We dropped Paul off at his house on the way back to mine. "Are you nervous about the concert tonight?" I asked as Jimothy turned into our drive.
"I'm always nervous before a performance."
"You didn't look nervous today."
"Ah! That's all part of being a showman, Daniel. You can be scared shitless, but you learn not to let it show. By the way, how come there was no wild, sex orgy this afternoon?"
"I kinda wondered about that, too. I guess it was 'cause we were all so fucking rapt in watching you, it didn't seem right to goof off like we normally do."
"Too bad," he laughed. "I've heard so much about what you guys get up to, I was kinda hoping I'd get to see a real live Daniel orgy. Anyway, I'm not complaining. That was one rehearsal I'll never forget."
Jimothy spent some time alone in my room so he could fine-tune his act. I guessed there were certain things he needed to practice in private. Meantime, in Greg's room, my bro was dropping hints that would've put the bombing of Hiroshima to shame. "Sorry, bro," I explained. "I'm just not in the mood to blow you right now. I've got Jimothy's concert on my mind -- anyways, it wouldn't seem right."
"How did the rehearsal go?"
"Fucking awesome, man. You should've been there. It was so damn wild! Jimothy's so cool, you wouldn't believe it. He can make up a song on the spot. He made up a song about me, and I jacked off on stage while he was singing it. Totally rad."
"You jacked off on stage? Jeez! You're so damn weird, Daniel."
"Careful, bro. It's contagious."
"Tell me about it," he grinned.
Mom had prepared an early dinner, but Jimothy only nibbled on a bit of this and that. "Sorry, Nancy, but I rarely eat before a performance. My stomach's kinda jumpy."
"That's understandable, Jimothy. By the way, what's in that box?"
"Just a bunch of CDs. I got together with some of my buds and we recorded a few songs. I was kinda hoping I could sell some at the concert."
"Hey!" I interrupted. "I'll sell 'em! As of now, I'm your manager. Woohoo!"
We arrived at the Mall just before 7pm -- mom, Andy, Greg, Paul, Jimothy and I. Already, there was a huge crowd there, and one of the local bands was playing. A stage had been erected at one end of the center court, and a big banner hung above it. TAMPA MALL SUMMER CONCERT. Behind the stage was a full-width curtain made of some kinda gold, shimmering stuff, and at each end were stacks of colored balloons and streamers.
Jimothy was dressed in a button-up, cream shirt with long sleeves, blue baggy pants, and black shoes. He looked totally wicked, just like a real star. As we approached the stage, Freddie, Jo, Dick and the other guys surrounded us, and wished Jimothy well.
When the local band had finished its set, the lead singer introduced the compere who was some dude who managed the Mall. "Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, our next act is from outa town -- actually, he's from Cow Town. Would you please put your hands together for…. Jimothy!"
As the compere exited the stage, Jimothy sprinted up the few wooden stairs that led to the platform, then strode toward the microphone. "Hi, Tampa," he said as he adjusted the mic to his height, then positioned a second mic for his Yamaha. "Before I begin, I just wanna say that I've been made feel very welcome here -- you guys are one heck of a friendly bunch." Then he launched into the old Beatle song, 'With a Little Help From My Friends'. The crowd took to him instantly, and sang along. He was a hit!
"Back home," he continued after the applause had settled, "my bud Tom and I didn't go to the Prom one time, so we decided to write a song to relieve our boredom while everybody else was having a ball. Hey, we called it 'Prom Night'. Cool, huh? The chorus goes like this: 'Yeah, it's Prom night, and we're at Tom's house, and we're not doing anything at all'. It'd be cool if you could sing along. By the way, I normally sing this song with Tom, cuz we do harmonies. Maybe some of you can help out -- so sing up nice and loud. OK?"
It was so totally fucking wicked the way Jimothy had that audience singing and clapping and smiling within seconds, as if they'd known him forever, and he was their best friend. After 'Prom Night', he switched to something serious with a song called 'Touchless' and had the audience spellbound.
At concrete concentration
Little misfits of irritation
And what do I have to show?
Some bruised and worn legs
And what do you know?
Another reason to be disappointed.
Perhaps I should stop looking so hard
This compulsion turns me on
Try as I may it keeps
So they always change their minds
I am always waiting
For the change
It's never the right time
To ask the question why.
Why the hell can't I whine?
I guess I might as well try
Try to make the best
Of this solitary caress
I'll try to make the best
Of you and all the rest."
Without warning, and while the audience was still engrossed in the beauty and meaning of his self-penned lyrics, Jimothy launched into one of his favs, Space Oddity by David Bowie. He was playing with the audience's emotions, taking them almost to the brink of tears, then back to fun again. This dude was a class act.
"This is Ground Control To major Tom
You've really made the grade
And the papers want to know whose shirts you wear
Now it's time to leave the capsule if you dare."
After Jimothy's allocated fifteen minutes, the compere returned to the stage. "And now, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls…."
"I'm sorry people," he tried to explain, "but we have other acts and…."
"WE WANT JIMOTHY! WE WANT JIMOTHY!" the crowd chanted.
There was no way the compere was gonna get his own way, so he relented. "This is highly irregular, but I guess it won't hurt if Jimothy has another fifteen minutes. It's back to you Jimothy!" The compere stood aside and let our guest return to the mic.
"Wow!" he said modestly as he strummed the Yamana and tuned a few strings. "I'm having a surprise birthday party in December. You can all come if you want. Yeah, I know what you're thinking -- how come I know about it if it's supposed to be a surprise? That's easy. I organized it." [Laughter]. "Y'know, normally I hate surprises. Like you're coming on to this girl in like some fancy restaurant, and she tells you that your fly's undone." [More laughter] "Now, if I'd KNOWN my fly was undone, that'd be cool. I could've wobbled my head from side to side, cocked an eyebrow, and said something totally wicked like, 'so you noticed?' And there was one time when I pulled a tissue out of a box and got five! FIVE! How come I got five when I only wanted one? Hey, do I have five noses? Look at me! What do you see? One nose, right? And have you ever tried to put a tissue back in the box the same way it came out?" Jimothy waited for the laughter to subside before he continued. "But there are exceptions to every rule, and I've gotta say that there have been a few surprises during my short time in Tampa that have been totally awesome -- and most of them have been the result of being fortunate enough to know a guy named Daniel. He's the guy with the red face standing just there," he pointed, then laughed as he saw me going as red as a beet. "For those of you who don't know Daniel, and it's hard to believe that anybody in Tampa doesn't, he's a difficult guy to describe. He gets to you in a way that kinda sneaks up on you. Before you know it, you've absorbed him like chalk absorbs moisture. He becomes a part of you. He rattles your brain and gets rid of the cobwebs. He opens your eyes. He opens your heart. He's the guy who draws the curtains in the morning and lets light flood into your room. He's outrageous. He's crazy. He's not afraid to be himself. He breaks down barriers. He even breaks some rules. But there's one rule he would never break, and that's the rule of friendship. I figure anybody who's lucky enough to have Daniel as a friend is doing pretty well."
Shit! The whole fucking audience was looking at me and clapping. What the hell for? I wanted to find a hole in the floor and disappear through it. This wasn't like parading my bod or showing off. This was different, and I didn't know how to respond. Worse still, I couldn't move! I was in the middle of crush of people. I had no option but to just stand there, glowing crimson, and feeling like a total geek.
Fortunately, all eyes were once again on Jimothy as he played another David Bowie song, Ziggy Stardust, followed by a cool, acoustic version of Cream's 'White Room'.
"You were fantastic!" everybody was gushing as Jimothy joined us on the floor after his set. I stood back and watched the guys and their folks treat my friend like a superstar. But they weren't the only ones. Heaps of other people were pushing their way through the crowd to shake his hand and congratulate him. Poor Jimothy didn't know where to look. He beamed gratefully at a sea of strange faces, trying to give equal attention to them all, but it was impossible. All he could manage was a nod here and a nod there as a forest of hands demanded to be shaken.
It was the perfect opportunity to sell his CDs. "$10 each," I yelled. "Get your Jimothy CD before they're all gone!" I sold the whole fifty in just ten minutes.
Once the next act was on stage, and things had settled down a bit, mom suggested we celebrate at one of the Mall's restaurants. "Let me tell you something, Jimothy," she said as we all gathered at the edge of the crowd, "you have sex appeal."
"Don't give me that 'oh really?' look, Jimothy," she laughed, "you know you do. It oozes out of you no matter what you're doing. I've been observing you. You're sexy when you eat, and you're sexy when you walk. You're sexy by nature. I was watching you on stage. You have that something special when you sing, and it's not just your voice or your musicianship. It's sex appeal."
"I'd say she's right," Andy grinned, "she knows about sex appeal, that's why she married me."
"Well, Daniel," Jimothy asked as he studied my eyes, "what do you think?"
"Me? Hell, I dunno. I guess you're OK," I shrugged, but judging from the smirks on everybody's faces, my offhand remark had fooled no one. Every man and his damn dog knew I thought Jimothy ruled.
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Diary Part 110