20 Nov 2009 @ 5:11 PM 

Chapter 16

Skeet’s pulled his car into the parking lot, slid into a spot and turned off the engine.  He had purposefully parked in the back, hoping Chapin wouldn’t recognize where they were.  He hopped out of the car and moved around to her door, offering her his hand in a half mocking fashion.  She took his hand, stood up then gently straightened his tie.  She looked in his eyes, smiled and gave him a light kiss.

He was stunned at just how beautiful she had looked tonight.  His past experience was with her was jeans but the little black dress had definitely grabbed his attention.  He offered his arm and she took it.

“Where are we going?” she asked.

“There you go, all reportin’ like again, gettin’ all up in somebody’s business,” he joked.  “Just wait.  See what happens when you don’t make the decision?”

Skeet led her around to the back of the building.

“The alley?” she said.  “Look.  I’ll do you, but not in the alley in this dress!”  They both laughed.

Skeet led her up to the back door of the building and knocked.  Low and behold, it was Carl, from the failed fund raiser show.

“Skeet!” Carl said.  He looked at Chapin and a big grin crossed his face.  “Sorry… press has to wait another hour,” he laughed.  “Come on in, folks. They’ve gotcha a table and they’re waiting on you.”

“Who’s waiting on us?” Chapin asked.

Skeet and Carl winked at each other.  “Oh, you’ll see,” said Skeet.

They entered the building and walked down the hall.  Chapin began to hear the light sound of an electric piano with the volume turned way down.  As she listened more intently, she could make out two distinct pianos  She recognized the tune, “Green Dolphin Street” as one of her favorites and the playing was incredible.  “Who is that?  It sounds so familiar!”

They came to a door that was slightly ajar and Skeet gave a light knock and walked in.  “Chick?” he called.

“Skeet!  Man, it has been forever!  I’m so glad you called!”  The man stood up from behind the small piano and he and Skeet hugged and slapped each other on the back.  The man wore a red and orange Hawaiian shirt with a sports coat over it.  He was sporting a Cubs baseball cap which covered salt and pepper hair with a small pony tail.  He wore John Lennon style granny glasses and a pair of white baggy pants.  “What’s it been?  Two years?”

“I think it’s closer to three.  We played together at that Chivas Jazz Fest in Brazil.  I think we played with Clark Terry.” Skeet responded.

The gentleman who had been playing the other piano had stood up and walked over when they entered, but had been silent.    He was an older African American man with very similar glasses, just a little larger.  He wore a red pull over sweater and a pair of dark slacks.  His smile beamed wide as he looked back and forth between the three of them.

“Well, you gonna introduce us?”  the gentleman said.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” said the first man.  “Skeet Seaton, this is Herbie Hancock.” He said with a chuckle.

“Oh I know who HE is,” Herbie said with a grin.  He reached out his hand to Chapin.  She clasped it and he pulled it to his lips and kissed.  “I meant this vivacious picture of beauty.”

“All right, Herbie.  I’m laying claim to her right now,” Skeet said jokingly.

“Wait a minute now.  Let the man talk,” Chapin said, flashing a huge smile.

Skeet shot her a look and giggled.  “Chapin Hanigan, Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock.  Herbie, Chick.  This is my…umm..errr…”

“Man, if you don’t say ‘girlfriend’, ‘woman’, ‘lady’ or ‘wife’ right now, you aren’t near as bright as I took you for.” Herbie said.

Skeet looked at Chapin who gave him a wink.  “Girlfriend?” he said, almost as if he was asking.

She took his hand and squeezed it.  “I’m ok with that, if you are.”

“Oh stop askin’ HIM.  Pretty as you are, you get to make the decisions here,” Herbie quipped.

Chick offered his hand.  “It’s a pleasure.  Chapin?  That’s a beautiful name.  Unusual.” Chick said.

“My mom was a huge Harry Chapin fan,” she said.

“Aren’t we all?” Chick responded.

“So I hear you play some keys?” Herbie asked.

Chapin looked at Skeet.  “You play piano too?  Who knew?”

“I’ve heard that boy try to play Chopsticks on the piano.  Don’t even let him close to anything without a fretboard.  I was talking to you, Ms. Chapin!” Herbie said as he moved around to the piano bench he had been playing before.

She continued to look at Skeet.  It was as if the words had not truly sunk in.  She moved her gaze across to Herbie.  Then back to Skeet.  “Wait?  What?”  She wasn’t sure she had head him right.

“Don’t look at me.  You’re the piano player,” Skeet said.

She looked at Chick, who was grinning ear to ear, almost to the point of laughter.  She looked back at Skeet, displaying a look reminiscent of a deer caught in the headlights.  Skeet leaned in and whispered in her ear.

“He’s waiting for you to play with him,” he said very softly.

Her eyes bulged and she shot a quick look back at Skeet.   She had interviewed some relative big shots in the jazz world, but none of this caliber.  And she had definitely never sat down and played the piano with one of them.

“That’s right!  He is!” Herbie said in a whisper that bordered on a scream.  He sat down and began playing lightly on the keys.

“Oh, I can’t…I mean…uhhh…  But you’re Herbie Hancock!” she said.

“Last I checked,” Herbie quipped.

“And…and…you’re Chick Corea!”

“That’s what my parents told me, anyway.” Chick replied.  He walked over, put his arm around her shoulder and gently guided her to the piano that he had been sitting at when they arrived.  He guided her down to the piano bench.

“Now that’s better!  What should we play?” Herbie asked.

“I ummm…I don’t know,” Chapin stuttered.

“She is pretty good with ‘Georgia On My Mind,” Skeet interjected.

“Georgia it is!  Key of B flat?”  Herbie didn’t wait for an answer.  He launched into the song and motioned for Chapin to join in.  She took a deep breath, put her hands on the keyboard and began to play.

Chick and Herbie listened intently and exchanged looks, their eyes wide as saucers.  Herbie took his hand away from the keyboard long enough to motion to Herbie to turn the volume up on her electric piano, emphasizing her playing.

It was just beginning to dawn on her that she was playing with Herbie Hancock, the man who played with Miles Davis and recorded the quintessential ‘Bitches Brew’ album, who had pop hits like ‘Rockit’ and had won more Grammy’s than most artists had albums.  The magnitude of the moment began to take over and she knew she would come apart if she thought about it anymore.  She decided to treat this like she had her relationship with Skeet, she closed her eyes, threw her head back and went for it until the last note sounded.  She opened her eyes to see all three musicians staring at her in amazement.  Skeet beamed with pride.

“Good God woman!  Where have you been hiding?”  Chick said.  “There at the end you took it to a whole other level!”  He turned to Skeet.  “Are you sure she’s not backing you up or something?”

“Well let’s play another!” Herbie suggested.

“Wait a minute, Herb.  You had your turn.  I think it’s my turn now!” Chick said.

“You sure?  You look kinda tired, old man.  I can do it for ya!” Herbie joked.

“Not on your life!” Chick replied.

Herbie got up and Chick sat down at the keys.  Chapin was still somewhat in shock.  She had just played with Herbie Hancock and had managed to get through it.  Now Chick Corea?  Skeet walked up behind her, put his hands on her shoulders and gave a little rub.

“What do you want to play, Chapin.  Just name it.” Chick said.

She thought for a minute.  She was a complete blank.  She knew she had to come up with something.  “Sophisticated Lady?” she asked.

Chick’s eyes lit up.  “A nice choice.  Key of F?” he asked.

He immediately started into the first notes and Chapin quickly joined in.  Her nerves were beginning to calm and she was settling in and enjoying the experience.  Chapin and Chick meandered through the song, trading improvisational solos and just generally having a great time playing off each other.  The last few notes of the song trickled off and Herbie began to clap.

“What do you do for a living?” Herbie asked.

“I’m a reporter for Jazz Journal magazine,” she responded.

Girl, that’s a quality publication, but I’ve been doing this for over 50 years, and you are in the wrong profession.  Skeet, this girl has major chops,” Herbie said.

“YOU realize that, and I realize that,” Skeet began.

“And I realize that,” Chick said.

“But SHE doesn’t realize that.” And Skeet meant it.  He had heard her play with Patti and had been impressed, but he hadn’t known until now just how good she was.  He had called in a favor from Chick to set up the meeting and he was sure that she wouldn’t embarrass herself, but it was only now, hearing her playing with two of the greatest jazz artists ever, that he heard just how good she was.

“Well,” Herbie began.  “You have an open invitation to play with me anytime you want.  I’m serious!”  Chapin began to blush.

“Yea, but I’ll actually pay you!” Chick interjected with a smile.

There was a light knock at the door and one of the roadies stuck his head in.

“You’ve got about 15 minutes guys.”

“Thanks,” Herbie said.

“Well, we’re gonna go out and take our seats and let you guys get ready.  I really appreciate this,” Skeet said.

“This has been a real honor!  Thank you so much!” She paused.  “You know, I would LOVE to interview you guys,” she said with a grin.

“First, I just told you you were in the wrong career!” Herbie snapped, but a big smile came across his face.  “We’ve got an 8:00 flight in the morning, but we’ll be back through in about a month.  Chick, is that cool?”

“Sounds great, unless, of course we can persuade you to come on the road with us.”

“As tempting as that is, I kinda got something keeping me here,” she said, looking up at Skeet.

“Lucky bastard!” Herbie smirked.

Chapin and Skeet settled into their table and ordered drinks.  Chapin had a glass of wine while Skeet ordered a bourbon and coke.  Their table was on the right side of the club, about halfway back, which is what Skeet had asked for.  A great view of the stage, but far enough back that the stage lights wouldn’t ruin the intimacy.

Chapin was still reeling from her backstage adventure but it suddenly dawned on her that Skeet had said they needed to talk.  She couldn’t decide whether to go ahead and ask about it or leave it alone and enjoy the evening.  She finally decided that she wouldn’t enjoy the evening sitting there wondering what was going on.

“You said we needed to talk about something.  So what’s up?” she said, trying not to betray how afraid she was of the answer.

“It can wait.  Let’s just enjoy the show,” he said.

“Look, I’m gonna lay my cards on the table here.  I’m getting pretty attached to you and sitting here wondering what’s going on for the next 45 minutes while I’m pretending to enjoy the show just isn’t gonna work.  So let’s just get this over with.  What’s wrong?  Have I done something?  Are you having second thoughts?  This is moving too fast for you? What?”

Skeet looked at her and broke into a little laugh.  “This is not moving to fast for me.  You haven’t done anything wrong and I am definitely NOT having second thoughts.”  His face became more serious. “ This is really about me, not you.  It’s a problem with the record.”

In Chapin’s mind, she breathed a huge sigh of relief, but on the outside, she tried not to let it show.  “What’s wrong with the record?  I heard it in the studio just a few nights ago.  It’s sounded really great.”

“Great?  It’s fantastic!   That’s the problem.” he said.  She was beginning to wonder if he was on some sort of an emotional roller coaster.  First something is bad, then great, then a problem.

“Alright.  You got my attention.  The fact that it’s fantastic is a problem?” she asked.

“No, no.” he paused.  “The album I recorded is a great album.  The album the record company has is a fantastic album.  I don’t know really how to explain this, so bear with me while I spill it,” and with that, he launched into the most fast and frantic explanation she had ever heard.  She couldn’t have gotten a word in edgewise even if she had wanted to and she wasn’t entirely sure he had actually taken a breath at any point.  He told her about the mystery guitar, what Dave had said, what Shawn had said and what he and Shawn had found when they had listened to the tape.  “…and I think I am losing my mind.”  He inhaled deeply and looked to her for some reassurance.  “This is the part where you say ‘No Skeet!  You’re not using your mind.  I know plenty of people this has happened to,” he said.

“Oh…no, I’m not ignoring you.  I’m just thinking.  There HAS to be some logical explanation for it.  We just have to figure it out.  The only thing I can think of is someone is playing one hell of a prank on you.”

“That’s what I thought at first, but I can’t come up with a who, a how OR a why?” he said desperately.

She sat silent again, trying to piece together a plausible explanation, when she realized he was still staring at her expectantly, almost afraid.  “Now Skeet.  You are NOT losing your mind.  We just have to figure this out.  When we get done here, let’s go back to your place and listen to the master and the copy again.  Maybe you’ll get lucky and find something you missed the first time.  Or maybe you’ll just get lucky,” she said with a flirtatious grin.

The lights in the room went down and Herbie and Chick were introduced over the PA.  Two spotlights hit the stage, the audience erupted and they launched into “Green Dolphin Street”, just like they had backstage except with two grand pianos sitting end to end, instead of the small electric pianos they were warming up on backstage.  They played fantastically and Chapin was in awe.  This was her genre, her arena, her place to really feel at home musically.

She was amazed that she had gotten to play with these two, and Patti.  Don’t forget Patti.  She had played piano all through high school and minored in music in college, but she had never really been in a jazz band.  She had jammed at local piano bars with friends when they were all a bit buzzed on the adult beverage du jour and she had played at tons of recitals from the age of eight until she graduated college, but nothing even remotely compared to the past few days with Skeet.  Being with him had allowed her to play with legends, not to mention how she just melted in his eyes.  And the sex was pretty out of this world too.  She shivered just from the thought, although Skeet tried to wrap his jacket around her shoulders, thinking she was cold.

They had played five or six songs and Chick was busy bantering with the crowd when Herbie walked over and whispered in his ear.  Chick looked up, nodded and grinned.  Herbie picked up a mic and joined the banter.

“You know, folks we have a special guest joining us in the audience this evening.  The stupendous, world famous bass player from right here in Chicago, Mr. Skeet Seaton, ladies and gentlemen.  Skeet, stand up and wave to the folks, huh?” Herbie goated him a little, a spotlight swung over their table and Skeet stood up and waved.

The audience roared with applause and whistles.  Skeet sat back down and Chapin reached over and gently squeezed his thigh with her hand.  She leaned in, kissed him on the cheek, smiled and put her head on his shoulder.   It felt so good to be there with him.  She closed her eyes and relaxed on his shoulder.

“You know folks, we have another guest in the audience tonight,” Chick continued.  “No we had never met this young lady before tonight, but we got to hang out with her backstage and she has some of the best jazz chops we’ve heard in a long time.”

Chapin sat up and looked around the room, anxious to see what other jazz luminary was going to pop out of the woodwork.  Diana Krall, maybe?  She thought how great her luck would be if the great Diana Krall, her favorite artist, were in the house.  Seeing her with Chick and Herbie would be magic.

“And she’s not bad on the eyes either,” said Herbie.  “Ladies and Gentleman, Ms. Chapin Hannigan!”

Chapin’s eyes got as big as poker chips and her head popped off of Skeet’s shoulder.  She looked around at the stage, feeling like something just pulled her breath out of her body and was now standing on her chest so the air couldn’t return.  Skeet clapped mightily as the spotlight shown on them.  He guided her up and she waved, and simultaneously turned six shades of red.

“You know, folks.” Herbie continued.  “Maybe with a little encouragement, we can get her up here to show us some of those jazz chops.  Chick and I would love to play with her again.  Come on Chapin!”

Chapin sat in shock.  She tried to tell Skeet no, to make them stop, but no sound emerged.  “Come on, Chapin.  They want you to jam!”  Skeet was so used to this kind of thing it never even dawned on him that she may NOT want to.  He guided her to her feet again and started clapping furiously.  She had no idea what to do, but she knew she had to move since everyone was looking at her.  She had two choices, the stage or the exit.  She thought about how she was approaching her relationship with Skeet and just going for it, rolling with it.  She finally was able to take a deep breath and she headed for the stage.  She could hear Skeet whistling behind her.

Chick met her at the edge, took her hand and led her up the steps.  She smiled at him half heartedly and leaned into his ear.  “I’m sorry, but I’ve only ever played at recitals and the occasional piano bar.  I’m not sure I can pull this off.”

“I just heard you.  You can definitely pull this off.  If you get nervous, just ride lightly and Herbie and I will bring you back.  Just relax.  Now, what do you want to play?”

“Well, what do you guys know?”  She instantly wished she could bring the words back.

“What don’t we know?  Just tell us what you are comfortable with and we’ll handle the rest,” Chick said.  He squeezed her hand and guided her to the piano.

“Well,” she paused.  “I played ‘Birdland’ at a recital in college.”  She almost followed with ‘Can you guys do that?’ but caught the words.  She replaced them with “if that’s cool with you.”

“What key do you wanna play it in?”

“E flat?” she asked quietly.

“You askin me or tellin me?” Chick said with a grin.

She took another deep breath.  “E flat!” she said convincingly.

“Herbie!  Birdland in E flat,” Chick said.

Herbie counted it off and began to play.  At first she laid back, then Chick sat down beside her, put and arm around her shoulder and began playing with his other hand along side her.

Just as it had happened earlier, she just closed her eyes, leaned her head back and let the music flow.  They were really tearing it up.  Chick got up from beside Chapin and sat down by Herbie and began playing.  Herbie smiled, got up and sat down by Chapin and began playing with her.  This happened several times in succession, with Chapin grinning ear to ear and the crowd going wild.

Skeet was almost ready to explode.  He was riveted to the whole scene.  Chapin, in her black dress, the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen banging out some furious chops sitting next to two jazz legends.  He was totally in to it when he was interrupted.

“Mr. Seaton, could you step outside a minute please?” a voice came from over his shoulder.

“In a minute, buddy.  Do you see this?  She is wailing!  My God!  Who knew she could play like that?” he said, not even taking his eyes off her to turn around.

A hand landed firmly on his shoulder.  “I’m afraid we need to talk to you now, sir.”

Skeet turned around and was staring directly at a badge on the shirt of a somewhat sullen police office.  He was apparently not a jazz fan.

“What’s the problem, officer?” he said.

“We’ll talk to you outside, sir.  If you could just step this way, please?” the policeman said in a very dry, monotone voice.  As Skeet stood up, the officer grabbed him under the arm and began to guide him out to the door.  He looked back up at the stage and saw Chapin was having a great time with Herbie and Chick.  She was really cooking and he didn’t want to miss it.

“This won’t take long, will it?” he asked.  “That’s my girlfriend on stage up and I really want to be here for this.”

“We’ll talk when we get outside, sir,” the cop replied in the same dry tone of voice.

They went through the door and Skeet turned to the cop.  “Ok, so what’s the problem, officer?”

“Would you turn around and put your hands on the wall please, sir,” the cop replied.  “We need to make sure you aren’t carrying any weapons.  It’s for our protection.”

Skeet reluctantly turned around and placed his hands on the wall.  The officer kicked his ankles slightly, indicating for Skeet to spread them apart, to which he complied.  “Would you place your hands on your head please, sir?”

He put his hands on his head and felt the cold snap of the handcuffs.  “What’s going on here?  Am I being arrested?”

“Yes sir.  We’ll explain it all in a couple of minutes.  First we need to read you your rights?”  The officer began reading Skeet his Miranda rights while his partner, who had been largely silent up  to this point, began talking on the radio that was attached to his shoulder.

“Sir, do you know a,” the officer began thumbing through a small notebook until he seemed to find what he was looking for.  “Chapin Hannigan?”

“Of course!  She’s my girlfriend.”

“And sir do you know Ms Hannigan’s whereabouts this evening?” he asked.

“Yea.  She’s inside with me.  What’s the problem here?  I don’t understand.”

“Sir, you are being charged with the kidnapping of Chapin Hannigan.  Now we’re gonna get in the car and head…” Skeet cut him off.

“She’s right inside!  I didn’t kidnap anyone.  Go ask her!”  Skeet pleaded.

“Sir, there was nobody inside with you.  You were at a table by yourself.”

“She was up on stage sitting in!  My God!  Just go ask her!”

“Sir, you’ll have a chance to tell us your side when we get downtown.  Now lets…”

“Skeet?  They’re looking for you.  They want you to sit in.”  Chapin suddenly noticed that Skeet wasn’t having a casual conversation.  “What’s going on here?  Why are you in handcuffs?”  Chapin turned her attention to the policemen.  “What are you arresting him for?  There must be some mistake. “

“They’re arresting me for kidnapping YOU!” Skeet said, the desperation climbing in his voice.

“Kidnapping me?  But I’m not kidnapped!  What the hell is going on here?”

“Maam, what is your name?” the officer asked.

“Chapin Agnes Hannigan,” she said.

“Agnes?” Skeet asked, with a giggle.  “Your middle name is ‘Agnes’?”

“Use your right to remain silent, Skeet!” she said, then turned her attention back to the police officer.  “Obviously, I’m not kidnapped, so could you please let him go?”

“Just a minute, maam.  What’s your birthday?” he asked.

“March 4”

“What year, maam?”

“You’re getting kinda personal there, aren’t you, Joe Friday?” Chapin snapped.  She was not fond of revealing her age, especially to a stranger.  It was just a quirk, but it still irritated her.

“Chapin!?” Skeet exclaimed.

“Maam, I’m trying to help you two out and give you a chance to clear this up here.  We can always go to the station and clear it up if you prefer.”

“Chapin, tell the nice man the year you were born, please,” Skeet said straining hard to sound calm.

Chapin shot them all an irritated look, and actually thought for just a second about remaining silent.  She finally relented.  She could tell by the way he was looking at his tablet that he already knew, he was just checking.

“1972” she said reluctantly.

“Thank you!” Skeet exclaimed.

“Do you have any identification, maam?”

Chapin began digging through her purse.  She had almost decided not to bring it, but was thinking now how glad she was that she did.  She pulled out her driver’s license and gave it to the cop.

“Ok, maam.  I’ve got to call the precinct on this one.”

“Officer?  Can I ask a question?  Who said I was kidnapped?”

The officer was already on his radio and ignored the question completely.

Skeet looked at the ground and kicked one foot with the other in disgust.  “I am not fucking believing this,” he mumbled.

“We’ll get it taken care of.  Just hold on for a sec,” she said.

“10-4,” the officer said into his radio.  “Ok, Phil,“ he said to the second officer.  “It checks out.  Let’s get the cuffs off him.  Sorry for the inconvenience, sir.”

“How did this happen?  What made you think I kidnapped her?” Skeet asked.  He was relieved, but now curiosity was taking over.  Was this another practical joke?  Was someone trying to drive him insane?  First the album and now this.

“Uhhh…,” the policeman said, thumbing back through his notebook.  “Agnes Hannigan, the victim’s mother.”

“My mother!?” Chapin exclaimed.

“Yes maam. You might want to give her a call and let her know you are all right.”

“Oh I’ll give her a call, all right!”

“Sorry again for the inconvenience, Mr. Seaton.  Just doing our job, sir,” the cop said, tipping his hat.

“Umm…yea.”  Skeet was beginning to feel somewhat indignant.  He looked over at the other officer.  “What are you?  The strong, silent type?” he snapped.

“Something like that, sir,” the other officer said with a grin.

“Just shut up and come on!” Chapin said grabbing Skeet by the hand and dragging him back toward the door.

The cops got back in the car and drove away as Skeet and Chapin stood by the door.  Skeet was rubbing his wrists where the cuffs had bitten into him.

“I’m so sorry!” Chapin told him.  “I’m not sure what’s going on, but I’ll find out.”  She whipped out her cell phone and punched up her mother on speed dial.

“Well, I’m assuming I won’t be the honored guest at Thanksgiving dinner with your folks,” he said sarcastically.

She started to try to kiss him, but her mom answered the phone.  “Mom!  What in the…yes, I’m fine!  No, I WASN’T kidnapped.  Whatever gave you the idea that… No, he’s a really nice guy.  We’ve been dating a short while now but why did you… NO!   I told you!  Jack and I are not together.  We haven’t been together for almost nine months.  Geez, mom!  What’s it gonna take to… You talked to him?  But why?  No mom!  Listen to me.  I was NOT kidnapped.  Stockholm what?  Stockholm syndrome?”

Skeet looked at her and over exaggeratedly mouthed the word ‘WHAT?’.

She patted him on the arm.  “No mom, I am not in love with my kidnapper!”

“Well, now I’m hurt,” Skeet said in a sarcastic tone.  “I really didn’t want to find out this way!” he said playfully.  She pursed her lips at him.

“No mom… Jack lied.  I was not kidnapped.”  She paused.  “His name is Skeet and you just had him arrested!  But mom, he DIDN’T kidnap me!  Look mom, I’m on a date and…with Skeet.  He’s actually a wonderful guy.”

Skeet straitened his tie in a mocking fashion.

“I know you liked Jack, mom.  But he is not right in the head.  No mom, we are NOT going to work it out.  We WON’T all talk about it at Thanksgiving.  I told you he is not invited!  I don’t care if you already invited him.  I told you to uninvited him.  I TOLD YOU, if he’s there, I’m not going to come.  Look, I’ll talk to you about it tomorrow.  I gotta go… No, he didn’t tell me to say that.  I’ll talk to you tomorrow.  I love you too.  Bye.”

She closed the phone and stared at it for a second.  She was so embarrassed.  Her psychotic ex boyfriend had convinced her mother and father that the man she was now dating had kidnapped her and tried to have him arrested.

“Well, “ she said with a sigh.  “I’m a writer and supposed to be good with words, but I can’t find anything other than I am so sorry.”

“Wow, I fix it up where you can play with some jazz greats and you get me arrested.”  He was clearly going to have a little fun from this.  “Now does that seem fair?”

“You’re not gonna let me forget this one, are you?  Well, I can’t blame you.  This is just plain crappy.  I’m so sorry.”

“And you know the worst part?” he continued.  “I pictured you, me and handcuffs in a completely different way.”  They shared a giggle.

“You are soooo getting laid tonight!”

“On a serious note though, I am just wondering what your parents think of me.  I mean, they think I kidnapped you?  And what was that syndrome thing?  Have I given you some terrible disease?”

“Oh, my mom is an amateur psychologist.  Stockholm Syndrome is when a kidnap victim falls in love with the kidnapper.  Unfortunately, she still kinda thinks that you kidnapped me and that’s why I fell for you and if I would just come to my senses, Jack and I could work it out.  It’s pretty sad,” she said.

“Hmmm…never heard of that.  Anyway, I think I am gonna have to skip the ‘Turkey day with the ‘rents’ gig.  I think it would just be better if I didn’t go,” Skeet said.  He really was disappointed.  He had wanted to meet her parents, try to make a good impression and maybe the relationship could continue to grow.  “I mean, not sure they are going to get over the whole kidnapping thing in two weeks.”

“Look, let me work it out.  It will be fine.  Sometimes my mom is a bit stubborn.  I’m sure I can get this straightened out.”

“That’s cool, but I still think it might be better for me to skip this particular holiday.  I can meet them another time.”

She crossed her arms and stood cocked with most of her weight on her right foot.  “Look, buster.  If you’re not going, I’m not going.  It’s that simple.”

____________________________

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Posted By: Lans
Last Edit: 09 Oct 2009 @ 05:16 PM

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 13 Nov 2009 @ 4:50 PM 

Chapter 15

Skeet’s phone began to sing once again.  This time, Joe Cocker emerged from the speaker.  “You can leave your hat on….You can leave your hat on…”  Skeet flipped open the phone.

“Hello?” he said.  He knew it was Chapin, but he didn’t want to seem too eager.

“Hiya, Frisky!” Chapin replied playfully.  “Sorry I missed you earlier.  I was in a staff meeting at work so the phone was off.  What’s up?”

“It’s been awhile since I talked to you so I wanted to catch up?  What’s going on with you?”  She detected in his voice that something wasn’t quite right.

“Just working and thinking how I’d rather be hanging out with you.  How are you?” she asked.

“No problems here.  I wanted to see if you wanted to go to dinner tonight.  Any place you wanna go.  Just name it.”  His voice still showed hints of trouble so she decided to try to lighten the mood.

“How about bed?  I’ll bring the whipped crème?” she said in the sexist tone she could produce.

“Don’t think I’m not tempted, but I meant a real dinner.”

“You’re turning down sleeping with me after one date?  Hmm…  What does that say?”  she said in her most flirtatious tone.

“Oh no!  no…not at all.  But I wanted to talk to you so I thought maybe, you know, we could go to dinner or something first?” he said.

She was beginning to get concerned.  They had had a wonderful day and subsequently night and they had talked about how this wasn’t meant to be just a one night stand.  But this was beginning to sound like a break up call.  But it was only one date.  If he didn’t want to see her anymore would he have even called at all?  “Sounds serious.  Are you ok?  Are WE ok?”

“We are definitely ok!  Wait.  Aren’t we?  I mean…I want us to be ok.”

“Hold on.  It sounds like we are both getting a little confused and panicked here.   So let’s both take a deep breath.  Now, what’s wrong?”

How did he explain this over the phone?  Should he just say that he thought he might be going out of his mind?  That would probably end this relationship rather quickly.  He decided not to even try.  “It’s hard to talk about over the phone.  I’ll talk to you about it tonight.  Pick you up at 7:00?” he said.

“6:30?  I’m anxious!” she said. She really wanted to relax him and what relaxes a man more than sex.  And if she can’t have sex with him right now, flirting would have to do.

“6:30 it is.  I’ll see you then,” he said and started to hang up the phone.  “Oh wait?,” he said, his tone still serious.  “Can I ask you something?”

“Anything you want,” she said.

“We haven’t seen in other in over 24 hours.  Did you miss me?” he said with a chuckle.

Her voice dropped in tone and became very serious and sexy.  Not the reaction he had expected.  “More than you know.”  She perked back up.  “Now I gotta go get ready.  I’ve got a date with this really hot guy.”

Chapin hung up the phone and thought for a minute.  “Wants to talk to me about something?  Hmmm…,” she pressed her finger to her lips and pondered aloud.  “Well, if it’s good, I want to look good.  If it’s bad, I need to look even better.”  She glanced around the room.  “I’ve got two hours.  I better get moving.”

She opened the closet door and gave the contents a long, hard look.   As she glanced at the clothes on the hangers, she noticed the blue bins, carefully stacked and labeled in either corner.  “Crap.  Why haven’t I gotten rid of those damn things.  They do make things neat, but if Skeet comes over here and sees them, what’s he gonna say.”  She knew he wouldn’t say anything, but he was sure to think something.  She decided that she would at least change them out with another color as soon as she could, but she just couldn’t worry about it now.

Her cell phone began to ring.  She glanced at the ID and discovered it was her parents calling.  She started to answer, but she knew her mom was going to talk her ear off, probably about Jack, and she really didn’t want to deal with it right now.  She let the call go to her voice mail.  She had tried to convince her parents on several occasions over the last two days that Jack in fact, wasn’t a part of her life, but they never seemed to get it.  They thought she was just trying to be secretive about her love life, which she had to admit, she had a habit of doing.

She began thumbing through the hangers.  “Ok, not to colorful, in case the talk is not good news, but sexy in case it is,” she thought.  “You know it was easier when I was just running around in jeans and a shirt.  Alright.  Confidence!  I am confident it’s good news and I’ll be in his arms later, soooo…,”  She pulled a dress out.  “Yes, a little black dress!  That’s the way to go.”

This wasn’t just any little black dress.  It was THE little black dress.  It was short and fit her like a glove.  If he wanted to break it off, this would at least make him think twice.  She hung the dress on a hook by her makeup table and looked around the room again.  “Ok..that’s dinner…now to pick out desert!”   She opened a drawer full of neatly folded underwear in a variety of colors, patterns and styles.  She thought she looked best in the white lace thong, but it just didn’t seem right to be in the short black dress with the white underwear on so she went with the black lace then turned her attention to the shoes.  Once that decision was made, she was set.   She ran a shower and grabbed a towel.

The shower was relaxing to her, the shower massage pulsating on her neck and back.  She stretched and arched, enjoying the heat and thinking of Skeet.  Was she rushing in too fast?  Her last relationship, Jack, had been a complete disaster and was still coming back to haunt her.  Hadn’t she learned anything from this?  She had only been with Skeet one day that wasn’t part of work, but everything just seemed to click so well.  He was nothing like Jack.  Jack had been controlling and deceptive from the time they met, although she wouldn’t find this out until a couple of months later.

With Jack, she had followed everyone’s advice.  She had taken it slow and careful and what had it gotten her?  She decided the next time she fell for someone she was going to make it completely different.  Instead of following a roadmap, she would follow her heart and see where it took her.  She felt so lucky that it had led her to Skeet.

“Skeet!?  Oh my God!” she exclaimed!  She turned off the shower, jumped out and grabbed her towel.  She ran out into the bedroom and looked at the clock on the wall.  “Fifteen minutes?  I’ve got fifteen minutes?  Oh God!”  She grabbed a second towel and tried to dry her hair and her body at the same time, almost tripping on the wet bathroom floor during the effort.

She wrapped the towel around her head and began to dry off as quickly as possible.  She was glad she had shaved that morning, because there wasn’t going to be time now.  As soon as she was more or less dry, she began to towel dry her hair.  She grabbed that panties, slid them on and sat down in front of her makeup mirror.  She really hoped that he was fashionably late, because this was going to be a race.

Her phone began to ring again and she really hoped it was Skeet saying he was running late.  Unfortunately, it was her mother again.  “I don’t have time for this!” she mumbled and let the call go to voice mail.  “I’ll deal with her tomorrow.”

She quickly got her hair done and did a quick makeup job.  She had wanted to make it all really special, but at this point, she was just hoping for presentable.  She slipped on the rest of her clothes and was heading for her shoes when the door bell rang.  She slipped on the heels, grabbed a bottle of perfume and applied some, then headed toward her living room.   She glanced back at the bedroom.  She was usually quite tidy, but the room looked like a cyclone had hit it.  She just hoped that if they ended up in bed together again tonight that it was his bed.

Skeet stood at the door waiting for Chapin to appear.  His mind flipped back and forth between the events of two nights before and the mystery surrounding the recordings.  He remembered sitting with Shawn in the studio listening and hoping he would hear the mystery sound on the master.  Then he remembered Chapin, naked in the same studio, the two of them making love.   The thoughts criss crossed back and forth so fast that, at one point, he scared himself by thinking he saw Shawn naked in the studio.  He shook his head to make the thought go away just as Chapin opened the door.

“I thought you’d never get here!” she exclaimed, thinking if he only knew how close he had come to her still being in the shower.

“Sorry.  I guess I’m running a little late,” he said in a confused fashion.  He was pretty sure he was on time, but wasn’t going to argue.

“Oh, you’re fine.  Come on in.  I’m almost ready.”  She swung the door aside and Skeet came in.  “Make yourself at home and I’ll be right out.”

“You look absolutely gorgeous!” he said.

“I think it’s the company I keep that does it,” she replied.  She went back in the bedroom and tried to use a minute or two just to tidy up a bit, just in case.  “So where are we going?” she asked.

“I said anywhere you want to go.  You mean you haven’t decided yet?  I thought you would have made the reservations,” he said.  In fact, he had already taken care of everything, but decided to have a little fun.

“Umm…you meant that?  I mean…I …. Uhhhh …” She wasn’t quite sure what to say.  There was no way they could get a reservation now.

“You mean you didn’t make a reservation?  Now what are we gonna do?”

Chapin touched up her hair and emerged from the bed room.  “Eat in?” she said with a grin.

He took her in his arms and gave her a quick kiss.  “As tempting as that is,” he said, glancing coyly at the ceiling.  “I’ve actually taken care of it.  You ready?”

She gave him a playful punch in the chest and pursed her lip.  “Let me grab my purse.”

“Just don’t let me see where you hide your keys?  You never know when I’ll be in the mood to clean and organize.”

“Not funny, Mr. Seaton!” she said as they left.
____________________

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Posted By: Lans
Last Edit: 09 Oct 2009 @ 04:54 PM

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 06 Nov 2009 @ 4:45 PM 

Chapter 14

Skeet’s poker games were legendary in the music community, especially around Chicago.  Not that the stakes were particularly high or the play was particularly spectacular, but Skeet really knew how to put on the dog every time he hosted one.  There was the mandatory supreme selection of adult beverages.  The Bulls, Bears or Cubs were always on the big screen and the best tunes were always on the stereo.  But still none of this was the thing that separated Skeet’s games from the average.  It was the food.

Skeet did two things really well.  Music and food.  He had learned the basics of cooking in the orphanage and one of his foster care families was with a very talented restaurant chef who taught Skeet all the tricks of the trade.  He had a real knack for it.  Going to a poker game at Skeet’s place was like going to thenbest buffet one can imagine.  If you were lucky enough to actually get invited to dinner, it was 5 star cuisine, all the way.  No matter what the occasion, he made everything from scratch.  Brian had always said that Skeet’s life was inspired by wanting to make people happy, and what made people happier than food and entertainment.

Skeet found cooking strangely therapeutic.  To him, it was almost a meditation experience.  As he prepared the food, there was nothing else but the food and him.  To watch him cook was like watching him play bass, a masterful display of exactly what was required and nothing more.

Skeet was busy in the kitchen and running behind.  He couldn’t get his mind wrapped around preparing the food because all he could concentrate on was the recording and how he was going to handle it.

The door bell rang and it was Shawn.  Brian greeted him and before he could get his coat off, Skeet was yelling from the kitchen.  “Shawn!  Come here a minute.”  Shawn looked at Brian.  It was unusual for Skeet to be in the kitchen and carry on a conversation.  Shawn finished taking his coat off and shrugged and headed for the kitchen.

“Skeets!  What’s up?” he said, grabbing a deviled egg off a tray.  “Look if this is about me and Chapin, I know she wants me, but I’m bowing out to you.  I’m happily married and I don’t think Jen will let me keep her as a pet.”  He giggled and popped the egg in his mouth.

“Naw Shawno.” Skeet said in a very serious tone.  “I wanna ask you something.”

“Sounds serious, man.  Whadda ya need?”

“First, who’s the best slide guitar player there is?  Who’s the baddest man on the planet?” Skeet asked.

Shawn cocked his head sideways and paused.  “Ummm…OK…active player?”

“Yea”

“Easy.  Derek Trucks.  Hands down.  Sonny Landreth is right up there, but best guy playing?  Trucks.”  Shawn said with confidence.  “Why?”

“Let me ask you something else.  And I’m being serious here.  Did you get Trucks to play on the album I recorded?”

“No.  Why would I do that?  Well, I mean if I could get Derek Trucks I would have.  But I’ve only met him once.  What’s this about, man?  I’m confused.” Shawn said.

Skeet wiped his hands off on a towel and reached over and pressed play on a portable CD player.  The music started and they stood there and listened.  The mysterious guitar came in and Shawn, who had been leaning on the counter, stood up straight and turned his ear toward the music, as if he was straining to hear.  “That’s not Trucks or Landreth.”

“I got that far.  But who the fuck is it?” he asked.

Shawn just looked at him.  “If anybody should know, you should.”

“What do you mean?”

“That’s Stan Balch.  I’d recognize that guy anywhere.  Ok.  I thought you guys haven’t spoke in years.  How’d you get him to play with you again?  And more importantly, why wasn’t I there doing the recording?”

Skeet felt like his heart stopped.  How the hell could it be Stan?  They hadn’t spoken in over 15 years, and the last time they had, it wasn’t very pleasant.  Stan had completely disappeared from the scene soon after.  He hadn’t even heard anything about Stan in years and years.  And why the hell would just magically show up on the track.

“I have no idea.  None at all.  And what’s even stranger, it’s only on the disc we sent out.  I checked the master downstairs and there is nothing on that.  Someone did this without remixing,” Skeet said.

“Can’t be,” said Shawn.  “I can hear it, man.  It was mixed in, not mixed on top.  You sure that’s not on the master?”

“I checked it myself, but you did most of the work on it and I’m no techno-guru.  Would you take a look just to make sure I’m not…or maybe am…losing my mind?” Skeet asked.

“Sure.  I’ll go right now,” Shawn said as he headed out of the kitchen.

“I’m coming with you.  I need to make sure for myself,” Skeet said and followed Shawn, leaving all his food preparation on the counter.

Skeet and Shawn burst through the studio door, hit the light and started turning all the power on.  “The system is booting.  This shouldn’t take long,” Shawn said.  He tapped on the computer’s keyboard and adjusted some of the faders on the mixing board.  Shawn leaned back in his chair and the music began.  There was no sign of the mystery track.  Shawn grabbed the mouse and scrolled around, clicking here and there.  “Nothing.  I don’t see any sign of anything we didn’t do together.  This is damn spooky.”

“Hey.  The guys are here, and they want food.  Ju gots work to do, Lucy!” Brian said.  He had just arrived in the doorway.

“Ok, I’m comin’,” Skeet said.

Brian glanced at Shawn.  “No sign of it?”

“None,” he replied.

“Let’s go.  I got some cooking to do.”

____________________________

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Posted By: Lans
Last Edit: 09 Oct 2009 @ 04:50 PM

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 31 Oct 2009 @ 2:45 PM 

Chapter 13

Skeet walked into the office of Lexicon recordings, his current record company.  He had started out with Stan at Atlantic and recorded two solo albums there but because of his lackluster solo success and the breakup with Stan, they subsequently dropped him.  He had gone shopping for a solo deal when he had met Dave Schwartz, president of Lexicon, at an after party when he was backing up Wynton Marsalis.  Dave was a bass player of some renown in his own right but had decided to start Lexicon so he could stay off the road. The company had moderate success but, like Skeet’s solo career, had never really taken off.

When they first met, Dave was a little in awe of Skeet.  He had offered him a lucrative deal very quickly, and some days he regretted it, but he liked Skeet and really wanted him to succeed.  Dave just felt Skeet was missing the fire and passion in his own work that he was putting into everyone else’s and Dave hadn’t figured out a way to break that cycle.  That is, until now.

Skeet checked in with the secretary who asked him to have a seat then she picked up the phone to let Dave know Skeet had arrived.  Almost before she hung up the phone Dave emerged from the office.  He was tall with an odd smile.

“Skeet!  How are you doin’, man?  Come on in,” he said, escorting Skeet into his office.  I’m really excited about this record!  I think you may have a winner here.”  Dave walked over to a bar in the corner of the room.  “Drink?” he asked.

“Just some water would be great.”  Dave tossed a bottle of water across the room and poured himself a glass of bourbon.  He made his way back over to the desk and took his seat.

“It’s a shame about what happened to Patti’s benefit yesterday.  I know you were playing with Niles.  You gotta be disappointed.”

“Yea.  Yesterday was a long one.  I was also supposed to play with Pat Torpey in a little reformed Mr. Big.”

“Mr. Big?  Didn’t Billy Sheehan used to play with them?  What happened to him?”  If any other record executive had asked this, Skeet would have assumed it was small talk but being a bass player, he knew Dave’s interest was genuine.

“Oh he’s still with ‘em.  He hurt his wrist a couple of days ago and I was just fillin’ in.  He was doing the singing though.”

“Really?  I thought Eric Martin was the singer,” Dave said.

“He was.  You know how bands are.  I’m sure somebody’s feelings got hurt about something and… at any rate.  Eric’s not playing with them right now, and I’m disappointed I didn’t get to either.  It sounded really great and I was wanting to jam,” Skeet replied with a hint of disappointment in his voice.

“It was in the Tribune this morning that some guy blew up the transformer.  They claim it was the station manager over at WWLH.  Not sure why though.  Sounded kinda psycho.”  Dave said.

“He is,” said Skeet.

“You know him, Skeet?”

“Oh, not well.  Just met him yesterday.  It’s a long story.  Anyway, I don’t want to waste your time with this stuff.”

“Oh I gotcha.  Time to get down to business,” Dave said with a smirk.  He reached back and pushed a button on the sound system.  The familiar sounds of the lead off song, “Velvet Paradise” from Skeet’s album started.  “I’ve had a copy of this in my car playing non-stop ever since I got it.  I think you’ve really done it this time.”

“I’m glad you dig it man.  I wasn’t one hundred percent sure I had the right formula, but if you say it worked, then it must have worked.”

“And the guitar work right….” Dave paused, waiting for a particular spot in the song to arrive. “…is incredible!  Who the hell did you get to play with you on this?  It’s fantastic?  The only guy I could think of was Derek Trucks or maybe Sonny Landreth.”

Skeet sat and listened intently.  It was as if he was hearing the guitar runs for the first time.  It suddenly dawned on him that it’s because he WAS hearing them for the first time.  It was his album, but the guitar was not the same!  It was some of the most fantastic SLIDE guitar playing he ever heard.  He was speechless.  The sound was phenomenal but Skeet didn’t know where it came from.

“Am I right?  Is it Trucks or Landreth?” Dave asked.

Skeet still sat speechless.  Slide guitar is not a style that many people had mastered and especially not at the level he was hearing.  Slide guitar involves using a piece of glass or metal to control the notes on the guitar instead of pressing the frets with the fingers.  For any but the most gifted player, it would sound like cat with its tail caught in a screen door. But this obviously was a gifted player, but how did it end up on the album that Dave had received?  Skeet’s mind raced.  Could Brian be playing a joke on him, or Dave?  And if so, who the hell did they get to play it?  And how was it so perfectly mixed without having the master files which were tucked away in Skeet’s studio.

“Skeet?  You ok buddy?” Dave’s voice snapped him back into reality.  He knew he had to say something, but what?  How could he tell him that this incredible guitar was not something he had anything to do with or knew anything about?  Skeet panicked.

“No, not either of ‘em,” Skeet said.

“Well who then?  Please tell me he’s not tied up in another deal.  We are gonna need him for a tour and promotion and everything.  Your playing with that playing is gonna put all of us on the map!”

“Umm…I’m not sure of his status.  I’ll check and get back with you though,” Skeet said, trying to buy him some time to think.

“Well is he from Chicago?  We should get him on the phone and start negotiating now.”  Dave was very anxious to get started.

“He’s… um…touring in Europe right now.  But I’ll talk to him in the next couple of days and see what the situation is like.”

“You’ve got to.  I want to get this rolling as quick as possible,” Dave said.  He pointed to spindle that looked like it had about 40 CDs stacked on it.  “I’ve already made a whole stack of duplicates.  I’ve sent them out to all parts of the company.  This is our top priority.  I’ve got several design artists listening to it so they can get some ideas for a cover design for the album and if it’s ok with you, I’m gonna contact Wynton to see if he’ll contribute to the liner notes.  Our mastering guru Tom Perkins is gonna do the final mix and master.”

Skeet cut him off.  “Yea, um.  I’d really like to get Shawn Thorpe to do the final mix and master.  I really respect his ability and I want to give him a shot at this.”

“I don’t know, Skeet.  We are banking on this one pretty heavy.  I wanna make sure it’s done right,” Dave said.  The hesitation sounded in his voice.

“I tell ya what.  Give him a couple of weeks.  If you don’t like what he does, get your guy to do it.”  Skeet was having trouble concentrating.  The music playing was familiar but brand new to him at the same time.  He was trying to listen to Dave, listen to the music, figure out how the hell this happened and what he was going to do about it.

“Ok.  How about this.  I’ll have Tom mix it and you have your guy mix it.  When they’re done, we’ll just see which one we like best and go with it.”

“Sounds fair.  Thanks Dave.  Look, I really gotta run,” Skeet said as he stood up and slowly began making his way toward the door.  “Hey, can I take one of those copies.  I don’t have copy with me and I’d like it for my drive.”

“Sure,” said Dave.  He pulled one off the spindle, grabbed a sleeve from a box out his drawer and handed it to Skeet.  “But we need to get the distribution worked out.  And a photo shoot.  We’re gonna need a photo shoot.”

“I’m sure you got it covered, Dave.  Now I really gotta run.  I’ll call ya in a couple of days.”  Skeet almost bolted for the door.

“Um…yea…ok,” said Dave.

Skeet left the office and headed for the elevator as quick as he could.  He had to get away.  He was having trouble answering the questions Dave was having now and he knew he would get more flustered if he kept trying to dodge.

The elevator doors opened and he jumped in and pushed ‘1’.  As the doors closed, he felt a sense of relief.  He thought if he could think for just a minute he could figure this out.  The elevator reached the bottom and the door opened.  His mind raced with thoughts and he couldn’t calm down.

He was relieved when he saw Brian waiting for him out front.  He jumped in the car, startling Brian.

“Damn!  That was fast.  So he liked the album, right?” Brian asked.

“Yea…um…he liked the album.”  Skeet fell silent.  Brian had known him for so long he was pretty good at telling when something was wrongg.

“What’s up then?  What’s the problem?”

“Just drive and I’ll tell ya,” Skeet said. Brian didn’t ask any questions.  He just threw the car in drive and pulled away.

“Ok.  What’s going on?” Brian’s voiced betrayed his concern.  This wasn’t like easy going Skeet.  He could tell he was spooked.

“Let me ask you something, and be honest with me.”  Brian nodded in agreement and Skeet paused and took a deep breath.

“The master that you sent to Dave.  Did you do anything to it before you sent it?”

“No.  Just put the copy you made into a mailer and gave it to the courier.  Why?” Brian asked.

“You have heard the album, right?” Skeet asked.  Brian gave him a puzzled look.

“Of course.  I was there with you for the whole process.  You know that.  What’s wrong, man?  Stop beating around the bush and spit it out.”  Brian was growing concerned.  This was really not like Skeet at all.

“Listen to this.”  Skeet pulled the CD out of the sleeve and slipped it into the player.  The opening lines of “Velvet Paradise” began.  Brian listened for a couple of seconds and looked at Skeet.

“Yea.  Velvet Paradise.  It’s a great tune.  What’s wrong with it?” Brian asked.

“Just listen, B.  Just listen.” Skeet looked down at the CD player and raised his finger.  As the main line approached, he held it just a little higher and when it started, he dropped it dramatically, pointing to the CD player and looking at Brian expectantly.

“Where the hell did that come from?  That’s amazing!  When’d you do that?  I know I wasn’t around.  Who’d you get?”  Brian hadn’t put all the pieces to the puzzle together just yet.

“THAT’S what I’m talking about!” Skeet exclaimed.  “I didn’t!  I have no idea who it is or how it got there.  It wasn’t on the master when I did the rough mix to send to Dave.  There was a very generic guitar line and the piano was the focal point.  You sure you aren’t punkin’ me, man?”

“If I knew someone who could play like THAT, I wouldn’t be fuckin’ around about it.  That’s truly fucking amazing.”  And Brian would know.  While his musical skills at playing and singing were rudimentary at best, his ear and knowledge were unparalleled.  “You think Thorpe may be messin’ with ya?”

Shawn was the only one besides Brian who would be able to pull this off.  He was a master engineer and had helped Skeet record the album so he had access to all the original tracks.

“Could be, but I doubt it.  We’ve been friends for so long.  Plus it seems an awful long way to go for a joke.”

“But it’s not too far for me to go?  Geez man?  What the fuck?”  Brian was insulted.  His best friend thought he would have pulled this kinda joke on him?

“Man, of course not!   I’m graspin’at straws here!  I was just trying to think of who had access to the recordings.”

“Pat and Billy and the guys were there right before I sent it out.  But even if they had wanted to, that’s definitely not Paul.  I’m not real sure Paul has ever picked up a slide.”  Brian pondered the whole situation, but quickly drifted back to the amazing sounds coming out of the stereo.  Whoever it is, he’s a monster.”

“Dave wanted to know if I got Trucks or Landreth.  It’s obviously not Landreth and doesn’t sound enough like Trucks either.”

“Nope…too jazzy for Sonny.  Derek?  Maybe, but it’d be a stretch.  And why the hell would either of those guys work so far out of their style just to play on a demo version of your album for a practical joke.  It would be way more work than the laugh they could get was worth.”  Brian said.

“I don’t know what’s going on, but now Dave wants this guy for the tour and promotion with me.  Wants him bad.  Hell, I want him too!”  Skeet was getting panicky again.

Brian tried to calm him down.  “Look, we got the guys coming over for poker tonight.  Shawn will be there.  And Pat, and probably the rest of his crew.  We can talk to them and see if they know anything about this.”

______________________________________

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Posted By: Lans
Last Edit: 26 Sep 2009 @ 02:47 PM

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 24 Oct 2009 @ 2:26 PM 

Chapter 12

“Skeet do you know what time it is?  You’ve got to meet with…”  Brian not only tripped over his words he tripped over his own feet and went crashing head first onto the foot of the bed.  He had walked into Skeet’s bedroom to get him up for his meeting with Dave about the new album, but had not expected to find Chapin sharing his bed, her naked breasts not quite covered by the sheets. Chapin shot up with a scream and Skeet tumbled out of bed. “Oh.. uh… sorry”, Brian said scrambling to his feet while simultaneously covering his eyes.  “I…uh…didn’t see any…uh…I mean….I…um…didn’t know…”

Chapin pulled the sheet up and covered herself as Brian turned his back.  “Skeet, you um…got that meeting with Dave in about an hour.  I thought you were already up or….anyway…oh and don’t forget the poker game tonight.  The guys are really looking forward to it.”

Skeet shook the cobwebs from his head.  His mind was filled with Chapin and the passionate night they had just shared.  As his head cleared, he remembered the meeting he had scheduled with Dave and his remarks about the phenomenal guitar playing.  Had it not been for Chapin, he would probably have obsessed about the comment until the meeting today.  The more he had thought about it, he had decided he must have just misread the comment.  Maybe Dave was just kissing his ass a bit and picked out one thing to do it with.  He had experienced this before, but it always freaked him out a bit when it happened.

“Ok…well…let me know when you’re ready.  Umm….I’ll be in the living room.” Brian said.  He exited the room as quickly as possible, still partially covering his eyes and closing the door behind him.

“Well THAT was embarrassing,” said Chapin as she reached for her bra.

“Oh don’t worry about Brian.  He’ll get over it.”  He reached over and took her arm and kissed her.  She slowed her pace and returned the kiss, but then gently pushed him away.

“We better get going.  You’ve got a meeting and a poker game and I’ve got to get caught up on work before Monday.”  She put on the bra and panties, pulled on her shirt and jeans.  She was almost done before Skeet was even out of bed.

“I guess you’re right.  But after the meeting, I can cancel the game and we can…”

“No, no!  You have your game.  The guys are counting on you.  I’ve really got to get caught up on some work, plus try to explain to my parents about psycho Jack,” she said.

Skeet paused and looked down.  He had really wanted to see her again that night, but he didn’t want to push too hard or move to fast.  His thoughts began to run wild.  Did she just use him as a one night stand or was it really something more?  He pulled on a pair of jeans and sat on the edge of the bed.

“Can I ask you something?” he said.

“Sure!  Anything you want,” she said as she began putting her ear rings back in.

“This wasn’t just a….ummm…fling or something was it?  I mean…”

She turned and looked at him hard.  She looked almost hurt.

“I mean…I’m not sayin’ that you…but…” he said.  She continued to stare at him.

“What I’m trying to say is that I don’t want it to be just a fling. “  The words began to magically appear.  “I know we’ve just known each other for a short time and that this is unusual, but I really don’t want this to just be…” he lost the courage and tapered off.  Skeet was used to putting himself on the line with music, but the one on one relationship thing was something he had never really mastered.

She sat down beside him and took his hand.  “I would never have come here if I didn’t think this was something special.  I can’t explain it.  I have never felt this way about anyone, especially this fast.  I can’t say where it will lead.  Neither of us can.  But I know that I don’t want it to end here.  Not by a long shot.”

He looked up and smiled and kissed her again.

“C’mon Skeet.  We gotta go!  It’s a 45 minute drive!” Brian’s voice echoed through the door.

“Call him and tell him we are gonna run a little late.  We have to drop Chapin off at her place on the way,” he hollered back.  “I gotta grab a quick shower and then I’ll be ready.”

“I’ll call him, but don’t take too long, k?” Brian boomed through the door.

“You got it, B.”

“You don’t have to do that.  I can call a cab.  It’s no big deal.” Chapin said.

“Not on your life.  How would it look having to tell the grandkids that I made grandma get a cab after we did it on our first date?” A smile almost swallowed his face.

She threw his shirt at him and laughed.  “Hopefully we won’t be telling the grandkids about the ‘doing it’ part, grandpa!”

He caught the shirt, grabbed a towel and then turned back around.  “You’ll be here when I get out, right?” he said, fishing for reassurance.

“Baby, I’m not going anywhere.  Now go get your shower!”

He turned and took a couple of steps and turned back.  He sported a very mischievous smile.  “Care to join me?”

“Yea, I would.  But you would NEVER make your meeting on time then.  And I’m not ready to start settling for quickies yet.”

________________________________________

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 17 Oct 2009 @ 2:15 PM 

Chapter 11

Three a.m. had snuck up on Chapin and Skeet.  When the benefit concert had been cancelled, Brian had headed back to load the equipment while Skeet and Chapin had gone to grab a bite to eat.  Skeet took her to his favorite steak house, Ruth’s Chris, and they had a wonderful dinner, followed by a fabulous desert with much talking and flirting thrown in for good measure.  Before they knew it, the manager was telling them that the restaurant was closing.  Skeet still had the limousine that had been carting him to and from the charity gig and had slipped the driver some extra cash to keep him for the evening.

After the meal, they thought about going to an afterhours club and taking in some atmosphere, but ultimately decided to just have the driver take them around the city.  It was really just an excuse to be alone.  They talked about music, journalism, their childhoods and even Skeet’s soon to be released new solo album.  Skeet had offered to let her hear it which really excited her.  She felt flattered that he would want to allow her in on something that was still, technically, a secret.

They asked the driver to drop them off at Skeet’s place but on the drive, they flirted, kissed some more and even began getting a little more physical. Ultimately, they put the brakes on because they weren’t sure exactly how far this was going to go and, after all, there was a guy sitting just 8 feet away.

They had really only been together for about 12 hours in a day that was completely filled with drama.  With Chapin’s conflict with Jack, playing piano with Patti LaBelle, Skeet’s odd phone call about the solo album, the whole show getting shut down and apparently Jack being the cause, it was astounding that they truly felt that they were in a much deeper relationship than 12 hours would allow.

They arrived at Skeet’s place and headed straight for the studio.  He opened the door to the basement studio and turned on the light.  It wasn’t really much of a light.  He really liked the whole place pretty dark.  He entered in the room and Chapin followed close behind.  “Well, here it is.” Skeet said with a big sigh

“It’s amazing!” Chapin said as she looked around the room in awe.  The dull glow of the ambient lighting was offset by the three tiny bright led lights that sat low over the mixing board and the various green, yellow and red LEDs on equipment bolted in to racks on either side.  A dim light shown through a large glass window behind the board.  Various guitars, basses, and keyboards, as well as a full set of drums were visible through the glass.  A large computer screen was seated on the right side of the console.

“Well, let me get it cued up for you,” he said, as he began flipping switches and turning knobs.  “No reporting on it, k?” he said, smiling at her.

“Nope.  No reports tonight except to my diary,” she said.

“Now I don’t know if it’s diary worthy.”

“This whole day is diary worthy, especially you.”

He smiled shyly then pressed the play button on the console.  Music began to fill the studio.  It was a jazzy groove featuring the piano taking point on the song.

“Glass of wine?” Skeet asked.

“Wine, huh?  I thought you were more a ‘beer and whiskey’ kinda guy,” she said.

He reached behind the little bar in the corner of the room and produced two crystal wine glasses.  He reached into the wine cooler by the bar and pulled out a bottle, popped the cork and poured.  He re-corked the bottle and headed for the couch where Chapin had already made herself comfortable. He handed Chapin a glass and then sat down in the middle of the couch.  He felt he should keep a ‘respectful’ distance but Chapin immediately slid in next to him, took his arm and placed it around her shoulders and leaned in with her head on his chest.  She looked up at him and he offered his glass for a toast.  He pondered for a minute.

“To the potential of new beginnings.” They clinked glasses and each sipped.  She stared deep into his eyes and raised her glass.

“To the immediacy of new beginnings,” she said and they clinked glasses.  Before Skeet could take a drink, Chapin had pressed her lips against his, her tongue exploring his mouth.  Slowly the positions reversed and his tongue was doing the exploring.  When their lips parted, she moved on to his neck slowly kissing him and noticing the goose bumps that were rising all over his arms.  Considering where she was sitting, it was clear to her how excited he was getting.

Suddenly he stopped her.  “Can we talk about this for a minute before we get carried away, please?”  Chapin was caught completely off guard.  She was here in this man’s home and was trying, quite obviously to seduce him.  And judging by his reactions, it was working.  So what had she done wrong?  Could she have completely misread the situation?

“Look, it’s been a long day for you.  You’ve had quite the ordeal, 3 times, with your ex boyfriend.  You’ve done things you’ve never done in your life and now you’re here. I just don’t want you doing anything you aren’t real sure you want to do.”

“Skeet I am sure I want to do what I want to do.  I have been thinking about you ever since we met.  I know it seems like we are moving a bit fast, but nothing about it feels wrong, so yea, I am right where I want to be, doing exactly what I want to do.  And I really hope you feel the same way.” She said.

“I have gotten very serious about this very quickly. I just didn’t want to jeopardize any of this long term for something short term, if you know what I mean.”

“I know what you mean. I definitely want the long term…and I want the short term too.” A grin crossed her lips.  “I’m greedy that way!”

“Greed is good,” he said.  She was sitting across his lap and he pulled her close, leaned her back slightly and continued where they left off.

________________________________

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 10 Oct 2009 @ 2:04 PM 

Chapter 10

While everyone waited around in the cold to see what would happen next, Chapin and Skeet decided to head across the street to the coffee shop to grab a cup of joe and try to warm up.  They grabbed a booth in the corner, both hoping for a little privacy.

A blonde woman, who appeared to be in her mid forties, appeared beside them.  She wore ear rings that were obviously larger than any human being should attempt to wear, but somehow, she pulled the look off.  “Hi!  I’m Jaque, your waitress.  Can I start you off with some…”  Jaque gasped.  “Aren’t you…”  Her smile became almost painfully huge.  “Skeet Seaton?” she said in an accent with a strangely southern drawl, something that was not all that common in Chicago.

Skeet was somewhat taken aback.  He used to get recognized somewhat back in the days when he and Stan were together, but since he worked as a sideman now, it was usually just the occasional diehard music fan that would recognize him.

“Yes maam, nice to meet you,” he said.

“I remember I saw you and Stan Balch in…’85, I think.”  You guys were fabulous!  What happened?”  Chapin felt this was a rather personal question to ask a stranger, plus she was feeling a little possessive about her time with Skeet, but she sat there silent.

“Oh that’s just how it goes sometimes.  We just went in different directions,” he said in a somewhat veiled attempt to avoid the question.  He was hoping she would take their order so he and Chapin could talk some more,  just the two of them.

“Oh yea, sugar.  I know.  Don’t I know.  Well, what are you up to…and where is Stan?”

Chapin and Skeet exchanged looks, the irritation showing in both of their faces.  But Skeet was cordial, if not forthcoming.

“I’m not sure what’s he’s up to.  You know how you lose touch with old friends sometimes.”  He hadn’t considered Stan a friend in years, but this was the easiest answer to try and placate Jaque with.

“Oh yea, sugar.  I know.  Don’t I know,” she said in an odd moment of déjà vu.  “But…I’m sorry.  Here I am, yakkin’ y’alls ears off and haven’t even been doin’ my job.  What can I get for you folks?”

He looked at Chapin and nodded for her to order.  “I’d love a big mug of coca, please.”

“Marshmallows?” Jaque asked.

“No thanks.  Straight up!” she said with a giggle.

“And for you…,” Jaque asked Skeet.

“Large coffee, please.  Hot and black.  I’m freezin’,” he said.

“I’ll have it out for you in a jiffy!  Oh, and uh…,” her voice lowered dramatically.  “Don’t worry about the bill.  This one’s on me,” she said with a smile.

“You don’t have to…” Jaque interrupted him.

“Oh hush now!”

Before he could say anything else, she headed for the kitchen.  Chapin and Skeet watched her silently for a moment then looked back at each other and smiled awkwardly.  He felt her two feet gently wrap around his right foot under the table.

“I just can’t get over Slash showing up for this gig!” Chapin said.

Skeet shushed her and looked around.  “You would be amazed at who will hear that and it could get really messy over there if that got out.”  He paused.  “But you’re right.  I’m really excited!  Everyone wants to play with Niles.”

“Seems like a lot of them want to play with you, too,” she said, flashing him a little smirk.

“I just made a bunch of friends over the years, that’s all.”  Skeet truly didn’t think he was that big of a deal.  He was a good, maybe better than good, bass player and he was pretty easy to work with.

That’s all he saw, but Chapin knew better.  First, she had heard the way he played, with such passion, heart and soul.  Plus she had done the research.  For the interview she poured over the comments of so many greats in the industry.  He was not only one of the most technically gifted bass players in decades, what he brought to a show or a session was indescribable.    His mere presence brought a vibe that few others could match.  But she knew the modesty, almost to the point of self deprecation, was part of who he was.

Jaque appeared again with their drinks, as well as a little bowl on the side full of marshmallows “just in case you change your mind.”  They sipped their beverages and both enjoyed the feeling of starting to warm up.

Brian appeared and sat down next to Skeet.  “Well, they’ve cancelled the show.  It’s gonna take four or five hours for them to get the power back on so they are gonna try to reschedule in a couple of weeks.  They asked if you were still in and I told them you probably were.  Just gotta check the schedule.  Pat and the guys are still in and Niles.  Amy and Emily are checking schedules to see and, well, you can’t have the show without Patti.  How’s the coffee here?  Good?  I’m freezing!”  Brian caught Jaque’s attention.  “Could I get a cup of coffee and a piece of that apple pie?”

“You want that ala mode?” she asked.

“As cold as I am?  No thank ya.  In fact, if you could give it a little zap to heat it up, I’d really appreciate it.”

“You got it, doll” she said and headed for the kitchen again.

“Did you hear that some guy was messing with the transformer?  That’s what happened to the power.  He did a real number on it.  They’re gonna have to replace the whole thing.  That’s what’s gonna take so long.  It’s a damn shame.  This was gonna be a great gig. So…what have you guys been up to?”

Chapin and Skeet just stared at him.  Brian was normally a quiet, reserved guy, but when he got excited, he talked ad nauseam.  Skeet had seen it before, but in Chapin’s limited experience,  he had been quiet, dry and gruff.

“B, did you take a breath?” Skeet asked.

Chapin broke up laughing and Skeet joined in.

“Huh?  What’s so funny?  I don’t get it?”  Brian lamented.

“Nothing, man.  Nothing at all.” Skeet said with a giggle.

They continued giggling and warming up on cocoa and coffee and Brian even shared a bite or two of his pie with Chapin.  As she was chewing the last piece of pie, the cell phone in her pocket began to ring.  Chapin pulled out the phone and looked at the caller id.  “What the hell?” she said.

Skeet and Brian looked at her curiously.

“It says Chicago Police Department.”

“Well it’s best not to keep the fuzz waiting.  Answer it,” said Brian.

“Hello?”  Chapin listened intently and her looked turned much more serious.

“Why in the hell are you calling me?” she asked.  “You did what?  Whatever.  You did, they SAY you did.  Just stop calling me.”

Brian and Skeet exchanged confused looks.

“I’m not going to.  You’re on your own.  Don’t call this number again.” And with that, she shut the phone.

“Is everything ok?  Why would the cops be calling your cell phone?” Skeet asked.

“It wasn’t actually the police…”  She didn’t even know how to say it.  “It….it was Jack.”

“I thought you said it was the cops?” said Brian.

“Jack’s in jail,” she said.  “And he wants me to come bail him out.”

“In jail?  What for?” Skeet asked.

“Umm…” she paused.  “Criminal mischief and destruction of property.  He’s the one who blew up the transformer.”

Brian broke into uproarious laughter and had to grab his stomach with one hand and hold on to the table with the other.  Skeet couldn’t hold back a snicker but he could see that Chapin was upset and tried to.  He gritted his teeth and turned his head away from her.  He knew if he looked at her he would not be able to hold it together.

“Geez Brian, it’s not funny!” she scolded.

Brian grit his teeth and tried to hold it, but he just couldn’t.  “YES IT IS!”  He almost screamed it.   “Psycho boy tried to kill a transformer to keep you and Skeet apart.  Now THAT’S funny!  Shawn is gonna piss himself!”

__________________________________________

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 03 Oct 2009 @ 12:35 PM 

Chapter 9

Chapin and Skeet followed Brian down the hall and made a right turn into the stage area.  They snaked their way through multiple layers of curtains until they arrived at the center of the main stage.  There were guitar and bass amps lined up as if on display in front of several drum sets stacked two by two on rolling platforms.  Wires and cables ran all through the area duct taped to the floor.

Skeet greeted Pat, Paul and Billy as Brian handed him his Fender Precision bass, one of the five basses that had been lined up on the side of the stage for him.  Paul already had a pink Ibanez guitar strapped on and ready.  Skeet tossed the bass across his soulder as Brian plugged a cord that had been run from his old Fender Bassman amp into a jack on the P-Bass.  He turned up the volume knob and struck a note then went to the amp to makes some final adjustments.

Pat banged on the drums in an irregular rhythm resembling some sort of morse code test pattern.  Paul ran generic scale patterns while roadies wandered from mic to mic saying “Test. Test.”  After the mayhem subsided, they all looked at each other as Billy asked the sound engineer if he was ready.

“Give it a shot,” came a voice over the house PA system.  The soundman sat in the middle of the floor in front of the stage but was hardly visible to the guys on the stage because of the lights.  They could almost make out the pair of small lights that hovered low over the sound board.

Pat counted off and they launched into “30 days In The Hole” just as they had done at practice two days before.  The harmony was dead on, just as it had been.

Chapin was amazed at the sound that came out.  She had never been much of a fan of hard rock music which this definitely was.  Her tastes ran a bit higher brow but seeing Skeet play anything, at this point, was thrilling to her.  When the first drum hit and guitar chord had sounded , she jumped slightly, which made Brian snicker.  She knew that Skeet was considered a master of more musical genres than most people could list and had learned how much he was respected during the research she had done for the article.  But she had never actually seen him play live, much less, rock out like this.  He bounced around the stage like a man half his age, never missing a note. It was hard for her to believe that this was the same guy that she had so loved listening to on Wynton Marsalis albums.

The song wound down and they all stood there silently, looking out over where the audience would be.  Paul put his hand above his eyes in an effort to block the stage lighting and see what was going on with the sound engineer.

“That’s great guys.  We got it,” the same cryptic voice said over the PA.

Skeet and Paul thanked the sound engineer and took off their instruments, Skeet handing his to Brian and Paul placing his gently on a stand.  Pat and Skeet exchanged high fives.  “I think we might actually pull this off,” said Billy.

“Yea, but I think the whole thing is running a little behind.”  Skeet glanced at his watch.  “It’s already past four.”

Skeet was heading for the side of the stage where Chapin had been while Billy headed behind the drum risers when Skeet’s world went black.  He couldn’t see anything and stopped in his tracks.  The room erupted with various gasps and confusion.  Slowly, he began to make out a small red light that glowed at a distance in front of him.  It began to sink in throughout the hall that the power was out.  He thought for a minute, not sure what to do.  He had a small flashlight on his key ring but his keys weren’t in his pocket.  He knew that Brian always had a flashlight at the gigs but there was no sign of him, of course, at this point there was no sign of much of anything.  He began to see some small, blue glowing lights come on throughout the hall.   “Cell phones,” he said as the solution materialized in front of him.  He reached in his pocket, dug out his phone and flipped it open.  It wasn’t much light, but it would do.  He aimed the light in front of him and continued moving in the same direction.

Apparently, Chapin had come up with the same idea as she appeared in front of him, cell phone in hand.

“What the hell happened?” Skeet asked her.

“I have no idea,” she said.  “There was a loud crack, then everything went black. “

“Well, let’s head for the back door.  Maybe we can figure out what happened when we can see a little bit.”  He held out his hand.  He would have just reached out for her but he couldn’t make out exactly where her hand was.

She reached out and took his hand as he moved toward the glowing, red exit sign over the door leaving the main stage.  They walked slowly, being careful of the long lumps made by the tape covered cables on the floor.   They breached the door into the hallway.  More blue, glowing cell phones floated around like little spaceships and a few flashlights were being used to help guide people, mostly by the roadies.

Skeet could begin to make out a bright light in front of them which appeared to be the door outside. Their pace quickened as they approached.

“Skeet, you guys ok?” a familiar voice asked from behind them.  It was Brian.  He had his little mag light flashlight shining in the general direction their feet.  He broke in to a jog for the short distance to catch up.

“Yea, we’re fine, B.  Just heading for the door.  What happened?”

“Building lost power,” Brian said in a very matter of fact tone.

“Thanks captain obvious!” Skeet jokingly jabbed.

“That’s all I know.  I’ll ask around once I get you outside.”

“Oh don’t worry about us.  We can see the door from here.  Do what you need to do,” Skeet said in a mockingly reassuring tone.

“You don’t think I wanna stay in here in the dark with these people, do you?  Damn musicians are pervs!” he giggled.

They emerged through the door into the alleyway and shielded their eyes until they had time to adjust.  People were milling around, some in a state of slight panic, others mildly amused at the whole situation.

Skeet searched around for Shawn, Chapin still in tow.  He sometimes worried about him a little more than he needed to and Chapin was wondering why he was getting a little frantic.

“He doesn’t see real well.  I just don’t want him getting hurt,” Skeet told her.

“Well if it’s dark in there, isn’t he more likely to handle it better than anybody?” she wondered.

He stopped and looked at her quite puzzled.  “You know you’re right.  I never thought of it like that.  HE should have been looking for US, the follicly challenged bastard!” he joked.  “So what could happen next?”

“Don’t tempt anything.  At this rate, it may be something fantastic or it may be something horrible,” she said.

“I vote for the ‘something fantastic’ thing,” he joked.

She snuggled up next to him and looked up into his eyes.  “Me too.”  He pulled her in a little closer and they began to take a look around.  They saw Amy and Emily hanging out up against the wall to the right, both still strumming on their guitars.  Skeet wondered if somehow they would be able to wring a song out of this.  Pat and Paul were standing in the middle of the alley joking, Pat constantly twirling a pair of drumsticks and drumming on anything that would sit still long enough, including Paul.  Patti was fanning herself with her assistant trying to help and hold a phone conversation at the same time trying to find out what the problem was.  They finally saw Shawn by the stage door talking on his cell phone.  Even though he knew Chapin was right, he was relieved that he was now sure that Shawn was ok.  Brian rushed in and out the door, trying to see what had happened and come up with a plan for what to do next.  It was one of the things Brian did best.

“Hey, check it out,” Skeet said, motioning down the alleyway.  He had noticed Niles Rogers standing next to a dumpster just calmly taking everything in.  “That’s…” Chapin interrupted him.

“Niles Rogers!” she said.

“Yea.  He’s the other guy I’m supposed to be playing with today, but at the rate things are going…Let’s go say hi.”  They made their way down the alley toward the dumpster.  When Niles noticed them, he got a big smile on his face and walked over to meet them.

“Skeet!  How ya doing?  This is an interesting turn of events, huh?” he said motioning his hand toward the crowd of people.

“Seems that way,” he said and then introduced Chapin to him.  “You have any idea what’s going on?”

“The power’s out in the building,” Niles said very calmly

Chapin and Skeet exchanged amused glances.  “Yea, we got that far,” Skeet said in a slightly sarcastic tone.

“Rumor is someone was messing with something on the pole.  Not sure what, but apparently he wasn’t someone who was SUPPOSED to be messing with the stuff on the pole,” Niles said.  “At any rate, they’ve called the power company, but they aren’t even here yet so we don’t really know what’s going on.”  Skeet glanced at Chapin who was shivering from the cold. “Girl, you’re freezin’!” he said.  He took off the white leather jacket he was wearing and laid it across her shoulders.

“Oh, I’m ok.  You really don’t have to…”  Niles interrupted her.

“Nonsense!  I’m actually kind of warm.  Besides, they’ll get the jackets and stuff out of there in a bit.”

“What about me, Niles?” Skeet asked.  “I’m cold too!” he said mockingly.

“When you get this cute, you can have my jacket.  Until then, suck it up bass boy!” Niles laughed.

Skeet glanced down at Chapin and then back at Niles.  “Point taken.”

“Hey Niles, did he show up yet?” Skeet asked.

“He’s at the hotel, but I called and told him to hold off coming down here until they figure this thing out.  Can you imagine if he was just standing out here with us right now?  There would be a riot.

“Who?” Chapin wondered aloud.

“Big secret…can’t tell….have to keep it under wraps,” Niles replied with a grin.

“How about a hint?” she asked with a giggle.

“Oh, sorry.  No hints on this one,” Niles said.

Chapin turned to Skeet and worked up the sexiest look she could muster and in a real soft voice she said, “Not even a little one?”

Skeet stared at her and then looked at Niles.  His look said it all.  He leaned over and whispered in her ear and she turned her head with a start.  Skeet raised his index finger to his mouth.  “Ssshhhh”

______________________

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Posted By: Lans
Last Edit: 29 Aug 2009 @ 01:03 PM

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 26 Sep 2009 @ 10:15 AM 

Chapter 8

Chapin and Shawn were just getting ready to go in the stage entrance at Metro when a voice called out from behind them.

“Shawno!”

They both turned around to see Skeet emerging from the limo.  He was dressed in his usual black jeans, and a dark blue wool sailor’s coat he had picked up on a tour of Scandinavia.  The hint of a yellow shirt poked out around the collar and he was wearing black leather boots.

“Skeets!” Shawn shouted back.    Skeet approached Shawn and they gave each other a big hug.  “Man, I am jonesin’ for some poker!  Does the game start back up this week?”

“You know it!  Tuesday night as usual.”  Skeet said, although his eyes were on Chapin the entire time.

“Oh, I’m sorry.  I should introduce….”  Skeet cut him off.

“Ms. Hannigan.  It’s great to see you again,” Skeet said in an almost shy voice.

“Wait.  You two know each other?”

“I was just about to ask you the same thing, Shawno,” Skeet said turning his attention temporarily away from Chapin.

“Hello again!  But please, don’t call me ‘Ms.’.  It’s like puttin’ and elevator in an outhouse.  Just don’t belong.  I’m just Chapin.”   Skeet and Chapin’s eyes met, then they both burst into laughter.   “Now you’re not gonna hold my fumbling over obscure lines from old movies against me, are you?”  Again they roared with laughter but the joke completely escaped Shawn which was starting to bother him.  He prided himself on his sense of humor and if a joke escaped him, he took it personally.

Skeet noticed Shawn’s confusion and winked at him and smiled.  They turned and headed toward to stage door.  “This is a great surprise,” Skeet said to Chapin.  “I’d expected to see this old road dog here,” he said, slapping Shawn on the back.  “but I didn’t know you were working this gig.  How do you know Shawno?”

“Well, short acquaintance, long story.”  Chapin said.

“I helped her hide a body!” Shawno burst out with pride.

Skeet glanced back and forth between them with a puzzled look on his face.

“Part of that long story thing I was talking about.”

Shawn knocked on the door, which opened after what seemed to Chapin to be an abnormally long time.  A very large man with more piercings than Chapin could count stood blocking the doorway.  He wore a leather jacket and a Sex Pistols t-shirt that had obviously seen better days.

“Shawn Gordon,” he said.  “I’m hosting this shindig!”

The door guard checked his list, handed him a badge to hang around his neck, and allowed Shawn through the door.

“Skeet!” he said.  “Go on in, man.”

Chapin began to walk through the door way but the burly man blocked her.

“And you would be…?”  He looked down at her quite menacingly and she took a step back.

“Chapin Hannigan.  Jazz Journal magazine.  I should be on the press list.”

“No press allowed until an hour before show time.  Sorry.  You’ll have to wait.”  He seemed to grow even larger in the door way.

“It’s cool.  She’s with me, Carl,” Skeet spoke up.  The guard looked at Chapin then looked back at Skeet.

“You sure, man?  You know how Barney gets if I let in folks before the appointed time.”  He looked at Chapin with a slight grin.  He seemed oddly proud of himself that he had actually used a three syllable word in a sentence.

Skeet reached over and took Chapin’s hand.  He smiled at her shyly.  She met his eyes and smiled back.

“Yup.  Definitely sure.”

“A’ight then.”  He fished out a blue badge for Skeet.  He began trying to fish a yellow badge out of the web of lanyards that hung next to him.

“Come on, Carl,” Skeet said, his voice trailing off.  “Give her the musician’s creds.”

The guard paused, scratched his head and eyed both of them somewhat suspiciously.  He returned to the badges, fished out a blue one and reluctantly handed it to her.  She put it around her neck, grabbed Skeet’s hand again and they almost skipped through the door.

The hallway was dark and it took a few minutes for their eyes to adjust.  The only thought in Chapin’s head was that Skeet was still holding her hand, and she really hoped it wasn’t just part of the rouse to get her in a little early.  She had been smitten with him when she first laid eyes on him at the interview and the more they had talked, the more attracted she had become, but she had tried to remain professional.  And now he was holding her hand!

Skeet glanced over at Chapin.  “Let’s see what kind of trouble we can get into,” he said with a wry grin.

The passed a door way with the door about three fourths closed with some wonderful acoustic guitar and harmony vocals pouring out.  Skeet paused to listen.

“Five years and there’s no doubt that I’m burnt out, I’ve had enough…So now boss man, here’s my two weeks, I’ll make it short and sweet, so listen up,” Skeet began to harmonize with the voices coming out of the room.   He heard the voices swell with excitement.

“I could work my life away, but why?  I’ve got things to do before I die.” Skeet smiled at Chapin and burst the door open just as the chorus rolled around and drug her in behind him.

“There’s got to be something more, got to be more than this.  I need a little less hard times.  I need a little more bliss.” Two women sat on chairs in the middle of the room, each playing a guitar and now, suddenly, with huge smiles on their faces.  The blonde had a very girl next door look and sported a pair of overalls while the brunette had a real rebel look with a tattoo visible on her left forearm. Skeet sat down on the end of the couch situated just across from them and pulled Chapin down beside him.  An acoustic guitar was sitting on a stand in arms reach.  He grabbed it and immediately began to play, still harmonizing perfectly.

She was a little disappointed that he had replaced her hand with the guitar but she was amazed at the beautiful music that they were producing.  She noticed her foot beginning to tap along.  They finished out the song and they all erupted with laughter, Chapin clapping in approval.  The brunette jumped up and gave him a huge hug.

“Skeet!  It has been too damn long!” she exclaimed.  The blonde stood up and gave him a hug too.

“Oh man, have I missed that kinda stuff!”

“Well come back on the road with us and you’ll get it every night again!”, the blonde said with a giggle.  “The music, I mean, of course.”

Skeet giggled and looked back at Chapin.  It dawned on him that his manners were eluding him.

“Oh man!  I’m sorry.  He pointed gently at the blonde and began with introductions.  “Emily Sailiers,” he pointed to the brunette.  “Amy Ray,” he then turned his hand to Chapin in much the same motion that “Barkers Beauties” had introduced a showcase on the “Price Is Right.”    “Chapin Hannigan.”

“Howdy!” Emily remarked, followed by a “Pleasure” from Amy.

“Chapin,” he said finishing the introductions.  “The Indigo Girls”

“The pleasure is mine!” remarked Chapin.

“So Skeet, this one is finally making an honest man outta ya?” Amy joked.

“Naw, but the nights still young!”, Skeet said with a huge smile, glancing back at Chapin.   She began to blush.  “Where is everyone?  The jamming usually centers around where ever you guys decide to light.”  He turned to Chapin.  “Wherever these two are is usually the center of activity.”  He turned back to Amy and Emily.  “Where’s the boys?”

“We’re doing this one solo.  The band’s getting a night off in Charlotte tonight.  We’re catching a flight back in the morning,” Emily said, steadily noodling on the guitar as she spoke.

“The first time I saw you guys…I don’t think I ever told you this story…. it was just the two of you.  I was on tour with Belinda Carlisle and Pat Torpey and I were out carousing after a show in Atlanta and somehow we ended up in Athens, quite a bit lit…” Skeet paused and looked at Chapin.  “This is all off the record, right?” he said with a grin.

“I think this whole day is gonna be off the record.  Now finish your story!” she said, touching his shoulder lightly.

“So we were wandering around after a show in Atlanta and wandered in to a little joint called the ‘Uptown Lounge’ where you guys were playing.”

“Wait a minute,” Amy said as if a light bulb had just turned on in her brain.  “Y’all are the drum and bass guy!”  Emily and Amy sat up straight and exchanged surprised looks.  They leaned back in their chairs and simultaneously, in very mock slurred drunken speech said “Ju guys are greeaaaaat!  But chewed beeeee eeeeeven better wit drums and a bass.”

Skeet placed his face in his palm.  “Yea…that was us.”

“You know, that still comes up every once and a while and we just chuckle like hell over it.  You played with us for 6 months and I never realized that was you!” Emily said.

Skeet made an overt attempt to change the subject.  “And on that note, let’s play one more, then we gotta go find Brian.”

“Brian’s running around here somewhere.  I saw him a few minutes before y’all walked in.  He was talking to a bald guy,” Amy remarked.

“Shawn?” Chapin asked.

“Didn’t know him.  Maybe,” Amy responded.

“You know, Amy.  I’m not supposed to tell you but Brian has the biggest crush on you.”

“Damn, girl!  You get all the good ones fawning over you!” Emily giggled.

“Skeet, he knows I’m a lesbian, right?  I mean…” Amy asked with a hint of concern.

“Yea.  I’m pretty sure he does.  He just has a thing for cool chicks with tattoos.”  Skeet chuckled.

They jammed on one more song and Skeet put the guitar back on the stand, gave each one a hug and promised he’d be back later.  He offered his hand to Chapin to politely help her up off the couch which she accepted and refused to relinquish.

They headed out the door and proceeded down the hall.  Skeet stopped and spoke to numerous people and had to introduce Chapin on at least eight separate occasions.  As they walked along Chapin could see they were approaching another crowd of people.  She glanced to her right and noticed a large room that appeared not to be occupied.  As they passed, she pulled Skeet’s arm hard and forced him into the room.  Before he could even regain his balance, she pushed the door closed, sandwiched his face between her palms and kissed him.  The kiss caught Skeet completely off guard, but he responded almost instantly which made her kiss him even more passionately.

Slowly their lips parted and their eyes began to open.  She looked in his eyes and then dropped her gaze.  “I’m sorry.  I…I…don’t know why I did that, but…”  She couldn’t find the words.  She looked up at him and he smiled which gave her the courage to continue.  “I…I’ve been wanting to do that since about half way through our interview. “

“Well, I hope you figure it out soon so we can do it again,” Skeet said with a wry smile.  She leaned in and kissed him again, but this time it was much gentler.  As their lips parted, he leaned in and kissed her yet again wrapping his arms around her waist and holding on as if his life depended on it.

The door swung open and Brian flew in the room.  “Skeet, the guys from…”  He stopped cold as he took in the scene.  “Umm…yea…well…come find me when you guys are done, ok?”

“You got it,B,” Skeet said almost without removing his lips from Chapin’s.  “I’ll be right there.”

“Ummm….yea….ok….”  Brian closed the door behind him and was very careful not to let it slam.

Chapin turned away from Skeet and began to walk away.  A flirty, almost devilish smile crossed her face.  “You know, I’m not normally this easy.” She said, walking toward the center of the room where a grand piano sat.

“Oh…I didn’t think you’re EASY.  I think I would have said ‘a confident woman who goes for what she wants’?

“Ok, let’s go with that one,” she said as she sat down at the piano.  Skeet sat next to her and much to his surprise, she placed her hands on the keys and a beautiful version of “Georgia On My Mind” filled the room, as if it had been trapped in the piano and Chapin was somehow magically able to release it.

Skeet sat stunned, listening to the music and watching the beautiful woman who was producing it, and remembering how wonderful it was to kiss her only a minute before.  As she played, a magnificiently high, soulful, soprano voice came from the hallway behind the closed door.

Georgia!   Geoooooggggggiaaaa!  The whole day long.  It’s that old sweet sooooong.  That keeps Georgiaaaa on my miiiiiiiind!”

Chapin and Skeet had been in their own little world together, but both looked up and saw the outline of a slightly heavy set black woman enter the room.  They both recognized her instantly and goose bumps covered their arms, as well as any arms of any people in ear shot.  And ear shot would be a long way.  Chapin marveled at the volume the woman was putting out.

As they approached the end of the verse, Chapin’s mind all of a sudden reminded her that she was sitting there accompanying Patti LaBelle and the nerves grabbed her.  At the end of the verse, she played a simple ending and stopped.  She had hoped she wouldn’t hyperventilate before she could bring the piece to some logical confusion and not have to face the embarrassment.

“Patti Golden Pipes!” Skeet exclaimed.

“Now Skeeter boy, I ain’t seen you in forever and a day.  Let momma take a look at ya.”  She looked him up and down.  “Nope…nope…ain’t right. “  Skeet’s face showed the surprise.  Patti walked over to Chapin and stood her up from the piano bench and moved her next to Skeet.  Chapin was speechless and became a rag doll in Patti’s hands.  She stood stiffly next to Skeet, but Patti let out a “hmmmppph” and walked over, put their hands together, looked again, then gently leaned Chapin’s head onto Skeet’s should.  She looked one last time.  “That’s it.  Now it’s right.  I swear, mama got to do everything around here.”

Skeet and Patti burst out laughing and hugged.  Chapin stood like a statue.

“Ok Skeeter.  Who is she?  I can already tell she’s something special but you know you should introduce us!”

“Yes Maam, Miss Patti!” Skeet said with a mock salute.  “Miss Patti LaBelle, Miss Chapin Hannigan”

“Well it’s nice to meet you, baby.  Y’all together, right?  If ya not, ya should be and that’s what I got to say about that.”

“Umm…let’s just say things are looking promising?” Skeet said, glancing at Chapin who was still rigidly in awe.

Chapin suddenly became very aware that she wasn’t saying anything and she probably should be.  “It’s nice to meet you!  I’m Chapin.”

“Yea, I just told her that.”  Skeet said with a grin.

“Ain’t no need to be nervous around me, baby.  Miss Patti is just Miss Patti and that’s all there is to it.  You play some good piano girl.  But can you make it swing a little more for me?”

Chapin again became suddenly aware that there was conversation going on that she was somehow supposed to be a part of.  “Umm…swing?”

“Let mama show ya, baby,” Patti said as she settled down on the bench.  She began playing the same song with a much more swing vibe to it.  “Now you try it, baby.”

Chapin swallowed hard.  She was about to sit down and play in front of PATTI FREAKING LaBELLE!   At the direction of PATTI FREAKING LaBELLE!  It was all she could do to move away from Skeet’s arms but one foot went in front of the other and she made it to the bench.  Her fears of hyperventilation set in again.  It was all too much of a roller coaster for one day.  First her mom, then Jack, then Shawn, then Skeet and the kiss and now PATTI FREAKING LaBELLE.

Skeet leaned in close and whispered softly in her ear.  “Just go with it.  You’re fine.”

She looked down at the keys and began to play trying to ‘swing it more’ as Patti had instructed.  Patti began to snap her finger with the beat.  “Yea, that’s it, baby.  I can work with THAT.”  Patti began to sing again.  Skeet thought the sound was angelic, although maybe he was a little biased.  He had known Patti for a number of years and even though he had toured with her, they had more of a big sister, little brother relationship.  He thought she had one of the prettiest, and yet most powerful voices in the business.  On top of that, she was being accompanied by the beautiful woman that he had just been kissing and he had no idea until 5 minutes ago that she could play an instrument.

The door opened quietly and Brian slipped in, followed by Amy and Emily and a whole host of musicians, roadies and anyone else who could hear the magic sound.  They all listened in amazement at the performance Patti and Chapin gave.  The air was electric!

Patti hit the last note, Chapin hit a little ending flourish and the room erupted with applause.   Chapin turned more shades of red than she cared to count.

Amy leaned into Skeet.  “You didn’t tell us she could play!  We would have had her jamming with us before. “

Skeet leaned back.  “Would you believe I didn’t know she could play until five minutes ago?”

“Son, no wonder you never got married.  You need to pay a little more attention to the details of your ladies life,” Amy said and slugged him in the arm.

“But she’s…I mean, I…”  He relented.  “You’re right.  I’ll remember from now on.  Scout’s honor,” he said and raised three fingers into a Boy Scout sign.  He set his eyes on Chapin, who was still awestruck from being in Patti’s presence and said quietly.  “I think I need to learn everything I can.”

As for Chapin, she was having the afternoon of her life.  She had reconnected with a guy she thought was the most interesting, handsome man she thought she had ever met.  She had kissed him more passionately than she had kissed anyone in recent memory and he had returned her affections.  She was getting to spend the day and the evening with him while meeting a veritable plethora of music legends.  The fact that she didn’t know much about some of them didn’t make a whole lot of difference to her.  On top of all that, she had just accompanied the great Patti LaBelle and received a standing ovation from a group of the most talented musicians in the industry.  All this before three o’clock.  How could this day get any better?

“I think you should go make sure that WWLH is going to be properly represented at this event.  I don’t think I should have to do everything myself.  And I TOLD you to change that t-shirt.  If you value your job you will stop bucking me!”  The voice whispered softly into Shawn’s ear.  He hadn’t expected Jack to be attending nor had he noticed him entering the room.  It took him for a complete start, but he tried to play it off.

“Jack!” he said mockingly.  “Wasn’t expecting to see you here.  Are you sure the station will be able to get along without you?  I mean, Britney may show her ‘giner on the internets again and who would be there to make sure “Hit Me Baby One More Time” was played back to back for 12 hours?  By the way, I was talking to Chapin and, I gotta tell ya, you are one sick bastard!”

Jack’s tone turned quiet, serious and cold.  He grabbed Shawn by the shoulder, squeezing firmly and leaned in close.  “You don’t need to worry about the station.  I’ve got it handled.  My advice to you is to keep your nose out of my personal life.  It could lead, at the very least, to unemployment.”

A look of concern crossed Chapin’s face. She had noticed Jack across the room and he had shot her a big, toothy grin.  She thought he always looked like he was stoned when he tried to smile.  She paused for a moment, not sure what to do, but decided that moving toward Skeet was the best bet so she began heading in his direction.  Simultaneously, Jack made his way across the room and stepped in front of her.

“I’m sorry you had to leave before we finished talking.  Maybe we can find a quiet place and finish talking now,” Jack said.

“I’m pretty sure I was done.  I thought I made things pretty clear.  Now I would appreciate it if you would just leave me alone. “  Jack put his arm around Chapin’s back and squeezed firmly.

“Well it would only be polite to finish our conversation, now wouldn’t it?” Jack said in a much lower, forceful tone.

Skeet walked over, somewhat oblivious to what was going on.  “Hi!  Skeet Seaton.  Not sure I’ve had the pleasure,” he said, offering a hand.  “You’re a friend of Chapin’s?”

Chapin attempted to move away, but Jack pulled her in tight.  The smile left Skeet’s face and he looked back and forth between Chapin and Jack.

“Why yes!  “She’s my girlfriend,” Jack announced with a proud smile.

Skeet looked at Chapin not knowing what to say.  His mind was running on overload.  Could the girl that he had been so smitten with, who seemed to have really been into him too, have a boyfriend?

“That’s bullshit Jack and you know it! Chapin sparked.  She looked at Skeet with a pleading in her eyes that echoed in her voice.  “We’ve been broken up for eight months.”

She tried again to move away but Jack pulled her even closer and smiled at Skeet.  “Our schedules have been keeping us apart.  Something we have decided to work on.  It will take some commitment, be we both know we can work through it.

A meaty hand fell over Jack’s shoulder from the opposite side that Chapin was standing on.  The hand firmly grabbed his neck and pulled him away from Chapin’s side.  Jack turned with a start and looked down and was staring straight at a Black Sabbath t-shirt.

“Now Jack,” Shawn start with a condescending smile.  “Aren’t you playing in your own little dream world a bit too much these days?  I was at the office when Chapin told you, apparently not for the first time, that you are pimple on the rear end of progress, the boil in her life that just won’t go away.  Shawn tightened his grasp and Brian slowly but firmly wedged himself between Jack and Chapin, crossed his arms and stared at Jack.  While Jack was taller than Shawn, Brian stood six foot three and could be very intimidating when he wanted to.

“Don’t make me fucking lance you right here, Mr. Boil,” Brian said.  Shawn had given Brian a real quick run down on Jack.

“Now Brian, I’m sure Mr. Palero is fairly reasonable…for a psychopath.  I think he’s probably bored with this place by now and would much rather be at home playing with his Troll Doll collection.  Right Jack?” said Shawn.

“You see Skeet, Mr. Palero has spent the last eight months harassing Ms. Hannigan in some…” Brian turned his gaze to Jack.  “…really, really sick ways,” his tone becoming more disgusted as he talked.  Chapin took this opportunity to move closer to Skeet and he, stepped slightly in front of her as if he was positioning himself, if only symbolically, between Jack and Chapin.

“Well, if Ms. Hannigan would prefer that you leave,” he said and looked at Chapin, who nodded in agreement.  “Then it would probably be best if you leave.”

“Translation:  Beat it, Jackass,” Shawn piped in.

“Look, I AM the manager of the radio station that is helping to sponsor this event and I won’t…”Brian cut him off.

“I believe you need to beat it, Tito.”

“The name is Jack Palero and I will not be treated in such…”  Brian looked across the room to see Carl, the doorman, enter the room, walking with a purpose.  “…a manner by a bunch of low life slugs!” Jack finished.

Carl walked up to them and towered over everyone, including Brian.  He looked down menacingly at Jack then turned to Brian.  “Is there a problem here Bri?  I was told there might be a problem.” Carl glanced back at Jack.  “I LOVE to fix problems.”

“Mr. Palero need some help finding the door,” said Brian.

“He missed his nappy time and that gets him really confused and grumpy. He needs to leave but he seems lost.  Can you help him out, big guy?” Shawn said, his neck craned almost straight up to see Carl’s face.

“Oh I’d be happy to!” Carl said, his grin widening with each passing syllable.  “All right, come on, little fella.”

“Chapin!  Tell him you want me to stay!  For God’s sake!  Hasn’t this little rouse gone on long enough?”  Jack pleaded.  “Thorpe!  Tell him who I am.  I’ll have your job for this.  I will make sure none of you ever work in music again.”  Jack began to bellow louder and louder.

Carl grabbed Jack by the collar and an arm, lifted him onto his tip toes and began to move him toward the stage door.  “Come on, little fella,” Carl repeated as if he had never uttered the words before, but his laughter becoming more and more audible as they moved.

Skeet surveyed Shawn, Brian and Chapin.  “Somebody wanna tell me what’s going on?”  He fixed his gaze on Chapin.  “You have a boyfriend?  I don’t understand.”

“No, no,” Chapin exclaimed.

“I can vouch for that, Skeet.  He’s my boss and he has this….ummm…psycho thing for her.  Really!  I don’t think he’s all there upstairs, you know what I mean?”

Skeet looked confused.

“Let me explain…” Chapin began, and with that she launched into a short history of the relationship, the break up, Jack’s pestering since then, Thanksgiving at her parents and the incident at the radio station earlier in the day, with Shawn adding his usual colorful commentary to the final incident that had occurred earlier in the day.

When she finished, Skeet stood there, mouth agape, stunned.  “Wow.”  It was all he could muster.  “Are you ok?”

She looked at him and smiled softly.  I hope I am now.” She reached across and took his hand.

“All right you two.  Get a room for the mushy crap!” Shawn joked.

Skeet squeezed her hand tight and leaned in a little closer.

“Do you think he’s really gonna fire you?”Chapin asked Shawn.

“I doubt it, but I hope he does.  I’m getting tired of that shit anyway!”  he said with a smile.

“Hot damn!” Skeet exclaimed.  Chapin shot him a confused look.  “I keep telling you to come and be the lead engineer at the studio.  You are wasting away as a DJ. With your talent, I could keep my  place booked constantly.”  Skeet meant it too.  He was always on Shawn to come work for him.  He thought then he might actually be able to turn his studio into a profitable enterprise instead of a basically self sufficient play ground.

“At this rate, I may have to take you up on that, Skeet.

“Whenever you want, just say the word.  We can do this!”  Skeet turned to Chapin.  “This guy is a genius in the studio.  He’s been the engineer on all of my solo albums!”  he said with an exuberant, proud smile, but then a puzzled look crossed his face.  “He broke into your apartment and rearranged your closet?”

“Dude, seriously!” Shawn began, then placed his index finger by his temple spun it and began to whistle.  “Sometimes his synapses really don’t fire quite right.”

Brian brought the conversation back to the event at hand.  “Skeet we gotta sound check you and Pat and the guys pretty soon. They wanna sound check some other acts and they gotta get you slackers done first.”

“Two seconds and I’m there.  Wait.  I tell you what.”  He turned to Chapin.  “Just come with me.  It won’t take long.”

“You think I wasn’t following you?  Lead on.  I’m not going far,” Chapin said, squeezing his hand gently.

___________________________________________

Get Chapter 8 in a pdf file.

Posted By: Lans
Last Edit: 29 Aug 2009 @ 11:58 AM

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 20 Sep 2009 @ 9:57 AM 

Chapter 7

Skeet sat in his living room close to the front door waiting for the limo to pick him up for the gig.  Brian had already left in the van with his equipment.  Normally, Skeet would just take the instruments in the trunk of the limo and use whatever amp and microphones were already there, but he had a full plate today and he wanted everything to be just right, plus he had decided to take one of his standup basses and those usually didn’t fit in trunks, even of limos.

Skeet had been looking forward to this for days.  While he really enjoyed the normal playing he did backing up high profile acts, his favorite thing to do usually involved loose, unrehearsed jams.  He had told Chapin in their interview, “I know what I am going to get from a well rehearsed, well presented show.  It’ll be great, just like it was last night and the night before.  But unrehearsed, total improvisation?  That’s where it’s at.  It’s like walking the high wire without a net.  If you crash, it’s gonna be really bad, but if it works, it’s better than sex!”

And there was going to be numerous opportunities for improvisation at this gig.  Tons of his friends, some of the best in the business were going to be there and everyone always wanted to jam with Skeet.

Skeet’s cell phone went off.  “Money!  Get back!  I’m all right jack keep your hands off of my stack.”

“Hmm,” he thought.  “I wonder why  Dave’s calling?”  He picked up the phone.  “Dave!  What’s up?”

“What’s up?  The record!  That’s what’s up!”  Dave Schwartz’ voice bellowed from the other end of the phone.  Dave was the A&R representative from the record company that worked with Skeet on his solo stuff.  Dave and Skeet had never really talked much so he was surprised to hear from him.  The record company didn’t see Skeet and a huge profit maker from his solo efforts but kept a solo contract with him to help entice him to play and tour with their artists when opportunities arose.

“Oh you got a chance to listen to it?  Excellent! “ Skeet said, still somewhat confused as to why he was getting this phone call.

“That thing is smoking, Skeet!  We need to get together and talk about promotion, touring.  We wanna do a big radio push too.  We hear a couple of singles just jumping out at us.”

Skeet was speechless.

“And the guitar!  Who’s playing with you?  The guy is on fire!  We’ve got to have him on the tour.  ‘Sweet Magnolia Blossom’ has bullet written all over it.”

Skeet sat silent and completely puzzled.  He had been the one who had laid down the guitar tracks and thought they were rather rudimentary.  He wondered if this was some kind of bad joke.  Could some of his buddies had gotten Dave to call on a lark, but who would do that?  It was pretty cruel and nobody seemed to have it in for Skeet.

“Skeet?”  Dave paused but heard nothing.  “Skeet?”

“Oh yea, I’m sorry Dave.  The…umm…dog…uhhh..needed to go out.  So…yea.  I’m glad you guys are diggin’ it.”  He was still in shock but trying to recover a little professionalism.

“Oh we’re crazy about it!  Look, we need to get together to work out some details.  How’s your schedule today?”

Skeet paused again.  “Ummm….I’m doing this benefit at the Metro so I’m pretty booked up today.  Maybe we can get together sometime early next week.”

“Next week?  Oh we want to really move on this.  Can you squeeze me in earlier?” Dave asked in an almost desperate tone.

“On Saturday?”  Skeet was sure this was a joke now.  No record executive was going to meet with an artist one the weekend.  Maybe Clapton or Pete Townsend or the like, but not lil ol Skeet Seaton.

“Absolutely!  We can meet anywhere you want.  I can come over there if you want?”  This was sounding even more suspicious to Skeet and couldn’t get the ‘guitar on fire’ part of the conversation out of his head.

“Oh, it’s ok.  No need to go to any trouble.  How about if I just meet you at your office tomorrow afternoon.  Maybe around 3 or 4?  It’s gonna be a long night tonight.”  Skeet figured if he was going to get punked, they at least were not going to do it in his own house.

“That’s great!  I’ll see ya then!”  Dave hung up the phone.  Skeet just stared at his cell, still dumbfounded.

“The guitar is hot?” he repeated out loud.

Just then, he heard a car door shut.  Sure enough, his limo was out front.  He grabbed his iPod and headed to the door.

“I don’t remember any especially ‘hot’ guitar.  He mumbled.

______________________________________

Get Chapter 7 in a pdf file.

Posted By: Lans
Last Edit: 29 Aug 2009 @ 10:16 AM

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