It was spring again which meant the basketball season was now over which meant I could officially fall apart. The basketball season ended a success although we lost one game. A nail biter at home by one, TR the hippy ironically cost us the game on a flashy pass.
“Thanks for blowing our perfect season dick.” I had said to TR seconds after the loss, a painful game we should have won on our home floor. A apologized a day later after sleeping on it a night and hearing he might be suicidal. One loss was still good enough for sole possession of the league title.
It was my first spring in high school and I hadn’t yet gotten “laid.” To make matters worse the furthest I’d danced in this most vital life march was with an exchange student one could argue I’d taken advantage of. And I didn’t want to think of myself like that. I showed off for attention that scared me once I got it. And that meant girls, what I wanted like all the fellas more than anything. And that was validation much more than the cherry coke shady shit I conjured for kicks + loose ends. And I knew it. I was unable to check my insanity, at all, so I wondered how it was all going to end up.
I knew I could work a couple hoodie girls here and there. But that was just regret, I wanted my Felecia. It’s what I dreamed about going back to my unnatural attachment to the long running ABC daytime show, General Hospital. I didn’t just watch the episodes I taped them. I called the 900 # from our neighbors Friday's, Porsche and Mercedes. I couldn't wait until Monday. My mother sent away for Polaroid’s of her and Frisco, candid LA shit you’d mail away for calling promotional #’s ripped right out of Soap Opera digest which I read more than Sports Illustrated during Junior High. My hormones had kicked in full time and General Hospital melted my brain. I prayed deeply for the characters I cherished. I taped the episodes on VHS especially when Frisco disappeared only to come back and see Felecia marry Coltan who was being brain washed by the gangster Domino. I'd watch them on weekends. OH Frisco and Felecia why so hard did I fall? Well, Felecia was an Aztec princess blonde, caring, slinky and savvy. And Frisco, well he was an agent in the WSB but most importantly he would sing to her with this smile. The man had that thing. He could dance and was loved widely throughout Port Charles. And that’s who I wanted to be. The music box he sent to her when he was presumed dead impacted my life emotionally worse than any of my domestic dysfunctional slight. I’d watched it a hundred times. I thought if I could act like him I could get my Felecia.
I had General Hospital Trivia Pursuit. I had GH coffee mugs and trading cards. Mercedes and I would sprint off bus 6 into her living room and race to the TV and ABC channel 5. I was truly obsessed. I knew I was good at basketball but not great. I believed my class was great. I knew we’d be state champions as seniors but I didn’t think my Felecia would come from basketball. I wasn’t the best. I wanted to sing and act like Jack Wagner aka Frisco Jones. And I tried desperately. I’d open myself up to a lifetime of holiday ribbing for recording on blank tapes and distributing my first song, “Keeping it Together.” My voice was cracking for this rap / power teenage love ballad. B-Dawg was and still remains my music manager. And we had learned a valuable lesson in Junior High, I should probably rap. I couldn’t sing after my voice changed. And it was brutal. But I didn’t want to hear it, and B-Dawg was that great manager that always told you what you wanted to hear.
But we had seen, we were in high-school, there were new faces even in our same grade. And he had learned early when answering inquires from these new faces into rumors of my reputation, he’d change topic, say I was the next New Kid On The Block. And they were right down the street. And local hit maker Maurice Starr had done it again. New Edition were my hero’s and when he ran it back with white kids it went galactic. Little boy bands were everywhere. We had learned to leverage this along with my penchant for cheesiness, dancing and my love for General Hospital and Frisco. Over the winter we had released a single called, “Carl E is back” which jacked the beat and style of Heavy D’s, We Got Our Own Thang.
We copied and distributed ten singles which made small enough rounds that B-Dawg would begin coming up to me in between class with the oddest updates. “Carl, OK are you fucking ready for this?” I was. Part of our friendship was the constant stream of outrageous good / bad news we’d been delivering to each other for the past couple years.
“What now?” “OK, are you fucking ready?” He loved to do this. “Yes B-Dawg fucking spit it out.” “OK, OK, OK, Jesus, this is insane, OK Debbie Reynolds” Racing through words and convulsions he say the girls name slow, methodically. And I replied like routine in an equal drawn out, “O - K.” “Dude, she loves the Carl E is back, she said.” And he’d begin cracking up, “She said you’re really good looking guy dude!” And he’d scream jump up in the corner like we both made it. I’d turn bright red. “I mean can you believe that, did she see your ears! Braces, your in resource rooms our a fucking nightmare take loads of medication our fucking reta -! “
“OK! Jesus” He would never stop if I hadn’t - my old resource room buddy from the Warner Zone. A ¼ of the trouble I got into in Junior High was simply to make him laugh. “What else?” “She wants us to go over her house after school with Coleen and Amy, and she wants to have sex with you.” “What?” I asked floored as my heart dropped their. “She said you ready for this She said and I quote, you have to break it in at some point. Why not this afternoon?” “You gotta break it in at some point?” I was shocked and scared. But we learned. We could market me to a whole new audience. I knew since my Junior High Band the $mooth Adolescents with my air force base buddies audiences responded to seeing the dance moves of the day broken out by a few kids in cadence. We were white, black and mixed, prefect marketing combo I'd muse.
Throw in the fact we were writing our own shit, hey you never knew? You just had to be cute and dance was the way I saw it.
Now that I was a rapper I was happier. I'd almost come to terms with the fact that sung like Willard from Footloose danced, not at all. No longer would I be opened to the type of damage a high school career might not be able to withstand singing R & B in a cracked awful voice still believing no pride. Now I was on the right side of the tracks, I loved rap it’s just that people rarely saw the General Hospital side. I was still 80% façade but I could dance. I once spent an entire Saturday morning trying to spring to my feet off my back like Ren did in the warehouse during his one of a kind dance sequence in Footloose. When the town of Beumont finally caused him to snap! And I got it and used it for the next two decades. It’s how I’d get off the floor down the road when I made varsity basketball during home games. All for show.
But just like my gang before one thing remained, a name I needed a handle. And it was bigger than the gang. I wasn’t writing my knock off love songs of teenage retarded syndrome, I was incorporating myself my dysfunction and worries. And it rapped well B-Dawg applauded the new stuff.
Rap was a scary thing for white America back then. Young black teenagers running around with guns in big gold chains screaming “fuck the Police” on a polite day fueled white fright. The yuppie fright of rap always cracked me up and kept me coming back for more. An angry black man could walk past a white women in Astori and whisper “whoo” on the quick and the women might faint. Racial profiling was in full swing in Astori even back then, this included white kids that thought they were black. They had the Hubble telescope on me. Anyway I could see it in a teacher’s eyes and neck veins when I told them sternly (strong eye) and with great confidence that I was indeed black. Old White teacher, wrinkly, pulled down glasses with the strings on the sides says in an old English countryside I read a few books in my lifetime type of tone, “and how can you be so sure your black again Carl?” “How can I be so sure?” I’d smile and say back cockily “Well you do realize young man that your skin is white.” “Yeah but Mrs. Coleman have you seen me dance.” “Well “ “:Have you heard me rap” “I don’t believe I” “OK, and last one” Before she can even slip a syllable out, “Have you ever seen me play basketball?”
Grabbing my book bag keeping my cover as a student, “good night Ms. Pagan I mean Ms. Coleman have a good day, but I am black, real black.” I opened my eyes like I WANTED THEM TO POP OUT verbally stamping added proof to that of my continued color confusion. And since I still had the metal tracks on my “choppers” I grinned. Rap was stereotyped with such a knee jerk institutionalized reaction rooted in fear it was hard as a kid not to become obsessive about being intensely apart of it.
hahahahaha another 1.... Wedding day, F+F