Ever have one of those moments in your life where everything is nearly perfect? Kids Incorporated seemed to be having one lately. They sounded great, school was easy, and even their personal lives seemed to benefit from this wave of good fortune. No one ever suspected it would all suddenly change.
They were on the court by the gym hanging out, playing basketball and discussing band matters. The subject of whether or not they should play at another dance came up, and Mickey found himself the deciding vote.
“I mean, what if I want to go to the dance?” Gloria was saying. “I can’t be in two places at once. I’d have to be on stage.”
“But we were so great last time!” argued The Kid. “They loved us!”
“How could you tell?” Renee asked him. “They didn’t even notice us. We might as well have been a jukebox.”
“Yeah, well, I bet Stacy agrees with me. Right, Stace?”
“Yeah!” Stacy said, although Renee had a sneaky suspicion that she’d only done it to spite her. She stuck out her tongue at Stacy, and Stacy stuck hers out back at Renee.
“That means it’s up to you, Mickey.” Gloria said to him. Once again, he was faced with making a split decision that would affect the band’s future. He sighed. Even though they hated his commanding attitude, they usually looked to him when it came to making the decisions.
“Why don’t we just keep working on these two new songs and see where we are next week?” he stalled. “I mean, we don’t wanna say we’ll do it if we have to cancel at the last minute.” He was thinking of the last dance they’d performed at, which Renee and Stacy almost ruined by fighting so hard they nearly forced the band to choose between the two of them.
“Yeah, okay, that sounds good to me.” they all said. Problem solved. Thank goodness, he thought. “All right, let’s quit for now. My parents said something about wanting me to come home early tonight.”
“Ooh, are you in trouble?” The Kid teased.
“I don’t think so.”
“Well, at least your parents don’t yell at you in front of your little sister.” said Renee, glaring at Stacy, who found that hilarious.
“Don’t you talk back to me, young lady!” she ‘scolded’ Renee in a deep voice, wagging her finger at her. “You’re grounded for a million, billion years!”
“Oh, shut up!”
“Two billion, and your adorable little sister gets your Cabbage Patch Kids, and you have to eat all her vegetables.”
“Oh, that’s it!”
Renee began chasing Stacy all the way home, with The Kid following behind them yelling, “Run, Stacy, run!”, until Renee screeched to a halt and turned back. “1 mean, get her, Renee, get her!” he said instead. Mickey and Gloria just walked slowly behind them.
When rehearsals began the next day, Mickey seemed to be in a world of his own. Afterwards, while the rest of Kids Inc. was deep in conversation, Mickey sat slumped in his chair, sad and bewildered. No one seemed to notice, though.
“It does sound good,” Renee was saying about a new movie The Kid was raving about, “but I probably can’t go now, because someone tattled on me.” She gave someone a look that would have stopped a clock.
“Oh, man, you really ruined it this time, Stacy.” Kid said disapprovingly.
“It’s not gonna be any fun if we can’t all go together.”
But I didn’t mean it this time!” Stacy said.
“Well, maybe you can get your parents to hold off on your punishment until next week.” Gloria suggested to Renee.
“Why couldn’t I have been an only child?” wailed Renee.
Stacy looked hurt. “Well…I can’t go, either!” she complained. “Mom and Dad won’t let me go by myself”
“Well, you should have thought of that when you told on me.”
“Well, you shouldn’t have left the gate open so the neighbor’s dog could get in the yard!”
“We’ll just do it next week, then. It’s no problem.” The Kid tried to tell them, but they weren’t listening.
“Why are you always tattling on me? It’s not fair. You always get me in trouble...”
“You tattle on me, too and that’s not fair. You get to do everything, and I don’t...”
“Don’t start that again, you two. I’m not taking sides.” warned Gloria.
“You guys...” Mickey said suddenly. They still didn’t notice him.
“...all I did was make one mistake. Everyone makes mistakes. You make mistakes, too, Stacy.”
“But I don’t try to lie to Mom and Dad about it!”
“Hey, guys?” Mickey tried again.
“Why can’t you two ever get along? Every day, you’re always fighting about something...”
Everyone stopped yelling. “What is it, Mickey?’ Gloria asked.
“I have to tell you something.” he said.
“Well, tell us.” said The Kid.
“I...I’m moving away.”
They were stunned. “Moving?” they said quizzically.
Mickey explained. “That’s why my parents wanted me to come home early last night, so they could tell me.”
“I take it back.” Renee told him. “Your parents are worse than mine.”
“But Mickey, if you move away, what’s gonna happen to the band?” Stacy asked.
“Guess you’ll just have to carry on without me.” he replied. No one liked the idea of that. “I’ve got a better idea.” Kid said. “Don’t go.”
“What do you mean, ‘don’t go’?”
“Stay here with us! You can live in the garage. We’ll bring you food...”
“That’s not gonna work, Kid.” Gloria informed him.
“Well, it was worth a shot.”
“Look, I’m sorry I had to tell you guys like this.” Mickey apologized. “I didn’t take it well when my parents told me, either. But there’s nothing I can do. I gotta go tell all my teachers.” He left them standing there mournfully.
“Guess that’s the end of the band.” lamented The Kid.
As good as things were before, that’s how bad they became. No matter how hard they tried, Kids Inc. couldn’t seem to get it together after hearing Mickey’s news. Their poor performance failed to hold the crowd, so the P*lace suffered. School was suddenly harder than ever. The two sisters were at each other’s throats nearly every other day. Mickey’s relationship with his parents had become so strained that they hardly spoke to each other. Finally, Riley had to step in.
“Guys, I know you’re upset about Mickey leaving,” he said, “but it was bound to happen someday. It’s not the end of the world.”
“That’s what you think!” Renee told him. “Mickey’s the only one who knows how to run a band. We can’t make big decisions without him.”
“We’ll never agree on anything!” Stacy added.
“That’s not true!” argued Renee.
“See what I mean?”
“What about the dance?” Gloria brought up. “We were split 50/50 over that.”
“See?” said The Kid. “We’re doomed!”
“You guys aren’t doomed” Mickey said. “I mean, you’ll learn to work things out. And you’re not that inexperienced. I have faith in you guys.”
“I guess we just all thought we’d be together forever.” said Gloria. Everyone got quiet as they realized that was what they were thinking.
“Who knows?” Mickey continued. “Maybe I’ll come back. So, you guys will be here tomorrow, right?” “Yeah.” they said.
“Well, then, I’ll see you tomorrow.” And he went home to pack. When he looked back, they were still standing at the door watching him, looking like their hearts would never be put back together. He knew how they felt. He could move to every city in every state in the U.S. and never find a better band than his. Tomorrow would be the hardest day of their lives, but now, it didn’t feel all that wrong. Maybe he’d outgrown his place at the P*lace. He wasn’t moving away, he was moving on. And somehow, even though they’d miss him, they knew that, too. He sighed and continued on. He’d bring a camera tomorrow so he could take a picture of them to his new neighborhood. “See these guys?” he‘d tell his new neighbors, “They’re my friends, and we had a hand called Kids Incorporated It was my idea, of course. Yep, I pretty much ran the band...”
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