after hours

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dennysIt’s 2 a.m. at the local Denny’s, our inevitable haunt by virtue of it’s operating hours. We know the waitresses in two towns.

As usually, our conversation is a mix of ribbing and dreaming. One dusts the other’s shoulders with salt, as the victim sits oblivious, discussing one music-related topic or another.

One of us sits with his phone cupped to his ear, listening to the song we just composed at the five-hour band practice we just had. As if five hours of each other’s company at practice is not enough, here we are.

This is band culture. Late nights. Kiddy humor. And forever, music talk.

We’re constantly analyzing the components of sound, mapping out our conquest to make our big break, debating the best way to market, analyzing our last performance.

I look around at these guys I who have somewhere along the line become my brothers. Sometimes they drive me crazy. But mostly, I don’t know what I would do without them.

As usual, at the end of our late-night milkshakes and quesadillas, one tries to pay for it all, another scrapes together quarters to cover his meal, the others chip in anyway, and I, despite a fight, end up not paying anything. They then collect around the claw machines, feeding them quarters in an attempt to conquer what by reputation is an impossible game. As usual, one always wins some sort of stuffed animal — a hidden talent in addition to his musical giftings.

We pile in cars full of amps and cables and instruments and drive home to unpack, only to pack up a couple days later and do it all again.

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