Fiction Outtake: Dedication (the early days)


Patterson sent Sonya home with the car. “I’ll wait for the boys.”

“Will there be room?” she asked. She was tired, Patterson could tell; the night had drained her. If what he had to say to his son wasn’t so important, he wouldn’t be doing this, asking her to drive herself home without him. But catching Mitchell before he’d had a chance to sleep on the night’s show was essential. It was entirely possible that he’d wake up in the morning, the entire disaster behind him and no replacement for the guitar forthcoming. It’d be as far behind him as baseball was. And while Patterson hadn’t minded when baseball had gone away, privately he thought that his son had a future in music.

At the very least, the boy had invested enough into it: piano lessons, guitar lessons, voice lessons, lessons in music theory and music composition. Some of it he’d taught himself, some he’d learned from books, some he’d mowed lawns to be able to afford. Mitchell had shown that sort of work ethic with the baseball thing, but he’d been ten and so shy, working hard had been the perfect way to hide that. Now, though, Patterson was watching this band bring his son out of that shell. What was emerging was quite the young man: smart, loyal, driven, a planner, a businessman, and just plain good to be around.

The show tonight had been a disaster, there was no sugar-coating it. From the lead singer who fell off the stage and broke his guitar to the drummer putting a stick through the head of his snare and not having a backup handy to the lighting and the sound, there was only one good thing that could be said: not many people had been there. Patterson had counted about twenty, including himself and Sonya.

Trevor was, of course, grinning like the night had gone perfectly. For all that boy had been through, Trevor never stopped seeking the joy in life; it was that quality that Patterson had noticed the first time Amy had brought him home. It was that unfailing optimism that had led Patterson to take custody rather than let him face jail time.

Mitchell, though, was the opposite. Head down, shoulders slumped. It wasn’t unreasonable to think that there’d be no more band come morning. Maybe it wasn’t unreasonable to think there was currently mo more band.

“Son,” Patterson said, trying to be gentle and not startle the boy.

It didn’t work. Mitchell’s head shot up and his eyes widened. “Oh, hi, Dad,” he said when he recovered. He grimaced. “You going to rub it in?”

“No,” Patterson said slowly, tilting his head at the empty spot on the bumper of his Bronco. As Mitchell sat, Patterson noticed Trevor hovering, just within earshot.

Well, Patterson figured, this would be good for Trevor to hear, too. “Even if I could make it sound good, I wouldn’t. You needed a night like this,” he said. “You needed to know what it feels like to fall on your face.”

“What?” Mitchell half-rose to his feet, then caught himself, as if he was suddenly aware of who he was speaking to.

“You can’t succeed without tasting failure,” Patterson said. “If you never fail, you never get to find out what you’re made of. So. What are you made of, Mitchell?”

Mitchell shook his head, his hair shaking and dancing, somehow as dejected as the boy.

Trevor tossed his own hair over his shoulder and lit a cigarette as he watched.

“Are you tough enough to suck tonight up, learn what you can, and move forward? Or is the band over now that you broke your guitar?”

“What am I supposed to play? You can’t be a guitar player without a guitar.”

“True,” Patterson said. “Is that the only problem?”

Mitchell cocked his head as he thought. Patterson waited him out. “Yeah,” the boy finally said. “I think so.” He grimaced. “I’ve been trying to save up for another one, but it’s not doing so well. I had to dig into it to pay for the latest run of t-shirts.”

“Not taking your investment back out?”

Mitchell shook his head. “I figured it was worth it. Didn’t think this sort of thing would happen.”

“But it did, so where do you go from here?”

The boy grimaced. “I figure out how to get a new guitar.”

“We’ll steal you one if we need to,” Trevor said with a shrug. “Sorry, Dad. You didn’t hear that.”

“That’s true. I didn’t.” Patterson paused, noticing that Trevor had started to fade into the shadows. He wondered if Trevor was smoking something more than a cigarette; it wouldn’t be the first time he’d tempted fate — and the local cops.

Mitchell turned to Patterson. “I want this.”


“The band. A new guitar. Hell, a better guitar.”

“Fame, fortune, and all the rest?”

Mitchell grinned at his father. “You betcha.”

“Then, son,” Patterson said, turning to him. “You know what it’s going to take to get there.”

“Yeah,” Mitchell said, wiping a hand over his face. “A shitload of work.” He stood up and fumbled in his pocket. “I’d better get busy. Trev, you ready?”

“To do what?” Trevor eyed Mitchell and looked ready to bolt. Patterson bit back a smile. Getting that particular boy to do anything he didn’t want to was impossible; Patterson knew this first-hand.

“Go home and get some sleep,” Mitchell said, possibly the only thing that Trevor wouldn’t rebel against just for the sake of rebelling. “We need to find me a new guitar.”

Patterson held out his hand, palm up. “I’ll drive. You two can start plotting.”

With a grin that said it all, Mitchell handed over the keys.

A note from Susan: This is a particularly good outtake for the day, as it seems I’ve been nominated for A Top Ten Writer’s Blog! Talk about a good time to post an outtake that makes a statement; believe me, it wasn’t planned this way. Karma’s funny sometimes.

Any support you guys can throw my way will be most appreciated!



  1. cheesygiraffe

    November 19, 2006 8:37 pm

    Very good outake today. I knew Mitchell must have be dedicated right away and this shows us. It’s nice to get to hear from Patterson too. BR/Congrats on the nomination. Is it time to vote for you yet? 😉

  2. Susan Helene Gottfried

    November 19, 2006 9:22 pm

    Thanks, babe! As for time to vote… I’m not sure. I’m sort of afraid to look, for fear I’ll be dead last by three miles! Will you be brave for me? Pretty please with Mitchell on top?

  3. karen!

    November 19, 2006 9:48 pm

    Wonderful outtake.BR/I love getting to know daddy Voss better and seeing little M and Trev from his perspective.

  4. Chaotic Mom

    November 20, 2006 5:08 pm

    I’m having FUN reading your “outtakes”. ;)BR/BR/Thanks for posting a comment on my “Giving Thanks for Mothers” contest. BR/BR/I have laughed, and I sure have cried while reading through all the entries. And I’ve RE-READ them all since coming home from my conference, too.BR/BR/I wish I could post ALL of them as winners, maybe send out some more books from my winnowed out collection. ;)BR/BR/But I’ve FIANLLY published a winner and invite you to A HREF=”” REL=”nofollow”come on by and check out my post/A. I am working on a sidebar link to the winning post, but also a link to the contest post with ALL of the listed entries.

  5. Susan Helene Gottfried

    November 20, 2006 5:17 pm

    Oh, CM, I’m so glad to hear that you’re having fun here! Please come back more often!BR/BR/I’ll stop by and visit the contest now. I’m glad you got lots of entries and that they were so moving. BR/BR/Come back and visit often! I love my groupies!!!!

  6. Dana

    November 20, 2006 7:39 pm

    Great Outtake!! I like Patterson. He is the kind of parent I would like to be

  7. Susan Helene Gottfried

    November 20, 2006 7:41 pm

    Don’t we all? *grin*

  8. Lswriter

    November 21, 2006 9:49 am

    Congrats on the nomination!

  9. Susan Helene Gottfried

    November 21, 2006 12:06 pm

    Thanks, ls! Now… go stuff the ballot box for me! (yeah, right!)

  10. Andrew

    November 21, 2006 10:42 pm

    I like your writing style. It flows really smoothly. BR/BR/And congraturations on being nominated. Ton Ten ever? Awesome!

  11. Susan Helene Gottfried

    November 21, 2006 11:48 pm

    Thanks, Andrew! I have to confess that I worked a bit harder on this one than on some of the others; this one really resonated with me. BR/BR/And thanks about the nomination… now go vote! *grin*

  12. Lswriter

    November 22, 2006 5:47 am

    *Displays extreme dumbness* Where do we vote? 😀

  13. Susan Helene Gottfried

    November 22, 2006 8:56 am

    I don’t think you’re dumb because I can’t figure it out, either. BR/BR/I guess just leave another comment supporting me? Maybe the voting’ll be done entirely by the dude who’s running the site, which would certainly be interesting, given how many people have stood up for that one woman’s blog.

  14. Lswriter

    November 22, 2006 4:51 pm

    Vote cast … I think. I tried, anyway!

  15. Susan Helene Gottfried

    November 22, 2006 5:30 pm

    Hey, babe, trying counts for a LOT with me. I appreciate that you tried! It makes me feel good, and I need that right now.BR/BR/Ramping up for tomorrow’s Thursday Thirteen… hope you’ll stop in for it (even a few days late will be great; it won’t go anywhere). Oh, and dare I say… Mitchell’s Green Hair Week?

  16. Chaotic Mom

    November 25, 2006 1:58 pm

    I liked reading this one again. I’m trying to learn something new now, frustrated. It’s going to take a shitload of work, and YES, I’d better get busy. 😉

  17. Susan Helene Gottfried

    November 25, 2006 2:04 pm

    We all get frustrated, and I think that it’s important that we do. Because when we coast along, we never know how deep our dedication runs.BR/BR/Hang in there, CM. You can master whatever it is you’re working on. You CAN. (or you can ask Trevor to steal you a guitar. He’d be glad to, I’m sure. *grin*)

  18. Alice Audrey

    December 10, 2009 12:38 pm

    *Grin* This is a good one. Makes me want to see exactly what Mitchell did for his new guitar.
    .-= Alice Audrey´s last blog ..144/365 Mom’s New Kittens =-.

  19. West of Mars » Blog Archive » Thursday Thirteen: The Achy Edition

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