Ball Busters - Ch 3 - Local Gods

<<Chapter 3 Theme Song - Everclear - Local God>>

You do that Romeo
Be what you wanna be
Looks like you're running in place
Do that stupid dance for me

Do that Romeo
That go-go Romeo
I see you twist and turn
You look so stupid, happy and numb

There are few things in life that hold the power of memory. My entire life, every time I have a chips ahoy cookie, I think of being 3 years old. That was what made my grandmother special to me first. Knowing you're going to your grandmothers... AND you going to get cookies. I actually thought that the word 'cookie' meant chips ahoy. I didn't want your cookie, whatever the fuck that is (homemade, fresh out of the oven), nope, I wanted a cookie. My mind was eventually changed after I tried Oreos... but I digress. Where was I?

There are few things in life that hold the power of memory. Along with my grandmothers secret stash of cookies and her successful use of Pavlovs dogging my love from her (she deserved more than I could ever give), along the timeline of my life, songs, specific sounds, flavors, and smells especially, can actually transport you back to the time to the moment I first heard, or smelled, or tasted specific important things. I don't know if there is a word for that, but there should be. For today's presentation, lets call it, sensory memory, assuming its not taken for some other, far stupider thingy.

A huge association in my life are songs. I don't know why my brain works this way, but songs are important. They have so much power. Certain songs run on a constant ear worm loop for days (fucking HATE 3rd Eye Blind and Panic at the Disco, just HATE-HATE). Certain songs bring me back to an awesome concert (Jane's Addiction - Summertime Rolls, Madison Square Garden... goosebumps, every time). I am there again. I can see the blue lights, the naked strippers spinning on their poles, the random spotlights slowly moving to the beat. It was one of the most amazing moments in my life. Certain songs can transport me into the studio where the artist (Travis Barker, or the voice of Chris Cornell) was recording and actually picture them in studio, creating art, and pulling together the parts to what we all sing every day. There should also be a word for that, lets use f'POW for todays example. I don't think that one is taken yet, at least outside of my kitchen.

The ones I love most are the ones that bring me back to a specific moment in time. This song was on while that thingy happened. That simple. The f'POW factor kicks in, and you are in the backseat of a family truckster with far too many passengers singing 'It's the End of the World...' by R.E.M.... far too loudly. That was the moment that meant something to you, and that song brings you back for the rest of your life. Warm fuzzies for everyone...

As you truckster down the road, with no two people even close on a single word, note or tone, nobody cared, nobody knew better. Just felt good. As we traveled, we saw a woman applying her makeup at full highway speeds, doing neither well. Looking at herself not the road, the one responsible for driving this day pointed her out as we approached her. We decided when we passed her for each and every one of the far too many passengers would instantly fight for the rear view mirror to apply our invisible make-up. She laughed so hard she swerved. But then acknowledged us, recognized and showed us she put the makeup down for now....

...and I felt fine.... fine

The first time that Sully and me smoked pot together. He was so cute. He did it first without me. Like I said, rough family life. He was afraid to admit it at first. I always wanted to try pot, before I even knew what it was. The smell hooked me immediately and I never saw the attraction to alcohol. Alcoholism is the most rampant disease in the O'Reilly clan and being a server shows you the ugliest side, especially when you're the only sober one. I just never cared for it.

I was curious about pot, but I thought he was afraid I would judge him. I did not. He sat in my car, took about 25 mins to break up the weed, lets 'breaking up', lets call it 'weed'... time to google the word 'schwag'... and get it into what common folk refer to a joint. In this case, that is also a very generous terminology. I look back and question the quality, if not definition, of the marijuana. It was technically marijuana wrapped in a cylindrical (mostly) cigarette paper, on a legal level. So, if you allow a smidge of suspended disbelief, we will go with calling it, my first 'joint'.

I was on a Bryan Adams kick in 1990, LIKE MOST OF US WERE, whether you can admit it now or not. In 1990, Bryan Adams was reasonably cool... to everyone. Mental note: self-evaluate if you are confident in the knowledge you used to admit being a Bryan Adams fan... You don't know me... alas... 

I know it took roughly 25 mins to roll the joint because that's how long the side of a cassette was. It was the soundtrack of this memory. After leaving the Little Caesars parking lot in Suffern, New York with a rolled joint, we finally headed to Aunt Mary's. Sully's Aunt Mary (mother of Paul, Sully's cousin and our sometimes cohort) is the coolest person, completely open and warm and accepting of me as her own. Few rank as high on my list as Aunt Mary. She knew we were little trouble makers but she also knew we were good kids. She was a guardian angel and got us, so she let us have some fun.

Behind Aunt Mary's was a robust wooded area. Just enough to get us in trouble, not too much to get into bad trouble. Many games of King of the Mountain, and eventually, very many joints smoked. On this night, Paul was at bootcamp in North Carolina, so two stoned 18 year old boys wandering in the woods is only worrisome if you reside in a refrigerator.

I still cannot remember why we did this there. Even 30 years later, it's one of my favorite memories. It wasn't uncommon for us to road trip to go there for hundreds of random reasons, but why we took a 2 hour road trip to smoke a joint may have had a bigger reason. Sully could've been looking for an escape and just offered the idea knowing I'd love the drive. Looking back, he had a reason.

I was 18, had a best friend, a legal drivers license, my Blue Betty, and a Bryan Adams cassette. I'd drive around the world with you if you wanted. Just work on your joint game first.

No matter how bad the quality, it did its job and filled my head with a sensation I took to quickly. My brain tends to run fast, and the ability to slow it down and simply ease into a day or bag of chips, yes, I knew immediately I needed that. We smoked this joint and I was taught my very first marijuana tradition, I still carry to this day.

We sat next to each other on a fallen tree under a blanket of moonlight. Now that we were done with the act, it felt colder outside. Sully snuffs the end of the roach on the tree.  Then he turns and hands it to me. "You have to 'pop the roach'..." Sully said.

Now, if you're still reading here, you may have picked up on the idea we fuck with each other a lot. Tish had my number and I had hers, but Sully could still get us both at will. He was brilliant and you had to be on defense at all times. It was his most fun quality, his best trick. He could not only make you believe a lie, he could make you doubt the logical truth. You think he doesn't get things and then he lets you in to the real Sully and see he is fucking brilliant in every way.

His goal was to not give me the answer he wanted. His goal was to test me. I'm not sure I knew it then. Thank you, double yellow line of therapy.

"What the fuck is pop the roach??" I want to believe him this time. I don't, yet.

"The end of the joint... you have to eat it. Called popping the roach. Swears..." He knows he has me. It doesn't matter if he's telling the truth. Now, his game is to make me doubt whatever choice I make. And, as always, he is right. "Stop being such a scuurdy-cat and just do it, drink some water... get it over with, its a tradition. I did it, everyone does it... scuuuurdy-cat..."

Now, he knows I couldn't care less about being called girls names, he is only prodding me to keep me confused. Keep me in the middle. Is he pushing me to make me do it or is he trying to leave me thinking I am making a choice?

None of the above. He was testing me to see if I trusted him. He opened himself up by trusting me with his secret, and he leaves knowing he had one person in his world he would be able to depend on.

I see now that this is his blood-brother handshake. This was the symbolic moment that he and I became brothers. I wish I had thought about this before I left. That one hurts my heart now. I told you, he was brilliant.

I popped the roach. It tasted like burned paper and ass on a stick, hint of cinnamon. He pat me on the back. No words needed, he had a brother. I was now in the club.

"Now, I know you're going to hate this one, so sorry before hand." I didn't see this one coming, but oddly less motivated to argue with him as usual. All I can focus on now is my rumbly belly. From his jacket pocket, he pulls out a pack of cigarettes, lights one up. "Pot smoke stinks so bad. You won't smell it on you, but everyone else does. I have to blow cigarette smoke on you...."

Which is kinda funny because it sounded like he just said... aaaand I'm covered in smoke. "What the fuck??!??" He did it again. "DUDE??!!!??"

"You stink like a Rastafarian. This masks it." Then takes a huge drag to blow into my face causing me to cough like a barmaid.  Once able to breathe again, we made our way out of the woods with no clue of time, or awareness, or if being covered in cigarette smoke is any smarter than being covered in marijuana smoke, or of the world as a whole.

I carry the munchies like a monkey for the first time in my life. Its big, its heavy, it is going to hang on until he gets what he wants. We enter Aunt Mary's kitchen like a bear to a garbage can, found Aunt Mary's private stash of Breyers Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream. Can you make love to food??? We learned that night, yes, you can. It was a full body experience. At roughly 3-4am, who the fuck knows, out of the dark, Aunt Mary walks into her kitchen to find the bears monkeying around. We thought we were fucked. First, we're not her children. Second, I cannot even say if we were announced as here... for the night.  Third, stoned beyond thoughts, giggling proof. Last, shoulder deep in her ice cream stash. She grabbed a clean spoon, pulled over the container and a chair, and joined as if jealous she wasn't invited to the pregame. Just sat there with us like it was nothing eating the rest right from the container.

For the rest of my life, whether on the radio, walking through Walmart, pumping at the gas stations, hearing a song from the Reckless album gives me Aunt Mary and her Bryers Mint Chocolate Chip.

Cant beat that, not one bit. f'POW


Be my Romeo
Please be my voice in this world
I can't sing the songs that you sing
I can't find the gorgeous words

Will you be my Romeo?
My go-go Romeo?
I see you twist and turn
You look so stupid

I was always artistic. It evolved into a nice therapy for me. It was a way for me to get away from everyone and find my way. It was my thing. As a twin, you look for any recognition of individuality. I don't care to impress anyone but myself, so I only do it for myself. It wasn't something for me to show off, just an escape from the noise. It was not uncommon to find me alone in my room, listening to Pink Floyd, with a sketch pad on my lap. That was my most happy place.

The piece I was working on was billiard oriented. I liked the textures and shadows. This could be...

"Hey Baba..." Followed by two soft knocks on my semi-open door. I could smell her without even looking. That smell could become a problem... We make eye contact. I smile. I'm not used to her being around yet. But I do want to be. Tish was on point as usual. We get along very well, with or without the other two. Obviously, being sexually attracted to someone has nothing to do with clicking as friends. Lesbian or not, I just enjoyed having a female friend to hang out with myself. Removing the sexual tension was a blessing. She comes in my room and starts looking at the stuff on my shelves and posters again.  

I put my pad down on the bed.

"You really are a great artist." I notice she keeps stopping on the same image, trying to relate it to me on a personal level. Her head gets very close as if to prove to herself that it was a painting, looking for brush strokes. I love that. She reaches out to touch it, even with it framed behind glass. For an artist, we appreciate people want to touch them and it does make us crazy... truly fucking bat shit nuts... but.. BUT... there is a compliment there and I appreciated that part. "I fucking love this one... what are you going to do with that?"

Sitting back on my bed with my head to the wall, which I rotate to face her and openly people-watch her as she continues around my room. She picks up my cologne, sprays it. She grabs a hoodie I was wearing earlier before throwing on the foot of my bed, and puts it on. She hugs herself with the warmth of it as she sits down on the other side of my sketch pad, on the bed. She picks that up and does the same in depth look.

I reach down and grab my bong, which I'd been smoking for a while as I drew. She doesn't look at my work like others do. Most look at it like they see a cucumber at the supermarket. Its superficial. She looks into it. Into its soul. I can tell she gets it. After blowing out my hit, I hand her the bong. She reaches for it without taking her focus away from the pad. She rests it on her lap, and takes her hit. 

Mental note, we are creating a lil pot head.

"Thank you." I respond. "I don't really have any confidence yet. I'm just winging it, but I can't put it down. I think I just decided I enjoy drawing pool balls." I take the bong again, queueing her turn to talk.

Laughing, "Pool balls... ok," she nods with a cute, but honest smile. I take my hit again while she speaks. I feel comfortable with her, want to be honest where I wouldn't otherwise.

"Ok, just... I don't know why... I want to draw pool balls shaped like eggs, but not, and I mean NOT, eggs painted like pool balls... I don't know why.  It's important."

I reach back for the sketchpad and start doing rough layouts. She takes another hit from my bong then got up and headed to my bedroom door. I stopped her.

"Hey." I said, causing her to stop and turn. "Did you need something?"

"I came to steal a hoodie, Knew I'd get a good hit or two out of you. I was just getting cold and I like that your hoodies are bigger and smell like you. Thanks." As if an extra, bonus, gift, bounces her red locks as she turns and leaves.  


Days later, I show Lilly my final work. She does that same 'look through it' thing...

She doesn't say anything. Just stares at it.

"Crap... That bad? I thought you'd get it." I begin to apologize for my awful creativity.

She stops me by putting her hand on my arm. Without taking her eyes off the page. "Why eggs??"



"I don't fucking know. I just had to... I feel like its good, but I feel like I'm amateur..." She is still giving me zero read. She is having thoughts, but not sharing them.

"No, you just found your style... Do more of this, don't look back."

That was when I realized I had something more. I became a billiard lifestyle artist.


Tish is in a mood today, not sure why, but I'm at the end of the noise. "Shut up, you know she's a perfect 2. We can teach her." Knowing I'm a fan of Lilly's, but have been given the teacher role before and it takes a true student, I'm less optimistic being volunteered. Tish knows this with a single silent glance only my twin would understand. "Ok, I will tell her that you will teach her and she will listen, and that's on me." I don't show an answer. "She is already part of the team as coach/manager/scorekeeper, and it gives us a chance to play you and Sully in the same week, which is playoff gold." I wasn't opposed to this idea. I'd let her on the team just to watch her ass walk around the table once a week. It had nothing to do with Lilly, I just wasn't in the mood to talk APA rankings tonight.

Another way the junkies wasted endless hours on end at Ball Busters was with a deck of cards. We gambled playing spades, or hearts, or liars poker, as much as we gambled playing 9 ball. I was in a spades game with Pugsley against Mike the Russian and Pete the Serb. We know they cheated while they played, but we also knew we were better. Also, we outweighed them by roughly 400 pounds combined, so didn't think they would get too stupid, as long as they kept the chatter to English speaking. It was only for $20, but if you're playing with Pugs, you best not be too stoned and start forgetting the cards... He hates that.

Within the game, we'd been set earlier, just due to the way the cards landed, not a specifically wonderful move by them or bad move by us. With spades, there are some hands that you cannot beat. This put my partner in a specifically Pugsish type of mood and if I made a mistake cause I was thinking about Tish or Lilly, he was going to pop.

I gave Tish the 'HOLD PLEASE' look. She relents.

The Russian on my left finally plays into my hand. He missed the story in the hand and took the bait. Pugs saw he was listening to Tish and me, and not paying attention and he leads a spade into the moron on my left. Gloating not realizing he was in the trap already, and on top, just showed Pugs all the high spades he didn't own, the dumb Russian leads a 7 of clubs. 

The Serbs saucer eyes and slumping shoulders told Pugs and me everything we needed to know, they were done. Pugs throws the 10 of clubs, Pete looks at his partner with disbelief. Pete throws the king, I trump it with my Ace. As if it couldn't get worse, I lead my queen of clubs fully pimping his trick, Pugs dumps his 4 of diamonds he couldn't get rid of, setting us up to return the set. Those two argued about this play all night.

We collect our $20s and I walk over to the chairs by the counter to post game with Lewis. Tish is behind me.

"Bah-Bah-Looooooo!!" Lewis found a new name for me. I swear he must've made a list and checked them off daily, they were never used twice. "I heard them complaining. You pimped his king for the set or something..." Laughing as he reached for a cold Pepsi for me.

I rolled my eyes. Tish watched me crack my soda, take a pull, before she reached out her hand for the can. In her mind, the conversation was held from the eyes moment, and she wouldn't leave me alone until its done. And now, she has my Pepsi.

"Lewis, get some paper and a pen, please? Also, if you can, come here a minute. It concerns you too..." Lewis grabs a notepad and a pen and drags a chair over so he can rest his leg.

"Tish wants to add Lilly... Thoughts?" His eyes light up... "About more than her ass..." His eyes dim, a little.

Lewis acts serious so rare, its unique. "She has to be a 2. Tish is jumping to a 4 soon, she was lights out last season." He reaches out and offers her a fist-bump.

She knows she crushed it last season, won most improved player.  She used to be our 2, but hit level three early in the season and only lost 3 matches all year. We know she is going up again soon. Tish doesn't exactly look to go pro, but she is junkie, and she shares DNA with me, so she has an edge and wants to win.

She jumps in, "She isn't exactly good, which could be good." Lewis was always a solid team player. He's also been with us from day 1 and it was his team as much as ours. If he didn't work the counter for us, he would be with us on the other side. I wrote down...

Me... 6
Sull. 6
Tish. 4
Lewis 5
Lilly 2


I start captaining... "This is 23... if we're locked in. If we go up 1 point, even Lilly, we have to run b squad, with only using three out of four of us. My worry is that if we win enough to get to the playoffs, we won't be able to play in the playoffs unless we run b squad. That could be lots of b squad in the postseason. Sull and I aren't going up and this assumes you (Tish) are a 4... Lewis is not getting better any time soon, so we should be good there."  He punches my arm as if he circled me. Worth it.  I continue.  "...but its a risk."

Again, not opposed to it. She's here as much as we were now, she fits in with the group, but we've been a core team for a few years and keep getting close. We got close last year, and yes, she could help.

Tish knows she passed my logic test, and she was also very aware that Lilly passed my 'cool' test. She was bursting at the seems.

"Ok. But... Tish, BUT... I need her to practice so that when we do need her to win one game, she is ready. Is she going to be cool with that??"

"Baba, I swear, I get how important this is. I got it." I nodded. She did the girly squeal with arms close to her chest clapping three times happy-hoppy-thingy. Then, she scattered away. I turn back to Lewis, who was obviously watching her ass.

"Dude, that's my sister."


I feel just like a local god when I'm with the boys
We do what we want
Yes, we do what we want

Summer days can lead to the bad times
The world gets larger everyday
Yeah, yeah, the summer days can lead to the bad blood
It gets me feeling stupid, happy and numb

I feel so stupid happy and numb
Happy and numb
I feel so stupid

It's karaoke night. I did hate karaoke night. Lots.

I sit up by the counter pondering my art career as Lewis works. Nothing says billiards like a drunk 23 year old singing Stevie Nicks... loud and proud. I know the junkies love it, I'm just not a fan.

I could go cockblock Sully, but I'm lost in a thoughts of our new APA lineup and my potential new art career while noticing how empty these walls looked. Lewis gimps over in between cashing out tables, walking around picking up beer bottles and emptying ash trays. 

"Hey Baba..." Man, even through the smokey hall, I smell her.

I know who it is before turning, but do so anyway. "Hey Lilly. Staying out of trouble??" She sits down in the chair on my right. She looks happy.

"Pssh. Fuck that."

"Good girl."

"I spoke with Tish. Thanks for letting me on the team. I won't let you down." Tish must've told her I was on the fence. "I will practice."

Laughing. "No, not like that at all. I just get very competitive, and I know we can win. Just care, that's all I ask. If you do that only, we're in Vegas this summer.  Also we do have an initiation ceremony, but I'm out of diapers and finding a cow to tip over could take hours, so instead I thought I'd have Sully roll a joint in the Nova."

Flashing her eyes telling me she was very much in favor of the idea, I took the queue to look around for Tish, who is chatting with a bunch of the girlfriends. We make eye contact, I look at her, she knows. I look from her Sully, she gets it. I turn back to Tish mouth wide open.

"Sully told me you two were freaks." I give her my most horrified face. "You two talk without talking."

Oh, yeah, that. I shrug that off as normal.  "You get used to it."  I built up my confidence and decided to ask a question I never thought I'd ask. "Hey, before they get here, Truth?"


"Am I really good or were you just saying that because you wanted a sweater?" My insecurity is sincere.

"I do think you're good, but you need a challenge and you need someone who trusts you to let you do what you need. You can't get better with an art class painting landscapes. You need to just commit in a big way. That's how you get better. Eggs or pool balls or whatever that is... is you. And, assume when you're sweaters are missing, I am stealing them. I love them."

"Yeah, me too."

It's one of those seemingly insignificant moments in your life that you think about all the time. That was the moment I became an artist, because it was the first time someone believed in me. I was a painter before. The vision had just become in focus. I now have a target to aim for.

I will look back on this moment a thousand times. This is not f'PAU, where the memory is triggered by the sensory interaction. This is f'BAM, a memory that is specifically significant to your life. You look back on it every time the results of that significant moment is realized in a new significant moment. It means something to you just like those cookies did, so the memory is equally strong. You can smell it, taste it, know what shirt you wore, or the song that was playing, know if the Yankees won that night... The memory is so powerful that you can travel back in time to be there again.  

This is also the moment where I decided I would never fuck up my relationship with Lilly over being a stupid dude. She deserves more than to have me drooling on her, lesbian or not. She was undoubtedly hot, and her attitude only made that more beautiful. Its nice to have a female friend that isn't in your twin. Tish knows me too well and Lilly is just a twin of a different kind.

AAnnnndddd, here we go...

He was annoying her, she still wasn't in the mood. This is going to annoy me. Tish comes to me. "Baba, small group. Now, please." I just look at Sully like, 'what the fuck did you do now?' We all follow Tish to the door.

Once outside, Lilly and I were brought in on the problem. Tish continued as we took our now regular spots in Betty, who I moved into a less obvious parking spot. Sully was already rolling. So, was Tish, "Look... I get it... I appreciate how much you love karaoke night... I can't back you up tonight." I eyeball Lilly in the rearview mirror, like, 'wait... what?' She scrunched her eyes in agreement. I believe we silently agreed to just stay out of this one and watch the show.

Sully, was stupid enough to continue. "I already have my name on the list?"

Sully, was smart enough to light the joint get it hot, and hand it to Tish first, breaking the typical pot circle 'pass the dochee on the left hand side' protocols, but we got it. He was kissing ass. She took the olive branch, which in this case was literal, it was a huge bone, Sully enjoyed a good pre-game party, and he does sincerely love karaoke night as much as I despised it. It was a time for him to get on stage and shine in the most Sully way. He regularly sang, and he always owned the room when he did. Tish was his backup, but not feeling it tonight and I knew her well enough to know, that ain't changing now.

I turn to Lilly to offer some back story. Using my head as a pointer, passing and puffing as needed to continue the circle, "(nodding left) heee wants (nodding right) herrrrrr to 'do wop' for him." Toke, eyebrows up, out the nose, using the joint as a politician props a pen, cueing I'm not done with my statement as the smoke exits my nose, "(nodding right) SHEEEeeee (turning to him to get him a clue) said NO, and ain't budging..." Sully slumps in his seat. The Nova is overwhelmed with smoke. "Crack that window, maybe I can help." Sully cracks said window properly and fresh cool air helps vent us. "What is your song?"

Sully, pulling himself up, for more than just grabbing his joint, "'Sympathy', bro, I need her."

I looked back in the mirror and raised my eyebrows...

"Wooo hooo" came in the most angelic tone from the back seat. Sully's eyes stared straight forward.

"Shut Your FACE!" Sully shouts, using Lilly's catchphrase on her. The look on Lilly's face will lock into my mind forever. She was legit flattered.

"I mean, I like to sing. I'd go up there by myself. I would just like to not do it alone for my first. So, I get Tish isn't in the mood tonight, I can 'woo hoo' for four minutes. I could be talked into a solo, especially once we're done here." Sully was now wearing his Christmas morning face and back to pumped up.

"See, big boy gets his treat. Big boy gets to sing in front of his fans. Does that make you feeel better, biiiig booooyyyy...." I pile on.

He responds in gest, panting.

Once we got back inside, I was floating. We grabbed a table as a group and played a constant game with zero scorecard. We played with the same hive mind we used to do everything else. If someone wanted to play, they played next, no status or next up. We all wanted to play with each other. We all just enjoyed being together. It was the best way to get Lilly up to speed. It offered one on one games where others watched and rested, mingled around, visited other tables to see if there was action.

At one point, I notice Lilly talking to the DJ and looking through the song book. I assume that to mean she is getting on stage solo after. And, there were always an extra two or three junkies near our table floating in and about. Lewis buzzed like a butterfly with a bad knee, so we were always close to the counter where he could shenanigan along with us if only ten feet away. When we played like this, it was just having fun. No lessons, but things were learned. We rooted for everyone, for every shot, we knew each other well enough to know the subtle improvements in each others game, our strengths and weaknesses. It was how we got better.

Sully gets called to the stage. Lilly and Tish were sitting off to the side talking about all the things girls talk about. Sully headed straight toward the stage, so I go and nudge the girls. Lilly pops up and bounces over to the stage showing a level of excitement I didn't expect. I ask Tish, "why didn't you want to sing?"

Her shoulders slump. She was disappointed. "I actually did. You fucked it up trying to impress Lilly..."

More confused than usual, "please explain."

"He was just being an ass. I do love singing his backup, I just wanted to smoke first." The song starts and she looks over. "This is good though. Its good for her. She really likes it... being in the group. You guys accepted her so easy. Thanks for not just being a dude with her. She is cool." By now, the 'Woo Hoos" kicked in. She looked again, longingly.

I was touched, but didn't want her to know it. "Obviously, you want to go sing, run up there, everyone will love to see you two together..." She jumped up, kissed my cheek, and run up on stage...

Sully, taking cue, turns his song to my twin, "PLEASED TO MEET YOU, HOPE YOU GUESS MY NAME!!"

Tish jumps on to share Lilly's mike... "WHOO HOO... WHOO HOO... WHOO HOO... WHOO HOO..."

I love seeing my mini-family being happy. It is so cool. I turn back to my table and enjoy my song as I run out the table. In my mind, I talk myself into one of the biggest moments of my life.

Dan, the owner of Ball Busters could often be found in his office, pretending he was somewhere else. He was a great presence, and he let us run the joint as long as we respected the basic rules. He was a great person and I wanted to seek him out when we could talk. With them busy on stage, this seemed like the time. I walk over carrying my Schon and knock on his door.

"Yo!" Dan's usual response.

"Hey, Dan. Gotta second?"

"Sure. Is that Sully singing right now? He sounds much better than usual." Dans best quality was his Minnesota accent.

"Yeah. He has a new backup singer, Lilly is helping him tonight." Dan pulls back from his desk and moves his chair over for me to sit with him. Then he opens the bottom right drawer of his desk, pulls out a bottle of Macallan 30y and two crystal rocks glasses. Pours out two glasses and hands me one. I am a notorious pot head, and with that, a bartender. People assume I drink alcohol, but truth, I hate it. However, I'm smart enough to know I was just poured a $100 glass of liquor and was being invited to do more than waste his time.

"Thanks." I raise my glass and take a very small sip. It burned so bad.

"What's up. The new backup singer, Lilly... the redhead??"

"Yeah, she hangs with us now, she's a good one, good friend. Speaking of, she gave me an idea and I was hoping to see if maybe you'd be interested in an idea I had. Most people don't know, I paint." He seemed impressed and had no clue, I continue. "Yeah. So. I brought some pics to show you and I was wondering if you would be into letting me paint the inside walls."

He started flipping through the 4x6" glossy prints I carried in my back pocket. He took another sip of his drink. I made a serious attempt to do the same. While he looks, I notice the song ended outside and the crowd appreciated the rendition.

I try to take another sip of the extremely expensive scotch. It still burns.

"What do you mean, 'paint the inside walls', like with murals of your pool art?" I look at him eyes up, hoping he didn't make me beg him. I notice the next song start because I know the guitar, but can't place it. Not a typical karaoke song, but I know the song, even if i cannot place it. "I suppose you want to get paid for this too?? Could you also spend time working the counter when we need it? Lewis refuses to take time off, but it would be great if I can just hire you as an employee and have you behind the counter. I'll throw in free table time whenever you're off the clock..."


I feel awful about leaving the mostly untouched scotch, until he pics up my glass, raises it to me, and slams it down cold. Then he grabs his and stands up. We leave his office together, before he reaches back for the stack of pictures. When we rejoin the noise, I realize its Lilly on stage and she can wail. The song, I knew but didn't place was Everclear - "Local God"

She owned the room. She bounced on beat and held nothing back.  There are times when a persons confidence and love of self and being in the moment all come together in a perfect moment.

f'POW and f'BAM - all at once.

Summer days can lead to the bad times
The world gets larger everyday
Yeah, yeah, the summer days can lead to the bad blood
It gets me feeling stupid, happy and numb

I feel so stupid happy and numb
Happy and numb
I feel so stupid

I feel just like a local god when I'm with the boys
We do what we want
We do what we want

I feel just like a local god when I'm with the boys
We do what we want
We do what we want
We do what we want

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