Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Quote Me On This-Stephen Marley

"Nothing's permanent in life...All except for change."- "Now I Know", Stephen Marley

Superstar-Chapter 50

Thanks for reading... Follow me on Twitter and Like me on Facebook! Check out previous chapters of Superstar and samples of my first novel, Facets: Stories of the Mundane and the Weird, here on the blog.                                                  Facets is available on the Kindle Market!

Chapter 50: Free

“Ready, Dom?” Jerry asked.
“Yes, I am.”
Avant Groove was back in the lab putting the finishing touches on their demo. All the music parts were done and all that was left was for Dom to add her vocal parts. Jerry decided to have Dom re-record her vocals on a ballad Terry wrote called ‘Free’.
“Because the vocals need to be a little fuller.” Jerry pointed out. “Dom’s voice is distinct from the music, but she sounds thin. I’m gonna have her do her part over and add it to the vocal track that’s already there.” Jerry smiled. “Trust me, Terry, it’s gonna sound great.”
“Yeah. Okay.” Terry said and sat down away from the control board. Eric came to Terry and asked him to step outside.
“Why the long face, Cuzzin’?”
“Nothing’s wrong.”
“Then why are you poutin’ like a little kid?”
“I ain’t poutin’.” Terry said.
“Terry, I know you!” Eric spat. “You pissy because you can’t have your way right now, so what is it?”
There was a long pause, where Terry looked truly uncomfortable with saying what was on his mind, but finally he spat out, “Dom’s vocals sound good the way they are.”
Eric sighed. “Jerry’s the professional here, Terry. He knows more about this than we do. He knows what he’s doing. I know you wanna protect Dom and all that, but this is business. Personal bullshit be damned.”
Terry flexed his hands and fought an urge to smash Eric’s face in and stop all the negativity pouring out of it. Nobody knew what was best for Dom except me, Terry thought to himself. Not Jerry, Not Eric. ME!!
Then Terry heard Dom’s voice, sweet and dulcet, harmonizing with herself. All the anger melted away as Dom caressed his ears. He and Eric walked back into the Control Room. Lisa met them at the door and explained she asked Jerry to pipe the music out to the hallway so they could hear it.
Terry stood and watched Dom as she sang. Her eyes were closed and she was deep into the music, feeling every note and letting her heart answer through her voice. He saw the joy that lit her face and knew that she felt as free as the lyrics described because she wasn’t living with Ava anymore. She was free of her biggest detractor and she could fly as high and as far as she wanted. Terry had to grudgingly admit that Jerry did know what he was doing. Dom sounded better. Definitely.
“Damn.” Rob breathed. “Dom don’t need us to blow up, man. Once this gets out, she’s gonna take off like a fuckin’ rocket.” Terry looked at the awe on Rob’s face and silently agreed with what he said.
She could leave them all behind without a second thought.
Just like Eric said.

Terry continued to watch Dom as a deep, icy fear grew in his stomach and crept slowly through his body and his mind.

(c)2015 Courtney & W. L. Sherrod

Friday, March 20, 2015

Superstar-Chapter 49

 Thanks for reading... Follow me on Twitter and Like me on Facebook! Check out previous chapters of Superstar and samples of my first novel, Facets: Stories of the Mundane and the Weird, here on the blog. Facets is available on the Kindle Market!

Chapter 49: Quiet

                  “I’m an orphan.”
                  Dom didn’t say it in a self-pitying, mournful tone. She stated it very matter-of-factly, like she was noting the color of the sky. Terry didn’t quite buy it, but he kept that to himself.
                  “Technically, that’s not true.” He pointed out as he handed her a mug of hot chocolate. “Your mother is still alive.”
                  Dom made a rude noise. “As far as she’s concerned, I’m dead, so it’s the same difference.” She took a sip and thanked Terry. He drank his cocoa and watched her. She held the mug under her chin, warming herself with it. “It doesn’t matter anyway. That’s a cold room I’m not in anymore, thanks to you.”
                 “Happy to help,” Terry said. He went to the kitchen to contemplate dinner. He’d already stowed Dom’s luggage in his room and let out the sleeper in the living room so she was set for a place to sleep. Terry opened up the freezer and took out some hamburger patties. He thought he heard a sob from the living room. Shaking his head, Terry started to open the burgers when he definitely heard a sob coming from the living room.
                  He stood in the doorway and saw Dom’s shoulders heaving. To her credit, she kept her tears mostly silent. Terry walked to her and wrapped his arms around her, offering his comfort, his strength. Something broke open inside her and she held onto Terry and cried bitter, loud tears as she shook convulsively. Eventually, Dom composed herself and, in a voice thick with tears, said, “I’m sorry, Terry.”
That caught him off completely off guard. “Sorry for what?”
                  “For intruding in your group, your home and your life.”
                  “Dom…”, He said, still not quite believing what he heard, “…I invited you here. If I didn’t want you here, you wouldn’t be here.” Terry kissed her on the forehead. “Ava may not’ve wanted you around, but I do, Dom. I do.” 
                  Dom rested her head on his chest and sighed her thanks. They sat there for a long time, Terry rocking her gently and Dom enjoying the press of his body against hers and the enveloping warmth of his love.

 (c)2015 Courtney & W.L. Sherrod

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Superstar - Chapter 48

 Thanks for reading... Follow me on Twitter and Like me on Facebook! Check out previous chapters of Superstar and samples of my first novel, Facets: Stories of the Mundane and the Weird, here on the blog. Facets is available on the Kindle Market!

Chapter 48: Breakdown

They pulled up to Dom’s house and Terry turned towards her, ready to kiss her goodnight, when he noticed she was twisting the pinky ring on her left hand. She always played with it before she went on stage; a nervous tell, if anyone paid attention, which Terry always did.
“What are you nervous about?” he asked.
“I ain’t nervous.” Dom said, anxiously twisting and looking at her house.
Terry grinned. “You’re scraping the skin off your pinky finger with your ring, which you only do when you’re nervous.”
“I forget how observant you are.” Dom said. “I forgot to wash the dishes before I left and Ava fuckin’ flips if the dishes aren’t done. She works days this week, so I know she’s inside waiting.”
“She could be out and about…”
“You don’t understand, baby…” Dom said. “…She will wait to fuss at me about something she could easily do herself.”
Terry knew what that was like. Carl did similar things to him and thinking about them now, years later, made him squeeze the steering wheel, imagining Carl’s neck in his hands.
“I’ll come in with you if you want.”
“I’d like that.” Dom said.

Terry had a momentary flashback and almost stammered out an explanation. Then he remembered this was Dom’s private hell, not the one he escaped from.
“I told you I was going to the studio…” Dom began.
“I don’t give a rat’s ass if you was goin’ to the Taj-Mah-fuckin’-hal.” Ava yelled in Dom’s face as she poked a finger in her chest. “You supposed to have this house fuckin’ clean before you take yo fuckin’ happy ass anywhere!”
There was more and Dom had heard it or variations of it over the years. Usually, she’d put on a blank face, let Hurricane Ava blow over and get back to her life.
Dom looked Ava in the eye and yelled, “Shut up!”
Ava was stunned speechless, but she found her voice quickly enough. “What did you say?”
“I said, shut up. I’m tired you talkin’ down to me and makin’ me feel bad because you can’t deal with the fact you drove daddy away…”
Dom didn’t get to say anything else because Ava grabbed her and slammed her into the wall.
“Bitch, I will kick yo high-yella ass!”
“Get offa me!” Dom bellowed. They thrashed around on the floor, knocking things down and breaking a lamp. Terry was in momentary shock but his mind caught up to what he was seeing and he jumped in to break them up.
He was expecting to see Dom hurt and crying, but it was Ava who had not only a torn shirt, but a swollen, blackened eye and blood pouring from her nose. Dom barely had a scratch. Her eyes were wide and her face was bright with anger and the desire to tear Ava apart. Terry was silently impressed by Dom’s strength and very glad he wasn’t the focus of her rage.
Ava got up and bellowed, “Get out! Get the fuck out of my house!”
“Gladly! Don’t wanna be with yo hateful ass!” She stormed upstairs and began stuffing everything she could fit into her suitcase. Terry came in moments later and sat on the bed.
“Can I…” ,Dom started to ask.
“…Stay with me?” he finished. “Yes.”
“It’s just ‘til I get on my feet.” Terry gently held her chin and said “You can stay as long as you need, Dom. You know that.”
Dom relaxed and murmured her thanks as she continued packing. Terry looked uncomfortable and Dom’s heart went out to him. As embarrassed as she was about what happened, she knew it was worse for Terry. He’d told her about the many arguments Terry and his father used to have before he moved in with Groove. Dom was sure this was opening up all kinds of old wounds for him.
Dom heard footsteps and looked up to see Ava standing at her door, smoking a cigarette. Dom felt fear stab her in the gut and Terry immediately stood up, his body vibrating with tension. Ava leveled a pointed, angry gaze at Terry, then Dom. She took a drag and said, ”Anything you want, you betta get before I come back from work tomorrow or I’m throwin’ it out.” Smoke erupted from her mouth as she spoke, making each word a bullet that pierced Dom in the heart. She closed her eyes, sighed and said, “Fine, whateva.”
Ava walked to her room and slammed the door. Terry looked like he was about to go after her, so Dom put a hand on his arm, stopping him and said, “She’s not worth it. Let’s just go.” Terry nodded as she picked up her two suitcases and walked out of the room. He followed shortly thereafter.

(c)2015 Courtney & W.L. Sherrod

Monday, March 2, 2015

Quote Me On This-Harold Finch

"Pi: The ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter, and this is just the beginning. It keeps on going, forever, without ever repeating. Which means that contained within this string of decimals, is every single other number; Your birth date, the combination to your locker, your Social Security number. It's all in there somewhere. And if you convert these decimals into letters, you would have every word that ever existed in every possible combination; the first syllable you spoke as a baby, the name of your latest crush, your entire life story from beginning to end. Everything we ever say or do... all of the world's infinite possibilities rest within this one simple circle. Now, what you do with that information... what it's good for... well, that would be up to you."- Harold Finch

Superstar-Chapter 47

Thanks for reading... Follow me on Twitter and Like me on Facebook! Check out previous chapters of Superstar and samples of my first novel, Facets: Stories of the Mundane and the Weird, here on the blog. Facets is available on the Kindle Market!

Chapter 47: Taking Care of Business

True to his word, Russell helped Avant Groove put together a demo.
First, he stepped up promotions of each of Avant Groove’s gigs, advertised shows in local newspapers, handed out flyers to the next show at each performance and started making in roads to different clubs and venues the band hadn’t been to or meant to get to. The exposure and putting the word out, increased attendance at Avant Groove’s shows and consequently, fattened the groups’ pockets. They also started playing at larger venues and gained a dedicated following. The coup de grace was the studio time, a week’s worth of it, Russell secured through an old friend who just opened up a recording studio in Crestwood. He wanted to make press kits to send out along with a CD to whet the listener’s appetite and increase interest in booking Avant Groove.
The band rehearsed ten songs for inclusion on the demo, so when they reported to their first recording session, they were ready.
The band arrived at WorldWide Trax recording studio on Cicero Avenue. It was an unassuming brick edifice of white and beige that looked like just another small business that lined the street. The reception area was well appointed with smart looking and comfortable furniture, real plants and a friendly and helpful associate behind the desk.
Terry sat down and the rest of the band followed suit. There were pictures on the wall of a portly, light-skinned man with wavy, salt and pepper hair an infectious smile and the look of intelligence and wisdom about him, posing with different musical groups, some of whom Terry knew and some he didn’t. A moment later, the man in the pictures came out of the doors leading to the studios in back. Russell got up and gave him a hug and introduced him to everyone.
“This is Jerry Riser.” Russell said. “He’s gonna be the engineer for your sessions.”
“Hey, guys.” Jerry began. “I just want to lay down a few guidelines: I’m here to help you get the best sound you can for your demo. To do that, I need you guys to designate one person to give me feedback and ideas, listen to me when I do make suggestions and don’t forget that even though we’re working, not to forget to have fun.”
Everyone agreed with those conditions and while the rest of the band got their equipment into the studio proper, Terry, who was voted in as spokesperson, told Riser about their sound and what they wanted from their demo. Once everything was settled, Terry joined the rest of Avant Grove in the booth and Riser asked them to warm up with an instrumental jam.
“Let’s go with ‘Groove’s Theory’,” Terry suggested.
“Cool,” Eric responded. “You got it, Dom?”
“I know it.” Terry counted off the beat and the band flowed into the song.
Terry noticed the look of astonishment on Riser’s face and Russell’s look of pride as they played. Terry grinned and went back to concentrating on the song, which clocked in at ten minutes when they finished.
“All right.” Riser said over the loudspeaker. “What we’re gonna do is have you record all your tracks live and have Dom do overdubs if she needs to. I get the feeling it won’t take long for you guys to record.”
Terry and Groove nodded and looked at each other. A smiled broke out on both of their faces and spread to the rest of the group. They realized they were one step closer to making their dreams come true and were definitely ready to, just like Mariah Carey sang, make it happen.

“I don’t believe it.” Riser said as he shook his head.
“Believe it.” Terry said. “This is what we do.”
Riser was accustomed to groups laying down tracks for songs over a period of weeks, essentially cutting and pasting and moving parts and sounds around until the desired sound was attained. He wasn’t prepared for Avant Groove’s ability to play for hours and do flawless first takes of every song they recorded with little need for any overdubs.
They were in the engineer’s booth, listening to the playback of their session. Excitement and pride glowed on everyone’s faces. Terry looked at Dom and gave her a wink, which was quickly returned. Now the band just had to decide which of the ten songs would end up on the demo disc.
“Okay,” Riser said to Terry. “Do you know which songs you want on the disc?”
“Yeah,” Terry responded and rattled of the list.
“Good, good. I’m gonna do a mix of these at home tonight, so I need everyone to come back tomorrow night so you can hear it and y’all can do some small overdubs.”
“Yeah, we’re gonna have to.” Terry said nonchalantly. “Some of the tracks sound kind of thin.” Riser blinked and looked a little taken aback by Terry’s attitude.  He wasn’t the only one. Everybody looked at Terry and marveled at how rude he sounded.
“What do you mean?” Riser asked.
Terry finally picked up on the tension in the room and quickly said, “I’m sorry. No disrespect, I just noticed that we could fatten up some of the instrumental tracks on a couple of songs and maybe have Dom do some harmony on her vocals.”
Riser shook his head and grinned, “No, that’s my fault, Terry. Incidentally, I was thinking the same thing.”
“Okay, cool.”
“Then, we’re done for the day. If all of you could come back tomorrow about the same time, we’ll see about getting this done.” Everybody agreed to do that and made their way outside. Terry threw back his head and bellowed at the top of his lungs. Eric, who was smiling, joined in and they hugged each other. Soon the whole band joined in on the lovefest.
“A demo! We’re recordin’ a fuckin’ demo, man!”
“We da shit! We are da shit!”
“It’s about time.” Lisa said. “We’re finally on our way.”
“True,” Eric agreed, “But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. We’re taking a first step, but we don’t have a deal yet.”
Dom grabbed him by the shoulders. “Aww, c’mon, Groove. This is a big step. Let’s enjoy it a little.”
“No, Eric’s right.” Russell said. “We still have a lotta work ahead of us. But we are off to a good start.”
 “I take it we still have rehearsal in the morning?” Larry asked.
“Of course.” Terry and Eric chorused.
Larry started towards his car with a spring in his step. “Awright, then. I’ll see y’all in the morning.”
“I got some booty waitin’ for me so, peace.” Rob announced.
“Don’t let us stop you.” Terry remarked.
“Neva that.” Rob yelled as he tore out of the parking lot. Eric and Terry both shook their heads.
“Do I have to sing at practice tomorrow?” Dom asked.
“Nope. Need to rest your voice.” Terry said.
“Thank God.”
“We done here?” Lisa asked abruptly. “Anything else?” Terry recalled that Lisa had been a little anxious and fidgety all night, like she had someplace to be. He looked at Eric, who looked like a bus had just made a bloody smear of his heart.
“No.” Terry said quietly.
“Good. See y’all.” Lisa said as she turned and nearly ran to her car.
“Don’t be late tomorrow!” Terry yelled. “And get some sleep!”
“Bite me!” Lisa bellowed back as she drove off.
“Damn, Roger’s got Lisa’s nose wide open,” Dom said in wonder.
“Truly that.” Terry agreed.
“Whatever.” Eric spat. He stalked towards his car. Terry shook his head and felt his heart hurt for him. Eric tried to keep it on the DL, but Terry knew how much Eric truly loved Lisa.
“Groove, why don’t you just tell her, man?”
A sad grin came to Eric’s face. “You already know how that’s gonna turn out. She ain’t seein’ me that way, Terry.” Eric waved his goodbye and drove off.
“Unrequited love is a bitch.” Terry said and held Dom’s hand.
“True dat.”

“Come on. Let’s get you home.” Terry said.

(c)2015 Courtney & W.L. Sherrod