The Reader - Week 21
Johnny Walker Black
The affair was for the older brother of one of our classmates. We were really too young to be at a drinking party, but we did have a rock n' roll band. The party was in the basement of a newly built house in a nearby suburb, big enough for our four piece combo and about twenty twenty-somethings. We were a good match for the crowd; our material was about five years out-of-date. It was what they were dancing to when they were teens. Performing love songs for young women enhanced them with an additional dimension than when we played for girls our age. As sexual objects, we didn’t exist for them, they desired MEN, not boys, but in order to ease through the social barrier they did require lubricants: music and booze. We supplied "fuck music" while the host had an informal open bar, beer and wine, as well as hard liquor and mixers. I think the idea was for the band to drink the mixers, but there was nothing stopping us from having a nip or two of the hard stuff. We kept on playing, it was well after midnight when ran out of material and began to play the songs for a second time. The bass player had a curfew, so one of the guys at the party drove him home while the host of the party convinced us to stay and play as a three-piece. I liked playing bass, so I picked up the slack. This was about the same time that the Johnny Walker Black that I had been sipping began to take control. We began playing a little faster, a little wilder, and the dancers responded correspondingly. Finally at three A.M., we gave up. We were too drunk to play. The host drove us home and we’d pick up our gear in the afternoon.
When I walked in the door of my house my father and my older sister were up, waiting for me. It was all I could do to keep from giggling. My dad was sore and my sister, who had previously been the black sheep in the family, found it very amusing to see how far her “neat little boy” of a brother had fallen. In the morning (four hours later), my dad made me go the early church service with them. When the organ began to play it seemed as if my head was exploding.
Nothing more said about the events of the previous night.
Andy put the manuscript down. When he started proofreading, Jennifer had been arranging her things in the bedroom—the bedroom that had been Andy’s—but she hadn't made a sound for several minutes. He got up and went to the hallway that led to the bedroom.
The bedroom door was shut.