He was oblivious to what was going on there in the little shop. As he'd zoned out, the door opened and Maxy came in, all business as usual, as this was his home away from home, and had been for a long time. He grabbed a coffee and chatted up the barista, flirting as usual. She flirted right back, knowing nothing was serious. Maxy was into guys these days. She mentioned he had someone to interview, and that he looked like Maxy's type. She winked at him.
Maxy turned around to look, and almost dropped his coffee. Grabbing the girl's arm, he said, "Lock the door, the interviews are over."
"What are you talking about, Maxy? I can't lock the doors, this is a business with paying customers."
He gave her a look, and she understood...no more interviews. If anyone else came in, send them away.
"Ok, but what's the deal, Maxy?"
His hand was trembling, still on her arm. "I know this guy...or at least I know of him. Oh, my God, I can't believe it's him, right here in my coffee bar!"
She laughed, "Your coffee bar?"
"Well, you know what I mean. This guy...this guy...oh, my God...his name is Ghost! Yeah, he's the best singer I've ever, ever heard. But, why is he here? He sings for a band called 'Lost Souls'. I have their tape - it's amazing! But, they play out on the east coast, some southern state. Did they break up? I gotta find out. I gotta go over there and talk to him, oh shit!"
"Maxy, what's got into you? I've never seen you so star struck before. Go on over there, he won't bite. I talked to him and gave him some coffee...he's nice."
Maxy gulped, nodded, and slowly walked over to where Ghost, eyes closed, was still in his zone. Maxy stared at him a full minute, glanced back at the girl, who motioned...go on, wake him up.
Maxy whispered, "Ghost!"
At that, Ghost's eyes flew open, and he startled so much he almost droppped the coffee he held. If it hadn't been for the plastic lid, he would have spilled it all over himself. He was looking into dark blue eyes, not two feet in front of him.
"Aii, wha'cha want?" Ghost wailed, as he tried to scramble backwards farther into the plush leather sofa, pulling his knees up under his chin, feet on the edge of the seat. He was still a little in dreamland, and didn't quite yet know where he was, or why.
"Get outta my head, leave me alone!" he continued to wail.
Maxy and the barista were taken by surprise by Ghost's reaction. They stared at Ghost, she behind the counter, and he, sitting on the floor in front of Ghost, where he'd landed, as he jumped back and fell over when Ghost yelled. Ghost's outburst was winding down, as he began to come out of his dreams. He shook his newly washed hair into his face, peering wide-eyed from between the golden strands, at Maxy. His body was trembling from the adrenaline shooting through it, his brain ricocheting around, sending spiders of fright all around. He was having one of his electrical storm episodes, which hadn't happened in awhile, and Steve wasn't there to pull him out of it. His pupils dilated, and he breathed unevenly. He felt dizzy and faint.
Maxy and the girl were frozen, not knowing what was happening. Maxy turned out to be no good in a crisis, but the girl finally ran over with some cold rags, and bathed Ghost's face.
"Is he on drugs?" she hollered at Maxy. "Get up and help, Maxy," she kicked at the boy on the floor to get him moving.
At the sound of her voice, and the cold wetness on his face, Ghost began to come out of it, little by little, until he just lay there on the sofa, exhausted, and let his breathing return to normal.
"What happened?" Ghost whispered, still a little shaky.
"It's ok, you're gonna be fine (I hope). You had some kind of fit, I guess. Has this happened before? Are you on drugs? Do you need to go to the hospital?" She was so nervous, she talked fast. Ghost caught only part of it, but shook his head, saying he'd be ok in a minute...that it happens to him sometimes.
Maxy found his voice then, and said loudly, "Ghost! You're crazy, man! I love you!" and he gave Ghost a big hug. "You're hired, you're my new singer, and I hope my best friend!" he continued.
Ghost eased himself up, still reeling a little, "But I haven't done the inter..."
"I don't care. I've heard you sing before...on your Lost Souls? tape. You're mine now...if you'll have me?"
"Sorry I freaked out on y'all," Ghost said, in his Carolina drawl. "Guess I'll try singing for ya then," he smiled a crooked grin, and looked clearly into Maxy's dark blue eyes. They both felt something pass between them. Something special, something exciting, and something a little dangerous.
The barista felt it too, as she watched them. Shaking her head, she muttered, "Here we go," and went back to her coffee counter.
Ghost and Maxy sat in the alcove, talking, getting to know each other a little. Maxy told Ghost how he'd come to have the Lost Souls? tape. Seemed someone at one of Maxy's performances had been in North Carolina a few years back, and had seen Lost Souls? perform at the Sacred Yew. They'd bought one of the homemade tapes that Ghost and Steve had recorded and sold, and had given it to Maxy. They'd only made a hundred copies, and Ghost had crayoned the picture of the gravestone on each and every one, until his hand cramped. They'd listed the songs on the photocopied paper, and had put a small picture of themselves on it, too.
Ghost got quiet, as Maxy told his story. He remembered that day. They were so happy and excited; thought they'd made the big time. All the copies had sold...only five dollars each. They'd kept one for themselves, but had no idea where the rest had ended up. It was so weird to see one again. Maxy had carried his copy around in his guitar case all this time, and had pulled it out to show Ghost. Ghost felt like he was seeing a ghost, looking at it now. He didn't want to be remembering that time of his life any more...that's what he was running away from...too much had happened.
Maxy noticed Ghost, lost in thought, and hesitantly asked why they broke up - him and Steve. Ghost just shook his head, saying he couldn't talk about it. Maxy could see that it pained Ghost terribly, so he didn't ask again.
Soon, the two of them moved over to the small stage to talk business. The girl served her customers their coffees and muffins, and yet, kept glancing over at the guys. Looked like they were hitting it off. She smiled. She'd always cared for Maxy, even when he could be a little exasperating and flighty. He'd had boyfriends before, and occasionally a girlfriend, but none had lasted. She never heard all the details, but suspected none could put up with him for very long. His ego was too strong. She considered him to be family, she'd known him for so long. Sparks never flew between them...chemistry wasn't right...and she had her own boyfriends. But still, she worried that he'd never find a true love, other than his music. Maybe this blond, southern boy would be the one.
Next installment coming soon!
Peace, Love, & Writing