Broken Birdie Chirpin

Broken Birdie Chirpin by Adam Tarsitano Read Free Book Online

Book: Broken Birdie Chirpin by Adam Tarsitano Read Free Book Online
Authors: Adam Tarsitano
days until the spring dance and we weren’t ready.
We hadn’t even been able to agree on a proper name for our band. I should’ve
shared my feelings with her, but it wasn’t in me. I slapped one on her soft
lips instead. Time didn’t stand still. Nobody snapped any photographs. Memories
are imperfect. It was the last time we kissed.
    The
recognition that we had two rehearsals left to learn fifteen songs gutted us
like a Bristol Bloodhound. Nerves were bloody raw. We weren’t professionals who
could drop everything in pursuit of cohesion. There were frustrated coaches,
meddling parents, disappointed teachers, and arsehole brothers to contend with.
It also didn’t help that we were besotted with ourselves and ignorant of our
mortality. We mostly blew off our first rehearsal riding high from conquest.
The next few were spent pouring over a handful of songs. Tunes like “Carmenita”
and “Gutter Minx” were perfect, but perfection was a luxury we couldn’t afford.
The joke was on us: We were being schooled in the art of time management by the
gods of chaos.
    Progress
deteriorated into dysfunction with each passing moment. Songs were blending
into each other and perspective vanished. “Hold it. Hold it.” Skeffington
halted the proceedings during the second verse of “Birdie McBride.” “You’re
playing too bloody fast, mate. It’s not blooming speed metal.”
    “I
thought the point was to run through these as quickly as possible. It’s a
simple song with a simple beat.” Lincoln looked at Frisby. “Right?” Frisby
nodded.
    “You
being condescending with that ‘simple song’ bit? Funny…”
    I
interrupted Skeffington mid-stream at my own peril. “We’re knackered. It all
sounds the same to me now…fast, slow, left, right. We can’t squeeze it all in.
End of story.”
    “We’ve
got a show to do in two days, mate. Two sets in front of the entire school.
Writing the songs was the difficult part. All these mutts have to do is play
them.” Skeffington shot an antagonizing scowl at Lincoln. “Pushing through is
the only option.”
    Captain
Skeffington had the most to lose given his stellar reputation, but our
interests were mostly aligned because I had the most to gain. My association
with him was inches away from paying dividends. Exhaustion and infighting
weren’t going to sod it up. And that’s when it dawned on me. “Wait. Alright.
Skeffington and I can do a handful of these ditties acoustically. Three or four
thumpers and then mix in something lo-fi. Repeat. It’ll free us up a bit.”
    “I
knew you were the leader of this outfit for a reason. In fact, I’m calling you
Churchill from here on out.” Lincoln was mostly launching a verbal haymaker to
Skeffington’s ego, but I didn’t necessarily mind. There’d be mighty struggles
for creative control for decades to come. The shifting tide was often quick,
intense, and dependent on who’d been knocking off the better jingles. Our
internal politicking eventually became so unruly that even the most ordinary
decisions were unbearable. Fortunately, reason mostly prevailed during those
early days.
    “Codswallop
aside…it’s a blooming great idea, mate.” Skeffington’s nod meant that Father
Time wouldn’t be pissing on our dreams any longer. “Shall we take her from the
top?” It felt as if an industrial-sized exhaust fan began sucking the tension
out of the garage. The rehearsal continued with renewed swagger as solidarity
displaced bitterness. Lincoln played “Birdie McBride” mid-tempo. Skeffington
even accepted Lincoln’s suggestion to convert “Judy’s Jam Jar Jive” into a
reggae number. The latter conversion proved rather fateful.
    Lincoln
and Frisby laid down the one drop riddim while I finessed the skank.
Skeffington sang in his grittiest jamdown inflection. The bridge seemed wide
open, however, and I transformed into an iron bird setting course for Trench
Town. I filled it to the blooming rafters with a sundrenched island

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