Night Bird Flying - Chapter 14: Castles Made Of Sand

It was weird not having Joey around anymore at Garfield.  The guy had helped him establish a foundation here at the school and for a while, Johnny had seen him as the only person he could confide his trust in, with the exception May, and his other band members to a limited extent.  Now that he was gone, it seemed like Chase, Shelly and May were the only friends he had left.  Apricot hadn't been seen for days so Johnny assumed that she'd been found out by her mother and sent to some type of rehabilitation clinic to get help.  He doubted, based on the trouble she caused, that she would ever rejoin the band even if she got clean.  If he found someone to fill in for her, they'd most likely be a permanent replacement.  Unfortunately, based on the length of Joey's eventual incarceration, the same would probably go for him as well.

Johnny walked the hallways of the school somberly as the students passed him in disregard until he reached the end of the hall.  He spotted a group of girls pointing around the corner and snickering amongst each other.  Johnny turned the corner curiously and saw a pleasant sight.

There was a very large guy walking down the corridor in the opposite direction.  He was absolutely huge, somewhere between morbidly obese and impressively built.  He was a black guy, nearly seven feet tall, towering over everyone that he passed.  Johnny could see that he was who the girls were pointing at.  He smiled when he saw him.  He knew who this guy was.

"Lorenzo!" he called out as he walked after him.

The big guy turned and smiled in surprise.  "Johnny B?"

Johnny approached him, chuckling in surprise and shook his large thick hand.  "Dude, what the hell are you doin' here?!  I haven't seen you in years!"

"I moved here on the 1st," Lorenzo said, with a large smile and warm eyes.  He was extremely well-spoken and talked with a near British accent.  "Mother is trying to get into the acting business, as you're probably already aware.  She figured Ladyland, California would provide the best opportunity, even though it's really Los Angeles she's after.  This place has cheaper apartment prices though.  Who would have thought that in this one random city in this one random public school, we happen to re-acquaint ourselves."

"I know right," Johnny said excitedly.  "It's good to see you again, man.  We need to hang out some time."

"Definitely.  What've you been up to lately?  How is your mother?"

"Well I haven't talked to her in a good minute.  I got into a bit of trouble back home and moved here with my Uncle Chuck."

"Oh, what a coincidence."

A group of preppy male students passed by the two of them as they talked and began to snicker amongst each other.

"GODZILLA!" One of them exclaimed as the lot of them burst into laughter and walked away.  Johnny shook his head and turned back to Lorenzo, who was looking down in shame.

"These idiots don't know shit about anythin', don't worry about them.  I go through the same type of stuff every day.  Just ignore them and you'll be good."

"I know," Lorenzo said, the smile reappearing on his face.  "For a short time, I believed I would be all by my lonesome in this God-forsaken place.  It's good to see that I'll have a friend to endure it with me."

"Yeah man.  Give me your phone number, we've got some catchin' up to do."  As the two exchanged numbers, Johnny was feeling a great deal of confidence for future events.  He couldn't wait to find Chase and Shelly.  Things were about to change for the band dramatically.


"So this guy, Lorenzo Byrd," Shelly said, eating a chocolate chip cookie as she sat with Johnny at the table in an empty corner of the lunch room.  Since the semester change, she now had the same lunch period as Johnny and Chase.  "What's so special about him?"

"He's my cousin," Johnny said, leaning up against the wall with his hands in his pockets.  "On my mother's side.  And he plays Bass guitar.  When we were younger, we used to jam together, pretendin' we had a two-man band with his aunt drumming in the kitchen as she cooked.  Those were good times.  I hadn’t seen him for about half a decade and now he's going to Garfield.  I'm thinkin' he'll want to join us, actin' as Joey's Fill-In."

"So what's he like?  Is he friendly?"

“Friendliest guy I've ever met.  Ever.  He’s a really classy old school fellow.  He's also very proper in his accent for a Louisiana boy.  Like I know I don't talk with a ghetto country accent, more so like white boy country, but then sometimes it sounds kind of normal.  he takes it to a whole nother level.  The way he talks reminds me of Kelsey Grammar in Frasier.”

“That's funny, 'cause the way you talk reminds me of cross between Earl from My Name Is Earl and Forrest Gump,” Shelly smirked.

Johnny laughed.  “I'll take that as a complement for your sake.  Anyways, he's a huge guy, almost obese.  Sometimes I worry about his health."

"Sounds like a well-rounded person," Shelly said, finishing up the cookie and rubbing the crumbs on her thighs.  "Oh, no offense."

"What?" Johnny said, not catching it at first.  "Oh....yeah, none taken."

"There you are!" Chase exclaimed as he approached them with a tray of food in his hands.  He laid it on the table quickly, slipped off his backpack, and took a seat beside Shelly.  "I've been looking everywhere for you guys.  You are not going to believe who I talked to last night."

"Your self?" Shelly teased.  "A pillow?"

"A phone sex-line?" Johnny asked with a chuckle, joining in.

"No," Chase snapped annoyingly.  "I was talking to Oliver.  Oliver Mann."

"Oh, no way!" Shelly said in shock.

"Wait, who's Oliver again?" Johnny asked curiously.

"Oliver, one of the original members of our first band!" Chase said with enthusiasm.  "Back when it was being run by Joey.  He was the one that went into the coma after being poisoned by Ramsey."

"Ah, the DJ.  So he's out of the coma now?"

"Yeah, and he's moving back to Ladyland today.  In the same house and everything.  I'm thinking he can be a fill-in for Apricot."

"That's perfect, Johnny was just telling me about how his cousin might fill in for - whoa."  Shelly stopped mid-sentence as she spotted Lorenzo walk up from the opposite side of the lunch room.  On his way over, he bumped into a passing student, who fell to the floor and dropped his tray of food, scattering it everywhere.  Lorenzo tried to help the student up, but he refused it and walked away in frustration.  When Lorenzo approached them, he gave them all a quick wave.

"Hey Lorenzo," Johnny said, getting up to greet him with a handshake.  "These are my two band mates, Chase and Shelly.  Guys, this is Lorenzo, my cousin and a fantastic bass player."

"Pleased to meet you two," he said, shaking hands with Chase and reaching down to grab Shelly's hand, kissing it in a chivalrous manner.  Shelly was surprised to say the least, more so that Lorenzo had been one of the first people she'd met lately that didn't mistake her for a boy.  His classy gesture made her blush slightly.

"If I'm not mistaken, did I hear you say 'band mates', Johnny?" Lorenzo asked curiously.

"Yeah.  Basically we started a band," Johnny explained.  "A rock band.  We had six, then we had five, now we have three, two guitarists and a drummer.  Now, I know that you're an excellent bassist and I really want you to join, but the thing is, hangin' with us has become more....dangerous than we bargained for.  We've got a rival band on our case called Calypsis and they want us dead.  Literally.  We've been tryin' to work towards a concert for the school that our manager, Paul McFly, was gonna set up, but without a stable band, we're at a stand-still.  I want you to join, but I want you to know what you're signin' up for before you do."

Lorenzo nodded and thought for a second.  "You all seem like a sound group of characters.  As long as you have my back, I'll have yours.  I don't want to make any promises until I hear what you guys have got but it sounds like a good investment to me."

"Well we've got someone else on hold to possibly join as well so how about a practice after school if you're not too busy?  You can listen to the Demo we made."

"Come on, Johnny, when am I ever busy?" Lorenzo said with a broad smile.  "What do you guys call yourselves anyway?"

"Class of '70," Chase said, speaking up.

"I don’t know about that anymore, Chase,” Johnny said, turning to him.  “With all of these changes bein’ made to the band and all, I’m thinkin’ we probably need to go through an identity change too.  Leave the old era behind and enter a new one.  I think we should change the name.”

"To what?" Shelly asked, shrugging.  "It was a bitch to find a suitable one the first time around."

"I'll figure somethin' out.  In the meantime, we'll keep the name we have now until we have an idea for something’ new."

"Sounds good," Lorenzo said vibrantly.  "I would just like to say that after the practice this afternoon, I've got someone I'd like for you to meet, Johnny.  He may inspire you a bit.”


Lorenzo sat in the middle of Chase's garage with the rest of the band, headphones on his ears, listening to the Class of '70 Demo intently.  He nodded his head to each song and when he was finished, he took them off.

“I like, I like,” he said, handing the MP3 Player back to Chase.  “Clever bass line you have for those.  They’re pretty simple too.  I shouldn't have any problem adjusting them to my playing style if I choose to join you guys.”

“Good, cool,” Johnny said, sitting on the couch set up along the wall.  “It’s good to actually have you here with us.  It’s just like old times.”

“Yep,” he said, opening his guitar case and pulling from it a crimson-colored Fender Telecaster Bass.  “Except you’re ten times better and I’m ten times bigger.”

Johnny chuckled.  “Well, it’s cool though.  You add some variety to the band.”

“And some shade.  Don’t lie.”

“I like this guy,” Chase said, setting up his drum set.  “He's not afraid to admit his faults.”

“I’m not afraid to tease either,” Lorenzo said, turning to him.  “I’m sure you'll probably get short with me sometimes.”  Shelly laughed out loud and Chase blushed embarrassingly.  “Relax, my friend, I’m only joking.  If you can’t laugh at your own flaws every once in a while, you can’t enjoy your strengths.”

"Yeah, you're right," Chase said, his smile reappearing.  "I may be short but I can rupture this Earth with my drum set."

Chase slammed the sticks onto the set and entered a quick solo, topping it off with a light tap on the farthest high-hat.  The door to the garage opened and May walked in, waving at the band.

"Hey, May, this is my cousin, Lorenzo Byrd," Johnny introduced.  "Lorenzo, this is my girlfriend and Chase's sister, May Walker."

"Ah, lucky guy," Lorenzo said, getting up to kiss May's hand.  "Very pleased to meet you."

May smiled and blushed.  "Alright, alright, back off Casanova," Johnny teased.  "Back in the day, this guy was on the rebound with every girl I'd been with.  It's hard to find classiness like that in Louisiana.  Or anywhere for that matter.  He gets all of the women."

"I can see why," May said with a smile.  "You do have the charm."

"Yeah, but I don't think I'll be forming an established relationship here in Ladyland," Lorenzo said, sitting back down in his chair.  “Women here don’t seem to be open-minded enough.”

“That’s for sure,” May said then turned her attention to Chase.  “So Oliver’s on his way?”

“Yeah, but don’t get any ideas, May,” Chase said passionately.  “He’s here for the band, not you.”

“Chase!” May exclaimed.

“Am I missin’ somethin’ here?” Johnny asked, leaning back in his chair confusedly.

“Yeah, Oliver and May used to date.”

“I was the one that broke it off,” May reassured Johnny.  “I moved on a long time ago.”

“Some say,” Chase muttered, tapping his foot on the pedal as he tested the bass drum on the set.  He looked up and pointed.  “Speak of the devil.  Here he comes now.”

A car had just pulled up, parallel parking in between Lorenzo and Shelly’s ride, Johnny taking the ride with Lorenzo since Uncle Chuck barred him from using his car again.  He believed that Johnny had brought trouble (Joey’s Rampage) with him with his last use of it, even though the odds of something like that happening again were slim.  On the contrary, this was Ladyland, a town where anything was bound to happen, especially the unexpected and Uncle Chuck knew this better than anyone.  He had insurance pay off the damages but refused to press more charges against Joey at Johnny’s request.  It was already enough to lose him in the band.  But with Lorenzo and this new guy, Oliver, on their side, things had a chance of going in a positive direction.

There were two people in the car but only the passenger got out.  As he approached them, Johnny’s jaw dropped immediately.  Shelly walked up to greet him when he entered the garage.

“What’s up, Sleeping Beauty!” Shelly exclaimed, embracing Oliver aggressively.  “It’s great to see you.”

“You too, Shelly, you too,” he said with a broad smile.

“Bro!” Chase shouted, running up from the drum set and jumping onto Oliver, grasping hold of his entire torso with all fours.  Oliver patted him on the back awkwardly.

“All right, easy on the squeezy,” he said, as Chase finally let go.  “Nice to see you too, man.  You look like you’ve grown a couple of millimeters since I last saw you.”

“Hey, fuck you, Oliver,” Chase said playfully.  “Oh yeah, what the hell is wrong with me?  This is the guy I was telling you about.  The awesome guitarist, Johnny B. Goode.”

Oliver turned to Johnny with a smile and reached his hand out for a shake.  Johnny could do nothing but stare at him in shock.  He was looking at Joey.  He might as well have been.  He was a spitting image of him; the resemblance was uncanny.  The only difference was that Oliver had blonde hair and wore a pair of glasses over his face.  Everything else was Joey’s, from his facial features, to his height and build, all the way down to his clothing style.  Even the way his hair was positioned on his head resembled Joey’s hairdo.  If Johnny didn’t know any better, he would have thought that Joey had escaped from prison and adopted this new persona as a means of hiding from authorities.

Johnny finally took his hand and shook it, a small smile forming on his face.  “Johnny B,” he greeted.

“Oliver,” the guy said with Joey's voice.

Johnny turned to Chase and Shelly.  “You guys do realize that he looks exactly like Joey, right?”

Chase leaned to his side and looked Oliver in the face.  “I’m not seeing it.”

“Look past the blonde hair and glasses, Chase, come on.”

Shelly moved beside Chase to get a good view.  “Hey, I guess he does look a little like Joey.”

“I’m still not seeing it,” Chase said, looking intently.

“Okay,” Oliver said smiling awkwardly.  “Enough with the staring.  Now that you mention him, how’s Joey doing these days?”

“Ah,” Chase started, rubbing the back of his head.  “He’s in prison, dude.  He thought that Johnny took advantage of the girl who was on drugs I told you about yesterday, then went after Johnny with a shotgun.  Apparently, he was in love with her or something.  It’s okay though, ‘cause we've got the big guy back here to fill in for him.  His name’s Lorenzo.”

Lorenzo saluted in his direction, to which Oliver returned.  Oliver leaned towards Chase and Shelly but within earshot of Johnny.

“Yeah he’s filling in, alright.”

Neither of them were amused.  “He's Johnny’s cousin,” Chase said simply.

“Oh,” Oliver muttered, turning back to Johnny, who looked at him with a sour expression.  Oliver made a pained face.  “Sorry man.”

“It’s all right, just don’t let it happen again,” Johnny said sternly, crossing his arms.  “And don’t judge before you get to know a person.  That’s one of my biggest pet peeves.”

“Understood, man, duly noted.  It'll never happen again.  So you guys actually want me in?  I mean, you seem like you’ve got all of the members you need.  Singer, two guitarists, bassist, and drummer.”

“We could use your technical expertise,” Johnny said.  “There are also songs that we have that involve synthesized sounds, more specifically from a keyboard, but I’m sure you can handle it with your equipment as well.”

“Ah, that sounds good.  I’d like to see where you guys are going with this.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to bring all of my equipment but I’ve got a turntable system in my trunk if you want to see me fool around with that.”

“That’s fine,” Johnny said, nodding his head.

Oliver turned around and yelled back at the car.  “Caitlin, get out the turntables!”

The driver of the car popped the trunk of it, then exited to retrieve it from the back.  She pulled out the turntable case, which had wheels on its bottom, and rolled it in his direction, shutting the trunk door on her way over.  As she came clearer into view, Johnny once again found himself utterly speechless.

This Caitlin character bared a striking resemblance to Apricot.  Seriously.  Again, it was uncanny.  The difference was that her hair was curlier, shorter, and dirty blonde.  She also wasn’t wearing 70’s attire.  Johnny began to think that this coincidence was a trick being pulled on him.  There had to be hidden cameras around here somewhere, he thought.

“Guys, you remember my sister, Caitlin.  Caitlin, this is Johnny B. Goode, the guy I’m going to be working with.”

“Nice to meet you,” she said, holding out a hand to shake.

Johnny took it awkwardly.  “Likewise,” he said, clearing his throat.  “Do you play an instrument?”

“Ah no,” she said with a bit of embarrassment.  “I’m not as talented as the rest of you guys.  I can sing a little bit though.”

“Oh well, maybe we can give you some backin’ vocals on a few of our songs,” Johnny said compassionately.  “There are a few harmonies I’d like to put on some of them.”

“Oh, that sounds awesome,” she said with excitement.  “I’d be up for it.  Just let me know when you need me.”

“Whoa,” Oliver said, diverging from the group and walking farther into the garage.  “Is that who I think it is?  Or have I been asleep for so long that I’m imagining beautiful women in my line of sight.”

He had spotted May, who was sitting on the steps of the garage leading back into the house.  “Hey Oliver,” she said with next to no emotion.  “Glad to see you’re doing well.”

“You too, beautiful.  What’ve you been up to?”

“Life, school, boyfriend,” she said sternly, trying to insinuate a point in order to prevent Oliver from saying the wrong thing.

“Oh, you’re dating now?  We’ll have to do something about that later.  Who’s the asshole?”

May leaned her head in Johnny’s direction, past Oliver, who turned around quickly and the smile on his face disappeared.  “Oh...” he said, awkwardly rubbing the back of his head.  “Uh sorry, Johnny.  Guess I’m not getting off to the best start, am I?”

“Not really,” Johnny said, with a raised eyebrow.

“Look man, I really apologize,” Oliver said, re-approaching him.  “I really suck at making good first impressions and I’m not usually like this.  I’m just a bit nervous.  Can we start over?”

Johnny sized Oliver up and thought for a moment.  “Yeah sure.”

“Thanks man,” Oliver said, shaking his hand again.  “It’s mainly the aftermath of the coma talking.  I’ve been asleep for 3 years so my head isn’t where I’d like it to be just yet.”

“Yeah, we found out how you got sick too,” Shelly said darkly.  “Ramsey poisoned you.”

“Figured as much.  Shortly before I got sick, he cornered me one time when you all weren’t around and told me he didn’t like me and warned me to watch my back.  Creeped the shit out of me.  I started to tell you guys....but then I woke up one morning and three years had passed,” Oliver chuckled.  “It was only a matter of time.  I thought I might have had to confront him again by coming here so I was a bit skeptical, but I’m glad you guys found out before I had to meet him face-to-face again.”

“Face to fucked up Face,” Johnny joked.

“What do you mean?”

“You’ll see soon enough.  Anyway, let’s get started.”


Johnny filled Lorenzo, Oliver, and Caitlin in on everything that transpired in the past several months while Oliver set up his turntables.  They were astounded by how dangerous a simple band venture had gotten and were a bit hesitant about becoming involved in the action.  However none of them backed down.  Caitlin didn’t consider herself a permanent member as it was, so she was perfectly fine with it all, as long as she and her brother didn’t get hurt in the process of helping them.  As they talked, Johnny was glad he’d made the decision of giving Oliver another chance.  He seemed like a nice guy, a little different in personality from Joey, but giving off the same vibe.  After all, Oliver was human, humans make mistakes and when all is forgiven, it’s essential to move on or no progress would be made.  That was one of Johnny’s many philosophies.

Several minutes in, Oliver and Caitlin were given the chance to listen to the Demo on Oliver’s turntable and give their honest opinion, which was nothing less than positive.  Oliver coached Johnny through his mixing process and explained exactly what he would be able to do musically to help the band.  Johnny was very impressed, even more so when he presented his own list of songs that he’d been working on and thought about composing with the band.  They were very well written and with the same kind of style that Johnny would have composed had he written them himself.  Oliver insisted that he only wanted to pursue the songs with them when they were signed, as to not stifle or limit Johnny’s creative output.  Johnny was flattered.

At the end of the practice, Oliver and Caitlin gave Johnny their number and they scheduled a dinner at a local restaurant to discuss future ventures.  When they left, Johnny took a ride with Lorenzo, saying his goodbyes to Chase, Shelly, and May before they hit the road.

"Where exactly are we goin'?" Johnny asked, turning to his cousin from the passenger seat as they traveled across the highway.

"To my mother's apartment.  We're going to see Nesta."

"Oh man, I haven't seen him since I was like ten," he said with enthusiasm.

"Yeah, he'll be excited to see you."

Lorenzo drove by a park where Johnny could see a group of children playing Cowboys and Indians in the middle of the field while their parents watched.  The park happened to be right beside the apartment complex where Lorenzo and his mother were staying.  Lorenzo parked close to it and exited the car with Johnny by his side, his guitar case across his torso.  The two entered the building and took the stairs up a few floors.

Johnny spotted several interesting occurrences on his way up; a relatively young woman sat with a dismal expression in a wheelchair, staring out of the window at the top of the stairs.  Johnny wanted to get a better look at her but Lorenzo was heading in another direction so he chose to continue following him instead.  As he continued down the hallway, one of the doors flew open and a drunken black man was thrown out of the room by an angry woman, who then slammed the door on his face.  He began to yell at the door incoherently but eventually turned around and slumped on it in tears.  Johnny walked past the man quietly and kept on moving.  Some part of him felt inspired by the events transpiring around him.  He took it as a creative impulse that he would often get when traveling and noted them in his head for possible use in the future.

They reached the third floor of the building and Lorenzo stopped at the room closest to the stairs, opening it with a key and entering.  Johnny followed him into the small apartment, which began with the kitchen and eventually led into the living room.  His mother, Johnny's aunt, was in the process of cooking an elaborate dinner.  Farah Byrd was a beautiful middle-aged woman and Johnny’s mother’s sister-in-law, as his mother's brother, Johnny's blood uncle, passed away many years earlier.  She turned around with a smile to greet him.

“Look who I found, mother?” Lorenzo said, motioning towards Johnny.

"Johnny B!" she exclaimed, embracing him with a hug to which he returned.  "What're you doing here in California?"

"I live here now with my Uncle," Johnny explained.  "Me and Lorenzo go to the same school now.  It's good to see you, Aunt Farah."

"You too, boy!  I ain't seen you since you was this high," she said, putting her hand four feet off of the ground.  "Now look at you.  Carrying your little guitar around just like the old days."

"Yeah mother, I brought him here to see Nesta," Lorenzo said, dropping his backpack on the couch in the adjacent living room.  "Is he up?"

"Yeah, he's in his meditation.  You make yourself at home, Johnny, I'll have dinner ready in a minute.”

“Okay, thank you,” Johnny said politely, following Lorenzo into the hallway and entering one bedroom at the end of the hall.  When Johnny followed him in, he entered a room with walls covered in crude black paint applied over white surfaces and a variety of abstract paintings stapled haphazardly in various spots across them.  The room was very dirty, but other than that, relatively empty except for two metal chairs and a sofa at the end of the room.  Sitting in Indian style on the sofa was a very slim middle-aged man with long grey dreadlocks and a thick beard.  He was wearing sunglasses while shirtless in a pair of silk shorts.  He took a drag from a cigarette between his lips smoothly as they entered the room.  The man was Nesta, Johnny’s step-uncle but when Johnny and Lorenzo were younger, they jokingly nicknamed him the Black Godfather for his mysterious demeanor.

“Jonathan Goode,” Nesta muttered slowly in a Jamaican-influenced but clear accent.  “I am enthused your presence.”

“Likewise,” Johnny said with a smile and nod.  Lorenzo moved towards the metal chairs and set them in front of the sofa beside each other.  Lorenzo and Johnny took a seat in them.  “I’m impressed that you can still sense me after all these years.”

“My eyes may be gone,” Nesta said, pulling off his shades to reveal a set of grey lifeless pupils.  “But my intuition will remain until I pass on.  And it never forgets.  So what have you been getting yourself into lately?”

Johnny began to explain his ventures with his band, elaborating on his rivalries, the mistakes that led to deadly altercations, and the new direction he felt the band was about to take, along with the big concert for the school at the end of the year.  When he was done, Nesta had nearly finished his cigarette.

“And what do think will happen after your concert?” he asked, inhaling the smoke from it once more.

“Well I’m hoping we’ll continue to do some venues until we get signed, which shouldn’t be too long after that.  I mean, we’ve got a good fanbase established and everythin’.  It’s just that things are about to change and I’m not sure if it’s for the better or for the worse.”

“Every change is for the better, even if it seems as if it is for the worse.  As long as your ambition is there, your quest will never end until you succeed in reach your goal.  But you haven’t answered my question.  What do you think will happen after your concert?”

“Um,” Johnny said, awkwardly exchanging looks with Lorenzo.  “We'll get signed?”
“No.  The people, Jonathan.  I’m asking what do you think will happen to the people after your concert?  Do you think they will receive the message you’re trying to deliver to them?”

“Well, I honestly don’t know.  I hope so.”

“The answer is no.  Do you know why?” Nesta asked, rubbing his chin.


“Because of what you are doing it for.  Or rather what you think you are doing it for.  If you were to perform that concert for your school tomorrow, the only thing that the students there will receive is a free concert that, based on the way you described them, they will not enjoy.  They will not receive your message.”

Johnny was a bit confused and visibly frustrated at this revelation.  “So you’re sayin’ that I shouldn’t have the concert at all?”

“No, I am not saying that, Jonathan.  I am saying that if you are going to have the concert, you need a more valid reason for why you want to commit to it.  At the moment, it seems that you are hanging on to the words of your manager instead doing it for your own reasons.”

Johnny exchanged a pleasant look with Lorenzo as if to say “this guy is good.”  He was understanding why Lorenzo brought him there.  “So how do I figure out what I’m doin’ it for?”

Nesta sucked the remains of his cigarette through his lips and nudged it away in the ash tray beside him.  “Are you aware of something known as Electric Church?”

“Can’t say that I am.”

“Lorenzo, tell him what it is.”

Lorenzo turned to Johnny as Nesta lit up another cigarette.  “Electric Church is this quasi-spiritual belief in music, almost like a religion.  It’s the belief that music, particularly electric music can manifest emotions, feelings, and creative epiphanies in other human beings, as well as encouraging spiritual maturity.”

“It is the feeling you get when you lose yourself in the music; when you become so engulfed in what you are listening to, that you are simply forced to submit to it,” Nesta explained.  “The drug that never loses its intensity.  A state of mind that was given to us by God as being the one divine gateway to his perspective.  This is Electric Church.”

“So what you’re sayin’ is,” Johnny said, looking away in thought.  “I need to learn how to use Electric Church?”

“Mastering the art of Electric Church is to unlock that spiritual divinity within another human being.  Music is sound organized in time, therefore the perfect frequency can unhinge parts of the mind that many have yet to experience before.  Matter of opinion on the music that they are hearing does not matter in the least.  It’s the energy that is unlocked in the mind by that music.  What I am saying is, in order to perform this concert of yours, you will have to use the art of Electric Church in order for your audience to experience this sensation.  Then the goal you seek to achieve through this concert will be realized.”

“Well how do I do that?”

“Ah, that is the lesson you must eventually learn on your own.  You must start with experiencing Electric Church for yourself on a conscious level.  The way you have experienced it before was when you were unconsciously delving into that realm, but now that you are aware of its existence, you must be able to voluntarily put yourself in that state of mind.  You must lose yourself.  When you learn how to perform this for yourself, you must then learn how to do the same for your fellow man, only you must be the one to enter them into that state.”

“Sounds difficult,” Johnny said rubbing the back of his head awkwardly.

“Sound....is easy,” Nesta muttered softly, leaning forward with a bright smile.  “Manipulate music and you will discover the true nature of it.  Now go, I have things to do.”

Nesta shooed them away.  Lorenzo and Johnny reluctantly obeyed, walking out into the hallway and back into the living room, where Johnny stood absentmindedly.

“Johnny, are you okay?” Lorenzo said, from behind.

“Yeah,” Johnny said, staring off into space.  He then turned around and looked at Lorenzo with eyes full of received wisdom.  “Electric Church.”

“Yeah, great stuff, right?” Lorenzo said with a smile.

“No, Electric Church.  As a band name.  How’s that sound?”

“Uh, sounds pretty good to me but are you sure?  I mean, Class of ‘70 sounds pretty solid-”

“Class of ‘70 has no relevancy at this moment, not with the direction this is goin’,” Johnny said, simultaneously pulling out his phone and dialing Paul’s number.  When he answered it, Johnny was full of energy.  “Paul, we’re changin‘ the name of the band.”

“What?  Why?” Paul asked in protest.  “We had a good thing going with Class of ‘70, we’ve already got the Merch for it out and everything!”

“None of that matters right now.  Listen, we’ve just added new members to the band so it needs an identity change.  I’m ready to move on from Class of ‘70 and into a new identity for the band.  I honestly think it’s gonna be better.”

“Well spit it out, what did you want to change it to?”

“Electric Church.”

“Sounds exotic, is there a back story that I can put on the website or something?  Cause this is going to result in a lot of recalls and changes to the merchandising lists.  It’s going to take a lot of money-”

“I thought it wasn’t about the money?”

“It’s not Johnny, it’s not.  I’ll get right on it.  Hit me up on that extra information when you get the chance, will you?  Take care.”

“Alright,” Johnny said, hanging up his phone and putting it away.  “Thanks a lot for taking me here, Lorenzo.  I think things are about to get very interestin’.”

“No problem, cousin,” Lorenzo said, beginning to walk out of the room.  “Thanks for considering me for your musical ventures.  It was my obligation to give you some of the words of wisdom my stepfather provides me with daily.  Now let’s go, mother probably has the food prepared by now.”

Castles Made Of Sand by Jimi Hendrix

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