Category Archives: Springer

Trinity’s Decision

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It’s been a long time since I’ve visited with Trinity, Springer’s sort-of girlfriend. This week’s Three Word Wednesday prompt demanded I revisit her, since I’d left her in a pretty bad position the last time we saw her…

Lust hit with a jolt, surged through the body. It didn’t matter what he looked like, or who he was. Not usually. What mattered was how she felt at the moment, how available he was, and if he’d let her be the one who put the rubber on.

No wonder she’d gotten herself into this mess, she figured. Knocked up, living with Springer’s grandmother, trying to figure out if she should keep it or what. She had another week before abortion wouldn’t be an option.

“Detach yourself from it,” Springer’s grandmother said, patting her on the hand. The lady was smart and kind, if a bit demanding. Springer said at her age, she’d earned it.

Trinity hoped she wouldn’t be around long enough to find out what that meant. She didn’t want to grow attached to these people. They deserved better than her.

“If this was your friend, not you,” Springer’s grandmother said, “what would you tell her to do?”

Trinity shrugged, a slow raising of her shoulders that Springer’s grandmother was supposed to know wasn’t a brush-off. It was supposed to let her know that truly, she had no idea what she’d say. Abortions were big. They were loaded.

Trinity wasn’t sure she could live with that sort of pressure. She thought she’d spend the rest of her life wondering what the baby would have been like. Was it a boy or a girl? What would it grow up to be like?

“I think you know,” Springer’s grandmother said.

“No abortion,” Trinity said, pulling her knees up to her chest and hugging them. “I should. I know I should.” She squeezed her eyes shut. “Grandma, I don’t know if I can live with this. No matter what I do, it’s the wrong thing.” She raised her face to the ceiling, felt the tears on her cheeks. “I wish this had never happened.”

Grandma patted her knee. “I know, Trinity.” Her hand stayed there for a second too long, and Trinity knew. She tilted her head so she could look Grandma in the eye.

Grandma had known the same pulls. The lust, the searing need to be filled and completed. The blessed release when you came.

And what happened when the rubber slipped. Or broke. Or did whatever it had done.

“What did you do?” she whispered.

“I didn’t let it defeat me,” Grandma whispered back.

I’ve also cross-posted this as my #FridayFlash. If you’d like the backstory, here are the links you need:
Springer and Trinity meet
Trinity gets in trouble
Springer tries to help
Be sure you leave comments if you stop in; I love comments! It’s how I know you visited.

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Springer Fiction: Roadie

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Our last Musical Hanukkah Celebration piece is slipping in under the wire here. I’m including it as a Sunday Snippet, since it’s set in my fictional city of Riverview, but if you’re here as part of that, only Eric appears in any of my books. Eric’s worth knowing, however.

Springer didn’t have much hope, but he jammed his fists into the pockets in his jean jacket and tried not to hunch his shoulders. He’d never get noticed if he was staring down at the ground. Confidence, baby. Jason at work said it was all about making people think you were confident, even when you were about to piss yourself with fear and nerves. Given how many people were around, Springer decided he’d try anything to stand out from the crowd. After all, even the girls looked like him. Every single person hanging around had long hair and wore a jean jacket.

One more thing about keeping your head up, Springer noticed. You saw things. That didn’t mean he recognized the van that pulled into the small lot at the back of The Rocket Theater. After all, it looked like twenty others he’d seen since he’d been standing across the street. There was no reason to pay any special attention to it. But for some reason, he did.

“Hey, Springer!”

He looked around at the other people hovering on the corner with him. No one looked familiar.

Then he caught the movement from across the street. From someone standing in a shadow near the door to the backstage area.

He raised his head a bit higher. The person responded by changing the way he waved. It went from a wide arc for attracting attention and turned into an invitation.

Springer swallowed hard and jogged across the street, darting between cars, curious who had recognized him — and why. It wasn’t like he had a ticket this year. He could hear a few jealous comments from the pack behind him, but he didn’t care. He’d been picked — for something.

It was Eric Wallace who was waving madly at him. “I thought that was you. Ready for another great year?” the guitarist asked. The guitarist of ShapeShifter had noticed his pretend confidence.

Springer jammed his hands back in the pockets of his jean jacket and gave in to the need to bow his shoulders. “No ticket,” he mumbled.

Eric leaned closer and asked Springer to repeat himself. Springer couldn’t bring himself to be any louder.

“Oh, no problem. I need a PA tonight,” Eric said. “It’s not paid and I’ll run you all over the place, but you’ll get to see the show with the rest of our staff.”

Springer knew he looked like an idiot, the way his head jerked up. His mouth was probably hanging open, and his eyes were probably huge. Like he cared. The important thing was that he’d been deemed cool enough to help out.

Eric gave him a minute to get it together. “Ready?” he asked.

Springer nodded, wishing his tongue would do something other than pulse like a panting dog. At least it was inside his mouth, and at least he’d managed to seal his lips shut. There was hope.

Eric handed him a laminate. “Don’t lose this. Now, go find the production office. Inside somewhere, there’s supposed to be a box full of pictures of the band. Please bring them to the dressing room, along with a box of Sharpies.”

As he hung the laminate around his neck, Springer started walking toward the stage door.

“Hey, Springer!” Eric called.

Springer turned, but kept walking backwards until he splatted against the wall.

“Thanks. We need cool fans like you.”

The impact points from the wall immediately stopped hurting. Springer wasn’t even sure his feet were touching the ground as he fumbled for the door and disappeared inside, intent on finding the production office and earning a spot working for Eric. Suddenly, it wasn’t so hard to hold his head up and have confidence.

Remember, if you haven’t picked up my books, they are now 50% off at Smashwords — but only until January 1. And yep, at least 50% of the royalties from the sales will head off to the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation. If you’d like to make a direct donation to the Foundation, I’ll be entering you in a raffle to win some really cool books. C’mon. Help out tomorrow’s rockers. Or orchestra members. Or music fans…

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Springer Fiction: A Job for Trinity?

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Susan’s note: Springer and Trinity appear here every now and then. When last we saw them together, Trinity was in trouble. It was our boy Springer to the rescue — then as now.

Springer sat down on the edge of the bed beside Trinity. She was hugging her knees to her chest, like she did all the time now. Getting herself in major trouble the way she had… it had messed her up pretty good.

“This year’s Musical Hanukkah? You up for it?”

He hadn’t expected her to say yes. Hadn’t expected her to do much else other than what she did: shake her head from side to side exactly twice. Fast, too. Nothing slow or deliberate. It was like she wanted to get done with this talking stuff as fast as she possibly could.

“Trin,” he said, trying to stop himself from moving an inch or two away from her. But c’mon, he wanted to say. How long was a guy supposed to keep getting the cold shoulder? She wasn’t even his girl and she was acting like this. “You gotta pull yourself together already. Life’s falling apart all around you.”

“Why?” she spat, her voice dripping with an edge that gave Springer the chills.

“Why what?” Springer asked, confused.

“Why do I have to pull myself together? What if there’s nothing left to pull together? Did you think of that? Did you forget I got kicked out of the house, I got kicked out of school? I’ve got nothing, Springer. Nothing.”

“Well,” he said, wondering if this was a good idea or not, “you’ve got me.”

She made an ugly face.

“And a place to stay,” Springer said, starting to panic. “Grandma was saying the other day that if you’d be willing, she’d pay you to be her companion.”

“Oh, great. I’ve gone from being a whore to … to…”

“To having a good job taking care of a sweet old lady,” Springer said. “You’ll have a place to stay and whatever you need.” He didn’t mention that he could move back home. Or stay here with Trinity and Grandma. “All you’d need to do is the cleaning, the grocery shopping, stuff like that.”

“Taking care of the garden, cooking. You know. Being a slave. Are you sure I’m not really Black, Springer? Is this the South before the Civil War?”

It was sad he’d gotten used to her talking like this.

“Slaves didn’t get paid. Grandma’s willing to pay you. And let you use her car. I bet if you wanted to go to school for something, she’d help you.”

“School?” Trinity raised her head, her chin coming forward. As her forehead tilted back, she rolled her eyes. “Dropouts can’t go to school.”

Springer sighed. All he’d wanted to know was if she was up for the Musical Hanukkah Celebration. Or maybe if he should go without her. It was looking like that was how it was going to go.

“Look, Springer, why are you here?”

“Because right now, I live here. Someone’s gotta take care of grandma.”

“I can’t take your job, Springer.”

“I wish you would.”

“Why? So you can go live life while I’m slaving away here?”

“So you can do something besides feel sorry for yourself,” he said, sstanding up. “And because I think Grandma would rather have a girl around than me.”

“You’re her grandkid. She’s not allowed to not want you around.”

As if she’d realized the hypocrisy of what she’d just said, she smiled. Sort of.

“Think about it, Trin. You’re not the only one around here who’s miserable ’cause of what happened to you. Right now, you’re the one with the power to change it all.”

She shrugged and put her chin back down on her knees. Springer left her like that, just like he usually did. At least she’d said something. A lot of somethings.

It was an improvement.

Check out other Friday Flashers, as well as Weekend Writer’s Retreat. There’s good fiction to be found on this here Internet.

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Springer Fiction: Trinity’s Trouble

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“Springer,” Trinity said, biting back a sob.

He looked up from shelving tissues. “Trinity. Haven’t seen you in awhile.”

“I’m a shit, I know,” she said, staring up at the ceiling. She blinked fast a bunch of times and took some deep breaths that made her chest move in big motions.

It was all Springer could to to keep from staring at her tits. Trinity had great tits. Most girls did, come to think of it.

“I need help, Springer. I’m in trouble.”

He paused, looking at her face. Her green eyes were dark. They almost matched the purple under them, stretching from one end of her eyelashes to the other. She chewed her upper lip, something he’d never seen her do before. Not that he’d spent that much time with her. Not nearly as much as he’d wanted to.

“Trouble?” he repeated, feeling stupid.

“Yeah,” she said. “Trouble.” Her eyes slid down until it was impossible for him to miss her meaning. Her belly.

“We’re not talking about something like your appendix, are we?” he asked weakly. He put a hand on the stock cart to steady himself. Stupid thing was on wheels and almost pulled him off his feet as it slipped away, like it was trying to escape this conversation.

It was a good distraction. Regaining his balance helped Springer think again.

“No,” she was saying. “It’s what you think.”

“Well, it’s not mine!”

She smiled. A little bit. Maybe it was funny to her, but Springer couldn’t figure out why else she’d picked him to come to.

“Would you… could you…” She stared up at the ceiling. Springer noticed a faint ring of dirt around her neck.

“How long since you been home?” he asked her.

She looked at him, her eyes flashing like he’d told someone else her secret.

“This is bad,” he said.

She nodded slowly, chewing her upper lip again.

“You can’t go to anyone else?”

She shook her head, teeth still pulling at her lip.

“The dad?”

She shuddered. At least she let go of her lip.

Springer held his arms open and let her fall into his hugs. For a second there, it felt the way he’d been hoping it would: like he was in the arms of an angel. But then he reminded himself that he was the one doing the holding, and she had a huge mess that it was up to him to fix.

Of course, he didn’t have the first idea how.

The Sunday Scribblings prompt this week is Adventure, and Springer’s sure about to embark on one. Carry on Tuesday‘s found its way in here, too. And that’s all. For now.

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Springer Fiction: Buying Tickets

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It used to be that if you wanted tickets to a show at All Access, you either stopped by Guitars by Gus or at All Access. You handed over the ticket price and walked away with a ticket. An actual, honest-to-God, printed up ticket. All professional and shit.

Springer knew he wasn’t the only one who didn’t like the way All Access had signed on with TRA. He’d heard from damn good sources, folk who’d stop in after they finally kicked the last drunks out, that they hadn’t wanted to use TRA at all. Problem was, they didn’t have much choice. No one did anymore. Not if you wanted to sell tickets to things.

He guessed he wasn’t the only one who’d gotten the early word about tickets going on sale a day early. He’d sat down at nine-thirty, getting up at nine so he could be awake after another all-night shift filled with plenty of coffee and not nearly enough pick-me-ups of the illegal variety. He’d made his TRA account, gotten his brand-new credit card approved and on file. He hadn’t wanted to get a card; Springer preferred cash. He’d seen too many people come into the store and hand over credit card after credit card, hoping one of them would be approved so they could buy their groceries. Credit cards got people into trouble. Springer didn’t want to be one of them. This card was for a twenty-dollar ticket. Nothing more.

Credit was the only way to get tickets, and dammit, he was going to be there. Everyone was talking about Deadly Metal Hatchet. About how cool The Hatchet was. About how they were doing this show here in Riverview, their first time this far North, as a thank-you to ShapeShifter. Rumor had it they’d be opening for ShapeShifter on their next tour. Given that the guys in ShapeShifter turned out for shows all the time, it was certain they’d be there.

Springer knew it was stupid, but he wished he’d be able to hand Eric a demo of his own one day. First he needed a band, then the cash to make a demo. Not to mention the music. But he could dream. And besides, musicians needed to go out and hear other musicians. They needed to sit and dream about when it’d be his turn up there.

Right now, there was no dreaming. Just a lot of pushing the F5 key, waiting for the screen that he’d use to buy the tickets.

And then, it happened. The dreaded white page with the little box near the top. Connection Interrupted.

He’d been disconnected from the TRA site.

He couldn’t buy the tickets.

For half an hour, he clicked on the button, getting more and more frantic.

And then he got through. One ticket, twenty bucks. It was his. They were charging his credit card … Two hundred eighty bucks? What the hell?

He looked more closely. Somehow, all those F5s had loaded seven tickets into his cart. For a second, he thought about buying them and scalping them. With his luck, he’d probably get caught and thrown in jail. Besides, what if he got stuck with them? He wouldn’t have two hundred eighty bucks for months.

Springer logged out and logged back in. Ten more minutes of Connection Interrupted. And finally, one ticket in his shopping cart. He hated the whole shopping cart idea; cool people didn’t use carts. They loaded up their arms and dumped everything on the belt.

The ticket price caught his eye just before he pressed the confirm button. Forty bucks?

He logged out and back in, getting frantic. It was well after the time the tickets had gone on sale. They’d be gone fast. But forty bucks for one ticket? No way in hell was that right.

He fumbled for his cell phone. Trinity was going to get her own ticket. Long story why.

“Forty bucks?” Trinity asked. “Do you believe this shit? TRA, man. I fucking hate them.”

“I get why.”

“Let me try two… see if it’s cheaper… Holy fuck, it’s more!”

“You can get through? I keep getting disconnected.”

Just then, Dad yelled up the stairs for him. “Your grandmother needs you. Stat!”

Springer curled his upper lip. Dad cleaned bed pans. He had no reason to use words like stat. But he did; he thought they made him sound smarter.

“Let me finish this, Dad,” he called through the closed door. “One second and I’m Grandma’s all day long.” Grandma napped every day after lunch. She liked it when Springer stretched out on her couch while she laid down in her bed; she said it made her feel safe. She’d made noises about Springer coming to live with her because we all knew that those home invasions never happened where there were young kids in the house. Not that a young kid who worked the late shift would be around when most home invasions happened.

“Now!” Dad thundered up the steps.

Springer told the computer to charge his credit card.

Connection interrupted.

He screamed and dropped the cell phone, Trinity still on the line, into his coffee cup. Dad came running.

It wasn’t just TRA that Springer was disconnected from.

Time for some Sunday Scribblings! Be sure to see what the DISCONNECTED prompt inspired in others. And gang? Leave a comment. Let them know you were by.

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Springer Fiction: Hanukkah ’08

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Springer stuck his hands in his pockets and wished for a smoke. He was out, though, dead broke — for a change. But it was worth it. Another year at the Musical Hanukkah Celebration, even if he hadn’t won the lottery this year. Can’t win what you don’t enter, Springer had told his girl, then pointed out that if she’d pay for things when they go out, maybe he would have been able to afford it.

She’d gotten all snotty about it. For a change.

Springer decided that overall, he didn’t miss cigarettes. Except for times like this, when he was waiting around outside The Rocket Theater, him and a bunch of other ShapeShifter fans, hoping to see the band when they showed up. He was bored. Smoking would give him something to do.

His girl sure wouldn’t give him something to do. As soon as she started pulling the diva routine, bitching about how they never went anywhere because Springer had no money, he tuned her out and wished she was gone.

There were some wishes Springer could make come true, all on his own. And they didn’t involve money, either.

A new, better girl was sure to appear. From somewhere. Right then, Springer didn’t much care. All he wanted was to maybe see Eric, see if the guitarist recognized him from that day at Gus’ Guitars. After all, Eric had remembered him then from last year’s Musical Hanukkah. It could happen.

He’d been looking for a limo carrying all the ShapeShifter guys, so he didn’t pay attention to the red Audi when it pulled in. No one gathered there did, really. No one in ShapeShifter drove a red Audi. Mitchell had the new Durango, Daniel had a Jaguar, Eric drove an Acura, and Trevor still had his bike.

Ten minutes later, none of those cars had appeared, but Eric came out the stage door, blinking at the light of outside like he’d been in the dark theater for awhile.

Springer stared, his mouth falling open a bit, his brain racing. When? How?

“Who has tickets for tonight?” the guitarist asked.

Without him telling it to, Springer’s arm went up. So did three others — one girl, dressed in faded jeans covered in ballpoint drawings, and two guys who were the usual black t-shirts under their flannels.

“You four, then, c’mon,” Eric said and motioned them forward.

Security appeared out of nowhere and made a line between the four of them and the rest of the group.

“Well, this is one way to get in without waiting in line,” the girl chuckled. Springer liked her; she had a flat, open face and yellow-blonde hair. Freckles over her nose and spreading across her cheeks under her eyes. She wore one earring in the lobe of her ear, a ShapeShifter dragon S. Springer knew those earrings; the band had sold them through the fan club. She had more piercings in the cartiledge of her ear, and wore an ear cuff that at first looked like a dragon.

He peered closer. She blushed and covered it with her hand, pulling it off. “I shouldn’t… not here,” she said.

But he’d seen. A naked man, quite obviously showing off her favorite part of a guy.

“Okay,” Eric said when they were inside. He’d walked them across the stage, where Springer had reached out and touched the edge of Daniel’s drum riser, and down a flight of stairs. They were now in some small room. One of those candle things sat on the table, in front of a deli tray that hadn’t been touched. “This is Daniel’s doing, so let me get him. Wait here.”

“Can we eat?” one of the other guys called out.

“Not yet!” Eric yelled over his shoulder.

In a second, Eric came back in with the famous drummer.

Springer licked his lips and told himself that passing out would not be cool.

The girl touched his hand. He looked at her; the gleam in her eyes said she was thinking and feeling the same things he was.

“Here’s the deal,” Daniel said, pushing some of his hair behind his ear. Just as fast, he shook his head so the hair fell free. It was as common a gesture as any Springer had ever seen; the guy did it almost constantly. “You heard about the recent terror attacks in India, right?”

Springer joined the others in nodding, even though he barely knew about them. Just that there’d been attacks and people had died. It sucked, but then, so did most things.

“There’s a group of ultra-Orthodox Jews, from the group whose rabbi was killed in those attacks, who’re calling for us to join with strangers and share the light and hope of Hanukkah.”

Springer wondered how this affected him.

Eric stepped to the table and picked up a book of matches. Daniel stepped back and motioned to the four fans to come closer.

Striking the match, Eric read something unintelligible from a piece of paper between the candle thing and the deli tray. He touched the match to the middle candle, then the two on the left of the candle thing.

“There,” he said, letting out a deep breath. “I hope I did it right, but if not, God knows my intentions are good.” He looked at the four fans. “You guys can dig in here and go on up to grab places on the floor. The doors’ll be open in about forty-five minutes. Oh, here. You should have these,” he said, pulling backstage passes out of his back pocket. He handed one to each fan. “Don’t try to get in our dressing room, though. Security won’t let you.”

As he handed a pass to Springer, he paused. “I keep seeing you around. What’s your name again?”

“Springer.” He was glad his tongue wasn’t taking off like it did the last time. That didn’t mean he didn’t feel like he had a second head or something; it was hard to stand here and be cool in front of your hero.

“Springer. Good name. Hey, will you make sure your friends here don’t knock over the candles? It’d be bad news if we burned this place down.”

“I’ll send someone in to get them out of here,” Daniel said. He leaned around Eric and extended a hand to Springer. “Nice to meet you and thanks for keeping an eye on things for us.”

They were gone fast like that. It felt like the air returned to the room and Springer could think and breathe again. The two guys were busy digging into the deli tray, but the girl was looking at Springer. “How cool was that?”

“How cool is all of it?”

“I’m Trinity.”

“I’m Springer.” He blushed. “I bet you figured that.”

“Eric knows you.”

Springer bobbed his head. “Seems to.”

“I need to hang around you more often.”

He could feel the blush spread down his throat. “We’ve got all night.”

And so the Hanukkah Celebration begins here at the Meet and Greet. If you’d like to know what this experience Springer last had with Eric was, go here. Remember that by buying a copy of The Demo Tapes or the Hanukkah T-shirt at the merchandise table, you’ll be helping make a real-life donation to the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation. And while we’re speaking of real life, Eric’s comment about the Chabad House’s invitation to everyone to join in the hope of the Hanukkah season by helping Jewish friends in the nightly candle lighting… that’s very real. Forget about the presents, forget about the decorations and hustle and bustle and remember the hope that this season brings with it. Happy Hanukkah, everyone.

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Springer Fiction: Encountering Eric

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It was nothing more than wishful thinking. Springer knew that. He knew that affording anything more than a new D string was out of the question. But he couldn’t help himself. He had to stop in at Guitars by Gus and see what was new. Even a guy like him was allowed to dream.

Good thing dreaming was free. Since scrambling to put all that money together for the ShapeShifter Musical Hanukkah Celebration last December, Springer had been broke. His car insurance had come due, and since he had a job, Dad had made him cough up the cash for it.

“Son, you don’t pay rent,” Dad had pointed out.

Springer kept his mouth shut and handed over fifty bucks from his pay each week. That left him with just enough to fill his gas tank, although lately that hadn’t been so easy, either. Springer had made his girl do some of the driving, but she hadn’t been happy about it, and she let him know it.

Doing shit with her hadn’t been happening much lately. Springer didn’t want to think too much about that. He didn’t want to think about much — he just wanted to drop into Guitars by Gus and dream a little.

The shop was buzzing when he walked in. No one noticed him come through the door, which wasn’t normal. Usually, you walked in and Gus himself or one of his kids was there to say hi. Today, no one.

That’s because people were packed in. It was like someone was giving a clinic, one everyone else in town had known about, probably because they stopped in more often than once every few months.

Springer craned his neck, trying to see who was the cause of all the excitement.

No go.

He turned around and read the flyers taped to the front door, trying to read signs that weren’t facing him. If there was anything there about a clinic today, he couldn’t see it. Maybe it had been taken down.

Three people came in behind him, pushing Springer into the line to meet whoever it was. He tried eavesdropping on the conversations around him to find out who it was, but all he could hear was, “I brung this so he can sign it!”

As Springer got closer to the front of the line, one of Gus’ sons shoved an oversize cardboard cover of the latest ShapeShifter album in his hands. “Here. You’ll need this.”

Springer stared at it in shock. No way. No fucking way. There was just no fucking way on this planet that he’d chanced into an in-store signing with someone from ShapeShifter. If only it was Eric… if only he could tell him what getting on stage with him at the Musical Hanukkah Celebration had meant. If only…

If only Springer’s luck didn’t suck. Seriously about that no fucking way bit. By the time he’d get up there, it’d turn out to be the other two. Or the drummer. Or Eric would get up and leave right before Springer could make eye contact with him or…

And then it was his turn, and it was Eric and …

Springer’s mouth went dry. He tried swirling his tongue around in his mouth. Nothing.

Eric was looking at him. Hard. “I’ve seen you around somewhere…” the guitar god said.

Springer nodded and tried for words as he set the cover flat down on the table between them. “Musical…”

“Musical? Like South Pacific?”

Springer shook his head and held his hands up in Air Guitar position.

Eric nodded. “You won a jam with us at the Musical Hanukkah Celebration.”

Springer nodded and just like that, the saliva returned to his mouth. So did the words. “That was so fucking cool to do. Man, if I could win it again next year, my life would be set, know that?”

Part of him stared in terror as his mouth kept flapping, spilling the worst case of the runs Springer’d had since the time he ate that bad bean burrito.

Eric was good about it, nodding and signing the cover flat Springer had set down, then flipping it over and writing something else.

Until he handed it back and made a motion with his head that Springer should step aside, the words kept coming. For all Springer knew, he was telling the guy about the time he lost his virginity. Or the stories his mom liked to torture him with, all about his potty training. Or …

Before he knew what had happened, Springer was out on the street, still babbling. That part of his brain that hadn’t turned to mush was screaming at him, as angry as a brain could be.

He’d blown it. He’d been right there with Eric and hadn’t said a single one of those things he’d needed to tell the man.

When he got back to his car and tossed the cover flat on the passenger side, too disgusted with himself to care about it, the words on back caught his eye. “See ya at the next Celebration.”

Springer sat in the car and hugged himself. Maybe he wasn’t such a fuck-up after all.

Haven’t met Springer yet? I created him last winter, for the Second Annual <a href="http://westofmars.com/2006/12/17/byline-chelle-lafleur-musical-hanukkah-celebration/. (This link will take you to the genesis of the idea) Be sure to stop in for this year’s fun. In the meantime, use the cast tab to learn more about Springer and the fictional band who rules his world.

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Springer Fiction: The Day After

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Before we launch into the fiction, I want to point you guys to my bud Bunnygirl. Yeah, click on her name. She’s going to hold a flash fiction carnival and you KNOW you want to be part of it.

And now, the end of the Springer Saga. Sort of.

Springer stretched out in the hammock in the back yard, chewing on a piece of grass and fingering his pipe, wondering if he wanted a smoke. Who needed to smoke when they’d been on stage with the best band on the planet? The day was cloudy, and it seemed that every single cloud he saw reminded him of something from the night before.

That cloud over Springer’s head was his guitar. He’d changed the strings before the show. He’d polished the body, checked the pickups, made sure the knobs and dials were all working. It was a guess how to tune it, since ShapeShifter played in a bunch of different keys, but the roadies backstage had given everyone’s guitars a super quick tuning when they’d been assigned their songs.

Even though he hadn’t been able to pick out the sound of his specific guitar over the other two lottery winners on stage with him, not to mention Eric and that Walter dude everyone but him seemed to dig, he’d been there, onstage with ShapeShifter. The only time he’d been able to hear himself was when he’d hit that wrong note, but no one else seemed to notice. They probably figured it was that bass player who must’ve picked up a bass after he’d won the lottery for a spot onstage with the band.

That big, fluffy, high one was how he felt. He’d never been on stage before and being up there, with the lights shining down on his head until it felt like his hair would catch on fire and looking out at the crowd who was screaming, yelling, and singing along… He understood a lot more now, that was for sure. He understood why guys in bands put up with so much shit and what they meant when they said it was in their blood.

Problem was, Springer wasn’t sure it was in his blood. He’d watched Eric’s fingers and realized how much better the guy was. That the parts Springer was playing were dumbed down and basic. You had to be good to get as big as ShapeShifter. Better than Springer had realized. It was that simple.

That wispy cloud, the one that was hard to see, that was how he’d felt after the song ended, when the roadies or whoever they were came and herded him and the other two off the stage. There weren’t even handshakes to say thanks; the band kept playing and the next two were already coming out for their chance to jam. The roadies had helped him unplug, had given him his commemorative picks, and showed him to the safe place for storing his guitar so he could go back around front and watch the rest of the show. It had run smooth and all, but was it all it’d been supposed to be?

He didn’t want to say no. But saying yes wasn’t right, either.

That didn’t mean he wasn’t saving up for next year already. Maybe it’d be different. Maybe Eric would remember him. Maybe he’d find a better job and be able to afford some guitar lessons. There had to be a way.

Maybe there was the stage in his blood after all.

Yep, it’s Sunday night and Monday, so take a ride on Rhian’s Poetry Train! The only rules are that there are no rules, so come take part in the fun.

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Springer Fiction: Dents

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If you missed the start of the saga, go here. For more details about the Musical Hanukkah Celebration, go here. And if you want to know what comes next, stick around…

Springer froze. That had just not happened. That cop had not hit him.

And of course, since it was a cop and cops were never wrong, it’d all be Springer’s fault, even though he’d been doing nothing wrong, just sitting at a red light, behind another car. At least he hadn’t hit that other car.

The cop was out of his car, looking at the damage. Springer didn’t know what to do, since this was a cop involved. Cops hated it when you got out of your car. They tasered you and shit.

Then the cop was back in his car, on the radio. And his lights were on, too.

Springer groaned. He’d finally earned that last thirty bucks for the show. He’d even gotten lucky and won the lottery and was going to jam with the band. He needed to be home practicing, getting as good as he could get in a few days so that when he hit the stage with ShapeShifter, Eric would notice how good he was and offer to help him out. Give him pointers and shit.

And now… he’d have all these stupid repairs. As if working overnights for time and a half hadn’t been hard enough, now he’d have to do more of it. Months of it. Time and a half sounded good until you realized it was only three bucks more an hour, and most of that went to Uncle Sam.

The cop came over to him. “Pull over in that parking lot,” he said, and left just as fast.

Springer wondered if he smelled bad or something. He pulled the car to the parking lot the cop had pointed at and waited.

He closed his eyes and tried to think of what it would be like to be on that stage on Monday. It was the only way he could get through this without going ballistic. He couldn’t afford to get tasered. Not with the show so close.

As I said, stay tuned for more ’cause the concert itself is coming up on Monday night. (Just a reminder, this is all fiction!!) However, if you’d like to spread some Hanukkah love, check this:
Simonne at All Tips And Tricks is having a group writing project asking…’What is Your Best Blogging Achievement?’ You can see the entries here. I vote for Shelly to win. You should, too.

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Springer Fiction: Thirty Bucks

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If you weren’t around last year for the Musical Hanukkah Celebration, NOW is the moment to catch up! Hanukkah starts Tuesday night, and I’ll have a little gift for you this year, too, along with some fun posts.

It hadn’t been hard to raise the sixty dollars. Take the girl out to Roach’s instead of Big Bucks. Skip a movie here, work an extra overnight there. And soon, Springer had tucked that sixty bucks away inside that one pair of underwear his grandma had given him, the flannel boxers with reindeers on them that she’d thought were so cute, she couldn’t resist. Even Springer’s mom resisted so much as touching them, making them a safe place to hide every important thing he owned. It wasn’t much: a pipe, his ShapeShifter guitar pick collection, and his precious sixty bucks.

If Grandma had given him the cash instead of those dreadful boxers, he’d be able to make up the difference he was now facing. Boomer at KRVR had gone on the air two weeks ago and said that since last year’s show sold out so fast and since it’s all for charity, ticket and jam prices went up. It was worth it, Boomer said. It was a chance to help kids who needed help.

What about him, Springer wondered. No one was helping him that he could see. He had to stop over at Grandma’s once a week and mow her lawn and take out her trash and do anything else around the house that she needed him, even though baiting the mousetraps in the basement grossed him out. Emptying them made him yak, every time. And then he had to clean that up, too.

It wasn’t fair. And what made it worse was that here he was, spending a year ponying up the cash he thought he needed, only to hear that nope, he needed fifteen bucks for the ticket and seventy five for the jam instead of ten and fifty.

He needed thirty bucks, and fast. Tickets were going on sale in a week, up at KRVR’s studios again. No lines, no sleeping out, no nothing. The only good news was that this year, there’d be an extra fifty people allowed in. But still, only fifty allowed to jam. They couldn’t bend on that one, or they’d be going all night long.

It wasn’t fair. If only Springer could get up there with ShapeShifter and show them how good he could play, they’d come up to him after and help him out, the way they’d helped out those guys in Deadly Metal Hatchet, who sucked. But because they’d toured with ShapeShifter, they were someone. Same for Hammerhead, even though they didn’t suck.

Thirty bucks.

Springer leaned over to the radio. Boomer was talking about it some more. People had questions. She was answering.

“The way the jam session will work is that if you want to jam, you’ll get a lottery ticket. If we pull your ticket, you have twenty-four hours to get your seventy-five big ones down here to the KRVR studios or we pull someone else’s name.”

Springer figured that meant he had a week and a day to round up that extra thirty bucks. Maybe his girl would front him the cash if he promised to take her to Big Buck’s once he paid it back. She had the cash. She always had cash, even though she wouldn’t buy dinner when they went out. Thirty bucks shouldn’t be hard. Maybe he’d cut back on the cigarettes. Work a few more overnights, as much as he hated them.

There had to be a way. Because once he got up there with ShapeShifter, it’d all start to happen for him. He just knew it. He could taste it.

Let me know if you like Springer and want to see more of him! I sort of like the dude, myself.

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