That Eight Track Truck
Author Note: I saw the Fresh Beat Band while I was sick with like... zombie AIDS or something and loved it. Don't act like you didn't expect me to write Twist/Shout fanfic. I mean, really. Twist and Shout? Twist and Shout? What is this, a Beatles reference? Was their syncronymous naming intentional? Nickelodean, are you serious? If (and only if) this is completely coincidential, what are they Twisting and who's Shouting, because their names are verbs. Fanfic writers, get to work. Get to work. If this was a Beatles reference, good, because I'm running with that and through some strange turn of events, I feel like the only one whom hears John Lennon when I watch the FBB.
Reed was playing the Beatles inside his truck by the smoothie store down the street, selling their eight tracks for three dollars apiece, and it's killing me. I love the Beatles, don't get me wrong. But if I hear Yellow Submarine one more time, I'm gonna go bananas. I lowered the keyboard stand a bit and took a seat on my band's "C" shaped white couch. We all live in a yellow submarine, a yellow submarine, a yellow submarine... Cracking my fingers, tuning him out, and shutting my eyes, I let the digits slide across the keys. Yep, I'm playing with my eyes closed. That's something I do when I'm alone - which I rarely ever am.
Since all me and my kooky friends ever do is live our upbeat music and travel together making the world smile, we rarely ever have any time to ourselves as individuals and the word "frown" isn't in our dictionary. In our world, sadness doesn't exist. On the outside anyway. On the inside, it thrives like wildfire. I joined the band when I had nowhere else to turn. My mother died when I was four, my father liked to hit me and my sister Trumpet when he was drunk, and...well...after Trumpet got in a fatal car accident, I dropped out of high school like all the other Beats. I did work at a piano store for a while after that with a second job at a Wendy's, paying my rent and living paycheck to paycheck. I hated my life, but, hell, I was away from my dad. Turns out, after I'd turned eighteen, I had worked long enough at the piano store to get lock up duty. So, after the boss left, I'd play on a beautiful French, or German, or Russian, or Italian piano with my eyes shut, feeling the music in my soul and living through those sounds. One rainy night, as I played beside the window with the falling water my only company, someone tapped on the glass along to my piano. I opened my eyes and glanced behind me to see a strawberry blonde young woman with her fingertips on the glass wearing a blue dress and a dark haired young woman with a pink cardigan smiling up at me. Confused, I hesitated. The blonde wrote something on the window with her finger: MARINA. The brunette wrote: KIKI. A smile broke out on my face as I saw some sort of light eminating from their faces that told me they would lead me to happiness somehow. Finally. So, I'd rushed to the door to offer them towels and they declined as the blonde stepped inside, saying, "The Fresh Beats could use a keyboardist..."
And here I was. Sitting in beautiful room on a beautiful couch with a beautiful keyboard. And here I was. Feeling like doggy doo: out in the world with all the opportunities imaginable ahead of me, but all I can smell is the rear end I came from. Life, you know, it's a punch in the gut and a kick where it hurts. Too bad my music sounds beautiful too. Why can't it sound the way I really feel: awful. I stopped, resting my head in my hands. Why am I so gosh darned depressed? Yeah, you got that something. I think I understand. When I get that feeling, I wanna hold your hand. I wanna hold your hand. I wanna hold your hand.
The sound of tumbling plastic overcame me and I abruptly turned around to see my yellow sweatered friend Twist sprawled out on the floor amidst a bunch of buckets, his largest bete-noire. I paused, "Dude, you okay?"
"I was just...you know, falling," he shrugged with a slight blush as our eyes met, "Got my foot stuck in a bucket again."
"Man, what is it with you and buckets? They have this magnetism to your feet," I shook my head.
Twist shrugged again, "Happened after my growth spurt. Maybe my feet are just too big or-ow! Okay! Bucket... not coming off the foot here."
Twist glared, inching toward the couch, "I don't need help."
I watched him struggle awkwardly. Yeah, Twist is...something else. Nobody really knows what he is or where he came from after he dropped out. Apparently his name was Ryan "Whistle" Twistle back in the day and met Kiki in his freshman year of high school. He was an incurable flirt and was known around school for playing girls like a washboard. Although him and Kiki were just friends, he quickly fell in love with her, and by sophmore year he was following her every move, but she didn't feel the same. She called him a "stalker" one day and, heartbroken, he gave up all hope on women, dropped out and took to hobo-ing. Yeah, dramatic and unexpected, but that's Twist. He never revealed anything about his life on the street, but tells the story like, "Then, I met Marina, the checkout girl at Wal-Mart and it all went uphill from there. I never knew breaking valuable equipment could get a man this far in life. It's who you know, Shout, it's who you know."
You say you want a revolution, well, you know, we all wanna change the world... Twist leaned against the couch beside my foot, tugging at a black bucket with a blue water droplet on it. Wait a second. I know that particular bucket from somewhere... oh! I remarked, "That's the bucket we use to catch water from the leaky crack in the wall behind the door."
Twist grew red with what I guessed was effort as he tugged on the bucket, "Uh...no. It's a different bucket."
"Nuh uh. That's the bucket, man."
Twist panted and growled, "Fine. It's that bucket, you happy?"
"No. Why were you over there? You could be playing with Kiki and Marina, or having a smoothie, or pelting Reed with kooky string - you know he likes it."
"Yeah, well, he likes it a little too much," Twist sighed with a shudder, "I stopped doing that last week when his kooky got kinky if you know what I mean..."
I interrupted, "Whoa! Too much info, bro."
"It was too much info for me and I was there. At least he excused himself like a gentleman," Twist pulled on the bucket, "Heck, he's kinda cute, dontcha think?"
I gave him a spooked out look, "...no."
"Why not? He can play the drums."
"You know what they say about drummers?"
I raised an eyebrow, "No..."
"They can really keep a beat-"
I shuddered, "Jesus, man. Why do you always have to talk about guys around me? I'm cool with your ambivalent sexuality - really, I am - but could you just put a teeny tiny lid on it."
"Nope," he leaned on the couch, staring off into the distance, "...men are like fine wine..."
Twist continued to stare and chuckle to himself, shaking his head and tugging some more on the bucket, "Oh, Shout. You're too young to understand."
"We're the same age!" I exclaimed and smacked him upside the head, "Besides, what do you know about fine wine? You're not old enough to drink! You're a gay teenage hobo!"
"Excuse me, I'm a homosexual, legal-adult drifter, okay. Get the terms right," he looked up and grinned.
I slid my hands into his hair and patted it, "Okay. Fine."
"Mmm, mew mew," he purred.
I snickered, "Good boy."
"Are you sure you don't find Reed cute, hot, dreamy, or "D" all of the above?" he asked with very adamant smile and a raising of his left eyebrow.
Twist sighed and tilted his head closer to my hand as I scratched his head, "How about Brian Cho, the flower guy? He's sweet, you know, if you like that."
"Is he Beyoncé?"
Twist brought a finger to his chin and hesitated before answering no.
I sighed, "Then I'm not interested."
"Well, the mail guy is hot."
"Maybe to you, you know, because he's a male guy."
"Ooh!" he perked up and sat on his knees, facing me, pulling my hand from his blonde hair, "What about the Nuttin but Strings? I hear they're twins..."
"Cary, the trumpeteer?"
"Greg, the pastry guy?"
"Zach, the jump rope champion? Now he's actually gay."
Twist looked away from me and turned his gaze to his fingertips, licking his lower lip quietly before stuttering out, "Wha...what about... me?"
I paused and gathered what he was implying. Did I think he was cute, hot, dreamy, or "D" all of the above? Well...no. Or...do I? I am guilty of watching him fall asleep and letting him touch my waist to move me outta the way and freaking out internally when he walks into our shared room in just a towel. Who am I kidding? I'm straight as a ruler, but I can't get enough of him. How do I say that to the kindest, weirdest, cutest, most genuine guy I've ever met? So I sighed, "Twist, I..."
He blushed and stood, bucket and all, "Don't worry, I get it. I knew what you were going to say anyway. 'No', right?"
Twist shoved his hands in his blue pockets, "I wasn't playing with Kiki and Marina, or having a smoothie, or pelting Reed with kooky string because I walked by the kitchen and heard this beautiful sound. To me it was sad in a way, almost thirsty for something it couldn't find. It felt like...like it wasn't whole. You know, forever searching for the missing piece. And so I looked for it and found you, playing the piano softly and... iridescently. The sound I heard was you playing with not your mind, but your heart. And...my heart really found it amazing. My heart...really likes your heart."
I blinked and immediately felt terrible for leading him off, shakily prepared to fully admit to my attraction, "Twist..."
"I get it. It's fine. Your heart doesn't like mine back."
Twist turned and started out of the room, not getting far before falling flat on his face. I sighed, "Let me help!"
Twist growled as I hopped over and tugged on his trapped foot, "Twist! Gosh darnit is it stuck!"
"Pull harder, Shout!" he begged, "It's cutting off my circulation!"
"How'd you get it this stuck, Twist!"
"Do I hear a request?" a voice noted from outside. Reed. He thinks he's soooooo funny.
I pulled one last time and the bucket slid off, flying across the room. Too bad I pulled as if it were a two-ton building. I flew too. Onto Twist. He groaned and giggled, "Heh, that was fun. Let's do it again!"
I laughed, "How about we don't?"
Twist returned the laugh and looked up his chest at me, "Shout?"
Come on, Baby now. ( Come on, Baby ) Twist and shout. ( Twist and shout ) Come on, come on, come on, Baby now. ( Come on, Baby ) Come on and work it on out. ( Work it on out )...
"Wanna dance?" Twist asked with a shrug.
I sighed, "Why not?"
"Great!" he scrambled up and held out a hand, "Sir, may I have this dance?"
I stood, "Eh, just take my waist."
Twist wrapped his hands around me and we swung our hips to the beat of the song that sung our names in a way that made me positively sure that we belonged together. I mean, come on. I can't fight it. This was too right. When do the Beatles predict your relationship? Never.
He pulled me closer as we swayed and sung the lyrics in the most goofy way we could muster. We were having so much fun. His shy smile and bright blue eyes were so happy that I couldn't help but to smile back. His hands on my hips, his breath on my face, his body so close to mine. I just wanted one. Just one kiss. Was that so wrong? My fingers slid up his surprisingly broad chest and my hands pushed his smooth, warm neck close to mine. He breathed across my skin, "You sure?" I responded by closing the space between our lips in a swift kiss, feeling the warmth of his lips against mine, the feeling of his stubbly chin against mine, the feeling of the sudden exhale from his nose play across my upper lip. Twist. My heart does like yours. A lot. We stared at each other. His eyes were such a pale blue. I could stare forever. I wanted to always feel this way. Love, desire, happiness. It was all in his eyes. Marina and Kiki did bring me happiness, in the form on Twist, that is.
Twist held my hand and slid our fingers together, the pale alabaster of his skin contrasting so much with the vibrant dark of mine. He whispered, "Wanna catch a movie later?"
I breathed, "...yeah..."
"Wanna kiss again?"
"Mmm," I pressed my lips to his a second time, feeling his arms wrap around me so tightly. I felt so protected. His lips moved softly with mine and his eyelashes fluttered across my cheeks. I pushed his face closer with a hand to his cheek, my shoulders raising in passion. Twist kissed me harder. Desire. Lust. Passion. Kiss me, Twist!
He paused the kiss with a final one on my nose, "Watch out, our kookies will get kinky."
"Aww," I sighed, "That's so gross..."
Come on, Baby now. ( Come on, Baby )Twist and shout. ( Twist and shout ) Come on, come on, come on, Baby now. ( Come on, Baby ) Come on and work it on out. ( Work it on out )...
"I love you, Shout."
I professed, "I love you too, Twist."