Preface: This is the final installment in my semi-semi autobiographical short story. The first installment was on December 7th. The ending is a case of pure wishful thinking on my part, but hey – Why let the truth get in the way of a good story? Enjoy!
THE BUZZ – PART FOUR
They dropped off the tape. The maid took it from Sami and did not ask her inside. Both Sami and David tried not to get excited. They didn’t even have any idea which tune Krystal had in mind. They were stumped. Why now?
“It’s the limo.”
“What? What are you talking about?”
Sami gave a little laugh. “It’s the limo! Remember? She got there when Holly dropped us off in the limo! And then she saw us this morning at L’Express when we were with Holly and Ian.”
“She did? Do you think? Oh, Sami. I can’t believe it!”
“David. Do you really believe in your heart of hearts that she even listened to our tape the first time we gave it to her? And if she did listen, how do you think she listened? I mean, look. She’s been in this business a long time. It would be too much of a risk for her to stick her neck out for us. Let’s face it. We have no clout. But she saw us in the limo and then this morning and—“
“Yeah, and she thought—No, it’s too crazy. I refuse to believe it. Anyway, who cares. It will probably all come to naught anyway.”
“Yeah,” sighed Sami.
“Yeah,” echoed David.
And that was that. They went to the movies on Saturday and walked around Lake Hollywood on Sunday. It was a music-free weekend. They forgot all about Krystal Waterford.
Wednesday afternoon Krystal called. She sounded out of breath.
“Sami? Are you sitting down?” (Her voice made a high-pitched squeal on the word ‘down’.) “I played ‘Heaven’s Fallin Down’ for my friend? you know, the one who’s friends with Whitney’s manager? And she really liked it? She wants to take it to Whitney’s manager? And they’re getting together like next week? Sami?” (Krystal had acquired that Valley-girl cadence so that when she was excited, her voice went up in a question mark after all of her declarative sentences, and Sami didn’t know if she was making a statement or waiting for an answer).
“Really? That’s so great?” (Oh, God. Now Sami realized she was doing it).
“So, like, when can I come over so we can talk aboutit? You know, we have to talk about the publishing?”
“Uh—Oh, yeah. Um. Listen. Why don’t I have David call you when he gets back. He just ran out to do some errands. What’s your number?”
Sami wrote the number down carefully. She noticed her hand was shaking. She realized that all of this was just “pie in the sky”, but it had caught her off balance. She needed a few minutes to catch her breath and digest what she had heard.
By the time David got home she was relatively calm and she reported the phone call matter-of-factly.
“Krystal called. We might have a nibble on ‘Heaven’.
Here’s her number”.
David looked at the number and laid it down on the desk. “Thanks, honey”.
“Thanks, honey? David, aren’t you kind of curious? I mean, don’t you think we ought to call her back? I mean—Her friend is meeting with Whitney’s manager next week and…”
David looked at his wife with a mixture of compassion and amusement.
“Oh, it’s ‘Whitney’ now, huh? Sami. Don’t worry. I’ll call her back. I’ve got other things to do right now. Besides, why look too anxious?”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, I don’t exactly know why, but right now Krystal seems to think we’ve got a little ‘buzz’ going on, so she told her friend. Let’s play along. Let’s let her think we really do have a buzz. I think I’ll put a call in to our friend, Bernie Rosenzweig.”
Bernie was actually Sami’s cousin. He was a fairly well-known entertainment attorney. He knew “everyone”. Overbearing, but sweet, deep down. Sami and Dave had deliberately avoided asking any favors of Bernie. First of all, they were pretty sure he wouldn’t have done any. Second of all, they were afraid he might, and then they were afraid of the “payback”. Finally, they did not want to get involved in business with family. Bad policy. David called on the pretense of just “staying in touch”. He let the information about Krystal be coaxed out of him. Bernie seemed mildly interested, but quickly changed the subject. Bernie was very “hyper”. He could only stay on one subject for about thirty seconds.
That was all it took.
Bernie’s secretary called David the next day. Mr. Rosenzweig would like to set up a lunch date. Say for Monday? How about ‘The Palms’? One o’clock? Great, she’d let Mr. Rosenzweig know.
Monday rolled around. David finally called back Krystal. He apologized for being so late. She said that was okay. The meeting wasn’t until Wednesday. He said he had to call her back on Tuesday. He was having a meeting today with “some of his people”. Krystal sounded stung, but she recovered.
Lunch with Bernie was a singular experience. He talked about his colon a lot. It had been giving him trouble for two years, now. “Probably the business”, he laughed. Bernie ordered the Chinese chicken salad with the dressing on the side. He ate a basket of bread dipped in olive oil and downed two glasses of Chardonnay. David stuck with a cheese sandwich and a Coke. Then they both had decaf-Cappuccinos.
“So, how’s my cousin. How come she’s not here?”
“She was a little under the weather. She said she was sorry she couldn’t make it”.
It was true. Sami had prayed for a stomachache. Her prayer had been answered. It wasn’t that she didn’t like Bernie. She just had no idea what to say to him. They had not been close as children growing up, and since she had moved to California, she had seen even less of him. They had absolutely nothing in common except their connection to the “industry”, but they operated at different levels. He was a “suit”. She was an “artist”. In layman’s terms, that means he was God. She was a peon.
“Sorry to hear it. Send her my regards. So, what’s this I hear about Whitney holding one of your songs?”
“It’s called “Heaven’s Fallin’ Down”. Well, she’s not exactly ‘holding’ it. In fact, she hasn’t heard it yet, but this guy who’s a friend of Krystal’s is tight with her manager and. . .”
“Oh, sure. I know who that is. I mean, the friend. That must be—Oh yeah. It’s on the tip of my tongue. Sure, sure. I went to school with the guy. I know who you mean.” (This meant he had no idea in the world).” Well, then”, Bernie raised his Cappuccino cup,” Here’s to your imminent success. May you need my services soon!”
David raised his cup. “Soon. Thanks, Bernie”.
David drove home wondering what had just happened. He shrugged his shoulders. Probably nothing. Oh, well.
Krystal called at 8:00 the next morning.
“So, David. I hear you’re like really tight with Bernie Rosenzweig? I mean, is he running the tune or what?”
“Hi, Krystal. No, no. We just had lunch, that’s all. Why don’t you just tell your friend to go ahead with the meeting and let me know what happens. Don’t worry about the publishing. If Whitney Houston decides to do the tune, I’ll let you and her fight it out. Okay? Fair enough?”
“Okay, cause David, you know, I really want it to be, you know, up front? ‘Kay?”
By the time Krystal’s friend and Whitney’s manager had had their meeting, “everyone” was talking about the new Sami and David tune that Whitney really wanted, but Bernie Rosenzweig had already promised to Madonna:
“I’ll try to get it for Whitney, but I’m not guaranteeing anything. It’s a dynamite tune. You wanna hear it?”
“Naw. I’ll just take a copy to Whitney. Bernie’s got golden ears. Just do your best.” (Of course, Bernie had never heard it.)
Well, that was that. Somehow, Krystal’s friend wrested the song away from the Madonna people, who were surprised to get the call in the first place. Whitney loved the song. Within six weeks it climbed to Number One on the Billboard charts.
Sami and David called Holly and invited her out for Indian food on the eve of the MTV Awards. “Heaven’s Fallin’ Down” was up for best song. This time, they went in David’s Honda.
“So, you guys. What’s next for you?”, Holly asked with barely concealed excitement.
David answered. “Well, after the Awards, we figure we’ll take a little time off and write a few more tunes. Reba McIntyre wants to do “The Door is Always Open”. Sami and David squeezed each other’s hands under the table. It was really a dream come true.
“What about making an album, Sami. You gonna go for it now?”
Sami laughed. “What? An old lady like me?”
The truth was, Sami and David were so delighted with their life as it was, that neither of them wanted to change a thing. They repainted the trim on the fake French doors. David continued his bulk tape business on the side. Sami kept doing her secretarial work part-time. Now, though, they had just a little more time for their writing, and their phone calls were returned. The Hollywood sign was still there. It was Tuesday.
© 2004, Robin Munson