Preface: This is the third installment in a short story I wrote a few years back. The first installment was on December 7th. Hope you like it!
THE BUZZ – PART THREE
It started quite by accident.
Holly Mossback rang their doorbell one Thursday afternoon. She had come over to pick up a few tapes. She was an old friend of David’s from way back and in fact, had recorded many of her own tunes in David’s studio. She too was searching for the big deal in the sky. Her answer to the practical question of ‘How do you eat in the mean time?’ was to drive people around. She had been a driver at all of the major studios at one time or another. Usually, she just had to have a running car of her own. Today, however, she had a surprise for Sami and David. She ushered them to the front of the house.
When they looked out by the curb, all they could say was “WOW!”. Holly had driven up in a huge, white Cadillac stretch limo. It was just too divoon. She slipped on her wraparound sunglasses and a chauffeur’s cap. At five-foot-ten in her black jeans and black turtleneck, Holly looked like a force to be reckoned with.
“Wanna go for a ride?”
Holly insisted that David and Sami “experience” the back seat of the limousine, although it made them both a little uneasy to be driven around by an old friend. Still, it was an amazing ride. There was a small working television and a portable bar in the back seat, as well as a telephone. The carpeting was thick, luxurious and spotless. Holly slipped one of her own tapes into the cassette deck in the front seat and immediately, they were awash in full throbbing bass and screaming guitars. Holly’s voice wailed above the din in a soulful soprano gospel lick – “ba-ay-ay-ay-ay-ay-ay-be-ee-ee-ee, ye-ah!” Sami whooped with approval and delight. They all felt like they were playing hooky from school. Of course, Holly was breaking all the rules – that’s what made it so much fun.
They were back home in about fifteen minutes. They hugged Holly and thanked her for the ride.
As Holly drove off, David saw that Krystal Waterford was standing at the front door. David and Sami had a fleeting secret look when they noticed her. They had spent some time debating over her name. Was it her real name or had she invented it? Either way, heaven help her.
Krystal was one of those somewhat successful, somewhat peripheral industry people who had made the rounds of most of the major labels. She had started out very young as a receptionist, and somehow, had managed to work her way up to “Artist and Repertoire”. To be an A&R person her official duty would be to find unknown songs for an artist who is already established and/or to find unknown artists for the label to sign. It is important to realize, however, that what a person does officially and what they actually do in the music business are very often at odds. In truth, when Krystal was working, her most important function was to look good at power lunches with the industry “suits”. In fact, her last boss at Quasimoto Records had been a frustrated and disillusioned writer cum executive. He was extremely gay, but extremely frightened of having his sexual preferences known. Mostly, Krystal tagged along with him and let people assume what they would. She learned quickly that this was what was expected. Nothing more, nothing less. However, when Quasimoto had been bought out by the F.U.N. Group, there had been the usual purge, and now, Krystal was an“independent”. (Translation: She was out of work).
David greeted her in his usual good-natured way.
“Hi, David. Sami.”
Sami didn’t quite trust Krystal. At the same time, she realized it was her own bias. Sami had a hard time with beautiful petite blondes with bobbed noses. She always imagined they were flirting with David. Besides, Sami and David had sent one of their tapes to Krystal. She had called politely to say she didn’t “hear anything”. Sami chided herself silently for what she was thinking.
“How ya doin, Krystal.”
They walked in and David went to get the tapes for Krystal.
“Sorry we weren’t here when you got here. David must have forgotten. . .”
“No, I just happened to be around so I thought I’d drop by instead of waiting till tomorrow. It’s my fault. Anyway, I was only here for a minute. . .Noticed the limo.”
Sami didn’t know why, but she felt like being vague.
There was an uncomfortable moment while Krystal waited for an explanation and Sami refused it. David arrived with the tapes.
“There you go, Krystal. It comes to fifteen dollars even.”
Krystal wrote out a hurried check and dropped it on the
desk. She looked at David and then at Sami.
“Well, you two. Uh. Thanks, again. Bye”.
Sami looked after her. “How can she say ‘Thanks again’? She didn’t thank us the first time.”
David laughed and shook his head. He understood his wife so well. “Sami, Sami, Sami”.
The next morning Holly showed up again. She was driving the “Big Car”. The vulgar display of wealth didn’t seem to bother her a bit. As a matter of fact, she rather enjoyed it. David opened the door groggily. He was in his bathrobe.
“Holly! It’s 8:00 a.m. Wazza matter? Did you forget something yesterday?”
Holly grinned and stepped to the side. “I brought you a surprise”.
Standing behind Holly was a diminutive middle-aged man in sunglasses that covered two-thirds of his face. David recognized him at once.
“IAN THOMAS” The two men hugged. David was beaming. “I haven’t seen you in a lifetime, man. Thought you disappeared off the face of the earth!”
Ian Thomas had been a huge success as a singer/songwriter in the seventies, and David had spent several years touring with the band and playing on his records. Although Ian’s popularity had waned in the recent years, he had made enough to last a lifetime in royalties from the standards he had written back then. From time to time he still showed up in Las Vegas, doing a benefit, or even an occasional cameo on television. He had written a theme for a movie that had just been nominated for “Best Picture”, so he was on a “natural high”, as he liked to say. Once, he had looked for his highs in other ways, but through sheer force of will he had pulled himself out of the mire of a nasty cocaine addiction. David hugged Holly and then hugged Ian again.
David, Sami, Holly and Ian were in a holiday mood, so they went to L’Express for breakfast. They spent two hours while David, Holly and Ian reminisced. Sami was quiet. She couldn’t believe she had actually met Ian Thomas. She had the distinct impression that someone was looking at her. Across the room she found the source of the laser beam gaze: it was Krystal.
The phone rang later that day. David picked it up. It was Krystal. She was having a meeting on Monday with a friend of Whitney Houston’s manager. She was wondering. She wondered if she might listen to one of the tunes on Sami and David’s tape again. There might be something there after all. Could they drop off another tape?
(c) 2004, Robin Munson