[SleepingDragon]: 268.Metal Daze.Chapter 9 - Alone
The broken rose with laughin' eyes
You're a mystery, always runnin' wild
Like a child without a home
But it's easy come and easy go
Oh I'm sorry but it's true
You're bringin' on the heartbreak
Takin' all the best of me
Oh can't you see?
You got the best of me
Whoah can't you see?
Bringin' on the heartache...
-Bringin’ on the Heartbreak
Steve called home about a half-hour after he arrived in town, telling his mom he would be staying at Matt’s house so they could practice. He hadn’t seen Matt at all. He made his call from a pay phone near the park. He’d scored some reefer and was making plans with some of the local heads to get a quarter barrel for a small field party. If they could get enough donations, they might even have enough for a full keg.
A few minutes later, he sat at a picnic table in the park, passing a joint between Charlie, himself, and Bunhead. Burnouts milled about the park, some going from car to car to solicit donations for the party. Every now and then one would return to Charlie and hand him some money.
“Five more bucks and we got a kegger!” He announced at one point.
“That’s it?” Steve asked, raising an eyebrow. He dug in his pocket and handed Charlie a five. “Let’s get it on!”
Charlie didn’t drive, so Steve gave him and Bunhead a ride to a nearby party store, making sure to park out of view of the door. If he were seen by the clerk, they wouldn’t sell Charlie the barrel. A couple minutes later, The pair emerged from the store on each side of a keg, Bunhead holding a tap in his free hand, Charlie a stack of plastic cups in his. They loaded it in the trunk and were soon on their way to Zink Road, the favorite spot of local heads for field parties.
Cars and trucks were already parked in the large field when they arrived, having left the park for the party as soon as the buyers went after the beer. Someone already had speakers on their truck cab, blasting Ted Nugent’s Double Live Gonzo. Steve helped Bunhead tap the keg and the party was underway.
He was still on his first beer when someone offered him a hit of mescaline. He accepted it gratefully since he planned to do a lot of drinking that night. He still had the extra hit of acid left over from the Scorpions concert but had promised himself he wouldn’t do it until he was in a situation where he wasn’t going to be going anywhere important.
Within an hour, the ‘scleen had kicked in and Steve had that familiar robotic smile plastered on his face. Everything anyone said was hilarious and soon his jaw ached from laughing so much. He was on his tenth beer before he knew it.
“So...” Bunhead said sitting on his car hood next to him. “You going to Def Lep?”
“What?” Steve asked, surprised. “When? Where?”
“The Castle.” his friend informed. “Labor Day. It was just announced over the weekend and tickets went on sale today. They might already be sold out.”
“Damn!” Steve said, shocked. “Where the hell have I been?”
“I don’t know but you better get tickets quick if you’re going.”
“Shit!” Steve hoped he hadn’t missed the boat. He’d been so caught up in worrying about Roxy not calling, then about her being sent to foster care, that he hadn’t talked to anyone or even turned on the radio. “I hope there’s still some left in the morning!”
Roxy! What was he going to do about her? The situation absolutely sucked. It was ridiculous in the extreme. There was no way they were going to keep them apart forever, so what was the point other than to make them both miserable for as long as possible? Steve had no other girls he was interested in. As far as he was concerned, he would wait as long as he had to for her to get out.
He tried to put it out of his mind and just enjoy the party. He lost track of how many beers he drank and of how many people he talked to that night. As it happened, it was morning before he knew it and he had stayed up all night. He didn’t feel drunk from the beers but still had a strong mescaline buzz going. He helped Charlie return the keg for the deposit, then took the car to the park where he chilled out a while, waiting for the record store to open.
Shortly after the town clock chimed nine, Steve peeled himself from the front seat and walked through the park and around a corner onto Water Street. Shaffer’s record store was half a block down on the right. He knew he’d blown it when he saw ‘sold out’ plastered over the Def Leppard concert poster in the front display window. Chagrined, he stopped in his tracks, staring at the poster momentarily. Ah well, Roxy can’t go anyway. He decided to go in since he was there. Maybe a new album would take the edge off his disappointment
He browsed the record section a while and then became distracted by a display of car stereos near the main counter. There was a thought. He could replace the old radio in the Impala with a cassette deck. He wouldn’t be able to afford any of the cool speakers that were offered, and he would have to do the installation himself, but it was doable. He was about to approach the salesman for help when a couple he had never seen before came in the door and headed straight for the counter.
“What can I do for you?” Steve heard the salesman ask them as he made a quick detour and checked out the magazine rack.
He couldn’t make out all of the conversation between the couple and the guy behind the counter, but what he did hear got his attention.
“Tickets...No refund policy...excep
“Thanks...We appreciate it!”
The couple left the store and Steve stepped up to the counter.
“Can I help you?” The longhaired clerk asked.
“I dunno, maybe.” Steve said with a smirk. “I was kind of bummed to see Def Lep sold out before I could get a ticket.”
“Well, you may be in luck.” The guy winked. “I’ve just got a return on a pair of lawn tickets. If you take ‘em both, they’re yours for fifteen a piece.” That was five over on each ticket, but Steve wasn’t about to look a gift horse in the mouth.
“Deal.” He said with a nod. “And I need that bottom car stereo on the rack over there.”
The salesman reached behind the display and produced a white box, which was Steve’s new cassette deck. He sat it on the counter and put the pair of concert tickets in a paper sleeve.
Matt was home and helped him install the new cassette player. Afterward, they sat in the front seat and burned a doobie while listening to tunes on the new stereo. He would have to buy some more cassettes now that he had the tape deck. He only owned a couple he had picked up cheap for use in Matt’s car when he was with him.
“What ever happened with Roxy?” Matt asked after a while. “Everything cool?”
“She’s in a foster home, man.” Steve informed.
“Man, that sucks!”
“Tell me about it.” Steve lamented. “Her old man busted her when she was about to leave for the concert.”
“What you gonna do?” Matt asked.
“Nothin’ much I can do.” Steve reported. “We’re not supposed to have any communication I guess. I do have a way to write to her though...throu
“Well, hang in there man.” Matt advised. “It won’t be forever. Careful though. Don’t get yourself in trouble.”
They decided to give Sean a call and see about practicing. He happened to be free, and within the hour they were jamming on Flame Sabre songs in the spare room. Matt showed them a new song he had been working on, which was very much like the three they already had together. It consisted of mainly the same chords, rearranged. Steve had little trouble putting lead to it as all the same riffs he was used to playing worked well. Matt and Sean were both well impressed by how fast Steve was able to come up with the other guitar part.
“That rocks!” Sean said. “Man, how do you do that so fast?”
“Do what?” Steve asked.
“Come up with lead like that.”
“Heh. It’s mostly the same stuff that’s in the other tunes.”
“Well it sounds awesome, whatever you’re doing.” Matt put in.
It was all simple stuff. Steve didn’t think it sounded awesome. He thought it was as lame as the rest of the material they did. He kept his feelings to himself though, not wanting to spoil his friend’s good mood.When they were done jamming, he hung out for a few minutes, then drove himself home.
He went straight to his room when he got there and wrote a letter to Roxy. It then occurred to him that he didn’t have Trina’s address so he called her on the phone to get it.
“Hello? Trina?” He asked. “How’s it going?”
“Oh hi, Slam.” She returned. “What’s up.”
“I just wanted to see how Angela was doing...” He told her. “...And, I forgot to get your address. I have a letter.”
“She’s okay.” Trina said. “Miserable but okay. She said to tell you it’s not your fault and not to worry about it. She misses you. Got a pen?” Steve confirmed and Trina gave him the address. “About the letter; make sure it’s kind of short because it has to go inside mine, okay?”
“No problem. I miss her too and I’m thinking about her. I wish we could go to Def Leppard together.”
“Cool, I’ll tell her.”
“Okay” Steve said. “I’m gonna run this to the post office now. Let me know anytime you hear from her.”
“Will do, Slam.”
Steve grabbed the letter he’d written and jumped in his car. The post office was in the village of Walloon Lake, a mile from his house. After he’d dropped the letter off, he stopped at the small party store by the beach and got himself a pop, a bag of Munchos and Def Leppard’s latest, Pyromania, on cassette. He sat in the front seat of his car and ate before taking a walk on a nearby trail to smoke a joint. When he was done, he decided a dip in the lake was in order. He didn’t have his shorts but he dropped off his wallet at the car and went in, clothes and all.
Returning to the car, he sat there soaked, thinking of Roxy. He put the cassette in the tape deck.