Jordan in Okarito
Kim and Jordan - 1
They had a couple of days to settle in, it was a long weekend so Monday was a holiday, (for some).
Kim's mother had been shopping so her kids were wearing their new uniforms when they fronted-up to school on Tuesday. Jordan's mum was not that organised, they had to go shopping after they'd signed-in and left the office.
So, Kim started, in year 9 on Tuesday morning and Jordan came in to year 10 after lunch.
They'd both been out exploring the town in the weekend, but they hadn't met or even seen each other. Neither of them had seen that kid with the pack of dogs either. Kim had decided that he probably had a job walking other people's dogs – after all, no-one would have that many dogs would they?
Jordan hadn't thought of that, but he probably would've agreed.
That Steve was at home all weekend. He was a truck driver so he'd be away on the road a lot – the more the better as far as Jordan was concerned. Steve didn't help at all with the moving in and getting things sorted – the lazy sod! It wouldn't have hurt him to, at least, mow his lawns and tidy the yard up, but he didn't. He just sat around watching TV.
Jordan made himself scarce, as much as he could, before anyone got any bright ideas about him doing the lawns. The town library had free wireless internet, as most libraries did these days, so he took his laptop down and sat in there to go online. That was good.
He could've done that at home but they didn't have wireless there. Plus, he'd rather be out of the house and well away from lawn-mowers and other nasty things.
He was on-line almost as much as he was out exploring. He would've spent even more time there, but his friends back home weren't on-line much. They were out and about, having a life - damm them.
Tuesday lunchtime, he arrived at the school in his mostly-new uniform. His mother had been delighted when she found that the shorts he already had from his old school were the same as the ones required here. Also, the Op-Shop had some used school uniforms.
Jordan was horrified! He didn't want to wear someone's cast-off clothes – what if they recognised them on him? He'd die of shame. He protested a lot and they compromised by buying only a second-hand jacket which was the most expensive item on the list. The rest they bought new.
He went through the school buildings and sat on a bench seat out at the back, in the watery sunshine. A group of girls was going passed and one of them, the shortest one, stopped and studied him.
He sat looking back. She was almost, but not quite, as short as he was and she was a pretty girl. Okay, she was stunning – blonde and beautiful with big blue eyes and delicate features. He be very interested if he wasn't gay.
She nodded as she made a decision and she came over and said, "You're sitting in my seat."
"He shrugged and said, "So?"
"So get out of it. Move your arse!"
He shrugged again and said, "Fuck off."
"What did you say to me?"
"You heard me."
"Yeah, I did." She sat down next to him and smiled. "I like you. What's your name?"
"Jordan Houston. What's yours?"
"Bonnie Wilson. You're new here, what year are you in?"
"Year 10. What're you?"
"You're year 10, really? Small aren't you?"
"Yeah. I have noticed that. You're not so big yourself. Are you in year 10?"
"I am not! I'm year 11 and I'm bigger than you, Shorty."
"Not by much. You're year 11? You don't look it."
"I've noticed that too.You're pretty cool, Jordan Houston. What music are you in to?"
"I like Metal – Chelsea Grin mostly, but others too."
"A man of good taste. I love Chelsea Grin, they're nearly as good as Megadeath. I knew you're okay."
"I think I like you too, but they're better."
"Are not! We'll have to educate you. Where're you from?"
"From Brownsville and I'll be going back there as soon as I can. "
"Don't be in too much of a hurry. Where are you living?"
They sat and talked until it was time to go in to their separate classes. Jordan was well pleased – not even 5 minutes in the school and he'd made a friend already. Shame she was a girl, but a friend's a friend. It was a good start.
Kim was not so happy. It looked like an okay school and he was in year 9 where he should be, he was 13, but all the kids seemed so much younger than him. Maybe it was just the difference between a city school and a small town one.
He was used to much bigger classes, but they had an interesting way of seating here. All the tables were pushed together to make one big one which they all sat around like they were in a boardroom. He was not sure if he liked it. It was different to what he was used to. Maybe he'd like it, in time.
Still, the people were friendly enough and he was delighted to see that they had an active Performing Arts Department. He was no actor but he did love his music, so he made a time to show them what he could do.
It was lunchtime the following day before she could fit him in and he met the teacher there then. She welcomed him and said that her name was Hailey Clayton.
"Clayton?" he said."Are you related to the Miss Clayton at the Royal Hotel, Miss?"
"I am. Miss Clayton is my great-aunt."
"She's a scary lady."
"She can be, but she's not that bad really. My father always said that she's got a big heart in there somewhere. You must be from the new family in the hotel. Now, what are you going to do for us?"
"Well, I'll . . " he looked around. "Is the piano in tune?"
"Well then, I'll play you the best tune ever written."
"The best ever? That's a big claim. Okay, Kim Harrison, show me what you've got."
He sat at the piano, opened the lid, flexed his fingers and started with some quiet warm-up exercises which morphed into the opening bars of Beethoven's 5th Symphony.
The teacher sat back smiling and closed her eyes as the music washed over her. That soon stopped when it changed again and he launched into 'Roll Over Beethoven', sung and played in the style of his all-time favourite, the best piano-performer ever - the early Jerry Lee Lewis.
The tempo sped up and he stood and kicked the piano stool aside. He raked his fingers along the keys, like his idol did. It was more of an impersonation than a performance and he was having a great time.
Miss Clayton was not. "No, no,no, no, no!" She waved his hands away from the keys. "That'll be enough of that. Kim, that was awful!"
"You didn't like it?" Kim was genuinely surprised. It was old stuff but it still had the power to shock and that was good, wasn't it?
"No, I did not like that at all. There's no denying that you've got talent, but that was a dreadful noise. That's not the sort of music that the school can make use of – not at all."
She riffled through the sheet music under the seat of the piano stool and pulled out several pages.
"This is the sort of tune we like. Or this, or this. Why don't you play me one of these and we'll see how it goes?"
"Those?" he looked disdainfully at the pages and shook his head. "No thanks. I'm not playing them, they're rubbish."
"Rubbish? What do you think that, that what you were playing, was?"
"It's music, good music and that's what I like."
"I'm afraid that you're all by yourself there. Kim, nobody likes old-time rock anymore. I don't, the school doesn't and the kids don't either."
"Well I do and that's all that matters."
"No it's not. It'd be fine if you were justplaying for yourself, but when you're playing for an audience it has to be what they want to hear."
"Sounds like selling out to me."
"Maybe it is, but everything in life comes down to buying and selling. If you want my time and money, then you have to give me something in return. If you're playing for me you need to play what I like. Just try one of these tunes."
He had another look, they were still rubbish as far as he was concerned. He shook his head. "I don't think so. How about 'Jambalaya'? That's an ace song."
"No thanks. Only you think that. Don't you see that you have to give the people what they want?"
"What you want, you mean. I'm not playing that stuff."
"We're wasting our time here, aren't we?" She started tidying the papers together. "Good day, Kim. Come back and see me when you're prepared to be more cooperative."
"That won't be happening. Thanks for nothing, Miss Clayton."
He walked out, fuming, and he flopped on a bench seat outside. A dark-haired boy and a blonde girl, both much shorter than him, stood looking down at him.
"Bombed out, did you?" the boy said.
"You what?" Kim screwed his face up as he looked up, he was looking at the sun behind them. The music room windows were wide open, they must've heard everything out here. "She didn't like my music."
"I'm not surprised," the girl said. "It sounded like an explosion in a music shop."
"It was supposed to, kind-of. I don't care if no-one likes it, I do."
"Good for you." The boy sat down on the ground. "I kind-of liked it too, it was different. What would you call that stuff?"
"Music," Kim said. "It's early rock 'n' roll. Rockabilly, I think it's called."
"Early rock and roll?" The girl scoffed. "Ancient bloody history! Can you play metal?"
"Not on a piano. I don't much like that crap anyway."
Well, you just lost the vote. Looks like you'll be playing for an audience of one."
"No, for two," Kim said. "I like it."
"I meant you'd be playing for yourself."
The boy said, "I used to play in a group at my old school. We were crap. Well, mostly – Ashton was pretty good. I think you're better than the rest of us anyway."
"Thanks, I think."
"I dunno," said the girl. "Maybe you'd be okay if you played something decent. What's your name? Your're new here, aren't you?"
"I am new, I started yesterday and I'm Kim."
"Kim? Cool. I'm Bonnie and that's Jordan, under the hair."
"Hey, hey. Started yesterday, in what year?" said Jordan.
"Year 9. You?"
"I'm in 10 and Bonnie's 11. She's an ole lady."
"Oh sheesh." Bonnie stood up. "You're year 9, I can't be seen talkiing to you. It's bad enough that Jordan's in year 10."
"Fuck off then." Kim was still grumpy from being rejected and he didn't want any more dumping on.
"You're telling me to fuck off?" Bonnie sat down again. "No, I won't fuck off. I think I like it here."
"Bonnie likes people who curse at her," Jordan grinned. "She's a strange one."
"Me? You're the bloody weird one, Boy. So, Kim, where are you living and why are you here?"
"The parents have bought the Royal Hotel, so I'm living there, on the top floor."
"In the old pub? Cool."
The unlikely pair lifted Kim's spirits, especially Jordan. He had a big grin and he was fun to talk to. The cleaners were starting work, banging their bins and brooms around and casting dirty looks at them, so they decided it was time to go home.
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