This Ain’t A Scene – excerpt from Terminal Monday

Then Ted announced her as the next singer, and her face turned red again. She grabbed her bottle of beer and guzzled down the last of it before climbing past Drake and heading for the front. A moment later, she started into a song by Pink that Richard thought he’d heard a few times somewhere. It was a straightforward rock song about a relationship falling apart, and Sonya sang it with enough conviction that he started to wonder if she’d ever actually had her heart broken.

She seemed a little young and inhibited, but he suspected she had a story or two to tell. He wondered if she’d ever feel comfortable enough around him to tell it.

When she returned to the table in triumph, Drake immediately told her, “That was great!”

Richard added immediately afterwards, “He’s right. You sounded fantastic.”

“Thanks,” she said quietly and went back to brooding. Her sister moved around the table and hugged her, but she flinched away, embarrassed. Sam teased her for a few more seconds, before sliding back around to sit next to Richard. He made a mental note to be cautious about showing affection to Sonya. Then Ted called Drake up. Richard started to wonder if he’d been passed by, and looked up at Ted, who just raised his hand up, showing one finger. Richard nodded and wondered what the switch was for, but figured Ted knew what he was doing.

Drake got up to the front just as a song Richard didn’t recognize at all started. Something by Justin Timberlake, he recalled Ted announcing. Sure enough, the rhythm was slightly funkified, and Drake started singing as if he had the words memorized. It sounded a little like Stevie Wonder and a little like Michael Jackson, but just enough like the kind of boy band material that Justin made his name with. Enough girls in the audience seemed to like it and were up in groups dancing, which encouraged Drake to shake it. Richard grinned at him. It didn’t seem to bother him that his friend looked kind of silly up there. It was just nice to see him having a good time for a change.

When the song ended, Ted jumped in and announced, “Don’t go anywhere, folks. Richard is going to come up and sing something that should keep you dancing. Richard?”

Richard passed Drake on the way up and high fived him. Then he took the mic from Ted and squared himself off, facing the audience. He started breathing deeply and began imagining himself pulling energy up from the floor beneath him up through his stiffened legs and into his chest and arms. Then a reverberating synth effect came warbling in, followed by guitar feedback creeping up, at the end of which point he launched into the clever opening lines to This Ain’t A Scene, It’s a God Damned Arms Race by Fall Out Boy. The reaction was instant and powerful. The funkified rhythm had everyone smiling and moving.

Sam came over from the table and started dancing just a few feet in front of him, shaking her lovely little shape at him just enough to make him feel like a wonderfully dirty old man. The blue NIN logo emblazoned across her bosom bobbed almost hypnotically, and she grinned lasciviously at him. The music kicked into overdrive for the refrain, and the audience knew the song well enough to match the change in rhythm. Sam’s breasts jiggled even faster, until the steamy funk rhythm returned, and she moved closer to grind against his leg.

He fought to concentrate on the words, but did manage to place his free hand on the small of her back as she shook her hips. The fast part came up again, and she stepped back just far enough to raise her arms and start bobbing frenetically again. He noticed out of the corner of his eye that other girls were getting into the groove, and a couple of them who hadn’t persuaded their boyfriends to come up were dancing with each other instead. He feared lives would be lost, but somehow, he just couldn’t bring himself to ease off.

The refrain gave way to short instrumental respite, followed by a chorus chant. He had just enough presence of mind to direct to the dancers, who happily obliged by shouting the title in unison over and over, pumping their fists and smiling. It was the closest he’d been to a true rock and roll moment in years, and damn if it didn’t feel absolutely perfect. The refrain stormed up one more time, and he danced as best he could while singing at pretty much the top of his lungs, until the song ground to a halt. He straightened up, leaned over and kissed Sam on the cheek, and handed the mic to Ted once more. Ted made a show of wiping the sweat from the mic with a towel, but he looked pleased.

© 2011 Lee Edward McIlmoyle

(The eBook has recently been updated to correct all of those nasty spelling errors I let creep through. If you see any in this post, it’s okay; this is from the old text before the spell checks)

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