A Skyline Fire. Chapter 1

I stare at these kids. I stare at these 5 ****ing kids. I sit here, and stare at these revolting radio-faces and I see nothing. Absolutely ****-all.

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Chapter 1: Building The Fire

I stare at these kids. I stare at these 5 ****ing kids. I sit here, and stare at these revolting radio-faces and I see nothing. Absolutely ****-all. They sit there and stare at me behind my desk. They see a lot. They see their future. They see **** tons of money, they see new cars, they see new houses, and new fantastic everlasting drugs and they see it happening. They see it happening with me. They see it because their music is coming out of my office speakers, which they see me listening to. They see me listening tentatively but I'm not, not at all. There is absolutely no part of me, especially my ears, that is paying attention.

My eyes wander from the ugly bunch to my office walls. My past life. Hanging from my walls are pictures with me and the people I made money with, the people that once listened to my every word. There was k-os, Protest The Hero, Rush, Nelly Furtado, ****, even Shania Twain's picture stared at me in pity. These were the people who were in the business, and at the time of those pictures, I was in the business with.

I looked away in fear, in fear that I might see myself in the reflection of the photos. The reflection of the agent I am today. The agent who has to sit and listen to local bands like the one sitting in front of me, pens already out and waiting to sign any ****ing contract I can give them. I bet their MySpace page would probably look better with something other than indie under their label section.

About 3 years ago this would've never happened.

About 3 years ago I would be in Toronto, or Chicago, or New York, or even L.A. with good, money making clients. Not with my agency though, and especially not with these crater faces.

About 3 years ago I was atop a Toronto-based entertainment agency named CTHA, selling millions of money making records to millions of money spending people. I was travelling all over the world, first class planes, first class women, and first class weed. I was representing the people normal folk beat off to, representing the people filling stadiums. I was around the actors, around the athletes, and most importantly, around the money. I knew how the ****ing game worked, and I knew how to **** the game.

I had clients at all ends of the money making spectrum. I had the lowly jingle ****s: the ones making music for teen friendly pregnancy tests. I had the people who laughed at the jingle ****s but were laughed at by everyone else: the drama queens creating the opuses and preludes for plays. I had the middle men: the ones drenching TV shows with cut-scene bass slaps. But then I had the cream of the litter: the icons filling out the stadiums (also known in agent talk as people who actually made me money). I worked hard for all my people, I truly did, but for the select few actual income creators, I invested my life into. And with one of those clients in particular, I developed a friendship.

His name was Ian Gribble, and his band was The July Road.

I made him. I raised that beautiful ****er out of the dumps of Southern Ontario, where he played at low pay birthday parties and open mic nights, serenading drunken teens and laptop guys with hot lattes and thick rimmed glasses. I rescued him and I found him a band, I found him an image, and I found him a sound. Okay I'll admit, his sound may have been total bull**** and just fat-girl-cry on-Friday-nights-and-eat-ice-cream music, but people loved it. People ran to his **** like he was a clean public toilet. It took me a year to bring this guy into the forefront of music, a couple singles and an album for the kids to pirate, and we ****ing made it. He trusted me like a stripper trusts her pole. I ran his life, and he appreciated it. I had the balls to make the decisions and he had the common sense every once in a while to follow them. He sold out gigs, he walked red carpets, and he made your wives and your girlfriends wet. We painted cities red like planes put out forest fires. We knew the people and we knew the places. He was the definition of a rock star, and I was his agent.

But of course, if my life was still like that, I'd be somewhere in New York cheating on my wife while I gambled away cars and houses. But it isn't, and that's because when my top client Ian Gribble decided to have a couple shots, I didn't stop him. And then after a couple more when my top client Ian Gribble decided driving my $125,000 mazarrati into a concrete divider would be the best next step on his life path, I was too high to take his keys.

I passed out in a dangerous lifestyle.

I woke up in a dismal reality.

I went to the funeral. I apologized to the family. I lost my job. I lost my house. I lost my wife. I lost my daughter. I lost my sons. I moved back home. I drank. I rehabilitated.

And this is where it brings me back to. To my miserable Hamilton office where I listen to amateur local bands like the Larry, Curly, Moe, and the 2 other tools sitting in front of me who are going to waste the last of the money I made in my glory days.

I turned my attention back to the 5 stooges music. It was actually decent. It wasn't exactly progressive rock but it wasn't exactly high-five locker room music either. It was the kind of stuff you'd listen to after you drove home from your first lay, even though it didn't go so well.

It was good, but it wasn't the band I needed. They didn't have the faces, the image, and the sound teenage girls listen to when they need to reassure themselves someone will eventually love them. I would love to sign these dirty rockers, but this isn't what the people want. Yeah, I know somewhere out there there's someone complaining I'm ruining the state of music, but I'm only the one who represents it, not the person buying it and playing it on the radio. It's not my fault the public wants to buy this kind of music. I'm the person trying to make money off the **** you hear, it doesn't mean I like it.

I told the guys to cut it off; it was time to talk business. Alright... guys I'll be honest, I like what you guys are doing. But I need more than this.

One of the members who looked like he could actually sequence words into a sentence spoke up. What do you mean more?

I need to see at least an image change .I mean I can't sell this wake up and try to look like Zakk Wylde without a shower look'! Now listen, I realize you've all got balls, but tattoos and chains won't even get you laid at a Nickleback concert anymore. I said.

He wasn't expecting that, and an increasingly cocky but equally grotesque member shot back. First off guy, you're like the ****ing Kramer of the music industry. You messed up in front of the world and now everyone hates you. Second-

I interrupted him. Oh okay buddy, don't go on a big speech like you're on your MySpace blog.

His voice got even cockier. Kramer, let me finish. Second, we've had offers to make an LP from labels all over Toronto. We only took the 45 minute trip out here to show you our demo because we know a guy near this dump who's got some stinky weed.

I made an obnoxious laugh. There's no way you've got offers yet, unless you count your Dad and his fat friends who probably want to pretend they're producers and record their kid's band.

Another good one Kramer! No, it's not my ****ing Dad. We've had offers from Echo, The Williams Group, Eclipse Records, and even your old joint, CTHA. He said, with his fellow gnomes adding in insults.

I stopped dead when I heard the old agency. Everything that happened during the final days of my employment flashed through my mind. I regained control. I always thought they were way above me, dealing with the huge clients that I used to represent. How could these butter faces get any attention from a company like that? This could mean that they believe these pugs could be big. I didn't think I'd see a career client for a long time, but it seemed now I had their potential client right in my office. However, there was also the possibility that he was bluffing.

Prove it Ronald Weasley. I said, studying his pug mug for any sign of hesitation.

Kramer, suddenly changing your mind, hm? Well, we've been on the phone with a guy named Pete Hedden several times, and he's licking his chops. Said the Seinfeld fan.

Pete Hedden. Pete ****ing Hedden! The douche bag who tried to steal my clients, my job, and even my wife. He was an agent before I rose up in the company, and when Ian Gribble and I found the jackpot, he had the male equivalent of permanent menstruation. He didn't like how after half the amount of time he worked there I had already tripled his results. I wanted him in the ground. I had to do this right. I had a chance to get back at the company that fired me for experiencing the death of my friend. I had a chance to steal their client and watch them **** their pants more than a protective mother when her son dates a girl with legs. But I had to approach this in a way that wouldn't cost me more money than necessary.

I turned my ambition back to the conversation and spoke. Alright you group of pugs, let's cut the ****. I ****ing hate CTHA, and I ****ing hate this office. But I've been around, and I know that what they're offering you can't hold much water. I'm not going to offer you much more.

Well then why should we listen to a word you have to say, Jerry Seinfeld's neighbour? The Seinfeld fan really didn't have any other jokes.

I stood up and pointed to him. Because pie face, what you don't get in money will be made up for in the fact that I've got jack **** in terms of other clients and I want to burn that ****ing company to the ground. I punched my desk in exclamation. The band shifted several times to look at each other. Not bad Kramer...but you know how it is; we've got other offers, so we'll get back to you.

I turned my back to them and sat down. I rubbed my eyes and said Well ****ing fantastic George Costanza, I just hope you guys can email better then you can dress yourselves. Now leave me that demo and get the **** on out of here before I realize how much of a mistake this was.

They left, and I turned in my chair to face the window. I took a long sip from my coffee, forgetting it was spiked. I had to turn away from the window. The one thing I hated the most about this office, was that on a clear day just like today, I could see the Toronto skyline.

----------

I walked up to the small town house. As I went to knock on the door I saw through the window that the house was already packed. I let myself in, and was bombarded with the same music that I heard a week ago from my office speakers. As I made my way down the hall, I passed loose women and guys who spent too much time picking out their v-neck t-shirts. I made my way into the kitchen where people were gathered around the table, watching either beer pong or flip cup, I couldn't keep track of that high school **** anymore. I opened up the fridge and was face to face with hundreds of light beers. ****. As I shut the refrigerator and made my way to the basement, a particularly tight v-neck t-shirt spoke up.

Bro that's my carling, where you going with it? He yelled from the table.

I stopped at the stairs and turned around. Is it a problem guy?

Yeah bro it's a ****ing problem, you're stealing my brew-skies, give it back. Everyone at the table stopped, staring at me with drunken concentration.

Relax banana republic, I don't even want this ****. I threw him a five dollar bill. Use it to buy some better beer next time you cheap ****, oh, and some new clothes too.

I continued down the stairs, hearing the drinking games behind me continue. The v-neck asked a guy wearing an equally tight polo, What's wrong with my clothes?

I made my way to the basement, and found the brown bag worthy band in the corner, talking to some brown bag worthy women.

The member who had obviously saw his first Seinfeld episode recently spoke first. Kramer! What's going on? Do you want a beer?

Costanza! I'm fine, although I almost got punched upstairs. I managed to fake a smile while the terrible beer ran down my throat.

One of the pug's groupies, who was wrapped up in the arms of the Jerry Seinfeld admirer, spoke Who's this dinosaur Shawn?

Seinfeld explained. "He's this asshole agent named Dan, who wants us to sign to his agency, even though he wishes we were prettier so he could try to mount us.

I cracked a smile and said Very flattering Shawn, I see you managed to pull yourself away from Seinfeld reruns to dress in your kinky leather outfit. Now, let's get down to it so I can leave this sweet sixteen. We've been emailing back and forth, I've sent you the terms, how much money you'll make, and who you'll be working with, what's the decision?

Shawn took a swig of his beer, unravelled himself from the cow in his arms, and spoke. Well man we're almost there. We like the deal and we like how you're kind of an asshole and fun to rip on, and that Phil Hedden guy from CTHA is kind of a prick. We've been ignoring his calls all day. He finished off his beer, wiped his mouth, and slowly smiled. But there's one thing left you need to do for us, before we sign.

Confused, I said What else could you possibly deserve?

Shawn laughed, hesitated, and then pointed to the rest of the band. Now I know you only want to make out with me...but you have to learn the other guy's names.

I smiled, the deal was done. I started to walk up the basement stairs and yelled back Not sure if it's worth it Shawn, send me an email tomorrow and we'll arrange a meeting to sign papers and make name tags.

Laughing, he shouted Yah, **** yourself Kramer!

----------

By SleepinGiant.

50 comments sorted by best / new / date

    jthm_guitarist
    **** there are so many ****ing ****s that I can't ****ing tell what the **** anyone's ****ing saying.
    Natrone
    Sorry for double post, but I do like how the dynamic of the arguing between the band and exec goes from a bit mean spirited to joking
    dmiwshicldply
    the swearing gets annoying but only because every time its there is because all i see are 4 damn stars every time you decide to say fu ck
    Dithindious
    Ingsoc wrote: Very raw. No euphemisms. Good. I like it.
    Agreed! Wish you could swear here, would make it easier to read haha.
    joseruntalan
    Lol so many stories on UG nowadays, but I actually like this one because of the different point of view, instead of the usual band story.
    dale-banez
    timi_hendrix wrote: how many stories does UG need, seriously.
    this one's actually different, though
    Night_Lights
    This is probably the only story I'll keep up with from now on. How many up-and-coming teenage band stories does UG need anyway? This angle is fresh.
    kerokero
    I'm gonna be honest here. Unlike what some of the other members have posted, I didn't fin this story very good. Me being a native of the target city, I enjoyed and was very well surprised to see 'Toronto' appear. However, my pride and glory for this great city was overshadowed by the constant swearing and the very unfunny Sienfeld jokes (even if they were meant to be unfunny, a writer has to know how long it is okay to string a topic). I'm not going to tell you to do a rewrite, but make this sotry less "bitter old man" and more "redemmed old man". Also, the band, and lack of conversation from the other members, could definately use some character reworking.
    wafl
    I wasn't quite sure what each **** was while reading that
    metallifan3091
    My biggest problem with it is that I can't see an agent, even a bitter, jaded, cynical one, treating potential acts like he treats them, and having anything remotely like success. He treats them like sh it, and they're customers. Not realistic at all. And cut down on the ****, it just makes things hard to follow, and its really overdone in this story.
    3 days grace14
    nice your not just following a band or a washed up singer your taking a look at the other end of the spectrum the business and im intrigued
    LOOKtheskyfell!
    It was okay. I can't help but feel the main dude is a total rip off of Ari from Entourage though...
    gratefulduck
    metallifan3091 wrote: My biggest problem with it is that I can't see an agent, even a bitter, jaded, cynical one, treating potential acts like he treats them, and having anything remotely like success. He treats them like shit, and they're customers. Not realistic at all.
    hes played by dennis leary... problem solved :]
    grind
    Okay guys, if the swearing wasn't all done with asterisks, it wouldn't be bad at all. He's a cranky old man, he swears a lot. Whatever. And by the way, I wasn't even going to read this until I saw 'sleepingiant' and figured, "Hey, if this guy likes Mastodon, this can't be half bad."
    ringo710
    metallifan3091 wrote: My biggest problem with it is that I can't see an agent, even a bitter, jaded, cynical one, treating potential acts like he treats them, and having anything remotely like success. He treats them like shit, and they're customers. Not realistic at all. And cut down on the ****, it just makes things hard to follow, and its really overdone in this story.
    you need to see the barber seen from gran torino.
    ringo710
    ringo710 wrote: metallifan3091 wrote: My biggest problem with it is that I can't see an agent, even a bitter, jaded, cynical one, treating potential acts like he treats them, and having anything remotely like success. He treats them like shit, and they're customers. Not realistic at all. And cut down on the ****, it just makes things hard to follow, and its really overdone in this story. you need to see the barber seen from gran torino.
    *scene
    Hakamoto
    I didn't mind the swearing at all. It's hard to tell which word you are using from time to time but I don't think it distracts from the story. I look forward to the next one.
    Natrone
    ziggymidget wrote: might want to cut down on the swearing though, this is kind of an overkill. other than that, it's a good read.
    This. Other than that though, it was decent.
    cortezio
    Nice! Are you like a writer or summit, becuase that was good...would love to read more...
    Tonganation
    Musefan161 wrote: "I used to sell millions of dollars making records" - Shouldn't it be, "I used to sell records, making millions of dollars?"
    The line is he worked "selling millions of money-making records to millions of money making people." It means he sold millions of successful records to a lot of people. It is a little confusing though, I give you that. Took me a few reads to get it. As for the story, it's very well written and has an interesting angle and a good setup. The swearing does get rather annoying. Its good to have some throughout the story, but it was a little overdone. But it does add to the cynical nature of the character... so do what feels right. I suggest cutting it down a little.
    ziggymidget
    might want to cut down on the swearing though, this is kind of an overkill. other than that, it's a good read.
    Lemoninfluence
    maserati. other than that, twas a good start. I can see this being on of the stories that I actually follow.
    DesertEagle
    not band nice angle here keep it up and ill read it along with the other 5 stories im reading on UG at the moment its like a fukin book club here now
    Echoplex
    That's actually really interesting but there are way too many "****s"
    Musefan161
    "I used to sell millions of dollars making records" - Shouldn't it be, "I used to sell records, making millions of dollars?" Otherwise, great job!
    Noverion
    its true timi, but this takes it from another angle, nice and original for sure. I like it
    caseharr33
    ziggymidget wrote: might want to cut down on the swearing though, this is kind of an overkill. other than that, it's a good read.
    I totally agree, way too many **** have to put in my own words and sometimes they just don't work and have to reread the whole sentence.
    .starrk
    Nice story. I almost closed it, but I ended up getting hooked and reading the whole thing.
    hooligan354
    Fcuk that - keep the swearing coming. What are we in diapers? That's the biz, Jack. But if you think it's all shirt and tie primadonna bullhsti, go right ahead. Just stay on your side of the fence.
    Icarus Lives
    It's original, the plot is good (so far), I like the way it's written and blah blah blah but I have one criticism and that is that it moves way to quickly! You could have put in at least 3 chapters before signing the band, really! It's too late now anyway, sigh. I....M....O!
    BlouPontak
    Mmm. New angle- Nice Well characterised Jaded record exec- nice Tons of swearing- not nice (even if it does fit with the character, there is something like overload. And why censor it with stars?) The interaction between the exec and the band- Gets tired. They bitch like little girls, which is pretty annoying, and is not really realistic, IMO.
    kaptink
    Froggy McHop wrote: The amount of swearing sounds childish. Infrequent use is much more effective.
    It's nice to see something different. But if he finds a reckless yet charistmatic individual who plays guitar in the next issue and they go on to form a band and overcome some sort of rivalry then this is the last fiction on this site im gonna open
    androidred0100
    I'll be honest, all the asterisks make it more entertaining. It lets your mind fill in the blank so if you know a lot of crude four letter words, like I do, it makes for a very funny read. More important than that, there's very good character development going on. Muchos kudos on that man. Believable characters is what makes or breaks a story for me.