Mr. Lawson ended every meeting of the school newspaper like that. I left the Lit classroom, determined to find something new and interesting happening in our little town. I was in charge of human interest this semester, a big deal for a freshman, and didn’t want to print another story about Mrs. Schimming’s garden or Mr. Mike’s dachshund.
The weekend provided plenty of story material. I was at the concert myself on Friday, and Saturday I interviewed other attendees and the band itself. Sunday afternoon I tracked down Brian from the AV club and that evening I stayed in to pull everything together into an amazing story.
After classes on Monday I found Mr. Lawson. “I have a great story for the paper this week. It might even be front page material.”
“Jessica, I’m glad to see you so enthusiastic. If you can wait a few minutes I’ll read it right now.”
“That would be great.” Mr. Lawson sat down on the corner of his desk to read. I had worked on this article for so long I could almost see the words go by in his head.
The first concert to happen in our small town in more than two years ended in bad luck for the band when their van broke down, stranding them here.
“We left Topeka after a gig Thursday night and Tommy found a place for us to perform in Wichita on Saturday.” said Joey, the lead singer. “We didn’t want to sit for a night when we could be playing so we left the interstate and wandered a bit until we found a place willing to let us set up and play.”
The pink Grid Iron Café wasn’t prepared for anything quite like this. Owner Shirley Feeney said “They’re nice boys. I told them they could set up in the open area if they helped move the tables before and after, and they could play after we stopped serving at 8pm. I told my nephew Len that a band was going to play and asked him to spread the word to his school friends.”
Nearly all of Hope High School was at the Grid Iron Café by 8pm to see the rarity of a concert in our town. Drummer Mark collected $5 at the door from everyone, and was overheard complaining that they weren’t in a bar. Around 8:45pm the band began to play.
With Joey singing, Johnny on guitar, Tommy on drums and Mark on Bass, they were the first punk band ever to play our town. They played like crazy people and announced they’d play one final song when Officer Stanley pulled up. He checked his watch and told them it was 10:57pm, as long as they were done by 11pm it would be okay. The band slammed into one more song and were done.
A few of the band members slept in their van, and a few others were taken in by friendly locals. Saturday morning they restored the café and packed up their gear. Once they were loaded up and had said goodbye to new fast friends the band was ready to hit the road. Their van wasn’t. It made a horrid grinding noise and then just stopped.
Of course D&E automotive is closed on weekends, though usually Mr. Douglass or Mr. Evans will come out to fix an emergency problem. But they were both away, Mr. Douglass on an anniversary trip and Mr. Evans at an auto show in St. Louis. As the town grapevine spread the word about what happened various people stopped by to see if they could figure out what was wrong with the van, but not even Russell, who got the highest grades in shop class, could solve it.
The next issue was how to get to their concert in Wichita. Several of the AV club boys offered to help and brought over family pick-ups. They emptied the van of musical equipment and loaded it into the back of two trucks, and while Mr. Anderson towed the van over to the repair shop, several trucks and cars caravanned out of town to bring the band to their next show, with a built in audience.
Sunday around noon the caravan returned. The gear was unloaded back into the still nonfunctioning van, and most of the town folks stumbled home. The band mostly hung out at the café for the afternoon until they were shooed out by Ms. Feeney closing up for the night. By this time they’d all made friends in town and each found a place to bunk for the night.
Mr. Evans looked at the van when he returned Sunday evening but has to order a part to fix it that won’t be in until Wednesday. The senior class officers held a quick meeting to make sure that the boys in the band will have a place to stay every night while they’re stuck here. The band offered to put on another concert but Officer Stanley said one of those a week was enough. In the meantime everyone here in Hope is enjoying spending time with future rock stars while it lasts.
Mr. Lawson looked up at me. “It’s certainly an amazing story Jessica. This piece needs a little editing before it’s ready for the paper. You have a lot of details about some things and almost none about others. For example, does the band have a name?”
“They do, but it’ll be in the headline.”
“In the headline? You have an idea for that too?”
“Yup. It should read: ‘A Band in Hope “Ye Who Enter”, here for weekend’.”
Mr. Lawson stared at me for a second and then shook his head slowly.
“Isn’t it great?”
***Blame my husband for this one. Find other LJ Idol week 13 entries at the link.***