"How does it feel to be one of the beautiful people? Now that you know who you are? What do you-wait, hey, stop, stop! Don, what are you doing?"
"Huh?" Don Powers asked, awakening from his daze. He loosened the guitar strap upon his shoulders.
"You're not even playing, dude!" his friend Dallas Wallace said.
"Sorry, my mind's just trailing off," Don said. "Let's take it again from the top."
"Our performance is on Friday," Don's friend to the right of Dallas, Johnny McGuire, said.
"It's Monday, man, it's alright," Don responded, tightening his grasp on his guitar pick and strumming a G7 chord.
"Yeah, but you know we've always got things to do on the first day of school," his other friend, Trey Leary, said behind him. "Can you believe that summer ends on Wednesday?"
"Yeah, Trey, don't remind us," Dallas said, and he lowered his microphone slightly. "Now let's take it from the top. Ready?"
It was September 5th, 1976. Dallas, Don, Johnny, and Trey were all in a rock band together. Dallas was their lead singer and rhythm guitarist; he was short, had brownish-blue eyes, and straggly brown hair. Don stood roughly an inch taller than him; he was the band's lead guitarist. He had blondish-brown hair and was the skinniest member of the group. Johnny was their bassist, the tallest of the group, despite only standing about 5'11", and inch and a half taller than Don. He had reddish-brown hair and crystal blue eyes. Trey, their drummer, was the shortest, only 5'6", and he was the only African-American of the group. The band hadn't come up with a good enough name for themselves yet, though they needed one for when they performed at their high school, Chenango Falls, in Scranton, Pennsylvania. There was a talent show-like event being held on Friday for their return. The band was entering their sophomore year.
"Baby, you're a rich man, too!" Dallas concluded, nailing the last line of the classic Beatles song. Don outperformed Dallas at guitar easily, but Don couldn't sing at all, while Dallas had natural talent in the field. Johnny was also quite good at singing, though maybe not as talented, and often sang backup.
"Alright, so do we want to use this?" Johnny asked. "I don't think we should do My Generation. We totally bombed it."
"We weren't exactly top-notch at Baby, You're a Rich Man either," Dallas said, sounding slightly irate.
"Blitzkrieg Bop is fun and it's a cinch, how's about that?" Trey suggested.
"Blitzkrieg's good, but what else?" Johnny asked. "Don?"
"Huh?" Don asked, glancing upward from his guitar. "Oh, sorry. Yeah, let's do Blitzkrieg."
"What are you thinking about over there?" Trey asked. Don shrugged.
"You wanna do The Joker?" Dallas asked.
"Are you kidding?" Johnny asked. "The school'd throw a fit!"
"Joker, smoker, midnight toker?" Don recited. "Do you think that'd make it past school censors?"
"Who gives a damn about the censors?" Dallas asked. "Wouldn't it just be fun to piss that relic Stevenson off?"
"Principal Stevenson already hates you, Dal," Trey chortled. "He could expel you."
"Who cares?" Dallas asked, and he glared. "So what do you guys suggest?"
"I thought we did Baby, You're a Rich Man well enough," Don said.
"Yeah, but nobody likes the Beatles nowadays, unfortunately," Dallas said, scratching his cheek. "They've been broken up too long."
"Nobody's in to rock 'n' roll anymore," Johnny twittered. "It's all about disco these days."
"Whatever, we can do Rich Man, it doesn't bother me," Dallas said, and he kicked the air slightly. Don pulled open the garage blinds and peered out the window.
"My parents are pullin' in from work," Don announced. "Dallas, do you wanna stay for dinner?"
"Yeah, thanks, man," he responded. Dallas came from a broken home, just down the street in a rickety, tumbledown house. His father had left him and his mother when he was only a baby and he could hardly remember him, and his mother and stepfather weren't much better to him.
"You guys can stay too," Don said to Johnny and Trey, not wanting to leave them out. He walked into his yard and stood face-to-face with his mother, Bonnie Powers, and his father, David Powers.
"Hey, Don, how's practicing going?" Bonnie greeted cheerily.
"Really well, I think we're going to rock the performance Friday," Don responded and Bonnie and David nodded with smiles upon their faces. "Do you mind if Dallas, Johnny, and Trey stay for dinner?"
"Well, alright," David said after looking at his wife for approval. "If they want to sleep over too, that's fine, just no screwin' around." Don knew that his parents were especially lenient when it came to Dallas, as they loved him almost like a son and didn't want him to go home to his verbally abusive home. He was rebellious, but he had a charm to him. And since Don was an only child, they had food to spare to Trey and Johnny.
"After dinner, we're all going next-door to meet the new neighbors," Bonnie told Don. "I'm going to bake a cherry pie for them."
"New neighbors?" Don asked. "Somebody's finally moving into that house? Didn't Mr. Cruthers die almost a year ago?"
"Yeah, well, just be good, okay?" Bonnie asked. "That goes for all of you. I don't know much about them. I just know their last name. What was it, David? The Bradleys?"
"No, honey, the Bradys," David said. "They're the Bradys."