The 00's: Year Three

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Can I Be A Part of The Gang?

It was Saturday, January 3, 2004. It was afternoon. I and the rest of the gang were talking after band practice inside the basement of the apartment complex.

“Hey, there’s this kid that goes to the same school as me. We became good friends and I told her about the group of friends I typically hang out with outside of school. She wants to know whether or not she can join the gang.“, I said. “Well, I don’t know. That would have to depend on a lot of factors. What grade is she in?“, Brad said. “Obviously, she’s in the same grade as me.“, I said.

“Maybe, we’re all not sure yet.“, Kevin said. “Hey, what you should do is invite her over to the apartment complex or the playground down the street so we all can hang out together. That way, we can determine whether or not she’ll be a good fit for our gang.“, Steve said. “You know what, that’s an excellent idea. That’s what we’ll do. We’ll all make time for her to hang out with us just to get a taste of what it’s like to be a part of the gang.“, I said.

“Then I guess it’s settled then. I’m glad I could help.“, Steve said. “Wait a minute, is she gonna have to go through the same process I went through to officially become part of the gang?“, Jessica asked. “Of course she is, Jess.“, Ariana said.

“But it took me five months to become part of this gang. Do you have any idea how many hoops I had to jump through just to make that dream a reality along with being a part of a childhood rock band? I had to bust open a beehive with a baseball bat for crying out loud just so Jamal wouldn’t get stolen from Amanda by another female. You should really do this kid a favor and let her into the gang just because she asked.“, Jessica said. “Yeah, no.“, Nathan said. “Well, of course, Jess. I remember how you helped me out last school year. Thanks for that by the way. But we can’t just let any kid into our gang. Friends, sure. But no just like Nathan said.“, Amanda said.

“Well, when can she start hanging out with us?“, I asked. “Maybe tomorrow.“, Steve said. “But isn’t tomorrow playoff football?“, Kevin asked.

“Whether or not playoff football is tomorrow, Detroit is probably not playing in the playoffs. Therefore, who cares.“, Steve said. “You know what, tomorrow sounds perfect.“, Kevin said. “Great, I’ll call her and see if she’s free tomorrow.“, I said.

“What is this girl’s name by the way?“, Brad asked. “Her name is Regine. I think you all are really gonna like her once you get to know her a little better.“, I said. “And what if she ends up hanging out at our place and Dexter decides to lick her non-stop?“, Kevin asked. “Just put him in his crate. That’s all. Now, I think it’s time to continue where we all left off.“, I said. “Okay, you heard the man, let’s all continue practicing.“, Steve said before Two Seconds To Detroit continued practicing.

***

It was Sunday, January 4, 2004. In the early afternoon, the whole gang (except for me) was standing around on the playground down the street from the apartment complex and were talking. Then I walked up to the rest of the gang with Regine. “Well, here she is everyone. The girl that I was talking about yesterday.“, I said. The rest of the gang turned their attention to me and Regine.

“Hi, everyone.“, Regine said. “Hey, Regine. It’s nice to finally meet you.“, Ariana said as she shook hands with Regine. “Well, let me introduce you.“, I said.

“This is Steve. My best friend. This is Kevin. My best friend’s older brother. This is Amanda. My girlfriend. This is Ariana. My best friend’s girlfriend. This is Jessica. She just joined the gang last year. This is Nathan. Another friend. And this is Brad. Another friend.“, I said. “So, what do you all usually do together?“, Regine asked. “Well, we hang out, of course.“, Brad said.

“We all just do what a group of friends normally do together.“, Amanda said. “Why do you want to be a part of this gang?“, Nathan asked. “Because I and Jamal were talking. Then he started telling me about his friends outside of school and I thought that I might be a good fit.“, Regine said.

Jessica walked up to Regine. “Hey, Regine. I’m Jessica, but you can feel free to call me Jess. Listen, it took me five months to get in this gang. And that’s likely where you’ll end up if you quit while you’re ahead.“, Jessica said. I got in front of Jessica.

“Um, don’t listen to Jess. It’s very unlikely that it’ll take five months for you to be a part of this group of friends. Maybe one to two weeks at the most.“, I said. “You’re a terrible liar.“, Jessica said. “Well, it sure is nice to finally meet you all in-person for the first time. So, now that we’re all here, what should we all do together?“, Regine said.

“Well, this is a playground. Isn’t it? Let’s all play.“, Steve said. “Play what exactly?“, Kevin asked. “We could all play winter tag. Winter tag is basically tag in the wintertime.“, Steve said.

“Sure, I’d love to play some winter tag.“, Regine said. “Sweet. Now, Jamal gets to be it first since he’s the one that bought you over here in the first place. Ready, set, go!“, Steve said. Then all the other kids started running away from me.

“What?! What the-?! Oh, so that’s how it’s gonna be? Fine. But I’m not gonna be it for long.“, I said. Then I ran to try and make someone else it. And the game officially started.

***

Later that afternoon, Regine was sitting in a chair watching Two Seconds To Detroit get ready to perform. I was there getting ready to film. “Alright, get ready to listen to the greatest childhood rock band of all time.“, Kevin said.

“Wait, how are you all the greatest childhood rock band of all time? There are probably lots of other childhood rock bands out there.“, Regine said. “Yeah, but none of them are like us. Okay, let’s rock and roll everyone.“, Ariana said. Then Amanda got behind the microphone as the rest of the band was ready to perform. The Sign by Ace of Base was the song that started playing.

I, I got a new life
You would hardly recognize me
I’m so glad
How can a person like me care for you?

Why do I bother
When you’re not the one for me?
Ooh
Is enough enough?

I saw the sign and it opened up my eyes
I saw the sign
Life is demanding without understanding
I saw the sign and it opened up my eyes

I saw the sign
No one’s gonna drag you up
To get into the light where you belong
But where do you belong?

(Ah) Under the pale moon
For so many years I’ve wondered who you are
How could a person like you bring me joy?
Under the pale moon
Where I see a lot of stars, ooh
Is enough enough?

I saw the sign and it opened up my eyes
I saw the sign
Life is demanding without understanding
I saw the sign and it opened up my eyes

I saw the sign
No one’s gonna drag you up
To get into the light where you belong
But where do you belong?
Oh, oh, oh, oh

I saw the sign and it opened up my mind
And I am happy now
Living without you
I’ve left you, oh, oh, oh

I saw the sign and it opened up my eyes
I saw the sign
No one’s gonna drag you up
To get into the light where you belong
(I saw the sign, I saw the sign)

I saw the sign
(I saw the sign, I saw the sign)
(I saw the sign, I saw the sign)
I saw the sign and it opened up my eyes
I saw the sign

The band finished performing. “So, what do you think? Now are we the greatest childhood rock band of all time?“, Jessica asked. “I’m still not sure about that, but that was great. Did you all make up that song yourselves?“, Regine said.

“No, that song is called The Sign by Ace of Base and it was released way back in 1993.“, Nathan said. “Is it just me or does this girl really need to work on her music knowledge?“, Brad asked. “Well, I think it’s time I better start heading home. It’s getting pretty close to dinner time. But I had fun with you all today. I hope we can hang out again sometime next weekend and I can eventually become a part of the gang. And who knows, I might even wanna go ahead and join your band.“, Regine said.

“Don’t get your hopes too high. It also took five months for me to be a part of the band.“, Jessica said. “See ya, everyone.“, Regine said as she was leaving. “Alright, let’s all play a few more songs before we all head home for dinner. I’ll take the mic this time.“, Steve said. Amanda gave Steve control of the microphone. MMMBop by Hanson was the next song Two Seconds To Detroit started performing before dinner and they performed it well.

***

It was Monday, January 5, 2004. It was evening. I, Steve, and Regine were sitting on the living room couch watching TV at Steve’s place.

“Hey, thanks for letting me come over to visit.“, Regine said. “Yeah, that’s kind of thing in this group of ours.“, I said. “So, when did you two become best friends?“, Regine asked.

“It’s kind of a long story.“, Steve said. “I don’t mind the story being long not one bit.“, Regine said. “Well, we both met Amanda, Ariana, Nathan, and Brad at a local daycare back in ’97.“, Steve said.

“But that’s not when we met. We met each other through them four years later in ’01 when I ended up moving from my grandma’s place to this place.“, I said. “And the rest is history.“, Steve said. “That sure is some story. But why did you two get dropped off at daycare 6 years ago?“, Regine said.

“You sure do ask a lot of questions.“, Steve said. “I’m just curious. That’s all.“, Regine said. “Both of my parents worked back then, and they still do to this day. Therefore, they needed someone to look after me while both of them were gone. My brothers included since they’ve also attended the same daycare. What about you Jamal?“, Steve said. “My mom was also working, so there you go.“, I said. Then Dexter looked into the living room with a big smile appearing on his face.

“Here we go again.“, Steve said. “What?“, Regine said. Then Dexter jumped on Regine who was sitting on the floor and started licking her aggressively. “Okay boy, that’s enough. Can you please get off her now?“, Steve said.

But Dexter didn’t listen and continued to lick Regine. “Dexter!“, Steve said. Then Dexter stopped licking Regine.

Steve pulled out a bag of dog food and threw some dog food outside into the hallway. Dexter went after the dog food and started eating. “Good boy, Dexter.“, Steve said.

“Sorry about that. We own a dog who likes to lick household guests he has never seen before.“, Steve said. “That’s alright. I think dogs are pretty cool, so I didn’t mind the licking. I actually enjoyed it.“, Regine said. Then all three of us continued watching TV.

“So, since I’m here, is it alright if I change the channel?“, Regine asked as she got the remote. “No, it is not alright. Our house, our channel.“, Steve said. “Oh, okay. I understand. Sorry.“, Regine said. Regine put the TV remote back down on the living room table as Dexter walked back into his crate to chew on a few more pieces of cardboard. Then all three of us stopped chatting and continued watching TV as Dexter chewed some more.

***

It was Tuesday, January 6, 2004. Regine was hanging out at Amanda’s place with Amanda, Ariana, and Jessica. There was severe winter weather taking place outside as heavy snow was seen falling outside the windows.

“Thanks for letting me hang out with you three during a snow day.“, Regine said. “You’re welcome.“, Ariana said. “So, what are we doing today?“, Regine asked.

“We’re going to watch The Young & The Restless.“, Amanda said. “I absolutely love that show. Okay. Count me in.“, Regine said. “Counted.“, Jessica said.

A few moments later, Ariana got the popcorn that was still in the microwave and gave the popcorn to Amanda, herself, Jessica, and Regine. Then Amanda turned on the TV, and the program started. The theme song to The Young & The Restless started playing.

Meanwhile, Regine started eating her popcorn, and the other three girls started eating after her. As the show was going on, Regine thought that it’d be cool to say something in the middle of the show. “So, which show do you two think is better? SpongeBob SquarePants or Young & The Restless?“, Regine said. “Shhh!“, Amanda, Ariana, and Jessica said to Regine. Then Regine was quiet.

The show continued, and Regine had something else to say. “Which show do you two think is the best? The PowerPuff Girls or Ed, Edd n’ Eddy?“, Regine asked. “Shhh!“, Amanda, Ariana, and Jessica said.

“We’ve told you twice now to zip your lid.“, Ariana said. “Ariana is right. If you’ve got something to say, could you please wait until commercial break?“, Jessica said. “Sorry. If I have something to say during commercials, I’ll say it during commercials.“, Regine said. “Thank you.“, Ariana said. Then all four girls got back to watching the show.

A few moments later, Regine forgot to keep her mouth shut during The Young & The Restless again. “So, do you two wanna watch Cartoon Network after this show is over?“, Regine said. “Alright, there’s a TV in the kitchen. Could you please go use it to finish watching the soap opera by yourself? Thanks.“, Amanda said sounding irritated.

“Oh! Sorry! I totally forgot!“, Regine said. “That’s 3 strikes. Forgetting is not a good excuse. Bye. And don’t come back until the soap is over.“, Ariana said. “Ugh! Fine! I’m gone! Geez!“, Regine said. Then Regine got up and went into the kitchen to finish watching The Young & The Restless.

***

It was Wednesday, January 7, 2004. It was evening. Two Seconds To Detroit were getting ready to perform down in the basement of the apartment complex.

Then I came down the basement stairs with a new kid. “Hey, dude, where have you been? We have been waiting for you forever. And who is this dude?“, Brad said. “Guys, gals, I’d like you to meet another friend of mine from my school. Everyone, this is John. John, this is everyone.“, I said.

“Okay, but what is he doing here?“, Nathan asked. “We were talking about you all back at school. He also wants to join the gang along with Two Seconds To Detroit.“, I said. “Hi, everyone. It’s nice to finally meet all of you in-person for the first time.“, John said.

“Nice to meet you too. So, why should you be a part of this group of friends?“, Kevin said. “Um, I don’t know.“, John said. “Come on, dude, you’ve gotta find at least one reason.“, Kevin said.

“Well, I’m a fun guy to be around. And I’m a great friend to have.“, John said. “Do you play video games?“, Steve asked. “Oh, of course, I play video games.“, John said.

“What video games do you have? Consoles included.“, Steve said. “Woah, woah, woah. Why are you asking him all these different questions so early?“, I asked. “Because, if we really had a good reason for him to join this group of friends, we’d welcome him in with arms wide open. But since we don’t, we’re gonna have to pass on him. I’m sorry.“, Steve said.

“Yeah, we’ve all been talking about it. And we’ve all decided that we’re not gonna let any more new friends into this group of friends.“, Ariana said. “What? But why? I’ve been also talking with a bunch of other friends at my school who said they’d love to be a part of this group of friends.“, I said. “Yeah, well, we’ve decided to stop letting in new friends after Jess because we don’t want to have too many friends in this group.“, Amanda said.

“Yeah, I mean, could you imagine what this group of friends would be like if we had a million friends? Newsflash, not good.“, Nathan said. “Well, I’m sorry you had to come all the way here for nothing.“, I said. “He didn’t come all the way here for nothing. Just because he can’t be in our group of friends doesn’t mean he can’t be our friend in general.“, Ariana said.

“Yeah, and we can all hang out with him and any other friends we all have whenever we get the opportunity.“, Brad said. “And he can also stick around and watch us perform.“, Kevin said. “Well, I guess you’re right. So, what do you say? Do you want to see a childhood rock band play music for the first time?“, I said.

“Sure, why not?“, John asked. “Great, you can go have a seat over there.“, I said. John went to have a seat while I was walking to the camcorder.

A few moments later, Two Seconds To Detroit was fully ready to perform and I was fully ready to film. Amanda got behind the microphone. The band started playing Hit Me With Your Best Shot by Pat Benatar. And they performed it very well. John was watching Two Seconds To Detroit perform that song and was very impressed.

***

It was Friday, January 9, 2004. It was evening. At Steve’s place, Kevin was on the computer.

Then the girl he had a second romantic relationship with sent him an online message. “Heyyy.“, the girl typed. “Hi.“, Kevin typed. “What’s up?“, Kevin typed.

“Oh, nothing much. So, we still don’t know what we both look like away from the computer screen. Would you mind if we exchanged photos of what we both look like?“, the girl typed. “No, I don’t mind that at all.“, Kevin said. “Great, I’ll go first.“, the girl typed. Then Kevin waited for the girl to send her photo.

The girl sent a photo of what she looked like. “Okay, your turn.“, the girl typed. “Well, here goes nothing. I guess.“, Kevin said.

Then Kevin started using his webcam to take a photo of himself. Once the photo was captured, he approved it and started to send it to the girl. He uploaded the photo to the website and sent the photo.

“So, what do you think?“, Kevin typed. “Handsome.“, the girl typed. “Thanks. I get that a lot.“, Kevin said.

“Well, what about me?“, the girl typed. “What? What about you?“, Kevin typed. “Do you think I’m a hot girl?“, the girl typed.

“Yeah. In fact, you’re the hottest girl I’ve ever seen on the internet.“, Kevin typed. “I know.“, the girl typed. “So, look, there has been something I’ve wanted to tell you for a while now. And I think that I should start telling you this now before I put it off for one more day.“, Kevin typed.

“Wait, hold that thought. It’s time for dinner. We’ll chat a little later on. Okay, baby.“, the girl typed. “Yeah, sure.“, Kevin typed. “Sweet, see ya later hot stuff.“, the girl typed. Then the girl went offline.

Steve walked by Kevin eating a bag of potato chips. Then Steve walked over to Kevin. “So, have you broken up the online relationship with the girl yet?“, Steve asked.

“No, not yet. And get this, we both exchanged photos of what we look like in-person. It turns out that this girl is just as hot as Stacy is. And Stacy is smoking hot.“, Kevin said. “So, does this mean you’re starting to fall in love with this online chick and starting to forget about Stacy?“, Steve asked. “What? No, not at all. I still love Stacy. And I tried telling her what’s really going on after we exchanged photos. Then she had to go eat dinner right before I was about to tell her the truth.“, Kevin said.

“Well, don’t worry, Kev. Maybe you’ll tell her next time.“, Steve said. Steve walked away from Kevin. “I wish the internet never existed.“, Kevin said to himself in frustration.

***

It was Saturday, January 10, 2004. It was in the afternoon. Two Seconds To Detroit (with Kevin absent) were down in the basement of the apartment complex with me, John, and Regine.

“Okay, is everyone ready?“, Steve asked. Everyone else held a thumbs up. “Okay, I say we get this Saturday rocking and rolling. Here we go.“, Steve said. Steve got behind the microphone. Then the band started performing I Believe In A Thing Called Love by The Darkness.

Can’t explain all the feelings that you’re making me feel.
My heart’s in overdrive, and you’re behind the steering wheel.

Touching you, touching me.
Touching you, God, you’re touching me.

I believe in a thing called love.
Just listen to the rhythm of my heart.
There’s a chance we could make it now.
We’ll be rocking till the Sun goes down.
I believe in a thing called love.

I wanna kiss you every minute, every hour, every day.
You got me in a spin, but everything is a, okay!

Touching you, touching me.
Touching you cause you’re touching me.

I believe in a thing called love.
Just listen to the rhythm of my heart.
There’s a chance we could make it now.
We’ll be rocking till the Sun goes down.
I believe in a thing called love.

Touching you, touching me.
Touching you, God, you’re touching me.

I believe in a thing called love.
Just listen to the rhythm of my heart.
There’s a chance we could make it now.
We’ll be rocking till the Sun goes down.
I believe in a thing called love.

John and Regine got up from their seats and applauded. “Thank you, thank you. You two are too kind.“, Steve said. Kevin came down the basement stairs carrying dirty laundry.

“Dude, where have you been? We’ve all been wondering where you went off to.“, Brad said. “I was sleeping in until Mom and Dad told me to wash my dirty clothes.“, Kevin said as he was walking to the washing machine. “Well, are you gonna be joining us soon?“, Ariana asked.

“No, sorry. Not today. Maybe tomorrow or another day.“, Kevin said. A random girl walked down the basement stairs carrying her dirty laundry. The girl walked up to Kevin.

“Hey, are you busy with the washing machine?“, the girl asked. “Of course he’s busy with the washing machine. What does it look like he’s doing?“, Brad said. “Yeah, sorry. This won’t take me long.“, Kevin said.

“Oh, that’s no problem at all. I’ll wait.“, the girl said. Kevin continued doing what he was doing. Then the girl realized something.

“Hey, you’re him! You’re that guy!“, the girl said. “Excuse me?“, Kevin asked. “You’re the guy I’ve been chatting with online! We both live in the same apartment complex! Wow, I can’t believe I’m finally talking to my virtual boyfriend in-person!“, the girl said.

Kevin realized who the girl was. “Oh, no.“, Kevin said. “What?“, the girl asked.

“I mean yay! We’re finally chatting in-person! I’m so excited!“, Kevin said. “So, how long have you and you’re family been living here?“, the girl asked. “Oh, not long. Just a pretty long time.“, Kevin said.

“And who are all these kids. And what are all these musical instruments doing here?“, the girl said. “It’s a very long story and we both still need to wash our clothes.“, Kevin said. “Gotcha. We can talk about it later.“, the girl said.

“Well, I guess I better get back to washing these clothes.“, Kevin said. “Yeah, same here. It was nice to finally meet you face-to-face.“, the girl said. “Yeah, same here.“, Kevin said.

Kevin continued to wash his clothes while the girl started walking away. Then the girl rushed over to Kevin and started kissing him (lips touching lips). “Woah, dude. Does this kind of stuff happen in this group of friends every weekend?“, John said. “Not every weekend. This is the kind of stuff that rarely happens.“, Brad said as the kissing continued.

The kissing continued. And it continued some more. Then when the girl was fully satisfied, she stopped kissing Kevin and wiped her mouth with her sleeve smiling. Kevin wiped his mouth with his sleeve.

“Well, let me know when you’re done with that laundry of yours.“, the girl said smiling. The girl got her dirty laundry and headed back upstairs. Kevin looked at everyone else who saw everything that took place between Kevin and the girl.

“What? You all never seen a sixth-grader do laundry before?“, Kevin asked. “I think someone is in love with you.“, Nathan said. “Shut up Nathan! Hey, can we all forget what just happened and pretend that it never did happen. Please? Thank you.“, Kevin said.

“Whatever you say, dude.“, Nathan said. Kevin continued washing his clothes. “So, why don’t we all do a love song next?“, Steve asked.

Kevin turned around. “What? We didn’t say anything about kissing songs.“, Steve said. Then all of us (except Kevin) laughed.

“Ha, ha, ha. Very funny. But just know that I will break up with this girl sooner rather than later.“, Kevin said before pushing a button on the washing machine to wash his clothes. “And when is that? In the year 3004?“, Brad asked. Then all of us (except Kevin) laughed again.

Kevin headed back up the basement stairs. “Uh oh, I think we made the kid with two girlfriends mad.“, I said. Everyone there laughed some more.

“Wait, he has two girlfriends?“, Regine asked. “It’s a long story, but back to the music.“, I said. I started filming while Two Seconds To Detroit started getting ready to perform again. John and Regine started getting ready to watch.

Amanda got behind the microphone. The band started performing Just A Girl by No Doubt. The band performed that song very well. I started filming while John and Regine started watching from their seats. And as Kevin’s clothes continued getting washed, Two Seconds To Detroit continued rocking and rolling.

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