“Charles, it’s your ballgame. If you want the Spud Palace, you got the Spud Palace. Personally, I’d rather wind up the tour in New York or L.A. or anywhere other than the Spud Palace!”
Charles looked down the mirrored hallway to where his secretary Svetlana was sitting at her glass desk. “Greg, just humor me. It’ll be just like old times. Whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on! I want to do the monitor mix. I’ll fly you down to HuicaHuica for golf afterward.”
“But seriously Charles. Pocatello…I don’t think anybody wants to go back there.”
“ I’ll throw in an extra five grand for each guy, plus twenty for Joey.”
Greg shrugged. Oh well, Idaho here we come.
“Fuckin’ Pocatello? No fuckin’ way!” Joey was irate. He felt a lightning wave of fear sweep down his spine, which he attempted to correct with a big slug of cabernet. “What if she shows up? Charles is out of his fuckin’ mind!” Another half a glass went down.
Greg let Joey rant. “Joey, “he said evenly, “Charles owns your ass for four months, for four mil. And she won’t show. Even if she did, it’s been thirty years.”
Joey felt the wine slide through his bloodstream. That’s better.
Greg went on, “It’s just one night. I think it’s fuckin insane as well, but Charles wants to relive his youth.”
“Well, tell him to import another Russian broad or something. Ah, fuck it! Can we check up on her?”
“I’ll look into it. No worries, big guy.” Greg clicked off. What a pain in the ass all this shit is.
Sometimes I just wish I chuck it all.
He thought for a second. Nahh!
4) The Beef Goes On
Harry said, “You know Ace, some of these songs are really good. I mean, they stand up after all this time”
Childhood had been ensconced at SIR rehearsing for two weeks.
“Ah…. you know; they’re only good if they sell.”
“I’m fuckin’ amazed that you haven’t made it in Nashville yet.”
“Well, I’ve learned a lot. When I first moved there, everyone thought it was fun to have me play Big One with them at the Bluebird and all that, but after they realized I wasn’t writing for any big artists in L.A., they cut me out of the game. I think you need a birth certificate that says ‘born in Oklahoma’ or something. Those rednecks are pretty slick. If you can’t offer them something they don’t have, you’re not much use to them. They’re not going to turn you on to their connects, that’s for sure. They are nice about it, though. They slap you on the back, buy you a drink and call you buddy. Instead of southern hospitality, I call it southern horse-pistol reality.
“Are you really quitting writing? You’ve been writing stuff for records since ’67, man!”
“Hebester, there are writers back there that are fifty times better than me who can’t get cuts. I’m quitting so I won’t further clog the system. Nashville needs less songwriters, not more.”
Emilio slid the steaming platter of giant squid in green crab sauce onto the table. “Be careful, “he minced,” it’s awfully hot! Now, who had the duck cardamom?” The smells were exquisite, overpowering. A giant paella, the patter ringed with tiger prawns, whose tails overlapped like a crustacean conga line, steamed in the middle of the table, set with triangular plates of blue glass and blue-stemmed flutes and impossibly large and breathy crystal wineglasses.
Ace said, “Joey, thanks, by the way.”
“For doing this whole thing. I know it’s not that much money to you, but it pretty much makes my year.” I might as well debase myself right away and get it over with, Ace thought.
“Oh, shit!” cracked Joey to the table, “It’s not about the money!”
Harry shot Ace a rapid sideways glance and Ace pretended Joey was funny in the way Joey intended.
Jas looked around the table. What a contrast: five old geezers and five young beauties. The cleavage counterbalances the double chins nicely, she thought. She was mad that Joey had insisted on bringing Brazilian Celina to lunch with them. He must be doing her, she thought. Celina was pretty and she already had the excuse to get her hands on him in his daily massages; it was only a matter of time. The great Joey wouldn’t be denied. Jas kept catching Harry looking at her and the other girls. Look all you want, geek-man; you ain’t getting any of this. She found him to be repulsive physically. He was just too bony and rat-like. His thin schnozz…just the thought of him gave her a chill. Ace, on the other hand, had a sensitive thing going. Ok, he was a little overweight, but he had that star thing in his looks. He reminded her of some actor; she couldn’t quite place it. Jas’ actress friend Ella was interested in him. The two of them seemed to hit it off that first night at Ruffo’s, going on for an hour and a half about Native Americans and Mexican Revolutionary Art. A man who can talk about interesting things; that’s different! Ella said. Jas understood that Ace’s wife Sheila was a humdinger redhead who would decapitate him if he ever screwed around. Ace had needed to excuse himself to go call home during the dinner. Jas’s other friend Leila was bored as a stone. She was only after guys with megabucks, but definitely not Greg Horn. She wanted to be a trophy wife and spend, spend, spend. Horn, who was also having a hard time keeping his leering eyes off Jas, was so obnoxious. Jas had met a lot of leering rich crocodiles in L.A., but Greg seemed like one of the coldest and most dangerous ones. He fifth guy, Boomer, seemed to be intent of reading Forbes while the others jabbered around him
Joey was talking to the whole table, as usual.
“So there we were on the seventeenth tee at St. Andrews, and who comes over? Fuckin Tiger Woods, that’s who, coming to get my autograph; said I was a big influence on his musical taste…hey, Stone!”
Throughout the restaurant there was a swiveling of suntanned necks as the international rock star and sex megagod Stone entered the restaurant. Tall and trim, his gray hair cropped close, he was wearing a silk Chinese-looking suit and had really expensive looking matching blue shades perched halfway down his long, famous nose. On his arm was a fantastically gorgeous Eurasian goddess in silk and leather. He sauntered over to the table, stopping first to say hello to a handsome older guy who was sitting with a young blonde whose low-cut top revealed a set of real cantaloupes.
“Hey, man” said Joey, rising, “You know the guys.”
“Nice to see you all” Stone said in his Surrey accent. ”Ace. Harry. Greg. Ladies. This is Rebeka.” Rebeka looked decidedly uninterested. Joey began talking to Stone in low, secretive tones. The two made quite a pair. Like a couple of macaws at a pigeon party, thought Ace. Ace looked at Stone’s face. Rumor had it that he had the best facelifts in the biz. Sheila was always saying they tucked all the ugly parts behind his ears. Ace couldn’t detect any surgery lines. Stone was just a really handsome man. Looking at him had an unreal aspect, as if you saw the Mona Lisa sitting in the next box at Dodger Stadium. You saw so many photographs of the guy; how could you see the real person anyway? It was all just familiar angles.
The obsequious waiter came to take Stone to his table. Joey followed him. The rest of them sat there and finished eating, had various schmancy coffees, and waited. Finally Harry said, “Fuck it! I need my nap.” They all took off. Even though they were only four tables away, Joey didn’t even acknowledge them when they stood up to leave.
Jas sat by herself for a while, and then walked outside and called for the Maserati.
The billboards were up all over L.A., all over the nation, all over the world!
In a gigantic font that recalled the great days of Biblical movie epics, the ads simply read:
This monolithic logo was set against a vista of a vast red-black desert plain with a single, towering, dominating rock formation rising to heaven.
Presumably, this mountain was a symbolic representation of the awesome size and power of the new and improved penis to be provided by the Xeonosis Corp for a mere $2,995, plus the cost of the surgery.
Doctor Dong Wang can implant the Implant for only 1,995!! Do it today! Se habla Espanol!
“Fox News in the morning: Fair and Huge! Ha-Ha, John.”
“This really is a sign of the times, isn’t it, Sylvia?”
”Let’s bring in two experts: Dr. Layla Frankel of the Human Sexual Foundation and Reverend Rock Sturgeon of the Family Values Council. Dr. Frankel? “
“I think the Implant is going to be a wonderful thing for promoting self-confidence in so many size-challenged men.”
“So, Dr. Frankel, you’re saying size does matter?” Studio laughter.
“Rock Sturgeon here. This is just more of the liberal self-indulgent twaddle that has brought our society to the brink of ruin! Men have done just fine since the creation with what they are given by the Almighty.”
“So the position of the Family Values Council is that it’s not the meat, it’s the motion?” More studio laughter.
“VH1 breaking news! The band Childhood, whose classic Here Comes the Big One is featured in the Xeonosis Implant ad, has recorded a new album, which will be released this Saturday. The timing of the release coincides with a big gig at L.A.’s trendy-wendy nightspot, Rutabaga. It’s expected to be a real red-carpet celebrity event, a warm-up for their upcoming Super Bowl performance. Here we see guitar god Joey Lowe as he left Sandstone Studios in Santa Monica last night. He appears to be waving, but only with his middle finger! That is one classic Maserati, isn’t it!”
Leave your message after the beep. beep: “Ace, congrats. Man; you’re buying. Beep: Hey Ace, I just heard your song. Let’s write sometime, man. Beep: Hi Ace, this is Kimberly. We met at the songwriter’s conference last year. I’m singing tonight at the Cakewalk. I hope you can come. Beep: Ace, you bastard! Beep: Ace, this is Mel from Equion Publishing. We’ve been listening to your CD. We love it. Let’s sit down and talk when you can. Beep: Hey buddy, this is Tracy Boggs. We’re cutting pretty soon. We’d love for y’all to come and play us some stuff. Beep:” (girl’s voice) Hi Ace, this is you know who. Call me. Beep: