Band practice sucks.
Disclaimer: I own no one, including Young Nile who is a character in Scott Pilgrim VS The World, an awesome film everyone should see except his name is Neil in that.
We limp, shuffle and hobble back to the school building, clutching bruised limbs and wincing as we go. True, today wasn't half as bad as some of our previous beatings but it still hurts enough for Frank to go "Holy fuck, holy fuck, holy fuck" with every step and for me to pretend that I've got a bad case of hay fever so that no one questions my watering eyes.
On the bright side, there is zero chance of us being able to partake in gymnastic activities now. So we sit on the bench, nursing our wounds and telling ourselves that we're too manly to cry until the bell rings for lunch.
"Holy fuck," says Frank, getting to his feet.
"Please stop saying that," I tell him.
"Holy fuck," says Frank again.
"What does that even mean?" I ask him with a raised eyebrow. Honestly, I'm not trying to be difficult. But everyone always says it and I'm pretty sure not one of them knows what a "holy fuck" actually is. "How can a fuck be holy?"
He looks at me with a patronising stare. "Well I wouldn't expect you to know, Miss Virginal Beauty."
I try to tackle him in the fashion of a teenage boy protecting his manhood but I just end up hitting the ground and grazing my knee. Frank stands over me in a triumphant yet condescending way.
"Gerard," he says gently. "You are such a fail."
"I knoooow," I wail and fall to the floor in anguish.
Frank takes pity on me and helps me to my feet. I don't think I could have done it by myself; I'm too laden down with self-pity. My legs are still heavy as we make our way to the canteen and I'm too far gone into the Land of Depression to even decide whether I want a tuna baguette or mac and cheese.
"Gerard, snap out of it," Frank slaps me on the ass when I still haven't chosen. "It's a simple question. Carbs or carbs?"
"Why did you just slap my ass?"
"Because I like to," he rolls his eyes. "Now choose!"
I cast him a worried glance and quickly grab the baguette before his hands can find my butt again. Frank sniggers at my haste and heaps his plate with pasta. Perverted freak.
Choosing where to sit for lunch. A challenge in itself. Over there, Kash and his band of merry assholes guffawing at something only they would find funny. To the left we have the people who spend their lives debating Harvard over Yale and to my right the people who spend their lives debating Miley Cyrus over Hannah Montana. And right in the centre we have...them.
The Gods and Goddesses of Belleville High School.
Skin, shining golden with faultless tans, manicured nails flipping perfectly layered hair, straight, white teeth gleaming from brilliant smiles. Every one of them so beautiful they seem otherworldly. And yes, I know how gay that sounds. But you only have to look at them to know it's true. Except you can't look at them for too long because it's like looking directly into God's face. You'd blow up.
Out of the whole school they're the only ones who truly intimidate me. I mean, Kash's fists hurt but he's so thick I still feel some degree of superiority over him. But them? Boy, they're like, an entirely new level of human. Like they've evolved faster than the rest of us. So I fear them. They're so perfect they terrify me. No one should be that perfect. It's just...it's just wrong.
God, what would I give to be like them. But there's only one way to get in with the angels and that's joining Heaven, otherwise known as the school's musical production seeing as most of them are heading towards Hollywood. And you can't just go sitting at other people's tables; that would be the ultimate invasion of privacy. But to my horror there appears to be no empty spaces anywhere. I start to hyperventilate. My skin is going clammy. I try to take gulps of air but it hurts too much…
"Gerard! Over here!"
I look up from my lunch tray and breathe a sigh of relief. Mikey, my kid brother is waving me over to his table. Next to him I can just make out the frizzy head of our friend Ray. Cavalry music plays somewhere from the back of my head then stops abruptly because classical = uncool as I make my way over to them.
"Saved you a place," says Mikey, clearing some random crap out of my way so that I can sit down.
"Thanks." I put the tray down and Mikey relapses into his trademark silence behind an Advanced Math textbook, brotherly duty done for the day. I shake my head in despair. Advanced Math. How did I, God of Total Awesomeness end up with such a dork for a brother?
Or you could say how did Gerard Way, numerically retarded High School flunk out possibly be related to Sparky the kid genius?
My eyes move from le Livre de Mort and meet the wide-eyed stare of Heather, Mikey's girlfriend, causing me to topple backwards in my chair and almost end up on the floor. She keeps on staring despite the fact that she scares the living shit out of me. Now, I know I'm weird. But that kid takes it to a whole new level.
"Will you stop that please?" I snap.
She blinks huge eyes heavily lined with black kohl eyeliner.
"Stop it," I repeat. She ignores me, as usual.
Mikey looks up from Quadratic Equations. "She's not doing anything to you."
"She is," I say stubbornly. "She knows what she's doing. Tell her to stop Mikey, she's creeping me out."
Heather rolls her eyes and returns to drawing the bones of her hands. Phew.
"Hey guys," Frank plonks his tiny ass next to mine. "How's it going?"
"Not too bad," Ray shrugs, taking a big bite out of a carrot stick. "Do we still have band practice after school?"
"Sure," Frank nods. "Why?"
"Young Nile wants to come along," Ray gestures towards Young Nile who I hadn't even noticed was there. That's always the way with Young Nile. Nobody ever notices him until he reaches the High Score on Tetris.
"Fine by me," Frank shrugs. "You a fan, Nile?"
Nile doesn't even look up from the DS in his hands. "Uh, not really," he confesses. "My mom's gonna be late picking me up so she told me to hang with you guys for a bit."
Frank looks sulky. Ray and I catch each other's eye and start smirking into our mac and cheese. Frank is forever looking for people who actually like to hear us play. You gotta tread very carefully around him when the conversation turns to the baby that is our band. I feel Ray's sharp nudge in my side and I look up. My stomach does a black flip.
Samantha Rose is looking at me. Smiling at me. Smiling at me with a smile so sweet and beautiful I can literally hear the archangels in the background. It lights up her whole face, sending her perfect hair fluttering around her in a non-existent breeze. I offer a crooked grin which is all I can give because my face has suddenly stopped working. She blushes and looks away embarrassedly. Seeing my wistful expression, Frank follows my line of sight and rolls his eyes.
"Gerard," I can vaguely hear him call my name. "Earth to Gerard."
My clouded vision is brought back into focus. Frank shakes his head exasperatedly. "Out of your league dude," he says. "Way out."
"I know, I know," I sigh. But I can't help it. Every time I see her I get that weird fluttering in my stomach that means I'm pathetic and really need a life. Frank looks away sharply.
"You guys see the flyers for Battle of the Bands this year?" he asks us. "What d'you think, we ready?"
No, no, no, FUCKING NO! "Sure," I nod. "Could be fun." WHAT?
"Thousand dollar cash prize," there's a faraway look on Ray's face. "Imagine what we could do with all that!"
"Yeah, it's be great," Mikey pipes up, absentmindedly turning a page. "If we didn't suck."
My pasta is starting to look very interesting to me. Maybe if I stare at it really, really hard it'll do something interesting and distracting. Or not.
Frank's eyes narrow into slits. "We do not suck."
"Actually you do," says Young Nile. "You really do."
Frank looks at me for assistance. Heather gives him a tiny, sarcastic smile which he returns with a middle finger.
"Quit looking at me like that!" he snarls.
"Okay, everyone please lay off my girlfriend," says Mikey.
"Tell her to lay off us!" I cry. "She keeps staring!"
"She's not staring, that's just the way her eyes are," Mikey insists.
"She doesn't even talk," says Frank. "Are you sure she's alive?"
Which stimulates a small sound from Heather's throat that could have been registered as a laugh or at least an amused snigger. Frank tears his gaze away and settles himself into Frankietown which consists of dreams of our band making it big and playing in front of thousands of people who throw underwear at us instead of sandwiches. It's a dream we both share. When everything's quiet apart form the gentle hum of the cafeteria behind us I can just zone out for a little bit and imagine myself on stage, singing and singing well for admiring faces in the crowd, guys and girls screaming my name with passion…
And then Mikey says some shit about a Chemistry assignment and the spell is broken. We say a hasty good luck to each other and head off to our various hellholes; Frank, Ray, Mikey and I one way, Heather and Young Nile another. See, Heather and Nile are only freshmen at fourteen years old while we three are all sophomores now. Mikey should be a freshman too but he's so fucking smart he skipped a couple of grades and now he's in our year. Teachers are always going on about how mature he is too. Funny how I'm the only one who doesn't see that.
I snooze through History, sail through English and struggle through Maths, The fact that I've got a sure-to-be-disastrous band practice coming up after school does absolutely nothing to improve my mood so that by the end of the day I'm pretty much considering suicide.
But Frank is so never going to let that happen. He'd probably never find another guitarist.
"So what are we playing today?" he asks us as soon as I step through the door to Ray's garage.
"How about some Ramones?" Ray suggests, settling himself behind the drums. "I'm in the mood for some Ramones."
"You're in the mood for anything as long as there are only four beats in a bar, Ray," quips Mikey, slipping his guitar strap over his head. Ray throws a drumstick at him, misses, and has to go get it.
"I don't care what we do if I can sing and play it at the same time," I shrug.
"Well that narrows it down," says Frank. I glare at him.
It's true, I can't sing and play guitar to save my life. Truth is, I suck at guitar. I really do. Ray is amazing, maybe even better than Frank but we don't have a drummer and he likes hitting things. We've tried hard to find a permanent drummer so he can regain his rightful position as Guitar God but apparently no one wants to join a post-hardcore punk band of social misfits. Go figure. Obviously Frank rocks the house with his guitar "Pansy" too and Mikey's pretty awesome on his bass although he really only knows the basics but...I don't know, maybe we're just not meant to play together. Not that that'd ever stop us, we have way too much fun at rehearsals to quit as long as none of us take it too seriously and starts talking about us as if we're rockstars on a major label. And Young Nile isn't playing Mario Kart too loudly.
We settle on "Dig Up Her Bones" by Misfits because we all know it and if we're shit Mikey can put his iPod on and we'll pretend it's us playing. It doesn't go too badly and we move on to some Black Flag which is out of time, out of key and generally out of sight awful. Ray was playing too fast so I told him to slow it down which made him upset. He blamed it on not being able to hear the bassline which Mikey countered with a sarcastic Mikey-ish comment which pissed Frank off because he used the word "gay" in a derogatory way. Then I said it was hypocritical of Frank to yell at Mikey for being derogatory when he often refers to me, others and himself as a fat-assed faggot and then Frank got all "are you calling me a homophobe" and I was like "dude, how could you be a homophobe if you're gay" and he was like "are you calling me gay" and I was like "well, yeah because you are" and then Young Nile started complaining that he couldn't hear his robot girlfriend yell at him about his robot son. So we abandoned our instruments and sneered at the shallowness of people on reality TV for, like, four fucking hours before Frank, Mikey and I decided we needed to go home.
Frank only lives a block away from us so we walk home together. It's getting dark now and the New Jersey sounds are steadily starting to fill the streets; police sirens, raised voices, a baby crying. There's a slight wind too which blows leaves across the soles of our converse and a flyer into Mikey's face.
"The fuck!" Mikey screams. "Get it off me! Get it off!"
"Chill dude!" I say, trying not to laugh while Frank doubles over in hysterics. "It's just a flyer."
"A flyer covered in germs and stinking of dog shit!" Mikey cries. "Do you want me to die of toxocariasis?"
"I might do if I knew what the fuck it was," I reply.
After a violent tussle ending with a warlike cry I didn't know Mikey even possessed the flyer is again lying on the sidewalk. I bend down to pick it up.
"Hey, this is one of the flyers from our school," I show them. "For the musical."
"Auditions," Frank frowns, "Why are they holding auditions? I thought the cast list was set?"
I shrug. "Looks like someone dropped out."
Frank and I peer closely at the flyer. Mikey takes a step back.
"It says solo performances are welcome," Frank reads. "As are group auditions."
We look at each other. Mikey's shaking his head. Frank's grinning. And I know we're all thinking exactly the same thing.
So I'm gonna go back to my update every Monday thing. Except, I probably won't be able to update this Monday because I'm doing this football tour thing so sorry about that.
By the way, I DO NOT THINK MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE SUCK. Think about it, if I did why would I spend my days fangirling them on sites like this? They just happen to not be very good in this FICTIONAL fanFICTION. I was being ironic. Just wanted to get that across.
Rate and Review. Pleeeaaassseee.