cheever street, late afternoon. a muffled roar pulses from a garage near the end of the block. from outside the clamor is hard to recognize, but the roar demands attention.
more than one neighbor watches their clock for the agreed upon curfew of six pm to arrive, when they can call to complain. why they ever agreed to tolerate the racket is a mystery to each. he used to be such a nice boy.
step inside and the volume increases but remains indistinct without earplugs, but when you see the source, it is instantly recognizable as an up tempo punk rock song.
four high school sophomores sweat and stomp and bounce as they rip through the bridge. the two guitar players sing a wobbling harmony that slides into the final verse.
two other friends lean against the cushions that deaden the garage door. the room smells of teenage musk, motor oil, and lavender incense fighting to disguise the skunky smell of weed. the audience nods to the music, smiling, the practice is really starting to pay off, ten originals down pat, enough to get an opening slot at gilman street.
pounding through the final measures, harmonies straining but solid, the lead singer feeling the lyric, thinking about the girl he’s had a crush on so long that half the songs are about her. she has no idea. doesn’t even know he exists. but when they start playing around, she’ll notice.
a tight ending. silence except for the ringing. they look around at each other and try not to smile too much. the drummer starts tightening the snare head. the bass player tunes and lead guitar has to replace a string.
5:45. fifteen minutes to go. if the guitar is restrung quickly, they’ll be able to fit in seven more songs.