Memphis Black - MJ Fields

I look in the mirror one last time, noticing my hair is longer on top than it is on the sides. The gel I use to style it makes it look messy and black instead of dark brown. With my black boots, I stand at six-foot-three, and having spent an hour at the gym every night after school, I finally have great definition. I’m stage ready.

I walk out on stage with my guitar strung around my neck, pick in hand, waiting for the nerves to consume me. But they don’t.

Why? Because I’m a damn legend; that’s why. The stadium is sold out, and the crowd is going wild.

“Hello, New Jersey!” I hold the mic out for the crowd’s roar, and they give me exactly what I want.

“I am Memphis Black, lead singer and guitarist extraordinaire for—” Fuck, I hate this part. What the hell is the band’s name?

“Black Hawks,” my sister Madison whispers.

“The Black Hawks!” I yell to the crowd.

“That name is so lame.” I hear my sister’s friend Tally giggle.

“You two, out.”

“No, you said, if we videotaped this, you would—”

“Out!”

“Come on, it’s our first dance. We need to learn how!” Madison stomps her foot.

“Well, you didn’t hold up your end of the deal, now did you?” I lift the guitar strap over my head.

“Come on, please,” Madison says with huge eyes.

“Yeah, please,” Tally joins her.

I consider telling them to fuck off, but they would tell Mom. I consider a simple no, but they’d tell her that, too. Therefore, I choose the safest answer.

“Fine. But you both have to shut the hell up.”

Tally covers her mouth, looking horrified. The girl is a train wreck in epic, adolescent proportion. She has kinky brown curls and a ribbon always wrapped around her head. Freckles bridge her nose and dot her face, and she always wears cartoon character T-shirts. Today, it’s Care Bears.

“What now, Tales?” I huff.

“You said—”

“Hell?” I laugh.

She giggles again. “Yeah, you did.”

“You know what? I think the both of you should just stay home. All freshman girls do at a dance is stand in a corner, giggle, and look like dweebs.” I look at my sister. “Mads, if a boy asks you to dance, you’ll start laughing and snorting.” Next, I point at her friend. “Tall, you’ll get some big-ass grin.” I roll my eyes when she covers her mouth again. The little girl can’t handle a curse word to save her life. “Just keep smiling and laughing, and they’ll think there’s something wrong up in those crazy heads of yours. Besides, you’re both in that—I don’t know—the awkward stage: braces, boobs just budding …”

Tally covers her mouth again, while Madison starts to get really pissed off.

“I mean, look at that hair. Mads, you’re so used to wearing a ball cap you have permanent hat head. And you—” I can’t resist taking one more shot at Tally—“how the hell are you gonna get a comb through that kinky mess before Saturday?”

That’s when Madison finally screams for Mom. Tally just looks at me like that cat from the cartoon, the one with the big, green guy. Shrek? Yeah, Shrek. Puss, Puss in Boots. That’s what her face looks like.

Looking back at her, I almost feel kind of bad for giving them a hard time.

Mom comes in then and gives me the third degree. She tells me, “Girls are sensitive when they’re going through changes,” and that I should ‘be more thoughtful.’

Finally, I can’t take it anymore.

“Okay, Mom, fine. I will buy into their little girl fantasies about that girl with the blue dress, the one with the mice that turn into horses—”

“Cinderella.” In spite of herself, my mom laughs.

“Yeah, her.”

Her face goes from amused to suspicious. “What exactly are they doing in your room, anyway?”

“They were supposed to be taping my performance.”

I try not to smile as she gives me that look. I know exactly what she’s about to say: that my rock star fantasies are just as lame as some dumb fairytale with talking mice.

“It’s not the same thing, Mom. This is my dream, something I can actually make into a career one day.”

“I know, Memphis.” She pats my back, smiling. “But maybe their dream is to dance.”

“What do you mean, ‘we need a new name’?” I ask Nick DeAngelo.

Nick, or Nickie D as we call him, our manager, crosses his arms, the black ink on his dark skin peeking out from under his shirtsleeve. “Steel is used in everything now: the popularity of the tattoo shop, the business, the—”

“Not our