"You owe me," Dan said as he entered the arena and took a look around at the crowd. He usually felt a strum of excitement whenever he was going to a concert. He loved to watch the stage getting set up and the buzz of the fans finding their seats and waiting in anticipation for the show. It was a high of sorts, kinda like the feeling he got after he and Casey had a perfect show. The energy in this place was entirely different. It was like the place had been taken over by aliens pretending to be humans who really liked bad music.
Casey pushed him toward their seats and said, "It's going to be fun."
"I guess that depends on what your definition of fun is."
"You need to trust me on this one," Casey replied. He stepped into one of the aisles of chairs, whispering polite niceties to a couple in matching paisley, and took his seat.
Dan followed helplessly. Stupid bets and stupid best friends who conned him. He was pretty sure Natalie had a hand in this too - mental note never to call her shoes ugly again - and possibly Kim. They would pay for this and then he would find new friends. He spent too much time with feckless fiends with really bad taste in music. Dan shrugged out of his jacket and said, "For the record, while I would trust you with my life, I find great fault in the idea that trusting you as a person means I should have any faith whatsoever in your taste in music."
"They wrote hit songs."
"In 1976," Dan replied. He crossed his arms protectively over his chest and cast a dark look in Casey's direction. He said, "For someone who wanted to learn to be cool, I think we've got a long way to go."
"I thought your therapist wanted you to expand your horizons."
"Not like this. I'm pretty sure self-inflicted torture is frowned upon in her line of work."
"You're a poor loser, my friend."
"I didn't have to cheat. Your pathetic cycling abilities saw to that."
Dan scowled. "I thought we were on an even playing field. You told me you had never taken a spin class, which I chose to believe in hopes to maintain some respect for you, but I get the strange feeling that you and Natalie set me up."
"I don't know what you're talking about."
"Half the people there knew your name Casey."
"They knew your name too. We're on television."
"One of the girls asked you about the vegan recipe she sent you."
Casey shook his head and laughed. "I think my exact words were 'That trainer guy, Bob Harper, is running a spin class at my gym. That might be interesting to try.' And you went off on some random tirade and wagered a bet you couldn't win."
Casey clapped his hand on Dan's arm and said, "Lighten up, Danny. You're gonna have a good time. Starland Vocal Band rarely does shows anymore."
"There's a reason for that."
"You should just leave if you're going to be this much of a pain in my ass."
Dan rolled his eyes and said, "I do not cheat or welsh on bets."
"You just whine?"
"Exactly," Dan said. He sighed and said, "Fine. I'll stop."
"But when blood starts to pour out of my eyes and the guys who still rock the mullet try to sacrifice me to the flannel gods, I want you to remember what a non-cheating, great best friend I am."
"I'll do my best."
"That's all I'm asking," Dan replied.
"Are you done now?"
"And we can enjoy the show?"
"I'll let you enjoy the show," Dan clarified.
"They've won Grammy's."
"So has Britney Spears, but I don't rush out to buy her albums," Dan said. "I think this is one of those things we'll have to agree to disagree on, Case."
"Fine, but if I catch you singing along to any of the songs, I reserve the right to mock you for the remainder of your life."
"I'll try to keep my enthusiasm to a few random catcalls instead," Dan said. He stretched out in his seat as the lights began to dim. There were a few squeals from a group of drunk women behind them. "Yeah, this will be tons of fun."