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We're Not Listening

Baby, I'm a Stupid Jerk! - Olli Lolli, pt. 4

It was a hell of a summer, and Olli Lolli ended up recording three full EPs by the time they had to go back to school. Granted, each EP only had two songs, but it still counted for something, and SkyTunes exploded with purchases from the band’s peers who admired their talent and dedication.

The first was entitled “Morning,” and the two songs on it were intentionally rough, the vocals echoing into the implied sunrise. After that had come “Day,” where the songs were brighter and poppier but with a bitter group of lyrics. “Night,” the final EP, was soft and romantic, holding a few of the best songs in the band’s entire repertoire.

Summer ended, and school wasn’t the only thing that was starting. 2006 meant that they were starting their junior year of the IB program, and there was hardly any time for them to breathe. On weekends they’d head to Rai’s studio he had built just outside of the city and lay down tracks for what would eventually be their first full-length album. Sometimes they’d even bring their homework in, filling out math problems in between recording bass and keyboards. It was a sign of their age.

At the very end of 2006, “Get Back Heart Attack” was released in stores and online, and Olli Lolli couldn’t be happier. It was a rush of stress lifted off of their shoulders when schoolwork was becoming too overbearing, and the success was enough to pay for whatever college they would eventually decide to go to.

Of course, it called for celebration. The band had met the other folks on the label, of course, everybody ranging from the hillbillies in Fire Motion to the cheery ska kids in The Max, but they’d never really hung out with them before. The Max liked to bust their chops for being younger than them, while Violence Ladies meshed with them in terms of music and personalities. There was a bit of friction with Fire Motion, though, and it stemmed from the fact that Justin Bryant, the bearded frontman, was a little too no-nonsense for the nonsensical Oliver Hanson.

The first time they met, Olli talked a little too much about how excited he was to meet him and how much he loved Fire Motion’s tendency to break genre boundaries. Justin stayed quiet the whole time and nodded every so often, but after ten minutes straight of his fanboying, he just had to say, “God, do you ever shut up?”

Olli laughed. Justin had metaphorically punched him in the gut, but he smiled anyway. In a teasing way, he called the older man a grump, earning a nice glare. Olli didn’t understand Justin’s lack of sarcasm. It’s probably why he made a point of being even goofier around Fire Motion’s singer, despite various insults tossed in his direction.

Justin just loved calling Olli gay. He didn’t know the truth, of course, and it certainly didn’t keep him from dubbing him names like “Fairy” or “Princess” whenever he could. Truth be told, he was kind of a dick about it, kinda like how Joshie tossed around the word “gay” before Olli came clean.

The weekend after “Get Back Heart Attack” was released, Rai threw a huge house party and invited everybody on the label, save for The Max, who was on tour at the time. The kids in Olli Lolli were barely 16 and had never been “cool” enough to even be offered alcoholic drinks, let alone actually drink them.

They handled their alcohol in much different ways. Gabriel ended up singing karaoke songs with Rai’s son Aaron, and Joshie ate all of the chicken wings and passed out on one of the staircases.

Olli had two drinks before ending up doubled over in the bathroom over the toilet. It was humiliating, to say the least – he’d heard of people being bad at holding down a drink, but who else puked after just two beers? Maybe it was his age. He was probably too young. Yeah, that was it, he told himself.

The door swung open and Justin Bryant was standing in the doorway, a bottle in his hand. He did a double take at the kid in front of him praying to the porcelain god, and he asked, “Holy shit, are you okay?”

He didn’t register the fact that Justin was being nice to him for the moment, so Olli looked up at him and said, “What’s it to you?” with spit hanging off of his lip. The room was spinning.

“You look like shit, kid,” Justin sighed, kneeling down. “How much did you have?”

“Two,” Olli burped.

“…Two what? Two shots, two glasses?”

“Two beers.” His face was red with sickness and embarrassment. “I know, I’m pathetic, you can go away and tell all your friends.” The splitting headache was screwing with his smile and he didn’t hesitate to sound rude.

Justin just chuckled. “Nah, you just can’t keep down your booze, it’s understandable.” It was probably just the image of his least-favorite label mate puking his guts out, but there was a twinge of pity coursing through him at the moment. “I’ll stay.”

“You really don’t have to. You probably shouldn’t.” He paused in order to wretch a bit more, but it was becoming a dry heave.

“Frankly I just had to piss and I didn’t expect to see you dying in here, so…” Justin deadpanned, patting the youth on his back. “Figure I might as well make sure you don’t choke or something.” As usual, thus came the dick joke. “Not like you don’t already choke on…you know.”

Olli wasn’t having that shit and ran a tired hand through his hair before hissing, “Justin, I am gay. Could you please stop with the jokes?”

His eyes got wide before he suppressed his emotions. “Oh. Uh…well, that’s cool. I can stop. Not like I have a problem with it or anything, I just…they were just jokes.”

“I know, but they kinda hurt.” Olli faced the toilet bowl again and coughed up more spit. “S’just…I didn’t know how your band would feel about, you know…me, since I know you guys hate me anyway even without the whole ‘gay’ thing. I told everyone else about it.”

“Dude, we just bust balls all the time, it’s our thing,” Justin explained. “That’s probably not a good way to put it, but, uh…yeah.” Always one to place the blame elsewhere, he pointed a finger at the vomiting teen. “You should’ve told me before so I wouldn’t have said that shit in the first place.”

Olli kind of smiled and cleared his throat. “You’re six feet tall, I was terrified of you.”

“Well…whatever.” Justin couldn’t think of a way to counter his reasoning. Both of them were drunk and one of them was half-dead and puking, so the only thing to do was make sure that Olli was alright, just as everybody else was making sure that Joshie passed out on his side and Gabriel didn’t land on anybody when he inevitably hit the floor. They were babies compared to the rest of the bands; it was natural to look out for them, anyway.
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