The Serpent: Part 1

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Chapter 8

March 16, 1984

8:24 P.M.

Sam took a deep breath and looked at the rest of the guys. Everybody was staring at him with very shocked looks on their faces.

“Umm…” Sam said. “Ta…da?”

“W…wow,” Jason said. “Just…wow.”

“Dude,” Alex said. “How…how are you not already one of the greatest singers of all time?”

Sam smiled and blushed.

“I’m not that good,” he said, looking down.

Robbie walked over to Sam and put his arm around his shoulder.

“Dude, that was…amazing,” Robbie said. “I’m…I’m absolutely astonished. I mean, when you told me you love to sing, I wasn’t expecting much. Not that I thought you would be bad, but…I just thought you would be pretty good. But that? That was…beyond amazing. I mean…wow.”

“You sound like a completely different person when you sing,” Alex said. “Like an actual professional singer. Heck, you should be an actual professional singer!”

That’s so not gonna’ happen, Sam thought.

“Did you take any singing classes when you were a kid?” Robbie asked. “Just wondering.”

“Well, my stepmom signed me up for a class when I was like eight or nine,” Sam replied. “I was only in it for a couple months, though. Mainly because kids at school…oh never mind. Anyway, I mainly practiced on my own growing up. My stepmom did help me out quite a bit. She thinks it’s amazing that I love to sing.”

“Well, it is amazing. Your singing is amazing and your piano playing is amazing. You said you learned to play the piano when you were four, right?”

“Three,” Sam replied.

“Three?!” Alex gasped. “Wow, that’s freaking young!”

“Well, I started playing when I was three,” Sam said. “I didn’t actually start mastering it until I was like five or six.”

“That’s still freaking young. I didn’t start playing the drums until I was nine. Heck, I didn’t even get into music at all until I was like seven!”

“Sam,” Robbie said. “You’re an awesome musician. Honestly, I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who’s played better than that.”

“I’m not a musician,” Sam replied.

“You sing and you play music. And you’re amazing at it. That right there is enough to qualify as a musician in my book.”

“What song was that, anyway?” Jason asked. “I’ve never heard it before.”

“It’s called Stay With Me,” Sam replied. “I…I made it up.”

“What?!” Robbie shouted. “You write music too?!”

Sam took a deep breath.

“I’ve…written a few songs,” he said. “I mean, I sometimes write songs when I have nothing better to do.”

“Wow, that’s awesome,” Robbie said. “What other songs have you written?”

“Well, there’s one I wrote about two years ago called Without You. That song is mainly about my mom abandoning my family when I was two. It’s…it’s a pretty depressing song. I also wrote a song last summer called Someday. That one…that one isn’t about me specifically, but it’s about hopes and dreams. Let’s just say that there’s a big reason why I wrote that song.”

“Is it because you dream of becoming a musician?”

Sam looked at Robbie for a moment and then nodded.

“I would love to do something music related as a career,” Sam said. “Anything. Music is my life. It has always been my life. It would be a dream come true if I was given some opportunity to do something with music as a career. But like I said, my dad…my dad doesn’t want me putting so much focus on music…he wants me to…”

“And I already told you that it doesn’t matter what your dad thinks!” Robbie said. “How old are you? Eighteen?”

Sam nodded.

“You’re legally an adult! You’re free to make your own decisions! Don’t you realize what this right here could lead to? You legitimately have the chance to become a successful musician! I believe you can!”

“Same here,” Jason said. “Dude, you seriously need to get ahold of a record producer or something. You sing better than I ever could!”

“Yeah, I was about to say the same thing,” Alex said. “You sing way better than Jason ever could.”

“Hey!” Jason shouted.

“Don’t pass up this opportunity,” Robbie said. “You have a gift, Sam. A gift specifically made for you. Don’t just put that gift in your closet and never open it. Use it.”

“Yeah,” Jason said.

“That’s right,” Alex said.

Sam stared at the guys for a moment and then leaned over and put his head in his hands. He said nothing for over half a minute.

“Are you okay, man?” Robbie asked, walking over to Sam.

“Oh, I’m fine,” Sam said, leaning back up. “It’s just…nobody’s ever talked to me this way before. Nobody. Not even my parents. It just…it just feels…wonderful.”

Robbie smiled and patted Sam on the back.

“We’re here for you, Buddy,” Robbie said.

Sam took a deep breath and then looked towards everybody.

“Guys,” he said. “Thank you…thank you for inviting me to see y’all play. You guys are such an awesome band. And…and thanks for listening to me play. Nobody ever does that.”

“You’re welcome, man,” Robbie said. “Anytime.”

“Hey Sam, you wrote other songs, right?” Alex asked. “Play them! I wanna’ hear more!

“Yeah!” Jason shouted.

Sam smiled.

“Sure,” he said, pulling a sheet of music out of his backpack and setting it on the piano. “Here’s Without You.”

Robbie, Jason, and Alex all smiled and nodded as the song played. Sam couldn’t help but feel anxious the entire time that he played the song.

After Sam finished the song, Robbie, Jason and Alex all started applauding. Sam blushed again.

“Wow, that song’s even better!” Jason said. “Nice!”

“Yeah, that song was great!” Alex said. “But yeah, that was pretty depressing. Sorry you had to go through that.”

“It’s fine,” Sam replied.

“You know, Sam. I’ve been thinking,” Robbie said. “You wanna’ do something music-related after you graduate right?”

“Right.”

Robbie smiled and looked over at Jason and Alex.

“Guys, how about we let Sam join The White Knights?”

Sam’s eyes widened.

“What?!” he shouted.

“You have dreams to become a musician, right?” Robbie asked. “Well, all musicians begin somewhere small. And I think The White Knights should be your beginning.”

“I was just about to say the same thing,” Jason said. “Sam, join the band. We need you.”

“I second that emotion,” Alex said. “Or third. Oh, whatever.”

Sam was completely silent for a moment.

“That’s…that’s…I…,” he stammered. “I…would love to. But…I don’t know if my parents would…”

“I already told you,” Robbie said. “Eighteen and legally an adult.”

Sam took a deep breath and looked at everybody. He thought for a long moment and then took another breath.

“Yes,” Sam said. “I’ll do it.”

Jason and Alex shouted in joy. Sam felt another smile form on his face.

“Oh man, this is gonna’ be awesome!” Jason shouted.

“God, I can already see all the people running into the stadium to see us!” Alex shouted. “Oh, I can’t wait!”

“Don’t count your chickens before they hatch, guys,” Robbie said. “We got a lot more practicing to do.”

“Right,” Jason and Alex said together.

“But first,” Robbie said. “How about one more song? A song from our new lead singer, Sam Kruger.”

Sam looked at Robbie in surprise.

“Lead singer?!” Sam shouted.

“Sam, I’m not a moron,” Robbie said. “Of course I’m gonna’ make you the lead singer.”

Sam continued to stare at Robbie in disbelief for a few seconds. He then looked down at the piano.

This can’t be real, he thought. It just can’t be.

After a few more seconds, Sam reached into his backpack and grabbed another sheet of music. He then looked towards the group and smiled.

“Here’s Someday,” Sam said, putting the sheet music on the piano.

Thank you, Sam thought as he began to play the song. Thank you.

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