The Serpent: Part 1

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Chapter 7

April 22, 1989

9:04 A.M

“I don’t know about y’all, but I can’t stand IHOP omelettes,” Alex said, sipping his coffee. “The taste just feels off.”

“Maybe it’s because you’re so used to my mom’s omelettes that every other one seems disgusting,” Robbie said, taking a bite of his omelette.

“Maybe. Now that I think of it, I could use one of your mom’s omelettes right now.”

“Sure, maybe we’ll get some the next time we’re back in Texas.”

“Whenever that is,” Jason said.

“Okay guys,” Sam said. “How does this sound? ‘It’s not forever, it’s not eternity, it’s only…a lifetime?’”

“I don’t get it,” Alex said.

“And neither do I,” Sam said, crumpling up another piece of paper. “God, this is so frustrating.”

“Why don’t you do this later, Sam?” Robbie asked. “Let’s enjoy breakfast right now.’

“But I’m so close! I can already tell this is gonna’ be a great one! I just need like one more verse! Errrggghh!!”

“That’s exactly what I thought about Forever Mine,” Jason said. “And look how that turned out.’

“Let it go already, Jason,” Robbie said. “There’s nothing you can about it. Just move on already.”

“I wish I could.”

“Okay, how about this?” Sam asked. “’If it’s not forever, if it’s not eternity, then is it a-’”

At that moment, three women suddenly walked up to the table. They all appeared to be in their mid-twenties. Two of the woman had dark, brunette hair and the third woman had blonde hair and wore glasses. The two brunettes appeared to be having a really hard time containing their excitement.

Oh boy, Sam thought.

“Are you guys impersonators?” one of the brunettes asked. “Or…or are you actually Serpents?”

“I’m an impersonator,” Robbie said. “I managed to get plenty of plastic surgery done to perfectly recreate Robbie Larson’s ugly head. I even got his freaky looking eyebrows down.”

“Same here,” Sam said. “I’m such a big fan of Sam Kruger that I always tell my barber to cut my hair exactly like his. He does a pretty good job at it.”

Sam brushed his hair back with his hand. This caused the two brunettes to squeal in excitement. The blonde rolled her eyes.

“I’m sorry,” one of the brunettes said. “I didn’t wanna’ bother you guys. It’s just that…we’re just big fans of Serpents and…you guys are in Phoenix. You know…we couldn’t help…”

“Yes, yes, we know,” Robbie said. “We get it all the time.”

“I’m Nichole,” one of the brunettes said, holding out her hand.

“Robbie,” Robbie said, shaking Nichole’s hand.

“Right,” Nichole said, holding her hand out to Sam. “And Sam Kruger!”

“That’s right,” Sam said, smiling. He tried his hardest not to roll his eyes.

“Oh, it’s so great to meet you, Sam!” Nichole said, shaking Sam’s hand. “Oh man, this is so awesome! Sorry, it’s just that I’ve always wanted to meet you! It’s too good to be true! Sorry!”

“It’s fine, it’s fine.”

“I’m Leslie,” the other brunette said, shaking Sam’s hand. “It’s so freaking awesome to meet you, Sam! Oh man, this is the greatest day ever!”

“It’s great to meet you ladies,” Sam said. “But don’t forget to say hi to the rest of the Serpents.”

“Right, right,” Nichole said. “Robbie. I already met Robbie. And you’re…uh…”

“Jason,” the blonde said.

“Jason, right! Can’t believe I forgot! Jason…uh…Hamilton?”

“Hamlin,” the blonde corrected, rolling her eyes.

“Oh right! Hamlin! Jason Hamlin! What’s with me today? Great to meet you, Jason!”

“Great to meet you,” Jason said, taking a sip of coffee.

“And you’re the drummer!” Nichole said, pointing to Alex. “Your name is Alex, right? Alex…uh…Manfield?”

“Mansfield,” the blonde corrected.

“Ahh!! One letter off! Seriously, why am I getting so many names wrong? I must be out of my mind right now! Oh wait, I am because I just met Serpents! Sorry, I’m freaking out again! Oh boy! Oh boy!”

“Sam, you’re so awesome!” Leslie shouted. “You’re freaking sexy-err, I mean I love your voice! I wish I could I sing like you! I have posters of you all over my room, even one of you without a shirt-AHH!! No scratch that! I didn’t say that! I didn’t say that! I meant to say that Only You is my favorite song ever! I love your voice in that!”

“Okay ladies,” Sam said, holding up his pen. “What do you want me to sign? I already know that’s what you’re gonna’ ask me.”

Let’s just get this over with, Sam thought.

Nichole and Leslie squealed in excitement again.

“Oh boy! Oh boy!” Nichole shouted. “Sorry. Can you sign…my…my…”

Nichole ran over to a nearby table and grabbed a pink purse. Leslie immediately ran over and grabbed another purse sitting right next to it.

“Can you sign my purse?!” Nichole shouted. “Please, please! Sorry!”

“Can you sign mine too?” Leslie said. “Please!”

Sam sighed.

“Of course,” he said.

Sam signed both the purses, causing Nichole and Leslie to shout and squeal so loudly that Robbie quietly suggested they call an ambulance.

“Is there a payphone around here?!” Nichole shouted, “I gotta’ tell my mom that I just got an autograph from Sam Kruger! She’s gonna’ freak out!”

“Me first!” Leslie shouted. “I gotta’ tell Brian! He’s gonna’ be so freaking jealous!”

Nichole and Leslie then sped away, still shouting in delight. The blonde just stared and rolled her eyes once again.

“Did you have to do the hair thing?” Robbie asked Sam.

“I just wanted to see how much they would freak out,” Sam said. “Honestly, it’s really starting to get amusing watching people act that stupid.”

“Hey, at least they didn’t ask you to sing this time.”

“True.” Sam chuckled a bit.

“I’m really sorry about that,” the blonde woman said. “My friends can be such idiots sometimes.”

“It’s okay,” Sam said. “It happens practically every time we go out to eat. Honestly, I’d give that a five on the freak out scale.”

“I’d give it a four,” Robbie said.

“What’s a ten like?” the blonde woman asked, grinning.

“Oh God,” Sam said. “You don’t even wanna’ know.”

“Let’s just say that it always involves security,” Robbie said. “And sometimes pepper spray.”

The blonde woman chuckled.

“See, what’d I tell you, Sam?” Jason said. “Do you believe me now? The fans don’t give a crap about the rest of Serpents! It’s all about Sam Kruger!”

“No, no,” Sam said, putting his fingers in his ears. “I’m not listening, I’m not listening.”

“Just admit it. Without you, the band wouldn’t go on! If you died, people would stop caring about us!”

“Lalalalaalala!”

The blonde woman chuckled again. “You guys are pretty funny.”

“We do this to him all the time,” Robbie said, snickering. “We always tell Sam that he’s practically the entire band and we’d be nothing without him. But he refuses to admit it.”

“Yeah,” Alex said. “He wants to believe that we’re all equally important, even though that’s totally not true.”

“Lalalalalalalala!” Sam shouted, with his fingers still in his ears.

“I think you’re all important,” the woman said. “Robbie, you’re an awesome guitarist. Alex, you’re amazing on the drums. Jason…well, I honestly can’t really tell the guitar apart from the bass, but you do an excellent job too.”

“Oh gee,” Jason said. “Thanks.”

“And you guys all can sing! There are more voices in the songs than just Sam’s! It all sounds great! Come on guys, don’t be so hard on yourselves!”

“Sure, maybe when people start taking shirtless photos of me,” Alex said. “But I guess nobody cares about the drummer’s body.”

“Oh knock it off, Alex,” Robbie said. “Sam didn’t even wanna’ take that picture.”

“I notice you’re not freaking out like your friends,” Sam said. “What’s up with that?”

“Well number one, I’m a much calmer person,” the woman said. “Number two, I respect you guys so much that I wanna’ give you some space. I actually didn’t even wanna’ bother you guys, but my friends…you know. Anyway, I’m actually a huge Serpents fan too. Probably even more than my friends.”

“Really?”

“Yeah. I think Nichole and Leslie only know your popular songs. Like the ones that play on the radio all the time. Also, the main thing they care about is…well, Sam’s looks. They always seem to talk about how good-looking Sam is rather than how good of a singer he is.”

“Yeah, I hear that a lot. Mainly from fans themselves.”

“I listen to your albums like every single day. Not just the hits. But even the lesser-known songs. As a matter of fact, my favorite song is Down By The Ocean. How many people talk about that song?”

“I don’t even remember doing that song.”

The woman chuckled and held out her hand. “I’m Heather by the way. Heather Greenfield.”

“Nice to meet you, Heather,” Robbie said.

Heather then shook hands with everybody. Sam couldn’t help but smile widely. It had been quite a while since he had met a calm fan. He honestly couldn’t even remember the last time a fan hadn’t nearly fainted out of excitement.

“So yeah, Down By The Ocean is my favorite,” Heather said. “My other favorites are Blinded, Stay With Me, Unknown, This Is It and The End Of The World. Though, I like all of your songs.”

“Those are your favorites?” Sam said. “Wow, I don’t think any of those were hits.”

“They should’ve been. Honestly, I think all your songs should be hits.”

Sam smiled. “Did you go to the concert last night?”

“No, I couldn’t get any tickets. They had already sold out by the time I even got a chance to go buy them. From what I heard, people were going crazy for the tickets the instant they heard that you guys were gonna’ be in Phoenix. It really ticked me off. But oh well.”

“Well, I guess actually meeting us is a great alternative, isn’t it?”

“Yeah, I guess so. Still, it would’ve been great to see you guys last night on stage.”

There was a brief pause. The entire band looked at Heather.

“Oh,” Sam said. “Yeah. I kind of see what you mean.”

“Nichole and Leslie went to the concert. Yeah, they bought the tickets the exact day the announcement was made. Probably because they have much more time on their hands then me. But, of course, they just kept going on about how Sam looked. They barely even talked about the actual songs. What a waste.”

“Well, maybe you can make another one sometime in the future. I think they’re still selling tickets for Denver this summer.”

“I don’t have the time or money to fly all the way to Denver. Or anywhere really. I can barely afford anything. My parents had to give me the money for the concert tickets because I begged the crap out of them. That turned out to be a big waste of time. I doubt they’re gonna’ do that again.”

Heather sighed.

“Oh well, maybe I can see you guys on stage someday. But…it was really nice getting to meet you. You guys are really nice. Maybe…I don’t know, maybe we can meet again if you ever come back to Phoenix. That’d be great.”

“Yeah,” Sam said.

“Well, it was great talking to you guys,” Heather said. “I’ll go ahead and let you get back to your breakfast. I need to go make sure my friends are still alive.”

“Ummm…well, bye then,” Sam said.

“Bye,” Heather said. She then turned around and began to walk away.

Sam’s heart suddenly began pounding. A sudden thought began to scream in his head: Do something! Do something! DO SOMETHING!

“Hey, she didn’t even ask for an autograph,” Jason said. “That’s a first.”

“Dang it, my pancakes are cold now,” Alex said.

Sam suddenly jumped up and sped over to Heather. Robbie, Jason, and Alex looked up in alarm.

“Hey Heather!” Sam shouted.

Heather turned around.

“What?” she asked.

“You wanna’ see us play, right?”

“Ummm…yeah.”

“Well, we’re actually not leaving until tomorrow morning. And we don’t have really have anything going on for the rest of the day. So…how would you like to go to a private concert?”

“A private concert?”

“Yeah, a concert specifically for you. We can play whatever songs you want. Blinded, Down By The Ocean, Stay With Me, anything. Heck, it would probably be even more special of a concert because we barely even play those songs on tour! What do you think?”

There was a brief pause.

“Wow, that sounds…amazing,” Heather said. “But…but where would it be?”

Another pause.

“I’m…I’m not sure,” Sam said. “It’s just an idea that came to mind. I’m not really sure where we could actually do it. Maybe we can try to get the stage again, though I’m not really sure if we…uhhh…”

“How about my house?”

“What?”

“If you…if you can’t find anywhere to play. You can come to…my…house. I mean, I live by myself. And…I have a garage. So…yeah. Sorry, that idea came to mind. It’s just an idea…”

“Sure, we’ll do that!”

“What?”

“Yeah, tonight at your house! What time works for you? How about eight?”

“Umm…yeah. I don’t have anything going on around that time.”

“Then it’s settled. Tonight at eight at your house.”

“Oh, okay.” A smile suddenly formed on Heather’s face.

Sam ran over to his table and grabbed one of his sheets of paper. One of the guys asked what he was doing, but he barely even heard him. He quickly returned to Heather, who appeared to be growing more excited.

“What’s your address?” he asked, clicking his pen.

“324 Stephenson Avenue,” Heather said. “I live in a little green house.”

“Little…green…house,” Sam said, writing on the paper. “Great! Well, Heather. We’ll see you tonight at eight.”

“Yeah. I’ll see you Sam. Thank you.”

Sam looked over and noticed Nichole and Leslie excitingly shouting on a payphone. They were so excited that they didn’t even notice Heather talking to Sam.

“Don’t tell them anything,” Sam whispered to Heather.

“I wasn’t planning to,” Heather whispered back.

“Well, I’ll see you Heather. I hope the rest of your day goes well.”

“You too, Sam. Bye.”

Heather waved and walked over to her friends, who were still shouting on the phone. Sam smiled and walked back over to the table.

“What’s going on, Sam?” Robbie asked.

Sam put his arm on Robbie’s shoulder.

“Can I talk to you for a minute?” Sam asked him.

“Ummm…sure,” Robbie said, standing up. He and Sam then walked a quite a few feet away from Jason and Alex. “What’s up?”

Sam told Robbie about the offer he had just made to Heather. He also made it clear why he thought Heather deserved this. After Sam was finished talking, Robbie just looked at him.

“So what do you think?” Sam asked.

Robbie stared at Sam for a brief moment before speaking

“You wanna’ give Heather a private concert at her house?” Robbie asked.

Sam nodded.

“Sam…”

At that moment, a large grin formed on Robbie’s face. He then put his arm around Sam’s shoulder.

“Did I ever tell you that you’re one of the coolest guys I know?” Robbie asked.

“So…then that’s a yes?” Sam asked, grinning back.

Robbie patted Sam’s shoulder.

“Sam, it’s wonderful that you would even consider doing that for someone. Especially someone that you just barely met. It just says a lot about you. You don’t often hear about famous musicians going out of their way to do things like this for just one person. It’s almost unbelievable.”

“Thanks Robbie.”

“I know I tell you this a lot, but I can’t be any more grateful to call you my friend.”

Sam said nothing for a brief moment. He merely stared at Robbie and smiled.

“Well, I guess we better go tell the guys,” Sam said.

Sam and Robbie walked back over to the table. Jason and Alex looked up at them.

“Y’all seemed to be getting pretty close back there,” Jason said. “Is there something y’all are not telling us?”

“So,” Sam said, ignoring Jason’s comment. “Guys, there’s been a change of plans. Sorry, but it doesn’t look like we’re going bowling tonight.”

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