Fifth Wheel Pt. 1

The tall young man looked at the newspaper clipping again as he walked down the street.

Wanted: Male roommate to share 3-bedroom beach-front apartment with four others. Must be willing to pay 1/5 rent and utilities. Needs to appreciate music. Apply in person 1334 Beechwood Ave. Malibu.
"I sure hope it ain't taken." He thought aloud, glancing around at the neighborhood. It was nice here. Not as rushed as Burbank. All he had with him was a suitcase and his guitar. He was wearing blue jeans and a plain white T-shirt under a red jacket. A cool southern Californian wind blew through his dark blond hair now cleaned of the grease he once styled it with.

He had been trying to find a place to live ever since his "Best Friend" had packed up and left a month before without warning or reason. He hadn't had a real paying job at the time so he had been forced to move out of the little apartment they had shared. He had crashed with another friend for a while, but didn't feel right staying with a girl. He had recently gotten a good job, working as a janitor in a little club just outside of Malibu. He just needed a new home, maybe some new friends.

He walked down a tiny side street and found the address. It looked decent enough from the outside. There was a bright red Pontiac GTO convertible with "The Monkees" painted on the sides parked outside. The car had been modified into a kind of dragster and had three sets of seats. He took a deep breath and knocked on the door. Moments later the small peep-window opened and shut without exposing anyone. A short, very young-looking man with brown hair stuck his head out and smiled up at him.

"'Ello, can I help you?" He asked in a cheerful English accent.

"Uh, I saw this ad in the paper, ya know, about your apartment." He quickly and nervously stammered, sticking the slip of paper out. The Englishman nodded and opened the door wider.

"Come on in, its not taken yet. I'm Davy." He said and stepped back, motioning for him to enter. As he walked in, he noticed the place was much bigger than he thought from the outside. Wide bay windows and a deck outside framed a large central room with a stage and instruments; the ocean was plainly visible. He grinned at the sight since he loved the ocean. A man with dark blond hair and long bangs was sitting on the edge of the stage strumming a guitar, seemingly lost in his own world.

"'Ey fellows, someone's 'ere about the ad." Davy called. Suddenly another resident came sliding down the banister of the tornado staircase that led upstairs. He landed with a whoop and beamed at him so widely he took an involuntary step back. He was quite a bit taller than Davy and had darker brown hair that stood straight up in a curly tangle.

"Hi! I'm Micky." He said as he circled around, looking at him from every angle.

"Micky! Settle down or you'll scare this one off too!" Yelled yet another young man from the small kitchen as he ambled over, chewing a bite of the sandwich in his hand. He seemed a little older than the others, more serious, with dark brown, almost black hair and sideburns. A green wool hat sat on his head giving him a friendlier appearance. This one was almost as tall as he was and obviously from somewhere in the south or southwest. He finished the bite and after wiping off his hand on his jeans, held it out to shake.

"Hello, I'm Mike." He drawled, giving him the once over.

"Hi, I'm Lenny, Lenny Kosnowski." He answered back and shook the offered hand. So far so good.

"Do you play that or just carry it around?" Mike asked and motioned at the guitar slung across Lenny's back.

"Oh this? I play, or I used to play, with my friend, he sang, he's gone now though." The last few words were spoken with a sorrowful expression.

"You got a job? Your part would be about fifty a month."

"Yeah, I got a job at Club Cassandra, I'm a janitor. I started last week."

"We play there when we're lucky." Mike smiled and nodded. "Good enough for me. You need a tour of the place?"

"S-sure!" Lenny put down his suitcase and unslung the guitar from his back. Mike led him further into the room and pointed things out.

"Here's the livin' room, with the couch and TV, the kitchen's over there, we eat there, the stage is there, Peter's there." He went over and got the guitarist's attention. Peter jerked his head up and smiled at Lenny.

"Sorry, I was just working on a song." The blond man apologized.

"No problem, I know what ya mean." Lenny replied and grinned. He then followed Mike to the two rooms near the stairs.

"This here's Davy and Peter's room and this is the downstairs bathroom." He opened each door and gave Lenny a glimpse before heading up the winding staircase. At the top was a short, dark hallway and three doors. Mike opened the one on the left and led him in. It was a good-sized bedroom with two twin beds and two matching dressers. The bed nearest the door was in a shambles with a blanket half in the floor and clothes strewn all over it. The other was neatly made with a plain tan blanket covering it.

"I hope you don't mind sharin' a room, I won out and got the single bedroom across the hall." Mike gave him a smile that made him wonder what he was in for.

"I'm used to sharin' a room, I shared one before." Lenny said as his shoulders slumped in sadness. It was going to be strange rooming with someone other than Squig.

"Don't worry, Micky will make sure you're made welcome. He's a slob though, I'll warn you." Mike smiled and led him out to show him the upstairs bathroom and his own tiny bedroom.

"Well, that's the grand tour, It's not much, but it's home." Mike announced as they started back downstairs. "Hope you like rock and roll too, we're a band."

"I was in a band once too, in Milwaukee, that was a long time ago though."

"So that's the accent, I couldn't quite figure it out." Peter said from the kitchen where he was opening a bottle of Coca-Cola.

"So where you guys from?" Lenny asked as he gathered up his things.

"Connecticut. Via Greenwich Village." Peter answered as he came into the living room proper.

"Manchester, England." Davy spoke up from his seat on the couch. "I still 'ave my accent as you can tell."

"I'm from here in LA, I'm the local kid of the group." Micky said as he lightly tapped out a little rift on his drums. "I'm a drummer."

"And if you haven't guessed by now, I'm from Texas, Dallas to be exact." Mike told him, slightly exaggerating his drawl. "We're the Monkees."

To Part 2

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