Basement Boogie (AtoZ Challenge)

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The beat reverberated throughout the duct system of Swan River Apartments. You’d hear the deep chords being struck through the bathroom air vents. Sometimes the vibrations were hard enough to spin the burnt out blower blades. Dust that had coagulated on the grating absorbed some of the pulsations; the rest shook loose,  gliding in the stagnant air,  falling to the rhythm that wound it’s way to the unwilling eardrums throughout the building.

Amy and her newest boyfriend, Trev, were giving a “final performance” in the basement. She wanted to be the next White Stripes or Cults. He wanted Amy. They both had talent; she more than he, but they were good together. Trev tried to take more breaks for fooling around then Amy liked, but she liked Trev, too, and after a good practice what was a little more physical exertion.

All of Amy’s neighbors threw a fuss when she first got her Tdrum kit (“your idiot father” was the nicest thing Amy’s mom said about her dad, long since moved out). The then Super, George (who had a thing for her mom and most of the other females in the building), gave her some space in the basement when she was starting out in her early teens. It was clean, no rats or mice, so having that  hot musty smell all around didn’t bother Amy. She played after homework was done, weekends, and holidays, when she wasn’t at her Dad’s.

The new super, Andres, wasn’t like George at all. He walked around the building like he owned a kingdom, grousing and commanding, unlit cigar (most times) almost always being chomped on while he cleaned the lobby area. He gave you a dirty look if you were bringing things to the recycling room. He gave you a dirty look if you had too much laundry to do, unless you were one of the Laundry Room Mafia: those ladies he gave wide berth. Andres was the first to latch onto all the building gossip, and pass it along, not caring who heard his pontificating. Dirty looks, sneers, gossip monger…thief?

He also gave Amy the creeps. He also told her she could not use the basement anymore. It “bothered” his wife. You don’t bother the super’s wife.

She knew he would throw a big hissy fit and complain to her mother, threatening her with a whole level of empty threats. The only real ones would be in his not fixing anything that needed to be fixed in the apartment, or doing it more half-assed than normal. Amy’s mom had had enough, both with Andres and with Amy. Amy’s dad was coming the next day to pick up her drum set.

Amy wailed on her kit, losing herself in the tribal intensity of what she was laying down. Trev kept up with her, for the most part, though never equaling her intensity. A few times he’d stop, just surrounded by the blast beat pouring out of her. Then he’d join back in, his fervor rising in an attempt to make this the best, for her.

They jammed for close to twenty-eight minutes. Andres broke through the door that Amy had locked from the inside. His wife was behind him, furious faced, arms crossed over her ample chest, bathrobe tied in a knot across her waist.  Amy’s mother followed behind, her eyes locked on Amy. The super and his wife were screaming at Amy to stop. Trev had, when they busted in.

The super’s wife pulled the drum sticks out of Amy’s hands but that did not stop Amy. She tom-tommed the skins and cymbals as if nothing had happened. Trev was pushed out of the room by Amy’s mother, who couldn’t get her to stop either by voice.

She walked behind Amy,  placing her hands on Amy’s shoulders. For the first time, she actually felt the beat that Amy lived. She closed her eyes, experiencing. Her arms moved down to lightly encircle Amy, which then became a hug, then a mama bear hug, and she hung her head low so it touched Amy’s head. Their long hair mixed together and feather brushed the snare drum. Amy slowed to a stop.

The concert was over.

***************************************************************

Author’s Note:

Welcome to the A to Z Challenge.

During the month of April, over 1,400 bloggers are joining in on this blogfest. Writing 26 posts using the letters of the alphabet to prompt the posts, you’ll find a mixture of fiction and non-fiction. While impossible to read all 1,400+, the idea is to open yourself to new readers, hopefully attain new followers, and to discover others to follow yourself.

For me, it’s to just get my writing chops back in gear. I’ve allowed a lot of distractions to do just that: distract me.

Last year, starting with the letter C, I wrote an ongoing story that was a combo of Speculative Fiction/Humor/Thriller. I still plan to revisit Winston, Elora and Daniel (and cast) one day.

This year, I have an overall theme of creative fiction: The Apartment Building.

The letter A (“All, Tumbling Down“) sees the destruction of said building. From B to Z, I’ll be exploring stories of the characters that lived in the building, and aspects of the building itself. As of this writing, I only have the titles planned out. That is my only outline. On Sundays after April 1st, I plan to just post the links to all the stories posted that past week.

I’ve previously written about The Apartment Building, which is what gave me the idea to flesh the whole thing out on this blogfest: The Whistler Is Dead (February 2, 2012) and in a slightly different vein, Velocity (February 25, 2012).

I’m excited about the upcoming stories and I hope you enjoy them. I also hope you discover other blogs through this. You can click on the link above, the logo in this post or on my sidebar to take you to the main page of the AtoZ Challenge.

Comments are always appreciated.

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26 responses »

  1. I love this connection between Amy and the drums and the super’s wife. The reality of life in an apartment building is an amazing reminder of the connections between us all. This is great work, Stuart.

    Like

  2. Loved this story and how it went from intensity to tranquility. I loved the ending and how mother “discovered” a part of her daughter which was previouslyfelt as an annoyance, and now helped to meld them together.

    Like

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