Davy was floating on air. He'd dated Lisa for three weeks now -- nearly three times as long as he'd dated anyone before.
He was driving to her house to pick her up for lunch. He began to run down songs in his head, searching for one to sing to her later.
Lisa so loved to hear him sing.
Davy shifted the jeep into a lower gear, so the tires would have a better grip on the wet road. He smiled as he recalled the previous night's cuddling with Lisa in front of her fire and listening to the patter of the rain....
The blare of a car horn jolted Davy from his pleasant reverie. With a curse, he realised his mind had wandered all the way back to England -- and he had drifted into the path of oncoming traffic!
Davy jerked the wheel to the right -- and overcompensated, spinning out. Frantically, he tried to downshift, but he was now stopped, turned into both lanes of traffic.
Suddenly he was hit on the front passenger side. The jeep spun again, only to receive a blow on the rear. Davy was jostled about. He reached again for the gearshift, leaning forward as he did so ----
The jeep was hit hard from the rear. Davy was thrown forward, his throat impacting the top of the steering wheel. As he was raising up from that, he received another rear blow, and was thrown again, hitting the exact same place a second time.
A hand going to his aching throat, he unbuckled his seat belt, intending to get out of the jeep and get some help. But he was hit a third time by the passing cars, and this time he was thrown violently forward and to the right.
As if the twin blows had been premonitions, Davy landed on top of the gearshift lever. The force of the blow impaled the shaft into his throat.
His last feeling before blackness overtook him was the feeling of something ripping in his throat, tearing with white-hot pain.
When Davy came home from the hospital two weeks later, it was with a schedule of sign classes and a verdict of permanent muteness.
The first question he signed to his roommates was The band?
"We'll make it," Mike assured him.
I no talk....no sing..... barely play....
"We'll make it," Mike repeated firmly.
Davy's expression clearly showed his doubt about the veracity of that statement.
Life grew harder for Davy three days later -- when Lisa left him. Through a veil of tears, she had explained that she "just can't handle being tied to a handicapped man."
His single gesture spoke volumes about what he thought of that. Back at home, he kept repeating mute, not crippled!
Once they nursed him through that, life settled into a routine. Sign classes, then Peter would give Davy a music lesson, then Peter would go to the own lessons he had to take now. He did this uncomplaining, unflinchingly.
And as Davy heard the subtle shifts in Peter's voice in the weeks to come -- the velvetness that now touched the baritone -- he would weep. Not tears of selfish loss, however..... These were tears of pride.
They would make it. Intact.
They would be okay.
Nearly seven months after Davy's car accident, the Monkees took the stage once more.
Part of their lineup was familiar to the club fans --- Micky on drums, Mike on guitar, Peter on bass..... But Davy now stood slightly to the side, behind a bank of keyboards. The jangling tambourine was missing from their music now, replaced by rewritten keyboard lines.
After five songs, Micky announced they were now going to do "I Wanna Be Free", and silence fell. Davy's signature song -- but Davy couldn't sing or talk....
Davy began to play the slow keyboard intro, and then he stood back and shook his head. His hands danced, and Micky grinned. "Davy says he wants us to speed it up a bit, what do you say?"
"Oooh, tough crowd," Micky quipped. "Let's do it, gang. One! Two! Onetwothree---"
The same notes, but now sped up. Guitar and bass swung in, laying down a 3/4 rock rhythm to the song. On the second repetition, the drums were added. Everyone onstage was smiling, heads bobbing to the beat of the instrumental track they were laying down.
Murmurs arose. Okay, so it was an instrumental now....
Still smiling, Peter swung to the microphone and licked his lips.
"I wanna be free, like the bluebirds flying by me...."
Jaws slammed open all over the club. The tune was unchanged; the rhythm was revved up -- but Peter's voice! They'd heard Peter sing before -- his reedy, shaky voice that had trouble sustaining a tune ---
Not this! Not this velvet baritone that caressed the tune and never slid off it. Not this rich vocalization that oozed sex appeal!
Davy grinned at Peter as the song finished, and gave him a thumbs-up. The voice lessons paid off.
Peter signed back, In spades. Then he bowed to Davy, who returned it graciously.
The Monkees were back -- stronger and better than ever.
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