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BILLY BRAGG Moves to Town

Billy is AWESOME

I was lying on my bed, flipping through Seventeen and listening to the new 98 Degrees CD. I wasn't really into it-I was bored. Then my dad stuck his head through my door.

"I just met the new neighbor," he said. "He's a Scottish folk singer named 'Billy.' His nose is kinda big, but he seems really nice." I looked up expectantly. "It wasn't 'Billy Bragg,' was it?"

"That sounds about right," Dad replied. "You've heard of him? If you want to say hello, he's in his driveway washing his car."

I jumped off my bed and scrambled down the stairs. My mom was practicing piano. "Where are you going in such a hurry?" she asked?

"To meet Billy Bragg!" I practically screamed.

"Who's that?"

"Oh, Mother! You wouldn't understand!" Barefoot, I raced down the steps and onto my street, Minuteman Drive. Three houses down, I saw him.

Billy was washing his red VW GTI with his shirt off! He was wearing khaki shorts and flip-flops, and scrubbing the roof of the GTI with a sponge. He was humming to himself and holding a garden hose with a metal gun-style nozzle in his other hand. His muscles flexed whenever he reached for the far side of the car.

"Hi, Mr. Bragg! I'm so glad that you woke up my neighborhood!" I called out.

"You can call me 'Billy,' and I'm glad to be here."

He dropped the sponge in a bucket and offered me a soapy hand. He must have recognized my reference to a song because he then said, "So, you're familiar with my work, then."

"I sure am! I have every album of yours. Even 'The Peel Sessions' and the 'Live and Dubious' EP. I even have 'Bloke On Bloke.'"

"Wow! You are a fan! Why don't you come inside and have a Coke with me? I'm about knackered and could use a break," he said.

I said that I would be honored and Billy and I went into his kitchen. There were boxes everywhere because he was still moving in. He reached into his refrigerator and grabbed two cans of Coke. He handed one to me and cracked the other one and took a sip. When he tipped his head back, sweat ran off of his chin and fell onto his bare chest.

"Billy, how come you decided to leave Scotland and move to Brighton, New York?" I asked.

"I'd never leave permanently, but I wanted a smaller home in America. I've always liked Rochester, so when the realtor showed me this house, I snapped it up. Plus, you can't get Papa John's pizza in the United Kingdom, and I love Papa John's," he replied.

"That's awesome! I love Papa John's, too!"

Billy smiled at me and I knew that we'd be really good friends. That night we ordered Papa John's pizza with pepperoni and mushrooms (his favorite too!) and watched Seventh Heaven.