by Martin Maenza
Twenty months earlier, in a small bar on Sunset Strip at two in the morning, a quartet of men sat around a table in the back, drowning their sorrows with shots and beers. Most had long hair and faces in need of a shave. They were dressed mostly in dark colors or black, in leather and T-shirts.
“This totally sucks!” Danny said. “We’re never gonna catch a break!”
Scott clanked his beer bottle against his longtime friend’s. “I’ll drink to that!” he laughed.
“You’ll drink to anything, you peckerhead!” Sean said.
“Shut up!” Scott said, slamming his beer down. “Or I’ll make you shut up!” He lunged across the table at Sean.
“Oh, you want a piece of me, pretty boy?!” Sean said, preparing to defend himself.
“Stop it, both of you!” said Danny, the only blond in the group. Rick, the quiet one, merely brooded in the corner, taking this all in. “Fighting ain’t gonna help our situation! How the hell are we gonna get discovered if my two guitar men are messin’ up the act by poundin’ each other?”
“Your friend has a point,” an authoritative voice said as he approached the table. The four members of the band turned to see a man with long blond hair past his shoulders. The guy was dressed stylishly in tight black leather pants, a dark dress shirt opened three quarters of the way, and a thin black headband.
“This is private convo,” Scott said. “So buzz off!”
“Really?” the newcomer asked. “Too bad. I thought you boys were looking to be discovered. I was going to offer my assistance to you in that endeavor. But, if you’re not interested…” The man started to turn and walk away.
Sean bolted out of his seat. “Hold up!” he said, grabbing the man and spinning him around. “You looking to help us? Why?”
The blond man smiled and reached into his shirt pocket. “My card,” he said, flipping it onto the table.
Danny snatched it up quickly. “N. Styx, musical agent,” he read aloud. “No way!” He passed the card around to the others. “You’re seriously an agent?”
“Yes,” the blond said. “I used to be in a band before I moved to management. You might remember me from the Devil’s Crue.”
Sean took a good look at the man’s face more closely, as did Danny. “Hell, yeah!” Sean said. “I recognize you now! Nicky Styx! Scott, get this man something to drink!”
Danny pulled up a chair and gestured for the man to sit. He complied. “So, you looking for acts to represent?”
“Yes,” Nicky said. “I caught your act this evening. You boys have potential; I can see that. With the right direction and focus, I think you could make a big name for yourself. In fact, I’m betting that, with my backing, you boys could go down in the history books of rock ‘n’ roll.”
“No foolin’?” Scott asked.
Nicky smiled. “I’m willing to draw you up a contract to that effect right now. You boys interested?” The guys looked at one another and could read one another’s eyes. They’d been a band for such a long time, ever since high school back in a small town in western New York. They’d be willing to do anything to make it to the top.