Preface: For the next couple of days, I am going to be sharing a short story I wrote a few years ago. It is loosely (and I do mean VERY loosely) autobiographical, based on the part of my life that has been a recurring theme: the music business. Hope you will enjoy. Thanks!
THE BUZZ- Part One
Sami stared out the fake French door. The trim was peeling. It looked out on the redwood deck and the swimming pool. The Hollywood sign looked close enough to grab this morning. Just another perfect day in paradise. She sighed and turned her back on the glorious Technicolor view. She’d seen so many of these mornings – promising something wonderful just around the bend. She put the tea kettle on the stove and walked down the front stairs to unlock the gate and pick up the Times. By the time she got back to the kitchen, David was already in the shower. Better not run the faucet just now. She had made that mistake once. Scalded poor David. She set the table.
Well, just a peek at her horoscope before breakfast. Maybe this was The Day. Nope. Not today. Vague as always. “Focus on significant love relationship. Organize loose ends. Travel in your future”. Nope. Not today.
She and David had just sent out a new package of their tunes. Their last package two years before had been all dance tunes – a carefully thought out blend of Madonna and Paula Abdul-like arrangements of songs that were purely their own. Sending out tapes was like putting a note in a bottle and setting it out to sea. The chances of a reply, she had learned, were about the same. Sami had pushed her chest voice up as far as it would go trying hard not to sound too Joni Mitchell-like. She had also pushed her hemline up as far as it would go without revealing too much of her not-totally-perfect body.
The problem was – she was old. Oh, not old by the usual standards. Not old compared to George Burns. Not old compared to her parents. Not old compared to David, even. (He was ten years her senior). She was forty-two. But by Hollywood standards, we’re talking ancient. Of course, when Sami had first begun singing with David, she had been thirty-seven. She could pass for twenty-seven. Maybe. On a good day. Back then. Now, she didn’t know anymore. She remembered her most telling experience with ageism in the business.
A friend had sent her to see a casting agent. Sami had actually been twenty-seven years old. The casting agent looked at her. Looked at her pictures and her resume. Leaned back in his black leather chair with his hands locked atop his bald pate.“How old are you, anyway”? Sami improvised. Smiled sweetly. Even shuffled her feet a little under the chair. “How old would you like me to be”?
Agent released his fingers. Rubbed his eyes wearily. “Let’s not play this game. I don’t really care how old you are. Just curious.” Sami relaxed. Big mistake. “I’m twenty-seven”.“TWENTY-SEVEN?! I RETIRE MY GIRLS AT TWENTY-SEVEN”!!
Essentially, this was the end of the interview, except that the agent advised Sami that she was hardly the leading lady type, even if she were seventeen, and that if he were her he would try for character roles.