“I appreciate your apology Tony, but I’m going to need a little time and space to process it,” Whisper said.
“Yeah, I can accept that. Why don’t you give me a call when you’re ready to talk about our relationship,” Tony said.
I’ve got an idea,” Harold said. He was now comfortably seated in this white Lazy Boy chair.
“Why don’t you and Herbie stay here and join us for a game of Jukebox. “We’re kind of in a party mood tonight I have some potato chips, dip, Pepsi and coffee. Would you guys like to stay and help us party?” Harold asked.
Tony was seated next to Herbie on Harold’s couch. He turned his head towards Herbie to gage his friend’s reaction. Herbie shrugged his shoulders, “I’ve really got nothing pressing to do, if you’d like to stay,Tony” Herbie said.
“I’m in, too,” Tony told Harold.
“What’s your last name, sir?” Tomy asked Harold.
“It’s Peyton. I’m Harold Payton, but just because I’m an old guy I don’t want you guys calling me Sir or Mr. Peyton. Harold, suits me just fine. Whisper, could you find the chips, and the rest of the refreshments and bring them to the coffee table?” Harold asked.
|I’m sorry but I don’t have any alcoholic beverages in the house. Would you guys be okay with a couple of Pepsi’s or Tim Horton’s coffee, let’s say?” His gaze was towards Tony and Herbie.
“That would be just fine with us, sir, Tony answered. Sorry, I meant to say Harold,” Tony said looking a little embarrassed.
Harold laughed and said, “That’s okay. I can see that you’re a fast learner, Tony.”
“Are you good with the Pepsi or coffee too, Herbie? Harold asked.
” A cup of coffee would be great,” Herbie replied. Herbie did not have much in terms of a social life and he was not used to be being treated so well by other people. Harold stood up. “Ricky, could you explain the rules of the game to everybody while I use the washroom?”
When Harold had returned from the bathroom, Whisper had finished dispensing the nights refreshments and Ricky had succinctly explained the rules of the game to Tony and Herbie.
“Before we start our game, I want to ask, “what were you boys doing before you arrived at my house?” Harold asked.
Tony was a little taken aback by Harold’s query, which he started to answer after he popped the tab off his Pepsi can.
“Believe it or not, I was reading a book Harold. I know that I don’t look like the literary type, but I actually read nearly every day. When I’m in a good space I write some of my own fiction, too.”
“What book were you reading this afternoon?” Harold asked.
“The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald,” Tony answered.
Herbie Schultz started to laugh, “I know that my friend kind of looks like a thug, but he’s really smart.”
“That’s one of the things that attracted me to Tony,” Whisper said. “I’ve always liked the bad boys, but it’s not easy finding a tough -looking dude as intellectual as Tony is.”
“We’ve got some things in common, Tony. We both like books, writing and Whisper,” Harold said.
“What about you Herbie? What were you up to earlier today?” Harold asked.
I wasn’t doing much of anything when Tony called. I love music and I spend a lot of time on my Spotify app. Motorhead is one of my favourite rock bands and I was downloading one of their albums called, Aftershock, the Tour Edition,” Herbie answered and reached for a handful of salt and vinegar potato chips.
Harold started to laugh. “I’ve got something in common with you too, Herb. I would say that Motorhead is probably my favourite rock band. I know that it must sound strange to hear a senior citizen say they like Motorhead.”
“No, I don’t think that’s strange. I mean Motorhead hass been around since the 1980s and that was the only era that they had any real commercial success speak of,” Herbie responded.
There was something about Harold that allowed Herbie to be so loquacious this evening. Hw was normally so shy that he would rarely contribute anything to a conversation.
“Herb, I would guess that you are going to be very good at Ricky’s Jukebox game as you appear to have a vast store of knowledge about rock music,” Harold said,” as he took a sip from his Tim Horton’s coffee cup that had an engraved image of a bulldog on it.
“Thank you,” said Herbie. I’ll give it my best shot.” As Herbie’s social anxiety was decreasing rapidly he sunk into a more relaxed posture on Harold’s couch and took a big slug from his can of Mango Pepsi.
“Well, that’s enough chit chat for now. Let;s get the game started. Seeing as I invented Jukebox, I get to choose the first song of the evening. I need the rest of you to go to the kitchen and wait until you hear a song that I am about to play on You Tube.”
Ricky was feeling more happy and confident than was was usual for him. He loved spending time with her stepdad and was amazed by the way that Harold had changed the previously tense atmosphere in the house to one of calm anticipation.
Whisper Tony Harold and Herbie all moved into the kitchen area just a few feet away. They needed to move from the living room so that they could not see the information displayed on Harold’s 42 inch widescreen Samsung TV.
It wasn’t long before Ricky started using the search engine on YouTube to find his first song selection. Ricky liked to play his music loud and in under a minute those assembled in the kitchen could hear the opening chords of the song. Almost immediately Herbie yelled out his answer, “That’s Bang Your Head, otherwise known as Metal Health by Quiet Riot.”
“Bingo!” Ricky yelled back.
“Way to go Herbie!” Whisper said as she patted Herbie on the shoulder.