Exercise #66: Battle of the Band

Exercise 66 Instructions

“If I spit, they will take my spit and frame it as great art!” Jeannine shrieked, throwing her hands up toward the ceiling.

“Jeannie,” Damion sighed, his head throbbing as though forty percussionists were in there rehearsing Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture with real cannons, “It’s one thing to design an album cover. It’s quite another to use that design as cover art.” He gestured to the drawing she’d presented him with. “This is a design concept. It’s not cover art. It looks like a four-year-old drew it. I mean, I don’t even know what half of this is.”

“What do you know?” Jeannine screamed, throwing herself back around the room again, “You’re just my manager! What do you know about art?”

“Jeannie,” Damion replied, doing his best to be patient, “for Pete’s sake, calm down. It’s only been a month since your band, Simplicity of Grace, first went multi-platinum. You’ve hit number one charts world-wide and with the first, second and third singles out of your very first album. Even Michael Jackson never did that! I helped you do that. You can’t say I don’t know anything about art, because I believed in you. Please, don’t ask me to give this thing to a publisher. I… we will be laughingstocks.”

“I can’t believe you, Damion!” Jeannine moaned, flopping down on his overstuffed leather sofa and throwing one booted foot over the armrest. “You say you believed in us, but you won’t do what I ask? How is that believing, Damion? How?”

“Listen, Jeannine Franklin,” Damion whispered through gritted teeth, outrage taking the volume from his voice, “I am your manager, not your ‘yes man.’ If that’s what you want, hire someone else. I have other things to do than sit here and listen to you throw a temper tantrum because I won’t give your little crayon doodle to a music company to use as cover art for your next album.” He seized the drawing and tossed it in Jeannine’s direction. It fluttered gently to the floor, landing lightly atop Damion’s $500 carpet. “Do you understand? You’re not Michael Jackson. Your band isn’t the Beatles. You can’t just walk in here like some kind of prima donna and expect me to think that every idea you have is going to be golden. You don’t pay me enough for that.”

Somewhere in the middle of this speech, Jeannine’s mouth had dropped open. With her ridiculously red lipstick and aqua-colored hair, she looked like something from the fish market instead of the megastar she was supposed to be. Damion fully expected her to start yelling again, cliché things like, “You can’t talk to me like that,” or “How dare you question my genius?” He braced himself.

“You’re right,” Jeannine replied, reaching for the fallen drawing.

“What?” Damion blinked, taken aback.

Jeannine sighed, looking wistfully at the drawing. “My first thought while you were talking,” she said, sitting properly on the sofa now, “was that you sound like my mother. Then I thought, if my mother was here, she wouldn’t put up with this from me, either. So I looked at the drawing again and I realized that you’re right. It’s not good enough for the cover. What if we used it for the art you see beneath the disc, though? You know, when you pull the disc out of the case, there’s always something cool there. Why couldn’t we use this?” She held the drawing up for a second inspection.

Damion smiled, pleased that the screaming was over with. “We could do that. Now, how soon can you and the band be in the studio? The company is breathing down my neck. They want your next album yesterday.”

Jeannine blinked. “Oh, yeah. I forgot.” She fished in her bag and brought out a small, personal recorder. Getting up from the sofa, she placed the recorder and the drawing on Damion’s desk.

“What’s this?” Damion asked, picking up the recorder.

“Just some songs Jake and I wrote,” she replied, seating herself in the chair across from Damion. “Why don’t you give them a listen. Then we can be in the studio tomorrow, if you like.”

“Okay,” Damion grinned, “Who are you and what have you done with my client?”

Jeannine laughed.

It doesn’t feel finished, does it?  I need some suggestions.  How would you finish it?

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12 thoughts on “Exercise #66: Battle of the Band

  1. You’ve presented a real poser of a question here… Well, they’ve obviously agreed that Jeannine’s cover for the new album isn’t anywhere near good enough, so what was it about the original cover of the previous mega successful album? Was Jeannine responsible for that one, and if so, what was here inspiration, was it something magical or paranormal about the original cover that lead to such spectacular album success? Lots of possibilities….

  2. I was expecting a classy end. I am not into short stories so I don’t really know what should happen ahead. I think Paul is the best person to help you on this. I mean his writing is impeccable.

  3. Wow, Julie, I was really into this. I want more background and the ending could go different ways, depending on your vision or inspiration. I like the dialogue a lot.

  4. PS The absolute only thing I would change is in the paragraph where he says, “your band, Simplicity of Grace…” I don’t think a manager would repeat the name of her band to her quite like that but it would fit maybe more nicely in the next sentence in place of “you’ve” , and instead would read, “Simplicity of Grace has hit number one…” What do you think? Or maybe just if he said,”It’s only been a month since Simplicity of Grace went…” Just my humble opinion though. :))

  5. Pingback: Battle of the Band, Take 2 | Cimmy's Stories

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