27 Nov 2009 @ 5:25 PM 

Chapter 17

Chapin slouched down onto the couch in Skeet’s studio as he began turning on power to several devices.  It had been a whirlwind evening, which seemed to be a pattern when she was with Skeet.  She had almost been late for their date, played jazz back stage with Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea and then actually got to play with them on stage.  Her boyfriend thinks he’s losing his mind, then was handcuffed and almost arrested by a couple of Chicago’s finest because her ex-boyfriend convinced her parents that she had been kidnapped.  It was really beginning to get to her, but she glanced over at him, while he was spinning dials and pushing faders.  So far, it all seemed to be worth it.  She was beginning to think he was her soul mate and they had only known each other a few days.

On the drive home, he had played the CD that he had brought back from the record company.  It was fantastic, she thought but it definitely wasn’t the same thing she had heard during their previous visit to the studio.

Skeet started the playback and turned to her.  “Now you’ll see that this one won’t have that fantastic guitar.  I don’t know who’s doing this or how but it’s really freaking me out?”  They listened to the track and were almost floored when, remarkably, the guitar that had been missing on the masters every time Skeet had listened to it, was magically there now.  His eyes widened and he spun around in his chair.  He was frantically muting tracks, trying to identify where the sound is coming from.

His original recording of ‘Velvet  Paradise’ had used 26 tracks to record on the computer controlled digital system.  He muted the 26th track and the guitar sound continued unaccompanied.  “Where the hell is that coming from?”  The desperation was clear in his voice.

Chapin got up and began looking over his shoulder.  She worked with computers all the time and wanted to help.  She looked at the screen where the tracks were displayed.  “Scroll over to the right,” she suggested.  He obeyed and, low and behold, the 48th track on the system had the guitar.  He turned it on and off a couple of times just to make sure then slumped backward in his chair.

“What the fuck is going on?  That wasn’t there yesterday!” he exclaimed.

“Are you sure you scrolled over here?  Maybe you just didn’t notice it.”

“If it were just me, I’d say you’re probably right, but Shawn did it.  There’s no way he would have missed something like that.  He’s one of the best I’ve ever known,” Skeet said.

“Everyone misses stuff now and then.  Maybe he just missed it.”

“Maybe.  I’ll call him and find out.”  Skeet reached for his cell phone but Chapin gently closed it in his palm.

“Look, its one a.m.  It can wait until tomorrow.  Let Shawn sleep, or…whatever it is he does.”  She took the phone and placed it on the console.  “Besides, don’t you have some important business to attend to?”  She sat on his lap and began kissing his neck.  “Namely me?” she cooed in his ear.

He wrapped his arms around her and held her close.  As things began to heat up, his hands began to move freely over her black dress.  He caressed her breasts and kissed her gently.  She stood up in front of him and pulled the dress over her head, revealing the black lace she had picked out for him earlier in the evening.  She unhooked the bra, removed it and tossed it on Skeet’s head.  She tucked her thumbs into the top of the black lace panties and slowly began to slide them down.

The door burst open.  “Skeet, I’ve been talking to Shawn and we are sure…”  Brian was in the center of the room before he realized anything was going on.  “Ahh damnit!” he said, covering his eyes and turning around.

Chapin quickly pulled the panties back up, covered her bare breasts with one hand and grabbed her bra with the other.  “I’m not sure if I’m pleased or insulted by that reaction, Brian,” she lamented.  What else was she going to do but try to make a joke out of the awkward situation.

“I’m…. I’m sorry.  I didn’t figure you were… I mean…  I didn’t know,” Brian said, his face still planted in his hand so as to not take in the view.  He had begun to turn a deep shade of red.

“It’s ok, B.  It’s my fault,” Skeet said as he walked him out the door.  As the door closed behind them, Skeet turned to Brian.  “Ok, you and Shawn were talking, and…”

“Oh man, she must think I’m some kinda perv!  I keep walking in when she’s naked.  Skeet, you gotta know I’m not doing that on purpose.”

“I know, Brian.  She knows too.  Shit just happens.  Don’t sweat it.  I’ll take care of it.  Now, you and Shawn were talking…”

“Well, Shawn and I have been listening to the album for hours.  There is no doubt.  That guitar is Stan Balch.  We’re sure of it.  No one else sounds like that.”

“But why would Stan… I mean…”  Skeet paused and thought for a moment.  “I haven’t seen Stan in years.  Why would he do this?  Why not just call me?  Why try to drive me out of my mind?”

“I don’t know.  But the playing has got to be Stan.”  Brian paused not knowing how to proceed.  “Maybe…you should…try to call him.”

Skeet’s head snapped up and looked Brian in the eye.  “You know I can’t do that.  Why would you even say that?”

“Look man, I know what’s going on.  But I also know what the record company’s expecting now, and I know you can’t get anyone else who can play that way, and I know this whole thing is driving you crazy.  I don’t know what else to tell you man.  I think you should call him.

The door opened and Chapin emerged.  “Call who?” she said as she pulled down on the dress to straighten it.

“Nothing.  Brian and I were just thinking out loud.”

“I think he should call Stan Balch.  That’s got to be who’s on the track,” Brian said.

“Did he tell you it’s on the master now?” Chapin asked.

Brian smirked.  “No, the one with the track is a copy.  The thing in there is the master.”, he said, point toward the studio door.  “The guitar is just on the copy.”

“No, it WAS just on the copy.  We just listened to the master.  It’s on there now,” she said.

“If that was listening to the master, then I think Skeet and I never listened to the master,” Brian said with a grin.

“Oh you just want to see me naked.  Admit it,” she said to Brian, being completely sarcastic.  She turned to Skeet.  “I think Brian’s right.  You should call him.  You’ve got to get to the bottom of this.”

“Look, I haven’t talked to him in so many years.  I don’t even know how to begin to find him,” Skeet said.  He was obviously looking for reasons not to try.  “I doubt he’d take the call anyway.”

“Well you should try.  It’s the only way you’re going to find out anything.  I’ve got some sources at work.  I can try to help you find him,” Chapin offered.

“And Shawn keeps up with everybody in the business.  He may know something,” Brian offered.

“Ok, let’s talk about it in the morning, OK?” Skeet said.

They stood in an awkward silence.  “Ummm…Ok?” Brian asked.  There was more awkward silence.  “Ohhhh!  You guys want to ‘listen to the master’ some more.”

Skeet looked at Chapin.  “Maybe we should go upstairs to… ummm… finish our discussion.”

“Is there a lock on that door?” Chapin asked.

____________________________

Get Chapter 17 as a pdf file.

Posted By: Lans
Last Edit: 09 Oct 2009 @ 05:31 PM

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