New York City

We were there on stage for the whole show—Mary and Larry's concert. We're their backing band. But we get to star in the four song set that opens the show, before Mary and Larry come out. We started with a rocking cover—this time the Consorts' "Don't Even Bother", but we plan on alternating that with the Rocking Chairs' "Bad Girl". I sing lead on "Don't Even Bother"; Matt does the honors on "Bad Girl".

Then it was on to our perennial favorite, "You're for Me". We've almost forgotten that it's a cover, too. We've been doing that song for so long, we've made it our own.

We highlighted our single, "New World", next. It's one we wrote ourselves, and Timmy sings lead on it. I play what ordinarily would be Patrick's guitar part, and he plays harpsichord.

Our showcase song, the last one in the set, is "Playful Child", which we also wrote. It's about staying young at heart. We harmonize on it, all four of us. Timmy's voice, twinged with angst; Patrick's voice so soft and tender; Matt's voice envelops you like a warm embrace. I don't know what I should say about mine, but the effect of our voices together could knock you off your feet.

New York City

We had some time off and were taking a tour of New York City, when all of the sudden, we realized Patrick was no longer with us.

Well, to begin with, Matt was leery and cautious of New York City. Timmy was downright petrified. I seemed to be the only one keen on it. Patrick just wandered around, his head tilted towards the top of the skyscrapers and his mouth hanging open. So we were all naturally concerned when he disappeared.

Matt stayed back at the hotel. Timmy and I split into one group, Mary and Larry another, and a couple of roadies a third. We rode the subways around, stopping briefly at every station. We called Matt periodically, and finally he informed us he could see Patrick out the hotel window. He was in the park, feeding pigeons with some eccentric looking, possibly homeless lady.

Providence, RI

We were stuck inside. It was rainy. The fans of Mary and Larry were particularly loud and noisy, so the fellas and I were camped out in our hotel room. We nibbled on snacks brought up by room service. Matt was sitting on one bed, I on the other. Patrick and Timmy sat on the floor, their backs against the wall. "I know what we can do," I said. "Let's tell our deepest, darkest, most innermost secrets. Patrick?"

He went blank. "I dunno."


"Um, let's see," our bandleader began. "I have feelings for my cousin."

"We already figured that out."

Matt shrugged.


Timmy stared at me; I didn't know why. Then he looked down at the carpet. "I tried to kill myself."

"Yeah, you almost took your Mom's pills."

"No, there was a time after that. After we met. Matt knows. Genie saved me."

"But why—"

He held a hand up. "It wasn't due to any problem with the band. It was an obsessive guilt trip that wouldn't leave me alone."

I stood up and shook a finger at him. "You come talk to us before you try anything like that again."

Timmy stared up at me and nodded.

"If we lost you, Timmy, what would we do?"

He waved the notion aside. "It's past."

Patrick grabbed Timmy's arm. "I'm scared now."

Timmy put a hand on his friend's clutching arm. "Patrick, really, the problem is in the past."

"But what if a new one comes up? You won't try to kill yourself then?"

Timmy shook his head. "No, I—"

Patrick held his hand out significantly. Timmy sighed and lay his hand on top. "No more looking to suicide as a solution," he promised. Matt and I lay our hands on as well.

"Really, fellas, it's an old problem," Timmy remarked.

"Why'd you keep it a secret from us?" I asked.

"I didn't want you to feel hurt. It really had nothing to do with you. Matt knows because he found out shortly after it happened."

Matt made eye contact with me. "Danny, you've got a strong spirit. You may not realize it, but Timmy, Patrick, and I are extremely fragile."

There was silence for a moment. "Then I want to be fragile, too."

"Has suicide ever occurred to you?" Matt wondered.

I thought back and shook my head. "I don't understand the concept." More silence. "I shouldn't have started this tell-all game."

"No no," Timmy blurted. "It feels good to finally get things out in the open."

"I just want us to be as close as can be. No secrets between us."

"Well, there aren't now," Timmy pointed out.

"As close as can be?" Matt repeated incredulously. "Man, when we fall asleep, we have the same dream. How much closer can we get?"

"We will be so close that even death will not be able to separate us." I lay down on the floor. The other fellas joined me, in a circle, our heads touching. Timmy had his feet up on the wall, and Matt had his up on a bed, due to lack of space in our hotel room.

We fell asleep.

We had a dream.

It is for us alone to know.


We had time to visit Patrick's childhood home in Dedham, not far from the concert site in Boston. Someone else was living in it, of course. Patrick just pointed at the outside and shrugged. Braver than he, I knocked on the door. A nice old lady answered the door, and she didn't mind us looking around inside. We climbed the stairs and saw Patrick's old bedroom, and that of his mother. The ceilings of both rooms were slanted.

The lady, Mrs. Andrews, handed Patrick a small stack of cardboard papers stapled together. "I found this one year while spring cleaning. Is it yours?"

Patrick looked at it. I stood on tiptoes to peer over his arm. On the first sheet of paper was a crude crayon drawing of a dog. Above it, equally crude lettering spelled out Muffin. "I forgot about this," Patrick said.

"That's the dog you used to have," I remarked.

Patrick nodded, and thumbed through the handmade book. Then, all of the sudden, his lip began to tremble, and next thing I knew, he was crying on Matt's shoulder. Helplessly, I glanced at Timmy. "The dog died," he reminded me softly, grasping my wrist.

"She was only ten!" Patrick protested. "Why can't dogs live forever?"

"Now dear," Mrs. Andrews said, laying a hand on his shoulder. "Don't you believe that all dogs go to heaven?"

"Do they?"

"The Bible says for us to store up treasures in heaven. If Muffin was a treasure, then she should be there, don't you think?"

Patrick nodded. He regained some of his composure. "I want lots of dogs in heaven." He hugged Mrs. Andrews before we went downstairs.

Out back were rows and rows of vegetables. We four were walking through them and kept hearing a noise, like that of a great beast. We followed it to the back of another house. On the porch, in a giant cage, was this huge parrot! From its head to the tip of its tail, it was as big as me! The bird looked up and its pupils grew small and it said, "Err!", like it was happy to see us and all.

"Hello, pretty bird," Timmy greeted.

"Naughty!" the bird replied. "Naughty! I'm a naughty bird."

Some kid came out back and he told us the bird was a blue and gold macaw and his name was Winston—if it was a male. The boy didn't really know. Imagine going through life being called a guy when you're really a chick!

Hartford, CT

We stopped in Hartford today. It gave Timmy a chance to see his father. He hadn't met with him since before the band formed. Patrick and I had seen him once or twice while he was still taking care of a few details in California before moving permanently to Connecticut. Matt had never met him. Nonetheless, Timmy was so nervous he practically wanted Matt to hold his hand.

Mr. Marvin Rowe met Timmy in the pool area of our hotel. They sat at one table; Matt, Patrick, and I just hung around, not interfering as per Timmy's request, unless he desperately needed backup.

Mr. Rowe didn't know how to begin a conversation. "So, these are your three lovers then?"

"Dad, they are my friends—my bandmates—not my lovers."

"Still sticking to that story, huh?"

Timmy sighed in exasperation. "Look, do you want me to be gay?"

"No, I want-"

"Well, it certainly seems like that's what you want to believe when you won't let me explain the truth."

"What other explanation can there be? You're freakin' gay!" Mr. Rowe stood up. "I should've known all my sons would fail me. Mark killed himself. Marty rebelled, and you go gay."

I wanted so intensely to shout at Mr. Rowe, shout that maybe he was the reason his sons went "wrong", but Timmy just shook his head. "Well," my friend said in measured tones. "I have tried. That's all I can do. Some other time maybe. Some day down the road."

Mr. Rowe nodded curtly and left.

We all gathered around Timmy. He gestured for us to give him space. He took off his shoes and rolled up his pants and sat at the edge of the pool, tears running silently down his cheeks.

"Matthew—" Patrick began concernedly.

"Shh. He wants to be alone," Matt advised.

"But don't you think-?" I broke in.

"What if Mr. Rowe comes back?" Matt whispered. "And sees us hugging?"

"I think I'll go drown myself in this pool," Timmy muttered—rather loudly for a mutter.

My sympathy vanished in an instant, replaced by a flash of anger. "Is that your answer for everything then—to drown yourself?"

Timmy looked at me, confused. "Wha-? Danny! I didn't mean-"

I shook my head. "Never mind. I don't know what that was all about."

Matt wouldn't let it go. "Oh, sure you do. You're worried that any time Timmy gets majorly upset, that he'll get suicidal."

Timmy was at his wit's end. "I'm not—Really—I-"

I stepped closer to him. "I know. It's just when you said that it reminded me of the time you nearly did drown yourself out back and didn't tell us until just recently."

"Come a bit closer. I didn't hear you," Timmy said, in nearly a whisper.

"I said-" He grabbed my leg and tossed me in the pool! The dirty scoundrel! I'd been tricked! I tell ya, I'm starting to lose my skills as a trickster. "Why'd you do—(glub)—why'd you go and do that for, Timmy? It's freezing!"

"I thought I'd drown you instead of myself," Timmy said with a smile.

I yanked at his leg. "Don't you know if you drown me, you drown yourself?" He slid in, not as dramatically as I had hoped. Still, he was in the water, fully dressed.

"Look at you two," Matt chided, while Timmy splashed me frantically. "Look at them, Patrick." The docile boy did as he was told, and soon found himself shoved in by Matt, who jumped in immediately afterward-to keep himself from being pulled in by one of us, no doubt.

"Well, if I wasn't celibate before, I am now," Matt remarked cryptically.

"What do you mean?" I wondered.

"I have a sud-sudden urge for a blanket and a fireplace," Patrick said, his teeth chattering.

"Then let's ditch this crazy scene," Timmy suggested, climbing out of the pool. We followed suit.

It was now colder out of the pool, or so it seemed. We huddled together for warmth. "You're not mad at me?" I asked Timmy timidly.

"Naw. For being concerned for me?"

"What is this?" a voice demanded. We looked up to see Mr. Rowe. "I go away for a few minutes and you're all soaked in your everyday clothes and clinging together like a bunch of newborn puppies!"

"Well, it's like this," Timmy began, but he seemed casual about it.

"Don't you kids have any sense of responsibility? Of decency? None of you is ever going to make it in the world." He made the last statement as if pronouncing a curse on us.

"Dad, we're on tour with Mary and Larry!"

"But you're not stars yet." He threw up his hands in resignation. "Oh, I'm through with you! Through trying! You try to raise a boy to be responsible, manly, and heterosexual, and this is what happens!" He stalked off.

We looked at Timmy in concern. He looked back and shrugged. "He's beyond reasoning. What can I do?"

"Well," Matt said, and let out a low whistle. "Let's get upstairs and change into some dry clothes for a start."

We walked through the lobby and hallways, still dripping wet, and receiving a fair share of stares.


They say you live and learn. I guess I learned today. I don't much care for being taught a lesson!

We had one of our first fan scenes at this big posh hotel in Cincinnatti. Some girls recognized us from the show the night before, and started screaming. "Run!" Matt yelped, and he and Timmy and Patrick took off. I followed, but then I thought, isn't it our running that's got the girls after us?—'Cause they were at our heels by this time. Sometimes if you're being chased by a dog and you stop, the dog runs right past you. Besides, I thought, what's the most harm a bunch of doe-eyed teenage girls can do?

Well, I was lucky to escape with my life. They got my shirt, torn right off my back. One girl nearly choked me pulling off my love beads.

Then a few cops appeared down the way me mates had disappeared. They beat off the girls—not that they hurt them—and escorted me out of there.


We're in Cleveland tonight, that city they always referred to when they needed a random city to refer to in that show The Many Romances of Toby Willis. I'd like to see what all the fuss was about with Cleveland, but the fellas are too tired to venture out.

We got to talking about the TV show:

TIMMY: Hey, Toby's beatnik friend was one of us, man!

PATRICK: Yeah, and that Mulligan character the same actor played. Everyone says me and Mulligan are alike.

ME: So we have two fictional characters to add to our band—Reynard and Mulligan. The Four Innocents Plus 2.

TIMMY: Reynard played bongos.

PATRICK: I think Mulligan played bamboo drums in one episode.

MATT: You guys, people are trying to sleep, you know!

TIMMY: What people are those?

(Matt sighs with exasperation and puts pillow over his head.)

ME: I'm just gonna finish up with the tour journal, Matt. Then I'll settle down. I can't account for the Watchdog Pups, though.


We went to a theme park called Wonderwood—more basic than Hopeland. Less aimed at every member of the family. Here, it was best to come already equipped with a taste for danger.

Timmy and Patrick wouldn't go on the roller coasters. Then Matt and I got the idea, simultaneously and telepathically, to bribe them. We offered Timmy two ethnic dinners on the road, and when we got back home, a day trip over the border to Mexico. We promised Patrick a puppy. Patrick would hear nothing of it.

Timmy stood in line with us, nervous and fidgety. I tried joking with him but I don't think it helped. We waited about forty-five minutes in that line, and just when it was our turn to go on, and what do I see out of the corner of my eye, but Timmy, running away to Patrick and safety!


The guys and I and Mary and Larry had time to while away fishing on a lake. Nice and slow and peaceful—and a welcome change of pace—until Patrick somehow fell in the water! And Timmy, of course, had to leap in after him! I don't know if he was trying to rescue his bandmate or just joining in on the fun. They weren't far from shore anyway.

Then Patrick caught a fish—for a split second—in his mouth! The fish leaped right up and out of the water! Patrick spit and seemed not to hear Matt's and my congratulations. "Taste icky!" he commented. "I'm gonna need another orange drink and some chips."


In the park, Larry's birthday party was over. The birthday boy and Mary had ducked inside. I was talking to Matt, who was leaning against a tree. Suddenly, I glanced at Patrick. He had a huge dab of frosting on his finger, and he was licking it. "Patrick! Mind your manners!" I chided in a teasing way.

He shrugged and glanced at Timmy. I followed his gaze. Timmy, kneeling on the picnic bench, had his face down in the cake, licking up trails of frosting and biting, dog like, into leftover cake. "Timmy!"

He looked up, frosting on his chin. "I like the flower parts best." He wiped his chin with his fingers. "There's so much frosting and it's so sweet!"

"You don't need to resort to canine behavior!" I insisted.

"And there's no need for you to eat like a horse," he retorted, and resumed grabbing chunks of cake with his mouth.

"All right, that does it!" I said, walking over to the bench. I neatly cut off a corner piece. "Timmy." He looked up. I plastered the piece on his face.

He looked at me—what he could see of me through the frosting, that is. Then he grabbed the squeeze bottles of ketchup and mustard and squirted condiments all over my face.

I tore off another piece of cake and threw it at him. He poured the ketchup and mustard in my hair and rubbed it in like it was shampoo.

Next thing I knew is we were wrestling on the ground, getting filthy, and Matt was showering leaves on us while Patrick just stared, mouth agape. Then Timmy and I tired, and we lay in the dirt and grass and laughed.

Matt helped Timmy to his feet. "C'mon, we better start going before too many people notice Danny's hair."

A tramp passed by and we let him have the rest of the cake. Timmy confessed later he felt guilty for wasting food when hungry people were nearby. I just lightly slapped his face, and told him not to worry so much.

"Waste not, want not," Matt said cryptically.


On the way from Jacksonville to Miami, we just had to stop near Orlando, to see the grounds on which Hopeworld is to be built. Our celebrity status got us onto the restricted grounds.

Some foundations were already there, and the land had been cleared. Everything was staked out, so our guide could point out where everything would go.

Timmy was so excited. He would gaze up into the sky and measure out with his hands where a castle or haunted house or woodland cottage would be. Then he knelt down by the ground, letting some dirt sift through his fingers. "Do you feel it, guys? This ground is magic. Already it's exuding magic!"

"It's neat," Patrick agreed.

"We are definitely gonna come back here when it's finished."

"Careful how you phrase things, Timmy," Matt warned—for what reason escaped me. "We don't know what could happen in the next couple of years."

Timmy, still kneeling, looked up. "We can come though, right?"

"I hope so."

Timmy stood, smiling. "Hope? Hope we'll go to Hopeworld?"

"There's where the Phantom Mansion is going to be," I pointed out.

"Yeah, I know, Steve showed us," Timmy reminded me.

"I wonder if it'll be just like the one at Hopeland," I continued. "Let's pretend we're on it. Might as well take a ride while we're here."

So we spent most of the day making up our own rides.

New Orleans

Timmy wanted each of us to order a Cajun or Creole dish, but when Matt and Patrick stuck to basic fare, he ended up having to order crawfish, etouffée, and jambalaya all for himself. I had a po' boy. "That looks like a plate of big ol' bugs!" I remarked when his plate of crawfish arrived. "How do you eat that stuff anyway?"

"I don't know," he confessed sheepishly.

Then we went to a park and listened to jazz all afternoon. Timmy was in a culture-lovin' heaven. But there would be hell to pay. Back at the concert hall, he got a splitting headache and threw up half his food backstage. He made it through the concert only by sheer willpower. Matt forever banned him from pigging out on strange food.

That brings us to a dilemma we have often thought upon. The Consorts once did a short tour without Tom-Tom, because he was having his tonsils removed. What if one of us was sick or injured to the point where he just couldn't go on? Would it be just three of us? Or would we hire a substitute? Stubborn as we are, we pledged it would always be all four of us, or none of us, going on stage, 'til death do us part.

St. Louis

I don't learn from my mistakes, I tell ya. I encouraged the fellas to let a couple of fans up to our room, just to visit for awhile. Well, what does one of the first of them do as soon as she gets her feet through the door? She kisses me. Maybe that doesn't sound too shocking to you, but let me tell you the full story. She picked me up off the floor like I was a little baby—and then she stuck her tongue in my mouth! Ace and those Fig Leaf chaps will probably kill me when I tell them I didn't enjoy it, but what can I tell you—I'm a natural-born celibate. Besides, she tasted of cigarettes.

Kansas City

The girls we invite to our room are getting nicer than that smoky French kisser. Most of them are shy and blush a lot. They're grateful to share a few moments with us.

The fellas and Mary and Larry are noticing a trend: I'm getting a lot of attention. I think it must be the novelty of my height—four foot six. The girls think I'm their little toy boy. The other fellas are surely better looking than me, though. And, for goodness' sake, it's Timmy who sings lead on our single!


We were at Four Corners today, and we took turns—the four of us each standing in one state (Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico), then we would move on to the next state, and hold hands to form a circle. "Now we have a friendship that transcends all boundaries," I remarked.

Later, Timmy enjoyed shopping for sand paintings and pottery at the stands the Navajo had set up around the park.

I saw a cute Navajo girl. She was six, and in pigtails. She was learning how to string up beads.


We had time to see the Grand Canyon today. Patrick and I were awed—no surprise there. Matt was appreciative, but he'd seen it before. Timmy, who had been excited about the visit, totally freaked out when he saw the great heights one could fall from. He wouldn't even come near the edge; he stayed near our bus. But Timmy's remark as we moved on was, "I expected it to be more bare orangey red rock. There was too much plant life."

San Antonio

We were in Texas—no time to go to Matt's relatives' house while we were there. But Uncle Luke, Billie, Zelda, Aunt Hilda, Nathaniel, and Mirabelle came by the hotel before the concert, same as the Winwards did in Albuquerque. They stayed as special guests at the shows in both cities—the first time Matt's relatives had actually seen us in concert.

Portland, Oregon

We were in Portland and Timmy's mom and grandmother visited us. We had lunch at a seafood restaurant. Timmy's mom asked him about girlfriends. "Mom!" he protested uselessly.

Grandma Penelope came to the rescue. "Pshaw! He has plenty of time ahead of him to look for girls. Don't rush him! I, for one, am in no hurry to see him grow up."

Well, I don't know about girlfriends giving you "grown up" status, but Timmy was glad for her protest.

We met again after the show in the hotel lounge. We Innocents got non-alcoholic drinks, of course. Timmy, his mom, Penelope, and I talked of this and that. Matt and Patrick didn't join in much. Sleepy Matt was resting his head on the bar. Patrick seemed to find something supremely fascinating about his soda, the way he was staring at it.

Penelope is an interesting woman. She has gray hair like a grandmother should, but few wrinkles on her face—mostly around her eyes. She looks quite lean and young and healthy for someone who has a nearly grown grandson.

When we stood up and prepared to go, she pinched Timmy's cheek and said, "Don't change, kiddo. Even if you do get married, keep some of that innocence."

"Oh, I'll stay innocent," Timmy promised.

"I—" She stopped suddenly. She has been going to casually say something and then she stopped.

"What?" Timmy asked.

"Nothing," she told him, then contradicted herself by saying, "I just had the strange feeling I'm not going to see you again."

"Oh, you'll be around for plenty more years, Grandma Penelope."

She looked confused. "No…I…" She shook her head. "Never mind. It was probably nothing. Just fear, I guess."

So we parted, Penelope and Eunice for their home, and us for our hotel room.

Las Vegas

I call this entry "Three Cherries and Four Innocents." We were in Las Vegas to play at the Wellington Wager, owned by Monica's father. Timmy enjoyed the slot machines. I overheard a conversation between him and Matt:

"Timmy, what are you doing?" Matt demanded, sounding shocked.

"Honest, Matt, I've got a system," Timmy countered, slipping another coin into the slot machine.

"Oh, don't give me anything about any system of most common numbers to show up or whatever."

"Huh?" Timmy was startled. "No, no, not that kind of system. What I meant is that I never play more than five dollars, and any money I win from that original five dollars. And I never make any exceptions, cause once you start doing that, you go into addiction."

Matt sighed. "Well, you make sure you don't make an exception to the rule of not making exceptions."

"Oh, I won't," Timmy reassured.

"It's funny, man," Matt observed. "My parents raised me to believe gambling was a sin. And you, the king of guilt trips, don't have any problem with it."

"Well, there's an exception to everything," Timmy said. Seeing Matt's worried face, he explained, "I meant an exception to my guilt trips. Now you're always trying to get me off one, so don't put me on one."

"Okay, okay," Matt complied.

Before Matt walked off to see what Patrick was doing, Timmy brought up one more point. "And there's one other rule I have."

"What's that?"

Timmy placed another quarter in the slot machine and pulled the handle. "Always stick with the same machine, cause as soon as you leave to try your luck with another machine, that's the turn that the three cherries would have come up on your original machine."

"That would figure," Matt agreed. He watched as Timmy pulled the arm down and pictures of fruit spun around. Three cherries weren't the final result, but a light shower of nickels rained from out of the machine. "Wow."

"That's only a couple of bucks," Timmy told him, spooning the coins out into a cup. "See, I could keep these, or I could play them, according to my rules. Even if I end up feeding all my coins back into the machine, at my original five dollars, I still had fun."

"Yeah, whatever," Matt said.

A man stood over Timmy's shoulder, watching him as he played. Timmy didn't pay much attention at first, but it was obvious that he was becoming more and more uncomfortable. "Sir?" he inquired.

"Oh, nothing, just waiting my turn," the man said. Timmy glanced suggestively at the other slot machines, a few which were available to play. The man took his hint. "This is my lucky machine."

"Oh, well, I only have a few coins left to play." He put one more in, and came up empty. The man was emitting very hostile vibes by this time. "Okay, okay, I'll go play one of the other machines."

"Thank you," the man said, and took Timmy's place. With his last two nickels, Timmy went to another machine in the parallel row, but glanced back at the impatient stranger. The man pulled the arm down, and three cherries fell into place.

"Aaarrrghhh!" Timmy growled to himself, yanking down on the arm of his new machine without having placed any coins in the slot.

"See, I told you it was lucky," the man remarked.

I could just see Timmy's conscience fighting back his urge to give the stranger a sharp kick in the shin. "Congratulations," he said meekly.

Later, we found out bad news. The Fig Leaves were also in town, playing another hotel! They thought it would be a big joke if they sent a hooker up our room. We took her in, talked to her, gave her a Fizzy Cola, but that's all. By the end, we had her agreeing to go to church!


I don't believe it! Larry had things all setup to record his and Mary's concert tonight, and he recorded us, too! He says, you never know, a live performance of us on record might be in demand someday.


We had an extra day in Hawaii. Timmy had looked up Maylea's number the night before, and she and her surfer boyfriend Ted showed up to help Timmy adjust to the Hawaiian waves. Ted's a few coconuts short of a tree. Timmy was a bit rusty—he hadn't been on the California waves for a while, nonetheless the ones in Hawaii. The waves were chasing him like big, angry dogs biting at his heels.

Then it happened—Timmy majorly wiped out and disappeared beneath the waves. We didn't see him for what seemed like a few minutes, but probably was only a minute. We were all ready to plunge in after him when suddenly his head popped up, and he was sputtering. "Man, that's enough for one day!"

That night, with Mary and Larry, and Maylea and Ted, we were at a luau. The lovely ethnic girls helped take Timmy's mind off Maylea having a boyfriend. It doesn't bother me to see an old date with a guy, but it makes Timmy a little sad and wistful in spite of his celibacy.

Los Angeles

Our last concert was at the Hollywood Bowl, back in good ol' California. After the concert, the four of us looked at each other backstage, and each let out a breath of air, as if we had just completed a day's worth of hard labor.

"Well, let's go home," Matt said. "See if it's still there."

"Wait!" cried Mary, popping up suddenly. "What about the wrap-up party?"

"Well, I dunno," Matt began. "We're tired—"

"There'll be cake!"

"Cake!" Timmy exclaimed. "With frosting?"

Mary giggled. "Of course, silly! And soda and chips."

"The salty, potatoey kind?" Patrick asked.

Mary rolled her eyes. "You two! Yeah! There'll be potato chips! C'mon!"

"Can we, Matt?" Timmy pleaded.

Matt looked at me. I shrugged. "Oh, okay," he agreed. "Just don't eat the whole cake."

Santa Virginia

After the party, Harold the limo driver brought us home. It was technically the next day.

Matt turned on the light. "Everything looks strange," Timmy remarked.

"I'm gonna just go to sleep with my clothes on," Patrick announced, stretching his arms in back of his head.

"I didn't notice you had been sleeping in the nude," I remarked wryly.

"Yeah, when did you start doing that?" Timmy joined in.

Patrick was too exhausted to play along. "You know what I mean!" He marched up the stairs.

Matt, Timmy, and I glanced over the house, making sure everything was in place. Timmy guzzled down a cola from the refrigerator. "Now you won't be able to get to sleep," I told him.

He shrugged nonchalantly. "Never effects me."

We went up to our bedroom. Patrick was lying face up on the bed, mouth hanging open, already asleep, not even having bothered pulling the sheet up over him. "True to his word," I said. "In his street clothes."

"He didn't even take off his shoes!" Timmy pointed out.

I sat down at the foot of my bed, "Well, fellas, we made it through our first tour. I think we can handle this fame and success thing."

Matt, who had been mostly quiet since reaching home, spoke up. "Danny, this is just the tip of the iceberg."

"I hope so, Matt, I hope so." I pulled off one of my bowling shoes, the red and green one. The other one's blue and yellow. "Well, I, for one, am not sleeping with my shoes on."