Phoenix Chapter Six: Christmas

Phoenix Chapter Six: Christmas

A Chapter by SweetNutmeg

Chapter Six: Christmas 


Friday night, Rita and Ryan greet him at Marco's with raised glasses and congratulations. 

“I knew he'd get in,” Rita crows. “Remember? I told you that night.” 

“And I knew you were right.” Ryan squeezes Rita close and they both turn to Rogan. 

“When's your first show?” asks Rita.

“We haven't talked about that yet, but my first practice is Sunday.” Rogan looks at Rita and says, “Thank you for giving me that flier. I think this is going to work out.” 

Then he tells them about the expenses of such an endeavor, the expensive amp and the huge investment of time it will take to learn all of Ancient Doom's original songs. 

“No time for the babes, eh?” Ryan leers at him. 

Rita gives Ryan a repressive look. She hasn't forgotten the Kirstin incident.

“Well, it's not like I have much time for that anyway. Working man and all that.”



***


There are over a dozen songs on the flash drive J.D. gave him. Rogan starts the only way he knows how, one at a time. He gets about three down pretty well, playing by ear. 

On Sunday, J.D. is impressed with how quickly Rogan learned so many songs playing by ear alone. Playing with others equally proficient is an intense experience, one that is hard to describe, communicating on another level, lighting up new parts of his brain, satisfying a deep need. 

After working on the three songs Rogan knows, J.D. informs the band that they are going to start a regular practice schedule, Thursdays and Sundays, 7 pm. 

Practice breaks up early, as Rogan only has three songs he is prepared to play.

“Need a ride?” Buzz asks. When Rogan nods, he tosses him the keys again.

Everything seems to be falling into place. He feels happier than he has since he bought his guitar this past summer. 


***

Every evening Rogan practices the five songs J.D. assigned him. Days of work seem to fly by now that Rogan has something to look forward to. Sunday rolls around and he sets off to practice in the evening. 

Once again, J.D. is impressed with Rogan's facility in learning new material so quickly. They practice the five songs Rogan now knows. When they end the last song with a tremendous crashing of cymbals, J.D. punches air.

“Let's get a beer at Molly's.” J.D. suggests.

Buzz offers Rogan a ride again.

Molly's Tavern is a typical neighborhood bar, a range of bottles in front of a mirror and a long expanse of bar, polished wood gleaming darkly. There are a dozen bar stools, but Buzz gestures towards a round table under a green shaded lamp.

“Grab us a table, I'll buy us a round.”  

Rogan sits and sees there is a pool table through a large arched door way and a jukebox beyond. As he is inspecting the surroundings, J.D. comes in, sees Rogan and grabs a chair. 

“He's getting us a round? He beat me to it.” They both look at Buzz as he waits for the bartender's attention. “Buzz likes you. Buzz is a great judge of character.” 

“I like Buzz, too. He's a good guy.” 

“There's more to him than most people see. Most people see a big lunk behind a drum set, but he's actually a high powered computer programmer. Works for a little company, he got in on the ground floor, doing CGI innovations. Every now and then he has to go to California to work on things with silicone valley types. Smart guy, Buzz.” 

“What do you do?” Rogan asks.

“Me? I'm a night auditor for Sleep Inn. Got the night off tonight. Here we are.” Roy and Buzz converge on the table. 

“I was just telling Rogan what an egg head you are,” J.D. tells Buzz.  Speaking to Roy, J.D. says, “Rogan here is a mechanic, too.”

“Just a grease monkey at Midas,” is Rogan's explanation.

“I work at AutoHaus. Been there five years now.” Rogan is impressed. AutoHaus is an import shop, working mainly on Volkswagons, Mercedes and BMWs, a high end place to work.

“You guys do a lot of vintage work, yeah?” Rogan asks. 

“Most of it is just old, no vintage about it. But we do get a cherry every now and then.”

Conversation moves on and after a while, Rogan notices their group is drawing a bit of attention. He guesses it's not often an entire heavy metal band shows up in this neighborhood bar. It's nice hanging with a group of musicians again.   


***


Rogan volunteers to work Christmas Eve to let the other guys at Midas have the day off. Rogan has no plans, himself, so he might as well work. After work, Rogan considers his evening. He finally decides to get a pizza delivered and spend his time practicing. Leo is out of town again, so he can crank it up. 

After a good, long session on the guitar, Rogan puts his feet up on the coffee table and surveys his domain. It's pretty messy, with a dirty uniform cast off on the floor, next to the overflowing laundry basket, coffee table strewn with his possessions piled up haphazardly, guitar picks, his lap top, empty coke cans, a coffee mug, the band flier, a few guitar magazines. But it's his. He's out, escaped his father's house. He has his own place and a good job and he's in a band. Who cares if he doesn't have anything to do for Christmas? 

Ryan is distressed and seems to think Rogan is just putting a good face on a sad holiday, but Rogan really doesn't care. His father thought the whole point of Christmas was to tell his family how hard he worked and how little they deserved the meager presents their mother would buy. Then he'd get drunk and maybe smack Ma around a little. Christmas was never a good day. But tomorrow he plans to have a good day for once. Practice a little, maybe watch some TV, clean up a bit, do some laundry, listen to his music collection.  

Rogan wakes to silent snow falling from a gray sky, only an occasional car hissing by to disturb the scene he observes through his picture window. Mid afternoon, it is still snowing, but just warm enough to keep the streets clear of accumulation. By three he is feeling a bit restless and the park across the street looks inviting, a broad expanse of virgin snow, surrounded by trees frosted with white. When he crosses the street and enters the park, the snow is three inches deep, deep enough to sink his boots into. The snow makes tiny scrunching sounds as he walks. He scoops up a large double handful of wet snow and compacts it into a rounded shape. He nails the handicapped parking sign and his snowball sprays apart. He throws a couple more before returning to his room. He takes off his motorcycle jacket and Motörhead knit cap, and unwinds his black cashmere scarf. He hangs up his outer clothes and looks around at his tidied up room. Life is good. 


© 2019 SweetNutmeg


Author's Note

SweetNutmeg
Thank you for reading. Any and all comments are welcome, as always. Also, I'd like to know, is this too much nice stuff, without any conflict or catastrophe? Is it boring with nothing dramatic going on?

My Review

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Featured Review

Things seem to be falling into place for Rogan! I was a bit surprised it was already Christmas in the story. It felt like Halloween was only a few chapters ago. Time flies, doesn't it?

I feel sorry for Rogan's mother, having to live with an abusive husband like that, but I'm happy Rogan got out of that place. I still remember the first time my old roommate went out of town and I had the whole apartment to myself. The freedom was so good. And although I don't throw huge parties while my roommate's gone, peeing with the door open is an amazing feeling not everyone wants to admit.

The only mistake I caught in this chapter was "...his lap top..." I think you meant "...his laptop..."

Posted 4 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

SweetNutmeg

4 Months Ago

There's plenty in store in the next chapter, never fear. Poor Rogan. lol
Wathanya.5KY3

4 Months Ago

Haha. Exactly. This is the calm before the storm.
SweetNutmeg

4 Months Ago

Youch, that is awful, tiny font + no spaces. Will fix immediately.



Reviews

I've skimmed the previous two chapters and re-read this one. All looks good, with the following being the only things I want to mention.
1)I'm wondering what it is they've done to shake people up a bit. Is it just the sight of them? "He's forgotten how fun it is to push borders and shake people up a bit."
2)In this sentence, I recommend that you put a comma before and after himself-"Rogan has no plans himself so he might... "

Posted 4 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

SweetNutmeg

4 Months Ago

First, yes, I was thinking just having an entire heavy metal band hanging out would push borders. Is.. read more
Samuel Dickens

4 Months Ago

I guess it might depend on how mild the locals were.
For the latest edit:

1. The format thingy hasn't been kind to you at all. This time it's both the font size and space between paragraphs.

2. In "...J.D. tells Buzz. Speaking to Roy..." there are two spaces between "Buzz" and "Speaking"

Whew! The tiny letters in blocks of text sound like a call for a new pair of glasses that I've been putting off since last December.

Posted 4 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

SweetNutmeg

4 Months Ago

Youch, that is awful, tiny font + no spaces. Will fix immediately.
Everything is nice at a nice pace love this chapter glad to have something to read to break my boredom of time LOL. how are you doing by the way?

Posted 4 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

SweetNutmeg

4 Months Ago

Thank you for following Rogan along on his adventures. :) I've been busy, and my health took a turn .. read more
My stepfather used to love watching the 60's tv show, "Combat". Occasionally, he'd shake his head and say, "Boy, we sure didn't do it like that". Being a highly decorated veteran of WWII, he certainly would've known when something looked phony. Now, being that my family is full of guitar players, I must tell you that Rogan's whole band endeavor seems a little off. I'm not saying it couldn't happen the way you've written it, but it seems unlikely. First off, when bands lose a member, they usually look for someone who has been in a band before. If they're just starting up, then that's different story. Also, practicing together is a must for several reasons, but certainly to gauge a prospective member's suitability for the band. I mean, he/she may play guitar like Hendrix, but if they can't mesh with the other members, they'll be toast. I use tabs and when I need some, I make paper copies off the internet. Okay--the next ten people who read this may take no issue at all with Rogan's trajectory, but I had to let you know these things.
In terms of technical accuracy and proper story-telling, I think you've done well on this chapter.

Posted 4 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

SweetNutmeg

4 Months Ago

Thank you for sharing your expertise. I see I need to change a lot to make this all plausible. Which.. read more
Things seem to be falling into place for Rogan! I was a bit surprised it was already Christmas in the story. It felt like Halloween was only a few chapters ago. Time flies, doesn't it?

I feel sorry for Rogan's mother, having to live with an abusive husband like that, but I'm happy Rogan got out of that place. I still remember the first time my old roommate went out of town and I had the whole apartment to myself. The freedom was so good. And although I don't throw huge parties while my roommate's gone, peeing with the door open is an amazing feeling not everyone wants to admit.

The only mistake I caught in this chapter was "...his lap top..." I think you meant "...his laptop..."

Posted 4 Months Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

SweetNutmeg

4 Months Ago

There's plenty in store in the next chapter, never fear. Poor Rogan. lol
Wathanya.5KY3

4 Months Ago

Haha. Exactly. This is the calm before the storm.
SweetNutmeg

4 Months Ago

Youch, that is awful, tiny font + no spaces. Will fix immediately.

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Added on July 24, 2019
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SweetNutmeg
SweetNutmeg

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I am back and returning all reviews of "Unlocking Bonnie." I'm here to improve my writing. I love critiques that give me critical feedback, as well as praise. (Although, I do like praise. Gotta be .. more..

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