2009-06-23: "Mad Beats"

Original Airdate: Tuesday, June 23rd, 2009

Starring: "Miranda", "Dave", "Bryon"

Miranda.png Dave.png Bryon.png

Guest Starring: Michelle

Notes: Miranda, with Dave in tow, drives her daughter and Bryon to band practice.


Miranda's electric car moseys along the boulevard as its owner leans over the steering wheel, peering outside through the windshield up at the house she's getting closer and closer to. It's evening, but still bright and sunny here in the Valley. Besides her, the car includes the self-proclaimed "Uncle Dave" (what is he even doing here?) and her currently surly thirteen-year-old daughter in the back seat beside a guitar case covered in stickers. Despite being the mom figure of this posse, Miranda's dark hair is pulled into two long, unruly pigtails and she's holding a massive neon blue slushie and driving precariously with one hand and not looking at the road. "Is this it?" There's a noncommittal noise from the backseat. "Okaaay, taking that as a yes," she says, turning into the drive of the Crafts' house. "If this guy wears mascara and has a nose piercing, I'm not letting him in the car. I've known drummers. They can be bad news. Especially if they start young."

With a jangling chime, the door opens, and Bryon jumps out, banging out a brief rhythm on the railings with his black-and-yellow striped drumsticks as he descends the stairs. Gotta get practice in somewhere. He jogs to the car, opens the door and climbs in. "Uh… hey Michelle," he says with a sheepish grin. "We're meeting at Hector's place this time, right?" he asks, referring to their bass player. The group liked to rotate meeting at different members' houses for practice.

"Electric cars, don't leave much of a footprint, do they?" Dave says, taking a bite out of his Three Musketeers bar, followed by a light sip of his 32 oz. Slusho. He chews thoughtfully, watching the neighborhood stroll by as the car moves down the road. "Thinkin' about getting me one of these— or maybe a motorcycle. Of course, I'd probably wreck it and be in the hospital for weeks and when I get uot be unable to get it—" He stops talking, remember that there is a CHILD ON BOARD, and he simply goes back to drinking is Slusho. Why IS he here?

"Yeah, I'd wait 'til you have a job before getting a car— or a motorcycle," Miranda interjects as her own car stops to allow the new passenger. In fact, her car is still being jarred from the rather sudden halt she made when parking— the cherry-shaped air freshener hanging from the rearview mirror has been sent into an erratic series of swings. At least the car's doors don't lock and prevent Bryon's entrance. He passes that test.

"Hey," comes Michelle's subdued reply. (She's playing it cool.) "Yeah, Hector's. He has a sweet garage."

Oh God. Her daughter's in a garage band now? "Hi… there!" Miranda says with some vague version of cheer, peeking in the rearview mirror at the kids and waving a few fingers around her plastic slushie Slusho cup. "Bryon, right? Nice… drumsticks. Does anyone happen to know where this Hector lives, by any chance?"

"Over near the Silver, I think," Bryon says. "Doesn't he always talk about how he goes there all the time?" he asks Michelle, buckling up and settling in.

Looking back at Bryon as he gets in the car, Dave gives him an awesome wave and smile. "I'm Dave, your mom's new best friend," he says, taking a look at the drumsticks. "Dude! Sweet drumsticks, man. I play a pretty mean banjo myself." Which Miranda will get to experience one of these days. Probably at four in the morning.
Bryon grins, though he's a bit confused by Dave's reference to his mom. He didn't seem like the type to hang out with her… "Uh… if we need a banjo player we'll call you?"

"That's… helpful," Miranda deadpans toward the mirror— while still smiling. With that vague destination in mind, she pulls out of the driveway and back onto the boulevard. "The banjo? Really? I didn't know people still played those for real. Kind of like— ukuleles outside of Hawaii, banjos outside of… places… that play banjos. The south. I thought they were extinct. The Silver— that's the teenagery hangout on the Westside, right?"

Michelle helpfully leans forward and gives her mother a crumpled heart-shaped post-it with an address on it.

"Super," Miranda says drably and starts the journey to West L.A. with Dave and two kids, which, really, is basically like having three kids in the car.

"Oh you know it," Dave says to Miranda, taking another drink of his Slusho and finishing off the Three Musketeers bar. "Ukuleles," he snorts, shaking his head. "The banjo is a man's instrument. It'll put blisters on your fingers like no other instrument." Turning in his seat to look back at the kids, he directs his attention towards Bryon. Michelle seems awfully quiet. "So let's hear it. Lay out a beat for me."

Bryon is about to just sit back and chill looking out the window when Dave speaks up again. "Oh, uh…" he says, caught a bit off guard, "Let's see…" he says, tapping a bit on the side of the seat with his drumsticks to get a rhythm going, before moving on to more of a beat, using the seat cushions, his own knees, and the side of the car under the windows for varied tones.

Traffic. Die. Miranda makes due as best she can to get out of Studio City. Then, because A) Michelle is notoriously quiet (and quietly slouching in the backseat the more her mom's weird friend talks) and B) Miranda doesn't really want to listen to drumbeats for the entire car ride, even if Bryon is good, she interrupts the impromptu beats. "Great … rhythm, there, Byron! How long've you been playing?"

"It's Bryon, not Byron," says the boy, sounding as if he'd just been called "muffin" by his aunt. "And… about four years," he adds, answering her question.

"That's good, that's good," Dave says, looking at Miranda and then Bryon and then Michelle. "Gotta start young, that's how you get good at it. Then you get famous and become a rock and roll star, and then it's all awesome. Good times." He looks back to Michelle, leaning back in his seat. "What do you play?"

"Right." That's what she said, right? "Sorry. Bryon." Oh well. Miranda, not so spectacular with the names. She sips from her giant-sized icy beverage as she drives, glancing every so often into the backseat via the mirror. There's a break in traffic and she speeeeeeeds up on her way out of the Valley. Speed limit? Who needs it?

Michelle gives Dave an insulted look that epitomizes the essence of isn't it obvious, DUH?. After all, she's sitting beside a guitar case.

Bryon looks toward Michelle and grins. Yeah, that was kind of a dumb question to ask, wasn't it? Grown-ups can be so out of touch sometimes. "So, uh…" Bryon tries to think of something to talk to Michelle about, but can't come up with anything.

"What?!" Dave says, holding his hands up in front of him. "It looks like a guitar, but it could be a bass, for all I know! Just trying to make conversation." Crazy kids. Not as crazy as their mom, though, who's flying down the road like a bat out of hell. Crazy women.

Miranda weaves in an out of what traffic there is, sailing past a semi that looks like it could crush her car if a Santa Ana wind blew through and rocked it ever-so-slightly to the left. Miranda calmly sips her Slusho and switches lanes in front of the beast truck, likely jerking the passengers from side to side in the process. "So what kind of mad beats are you two going to jam out tonight?" …She's trying. She's a cool mom. Right? …Right?

Michelle promptly buries her face in her hand.

Bryon groans. "We'll see," he says with a sigh.

"What?!" Miranda says, on the defensive of her failed cool mom lingo — although she's only half serious about it. She gestures with her cup helplessly before putting it down. "So I'm not up on what music lingo kids are into these days. Until recently I didn't think preteens were in bands unless they were in a whacked out Jackson Five family or a travelling gospel group and we're clearly neither of those. How about you, Bryon? Music run in the family?" Isn't this a fun trip?

Bryon shakes his head. "Nah, my mom was on TV, and my dad's a reporter," he says. "This is just something I like to do."

"Good! Good for you. Both of you. Seriously. Doing creative things you actually want to do, at your age. …All three of you, actually. Can't forget the banjo." Miranda floors the gas yet again, only to be honked at by a convertible she tries to pass without much warning. She casually gives the driver the middle finger and keeps talking. "So a TV family, huh."

Bryon nods. "Oh yeah," he says with a grin. "And I'm trying to do that too… it's gonna be fun!"

"Of course you are." Miranda can't help the slightly bitter snap to her reply. It might have something to do with being the ex-wife of a Hollywood agent — she's seen more than her fair share of the acting world in this city. She glances in the rearview mirror, giving her daughter a wary look more than she does Michelle's bandmate. She plucks Hector's address from the dash and gives the address an eye before changing course now that the sprawl of the city is more obvious. "How long is practice in… Hector's garage expected to be?"

Bryon thinks. "Um… about half an hour I think this time… it's usually longer but I think he said he was doing something… volunteer work, or something like that," he says, idly tapping on his knees with his drumsticks again. "So we can't do much."

"Volunteer work? Christ. Well good for Hector. Future philanthropists of America right here." Miranda drives past the Silver and, lo and behold, there's a street to turn down that just so happens to match the address in Michelle's handwriting on the post-it. "8832… bingoooo. Casa del Hector." She pulls up to the curb and twists around to look into the backseat. "Call me when you're finished, honey," she tells Michelle and gives Bryon an unenthusiastic smile of encouragement.

Bryon nods. "His mom makes him," he says with a bit of a grin as he opens the door to hop out onto the sidewalk, making his way towards the house.

Michelle mumbles something that sounds like "whatever" before hauling both her skinny self and the guitar case which is about as big as she is out of the car.

"Have fun!" Miranda calls after them. Leaning back in her seat now that she's alone with Dave, she looks over at him. "Well." They have half an hour to kill… "I'm going shopping."

"Thank god," Dave says once the kids are out of the car and on the way to the house. "Have fun, guys! If you need a banjo you know where to call!" They're probably going to go in there and figure out a plan to take Dave out. Wouldn't surprise any. In reference to his thanking of the lord, he's already pulling his bag out, which already has a rolled up joint in it. "I've been waiting to get to this all day. Oh— you don't care, do you?" he says, looking over to Miranda, a joint held between his fingers.

Miranda eyes Dave and his precious joint. He prompts a bit of an eye roll, but there's barely a deviation from her usual blasé attitude. "Whatever," she says in an unconscious mimic of her daughter a moment ago. The car of oh-so-responsible adults pulls away from Hector's house. "Just— roll the window down."


(FADE IN...)

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