Big Billy – Music to my ears

Somebody call Rolling Stone magazine because the latest news is, Little Bill’s band broke up.

Him and his buddy Squishy that he started the band with, I guess they got into a bit Big BIllyof a row over the fact that the other fellas didn’t want Little Bill’s girlfriend Rita in the band. A regular little red-haired Yoko Ono, that one is, I guess.

We were just about to sit down for supper one night when we heard the commotion comin’ from the band headquarters (formerly known as my baby barn).

His buddy Squishy burst out of the barn with his electric guitar still around his neck, carryin’ his little amp with the cord draggin’ behind him.

Who the hell ever heard of a French Horn in a death metal band? he yelled at the swingin’ barn door. And with his hands full, he had to grab at his black jeans to keep them from fallin’ since they were even farther down his arse than he normally wears them.

It’s called originality, you idiot! Little Bill yelled after him.

A few minutes later the other fella in their band, the shorter chubbier fella named Goose also came out of the barn, also dressed in all in back with his pants halfway down his arse, also carryin’ his guitar and little amp.

Looks like a full on mutiny, I said to Minnie, with my head stuck out the window.

OK, said Minnie. Now, don’t say anything when they come in. Between that band and his girlfriend he hasn’t done a lick of school work this year. And if one of them distractions goes away like this, then maybe he can do some work in the last few weeks and actually pass on gradin’ day. So just don’t say nothin’, and follow my lead.

Right, I said to her just as they came in the back door. Minnie’s got a secret mind control power that all mothers seem to have. Call it reverse psychology or whatever.

What happened? she asked them when they came through the door. Where did Jeremy and Walter go? (that’s Squishy and Goose’s real names)

They bailed on us! Can you believe that?! Little Bill says, flailin’ his arms around. I wanna rip their heads off!

So that’s it? You guys were so good, I can’t believe there’s no Dark Black anymore! Minnie says.

That hasn’t been our name for, like, three months! Little Bill said, as if we couldn’t speak English. We were The Blood Biscuits for two weeks but people kept confusin’ us with The Bloody Biggest, which is a band this bunch of losers from Sydney are in. So then we became Steel Trap, which was a cool name, but we decided to change it when Rita joined the band. So ever since then we’ve been the Screamin’ Daisies. But, yeah, thanks to those two morons, the Screamin’ Daisies are no more. Finished!

Awww, that’s too bad, Minnie said, right sincere. And the two of yis worked so hard on it, too.

Squishy was all, who the hell ever heard of a French Horn in a death metal band? And I was all, this isn’t a death metal band anymore! Like, grow up man! (Little Bill was right riled up, eh.)

Oh, I know, Minnie said. I could hear yis practicin’ lately, and when I heard Rita out there on the French Horn, I said now that’s music. Before that it was just all them guitars, but … (she let it trail off).

I know, right?! Little Bill yelled. The whole idea was our band was gonna be the first to have three guitars and no drummer, which is just, like, mind-blowing. I mean, we were already way different and original, but when it came time to add a French Horn and be even more different and original than ever, those guys were like, Man, this doesn’t sound good.

Tsk tsk tsk, Minnie said. You know what it is? They’re jealous. Here you are with a pretty girlfriend who can play an instrument and they’re jealous. No, I think yis’d be wise to let them go off and do their own thing.

Definitely, Rita said.

I’m glad they’re gone! Little Bill said.

Good riddance, Minnie said.

Pfffffff, Little Bill exhaled in disgust.

But it will come to pass, Minnie said. In a month or two yis won’t even remember them fellas.

Little Bill was about to say somethin’ but Rita spoke up first.

Yeah, that’s true, she said. Maybe we should wait until after the school year is over and we can start a band of our own. We’ll be into exams soon anyway.

Little Bill looked at me, and then looked at his mother, who was still lookin’ at Rita and noddin’ with a big smirk. He knew somethin’ was up, but it was already too late.

What a good idea! Minnie said. Get your school year finished and then dive right into it again. That French Horn part was so good, I can’t wait to hear yis play!

And that’s where the genius of Minnie’s mind trick kicks in. Because the whole reason teenaged boys play music is to give the finger to their parents. So by sayin’ she loved the French Horn with the electric guitar (which sounds like fog horn gettin’ cut by a chainsaw), she planted the seed in Little Bill’s head that it can’t be cool if his mother likes it. (Do kids even say cool anymore? I dunno.)

I would have put my foot down and made my demands and had a big screamin’ match with him. Grade, or else. But with just a few carefully chosen words of praise, Minnie managed to point him the right direction in a much better way because when he stays away from the band or breaks up with the girlfriend, or both, he’ll think it was all his idea. Ain’t mothers somethin’?

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