The novel's two main characters, young Paul and rock star Rory, hatch a plan to work in cahoots. For the rest of the start of the book, go here.
“This might be tricky so try and let me do most of the talking,” Rory said, as we walked up the front lawn of my family’s little house two blocks from the center of town, which consists of a tavern, a grocery store, and the diner we had left five minutes ago. The day after Rory’s concert at the record plant, we had met again for lunch to discuss a plan Rory had hatched, and which I was extremely excited to make happen.
When we walked into the house, it was the same as it ever was on a Sunday afternoon. Ernie Snimes was installed on the couch and my dad was at an awkwardly comfortable angle in his recliner. The Yankees’ game was on and the smell of cigarette smoke hung in the air. For some reason I was a little taken aback by the scene, even though I should have known better. Something didn’t look like it forebode well for Rory’s plan.
Introductions were made and my dad, thankfully, seemed somewhat pleased to have a celebrity in his living room, albeit a minor one in his eyes. Ernie just nodded to Rory and me and mostly kept his eyes on the tube. In those days, to befriend a strange older man didn’t seem as taboo as it would nowadays. Bringing him home to meet the parents was still a little unusual, but not necessarily suspect.
“Mr. Andrews, I got to talking with Paul down at the record plant and I was really impressed with his work ethic. He did a superior job making it the nicest factory lawn I’ve ever had the honor of playing. We talked some more down at the diner and I’m positive I’d like to bring him on to work for me some of the time when it’s possible for him to do so.”
My dad looked interested in the proposal and motioned him to go on. I couldn’t quite tell if Ernie was listening. In fact, I couldn’t tell if even the ballgame was registering with him. He looked, frankly, a little dumbfounded and I distinctly remember that I was kind of wishing he weren’t there.
“What did you have in mind?” my dad asked.
“I do a lot of touring around the northeast and he could help carry my equipment around and load it on and off the stages."
“He’s not even 14 yet! How is he going to help you while he’s in school?”
“I would pay to fly him to our shows on Friday nights. He could travel with us on the weekends, get his homework done on the bus, and I’d fly him back Sunday nights in time for bed and school the next morning.”
This got Ernie’s attention. He looked up and stared at Rory as if he were a ghost. It also looked like his mouth was about to form a “but …” I was looking at Ernie because I couldn’t bear to watch my dad’s reaction. At least my mom was out grocery shopping.
“Now look here …,” my dad started.
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