It’s impossible to look good in a purple leisure suit.
That’s what Matt had told Zach, the band leader, but his plea had fallen on deaf ears. The equipment shed, where the band’s wardrobe had been kept, had been vandalized and the costumes had been destroyed. The only thing left that fit Matt was the purple leisure suit.
Matt played a decrescendo and looked over at the other members of the band; each wore outfits from previous productions, but none of them wore anything as remotely “unique” as what Matt wore. He felt like he was decked out in some wannabe Clyde Frazier’s pajamas. They finished playing the chorus. Jaybee and Colin, on the trombone and saxophone, each played a solo. The spotlight shifted to Robby who offered a drum fill and ended with Johnny and James who shredded on their guitars like they were auditioning for Judas Priest. Then they were on to the next verse.
It was the final night of the school’s production of “Godspell.”
Matt let his eyes wander until he saw Mr. Davies sitting in the front row. Davies taught math. He was one of those teachers who tried to be cool; kept a guitar in his classroom and sang self-deprecating songs. He fashioned himself like Elvis or Jim Morrison but came off more like Captain Kangaroo. He wasn’t a bad guy per se, but Davies had caught Matt playing Dig-Dug when Matt should have been finishing his proof; Davies had seen the reflection of the game in Matt’s glasses. He could have cut Matt some slack. Instead, Davies had thrown the book at him.
Matt hated math. Most nights, he’d crack the spine on his textbook and study transitive properties, exterior angle theorems, until his mind wandered, and he’d contemplate why there would be pictures of food in a math book? Pretty soon he’d follow the transitive property back to watching another movie about Zatoichi the blind samurai. It wasn’t that Matt was lazy; far from it. His aptitude to learn about the things which thrilled him was off the charts. The fact of the matter, though, was that being able to master Dig-Dug, and knowing the Best Picture Oscar winners, and their directors, from the mid-sixties onward, wasn’t a guaranteed path to fortune and glory. Perhaps he could join a professional retro games league or work at a 900 number for people who needed help with pop culture questions with the crossword puzzle? If a thing like that even existed.
Pretty soon Matt was overwhelmed and began to seethe on his seat as he continued to play “Turn Back, O Man.” He locked eyes with Davies, whose own brow was furrowed. Matt hoped Davies felt guilty about his earlier actions. What he couldn’t have known was Davies: middle-aged, male-pattern baldness, slightly overweight, had owned the exact same leisure suit in his younger days, and he was wondering what had happened to it? However, Davies’ suit had been rust-colored instead of purple.
Andrew Davie received an MFA in creative writing from Adelphi University. He taught English in Macau on a Fulbright Grant. In June of 2018, he survived a ruptured brain aneurysm and subarachnoid hemorrhage. His other work can be found in links on his website: asdavie.wordpress.com