Spot 045: One-Hit Wonders


by Sandra Davies

It must have been that conjunction of teenage self-discovery and that particular song. Not just the lyrics – confusing because overlaid, intertwined, with barely-noticed-at-the-time imagery from some trailer of the film I’d no likelihood of seeing but the dark smudged beauty of the face (I could be like that if only someone loved me enough …) – but also the gut-aching yearning for life not only to begin but to be somehow glamorous (the glamour via oblique association with multi-coloured squares of glass, perchance?)
And of course we had nothing in common. That was the point, someone unattainable to project, to practice my feelings on. We’d not spoken even (I knew not to ruin the dream!). He delivered the milk and a blue-eyed smile and I the self-sacrifice of sitting bikini-clad in the unavoidable shade early one morning just to be noticed.
I don’t remember his name at all, but she, the girl he walked with, down the road past my house every evening, was Pauline. She was dark, a perfect foil for his blonde curls. I practised being heartbroken, not enjoyably (that would have shattered the illusion) and thought I would die an unloved old maid.
But then there was another song, another dream, a theme for another summer, and this one, with its unglamorous appellation to Percy(!) was no one hit wonder.

See Authors page for Sandra’s bio.



by Bill Lapham

Brooks could kick a football sixty yards and a mile high. Serious hang time: a punterboy.

I looked up how much punters made in the NFL. Let’s just say I was pleased when he fell in love with my daughter. Subsequently, I fell in love with him. Brooks was a g, attractive, bright, and strong boy, and he was polite. A bonus.

My, they made a lovely couple.

He accepted a scholarship to Oklahoma. Went away to study meteorology and pigskin aerodynamics. The high school relationship couldn’t bear the college distance, though. The kids broke up.

Crestfallen, I continued to follow Brooks’ athletic exploits.

He got homesick after the first football season at OU and transferred to Maryland, became a Terrapin. He kicked the snot out of a football. Well enough to get drafted by the Chicago Bears; not well enough make the main team. Practice squad money paid for an Escalade.

This went on for a couple of years. Then the Bears traded him to the New England Patriots. Again, practice squad.

They say Brooks was never good enough to play on Sundays, or Monday nights, or the occasional Thursday night.

Until the Patriots’ primary punter got hurt. Groin, they said.

Brooks played in one live no shit NFL game, in New England, in the snow. He punted twelve times sending massive, booming, soaring raptors of pigskin elegance sailing into the snowy klieg-lit night.

One night in a year the Patriots won the Super Bowl.

See Authors page for Bill’s bio.



by Gita M. Smith

“When the angels ask me to recall
The thrill of them all
I will tell them I remember you.”

He came by to pick me up after school in a long black Chrysler. It smelled of his Canoe aftershave mixed with new leather. The AM radio was tuned to the top 40 hit parade station, and Frank Ifield was singing “I Remember You,” with a funny yodel in his voice.
The boy didn’t want to be seen with me because he was engaged to a girl named Cindy, although why a 19-year-old was already engaged I do not know. I was his “other woman” at the ridiculously tender age of 15. I had never been in love before, really really in love, I mean, with all the madness and compulsion and sincerity that comes with a teenage crush. He was my first “older man,” and this was our joint first illicit affair.
We drove around, listening to the songs of the moment, our thighs touching on the bench seat, radiating atomic-level heat.
That song always started a catch in my throat. Ifield went on to record songs that were hits in the UK, but this was his only big seller in the USA.
I don’t know where that boy is, today; I would highly doubt he remembers me. And he is not important, anyway. What is important is that once upon a time, I could feel with that much intensity and not spontaneously combust.

See Authors page for Gita’s bio.



by Michael D. Brown

By March 1974 I had been living on my own for three months, and would soon turn 21. Coming home each night to an empty apartment was more pleasant than finding my mother snoring, slumped in her chair with the television blaring.
When I announced I was moving to a studio on the Parkway, after drying tears, she said she might have cancer, and wanted my promise to call once a day, which I did from work each afternoon, to ascertain if she needed anything, or I could head to my fortress of solitude. Most days she was fine, occasionally complaining of little aches and pains, but she never mentioned cancer again.
Those months, I believed it was a fabrication to lay guilt on me for deserting, but visiting every Saturday, I soon noticed her weight loss.
Convincing myself she had not lied, no longer able to sleep comfortably at night, I suggested moving back, but told her she would have to cut down on the booze, as it bothered me so to see her that way. She said she had already.
“I don’t want you to break your lease,” she said, “but I would feel better if you were here more often.”
So for the next four months, it was three nights here, four nights there, then five and two, until one night in July. I realized I had returned to the nest.
And after she was gone, five years passed before I enjoyed another season in the sun.

See Authors page for Michael’s bio.



by Paul de Denus

The Venezuelan was on the ropes. Kelly’s corner man was shouting, “he’s nothin’… nothin’! Put him down!”

Kelly laid a left into the Venezuelan’s right side, the skinny legs quivering in a wobbly little dance. The guy had his arms up, elbows together, hands bent above his beaten face like a swollen praying mantis. Kelly pounded another left to the ribs and followed it with a right to the ear. “Come on Eileen… I swear I’m not mean…” sang through his head and he let out an airless chuckle.

He was thinking of a music video from the eighties by an inbred British hillbilly band that wore overalls and sang on a street corner. It was about a girl named Eileen, the same name as Kelly’s wayward ex-wife.

With each blow, the rage sank deeper. “Come on Eileen… I swear I’m not mean…” her face swimming and connecting to the altered lyrics and precise punches.

“He’s nothin’ Kelly… put him out!”

The distant voice reminded him the fight was just a setup, an easy primer leading to the looming big bout in Chicago. The Venezuelan was nothing, a punching bag to make a statement… a slap to the head to get attention, a right-hook so she understood who was boss. She was nothing… the Venezuelan too… until the upper cut from his forgotten right arm lifted Kelly off his feet, sending him into total darkness.

“Come on Eileen… I swear I’m not mean…” fading… his corner man singing, screaming… COME ON KELLY… COME ON… GET UP!

See Authors page for Paul’s bio.


Illustrations for Spot 045 supplied by ?



2 Comments to “Spot 045: One-Hit Wonders”

  1. Such wonderful, wallowing nostalgia!! I remember you too Frank Ifield, and that dreadful ‘Seasons in the sun’ (Can we have a song title challenge or six at HoW? Please?) Great topic this one Michael, thank you

  2. Sorry it’s taken me so long to get here. I’ve been painting like a fiend, trying to raise money for my daughter’s final tuition. But I digress. These are marvelous, absolutely perfect reading for a long hot Sunday with a freshly emptied easel. Thanks, y’all. And, btw, I’m with Sandra on the music challenges. They’re my faves, next to coming-of-age stuff.

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