66.66% Acoustic Hearts: A Short Story / Chapter 2: Tim Bayfield

Read Acoustic Hearts: A Short Story - Chapter 2 online

Chapter 2: Tim Bayfield

15 February 2015

'Pussy.'

"I don't have one."

'No, you are one, you dumb little musical quipper.'

"Alright, we can start banging on with the insults after we're done with actually going through with the action."

'Which means never.'

"Which means forever, with a limited time."

'Forever doesn't have a limited time, you dumb-'

"Alright, stop. You're not helping."

'I'm not supposed to. I'm here to put the bullet in the gun and you're supposed to trigger it with or without my help.'

"Well, you're dismissed."

'Suit yourself. You can't win a war without being on the battlefield.'

"Okay, that's enough. Bye-bye. Shoo."

'Wait, actually you can.'

I don't know about you, but calling someone and speaking to them is considered, to me at least, one of the four harried horsemen of the apocalypse. See, it doesn't matter if you don't see them face-to-face, you can still taste their emotions (weirdly), hear their regurgitated breaths and stormy fronts that they pull, and that isn't something I'm ready to confront. But meeting someone face-to-face doesn't really bring me out of the pit either, and I think that's where the conundrum kicks in.

If Shakespeare was a modern day poet, his famous line would probably be: to call or not to call; that is the question. Maybe not as famous as he would have liked it to have been, but famous nonetheless. Still, Shakespeare can't really get me out of this situation that I've gotten myself into, and that's where the introvert in me start calling me names like pussy and dumb and so on.

Maybe you could help me with this problem.

There's this girl, a strike in an 80s movie with an uplifting message accompanied by a strong, dithering will to be anywhere that you don't want her to be. Wait, that makes no sense. You see, I'm not really great with most metaphors but I do try. One more time, I guess.

She is this great 80s love song that comes on near Valentine's day, and you hear it, and you think to yourself: "Hey! It would be great if I bought that song and played it all day, all night, not just for the days in which they are pink with hearts, but for all days!" And then you proceed to think that it is a good idea, which evolves into a great idea, so you start thinking of all the ways in which the song could be fit into, like occasions where you have a girl over and you play it and she gets turned off and she goes running out of the door. Wait. Darn it.

So, do you see? This girl that I probably will never get, I probably will never hear the end of, and of which a love song she is definitely not, running out of my imaginary door and out of our imaginary future, never to be seen again, never to live in my mind again. What a sad day that would be. In fact, I wonder what I would think of next if that ever came to be. Pizza? Perhaps. Video games? Maybe. Fish tanks? Absolutely not.

What was that quote with the 100% shots? You miss all of them you take, right? That can't be it. Maybe I'll miss 50%, and if I'm lucky 10%. But all of them? I think I need to make sure I never pull the trigger ever again.

Come on Tim Bayfield, it's just a call. What's the worse thing I could lose? Nothing.

Well, if the worst thing I could lose is nothing then why are my fingers shaking and slipping at the sight of the name appearing up on my phone? It always happens. And that's why I miss a 100% of the shots I do take.

What if I had annoyed her, like I always do to Luke, or Mike, or to Sabrina that one time which was a Truth Or Dare game that I got unfortunately pointed to three times in a row. Just in case you don't play that game, it's not a nice feeling to have when everybody shouts 'dare' cause' only an idiot doesn't. Unless it's your turn of course.

What if she hates me now? Have I ever done anything to spite her, make her feel less than? Shit. Initiate memory search.

There was that one time, almost a year ago, a party over at Gabriella's, in which I was invited to even though the main crux of the invitees were supposed to be part of the Loyal Crew Gang, a school created dance group which had participated in all competitions and won none. That wasn't a shade at them, it was just the truth.

She was there, in her lovely red dress and all, carrying herself like she was worth ten thousand diamonds chained to the hip (not like diamonds ever have hips) and drinking mango smoothie Gabriella's mother had made for the entire party. The smoothie business was so good that her mother was nowhere to be seen but in the kitchen for the entire evening.

I got up (I was sitting on the big blue couch before) and I walked up to her, smoothie in hand, face slightly twisted from the taste of it, eyes zoned out but still focused on the girl I was walking towards, feet shuffling like a deck of cards on thin ice.

The girl, which I may have to reiterate, I liked and I still like.

"Hi," I said.

She looked at me, gave half a smile (the kind that wants to smile but after looking at who you are they change their minds) and drank another sip through the blue straw of the smoothie.

"I didn't expect you to be here," she said. Remember the part about the dance group? Yeah, that was supposedly what she meant, though I had yet to know what she really meant.

"Well, I guess I'm here now," I said  I guess? What kind of idiot uses I guess? "Fun day so far?"

"If you decide to count the last few minutes, then yes, probably," she said.

"You like this music? It's good."  

"I don't know what the music is."

She didn't have a clue even if she did watch Blue's Clues. Not like everybody who watched that show would know that the music playing in Gabriella's house that day was a stacked playlist of 80s and 70s music. And if I am right, which I never am, hence the shots, the song that was played during our short conversation was Play That Funky Music by Wild Cherry.

And I told her, but she was less than impressed and less than caring of what the hell I just said.

"Oh," was what she actually said, and I can tell why. Perhaps Gabriella should have stuck to music from modern times like Uptown Funk and the female artist with a first name just like hers. I don't blame her for not knowing. Not many people listen to songs of the past anymore.

"Well, it's a good song," I said.

"I know," she said.

"Well, enjoy your evening."

"You too."

Cue me proceeding to slip through the crowd and to my friends, my mind peeling out a new one and crying in a tiny spot where the crevice is big enough for a dumpster truck full of memories. Painful memories, where my shitty tweets and zero view Instagram stories go.

Oh my god, I may have developed a new kind of cancer through that memory search.

Why did I say "enjoy your evening"? What was the point? Why didn't I say "See you in class"? Or "Remember to get more of that smoothie from where it came"? Or "Nice dress"? Scratch the last one.

Anything would have been better than "enjoy your evening". Anything. Like invisible clouds rolling through on a stormy day, not being able to be seen, be watched and be hurried, or be prayed to stop from ever coming. It was like fate. Or it was just me. Probably me.

So who is to say that if I were to pick up my phone and call her now that she would be really excited to answer, really excited to speak to me, jumping up and down and squeezing at the phone like a mad person that she wasn't? Yeah, that's not going to happen.

But like the fate and the date now squeezing tight, if I don't make the call, then there's a chance that I would have to wait another year to do so again. Is 365 days really worth the wait? Probably not. Hell, I couldn't even stand a few hours, so that's a problem in and of itself.

The clock is counting down, from minutes to seconds, phone in my hand, decision in my heart, a flash forward of what might happen, and a readily made slot for a scar to be carved in.

And I took the shot. Who cares if I miss?

Well, I do.

"Hey Siri," I said to my phone, since the fevered shaking of my fingers were still at play. "Call Taylor Wollen."


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