The Serpent: Part 1

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Chapter 19

September 27, 1985

1:34 P.M.

The group raced out of Atlantic Records and into the parking lot. Not wanting to look like fools, they all did a perfect job of containing their excitement up until they made it to their car. It was right then they completely let it all out.

“WAHOO!!” the group all shouted together. Alex began to punch his seat and excitement while Robbie, Jason and Sam all began to pile onto each other in the backseat. Alex seemed to be trying to avoid the dogpile, but Robbie wasn’t going to tolerate that.

“GET OVER HERE!!” Robbie shouted, grabbing Alex by the arm.

“NO!! I DIDN’T SIGN UP FOR THIS!!” Alex screamed as Robbie successfully pulled him into the backseat.

The next minute or so consisted of nothing but the four shouting and wrestling each other all over the car. At one point, Sam’s face was pressed against the door in a very uncomfortable position, but he hardly cared. He was full of too much excitement to care.

“WE DID IT GUYS!!” Jason screamed, climbing up on top of everybody. “WE FINALLY DID IT!!”

“DUDE THIS IS ACTUALLY HAPPENING!!” Alex screamed from underneath Jason. “IT’S ACTUALLY FREAKING HAPPENING!!”

“NUMBER ONE ON THE CHARTS!! Robbie screamed. “NUMBER ONE ON THE FREAKING CHARTS!!”

“GUYS, I CAN’T BREATHE!!” Sam screamed from the bottom of the pile.

It wasn’t until the four made it to Taylor’s Steak House that they finally began to calm down. By this point, Sam’s face was beet red and his hair made him look like he had just taken a nap in a clothes dryer.

“Anyone have any gel on them?” Sam asked as everyone sat at the table. “Do you mind if I use the whole bottle?”

“You can use a drop of mine,” Alex replied. “But then you would owe me a drop.”

“Hey, with the record deal, you can have all the gel you want,” Robbie said.

“True, true,” Sam said with a giant grin.

At that moment, a waiter walked up to the table.

“What can I get you gentleman to drink?” the waiter asked.

“I’ll take a water,” Robbie replied.

“Tea,” Jason replied. “No sugar.”

“Water,” Sam replied.

“Root beer,” Alex replied.

“Okay,” the waiter said. “I’ll be back with your drinks in a minute.” He then left.

“Well guys,” Robbie said. “Our life officially begins here. We are no longer a simple garage band. We are now the real thing. Get ready, guys. Because things are just gonna’ keep on getting bigger.”

“I still can’t believe all this is happening,” Alex said. “It feels like I’m dreaming. Like I’m having the best dream ever. Like I’m dreaming of something that could never possibly happen. You know what I mean?”

“And then your alarm clock goes off and then you get all angry because everything wasn’t real and then you remember you still have a history paper to finish by fifth period?” Jason asked. “Yeah, I know that feeling.”

“Hey, I’m trying to enjoy the moment.”

Sam sighed. “Man, if only I knew this was all gonna’ happen a few years ago. I…I don’t even know how I would have reacted.”

“I think all of us wish we could’ve known this was gonna’ happen years ago,” Robbie replied. “I sure do.”

“Yeah.”

“One thing for sure. Had I known I would be signing a record label in high school, I would’ve practiced about ten times harder. I would’ve tried my hardest to be the best that I could possibly be. To show that I earned that label.”

“I think you earn the label. I think we all do.”

Robbie nodded. “I guess a number one chart kind of shows that.”

“Exactly,” Sam replied.

“I wonder where we’re gonna’ be ten years from now,” Jason said. “Maybe we could actually become one of the greatest bands of all time.”

“As long as Sam doesn’t go anywhere, that’s a possibility,” Alex replied.

Sam rolled his eyes.

“Yeah, I also wonder where we’re gonna’ be in the future,” he said.

Sam started to remember Robbie’s words “our life officially begins here” and “things are gonna’ keep on getting bigger.” Although none of the excitement left his body, he did find himself wondering something he would rather not have.

“I’m perfectly fine with whatever happens ten years from now,” Sam said. “Just as long as we’re all still together. As long as we’re all still friends.”

Robbie put his arm around Sam’s shoulder.

“I don’t know what’s gonna’ happen in the future, Sam,” Robbie said. “But I will say this. I have high hopes that we’ll stay friends for the rest of our lives.”

Sam nodded. “I see what you mean.”

“I don’t know who wouldn’t wanna’ be friends with you, Sam. Because you’re an awesome guy.”

Sam put his arm around Robbie’s shoulder.

“Thanks Robbie,” Sam said. “You’re an awesome guy, too. You all are.”

“Kind of funny how we just got signed at Atlantic Records, yet we can’t win a freaking talent show,” Jason said. “I don’t understand this world.”

“Obviously because we didn’t have Sam,” Alex replied. “And the judges were idiots.”

“Guys, we have a hit now,” Sam said, letting go of Robbie. “Shouldn’t that be enough to make you forget about that stupid talent show? Which never really mattered to begin with?”

“Took the words right out of my mouth,” Robbie said.

“I’m not complaining about it,” Jason said. “I just find it odd that we didn’t win that talent show yet we’re able to get a hit.”

“How it that odd?” Alex replied. He then pointed to Sam “Remember, we didn’t have this guy.”

“You guys seriously need to start having confidence in yourself,” Sam said. “What if I were to get run over by a bus as soon we leave the restaurant? Would y’all just give up?”

“I would get Dr. Frankenstein to bring you back to life,” Jason said.

“Yeah, Franken-Sam,” Alex replied.

“Franken-Sam. I like that,” Robbie said, grinning.

Sam rolled his eyes again.

The waiter then brought everybody their drinks. As Sam took a drink of his water, he suddenly began imagine himself back in high school. Him walking around the halls by himself, having no friends, doubting that he’ll get anywhere in life, the guys all taunting him, the girls…

Sam immediately shook his head.

He then took a look at his circle of friends that sat around him. If he wasn’t already full of joy, it would’ve engulfed him right then and there. He still could hardly believe all that had happened in the past year and a half. How far he had come.

Please keep us all together, Sam thought. No matter what happens, please keep us all together.

“I wonder how good the steak is here,” Alex said. “If it’s not better than Texas Roadhouse, I’ll be pretty disappointed.”

“Then prepare to be disappointed,” Robbie replied, drinking some of his water. “Because nothing is better than Roadhouse.”

“What about your mom’s steaks?” Sam asked.

“Okay, almost nothing is better than Roadhouse,” Robbie said.

“Dang it, Sam,” Alex said. “Now you got me thinking about Robbie’s mom’s steaks. I hate you so much right now.”

The four all chuckled.

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