Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Superstar-Chapter 34

Hello to all! New chapter! Follow on Twitter! Like on Facebook! And...story!

Chapter 34: Show Me

“Thank God for off days.” Lisa said to herself.
Lisa was a manager at the True Note Records store on 87th and Stony Island. She’d been there since she was sixteen and went from being a cashier to ordering records, conducting interviews and basically running the store on a day to day basis. None of which she had to do today.
Lisa sat in her apartment on 83rd and Ashland, wearing a t-shirt, cleaning up and basically just chilling. “Inside Edition” was just about to put her to sleep when her phone rang.
“If it’s Mr. Greer talkin’ about work, a brotha’s about to be left hangin’.” She said as she checked the caller ID. She knew the number, but was surprised just the same.
“Yeah, how did you…? Oh. Caller ID, huh?”
“Yes, ma’am. Whassup with you?”
“How long are you gonna be home?”
“All day. Why?”
“I have a favor to ask.” Dom said.
“Name it…”

“Teach me how to play keyboards.”
“But you already know how to play.”
“Not like you. I wanna be as good as you.” Dom said fiercely.
“I’ve been playing since I was a little girl.” Lisa pointed out. “That’s a whole lotta practice, girl.”
“I know, I know. But you can write music without anybody helping you. I wanna do that.”
Lisa knew she’d regret her next question, but, she asked it anyway; “Wouldn’t Terry help you with that?”
Dom grinned. “Yes, he would. He wants to in fact.”
“So, what’s the problem?”
Dom sighed and said, “I dunno. Me and Terry were working on some music I wrote and I asked him what I’m asking you now. For some reason, he shut me down, saying he’d do the music for me. The way he did it just bothered me, like he wanted to control me or somethin’.” She shook her head and mumbled something about how strange that was.
Lisa didn’t know what to make of all that. She was as confused as Dom was about Terry’s reaction and didn’t see the problem he seemed to have with that. Dom learning how to play better could only help the band, not hurt it. Looking at Dom, who seemed to have the world weighing on her, Lisa could tell this went deeper than Terry being a little controlling. As she sat down next to Dom, she made a mental note to talk to Terry about this. In the meantime…
“Why are you so insistent on doing it yourself?” Lisa asked.
“If Terry left me, I’d be stuck.” Dom explained. “I saw what happened when my father left Ava. A lot of possibility left with him and Ava had to slave just to make ends meet. I promised myself that I’d never fall into that rut, especially when it comes to my music.”
“You do know Terry wouldn’t do you like that, don’t you?”
“Yeah. I just don’t want to depend on him too much. I want to hold my own, y’know?”
“Yeah, I do.” Lisa smiled. “Come on, I’ll teach you what I know.”

“Thank you.”

(c)2014 Courtney & W.L. Sherrod

Friday, November 21, 2014

Superstar-Chapter 33

Well...Finally...I know everyone was waiting with bated breath for the next chapter...Even if it was late...But here it is! Follow me on Twitter and Like me on Facebook!

Chapter 33: Set The Night To Music

Once they got to the Warehouse, Terry set up Lisa’s keyboards and his guitar and they proceeded to polish up Dom’s songs; tightening an arrangement here, fleshing out ideas there. Before long, they started to write lyrics to a couple of tunes. Dom had seen Terry work on music with Avant Groove during rehearsals, but she was particularly touched by the fact that they were working on her music, songs from her mind. They sounded even better than she could’ve imagined. Terry even stepped to the mic and sang on a tune.
“I didn’t know you could sing.” She said.
“I’m alright.” Terry said with a sheepish grin. “I picked up some technique over time, but I really don’t like singing.”
“Why not? You sound good, babe, kinda like Maurice White.”
Terry grinned and looked embarrassed as he said thanks.
“Thank you for helping me with my music.” Dom said.
“No problem, Angel. That’s what I’m here for.”
“Could you teach me how to play keyboards?”
“You already know how to play.” Terry stated.
“Yeah, but not as good as I want to. I wanna play what I hear in my head.” Right then, Terry’s mind flashed back to the “Gutbuzz” Eric had about Dom. If she was more independent, she’d leave him. He’d be alone and he wasn’t about to let that happen.
“I can do your music for you, Dom.”
“Thanks.” She said. “I appreciate it, but I wanna do it on my own.”
“No. I’m gonna do the music for you, baby.” Terry said as he walked back over to his guitar. “Come on.”
Dom was speechless. She wanted to stop him and talk, but he was concentrating on tuning his guitar. A kernel of discontent crystallized inside her. The way he brushed her off bothered her.
“You gonna play?” Terry asked her.

“Sure.” Dom said and got behind the keyboard. The discontent grew into annoyance and finally an angry resolve. She kept a poker face and played the good girlfriend, but it was obvious Terry wasn’t going to help her unless it was done his way. Dom thought of a way around that. Terry wouldn’t like it, but that was something he’d just have to deal with.

(c)2014 W.L. Sherrod & Courtney Sherrod

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Superstar-Chapter 32

Howdy, everyone! I'm back with another chapter of Superstar! I hope this finds everyone doing well and enjoying life...Apologies for the lateness with the posting...Thanksgiving is coming so plan accordingly...Anyhew, Like me on Facebook and Follow me on Twitter...and...Story! 

Chapter 32: Good Enough

The first round of the Battle of the Bands had eight bands competing. Out of the eight, only four made the cut: Avant Groove, a four piece jazz outfit called Billie’s Bliss, a funk/R & B crew called Chameleon and a sextet called the Armada. Eric and Terry were impressed by all three bands, but the Armada was the only one that bore watching.
On a rare night off, Avant Groove went to Foxy’s, a club in the South Loop, where the Armada played regularly.
Terry looked around at the club while everyone got settled at a table. The main room was cavernous, the walls painted black with the Chicago Skyline done in white. A bar ran along the left side wall. The dance floor was tri-leveled with the D.J. booth to the right of it. The remaining space was filled with tables and chairs. The Armada was on the uppermost level of the dance floor, jamming on an instrumental groove. They all wore matching white shirts, black pants and vests. The lead singer decided to forgo the shirt and displayed a well defined, but extremely skinny upper body.
“I wonder if he’s gonna catch a cold up there?” Terry remarked.
“Does he think he’s sexy?” Lisa added.
“I hope not, ‘cause brothaman looks like Urkel,” Dom observed.
“I’m thinkin’ an uglier Raphael Wiggins,” Wanda said. After his initial remark, Terry started observing and picking the Armada apart. Eric was doing the same thing and asked Terry what his read on them was.
“They’re very good as a group. The standouts are the second guitarist and the keyboardist. They can jam, no doubt.” Eric focused on each of the people Terry mentioned: The guitarist was tall with light brown skin and dreadlocks and played with an easy mastery while the lone keyboardist traded licks with him. His bald head shone as brightly as the joy on his face.
“Why is that?” Dom asked Terry. Eric’s face said he didn’t appreciate Dom interrupting their conversation. Terry noticed, gave Eric a “back off” look and said, “The guitarist and the keyboard player are in tune to one another, almost like they can read each other’s mind.”
“I see.”
“The band’s weak link is the lead singer-slash-guitarist--” Eric stated, his earlier annoyance tamped down for the moment. “--Name’s Mike, he prefers Mikki, and he used to be in Avant Groove, but we fired him because he liked to grandstand and he was way too ready to take over the band for his own.” As if on cue, Mike started to play a solo.
Terry noticed that Mikki’s solo didn’t stray very far from the melody and he threw in some variations on the main theme. It was fairly simple, effective and allowed for plenty of flashy theatrics. Terry grinned. He could burn that poser off the stage easily.
“I, for one, am glad we fired him,” Lisa said as she gestured for a waitress. “He thought he was Prince or somethin’ and the brotha can’t even hold Prince’s jockstrap.”
Dom nodded as the waitress arrived and everybody ordered drinks and a couple of appetizers. The waitress, Sandra, according to the nametag, said she’d be back with everyone’s drinks.
“I see you ordered a Fuzzy Navel,” Terry said to Dom.
“Yeah, I did.”
“You’ve never drank before. Why the change?”
“It’s been a while since I had a drink,” Dom explained. “Nothin’ heavy and I’m not singin’ so why not?”
“Because…just because.”
Don grinned. “You don’t drink at all do you?”
“Well, sweetie--“ Dom said as she draped her arms around Terry’s neck. “—I might have the occasional drink, but I’m not a drunk, okay?”
Terry nodded. He still wasn’t completely convinced. Dom was her own person and could do whatever she wanted to do, Terry realized, but he wanted her to abstain from drinking because he did. She didn’t have to do everything as he did or even think of things as he did, he realized. Terry didn’t like it, but he did realize it.
The emcee announced that the band was taking a break and the open mic session would start shortly. As the Armada walked off the stage, Terry noticed that Mikki had seen them and made a beeline straight for their table.
“Mikki’s comin’, Groove.” Terry said.
“Oh, Hell,” Lisa muttered.
“Just be cool, Lisa,” Eric said.
“Please, be cool,” Terry added.
“I ain’t makin’ no promises,” Lisa answered.
“Well, well, well. Avant Groove has graced us with their presence,” Mikki drawled.
“Hi, Mike,” Eric deadpanned.
“Call me Mikki,” He said. Lisa rolled her eyes and Rob stifled a laugh.
“So, what’s goin’ on…Mikki?”
“Y’know, how it is: A li’l o’ this, l’il o’ that. How you be, Terry?”
“Whassup, Lisa? Rob? Larry and Wanda?” They each raised a hand in response.
“Nice job at the Contest, Terry.”
“Thanks. Nice solo,” Terry grinned.
“I do what I do,” Mikki said, totally missing the sarcasm in Terry’s tone. “Y’all came to see how it’s done?”
“Nope,” Eric said. “Just checkin’ out the competition.”
“Don’t be intimidated, son. You know how we do.”
“We’re not intimidated,” Terry assured him.
“Aww, come on, Terry, you know that’s why y’all kicked me outta the band: y’all were scared I was gonna take over and make y’all look bad.”
The waitress arrived with everybody’s drinks. Terry took a long pull of his orange juice before he said, “No, we kicked you out because you were a know-it-all who constantly gave us problems and tried to turn the band against each other. Right?”
Mikki was dead silent and frowning. The frown changed to a smile as he said, “So, who’s the lovely young lady? A new member?”
“Yeah,” Terry said with a noticeable lack of enthusiasm. He introduced Dom to Mikki. He grabbed her hand kissed it.
“The pleasures all mine,” Mikki said.
“I’m sure,” Dom responded. She grabbed a napkin and wiped her hand off under the table.
“What do you do in the band, Dom?” Mikki asked as if he didn’t see her sing lead in the contest. Dom paused and looked at him for a moment before she reminded him.
“Well, you got the pipes for it,” Mikki purred. Terry didn’t appreciate the way Mikki’s eyes roamed the hills of Dom’s chest and he barely held back the desire to throttle him.
Dom crossed her arms over her chest and said, “Thanks, I think.”
“No problem. I hope y’all are takin’ notes.”
“Why? There’s gonna be a test?” Lisa asked.
“And you know this,” Mikki assured her. “My band’s gonna take y’all to school at the finals.”
“But, that requires a brain, Mikki,” Larry stated.
“I know you ain’t tryin’ ta jig, fat boy.”
“Man, go put a shirt on, ya bird-chested mufucka,” Rob spat. “Lookin’ like a dark-skinned Michael Jackson.”
“Rob, don’t insult Michael Jackson like that,” Wanda added.
“Muthafuck both a’ you bitches,” Mikki snarled.
“Fuck you.” Rob responded and stalked towards Mikki. Larry got between Mikki and Rob and kept them from coming to blows. Eric cursed to himself and told everybody to clear out and helped Larry herd Rob out of the door.
“So much for being cool,” Terry said.
“Shut up,” Eric responded.
“Don’t let me catch yo skinny ass alone, ‘cuz I’ma fuck you up,” Rob bellowed.
“I’m right here, Orca! Bring it on!” By this time, Mikki’s bandmates surrounded him and held him back. Fortunately, Avant groove got Rob out of the door before he could hear Mikki’s remark.
After that, everyone went their separate ways before the cops arrived. They all shared one opinion: Next time, Terry and Eric would scout out the competition by themselves.

“Was all that really necessary?” Dom asked.
“Not really, but I can’t blame Rob for how he reacted. Mike tends to bring out the worst in people,” Terry grinned. “He has a gift for it.”
“You don’t say?”
“The thing that really bothers me about him is that he’s in it for the money and the pussy. Pardon my French.”
“You’re excused,” Dom smiled. “But, honestly, you’re not even a little interested in the fame or the groupies?”
“Yeah, a little, but it’s always been about the music; playing it and how it made me feel when I heard it,” Terry grinned. “That’s why Eric and I got started in the first place: We just loved music. Mike came along when Eric and I were starting to take our music more seriously. He helped get the word out about us and helped us get some gigs, but he wanted absolute control of the band.”
“I know you and Eric weren’t having that,” Dom said.
“And you know this,” Terry agreed. “When Eric and I told him he was fired, he pitched a fit, but he was gone. After that, it was me and Eric for a long time until Lisa came along. She was a better fit for us because she loved music the same way we did.”
“Y’know, I wondered what was up with you three.” Dom said.
“What d’you mean?”
“I mean, it’s like you three are a little clique inside the band. When there’s a major decision, you three always discuss it before you come to the rest of us.”
“Basically, she’s a founding member of Avant Groove and she helped us get to where we are now,” He explained.
“Oh,” Dom responded.
“Even so, we’re not a dictatorship, we do everything by vote and everybody contributes songs.” Terry paused. “Hey, d’you wanna work on the music you gave me the other day? I have the tape with me.”

(c)2014 W.L. Sherrod

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Random Photos-Recent Stuff

Hello all! I don't post as many photos since I'm usually posting chapters of the book my cousin and I are working on. But, since, I've had taken some photos over the past couple of months, I'm gonna share a few here for your enjoyment...and mine. Anyhew, to the photos!

St. Catherine Hospital East Chicago, In


House of Kobe, Schererville, In on my Birthday

Geisha-House of Kobe

Samurai Armor-House of Kobe

Kim on our Anniversary at Andy's Jazz Club

The Ben Paterson Trio

Lobby at Briar Street Theatre, Chicago, Ill, home of the Blue Man Group

Desi, A Blue Man and Mya

Masks and Hot Sauce at Heaven on Seven, Chicago, Ill

All Photos (c)2014 W.L. Sherrod

Monday, November 3, 2014

Superstar-Chapter 31

Hey Y'all! As promised, another chapter of Superstar! Thanks for reading and for checking out my blog. Now if you'll be so kind as to buy a copy of Facets...
Anyhew...New Chapter...Like me on Facebook and Follow me on Twitter and...read on!

                                               Chapter 31: You Can’t Have My Man

Dominique overheard everything that was said downstairs and she was silently jubilant at what she heard. For the first time, Ava couldn’t lure her man away from her with her poohnanny.  Dom had finally found a man who wasn’t a dawg.
Dom heard footsteps outside of her room and went back to acting like she was looking for the tape, which she already found.
“Hey, Dom.” Terry said as he entered her room.
“Hey. I was just about to come back downstairs.”
“Nothin’ to see down there.” He said. “I like your room. Nice Prince poster.”
“My room is a mess.” Dom noted. “Here’s the tape.”
“Thanks. And your room is not a mess. Now my room, there’s a disaster area for you.”
“Yeah, right.” Dom said and arched a pretty eyebrow. “If your car is any indication, your place must be spotless.” Terry shrugged and looked at his watch. “I gotta go. Some of us have to work for a living.”
“Well, I don’t,” Dom grinned.
“So? I don’t care.” Terry said, his smile belying his words.
“Where do you work?”
“Trudy’s Soul Food Emporium on Ashland off 95th.”
“I know where that is. I’m gonna have to come and visit you one day.”
“I’d love to see you.” Terry paused for a moment. “You’re a hell of a woman, Dom.”
“How so?”
“Living with that…bitch, no offense, is no picnic I bet.”
“None taken and you don’t know how right you are.” Dom said.
“Dom—whatever happens, don’t let your dream go. Not because of that—thing downstairs.” Terry gazed into Dom’s eyes. “If you need anything, anything at all, just let me know. I’m here for you, Dom. I’m always here for you.”
Dom was stunned and speechless to say the least.
“D’you mean that?”
Dom kissed him and laid her head on his chest. “Thank you, Terry. Thank you so much.”
They held hands as Dom walked Terry to the door. Once he left, Ava got out of chair and went upstairs, warning Dom that the kitchen and the bathroom had better be “fucking spotless” before she left for work later that night. Dom went to the kitchen with a smile on her face. Knowing that Terry believed in her and loved her without qualification, made her feel more whole, more complete than she had in ages. Compared to that, cleaning up was a small thing indeed.

                                          (c)2014 Courtney & W.L. Sherrod

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Superstar-Chapter 30

Hey, everyone! WAY late with this post. Apologies! There will be another on Monday...Thanks for reading (And at least one person bought a copy of "Facets". Thank you.) Like me W.L. Sherrod on Facebook and follow me on Twitter...On to the story...

Chapter 30: I Didn’t Mean To Turn You On

“Would you like something to drink?” Ava asked. “My daughter forgot to offer you one. So rude.”
“Thank you, no. I’m fine,” Terry responded. “I wasn’t gonna be here long anyway.”
“Okay. You’re in a band with Dominique, right?” Ava asked as she circled Terry, who felt the full weight of her attention.
“Yeah, that’s right.”
“What do you play?”
“Guitar, bass, drums, Keyboards. A lot of different stuff.”
Ava laughed and touched his shoulder. “So you can tickle the ivories, huh?”
“Yeah, somethin’ like that.” Terry answered. He didn’t like where the conversation was heading. As if on cue, Ava stopped and pressed the whole resilient length of herself against Terry’s back and cupped his posterior. For a moment, Terry was so much in shock he didn’t move.
“I bet you can keep a beat can’t you?” she purred in his ear. Anger blossomed inside of Terry and he shrugged Ava away from him.
“What the fuck is wrong with you?”
“Aw, come on, baby. You don’t want some young girl that don’t know nothin’.” Ava drawled as she closed the distance between them. “You want somebody with some experience. And I can make it so nice.”
“And wind up on the Jerry Springer show ‘cuz of yo hoe-ass? Damn that.” Terry said as he shoved her away. Ava looked shocked and hurt by Terry’s vehement rejection. She lit up a cigarette and leveled an angry gaze on Terry.
“You must be gay or somethin’.” She spat.
“Nope. I just know when not to let my dick do the thinkin’.” He spat back. Ava looked dumbfounded and stalked to her favorite chair. Her face was red and she mumbled something about “pretty muthafuckas.”

“Yeah, whateva,” Terry snarled as he walked upstairs.

(c)2014 Courtney & W.L. Sherrod