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King’s Life

May 8, 2017 Leave a comment

Bartholomew King was proud of his eccentricity. He knew that he was regarded as a shallow, slow-witted, trust-fund child. By the time he was 28, he was well established as a wealthy nut. Fortunately for Barth (as people liked to call him), he never had to earn a living. His parents had accumulated a substantial fortune in the medical marijuana industry, growing and distributing through their burgeoning chain of greenhouses. Unfortunately, they lost their lives prematurely, while testing their design for a four-seated hang-glider.

Of course, Barth immediately sold the marijuana business and closed down the development of the hang-glider design. As a result, he was sitting on almost three million after-tax dollars. He did regard himself as the king, at least in the large county where he was highly influential. As such, he demanded exclusivity – in everything.

He had a ranch built to his own, eccentric design. He had Brigham Coachworks build a custom body of his own design. He had it built on the chassis of an Alpha Romeo Disco Volante, the most exclusive car he could find. The Disco Volante body was discarded and the new body was constructed of aluminum.

There were many opportunities for a prolific social life laid at Bartholomew’s feet. He was hesitant, because he was never certain which woman might be the most exclusive. He attended dinner parties, if the guest list was sufficiently exclusive. He attended sporting events only if the event was rare, such as polo for blind players. He was introduced to many very beautiful women, but he was unable to feel certain of the one of a kind that he sought.

On a rare evening out, with one of the women who hoped to be The One, Barth saw The One. It was not the woman with Barth. Rather, it was a woman who sang on the small stage of the club they were in.  After they ordered, Barth looked casually toward the stage. A woman stood at the microphone in baggy, blue denim bib overalls, singing a twangy country song. A keyboard player, a guitarist, and a drummer backed her up. The woman’s face made Barth’s stomach flip. She was gorgeous, almost exactly the face he created in his mind to be the exclusive one.

She appeared to be more than 6 feet tall. Barth was an average 5’9”. Barth’s problem was, he didn’t like country music, or the rural wardrobe. The drinks arrived at Barth’s table, and he clinked glasses with his date and sipped his Highball. The country song ended and Barth turned to look at the stage again. The woman had dropped the baggy overalls and kicked them aside. She stood in the spotlight in a blazing green Spandex body suit. It fit so tightly, it looked painted onto her body. She had the shape of an oversize mannequin, virtually perfect. She began to sing a love ballad, “The Nearness of You,” and the mellow tones of her deep voice infused Barth with passion.

Barth knew that this woman was the exclusive beauty he sought. He unashamedly ushered his date out the club door and put her into a taxi. The outraged woman made a scene throughout the club, and people knew that it was just Bartholomew King being Barthish. He gave the driver one hundred dollars and asked him to take her wherever she wanted to go.

Barth returned to the club and boldly went backstage. In an open area, the trio of musicians were sharing a joint. In her dressing room, the woman… The One, was sitting at her makeup table.

“I’m Bartholomew King,” he said. He extended his hand. She ignored it.

“I know who you are,” she said. “Where’s your date?”

“She had to leave,” he said. “I wonder… would you come to dinner with me tomorrow evening?”

The woman stood up and looked down at Bartholomew. She put her hand on his shoulder and walked with him toward the dressing room door.

“I want you to know something, and remember it,” she smiled. “No. Never, nay, no way. I only date exclusive men. You are so common.” She gave him a gentle push out into the passageway, and closed the door. He heard the click of the lock.

THE LAND OF MILT AND HONEY

April 7, 2017 Leave a comment

Chapter One

Most of the people who had been born and raised in Whitewood had long since left for big cities that were bustling with advancement opportunities.  There was nothing to keep young people in the tiny hometown so they went away to work in office towers and underground shopping malls and suburban offices in busy urban areas.  The few that stayed in Whitewood took jobs either in Korn’s Super-Econo Market, Korn’s Fashion For Families shop, Korn’s Electronics and Computer Centre, and Korn’s Fine Pine Furniture Manufacturing Corporation.

The only young person that remained in Whitewood but did not work for one of the Korn family’s enterprises was the Korn’s only son, Milton.  The Korn’s only daughter, Rebecca was twenty-two, two years younger than Milton was.  She had moved to Montreal at eighteen for a job with an advertising agency.

Milton had made himself a studio in an unused space over the three-car garage behind the Korn mansion.  The well-known residence stood back from the road on their five-hundred-acre horse farm.  Milton was an artist who created paintings, sculptures, carvings and drawings of various kinds.

Milton’s works sold for good prices at biannual art shows in Winnipeg, where locals with an interest in art respected and collected his work.  Most of the time, however, his parents supported him.  That is to say they fed, clothed, and housed Milton, but there was no moral support or encouragement.  Quite the opposite most of the time as his parents said everything they could to discourage him.  They refused to recognise the value of his work, even when he turned over to them the proceeds of his sales, usually between ten thousand and twenty thousand dollars during each show.  The derision intensified when Rebecca took on her job in the city, and escalated even more when she was rapidly promoted to more and more responsible – and lucrative – positions.

Insults flowed whenever Milton was in earshot.  He began to live in the studio constantly, and rarely saw his parents.  His mother and father took turns slapping him psychologically with statements like:

“You’ll never amount to anything doing art.”

“Your father needs you to help with the business.”

In spite of the scorn, Milton Korn continued with his personal career.  He was twenty-four years old and past the time when he should be away from his parents’ home and perhaps getting married.  Milton’s father barely spoke to him, crushed that his only son was uninterested in taking over the family enterprises.   Samuel Korn had worked all his life to create wealth and security for his family.  It was an unbearable burden of the ageing man, and his health was fading with the stress of watching his son waste his life.

Milton didn’t feel that he was wasting his life.  The more art he created, the better his art became.  He worked intensely on his oil paintings, watercolours, clay and wax sculptures and woodcarvings.  He also enjoyed an active social life.  He was tall, lean, and handsome, besides having a wealthy and influential family.  His gallery showings garnered him a lot of attention from women young and old.  He enjoyed the attention, but never intended to unite with any of his female companions. He always made certain each of them understood that this was his intention.

His parents pushed and bribed him.

In the end, Milton Korn’s parents gave him 30 days to vacate the family home.  Over the years he had been given much by his wealthy parents as the only way they knew to get him to be what they wanted him to be.  Everything that anyone would want – cars, boats, money, travel, and credit cards were handed to him without question – obviously meant to bribe Milton into obedience.

In preparation for setting off into the real world, Milton arranged for a one-man show of his art and design work at the Gallery Communicate in Regina.  Every piece but one was sold, and Milton had almost thirty-four thousand dollars after the gallery’s commission, but there was much more to come in a form he had never contemplated.

On the prairie flatlands outside of Regina a crew was producing a television commercial for an importer of Asian automobiles.  With a Sunday off, most of the crew wandered around the city sightseeing and relaxing.  The producer, Honey Freed, wandered into the Gallery Communicate, and was surprised and excited by what she saw, in the work of Milton Korn.  She asked the proprietor if she knew the artist well, and was told that he was familiar.  Although he was rarely seen in town, he was well known, because his family virtually owned the town.

Honey learned that during this night, the crew would be setting up an exhibit of Milton’s work. The vernissage will be tomorrow.

(To Be Continued)

 

Evenings At The Beanery

April 3, 2017 Leave a comment

I don’t know why it’s named The Beanery because it was here long before I was. I moved to this city for a good job and found myself alone in the world. Although there were colleagues, I was in a senior position as department head. As a new guy parachuted in at the top, I was not warmly received.

I found accommodation that suited me. I could walk or bicycle to the office through a nice park. My flat was on the second floor of an old six plex and my front balcony ran right across to the other flat on my floor. There was an external, spiral staircase down to the tiny lawn. I didn’t meet the tenant with whom I shared a wall. The landlady told me she was away on business for a few weeks.

I began to spend my evenings in a small club where they offered reasonable prices and good live music. They had a very good little jazz combo with a keyboard player, a drummer and an upright bassist. The bartender told me they sometimes have a vocalist, too. The place had a small kitchen, so I sometimes had dinner there. Simple hamburgers or roast beef sandwiches, spaghetti with spicy sauce and chicken salad sandwich. It was basic stuff that went with some really good jazz.

One evening after supper, the musicians started up and suddenly there was a vocalist with them. She approached the microphone and I was smitten before she even sang a note. Her dress was forest green, off one shoulder, tight fitting to a really remarkable shape and flowed softly to the ground with a thigh-high slit in front. Her complexion was black. I don’t just mean she was a black woman, I mean that her colour was really black, like ebony. She was so black there seemed to be a touch of purple in her colour when the stage lights reflected from her shiny skin. And she was simply gorgeous.

For the first set, there were not many people in The Beanery. I usually sat at the bar in the back, away from the stage light. I just wanted to watch and listen to fill the loneliness until I started meeting people. I took my plate and my draft beer down to a ringside table to better enjoy this intriguing woman. When she sang it had the beautiful fullness of a young Ella Fitzgerald. Her dark eyes shone out of the black face and her lips gleamed in the blood red colour she’d painted on.

I watched her gently swaying movements as she sang and I was captivated. I stayed for her second set half an hour later. Then I began to feel like an idiot so I left while she was on her break. When I got home I tried to read but my mind kept rerunning the vision of her singing. I tried to watch television, but I couldn’t concentrate on anything. I gave up and went to bed early. I had no dreams.

I stayed away from The Beanery for the rest of the week and was very busy anyway. I was stuck in the office until eight or nine every night, trying to get the department organized the way I preferred. I was fighting opposition at every turn, as is always the case with a new guy with new ideas. I just carried on. I spent Saturday at the office too. I could get a lot done with the place empty of annoying people. Saturday evening I went home, ordered a pizza and watched news and Saturday Night Live.

Sunday morning I did some housework and then took a chair out to the porch to sit in the sun and watch the soccer game in the park across the road. I noticed there was a lawn chair like mine on my neighbour’s side of the porch. I assumed she’d returned from her business trip. I went into my kitchen for a moment to get a mug of fresh coffee. When I returned, my neighbour was seated in her chair, drinking warm lemon water.

I looked at her at the same moment she looked at me.

“You!” we both said in unison.

“You’re Edna Ward! You’re the singer at The Beanery!” I said.

“You’re the guy that sat down in front watching me so intently,” she said.

“I hope it didn’t annoy you,” I said. “I thought you were gorgeous at first glance. Then, watching you and listening to your wonderful voice, I realized I was smitten. I’m not going to lie about it. I haven’t been able to get you out of my mind.”

“I was looking for you all week,” she said. “You didn’t come back.”

“I had no idea you’d be looking for me,” I said. “I needed to stay away to get my senses straight, so I buried myself in my work.”

“I hope we can be friends as well as neighbours,” she said.

“I hope so too,” I said. “I’ve never been able to stay friends with a woman.”

“Why not?” she said.

“The obvious reason,” I hesitated, then I continued, “I soon begin to desire them. To be intimate with each one. To please them as well as I possibly can.”

“And do you?” she said.

“Do what?”

“Please each one.”

“I think so, yes. While I’m with her, I’m her lover. I love her and want her to be happy”

“The sun is setting,” she said. “The air is hot. Let’s go into my place where it’s cool.”

She had a great sound system, and the cool air was filled with some very mellow jazz.

“You have a terrific sound system,” I said.

“Thanks,” she said. “The speakers in the bedroom are perfect, if you lay in the middle of the bed. Go in and try it, while I get us some lemonade.”

The sound really was amazing. I lay back on Edna’s bed, closed my eyes in the dimly lit room, and let the music take me. A few minutes later, she came into the bedroom. She did not bring lemonade, nor was she wearing anything. Her naked, black body was barely discernible in the low light. She brought marijuana, which we shared. We made love and fell asleep together.

Starbound 21

December 27, 2014 Leave a comment

Unexpectedly, the entire Bitches team agreed that Sylvia Volkov would front the group. Bernie Cohen went back to the city. Richard Silver, Rachel Horowitz and the three black backup girls stayed at Richard’s house. Rachel created a schedule where most of the recording work would be begun near sundown and would carry on until one in the morning. That meant there was time to wind down, to take it easy and record at the day’s end when everyone has had the day to themselves.

At one o’clock in the morning, after the first recording session everyone went off to bed. The musicians who had come for the session went back to the city. Some of them had engagements for commercial jingles or other studio work and were happy to have the night work while still having their usual recording work.

Bernie eagerly set up a tour for The New Bitches, with Sylvia fronting the group. In city after city, they were a tremendous and profitable hit. After three months on the road Bernie had them return to the studio. The abbreviated tour proved that the revised group still drew the crowds and that Sylvia’s new stage name, Sylvie Voltaire was on lips and magazine covers everywhere. Bernie wisely realized that timing was perfect to record a new DVD and release it when the full year tour began.

Almost as soon as the DVD hit the stores and the tour began in Detroit, there were traffic jams, riots and fights that required the promoters to keep at least a dozen guards on hand to deal with the fans. Sylvia was focused on her performances and accepted Rachel’s capable guidance. For that reason, it was a surprise to Sylvia that there was just one more show to do. She was pleased. Eleven months on the road, living in hotels and on the giant tour bus had worn Sylvia down.

“What city?” said Sylvia. Rachel smiled.

“Bernie arranged this as a special treat before you take a long vacation,” Rachel said. “It’s your old home town.”

“What?” said Sylvia. She was stunned. The last place on the planet she ever wanted to see again.

“What’s the matter, Sweetie,” said Rachel. “You look freaked out.”

“How could you let him do this?” said Sylvia. “You know the whole town hated me. I was shunned, ridiculed and raped by the football team.”

“We thought you’d enjoy getting even, returning an international star and multi-millionaire,” said Rachel.

“What arena are we in?” said Sylvia.

“The arenas were too small for this concert, Sweetie,” said Rachel. “You’re booked into the stadium.”

“The football stadium?” said Sylvia. “That’s where the bastards raped me. It’s their fucking stadium.”

“It’s not Sylvia Volkov they’re coming to see,” said Rachel. “It’s Sylvie Voltaire. You can decide after the concert if you want to tell the media that you’re Sylvia Volkov.”

“They might boo me, throw things,” said Sylvia. “You don’t know how they hated me.

“They were teenagers then,” said Rachel. “They’re young men now, some with families, working guys I mean. It will be different.”

Sylvia was smuggled into the dressing room and she was beside herself with insecurity. Rachel tried everything to make her relax. The show was not until the next night, so there was some time to get Sylvia ready to perform with the explosive talent for which Sylvie Voltaire is known.

That night a crowd gathered to wait for the ticket booth to open. While trying to relax in the comfortable dressing room, Sylvia picked up a program for the concert. The cover was a life size shot of Sylvie Voltaire’s face. Rachel cut out the image and made a mask out of it. Sylvia Volkov then put a mask of Sylvie Voltaire’s face over her own and tentatively went outside and around the corner where she could move amid the crowd that was gathering.

Every comment she heard was enthusiastically positive. They all loved Sylvie Voltaire and felt privileged that she would visit their little city. She even saw two of the guys who had raped her, now young men. They were speaking of how they hoped they could get up close to Voltaire. One of them complemented her on the clever use of the program cover.

Sylvia went to her hotel with Rachel Horowitz and Richard Silver. She was feeling more at ease. Her confidence had been reinforced by the favourable comments she’d heard from many audience members.

The concert was a success as it was expected to be. The performances were outstanding and the crowd loved it. The crew was happy to get back home at last. Richard especially had some exciting developments in mind for the group. There was a new era dawning for music, electronics, and Sylvie Voltaire.

Starbound 19

December 11, 2014 Leave a comment

Morning found the trio of lovers well rested. They had slept until ten thirty. When they got up, Rachel Horowitz showered first and set about preparing breakfast. Richard Silver showered and went to the studio to prepare for the day’s work. When at last Sylvia Volkov rolled out of bed and showered, she felt famished. The air was fragrant with the scent of Rachel’s culinary preparations.

Richard returned to the house to announce the studio was ready to work on Sylvia’s vocal potential. They enjoyed the breakfast of stir fried pork strips with bean sprouts and yellow beans cooked in a spot of olive oil. They took a smoke break after breakfast and shared a bong of marijuana before they walked over to the studio building.

After several hours of work, Sylvia’s voice was beginning to have a unique sound that the trio believed had commercial potential. They had decided to not reveal these efforts and their progress to The Bitches, their management and especially Sateen. They had observed considerable jealousy within the group and Sylvia didn’t want to attract their ire. She did the best work she could with her dance moves and innovative choreography as part of the background team.

The group toured North America for three months before heading over to Europe where the tour was to last one month. The performances were well received in England, France, Germany and Italy. The group felt happy and appreciated when they returned to Canada. Each individual took the month off, some returned to Europe, several went to tropic islands and Sylvia, Rachel and Richard stayed at Richard’s country home and worked to perfect Sylvia’s enhanced vocals.

As the break time wore away, Sateen called a meeting of the whole team. She had an announcement to make and wanted everyone in the group to know before it hit the media people. Sateen was leaving the group before the next tour. She had met some people with some good ideas, and she was going to be a soloist on her next album. To replace her on The Bitches was expected to be a horrendous chore.

The following day, the team – without Sateen – gathered to plan ahead. As soon as they had gathered in the manager’s office, Rachel stood up and commanded the attention of the excitedly babbling people in the room.

“I propose that we have auditions from our own group to choose one to put out front,” said Rachel.”

“Auditions!” the girls cried. “I don’t want to audition for a group I’m already in.”

“I don’t want to lead,” said Auria Moore.
“No problem,” said Bernie, their manager and agent. “If you don’t want to, we’ll just audition new people.”

“Not so fast,” Rachel said. “We have a surprise for you that we’re confident you will like. We should meet Thursday evening at seven at Richard’s country place. We’ll have a barbecue supper and then spend some time in his studio to see what we have to work with.”