Chapter 6

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Rehearsing for the halftime show is not as bad as my wife thinks it is. It's like putting on a concert, but for thirteen minutes. I've done a show for ten minutes, so a couple of extra minutes isn't that bad. It's just a matter of timing, the setlist, which is only five songs, and I'm getting the audience involved, so it's not as bad as one would think it would be. I'm excited about this performance for many reasons. I'm the first megastar to perform the halftime show. With the entire nation's attention, they'll be able to see how passionate I am about helping disadvantaged children and all children for that matter. They can finally see that what I'm doing is genuine and they won't see me as the weird guy they've somehow portrayed me to be. This is another great accomplishment of mine that I feel no one else could top. The first superstar for the Superbowl halftime show is black. Isn't that something? This means more to me than anyone even knows. This is so important to me and I hope I'm an inspiration future entertainers, because this... This is something. This is a first. I've had many firsts. And the fact that all of my firsts or even just all of America's firsts music wise is by a black man, means so much to me. No one can take that away from me. No one can take that away from me as a black American and a black entertainer. I am truly living the American Dream.


And my wife?! Don't get me started on my wife. We're a power couple as far as I'm concerned. I can't wait for the world to see her on my arm. It's about damn time, to be honest. Two successful black people living out the American Dream. I honestly would not have my life any other way. And I know it will only get better from here.


I got in the car to go home from rehearsal. It's been such a long day. I can't wait to get home and take a shower. I can't believe it's only eight p.m. and I'm exhausted like this. Normally, I don't go to bed until well after midnight, but it seems like this is going to be an early evening.


"How did rehearsal go?" Bill asked me.


"Well," I sighed. "We're still smoothing out some kinks. I just can't wait until showtime. Once you see how this whole thing turns out, you're going to be in complete awe."


"You already know I can't wait. This is going to be a once in a lifetime show. I already know it."


"You bet," I said as I went in my jacket pockets to clean them out. Shayla's been getting on me about washing this jacket and I never got around to it. Well, today will be that day where she can finally throw it in the washer for me... I pulled out a folded piece of paper and opened it to find a phone number. Oh! This is the number to that kid I met at the rental car place. "Hey, Bill..."


"What's up?"


"Remember how I told you the Jeep broke down on Wilshire last week?"


"Yeah?"


"Well, when Shayla and I went to get a rental car, we met a family and the mom gave me their number so I could call their son."


"Call their son?" he sounded just as confused as I was when they gave me their number.


"Yeah... I told them I'd call him, and I never did. I'm going to call him real quick."


"For what?" he asked me.


"I can't lie and tell them I'll call, and I never do. That's not fair. I'm about to call him right now."


"Wait a minute, Michael, why do the parents want you to call their son? Doesn't that strike as odd to you?"


"...yeah..." I shrugged. "It strikes odd from the parent's end, but you should have seen the excitement on the kids face when I told him I'd call him. I don't want to let him down like that. The parents may be weird, but I'm sure the kid isn't. I'm about to call them now," I pulled out my mobile phone and dialed the number. It did strike as odd when the mom gave me their number, but I can't give the kid my word and not act on it. It wouldn't be fair to him.


"Hello!" a woman answered the phone.


"Hi, this is Michael. I met you guys at your rental car store?" I tried refreshing her memory, but I'm sure she didn't forget. I could hear a slight squeal right before she called for her son.


"Yes! Michael! Hi! Oh my gosh, Jordie has been awaiting your call. I've been telling him you're a busy man and that you'll get around to call eventually," she said excitedly. "How is your wife?"


"She's doing well. We just celebrated a recent accomplishment of hers, so everything is going well."


"Oh, that is so good to hear! Please tell her I said hello! Oh, here's Jordie. I'll talk to you later, Michael," she said before handing the phone to her son.


"H-hello?" Jordie answered the phone nervously.


"Hey, Jordie! It's me, Michael!" I smiled.


"Wow! You really called me!" I heard the excitement in his voice.


I laughed, "yeah, I've been pretty busy as of late. You know I'm doing the Superbowl in a couple of weeks."


"Yeah! I tell my friends how excited I am about it all the time!"


Well, that certainly warms my heart. I smiled, "yeah, it's going to be a blast! I'm going to let you in on a little secret. The entire audience is going to be involved in my show."


"How?" he wondered.


"You'll see. It's going to be amazing; I promise."


"Of course, it will. You're Michael Jackson! You never put on a crappy show."


I laughed, "I mean, sometimes I have my slip ups, but thank you."


"No, seriously. Your shows are always perfect. How is it that you can sing and dance so well?"


"If I'm being honest, it all comes from above."


"Like, God?"


"Yeah," I nodded. "I'm only utilizing the gifts he gave me to the best of my ability."


"I wish God gave me a gift."


"He has. It's just up to you to figure that out. He gives everyone a gift. There's not one person here on this earth that doesn't have a God-given gift. You're young, but you'll tap into it eventually. It's mostly something you really like. Like, a passion or something. What do you like?"


"Um... Video Games!"


I mean, that's not a passion or anything, but I'll take it. "No kidding. Me too! What's your favorite?"


"Like, game system or game?"


"Both."


"Okay, so my Gameboy is my all-time favorite right now, simply because I can take it anywhere. And my favorite game right now is Jordan vs. Bird across all game systems."


"Nintendo was genius for creating the Gameboy. I have at least five of them."


"Five?!"


"Yeah! Don't sound so surprised," I laughed. "Gameboys are fun. And you must be a fan of Michael Jordan?"


"Heck yeah!"


"You know I did a short film with him."


"Of course! My mom let me stay up for the premiere. MJ and MJ together?! Can you say 'iconic?'" I smiled. See, this is why I enjoy helping and talking with children whenever I can. They have a way of making you feel so humble even when you don't feel like you did all that great. This honestly makes me excited to have children of my own. Spending time with other people's children is fun and all, but I know I'm going to have twice as much fun talking with and spending time with my own. "Do you really know how to play basketball?"


"Yeah! Ask Michael Jordan."


"Maybe if I get lucky enough to see him in my dad's store," he laughed.


"I have an arcade at one of my houses. We can play all the games you want."


"Arcade? Like, an actual arcade?" he asked excitedly.


I laughed, "yeah. We have tons of game consoles and actual arcade games. I've even got some consoles that aren't even released in the US yet."


"No way! How'd you get them?"


"Japan is ahead of everyone. Trust me. Whenever I go over there, I honestly just go to the tech store and purchase everything that I know we don't have here. You should go to Japan sometime."


"Wait, so I could come over your house and play on these consoles and arcade games?"


"Yeah, sure. If your mom doesn't mind. I'm sure my wife wouldn't."


"Mom!" I heard him yell. His excitement only made me laugh. Kids come to Neverland all the time to ride the rides we have and play the arcade games I have in the main house. This would be no different. I'm sure he'd have a blast. "Michael?" Jordie's tone was suddenly somber.


"What's wrong?"


"Mom said I couldn't go..."


"Oh... Well, maybe next time then. The arcade isn't going anywhere," I shrugged.


"Okay," he sighed. "Maybe next time she'll say yes. Will you call me again soon?"


I opened my mouth to speak but nothing came out. It's crazy how I only planned to talk to the kid to uphold my word and then suddenly I invited him to the hideout to play games, now he's asking me if I'll call again. "Yeah, yeah. Of course, I'll call again. This is a good number to call back on, right?"


"Yeah!" he sounded excited again.


"Sounds good. Well, I'm sure it's your bedtime. We'll keep in touch, okay?"


"Thank you so much for calling, Michael!"


"Any time. Sleep well," I hung up the phone.


"Sounds like you'll be keeping in touch with the kid, huh?" Bill asked me.


"Yeah..." I sighed. "You know how I am with kids, Bill. He sounded so excited. Did you really expect me not to give in?"


"Considering the weirdness of his parents, yes. But when it comes to children, for some reason you're like jelly. I can't wait for you to have your own."


I smiled at the thought, "I know, right? You think Shayla and I will make good parents?"


He scoffed, "are you kidding me? You'll make perfect parents," he smiled at me through the rear-view mirror.


I smiled, "yeah... we will." And honestly, I think it's time Shayla and I start working on having children of our own. It's time we have mini me's of our own running around our houses.

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