. No one ever understood that he had to play at high volumes. He'd been a guitar fanatic ever since he'd heard 'Fade to Black' at age five. Since then, he'd saved up his pocket money faithfully, and eventually bought a Marshall DSL100, a Dunlop Crybaby and a Zoom G2.1u. But what was the point in using all that lovely gear to play softly?
'Well, I may as well play while I have time,' he thought, picking up his ESP M-II. He hit a couple of chords, then switched to distortion and started playing Master of Puppets.
That was another thing. Metallica was just about the only band he ever listened to or played. This much was evidenced by the life-size posters of James Hetfield, Kirk Hammett, Lars Ulrich and Rob Trujillo on his wall.
His mom opened the door. "Mike, that's enough. It's already 10:30 and tomorrow's a school day."
Michael thought of arguing, but decided against it. He turned off the amp and began to pack up.
"Mike," his mom said. "I'm sorry I got angry at you. But you can't play that loud. It's just mean to other people."
"Well, if you'd just let me get the Vox amPlug -"
"Mike, you have enough gear already," she said firmly. "How hard is it to just turn the volume down?"
Michael said nothing. He just clicked off the light and got into bed.
Mrs. King sighed and closed the door.