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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.

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 20

December 14, 2014 Leave a comment

The atmosphere was warm and friendly around the barbecue on a large patio at Richard Silver’s country home. Delicious hamburgers and spicy sausages were cooked to perfection by Rachel Horowitz with some help from Sylvia Volkov. There was a choice of normal hamburger and hotdog buns, rye bread or pita to cater to every preference.

Quiet, comfortable chatting was going on among the guests in lawn chairs and around the umbrella table. The sun was still high although turning a warm orange colour as it slowly floated toward the western horizon. The air was rich with the fragrance of fresh mown hay from Richard’s hundred acre pasture. Bernie Cohen was unusually relaxed compared to his usual histrionics as manager and agent for The Bitches. Richard Silver was slightly suspicious about his calm demeanor.

Sylvia chatted with Richard while Rachel barbecued. Bernie was discussing the next tour, the first with the new lead singer, whoever that would be. Bernie had a suspiciously sly look as he spoke these last words. Even Sylvia, watching over Richard’s shoulder, could see that some kind of confrontation was waiting in the wings to burst out. After everyone was sated, full of meat, wine and beer, Richard suggested they all stroll over to the studio and get down to business.

“Without Sateen out front,” Richard said, “we’re going to need a special sound to keep our audience and attract more of them.”

“I wouldn’t worry about that,” Bernie said. Richard stopped what he was doing and looked hard at Bernie. Even though Bernie was his boss, Richard didn’t take any crap from anybody.

“What’s up your sleeve, Bernie?” said Richard.

“I just think it’s gonna be easier than you think to replace Sateen,” said Bernie.

“It sounds like you have someone in mind,” Rachel said.

“I have, I have,” said Bernie happily. He bit off the end of a fresh cigar, spit it out and popped the cigar into his mouth.

“When are we going to audition her?” Sylvia said.

“When the time is right,” Bernie said.

“Well the time is right at this moment, for this audition,” said Richard.

Sylvia left the control room and went into the studio on the other side of the glass. She shed her clothes so that she was in a skin-tight black sequined teddy when Richard started the music. Sylvia began her spellbinding movements that oozed sensuality and vulnerability. She had become the second most important member of The Bitches except for Sateen, just because of her magical and original dance style.

“I know she can dance, Dick,” said Bernie. “We need a vocalist now.”

Sylvia slowed her movements to an undulating walk, approached a microphone and began to sing.

Some of us have everything we need,
Some of us have more than we need,
Some of us have not enough to eat,
Some of us have no hope no more.

Everybody knows the right answer,
Some don’t want to hear the question,
Everybody wants all lives to be good,
Except for the people who want it all.

The song went on and the sound that engulfed the control room was as magical as Sylvia’s dancing. Richard’s manipulations and enhancements of Sylvia’s voice gave her a most desirable sound.

“That’s just what I expected,” Bernie said. “What kind of manager would I be if I didn’t know what you kids were doing out here during the break? I’ve been getting feedback from my spies and I knew you struck gold with Sylvia and already have the promotions in preparation.” He turned to Sylvia, “And you, my little Golden Goose are being presented as Sylvie Voltaire, okay?”

“Just like that,” said Rachel. ”Sylvia’s the lead artist in The Bitches! That’s so cool.”

They sat around the control room and passed several joints around. Richard had taken them out of a compartment on the underside of the control panel. Before long all of them were feeling happy and acting silly. Everyone decided to spend the night at Richard’s house. There were plenty of bedrooms.

Rachel spent the night with Bernie, teaching him some delightful tricks that were new to him. The black backup girls enjoyed their own threesome and Sylvia spent the night making love with Richard. All was well with the world.

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.”

Starbound – (fourteen)

May 3, 2014 Leave a comment

“My parents called me every scumbag name under the sun, accusing me of being a whoring tramp. A worthless piece of shit. I went to the police and they interviewed the boys and their dates about the night of the dance. The boys said they didn’t know anything about it, and the girls swore none of the boys had left the dance for a second.

“After that, life was even more unbearable. I figured, nothing can be worse than this life, so I struck out for the city to see what can happen. And here I am.”

Life for Sylvia moved along quite quickly as she began to rehearse with “The Bitches”. She was the only white girl, and she was positioned to the right of the other two backup singers.

Throughout the round of rehearsals, the engineer, Alan, was growing ever closer to Sylvia. He was married and had a toddler daughter that he loved, and he didn’t realize how strong the draw toward the new girl was becoming. He was filled with desire to be alone with her, to touch her and perhaps seduce her.

Alan’s job, between concerts and rehearsals, was to electronically enhance Sylvia’s voice. She was becoming a fan favourite because of her fabulous figure and enthralling moves. It became important to the group’s managers that the focus be partly on Sylvia. As the crowd goes, so goes the money. As the money goes, so go the managers, agents, and promoters.

The lead singer, who started The Bitches on their climb to the top of the charts, was becoming irritated by the popularity earned by Sylvia. Her name is Danarh Cooper, and she eventually decided she’d been too long with the group and announced that she was going to launch a solo career. The group and its crew were not too upset about it, because Danarh had been gradually declining in popularity for some time. As well, she had increased her cocaine dependency by an unmanageable amount.

During this time of upheaval, Alan was rapidly developing some technology and the techniques to go with it, which gave Sylvia’s voice a truly stimulating quality.  For his private profession, when he was not engaged by The Bitches, Alan maintained a studio in his country house. It was a favourite recording facility with many top artists, from symphonic orchestras to heavy metal to folk singers.

Alan took Sylvia to the remote studio in a verdant forest near a small river that snaked through the trees. Alone together at last. Sylvia, of course, was well aware of Alan’s feelings. It was almost impossible for anyone to not see the signs.