Chapter 10: An Ultimatum
Lacey leaned close to my ear. So, are you nervous?
I looked around the club as I thought about my answer. The hypnotizing pulse of the bass shook my body, making the groups of people dancing seem chaotic and blurry. No. I said. Definitely not.
And why's that? Lacey asked, her cold breath dancing on the lobe of my ear.
I took a sip of my drink and leaned back in the leather booth. Well, because your release party has been great so far. I said, looking at the club around me. And I guess my luck has to change eventually.
Lacey rested her head on my shoulder, and slowly placed her hand on my lap. And what if my album doesn't do well?
Well, I guess suicide would be a pretty reasonable answer. I said. Maybe even murder suicide, I have a couple people I'd like to take with me if I had to go.
Lacey laughed. No, that's not what I was talking about.
What do you mean? I asked.
I mean, what's going to happen to us if the album does badly? She said.
I'll tell you what. I said, fearing an oncoming discussion about feelings. If the album does poorly, you're still making me more money than my other clients.
Oh that's good, that's what I meant. She said sarcastically. But what if it does well?
I turned to her. What do you mean if it does well? She stared into my eyes. Will you stay as my agent?
Why wouldn't I? I asked.
Well I'll be moving up if it does well, you know, becoming more famous. She said.
And you're saying I can't handle you? I asked.
She rolled her eyes and grabbed my hands. No, nothing like that. What I'm saying is that if the album does well, maybe I'll be able to get my own house, maybe somewhere other than Toronto.
Like where? I asked, greatly confused by the conversation.
A smile broke across her lips. I don't know, maybe I'm just dreaming. But maybe New York?
Yeah, I think you might be. I said. Your album would have to do really well for you to leave Toronto.
Her hands left mine. And why can't it do well? She said, taken back.
I sighed, knowing I had blatantly backed myself into a corner. I mean it could, but what does it have to do with me.
She pushed her burning red hair to the side of her face. Well, now I know this is probably crazy, but what's stopping you from coming with me? I mean you could move your job out there, and still be my agent as well.
I glanced at Lacey as I felt her wishful shackles tighten around my hands. Lacey, really? I asked.
She grabbed my hands. Why not Dan?
I looked down at our interlocking paws. Lacey come on, who knows that will happen. I said, watching as the rejection emotions became apparent on Lacey's face. The album isn't even released until tomorrow and were already talking about packing it up? I mean, just sitting here with you is the first time we've ever been together in public.
She straightened herself out and took a drink from her glass. Yeah, you're probably right.
Where is this even coming from? I said, bewildered. Usually you just call me to f--k, and that's it.
She twisted her straw. I don't know, maybe I'm just excited about the release.
I gestured to the club around me. Of course you are, look at this place. This party is great, your single is already going great, and your record is going to do great. And that's all you have to worry about.
Lacey smiled and laughed. Your right Dan, your right.
I put my arm around her shoulder. Of course I am, I'm at the point in my intoxication where telling the future goes hand in hand with swearing.
Lacey laughed as she rested her head on my chest. I believe you. But if the record does well, at least think about New York.
I once again felt the wishful shackles around my hands and ankles. I'll think about it. I said, knowing fully well my mind had already been made up.
So. Shawn said, clearly having trouble taking his focus away from the silicone breasts being pressed against his face. Do you always get lap dances on the day of an album release?
I watched as a slim brunette gestured towards my lap with her tongue, leaving everything sacred and innocent behind. I get lap dances on days where I'm going to be making money Shawn. On your album release day however, I'll probably snort a couple lines of cocaine and then dislodge my head from my neck via shotgun blast.
That was detailed. Shawn said, before being interrupted as his face became a sham-wow in between his stripper's breasts. But can I ask you a question?
I placed a five dollar bill on my lap and watched as my dancer picked it up with her mouth. Fantastic. But yeah what is it?
Why did that other agent give you Lacey Scott for free? Shawn asked.
I paused to think about the ridiculously easy steps that it took to acquire Lacey from Jordan. To be honest, I'm not really sure.
Seems sketchy to me. Shawn said.
What's sketchy to me is that your broad has been gyrating all over you for about ten minutes now and you still don't have wood. I said.
Shawn laughed. What's even sketchier is the fact that you're looking to see if I have wood.
f--k you. I said. So are you ready?
Shawn looked over to me. Ready for what?
What do you mean ready for what? We're here to get more money for the album. I said.
We are? Shawn said, confused.
I laughed. Of course we are. What, do you think I like watching you get dry humped in public?
Probably. Shawn said. But what do we do to get more money.
Well first, I tell our lovely friends here that we've had an amazing time but we're all done. I said, as the dancers stood up and left us at our seats. And second, that guy over there with the glasses is going to walk over to our table.
Shawn looked to the back of the restaurant. This is like a drug deal Dan, it's all planned out.
The man walked over and stood in front of us. Your paper. He said, with a hidden Spanish accent.
I passed the man an envelope and he walked towards the back of the club. I'm going to be honest Shawn, it wouldn't surprise me if the person we're getting money from dealt drugs once in their life
That's just great. Shawn said. But where did the guy in the suit and glasses go.
The man walked back to our table and placed an envelope down. Boss says you can have it, but no more. He said, and then walked away.
I picked up the envelope and pulled out the check. Did we get it? Shawn asked.
I smiled. We got what we needed.
Shawn laughed and stood up. So what now.
I reached into my pocket and pulled out a twenty dollar bill. Take this, lie down on the stage, and place it in your mouth.
Dan, why? Shawn asked.
Just do it. I said.
Tell me what happens. Shawn said.
I managed to force back a smile. What happens is that if you don't do it, you don't get the money.
Whatever, f--k. Shawn said, as he took the money and headed up the stage.
I watched as Shawn placed the money in his mouth and waited. I then watched as a stripper stood with his face in between her feet, then as she squatted down to pick the money up with something other than her hands.
I f--king love strippers. I said, laughing.
So when do the numbers get totalled? Lacey asked.
I turned onto the highway, slowly gaining speed to maintain pace with the other cars. Well they've been collected by now, we're just waiting for the final count.
But why is it just the first day? It seems like we should wait and see. Lacey said.
Well we will. I said. But you can usually estimate how well the record is going to do by the first day sales.
How well do you think it will do? Lacey asked.
I'm not sure, I don't do estimations. I said.
I can't wait any longer. Lacey said. This is so exciting.
I laughed. It really is, but you're going to drive yourself insane thinking about it.
She placed her hand on my thigh. Well then, let me take my mind off it.
I unzipped my jeans with one hand as the other hand guided my car down the highway. I've never said no to a little mobile love.
She began to kiss my neck, and just as she was shifting her body to allow herself room to make her way down to my crotch, my cell phone rang.
Those are the numbers. I said, turning down the car radio.
f--k. Lacey said.
I grabbed the cell phone. Are you ready?
Barely. Lacey said, as she bit her lip.
I handed her the phone. It's your release, you answer.
Me? Lacey asked, staring at the phone.
You. I said.
Okay. Lacey said nervously.
As she spoke on the phone I was unable to hear. My eyes shifted to the road as I watched cars and lights spill by me, twisting in and out of my vision and into the horizon of my rear view mirror. My heart pumped with power I had never felt before, and sweat began to collect on the steering wheel as I gripped it with all my power.
Dan. Lacey said, bringing me out of my coma.
I turned to her, and stared deep into her cloudy eyes. Well? I said.
The album is big. She said, breathlessly. Really? I asked, my heart beginning to race.
It's big. She repeated.
How big? I asked, my eyes returning to the road.
New York City big. She said.