The Daily Parker

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Fiction: Breakthrus

Couldn't think of anything to name their band, so they were driving him crazy. Maybe they could've found the answer in some poem, or a passage from A Separate Peace—But no, nothing inspired them. The twins were always bothering him like that, way back in the dark closet part of his mind. Only really like themselves, they arrived shortly after his tenth birthday. His room moved downstairs into Dad's old den, and the cribs took over.

Came home from school to them standing up in their playpen. Clinging to white, net walls smiling at him. Later mesmerized, watching "Sesame Street." If he talked about dissecting frogs in bio lab, they started screaming. Thinking he meant Kermit or something.

Fifteen years later somehow became musicians, virtual sound artists, then founders of a nouveau punk band. Brought on by his old college roommate, teaching them some chords. Their music spread all over the house, like the dishwasher overflowing again.

Warm water up to his ankles, Mom yelling, and the two up in their fortress jamming away. One on drums, the other with guitar. Left him speechless now. Walking upstairs thinking they were really starting to sound pretty decent.

Ten years before, he was sneaking into see shows at this club called the Channel down by Fort Point. They keep pleading, but he still wouldn't take them along to see bands. Always left the two behind. Big disappointment for the twins, especially when it was a band they really liked.

His high school music efforts stretched into college, but eventually just faded away.

Those past connections often startle him like running into Adele at Osco Drug; there she was in a short, short mini skirt. Hands shoved way down in the front of a leather, motorcycle jacket, and legs bare down to the ankle boots. A black bag swung low around, hitting her butt.

Guess she'd never known he was alive. During one high school summer while stocking Osco's shelves, Adele drifted in with the football player boyfriend to buy condoms. With long, stiff-sprayed hair and too much makeup on, carrying a pinwheel. They bought the kind wrapped up like little, gold coins.

No longer a cheerleader stereotype Adele did this total 360, singing lead for one of Boston's most beloved power-pop bands. Spinning around she took off her sunglasses. Two pigtails, similar to what she wore back in Mrs. Flaherty's first grade class. Tampons, PC World, and assorted other items in her blue plastic basket. "We just got back. From touring I mean." Adele tipped her head, "You know we're on this label now. Finally getting some radio play too. Still really blows my mind!" Just noticing how her voice had changed from being so high and screechy. Then she said, "Tonight's kind of a homecoming for us." Doesn't say a word back to her. But she smiled again anyway, then in this swirly motion replaced the sunglasses, "You should like—Stop by."

Could tell the twins really wanted to go. On a break from band practice, parking themselves in front of the TV, and at his not answering them; they shrug in unison. Both look so alike, it really bothers him. Most annoying though, is they're having his same eyes, giving their relation all away. Haven't even had their first ratty pay checks yet, like his at Osco. Actually wondering if the perfectly-messy, brown hair mops, or striped tee shirts set them apart? Self-proclaimed jail birds of their generation, and he's thinking they're too young to know any better. One won't take off the leather string necklace his girlfriend gave him, and he hasn't even fucked her yet. Some girl who was on their flowered sofa smelling of bubble gum, and reading a copy of The History of Rock and Roll. She lapsed into giggles at the one twin running over; cradling cans of Dr. Pepper and a bag of chips. Quietly left the room, hearing only sucking sounds behind him.

Looking up now the twins ask him, yet again, "You got any ideas for our name?"

Turns away picking up his keys to leave. "How about 'The Young Ones'?" Dim memories back to when he was fifteen, up late doing homework on Sunday nights, watching the offbeat Brit comedy on MTV. Peripherally he sees them shrugging again.

On Saturdays he drives around to yard sales and flea markets looking for old furniture to tear apart. Materials for his own designs. The older and stronger, usually the better. Sometimes one or both of his siblings will come along. Practically in stereo they demand, "How was their set?"

Nights later the twins meet Adele at this "all ages" show. They wait for her to leave, to give her this little tape they've made themselves. Doesn't even know they're his brothers. Kisses the two thinking they're so cute and psyched. She offers to buy them sodas at a cyber cafe across the street, and the twins show her how to cruise the World Wide Web. And afterwards they wave to the newsstand guy, before catching the last commuter train home.

Downstairs in the cellar he's trying to focus, working on his furniture sculptures. Pieces he carves from the scavenges. Everyday his thoughts and actions creating them, draining every bit of energy. Didn't think it was enough of a rush until he felt the sweat trickles down his back.

Whooping shouts upstairs, and he stops hammering. In the kitchen they celebrate their first break with peanut butter and fluff sandwiches. Mom makes them promise not to play gigs on Sundays or school nights.

Now he gets stuck driving them back and forth to shows. This place's still a dive complete with the semi-surreal scene near the pool table; bothering him because he can't remember the old name. Adele wanders over. She kisses him real quick. Feels brave, already buzzed from drinking a pint of Bass ale at an Irish pub down the street. Her voice has this purposely low and sexy tone, "I love your goatee. It's so Gen X."

"But there's no such thing." Falters at her stare back. "I mean isn't it a whole marketing thing? You know getting us to buy expensive cars, new soft drinks or clear beer."

"Whoa—" His eyes follow her white arm pointing now. They really look like any other band hitting the stage. Lots of energy. Jumping up and down, pretty loud their sound drowning out the place. In front kids start to sway then dive. One after each other. Crowd becoming this moving sculpture of its own to each tune. The twins smile on stage, in their professional, performing mode. The two more in synch with each other, than the rest of the guys but it doesn't seem to matter. Large, green, marker-drawn X's on their hands; denoting them as minors and banning them from drinking. Ever alert and punchy, they work the audience kicking ass, having fun.

Afterwards the band pounces over, and Adele shouts out, "Alex! Eddie!"

"Hey thanks!" Talking so fast their words blend together, "For giving our tape to the manager." She hugs them quick and hi-fives the rest of the guys. They're pretty happy about the first pay check, "Yeah we got enough money now like for a pizza and some sodas."

"Cool." Adele smiles with sincerity, signaling a bunch of people across the room. Tonight she seems beyond friendly. Keeps talking to the kids about their set, and introducing them around, "Hey c'mere you've got to meet these guys!" Whenever he catches her eye, she gazes right back at him.

Kind of nervous but then remembers, "Guess I have to take them back."

The twins run to pack up their equipment. "They're really going someplace," she comments. "Yeah 'cause they're already so grounded." A fuzzy, pink-lace bra strap falls down. Adele doesn't seem to notice though. "Hey—Can I keep you company?"

"Sure." He looks down, "And I'll drive you back." Later en route to the suburbs he tries to get a word in, "Do you guys want to stop for a pizza?" No one answers him though. The twins keep Adele busy, firing off questions about her band's new CD.

At home they smile climbing out, and she calls after them leaning out of the minivan, "You guys're the coolest!"

Walking up the driveway the two wave back. "Thanks again! See ya 'round." He stumbles replacing the key in the ignition. Adele sits back against the seat now, hands adjusting her pigtails.

This apartment reminds him of a college girlfriend. Lots of scarves draped over lamps. Clothes and books everywhere. A large Nagel poster framed on the wall. Forgets to tell her it's one of his favorites.

Later he sees the clock, and hears her breathing. Really short, quick breaths in sleep.

Careful sliding out from under the sheets not to wake her. Back at his house, the twins glare in plaid pouring cranberry juice. Mom never dressed them alike, but she went through a phase when he was little. There were lots of blue, velvet suits with frilly shirts for special occasions.

They greet him with a chorus of, "Hey wha d'cha think?"

Somehow his head doesn't stop for a second. "What?" They cease talking together. Reaches for the bottle of aspirin, which's empty. He thought doing Adele would make it all better, but now everything's worse. Feeling older than ever seeing them so pumped. His hands start to shake.

Only one continues, "You know—Our set last night?"

Not answering; keeps searching the cabinets to find anything for this hangover. The other twin plays with his leather necklace a little, "We like want your opinion."

"Yeah," his mirror image agrees. "You know because you're like our brother and everything."

"I didn't think—" Finds some Tylenol in another drawer, but it never works for his headaches. Over his shoulder sighs back, "I didn't think anything." Pushes some tablets down, and one twin hands him a glass of juice. "Not yet."

Automatically the two shrug at each other. "Hey," their voices rise together. "That's it!" Starts to laugh swallowing the rest of the juice. Ruby droplet spray all over his tee shirt.

And the twins, they are still smiling.

Copyright ©1995 Dena Barisano

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