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San Dimas, California 1988

Bob Segar woke me up today.  I guess Deacon was listening to the ?Beverly Hills Cop II? soundtrack again.  Normally this sort of thing would not bother me, but today I was in a most odious mood. I mean I know I shouldn?t be angry.  After all, he?s my little brother and there are many times when I myself greet the new day with tracks 1, 4 and 5 from King Kobra?s ?Ready to Strike?.  Today though I just couldn?t help it: I pounded on the wall.  I promised myself I would never do that, no matter how annoying the little squirt got I would never let it come to that.  I just know he?s gonna hold that against me.  Who can blame him?  Dad?s always ragging on us both.  Somebody?s gotta be the easy-going one.  I thought about going over to apologize when my most disgruntled sibling showed up at my door.

?Don?t you think it?s a little hypocritical YOU telling ME to turn my music down??  Don?t know that hippo word.  Have to look that one up later.

?Apologies little bro, I don?t know why I did that.?

?Yeah, you?ve been acting weird all week.  Not that I care, but what?s going on??  I rolled over, but I knew Deacon was still expecting an answer.

?Bill had to go to his grandmother?s house for her birthday.  He won?t be back until Sunday.?

?Granny S. Preston Esq.??  I knew Deacon?s face was going white.  He only met Granny Preston once but that was more than enough for anybody.  ?Geez, no wonder you?re bummed.?  Just then my alarm went off.  ?Well, hope you feel better.?  Deacon disappeared around the corner and closed his door.  I shut off the alarm and put my feet on the floor.  I cursed when something sharp jabbed me in the toe.  I looked down and saw that I stepped on one of my G.I. Joes.  Serpentor.  Hope he?s not broken.  Dad used to get me tons of these guys for Christmas.  He thought it would make me more patriotic or something.  Truthfully I always wanted Star Wars figures but these little guys kinda grew on me.  Dad was pretty happy about it when I was twelve.  Not so much now.  He almost had a heart attack when he saw me and Bill playing with the Terrordrome last week.

I spit out some of the hairs that had fallen into my mouth during the night.  That always happens. So gross. I knew there was something I was supposed to do.  What was it?  Something important.  Oh well.  I?ll remember after a shower.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

I passed by Bill?s house on the way to school.  Still no car in the driveway.  Normally Missy would drive us.  I miss that part.  She?s so cute and her car smells like Hi-C.  So weird to think she?s his mom now.  Especially after that time we saw her top fall off at Waterloo.  Uhhhh?I think I just scared myself.

As soon as I got to school I remembered what I was supposed to do: my history homework.  It was big too.  What was it?  A?a timeline!  A timeline of the French ? French something.  Rebellion?  Revolution?  Oh no.  I made myself promise not to forget this time.  I even wrote a note.  What happened to it?  Oh wait, I meant to write a note.  Why didn?t I do that?  I got out the pen and the piece of paper and then I ? oh yeah, I remember now.  I drew that picture of Snake Eyes driving a tank.  That was pretty good actually. I should show that to Bill when he gets back.  No, wait.  The homework.  Gotta concentrate.  Mr. Ryan was final period so maybe I could get it done before then.

I tried making the timeline in homeroom, but it took me the whole period just to figure the French Revolution out.  Those guys totally got a raw deal.  It was actually a pretty cool story.  Wish I?d had more time to scope it out.  The bell rang before I got to the end so I had to start on the timeline between periods, then during periods.  I think Mrs. Snyder really got mad at me during English.  She?s usually pretty nice.  I didn?t want to make her mad. I really like English too.  Plus I wanted to ask her what that hippo word meant Deacon was talking about.  Coach Durkins wasn?t thrilled either.  He doesn?t really like me and Bill to begin with but Bill knows how to talk to him.  Whenever it?s just me he calls me stupid a lot.  I used to get detention for doing stuff like this.  Now teachers just shake their head.  I guess they warmed up a bit.
 Finally Mr. Ryan?s class rolled around.  I was pretty stoked, too.  I actually managed to finish the timeline and it looked pretty good if I do say so myself.  I tried to liven it up a little.  The old story was good but it was a supreme downer.  When the bell rang I just couldn?t wait.  I wanted Mr. Ryan to see how hard I worked.  I guess that?s kind of a selfish thing to say.  Maybe I deserved what happened next.

?Here you go Mr. Ryan sir, a flawless timeline of the French Revolution courtesy of Ted ?Theodore? Logan.?  I guess I should?ve known something was wrong right away by the way Mr. Ryan looked at me.  But really he always looked at me like that.  He?s always been pretty nice to me but sometimes I get the feeling he thinks I?m kind of dumb.

?Ted, what is this??  That question confused me.  I mean he was the one who assigned this project.  Maybe it was a trick question.  But why would Mr. Ryan trick me?
 ??uh?a timeline of the French Revolution, sir??  That was what I was supposed to make wasn?t it?  Suddenly I had a really bad feeling.  Mr. Ryan looked over my papers.  I hope he noticed KISS was playing at the Bastille.  It took all fifth period to get their heads right, especially the rarely seen Vinnie Vincent.  Plus I ran out of black Sharpie so I had to use red.


?Yes sir??  He leaned closer so I did too.

?First of all, Louis XVI was executed in the guillotine not the Sarlacc Pit.?

??uh?artistic license??  I don?t think he was too happy about that one.  A few people behind me were giggling.

?Be that as it may, your assignment was on the French Revolution of 1848 not 1789.?

??oh?they had a sequel??  I knew I should?ve written it down.  He sighed.  Not a good sign.

?Ted, please take your seat.  We?ll talk about this after class.?

?Yes sir.?  More people were giggling now.  Sometimes I wish I could just disappear.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

By the time class let out I was feeling much better.  I came up with a new song.  Something most timeless: two dudes fighting over one babe.  Almost had all the lyrics worked out too.  ?I remember the sparks that flew in the summer of ?79??

?Tomorrow we?ll continue Napoleon?s rise to power.  Ted, can I see you for a minute??  Oh yeah, I forgot.

?Now Ted, this has got to stop.  I can tell you did try this time??  I smiled.  I couldn?t help it.  Maybe this wouldn?t be so bad after all.  ??but you?ve got to stay on target.  Please, be serious.?  I stopped smiling.  Guess that wasn?t working.  ?I know you?ve got it in you.  I?d just like to see you apply it to your schoolwork.?  He stopped for a second.  Something big was coming.  ?Your father called a few days ago.  He mentioned military school.  I know you may not like hearing it, but maybe??
 ?No, I can?t go to Oates.?  I didn?t mean to interrupt.  It just kind of came out.  Mr. Ryan didn?t seem mad though.  He looked kind of ?  I don?t know. Like he was sorry for me.  ?I mean, me and Bill got this band and if I go to military school ? well, you know.?  He leaned back in his chair.

?Hm.  Yes, I know all about Wyld Stallyns.?  I smiled again.  I always did like Mr. Ryan.

?Alright listen, your final oral report is in one month.  Show me something special on that and you might just make a passing grade in this class.?  I could feel my smile getting wider.  ?Now, you?ll be partnered with Derrick Hoft.  He?s done very well with the European portion??

?Uh, Mr. Ryan, I was kinda hoping I could work with Bill.?  He stopped.  I could tell he didn?t like this idea.  ?I mean, you know, seeing as how we?re kinda in the same boat and all.?  He sighed.

?Bill huh??

?Yes sir.?

?I really think you would benefit from someone like Mr. Hoft.?

?Yeah, I mean maybe.  But see, me and Bill, we??  He held up his hand.

?Alright, alright.  Bill it is.?

?Whoa, thanks dude ? uh, sir.?

?You two do have talent.  Don?t let me down.?

?We won?t Mr. Ryan.  Thanks again.?  I waved goodbye and nearly jumped out the door.  That went pretty good.  All we gotta do is pass that oral report and we?re set. Bill?s a good talker.  He?ll know what to do.  I should go tell him ? oh yeah.  Granny Preston.  Guess that means no practice today.  Just like yesterday and the day before.

*     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *     *

I picked up some Hostess cupcakes at the Circle K on the way home.  Usually me and Bill have a Frosty Slush but today I didn?t really feel like it.  Mom used to buy me and Deacon cupcakes when we were little.  I miss that.  We always thought they didn?t have enough cream in the center so she would buy a bunch then fill them with Cool Whip.  Sometimes she would even make hot fudge and pour it over the top.  Dad can?t really make anything so now whenever me and Deacon want one of Mom?s cupcakes we put a Hershey bar over a Hostess one and stick it in the microwave.  Always makes me feel better.

After I finished my cupcakes I sat on my bed for a long time.  I kept thinking of stuff I could do but none of it really sounded fun.  Everything?s fun with Bill.  Like that time we wanted to get the new Autograph album but didn?t have any money.  We went to every music store on the busline until we found one that was playing it over the speaker system.  Then there was that time we couldn?t get into Knott?s Berry Farm so we tried to outrun all the cars down Beach Blvd. until Bill?s mom picked us up.  That was great.  Especially when we found one of the park strollers and pretended like we were in Death Race 2000.

The phone rang.  Probably one of Deacon?s girlfriends.  Here I am five years older, outclassed by my little brother.  Most embarrassing.  I looked at the clock and couldn?t believe it was almost 9:30.  Nothing on TV now.  No place I could really go.  Guess all I can do now is go to bed.  Just then Deacon pushed my door open.  ?Phone for you.?  Then off he went.  My sibling is a little dude of few words.  I picked up the phone on my bedside table.


?Hey duder.?  Bill!  This day just got a lot better.