The Red Dirt Circuit

Brad is dragged along to a convention in Texas by his parents. Left alone in the hotel while they attend the convention dinner, and told not to wait up for them, he decides to hit Sixth Avenue, take in the Austin music scene, and then return to the hotel, before his parents get back. The rewards are fraught with "complications."

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15. A Surprise Chance Meeting

Back on the stage, the band launched into their next set. More people from that night’s pub crawl washed through the doors and the dance floor filled in. Brad was glad he got there earlier because any reason now to leave, even for a bathroom break, meant the loss of his seat. More and more burnt orange-brown University of Texas shirts dominated the mob.

The school has to be huge. Brad couldn’t remember the exact estimate but figured it rivaled the big schools like Michigan and Oklahoma. The search began for dancers not wearing UT shirts. Brad spied a shapely one and his interest was growing until she turned around and Brad was stunned to see Jenn tossing her ponytail to the band’s beat. How, the hell did she get here?

Besides being awkward if she saw him, what could he possibly say to her, even nonchalantly? He was fresh out of lines, especially cool, casual banter. He could wonder out loud that now he knew why she was noncommittal about attending the gala.

The crowd was so thick he only saw glimpses of her and decided he’d stay out of her sight and then ask some questions tomorrow that might make her uneasy. He would she how cool she’d be handling her story and find out if she was interested in him or not. Maybe she was really out of his league.

The band finished the set and returned to the bar to relax. Brad figured he’d leave during their next set so he started a round of goodbyes. The guys thanked him for watching their sets and gave him the band’s website and Twitter contact. Brad promised to shop their website to his friends.

“I’ll let Paterson know you’re alive,” he said.

“That’s Wayne, not Paterson,” Jake corrected.

Jim leaned over Brad, “just say ‘Paterson’—it’ll make him sound tougher.”

Brad laughed and walked up to the manager and thanked him for letting him in on the band’s story. He sincerely told Skip that he expected the band to go places, especially if Sid kept improving.

“If you get to New York, let me know.”

“Yeah, if we ever make it outta this shit hole, you’ll be one of the first to know,” Jake said, laughing as Jim punched him in the shoulder and put a playful hold around his neck, still holding a beer bottle in his hand. Some beer sprayed out onto Jake’s shirt.

“Hey, you’re messing with my cologne.”

“I thought beer was your cologne,” Jim shot back.

Brad started to the front door and then thought better of it. Don’t want to bump into Jenn on the way out. Where’s that side door?

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