The sports car came to a stop in front of my house, tires screeching. Joel angrily leapt out and dashed across the grass toward the front door where I stood.
“Come on in,” I called out confidently. “My parents aren’t back from their trip yet.” I then stepped back inside and, hidden from view, tried to steady my breathing.
Joel entered, practically ripping the screen door off its hinges. “You better have proof to back up what you said, nerd, or you’re in for one hell of a beating!”
“The proof is in here,” I said, waving him toward my bedroom. “Choose any record,” I said as we entered, pointing to my extensive vinyl collection. He pulled out one of my favorite Moody Blues albums.
“Nerd.” He shoved the album into my hands, shaking his head in disgust.
“Okay, now listen to what actually comes out of the speakers.” I put the record on my turntable and, hands trembling, flipped the little lever that gently lowers the tonearm. As soon as the stylus touched the vinyl, beautiful music started playing. But the song wasn’t by the Moody Blues. “The song is ‘La La Means I Love You’ from the Delfonics’ debut album of the same name, released in 1968.”
“That’s the album one of my friends said Laura Pinson was talking about the other day.”
“I figured if I could get a copy of it on vinyl in mint condition I could get her to go to bed with me. Since, from what I hear, she’s one of those people who think everything sounds so much better on vinyl. I think she’s crazy, but since she’s the hottest girl in school, who cares. Well, until I found out it costs over a thousand dollars!”
“I know.” I lifted the tonearm off the record. “That’s why I rigged up this turntable so no matter what vinyl you put on it, it actually plays the CD or flash drive that’s hidden inside!” I opened a hidden panel on the rear of the turntable and momentarily ejected the Delfonics CD. “See? Available for ten bucks or whatever.” I pushed the CD back in, then moved the tonearm nearer to the end of the record. “I even made it smart enough to look at the position of the tonearm and play the corresponding song from the CD!” I lowered the tonearm, and the moment the stylus touched the fourth track of the Moody Blues vinyl, the fourth Delfonics song on the CD inside the turntable started playing.
“Still doesn’t prove anything.” Joel cracked his knuckles.
“Well, of course I printed authentic-looking labels from scans I got off the internet and carefully glued them to a record,” I said, my voice quivering. “I then printed scans for the front and back of the album cover and glued them to another album cover. And once I showed it to her and started playing it for her last night, it just seemed to melt her heart. And soon she got, um, very affectionate.”
“I still can’t believe she would sleep with a runt like you! No matter what!” He turned and smashed his fist through the drywall.
“I’m telling you, it looked just like the real thing! I’d show it to you, but she asked to borrow it, and I couldn’t figure out how to say no.”
“She borrowed it? What are you going to do once she tries to play the album at home?”
“Oh, she already has. She called me up a little while ago, screaming, calling me every name in the book. She told me she would never speak to me again. Of course, we’ll all be graduating in a few months, so whatever. Anyway, I thought I should let you know what happened. And that she’s done with me in case you still want to go after her.”
“Are you kidding? I don’t go for sloppy seconds. Not after a nerd anyway.” He jerked his thumb across his neck. “She’s dead to me now.”
“That’s what I figured,” I said. “But I just wanted to be sure.”
“I’ve got to get going,” Joel said as he stomped out of my room and toward the front door, me a few steps behind him. “I’ve got to go get a new fake ID. Got busted last week, and there should be lots of babes at the clubs tonight.” He left, then hopped in his car and noisily peeled away. I closed the front door and walked back to my room.
“He’s gone,” I said toward my closet. Laura Pinson emerged, as beautiful as always. “Were you able to hear everything?” I asked.
“Yes!” she said as she gave me a big hug. “Thank you so, so much, Brian!”
“Sure,” I said. “What are friends for?”
“For a minute there I was so worried he was going to beat you up. Just like he beat up my boyfriend. I’m so sorry I had to involve you in this. But I was desperate. I’ve been trying to get him to leave me alone for so long!”
“I’m just glad I was able to help. And that your boyfriend is going to be okay. But…”
“You’ll always be very special to me, Brian. And you’re going to go on and do great things in your life. Things the rest of us can’t even imagine.”
“Maybe, but I would never have imagined this plan you came up with. All I did was design a bit of hardware and write a little microprocessor code. Still, I don’t think I’ll ever invent anything that will mean as much to me as this did.”
“Or to me,” she said, as she gently squeezed my hand and gave me a soft kiss on the cheek. She then departed, returning to the world from whence she came.
Neal Reynolds has written two full-length screenplays, two full-length plays, and over a dozen short (ten-minute) plays and short stories. One of his short plays was produced by Lincoln Square Theatre in Chicago, another by Chicago Dramatists, and another by The Theatre of Western Springs (just outside Chicago). His first screenplay was a semi-finalist in a contest sponsored jointly by the Chicago and Illinois Film Offices, and then a top-ten finalist in a contest sponsored by LiveReadLA. He self-published his second screenplay, and is currently working on his third.