Monday, July 20, 2015

Superstar-Chapter 63

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 63: It’s On

Avant Groove welcomed Terry back with open and very grateful arms.
He was reinstated as leader of the band and took over as the lead guitarist. He did notice that the band had gotten tighter, if that was even possible, and were more of a unit, a true gestalt that could play pretty much any style of music they wanted to and sound great doing it.
Eric introduced Terry to Philip Overstreet, who took over Wanda’s vacant spot on keys. Terry remembered him from the Armada and asked him why he left Mikki’s group.
“He was on some Prince/James Brown shit, tryin’ to fine people for being late or missing notes.” Philip explained. “That’s why everyone left the group and he’s currently a solo act.” Serves him right, Terry thought to himself.
Over three rehearsals, Terry learned and re-learned all of Avant Groove’s material. He was ready to rock with the band on their gig at Club Jam that Thursday. From the first note, Terry was happier than he’d been in a very long time. He’d missed being in front of a crowd, playing all the sounds he heard in his head for people to appreciate.
He was home.
One day, Terry set up a microphone and surprised everyone by singing “If You Want Me to Stay” and sounding a great deal like Sly Stone. He was voted in as lead singer in addition to everything else he was doing for the band. He didn’t mind a bit.
About four weeks after Terry’s return, a co-lead singer was found. Her name was Denise Jefferies, formerly of the group Billie’s Bliss. During her interview, she and Terry did a spirited rendition of “Take Me With U”. There was a subtle chemistry between them. Everyone saw it and assumed they’d get together. Terry stopped that cold. He’d just gotten over Dominique and he wasn’t about to put his heart on the line again.
Groove was glad to have his brother from another mother back. He’d grown as a musician while Terry was gone and felt more confident. Still, Eric welcomed the chance to step back a little and let Terry handle to heavy lifting. He noticed that Terry had acquired a taste for alcohol and approached Terry about it.
“It’s under control, Groove,” was the reply. Groove tried to ignore the itty-bitty gutbuzz that started after Terry said that.
Lisa asked Terry about his drinking also.
“I got this.” Terry snapped. “I’m not my father.” Lisa declined to comment.
One night after their last set at Club Jam, everyone was feeling good. Terry especially since he had three Rum and Cokes during the show and two more when they were done. Denise was a little tipsy and the liquid courage gave her the guts to finally act on her attraction for Terry. She kissed him and he actually responded. Terry closed his eyes and started to get lost in the kiss when visions of kissing Dom swam through his head and the desire he felt turned to anger.
“Stop,” Terry said.
“Why?” Denise asked, her voice thick with desire. “You like it. I felt it, Terry.”
He grabbed her hands and told her to leave him alone. Denise looked at him and saw the anger behind his eyes. She didn’t understand what was going on, but she did as he asked and walked away.
“You know you were wrong for that.” Lisa said as she sat on the stool Denise vacated. “You know you like her. Why not give her a chance?”
“ I’m not getting screwed over again.” Terry stated. “I already lost time because I let myself get distracted by a relationship. I’m not doing that again. I’m staying focused.” He took a swallow of his drink and looked into the glass as if the answers to life were inside it. Lisa shook her head and left him to his isolation.
“He’s really angry.” Lisa said to Eric.
“He’s really drunk.” Eric said. “I’m glad he’s focused, but I think he’s more concerned about getting revenge on Dom than anything else.”
“You’re probably right, but what can we do?”
Eric sighed. “Until he lets us in to help? Nothing.”

(c)2015 Courtney & W.L. Sherrod

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Quote Me on This-Johnathan Hickman

"It's okay to be afraid. It's okay to fail. But to say you're not even willing to try...That's unacceptable, Reed."
- Nathaniel Richards (Fantastic Four #570)

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Superstar-Chapter 62

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 62: Falling Away from Me

“You cussed her out on the floor in front of customers?” Janda asked.
“It seemed the thing to do at the moment.” Terry stated.
They were in the manager’s office in the back of the kitchen. A desk dominated the space, topped with a myriad of important looking papers. A computer monitor sat on a corner of the desk, close to Janda, with a keyboard and mouse in front of her. Terry sat in a chair in front of the desk. Manuals, books and licenses adorned the walls and crowded in on Terry. One wrong move and everything will fall in on me, Terry thought.
“Terry, you know better.”
“Nobody told that woman to give me shit because she couldn’t get something for free.”
Janda held up a hand. “First, don’t snap at me…
“I ain’t snappin’…”
“Yes. You are.” Janda insisted. “I don’t know what’s wrong with you lately, but you’re messin’ up, being short with people and flubbin’ simple stuff. That’s not like you.”
Terry sighed. “I’ve been under a lot of pressure lately.”
‘Well, I’m about to relieve you of it for a couple of days.” Janda said. “You’re suspended.”
“Yes. Suspended.” She folded her arms. “I could fire you. I’m doing you a favor.”
Terry stared at her, his face blank and impassive. Then he smiled and said, “Fuck a favor. I quit.” He walked out and dropped his apron on the floor.

Terry walked into his house with a brown paper bag. He took out a bottle of Bacardi Gold and a two liter bottle of Coke and made himself a drink, heavy on the rum. Terry dropped in a couple of ice cubes and gulped down a third of it. He belched, freshened up his drink and walked back into his living room.
“I’m doing you a favor, just firing you”, Terry muttered, imitating Janda. “Do me a favor and shut the fuck up.”
 Terry flopped down into his favorite chair and took another drink. He was mentally exhausted, but at the same time, he felt free. It was strange. There was no prospect of income on the horizon, but he felt free, limitless, like nothing could stop him. He looked at his two guitars and keyboard and thought about going into music full time.
He missed Dom.
Janda was right, he was different lately. Ever since Dom left, Terry had gradually pulled away from everything that mattered to him. He wrote letters to Dom, but didn’t get any response back. Seeing as how he basically told her to piss off and never bother him again, he wasn’t entirely surprised.
He went into his room and turned on the 13” RCA color TV he finally bought.  He watched it sometimes, when he had nothing else to do and the muse wasn’t pulling at him; Usually music videos, music documentaries and the occasional sitcom. A video was on and the music caught his attention. It wasn’t the usual cookie cutter R and B material. There was a brain at work with the arrangements and the melody. Terry bobbed his head to the beat and took another drink when he heard a voice, A voice that energized him every time he heard it during rehearsals.
Dominique was singing to him.
Well, not really, but she was looking into the camera as she lip-synched a song off her upcoming album, ‘Dominique’ called ‘Wings to Fly’. She looked absolutely beautiful, undeniably radiant, just like Terry knew she would. Just like that, the mental exhaustion and hesitation was burned away by a bright rush of anger. On screen, Dom embraced some light-skinned pretty boy and sang to him, smiling all in his face.
‘Wings to Fly.’ If Avant Groove hadn’t taken her in, if I hadn’t given her a place to stay when her momma kicked her out, she wouldn’t be where she was now. And did she thank any of us or try to help any of our careers get started? Hell to the naw!
Fuck that! Muthafuck that! I ain’t got a job holding me back. Ain’t nothin’ but space and opportunity in front of me. That bitch ain’t the only one who can blow the hell up.
It’s on!
Terry grabbed the phone and dialed a very familiar number, even if he hadn’t called it in recent months. It was late afternoon and he was confident that Eric would be home.
“Whassup, man?”
“Nothin’ much. Workin’. Well, not so much. Just got fired.” Terry sighed. “Eric, I’m sorry for pullin’ a slow fade on y’all.”
“Well, having you there the past year would’ve been easier, but we got through it.”
Regret and sadness ripped into Terry’s heart. He betrayed his best friends, put his dream on the shelf because of a woman. That shit is over, Terry thought to himself.
“To what do I owe the honor, Cuzzin?”
“First, am I forgiven?” Terry asked.
“Of course.”
Terry breathed a sigh of relief. “Thanks. Now, can I come back?”
There was a distinct note of relief and happiness as Eric said, “If you can be here tomorrow morning at eight o’ clock.”
“Cool. I’m there. It’s on, Cuzzin’.”

(c)2015 Courtney & W.L. Sherrod

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Superstar-Chapter 61

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 61: Chicago, Illinois 1995 Save Me

It was an easy day at Trudy’s but Terry found it hard to concentrate. Mainly because Dom had sent back every letter he sent her.
A year ago, Eric and Lisa had come to ask him to come back to the band, but he dismissed them, saying he had no music inside him with Dom gone. It was almost true. The music was there, but Terry couldn’t be bothered to chase much less listen to the Muse when his heart felt shattered and jagged. Terry got so discouraged, he didn’t even bother anymore. He remembered when he told Dom to go to Hell and not write him anymore, but after a few weeks, his resolve crumbled and he started writing to her, telling her how sorry he was and could they at least strike up a friendship, if nothing else. The answer was blatantly obvious.
“Excuse me?”
Terry turned towards who had spoken: A light skinned sistah with dark hair that was too long to be natural and a shirt that showed a wealth of cleavage. She’d been giving him the eye since he’d approached her table. She was fine, no doubt, but there was something about her that set Terry on edge. It could’ve been the fact that she reminded Terry of Dom, albeit a less comely version.
“How much is the larger sized daiquiri?” She asked with her best come hither look.
“Six ninety-five,” Terry answered. “Did you want that to come with your dinner?”
“Not if I have to pay for it.” She said and licked her lips for emphasis.
I knew it, Terry thought to himself. “Then, I guess you won’t be getting it. Anything else?”
Her face closed down to an angry expression and Terry felt the chill of Antarctica radiate from her as she said no. He went to check on his other tables and had just entered the kitchen when Jomanda asked him why his lady at table 25 was so bitchy.
“Because, I wouldn’t give her a large daiquiri free.”
“Well, she asked for some napkins and dogged you out for taking so long with her food.”
“Her damn food just came up,” Terry said as he picked up her plate.”I hate it when people get mad ‘cuz they can’t get the ‘hook-up’.”
“Don’t let the trick biotches get to you, Terry.” Jomanda patted him on the back as he walked out of the kitchen.
At the table, Terry placed her food in from of her and said, “Here you go: One Louisiana Catfish Platter. Anything else I can do for you?”
“Yeah, quit tryin’ to sound white.” She ate a forkful of fish and glared at Terry.
He didn’t think he heard her correctly and asked her to repeat herself.
“You heard me, nigga. You may be high yella, but yo ass ain’t white so quit tryin’ to sound like it.” Terry stood there speechless for a moment. Something his mother always said about no matter how prim and proper somebody was, it always came back to name calling. Normally, Terry would let it go and just take care of the table, but she said the wrong thing to the wrong person on the wrong day.
“Look, bitch,” Terry began. “Don’t get salty ‘cuz I won’t give you free shit when you wiggle your tits at me and I talk proper because I’m educated, not tryin’ to be white, ho!” That comment garnered many a look, plenty of open jaws and a snicker or two.
“H-O. Ho.”
“Fuck you, gay ass mothafucka!” She started to get up from her chair, when Janda walked over to the table to see what all the commotion was about. There was a lot of screaming and cursing, but Janda got the gist of it and told Terry to go to the office while she calmed the woman down.

(c)2015 Courtney & W.L. Sherrod