You're Not Finished Yet Ch. 01byMoogPlayer©
For those of you who have read my stories, and left me a nice compliment and/or constructive criticism, this tale is for you. I know there will always be those anonymous cowards, who leave foul, nasty and/or ugly comments, but I don't worry about them; they don't matter anyway, and I'll simply delete them In the mean time, for all you kind and gentle souls that I've come to truly love hearing from, as well as writing for, I pray that God richly blesses you all.
This story is different from anything I've ever written; and just to remind everyone, it's a fictional story. So, keep in mind that anything can, and usually does happen in a fictional story. Either way, I hope you like it.
It was nearing ten o'clock that evening, Lynn wasn't home yet, and both Jen and I started to become a little concerned.
"You don't think anything is wrong, do you?" Jen worriedly asked.
"Of course not," I replied, "We would've heard something by now if that was the case. She's probably running a little late, that's all."
Hi, my name is Mark Lee Haynes; I stand six feet, three inches tall, and weigh roughly two hundred and twenty pounds. I have long dark brown, almost black, hair, and azure blue eyes. I'm a sessions player, or, as it is sometimes called, a studio musician, and I live and work in Nashville Tennessee.
When I was in my late twenties, I was a road player, meaning that I played with different big name recording artists while they were out on the road performing. I did this for a little over ten years, but once I grew older, and I'm in my early fifties now, I settled down, and by the grace of God, was able to make a name for myself as a sessions player. That meant that I didn't have to spend months at a time away from home to make a living playing music which, by the way, I'm a keyboard player.
I made more money playing in the studio as opposed having to go out on the road, once I seriously committed myself to doing studio work. However, let me tell you right now, it's not a living that you can just come to Nashville and start doing, right off the bat. You have to "pay your dues" as they still say even today. Then, and only then, you have to be asked and/or invited by producers/studio owners to come and play.
Most importantly though, you also need to be aware of the musicians who have not only been here longer, but have been playing sessions for years. These are also the same people whose respect you'd better damn well earn if you're seriously trying to stand in their ranks to be not only recognized, but accepted by them as one of their peers...a lot of these same people are also Grammy, and/or Oscar winners...Do you see what I mean now?
Anyway, back to the story...I went into the Navy when I was seventeen because I got busted by the police for having two pounds of Marijuana in the trunk of my car. It was by pure luck the pot was all in one bag, making them charge me with Felony Possession of a controlled substance. However, back then, and it was only for first time felony offenders, the authorities were allowed to make the offer of either time in the military as opposed to time in prison so; of course I took their offer and enlisted into the military.
I ended up spending eight years in the Navy, and during the first two years I went through the training required to be a Navy Corpsman, which, also qualified me to be part of a Marine Corps unit. However, not very long after I was attached to the Marines, we started seeing plenty of action in Beirut, Lebanon in the early, to mid Eighties.
I won't go into detail about my time in the service, because that's not what this story is about. Still though, the things I saw, I don't wish on anyone, and then there's the fact that I lost some very good friends over there so; I'll simply leave it at that, okay?
When I got to college, I was what you would call an adult student, even though I was only twenty-five at the time. While I was in the Navy, I followed my Dad's advice, he's a retired Navy Fighter Pilot himself; and made sure that I took the necessary college accredited courses that I would need to go to college once I was out of the service. I was very fortunate to have been able to facilitate the U.C.L.A. Annex College, which, at that time, was available to service men and women who were stationed on the west coast.
I got most of my academic courses out of the way like, English classes, History classes, and Mathematics related classes like Algebra, Trigonometry, Calculus, and Elementary Analysis. However, once I got to college I got to C.L.E.P. my Government classes, as well as a couple of other ones which were basically Social Studies, classes. This also meant that almost all of my classes, when I began to attend a real university, were related to my major, which, of course, was music.
I'm not going to mention the name of my college in this story, mostly because my friends would be pissed off because I didn't use any of their names, ha-ha. But I will tell you this, it is the leading jazz and contemporary music university in the United States so; you figure it out.
Because I went into the military before 1978, I got the old GI Bill, you know, the one that pays for everything. And this is the reason I mention it...Before I even registered as a music student I went, out of not only courtesy, but respect, to the head of the Music Department, a man who, for the purposes of this story, we'll call Dr. Leon Brown, and introduced myself.
"Hello, Doctor Brown," I smiled, extending my hand, "My name is Mark Haynes, and I'd like to get your permission to be in the Music Department, sir."
"Is that right?" he grinned, shaking my hand, "What instrument do you play, Mark?"
"I'm a piano/keyboard player, sir," I respectfully replied, the rigidity of having served with the Marine Corps still in me, "I've been playing for twenty years, Doctor Brown, and I can hold my own anywhere you put me, sir."
"You're rather sure of yourself, aren't you?" he heartily laughed, "What kind of music do you like?"
"Rock and Progressive Rock," I replied, "Mostly Progressive Rock, with some Jazz, too."
"Alright then," Doctor Brown interestedly replied, "When can I hear you play?"
"Any time you want," I grinned, "My schedule is wide open."
"Okay," he excitedly smiled, "Come to my office at two o'clock tomorrow afternoon."
And then after receiving directions to his office, I shook his hand and humbly told him, "I want to thank you for this opportunity, sir."
"You're welcome, son," he knowingly replied, "But I need to ask you something, Mark; do you mind?"
"No, sir," I smiled, "Ask me anything you want to."
"You're a combat veteran," he stated, "Aren't you?"
"Yes," I defensively replied, "Is there a problem with that, sir?"
"Take it easy, kid," Dr. Brown gently smiled, "You're among friends."
"How did you know?" I asked, "I mean, I don't understand..."
"Relax, Mark," he calmly interrupted, patting my shoulder "I did two tours in "The Nam" so; if you ever need someone to talk to, you can always come and talk to me any time...my door is always open to you, kid."
"Thank you, sir," I respectfully told him, "I really appreciate it, Doctor Brown."
"No problem," he grinned, "I'll see you tomorrow then?"
"Yes sir," I smiled, "At two o'clock in your office."
I went apartment hunting that afternoon, and was extremely surprised to find a three bedroom house that I was able to lease for a little bit of nothing. It belonged to an older couple, Mr. James Brance, and his wife, Elaine. Their children were both grown and had homes and families of their own; and because they no longer had need of such a large home, they moved into a small condominium and leased the house to me.
I showed them a copy of my discharge papers, as well as my ID. Mr. Jim and Ms. Elaine, which was what they preferred being called, took down my information so that they could run a background check on me, and told me that they would let me know as soon as they heard something.
Two days later they called me wanting to know how soon I could move in, and were ecstatic when I told them that I could move in immediately.
"This really doesn't seem very fair to you," I said, when I signed the lease, "I feel like I should be paying more."
"I served thirty years in the Marine Corps, son," Mr. Jim grinned, "And any Corpsman who's saved as many wounded Marines as General Castleman says you have, is welcome to anything I've got."
"You talked to General Castleman?" I asked smiling, "He was my Commanding Officer...a great guy, too."
"I've known Charlie Castleman ever since Korea, when he was nothing but a green, snot-nosed Second Lieutenant," Mr. Jim laughed, "You should've seen him back then. He was just a boy."
"You were all boys, honey," Elaine smiled, "You'll have to forgive him, Mark. Sometimes he rambles on and on about the Marine Corps."
"That's alright, ma'am," I proudly replied, "He's earned the right."
"Oh, no," Elaine teased, "Not another one."
"Semper Fi," I growled, to Mr. Jim, smiling.
"Ooo Rah," he growled back, grinning.
That afternoon in Dr. Brown's office, where, of course he had a piano, he had me sight reading, both vocally as well as instrumentally, for about an hour. Then he laid eight different pieces of sheet music, all of which I was very familiar with, on the piano for me to play.
Granted, I'd played these pieces before, many times. However, it had been at least eight to ten years since I'd even seen them, and I felt like I was basically playing them cold. Still though, I managed to get through them with as few mistakes as possible, receiving Dr. Brown's praise after I'd finished playing.
"You did extremely well," he smiled, "It sounded to me like it's only been yesterday since you played them."
"I've played these pieces many times before today, and I think you very much for such a nice compliment, sir," I told him, "But it's been a very long time since I've played any of them, almost ten years."
"I would worry about it too, much," he knowingly grinned, "I think you'll do very well here; and I'm so sure of it, that I'm going to give you a scholarship, Mark, a full four year scholarship."
"Jeez, Doctor Brown," I excitedly grinned, "I don't know what to say."
"Don't say anything," he chuckled, handing me a four sheets of paper, all of which bore his signature, "Just take these to the registrar's office and you'll be good to go."
"Thank you," I replied, "I just signed the lease this morning on a house not more than a block away from here."
"Because of the fact that you're considered an adult student, it means that you don't have to live in the dorms your freshman year," he explained, "But because of your background, I do expect you to set an example for "the kids", as he called my younger peers and classmates."
"Yes sir," I respectfully replied, "I'll do my very best, Doctor Brown."
"I know you will, Mark," he told me, "That's one of the reasons I gave you your scholarship."
Because the GI Bill was paying for my tuition, books, and everything else involved with my education, I deposited the scholarship money into my bank account. I'd told Dr. Brown that the military was going to take care of all things concerning my education, and that the scholarship money wasn't necessary; and also that he should give it to another student who needed it more.
However, he insisted that I take it, saying, "You never know when you might need it."
"Again, I thank you, sir," I smiled, "We're going to have a lot of fun these next four years."
"Yes we are, kid," he knowingly replied, "Yes we are..."
I spent the rest of the day excitedly moving my things into the new house that I was going to be living in for the next four years. My parents gave me the furniture that was once owned by my grand mother before she passed away, to put into the house so that not only would I have a decent bed to sleep in, but some things to furnish the rest of the house as well.
The house itself had thirty-five hundred square feet of floor space. There were three bedrooms, with a full bathroom in the hallway which serviced two of the bedrooms, and a full bathroom off of the Master Bedroom.
It had a great room with a kitchen off of it, as well as a back patio. But what I loved the most was the kitchen, man, it was huge. And because both my mother and grandmother had taught me how to cook at a young age, I knew that I was going to have plenty of room to cook whatever my heart desired so; needless to say, I was very excited.
The best part of it all though, was the pool in the back. It had a removable glass covering so that I could use it all year round. Mr. Jim took the time to not only show me how to clean it, but also how to maintain the chemical balance in the water, and the overall maintenance as well.
"Look at it this way, Mark," he lecherously grinned, "You'll be able to bring your girlfriends in this thing any time you want."
"That sounds great; Mister Jim," I chuckled, "But I don't have a girlfriend."
"Don't worry about that one bit, m'boy," he laughed, patting me on the back, "As soon as the word gets out that you have a swimming pool at your house, the girls will flock to you like a moth to a flame, hehehe...trust me, kid."
"James Thomas Brance," Ms. Elaine gasped, scolding him, "You don't need to be corrupting that young man's mind anymore than the Marine Corps already has."
"Leave him be, dear," Mr. Jim chuckled, winking at me, "He'll figure it out, and will be a finer man for it."
Little did I realize at the time that I would come to learn just how right he was?"
Classes weren't going to convene for another ten days, which gave me plenty of time to get all of the errands that I needed to take care of completed. I had to buy some new sheets for the beds, new dishes, and last but most certainly not least, enough groceries to last me for at least the up coming month.
In the eight years I spent in the Navy, I managed to save forty-five thousand dollars, which was alot of money back then. I mean, hell, I hardly ever went on leave, maybe ten days here or there, and then that was only long enough to come home and see my family. I'm an only child, and unfortunately I have no siblings, only Mom, whose name is Tessa, and Dad, whose name is Michael, or just plain old Mike to everyone but Mom, ha ha, she insisted on calling him by his full name.
That was the reason I was able to lease the house that I was living in, as well as get myself a nice used vehicle that was in impeccable shape. It was a Ford, F-250 Econoline Van, which I had painted black. It was very clean on the inside and I got it for a great price. After all, I was going to need something to haul my musical equipment back and forth to school in so; the van fit the role perfectly.
It was during the month of August that classes began, and I knew that I was going to enjoy being there after my very first class that morning. And although I felt a little out of place among the kids that I attended classes with, I knew that I would do well in college.
I went to my piano class, and met the lady, Miss Julie Hanover, that would soon become one of my two favorite teachers.
Of course we all had to play something in front of our peers that first morning in order for Miss Hanover to determine what our level of proficiency was. I didn't know why I was the last one to play until after class was over, and then she asked me to remain behind for a few moments.
"What're you doing in this class, Mister Haynes?" she asked me smiling, "Doctor Brown already talked to me about you, and I really don't think there is anything that I could teach you."
"I don't know about all of that," I respectfully replied, "But I do know that I have to have your class in order to graduate...The college won't let me take a C.L.E.P. exam so, it looks like I'm going to be here anyway."
"I'll tell you what," she grinned, "If you help me teach these kids, I'll guarantee you that you'll gat an "A" in this class. What do you say?"
"Well, I don't have any teaching experience," I smiled, "But I'll do the very best I can."
"That's perfect, Mark," she happily replied, "I'm looking forward to working with you."
"Thanks, Miss Hanover" I smiled, "This is going to be something new for me."
"And I'm more than certain that you're going to be great at it," she smiled, "Oh, by the way, you can call me Julie, okay?"
"No problem," I smiled, "Thanks again, Miss...Err...I mean, Julie."
That afternoon I had a creative writing class that I was required to attend. My teacher's name was Dr. Marsha Briggs, and she, too, was as nice as could be. And it was safe to say that I liked her from the very start.
As far as her looks went, she had blonde hair, blue eyes, and a figure to die for. She stood somewhere around five feet, seven inches tall, and couldn't have weighed any more that one hundred and twenty pounds at the very most.
Her measurements were proportionate to her height; and as a matter of fact, she and Julie Hanover were built very similar, except that Julie was dark haired and dark eyed. Still though, there was something about Marsha Briggs that I couldn't quite put my finger on at the time, but I could somehow feel that there was something very special about her, very special indeed.
After my classes were over for that day I went home to relax and have an afternoon snack. I was extremely surprised when I heard my telephone ringing and even more surprised when I found out who was calling me.
"Hello?" I said, into the receiver.
"Hi, Mark," replied a familiar female voice, "This is Rachael, how are you?"
"Rachael MacArthur?" I exclaimed, "What're you doing calling me, and how did you get this number?"
Rachael MacArthur was my old high school girlfriend, who turned her back on me when I got busted, and this was the first time that I'd heard anything from her since then, and that was almost nine years ago. So, it was with a mixture of not only shock, but a little bit of anger that I answered her.
"Your Mom gave me your number," she meekly replied, "I hope you don't mind."
"I don't mind," I replied, once I'd calmed down slightly, "What do you want?"
"Well," she began, "I was wondering if it were possible for us to get together and talk. I wanted to apologize to you for before."
"Before what," I asked, "Before I got busted and you turned your back on me, or before I went into the Navy and you called me a miserable dope dealer. Which is it, Rachael?"
"I'm really sorry about all of that, Mark," she said, "Can I at least come and see you, and maybe apologize in person...and then maybe you can forgive me?"
"I forgave you a long time ago," I coolly replied, "But I'm not the same person I used to be back then, and I really don't want to see you either."
"Why are you acting this way, Mark?" she began to cry, "I'm trying to tell you how sorry I am, can't you understand that?"
"I understand perfectly," I chuckled, "And believe me, no one knows how sorry you really are more than me. Look, I'm trying to be nice and tell you that I don't want anything more to do with you. Can you understand that?"
"You're such an asshole," was the last thing I heard her say before I hung the phone up, and then walked back into the kitchen shaking my head.
Of course, back in the day, Rachael was as beautiful as they came, but when I got busted, she treated me like a leper, kicking me while I was down by turning her back on me. I don't know about you, dear reader, but it's a sorry individual that does things like that, regardless of the circumstances.