Last time with Helene Troy: http://lancemyblogcanbeatupyourblog.wordpress.com/2012/03/30/what-ive-done/
Not used to climbing stairs in heels, Helene stumbled three times before she reached the last step. She grimaced at her sore ankles and leaned down to massage one. The door to the office opened and a waitress ran into her as she stayed in her crouch.
“Helene? I’m so sorry! Did Jackson’s girlfriend give you that bottle of J.D.?”
Helene stood and smiled at the tall brunette, Gina Nikosta. They worked together at Mickey’s bar two years earlier. Gina, long-legged and tight t-shirted, was an aspiring dancer who often hung out with musicians. The sound from The Golden Apples headlining set, rose. Helene shouted.
“Yeah, I got it! I can’t wear heels for shit! Thanks, G!”
Gina lowered her serving tray and leaned into Helene’s chest. As they hugged, she spoke in Helene’s right ear with her Brooklyn tongue.
“This place went off for you like I’ve never heard before! Leney, you’re fucking amazing!”
Helene smiled and crept to the open office door.
Two men, one of which Helene recognized, stood over an old cherry wood desk plugging in two laptop computers. She held her hands together at her waist, hoping they wouldn’t notice her nerves. The familiar looking man, in his forties but dressed younger, straightened his posture, smiled and extended his right hand. Helene squeezed and he began to yell over the music downstairs.
“Helene Troy! What a pleasure! I’ll close that door! I don’t want to have to scream our conversation!”
The muffled sound was calming Helene. The other man, a few years younger, spoke next. He removed his round-framed glasses and smiled through pencil-thin lips.
“Well, I guess your manager told you what’s going on?”
Helene shook her head “yes” and looked around the office. The men talked more but Helene ignored them and focused on the pictures of other artists who played the club. She saw Ramona Gallery’s photo. Ramona was about her age, twenty-four, in the picture. The second man, the one Helene recognized, got her attention.
“Helene, I know your father. I met him before you were born, in 1981. I roadied for his band, The Articles, when I was seventeen. I was there the night they opened for The Police in Pittsburgh.”
Helene’s eyes widened. She smiled and ran her hands through her long brown hair.
“Really? Wait, you’re that guy that played at my Aunt’s wedding with my dad? I was ten.”
Helene liked most of the people her dad played with but couldn’t remember his name. He laughed.
“That’s right. I’m Kevin Phoenix. I liked playing with your dad. He was a hell of a guitar player.”
Helene frowned and looked away, catching a framed shot of one of her favorite bands, Luscious Jackson, then shot back.
The first man put his glasses back on and typed on his laptop. Helene sat down in a brown leather chair. Kevin Phoenix began his pitch.
“Helene, Matador Records is losing The Golden Apples at the end of the year. The Apples actually recommended your band, to take their spot. We were hesitant until tonight. You were brilliant out there. Your vocals soared. Your guitar playing is outstanding. I told your manager you’re the best technical player and showman with an axe, I’ve seen in a long time, maybe ever.”
Helene didn’t take compliments well. She knew the catch coming after the onslaught of flattery. Her face showed no emotion. Kevin continued.
“Helene, things happen in bands. They’re living, breathing organisms. But after a while, they reach a life expectancy and they just don’t always last.”
Her glare turned into a snarl. Just fucking say it, Kevin Phoenix, Helene thought to herself.
“We think your future is off the charts as a solo artist. You have the ability, charm, character, style, and attitude to make people care about rock and roll again.”
Helene’s imagination began to play. She thought about what it would be like to be in charge, to have her name at the top of a bill, and to not have to split a hundred bucks with three other people. She thought about Sadie, who’d done nothing wrong. Then, Ramona Gallery’s picture caught her eye again. Clarity came to her. She wanted Ramona’s success, but more of it and longer lasting.
Kevin and the other guy sat in silence. She liked their anticipation. The guy behind the laptop stood and turned his computer around and Helene saw a website. The colors purple, gray, and white, and accents of red highlighted www.helenetroy.net.
Helene tossed her hair back, narrowed her sharp green eyes and answered.
“I’m playing guitar on Ramona Gallery’s next CD. She’s paid me in advance. I refuse to quit. Also, if she doesn’t hate me after all this, I want Sadie in my band. She’s a terrific player, she can write, and she means the world to me.”
Kevin and the other man looked at each other and shook their heads in agreement. Kevin responded.
“We know about your work with Ramona. I talked to her earlier today. We think it’s a great way to promote you and help her be relevant as well.”
Helene swallowed hard and stared at Kevin.
“You talked to Ramona about me? When?”
Kevin shrugged his shoulders, looked at the other guy, and turned up his hands.
“About 6 tonight. She told me she was coming to the after party.”
Helene, who waited for Ramona’s to return her calls since hours before then, seethed.
The metal office door opened and the manager walked inside. The body language and facial expressions of the two men from Matador Records brightened. Helene looked over her left shoulder. The door slammed shut and the manager grinned.
“I’m assuming everything’s good with my girl?”
Kevin smiled at Helene who looked away.
“So far, this is a productive meeting. We’re on the same page. I think we’re looking at Matador’s next female rock and roll star.”
This is a new story episode of The Ballad of Helene Troy. You can find the rest of the story, so far, here: http://lancemyblogcanbeatupyourblog.wordpress.com/the-ballad-of-helene-troy/
Today’s song is perfect lyrically. Helene’s mind is working and this is one of her favorite bands. Here’s Naked Eye from Luscious Jackson