Chapter 44: Sunshine and the Rain
“There is one bright spot outta all this,” Eric said.
Great. Now Mister Sunshine is about to philosophize, Terry thought to himself. Out loud he asked what that was.
“Dominique did a great job tonight,” He smiled and raised his glass. “Personally, I didn’t think you’d pull it off.”
“Thanks for all that support, Groove,” Dom snarked.
“But I’m very glad to say you proved me wrong. You go, girl.” Everyone saluted Dom with their glasses and the miasma of disappointment lifted a little as camaraderie and warmth flowed between them.
Carla, their usual waitress, came to the table and asked if they won. She received hard, anger laced stares in response.
“I’m gonna go with ‘No’ with on that.”
“Pretty much.” Eric said.
“Well, what happened? And where’s Wanda?”
“She decided not to show,” Eric began, frustration bleeding through his normally calm demeanor. “Dom did a great job replacing her, but we got passed over for the win.”
“Yeah,” Terry said flatly.
“That is some bogus bullshit,” Rob growled. “I know somebody got paid for that.”
There were murmurs of agreement from everyone.
“Well, I’m sorry all that went down,” Carla said. “Can I get y’all anything?”
“A recording contract,” Eric said, smiling.
“A phat recording contract.” Terry added.
“A seventy city world tour,” Lisa said.
“A forty-eight track recording studio downtown,” Larry piped in.
“Hell, a limo with a full mini-bar and three naked freaks ready to bone.” Rob chimed in. Everybody laughed out loud for five full minutes.
Carla turned towards Dom and said, “What about you, Miss Dominique?”
“A demo would be nice.” She said.
“I might be able to help out with that.”
Everybody looked up at who had spoken.
He was light-skinned, with a small, neatly cut afro and full beard peppered with minute traces of gray and a kind face with youthful brown eyes. The gentleman rose from his seat and walked over to Avant Groove’s table. He possessed a wide, solid build, but his cobalt blue suit fit him easily. He didn’t invade the band’s space, but stood a respectful distance from them and said, “My name is Russell Tilbert. In my opinion, you guys were robbed tonight.”
“Glad somebody besides us thinks so.” Eric said as he got up and shook Tilbert’s hand. He introduced him to everyone.
“Well, I’m pleased to meet all of you.” Tilbert said as he pulled a chair from another table and sat down. Carla asked if anyone wanted anything. The orders were quickly taken and she left Avant Groove with their mysterious new friend.
“First off---,” He began. “---I’m not an A & R rep from a label or a producer. I manage groups for a living.” He mentioned a few of them and Avant Groove were familiar with a couple of them who, surprisingly, were in the Big Time.
“I love good music and this band does that very easily as far as I can see.”
“Yeah, but what’s your point?” Terry asked. Everyone looked at him askance. He normally wasn’t so rude.
Tilbert smiled and said, “I’d like to be your manager.”
“We already handle that stuff ourselves.” Eric said, the warmth in his voice trickling away.
“And I’m sure you do a good job,” Tilbert added. “But, can you focus a significant amount of time to that?”
“Obviously not,” Terry snarked.
“That’s right. You can’t. But, if you let me, I can do that for you exclusively. I can book gigs, shop demos, prepare press kits and make contacts, all for you.” Tilbert stated matter-of-factly. “You could devote more time to what you do best: making music.”
Eric, honestly, liked what he heard. It would help them out and free up a lot more time for rehearsals and plain old songwriting if they had a manager. He still had questions, though, like: “What about lawyers?”
“I know a few and they’re well versed in copyright and entertainment law.”
“I know a lot of club owners and anyone I don’t know, I can get to them. Look, I know what I’m doing and I’m ready to do this for you for free.”
Everyone was silent and not quite sure they heard Tilbert correctly.
“I’m sorry. It sounded like you said you’d manage us for free,” Terry said cautiously.
“Because you guys blew all those other bands away,” Tilbert began. “Avant Groove should’ve walked off with the recording contract tonight. Quite simply, I like your music and your professionalism and I want to do whatever I can to help you guys achieve your dreams.”
Avant Groove looked at each other, still in shock at what Tilbert offered them.
“Well, what do y’all think?” Eric asked them. Everyone agreed that Mr. Tilbert was for real and quickly voted him in as their manager.
“Thank you.” Russell said with an acres wide smile. “I won’t let you down. I promise.”
“Hope you don’t.” Rob said. Everyone else ignored him and thanked Russell for his time and Eric told him where and what time they rehearsed. After Russell said his goodbyes, Avant Groove let out a loud whoop.
“What happened?” Carla asked as she walked up to the table.
“We just got a manger,” Eric almost shouted.
“This is gonna be the shit. I can feel it.” Terry added.
“Oh, yeah,” Lisa piped in.
“I hate to rain on our parade…” Larry began.
“But, what are we gonna do about Wanda?” Terry, Eric and Lisa looked at each other. Terry grinned an evil grin and ran a finger across his throat.
“Oh.” Larry said.
“Now that we got that out of the way…” Carla said. She turned and motioned to one of her co-workers, who brought over a tray of food.
“I told Mr. Jacobs about what happened and he had the kitchen fix this up for y’all on the house.” She smiled. “He said you guys are his favorite band, no matter what the judges said.”
“Tell him we said thanks.” Terry said before biting into his cheeseburger. Everybody tucked in and soon all conversation came to a halt. Terry turned and looked at Dominique, who was taking a bite of her turkey melt. She noticed him looking and asked him what was wrong.
“Nothing.” He said and wiped a dribble of ketchup off her chin. “Just looking at you.”
“Well, since you’re looking all down my mouth, how about kissing me there.”
“Gladly.” Terry said. Their lips met and they quickly forgot anyone else was around.
“Aww, c’mon. I don’t wanna see that shit.” Rob began. “Y’all need to get a room or somethin’.”
“You just mad ‘cuz you ain’t gettin’ none.” Lisa pointed out.
“Oh, here we go…” Rob and Lisa got into one of their usual arguments, which Eric refereed, Larry sat back and watched and Dom and Terry were lost in the dance of their tounges and lips, completely oblivious to everyone and everything around them.
(c)2015 Courtney & W.L. Sherrod
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