Here 'ya go. Enjoy :]
A small crowd was huddled around the entrance of the Bean Scene. It was a little past 9pm and open mic night had already begun. Standing across the block from the entrance, PJ stood there wearing his beatnik outfit from the year prior grasping tightly to his black poetry book. He took a deep breath and slowly began walking towards the café, his heart beating faster with every step.
Although PJ loved reading poetry, he had never done it in front of a crowd. Fear of judgement and failure raced through his mind as he breathed in the cool air of the night. His eyes were peeled to the ground as he approached the Bean Scene, the faint smell of cigarette smoke and coffee growing stronger; he was getting closer. His heart beat even faster.
Tonight was the night he was going to try to win Shala's heart once and for all; he had worked hard all day preparing a special poem for her. Before he knew it, he heard the sounds of snapping erupting from somewhere below; he looked up to see he was already at the stone stairwell that lead down to the Bean Scene, the small crowd of people huddled directly beside him.
PJ, knowing there was no turning back, took out his beret and planted it on his head, then whispered to himself, "Well, here goes nothin'."
The Bean Scene was more crowded than usual. Every table was filled and there were even some people leaning against the wall. PJ spotted Max and Bobby, who were seated near the stage where the poets read their work and where Miles (who had just completed a painting onstage) illustrated on his canvas.
As the snaps of applause died down for the previous performance, PJ crept quietly to the counter where the register was, trying to go unnoticed. He felt unusually nauseous and it felt as if a knot formed in his chest. Trying to ignore his sudden, yet predictable feelings of anxiety, he scanned the crowded room for Shala, who was nowhere to be found.
"There you are, PJ, what took 'ya so long?" said Natalie, PJ's coworker at the Bean Scene. She had dirty blonde hair that she wore in a ponytail and was in a similar beatnik outfit that Shala usually wore, although she was typically in her black work t-shirt when she was on duty.
"Oh, uh, hey Nat." PJ said, slightly startled by her sudden appearance. "I thought you were off tonight?"
"I was, but I was planning on coming to open-mic night anyway, besides I could use the extra hours." Natalie said shuffling through her back pocket. She took out a folded piece of paper. "You're late, by the way."
PJ took the paper and unfolded it, revealing itself to be a schedule of all open-mic peformers. There were about ten performers and PJ was supposed to go second right before Shala. Apparently he was over an hour late. "Aww, geez. Hey, what number are they on now?"
"I dunno. I lost track after the fourth or fifth performance."
PJ was disappointed that he missed Shala's poem, but also comforted knowing he wouldn't he was no longer one of the first to perform.
"Heyyy PJ! What took 'ya bro!?" Bobby yelled from he and Max's seat near the stage. They both looked both happy and relieved that PJ showed up.
"SCREEEEEEEEEEE" screeched the microphone on stage, which forced everyone's attention back to it, including PJ, who was still gripping tightly to his poetry book, waving back to Max and Bobby nervously.
"Alright everyone, let's give another warm round of applause to the lovely Mrs. Dianna Vanderpool and her poem, 'Fallen Angel.'" Miles said from the front of the stage. Apparently he was the host for open mic night as well. The crowd gave another, yet weaker snap of applause as Miles continued, "Now, moving to our next performance. He's new to poetry, so let's show some love to…..uh" Miles took out a paper out of his back pocket, PJ figured it was the list of perfomers, "Oh, uh….'Dennis the Great.'"
"'Dennis-the-Who?'" Natalie said blankly. A very short, chubby poet came from behind the curtains. He wore round black glasses and he had an expressionless face, covered slightly by his beatnik hat and beard.
PJ stared blankly at the stage as the poet struggled onto the stool, which was taller than he was. PJ also realized he hadn't named the poem he had prepared for the night, and given the time that had past, he was certain to go next.
No sooner had these thoughts entered his head, he felt a gentle tap on his shoulder. He turned around unconsciously, still waist deep in thought, and there was Shala, standing directly behind him.
"So, you finally decided to show up after all, huh?" Shala said through curtained eyes and an amused expression. PJ's heart skipped a beat and immediately lost his train of thought.
"Oh…um….yeahhh. Sorry I'm late." PJ said in a hushed voice scanning around for Natalie, who was no longer in sight.
"Don't worry about it, we had you pushed back to the very end. I'm just glad you came." Shala said in a reassuring tone. PJ noticed that Shala looked particularly beautiful that evening. She always looked well groomed, and she never really wore much makeup, but that night PJ thought that she looked particularly good.
PJ shook his head as if to snap himself back to reality, as he realized he was absentmindedly staring at her (which he did often, but not when they were talking). He noticed Shala was looking not at the stage, but at what seemed to be Max and Bobby's table, and her expression had suddenly changed, making her appear a bit more serious and perhaps a tad anxious.
PJ attempted to follow her eyes, "What's the matter?"
"You see that man in front? Next to Max?" Shala said not moving her eyes. At this point, both she and PJ were ignoring the performance by 'Dennis the Great.'
PJ saw a heavyset man in a black suit and tie sitting near the very front. His arms were crossed and he was wearing black shades. PJ had taken notice of him earlier, mostly because, unlike everyone else in the room, he had not moved an inch. "Yeah, what about him?"
"I'm not sure if you've heard of him, but that's DiCarte Giovanni." Shala said looking at PJ.
"You mean THE DiCarte Giovanni?!" PJ said trying to keep his voice down, "Of course I've heard of him! Isn't he considered one of the greatest poets of all time?"
"You got it. He's here talent scouting. Nobody recognizes him except you, me, and Miles, though."
"I'm not surprised…..not many people have ever even seen him person before." PJ said in disbelief.
The crowd weakly snapped in applause for Dennis the Great, whose poem apparently left a bad taste in people's mouths, and Miles' canvas was practically blank. PJ knew he was next. At this point, his nerves had been replaced with a deep feeling of utter hopelessness.
"Okie dokie. 'Dennis the Great' everybody!" Miles said trying to inject some energy into the crowd. Bobby gave a somewhat weak "Wooooo", but other than that the room was silent. Miles moved on, "And I do believe it has come down to our very last performance of the night! You may have seen him around here before, in fact. I want you guys to give a warm welcome to former College X-Games Champ, and lovable Bean Scene employee, PJ!"
The sounds of applauding snaps were muted as PJ made his way to the stage. His fear of heights paled in comparison to what he was feeling as he walked past the crowd of people in the café.
PJ got up on stage and sat on the tall bench, and he saw Max and Bobby beaming at him, giving him two thumbs up.
"You got this, Peej." PJ heard Miles say from his canvas, which was only a few feet from where PJ sat on the stage.
He looked once again out into the crowd and saw Giovanni, who, again, was not moving. PJ then saw Shala, who was still at the counter, looking at him intently. He grabbed the microphone, "This is called… 'Beautiful Friendship'."
PJ closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and without opening his poetry book, he began speaking:
"You came into my life as an unwelcome face,
Not ever knowing our friendship, I would one day embrace.
As I wonder through my thoughts and memories of you,
It brings many big smiles and memories of laughter so true.
I love the special bond that we beautifully share,
I love the way you show you really care,
Our friendship means the absolute world to me,
I only hope this is something I can make you see.
Thank you for opening your mind and soul,
I will do all I can to help heal your heart's little holes.
Remember, your secrets are forever safe within me,
I will keep them under the tightest lock and key.
Always remember …If you're ever in need.
I will try to be, the best friend I can possibly be.
Thank you for trusting me right from the start,
Truly you have got a wonderful heart
I am so happy now I felt that embrace
For now I see the beauty of my wonderful friend's face."
The room was silent for few seconds after PJ finished, but soon the entire room was filled with the sound of snapping, which seemed to be coming from every single person in the room, including Giovanni, although his snaps were slow and his expression remained neutral. Miles then showed his painting, which was a beautifully painted beach at sunset with two figures sitting side by side on the sand with their shadows illustrated behind them, holding hands. PJ actually rather liked the painting, but the proud look Shala wore on her face as she snapped in applause was even better. PJ couldn't believe it himself, but after looking into the satisfied faces of the people of the Bean Scene, including Natalie, who reappeared in the crowd, he finally felt like for once, something actually went right.
"A-hyuk! Bravo PJ! That was swell!" said a very familiar voice that was coming from the back of the room, and unlike everyone else, he was clapping with his hands, loudly.
"Mr. G?"PJ said in a confused tone. However, Goofy was not alone. Next to him was standing someone PJ knew all too well…a very large man with a temper. "…And….DAD?!"
"Dad?" Miles said looking to the back of the room. "That's your –Hey! It's Goofy!"
"WHAT!?" Max turned around with a start.
Bobby turned around too, took off his glasses and squinted, "And is it just me, or is that Mr. Pete standing next to your dad?" he asked Max, who was still in shock.
PJ handed the microphone over the Miles and rushed off the stage, Max and Bobby close behind him.
"Dad? Mr. G? What are you guys doing here?" PJ asked, more confused at the fact that his dad was standing before him than anything.
"What?! Can't a man come by and see his son once in a while?" Pete said sarcastically.
"Is mom here too?" PJ asked, looking behind him.
"Nope…just me and the goofster, here." Pete said curtaining his eyes, looking as if he truly did not want to be there.
"Okay, so like….why? Why, dad?" Max said finally catching up to PJ, desperately wanting an explanation for his dad's sudden appearance.
"Heya, Maxie!" Goofy embraced him in a tight hug. "Don't worry, I'm not gonna stick around for long, we just had to come by to give you some news."
"News?" Max asked curiously.
"Thanksgiving's gonna be at our place this year….Peg insisted," Pete mumbled under his breath, "I tried callin' ya', but you wouldn't pick up your phone, so we had to come here and tell you goons in person!"
"And we're ALL invited! A-hyuk!"
"Joy." Pete groaned.
"Cooooool. This'll be like a little mini reunion or something!" Bobby said looking excited.
"Thanksgiving? Oh! That's this coming Thursday!" said PJ, realizing just how much time had flown by since the semester started.
"PJ!" Miles said approaching the group, Shala by his side. "Listen, I may be bias, but I honestly think you're poem was one of the best of tonight! Shala was right about you after all."
"Heh heh, thanks Miles." Said PJ, feeling himself going red.
"Oh, I'm sorry, you must be PJ's father. I'm Miles." Miles said shaking Pete's hand.
"Pleasure's all mine, pal. Say, why don't you ALL just come on over for Thanksgiving. It'll be like a little party!"
"Wow, sure. That sounds fun, actually. Thanks!" Miles said, clearly not picking up on the hint that Pete was being sarcastic.
"You guys are more than welcome if you don't already have plans." PJ told them, he was considering inviting Shala over to his hometown anyway.
"I'll be there, then." Shala said, still looking very proud of PJ, "But seriously, I think that was one of the grooviest things you've written so far. Well done"
Before PJ could respond, he heard a deep, raspy voice from behind Shala and Miles that rattled, "You three."
They looked into the crowd, which was slowly emptying out besides a few stranglers who were standing around the tables to talk. They saw Giovanni slowly approaching them, face still expressionless.
"Us three?" Bobby said pointing at himself, Max, and PJ.
"You three." Giovanni said again. His gaze seemed to land upon Miles, PJ, and Shala. He was not a very tall man, but he was almost as tall as PJ, but slightly heavier. "Do you know who I am?"
"Yes." Miles said immediately, looking quite nervous, which was an unusual expression for him to wear. Shala and PJ just nodded.
Giovanni reached into his suit pocket and pulled out three cards and handed it to them. He then walked past them and disappeared up the stone stairwell without another word.
"Did….Did we just get DiCarte Giovanni's business cards!?" PJ said looking at Shala and Miles.
"They don't have a phone number on it though…just his name and a website address."
"DeeCarte Gio-what?" Pete said, snatching the card from PJ. "Sounds like a scam to me…"
"Dad! He's a famous poet…uh, sir." PJ said, watching his father examine the card.
"Pshh, whatever, I did what I came here ta' do." Pete handed PJ back the card. "Just be home for Thanksgiving, or your mother will have a fit with me."
"Uh..okay sure thing, pop."
"A-hyuk, this looks like it's gonna be a lotta fun! See ya'll in a few days!" Goofy said walking happily up the stone stairwell behind a very solemn looking Pete.
"You were great PJ!" said Natalie coming out of nowhere to give PJ a hug. "I knew you'd be awesome. It's always the quiet ones."
"Hahaha, thanks Nat." Said PJ, feeling both happy and particularly awkward due to the confrontation that just insued.
"Who were they, anyway?"
"Our dads." PJ said pointed at himself and Max.
"Oh yeah, Goofy! I remember him!"
"Don't we all…?" Max said looking depressed.
"Hey, well I'm gonna go ahead and clean up, but again, great job!" Natalie said before rushing off to tend to the messes left behind at the now vacant tables.
"I should go help out too, my art supplies are everywhere. I'll see you guys at Thanksgiving I guess!" Miles said following Natalie.
"Um…okay, I'll be right behind you." Shala said watching him head towards the tables. She turned her attention to PJ, Max, and Bobby. "So…I guess I'll get to see your guys' hometown. Should be interesting."
"Haha. That's one way to put it." Max said rubbing his head.
"Well, I'd love to stay and chat, but duty calls. See you guys soon." Shala said turning around and walking slowly towards the counter. She didn't seem in any real rush, which made sense because technically the Bean Scene was open for another hour.
"Is it just me…or is she especially hot tonight?" Bobby said bluntly. PJ stayed quiet.
"Forget that. I'm just trying to figure out ways to survive this coming Thursday." Max said, arms crossed.
"Aww, c'mon, your dad isn't that bad!" said Bobby, patting Max on the back.
"It's not him I'm worried about, it's just that…..well…..something ALWAYS happens when we all get together…and it's not always good."
PJ knew Max had a point. He was happy he had survived open mic night, but now he had to return to Spoonerville, the place where he had many misadventures during his childhood with Max, before Bobby came into the picture. After his performance, PJ was confident that Shala was pleased, and he definitely didn't feel upstaged by Miles at all, however he had feeling that bringing Shala to the place of his past may jeopardize his good fortune. But, knowing just how crazy life in Spoonerville was, he was sure something crazy was about to happen on Thanksgiving Day.
Sorry again for any typos. I'll update again soon!