Monday, February 13, 2012

A Whitney Houston Inspired Story

We had an annual talent and fashion show that was a fundraiser for the speech team. Those of us actually on the speech team had little or nothing to do with it. At least, I had nothing to do with it -- probably because I wasn't viewed by the speech coach as being either talented or fashionable. This, from a guy who clearly didn't wear undershirts and used lime deodorant.

The fashion portion of the show was second -- and it was loud. Not just the music, but the fashion itself. Everyone on stage dressed like they were extras for "Purple Rain."

The talent portion was first. And, as was true of every school talent show I ever attended, the conventionally talented -- kids who played piano -- opened the show, while the obnoxious -- kids who dressed off the rack from Merry Go Round and sang along to distorted tapes -- closed.

The very first act was a young black girl. I forget her name, and I might never have known it. She was hunched over a piano, and started plunking out, decently, a hit of the day -- Whitney Houston's "Saving All My Love for You."

And the crowd was anxious and nasty. Ruthless. Rude. But simmering. They were here to see balloon pants, pointy shoes, and dancing. The pot was ready to boil over.

The only stage light were the spots on the piano and the earnest pianist. And then there was this voice -- powerful, equally earnest -- joining in halfway through.

And tonight,

I looked to the stage. Was someone singing in the dark?

is the night,

Yes, someone was. But not on stage. In the house. Toward the front row.

That I'm feelin' alright,

I saw him. It was Rufus!

We'll be making love the whole night thruuuuuu

Rufus could sing! Who knew! A spot was now rushed on him. One hand on his chest, the other hand thrust out. He was not up on that stage but -- he should have been!

'Cause I'm saving all my dick for yuuuuuuu

The pot boiled over. The earnest pianist stopped and slammed her hands on the keys. The crowd roared.

The laughter and the howling were louder than the piano amp.

I was laughing too, but I gained my shame as I watched her run off stage. This was not part of the act. That poor girl. And Rufus!

Later that day, the girl's boyfriend found Rufus outside. The boyfriend, and his brass knuckles.

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