It’s Only Rock and RollbyDinsmore©
This is not a stroke story but it is a romance with music themes thrown in. It also has a lot of detail and many words. If you don't like detail and find reading many words bothersome, don't read this story. This story was a lot of fun to write and as usual the characters are a bit over the top and larger than life and, since this is fiction, their experiences are probably not very realistic. As I said...it was fun to write.
"Molly, what do you think of Morris?"
"He's fine; he's always polite."
"No, I mean...you know...what do you think of him?"
"Kate, I don't think of him 'that way'...ever. He doesn't do anything for me. I mean, you know how this company is; it's all about 'dress for success'. He's always dressed neatly but he sure as hell doesn't spend a lot on his wardrobe. That slicked back 'college' long hair doesn't do much to impress me---or the big boys. He's painfully shy and hardly dynamic."
"He is an accountant---CPA actually. I heard through the grapevine that he was probably one of the most respected ones---accountants, I mean---in the company."
"Sure, he's respected---as an accountant; that's all he'll ever be. He just doesn't 'shine'. Not much charisma there from what I see. Rod, on the other hand..."
"Rod is the classic empty suit; he doesn't know anything! He's all show."
"He fills that suit pretty damn well---and the big boss loves him! He'll be running this office before you know it."
"I hope you're wrong; Rod is out for Rod and no one else. On another subject, what have you got planned for the weekend?"
"Ah, well, I'm going away for the weekend; there's a really upscale resort about a hundred miles from here...and..."
"Wow! How'd you manage that on an intern's salary?"
"Oh, you know...a friend of a friend. What about you?"
"The greatest rock band in history is in town tonight---I've got two tickets. I was going to ask you if you wanted to go."
"Sorry, hon, we're---I'm---leaving right after work."
Morris watched the two young hotties chatting; he wondered what they had planned for the weekend. They were both babes. Molly was a bit of a bitch but Kate, the blonde, was just sweet. Maybe someday he'd get his nerve up and ask her out. He'd never been very adept in that department; cute girls unnerved him. He wished he had the gift for gab that many of the other young managers had---guys like Rod. You could tell by the way all the little sweet things hung on his every word that they ate it up. His cell phone rang.
"Morris! Dave. We've got a gig tonight."
"We always have a gig on Friday night, Dave, at an after hours club from eleven to two."
"No, I mean another gig. You know who is at the hockey arena tonight? Evidently their opening act got in some legal trouble at their last concert and is a no show. The promoter knows the guy who owns the club we play and he recommended us. They're promising thirty minutes from 8:00 to 8:30."
"Shit, Dave, all of our equipment is at the club!"
"I told him that; they're going to send over some roadies to help us get moved. We need to meet them there at six."
"One other thing; we're not supposed to play any of our own stuff...just covers."
"I guess they don't want us showing up the main attraction."
"Whatever. I'll be there at six."
The five of them had met back in high school when they had all won their respective state's Boys' State competition and attended Boys' Nation in Washington, D. C. They'd been invited back the following year as junior counselors. They'd all decided to go to the same state university together. After briefly parting for graduate school, they'd gotten back together. Having discovered their mutual interest in music, they had formed a band, playing parties and campus clubs throughout their college years and resuming their musical collaboration after grad school.
Oddly they had all come back in the same city where they had completed their undergraduate education. They were a motley crew consisting of an engineer, a landscape architect and budding real estate developer, a systems analyst, a lawyer and, of course, one each CPA. They'd kept the band together because they enjoyed it. They had developed enough of a local following to sell out any club in the city.
They were also damn good but none of them had any illusions about "making it". They had day jobs---budding careers and only played on Friday and Saturday. Club bands have to play covers---that's what people want to hear. They'd written enough of their own stuff to more than fill a CD and in fact had released one on their own which probably never found its way out of the county. The office manager had already booked; Morris would hit the door by five.
As he was walking out the door, the adorable blonde accosted him.
"Ah, oh...hi, Kate." She was so damn sweet. He wished he had either the ability or the time to talk to her...get to know her.
"Morris, I have an extra ticket to the big concert at the arena tonight. I was going to ask Molly but she has other plans. Would you like to go?"
Oh, fucking-A wonderful. She's asking me out...on a date. And I have to say no. Shit.
"Kate...I'd love to go with you but...I just got a call and I have...my mother's sick. I need to drive home to see her...take care of things. Some other time?"
"Sure, Morris. Some other time."
He had lied to her; she was sure of it. She'd made the first move; maybe it had been too sudden...she'd been too forward. He was too shy to accept her invitation. He was such a sweet guy...cute in his own way...but so shy and introverted. She wouldn't have any trouble scalping the ticket.
"Well, it was pretty cool having an actual crew to help break down and move our stuff. I wasn't looking forward to the five of us doing it."
"The promoter said they'd help us move it all back after our set; we're getting paid more for thirty minutes than we make in three hours normally. He said if we did a good job, he's tied into other promoters that schedule this venue and we could get another gig in the future. Shit! We've never played for fifteen thousand people before!"
"Well, the money won't hurt; we've put everything we make playing into our equipment---not to mention some of our regular salaries. This is definitely a loss leading hobby."
"Is that what it is, Morris...a hobby? You're the best damn lead guitarist I've ever heard; you own any crowd you play for---and the rest of us are damn solid musicians. I know we all have careers but sometimes I just wonder if..."
"If we're really any different than a thousand other club bands across the country? If we're the one in a thousand that could make it? Yeah, I think about it some times and then reality sets in. Let's get ready; we open in a couple of minutes."
"Ladies and gentlemen, a special treat tonight. Opening for the greatest rock and roll band in history, our city's own---Boys' Nation!"
Often the greeting for an opening act is barely polite; the fans come to hear the headliners. On this night there were a surprising number of people in the audience that knew the opening act very well and had followed them for half a dozen years. The swell of the crowd surprised the five young men; it injected them with energy and excitement. In Morris' case it made the transition to his alter ego---his stage presence---occur instantaneously. He was no longer Morris Hamilton, CPA; he became Morrison, his proper first name. His mother had been thinking Van...his father Jim.
He strutted; he swaggered. As he launched into the band's signature opening riff, the crowd went crazy; there wasn't a dry pair of panties in the house thirty minutes later.
"Damn! These guys are good, Keith!"
"Not bad for a cover band."
"They're a cover band because that's what the promoter wants them to be. Hell, we're a fucking cover band! No ones comes to hear our newer stuff---it sucks! They come to hear shit we did decades ago. We're basically covering rock classics that we wrote twenty or thirty years back---because we can't seem to come up with anything decent that's new!"
"The money's good---and damn easy. What are you doing out here? You never come out early before a show."
"Heard the crowd; then I heard those opening chords. I had to see for myself. Here comes the promoter with his perpetually pissed off look. What's up, Robert?"
"Equipment problems! We need these guys to play for at least fifteen more minutes or the crowd is going to be pissed."
"Well, the curtain is about to come down on their opening and from the way the crowd is responding, I doubt that they'll object to an encore."
"Boys, we need another fifteen or twenty minutes!"
"No problem." injected Morris who in all actuality was really the band's leader and front man. "But, ah, we don't really have any more covers; we need to play our own stuff."
"Whatever! Another grand for fifteen minutes more work...tear it up, guys!"
The audience had not expected the opening act to get an encore; they were thrilled. Those who knew the group were even more thrilled when they rolled right into one of their own compositions which had become a local club favorite.
"That's what I'm talking about, Keith! We spend a small fortune trying to find good, new stuff to record; why the hell aren't we playing songs like this? Shit!"
Kate was in the audience; she was a rock and roll junkie. She had only learned about this band a few months earlier after she relocated to the city to take her current job as a management intern. A friend had loaned her their locally recorded CD but she had never seen them in person. She was mesmerized; they had an energy and drive that had deserted much of what passed for contemporary rock music. Shades of Zeppelin, AC/DC before they fired Mutt Lange, Aerosmith before they lost it and decided to do ballads...the Stones before they became geriatric and senile. The lead guitarist was beyond belief...setting the tone...fuel injecting the energy level.
Kate knew something about music; she had fronted a reasonably successful girl band back in high school and for a while in college. She was an accomplished guitar player---certainly as good a guitarist as she had witnessed in most local bands over the years. She'd given up that foolishness in college, majoring in business and then obtaining an MBA. Her mother had played the piano and sung at small town watering holes until the responsibilities of a family cut her budding career short. These guys were very good but the lead guitarist was beyond amazing; he excited her as no musician---no man---she had ever seen. She knew she was good; this guy was in the stratosphere.
The fifteen minute encore stretched to thirty minutes; the band was surprised when the lead singer for a band long since inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame came up to thank each of them personally off stage.
"Hey, guys, we've got back stage passes for you. Hang out and we can get together after our set. We love your energy—and I love your original stuff."
"We'd be honored." Morris said softly. "Unfortunately, we have a gig from eleven to two; it's a regular thing and the guy who owns the club recommended us to your promoter. We couldn't let him down."
"Bummer! Look, make sure our manager---Pete! over here---knows where you're playing. We're sleeping over in town; maybe we can come down and hear your club gig."
"That was beyond cool, Morris---admit it! You were on tonight!"
"I hate to admit it---but you're right. The taste of the big time is addictive. I felt the energy; I didn't want to be anywhere else in the world but on that stage. Almost forgot about the quarterly audit I have to do beginning Monday morning."
"Do you think they're really going to show up at our after hours gig?"
"Right! Dream on!"
But they did show up, as did Kate who gained admittance to the always packed club thanks in no small part to the fact that she was a very pretty young lady. She even managed to get a seat fairly close to the stage.
She didn't recognize the young CPA who worked in the same office with her. Why would she? The skin tight leather trousers and sleeveless, form fitting muscle shirt were hardly part of Morris' office attire. Morris wore glasses at work. His vision defect was relatively minor and only caused him discomfort when he had to work in front of a computer screen, which he did much of the time at his day job.
His normally slicked back hair was loose and full. His office smile was restrained. When he played music his smile was based on the genuine joy and total release that being on stage provided. In the end, though, it was his style---his supreme confidence, even cockiness---that made any comparison between Morris the CPA and Morrison the rock guitarist ludicrous.
Morris recognized Kate instantly as she took a seat only a few feet from the stage. She was not the first person that knew him as Morris who had ever attended one of their shows and none of them had ever made the connection. In fact, rather than avoid her gaze, he played to her, flirted with her...came on to her. At the first break, she stood up to approach him and he doubted the charade would survive close scrutiny. So what? He mused. It's not like I'm doing anything against the law. Fortunately, or unfortunately, the marginally disguised lead singer for the legendary rock band which they had opened for earlier in the evening cut her off and came on stage.
"You guys are too good to be wasting away in obscurity. We shot tape on your opening earlier. I want some people I know in the industry to see and hear you. You deserve a record deal. I'm also being selfish; I'd like to record some of your stuff---it's better than anything we've written in years. Who's the writer, anyway?"
"It's pretty much a group effort; one of us gets an idea and we sit down together and hammer it out," said Morris, handing the legend a couple of unlabeled CDs. "We've never really let anyone else record our stuff. We need to think about that but I'm sure we can work something out."
"What's the chance that you could join us for the last four weeks on the tour---open for us every night?"
"We all have day jobs...careers...obligations."
"I predict you won't still be doing those day jobs a year from now."
"Wouldn't that be fun? Unfortunately as of right now, we each have a responsibility to the respective employers who put food in our mouths."
"Guys, some times you just have to take your shot. People out there are dying for a new sound in rock and roll and I think you've got it. Talk about it; I'm going to have our producer get in touch with you and set up an audition. Wish we could hang out but we've got an early departure. Keep it real."
A couple of hours later the members of the band sat together in Morris' living room. The five of them had formed a corporation and bought a small farm outside of town a few years earlier. They'd converted the old barn into a recording studio. They had ultimately built homes on the property for each of them. They had recently gotten through the zoning process which would allow them to subdivide the two hundred acres into single home lots. Since the land was zoned, "agricultural-residential' the lots had to be almost two acres and no more than twenty percent could be occupied with structures.
The small Midwestern city was growing; their farm was on the side of town where a number of major corporate headquarters resided. They had all agreed to take it slow and ensure that only upscale custom homes were built. The project had just passed the break-even point; it would, hopefully, ultimately provide a reasonable degree of financial security for the boys but that would take a few years.
None of them had any debt to speak of. On the other hand, taking the leap of faith required to quit their day jobs and lose the cash flow of a regular salary was daunting. Each had grown up marginally middle class; a regular paycheck and the financial security that came with it were ingrained in them. The supercharged performance in front of 15,000 people, coupled with the words of praise from a true rock and roll icon had injected a serious note of uncertainty in all five of them.
"So, Morris...what the fuck?" asked the systems analyst.
"Let's not get the cart before the horse. If this big cheese actually calls us and if we get a shot at an audition and if that leads to some sort of record deal..."
"And then what?" injected the engineer.
"Then we consider the pros and cons and...make a decision," Morris said softly.
"Hell, Morris, this may be a collaborative effort but you are the irreplaceable one. If you aren't up for it---it ain't going to happen."
"I'm not going to hold you guys back; we've always made decisions as a band when it came to our music. If you all want to do it...I'll be there. Now I need to get some sleep. Let's not count our chickens yet."
As Morris drifted off to sleep he thought about his friends. He had a strong sense that three of them were ready to take the leap should the opportunity present itself. Brett, the landscape architect---also the band's rhythm guitarist---was probably not a go. He was spending more and more of his spare time managing the boys' development project and loved what he was doing. He was almost certainly the only one of the five who really enjoyed his day job. He had hinted that he was close to quitting the landscape architecture firm he worked for and devoting full time to the development project and also doing his own thing as a landscape architect. He had been very quiet all evening.
Morris himself was on the fence. He had not grown up with very much financial security. Ditching his job as a CPA to pursue a dream? Still, he had made a commitment to his friends. If the majority wanted to go for it---assuming the opportunity even arose---he wouldn't hold them back.
They played their second regular weekend gig the following night. Kate had attended, arriving early enough to get another front row seat. She was mesmerized by the band but it was Morrison, the lead guitarist who excited her the most---excited her as a woman. She had tried to talk to him during a break but he had been mobbed by regular fans and she didn't want to come off as a groupie.
That Sunday, Kate had pulled her Fender out of the closet for the first time since coming to the city. She was a bit rusty at first but soon got in a groove. Kate read music but could also play by ear. She ran through several of the songs she had heard Boys' Nation play. As the heat inside her quickly rose, she planted the butt of the guitar between her legs and visions of Morrison...going down on her...fucking her...making her cum, filled her consciousness. The orgasm surprised her and essentially ended her impromptu practice session.
Monday morning as she drove to work she began to wonder what would have happened if she had kept with her music. Her parents wouldn't have approved; her dad would have been furious at the lack of maturity. Oh, well.
"Hey, Kate!" Morris called from behind her as she walked into the office. "Did you enjoy the concert?" She stopped and waited for him to catch up with her.
"It was fantastic, Morris! It's a shame you had to miss it. They had a local opening act---Boys' Nation----that was phenomenal! How's your mother doing?"
"My mother? Oh, sure; she's fine. It was sort of a false alarm. The band you mentioned...I think I might have heard of them. So you're a pretty serious rock and roll fan?"
"You bet!" Kate replied, adding a brief overview of her own foray into performing.
"Why, Kate...I had no idea you were so...multi-dimensional. Did you ever think of trying a career in music?"
"Thought about it but my parents dissuaded me---more like they threatened to disown me!"