Chapter 3: The Lost, The Half Found
I set my glass down on the arm of the chair.
"You know, whiskey and cigars with another agent used to be a celebration, but in light of recent events I predict it's more a ceremony of depression and alcoholism."
Jordan laughed, and then took a long drag from his cigar. "Yeah, and it's really Boston legal-like too."
I finished off my drink. "Great, I can't even drink and smoke with a friend without being reminded of how I used to be rich."
Jordan poured more whiskey into my glass. "You know, if a puffy William Shatner on the verge of death seems like a better situation then the one you're in, you might have had too much whiskey."
I sighed. "I might have had too much to drink, but a rooftop balcony in Boston is a lot better than a backyard in f--king Hamilton."
Jordan looked around my backyard. "Well, I guess I understand where you're coming from."
I started to chew the end of my cigar. "I don't think you do understand man. I mean you're still balls deep in money, you still have a wife and kids, and you still don't live in Hamilton." I interrupted my boring speech of self pity to down the rest of my whiskey. "While me on the other hand, good old miserable me, has to sit in an office that gives me the f--king finger everyday by having a window that is positioned directly across from the city I got thrown out of. Then while sitting in that asshole of an office, kids who probably have an un-descended testicles don't show up for contract signings. Then at the end of every day, I close the blinds, snap my pens in half because I have no use for them, then pass by my secretary on the my way out the door who won't even consider crawling under my desk and getting a raise the old fashioned way."
Jordan turned to me."I knew I was going to hear a speech tonight, but what do you mean kids with tiny balls don't show up? People were saying around my office that you were busting Phil's and CTHA's balls over that band?"
I rolled my eyes. "Well that was true for a bit. I was twisting both pairs, but then Phil and CTHA cock blocked themselves by stealing The Sunday Shovel Bunch right out from under me".
Jordan laughed."Well that was quite the imagery, but how did they steal them? Did you not offer them enough money?"
The past two weeks began to play back in my mind. "Well, CTHA definitely offered them more money, but I guess there was something else."
"I figured there had to be something else, no band with integrity signs with CTHA, what did you do?" He leaned back in his chair, expecting the worse.
I closed my eyes. "Well first of all thank you for suggesting every client I ever represented while at CTHA were as legitimate as Aaron Carter. Secondly, now I'm not saying this is the reason they didn't sign with me, but I basically treated them like people in China treat their second child."
"Oh you've got to be kidding me." Jordan said in disbelief.
"Well maybe not that bad, but I never learned their names. And I kind of compared them to really ugly dogs, ugly harry potter characters, and attractions at the zoo. But it doesn't really matter, they aren't worth my time." I said.
Jordan set down his glass and his cigar. "Alright Dan, listen to me. I've been your friend since University. We both became agents in the music industry and we both got rich. But here's the difference, and remember I'm saying this as a friend; you aren't anymore." He shifted his eyes to the ground. "You can't treat clients like that and expect them to stay with you. You're not an agent with a big reputation anymore. Those guys are the kind of bands you have to represent and treat valuably because in truth they are because you're at the same level they are."
I digested what he said. "Oh I know, I f--king hate myself for it, but I just can't bring myself to treat no names like them with the same respect I treated stadium artists."
"I know Dan, I do, but you're not representing your best friend anymore. You've got to move on and accept the fact that you're not a big name agent anymore." Said Jordan, fearing an outburst from me.
I looked at him, showing the realization on my face.
"Just accept it man, really. If you don't, your second chance might be gone before you know it." said Jordan.
I finished my last glass of whiskey and then took a long drag from my cigar. We both watched as the smoke spilled from my mouth, twisting and burning from my lips before pathetically disappearing in the night sky.
We both sat in an awkward silence, knowing we were thinking the same thing.
I decided to stop the tension. "I don't know if that was metaphorical, symbolic, or foreshadowing, but whatever it was, it was f--king annoyingly obvious."
"Dad, this traffic is brutal..."
I looked into my rearview mirror, seeing my two boys wearing Blue Jays hats and baseball gloves on their hands.
"It really is." I said, staring at the jungle of cars vying for pointless positions in front of me.
As I tapped my fingers on the steering wheel, I realized today could be a long day. I had no choice; I would have to talk to my sons.
"...Well guys it's been a while, what's going on? It's the summer before the last year of high school, you guys ready?"
It took a couple of grunts and shrugs before my youngest son by 11 minutes sequenced a sentence.
"Well, you know how it is...anything in high school that's worth talking about is weird to talk about with your dad."
I leaned my head against the side window. "Well let's be honest Wade, your mother limits my visits to twice a month, so I'm barely your Dad." I paused to shut the radio off. "But tell me a tale; I could use a sweet sixteen blowjob story."
"Jesus Christ never say blowjob again." He covered his face with his hands.
"Ah come on. What about you Liam, you must have a story about a slutty dress and a tiara?" I said.
I received no response. I turned around to see Wade with his face still covered and Liam with headphones on.
I turned around to see the traffic hadn't moved. The car horns made more noise than my sons, confirming the endless day ahead.
"Dad, Liam has no story about slutty dresses and tiaras because he never gets invited to parties." Said Wade.
Liam ripped off his head phones. "I've been listening the whole time you douche. I don't get invited to those parties because I don't think your friends are worth a f--king second of my time."
I interrupted his rant. "Whoa slow down Liam, relax kid, don't start talking like your father. But what's going on buddy, why don't you want to hang out with Wade and his friends?" Liam began to put his headphones back on. "He doesn't hang out with us because he spends all his time wearing tight pants, growing his hair, and practicing with his band." Said Wade.
Liam threw his headphones down again. "Shutup Wade! I told you not to tell him."
I tried to contain my laugh. "Liam you've got to relax, don't be so shy kid. You're in a band? that's fantastic, playing the piano right?"
"Yeah, and I sing a bit too." He said hesitantly.
I shifted in my seat to get a better look at my suddenly interesting teenage son. "That's awesome kid, what do you guys play?"
He continued to hesitate. "Well, we play like acoustic stuff, like Alexi Murdoch and City and Colour, but we do Beatles and stuff too."
I was shocked to see my son had a life outside of Xbox 360. I never knew how to interact with my kids, but I saw room for opportunity.
"Those are some cool artists Liam, really. I had no idea you were into music now." I hesitated, but decided there was nothing else to waste the time. "But tell me, what do you think of this band."
Wade uncovered his face reached for his headphones. "Not too loud Dad, all these artists you sign are terrible."
"Shut up Wade, you can walk to the game if you want." I said, knowing he was right.
I pressed play on my CD player, and the ugly bunch's first song began to start. "Just tell me what you think Liam, this band is keeping me up at night, I can't figure their appeal out."
The ugly group had decided the song currently playing would be their single. I reflected on how they knew nothing about the music business or how singles worked. The song was far too long, too heavy, and too complex for the average person to give a f--k. The song continued to play as the traffic slowly started to thin. I started to gain speed, but my focus was on my rearview mirror, as I could see the music was having an effect on Liam, even though he was overwhelmed about bonding with someone.
The second song started, but I turned down the volume. "What did you think?"
Liam began to nod. "I thought they were really neat, really cool." "Why?" I asked, eagerly awaiting his response.
"Well, I thought the drummer was awesome, he really just did like whatever he wanted. And the guitars were okay, nothing too fancy, which is better I guess as like the whole world can shred. I think the vocals aren't up to par though...at some points he gets so guttural you can't understand"-
"What the f--k he was saying!" I said excitedly, interrupting him.
"Well I wasn't going to swear..." Said Liam.
I handed him the demo case. "But look at their faces, aren't those some of the ugliest mugs you've ever seen?"
He studied it, confused. "Well yeah...but what does that have to do with anything?"
"Well you have a decent taste in music so you don't care about an artist's appearance, but what about the rest of the world?" I said.
He studied the picture one last time. "Well the world cares I guess, but not that much. Like, think of all the ugly famous musicians Dad. Roger Waters is famous as hell, Gene Simmons is ridiculously rich, and like even that moley guy from Motor Head has made a couple bucks."
"I don't know kid, think of how well all those picture perfect Disney douches are doing right now." I said.
He laughed. "Well that's true, but it probably won't last forever. The cycle always goes back to ugly people like Geddy Lee. The world doesn't want to look at Zac Effron forever; he makes us all feel bad. But whatever, this band has a cool sound and they're a good ugly, a manly ugly."
He tossed the demo case back up into the passenger seat. I played the rest of the songs on the demo as I looked for parking spaces around the baseball stadium, weaving through traffic and cutting off Yankee fans.
I pulled into a $20 dollar parking space. "So dad, was that like a band you signed or something?" Said Liam.
I pulled the keys out of the ignition and sat back in my seat. "No, I didn't sign them. But I'll tell you, after that conversation, I wish I did."
I stopped at Christine's desk on the way towards my office.
"Morning, any messages?"
She stared at me, surprised by my casual greeting. "Oh, good morning... let me see, Jordan Mason left a message on your machine, that's about it."
I started to walk towards my office. "He probably wants more of those cigars we smoked." I said, stopping at my office door. "Well I guess I'll keep with tradition."
She stared at me once again. "Pardon?"
"Let me see...nice tits? Nice ass? Sleep with me? Oh I don't know anymore, you pick".
I headed into the office, with Christine discussing with herself out in the hall how I couldn't be a normal person for just one day. I sat in my chair and pressed play on my phone, beginning Jordan's message.
"Hey Dan, just calling to say thanks for the whiskey and smokes, it's been too long. Anyways I was thinking about that band you were bitching aboutand decided that I could send over a couple of my disposable clients if you wanted any...just a thought man, sorry if I offended you...take care."
I sat back in my chair. I couldn't believe that I was at a point in my career where people offered me pity clients. I was officially past pity sex and into a whole new level of pathetic.
Before I could continue down the slow trail towards contemplating suicide, the phone rang.
I yelled towards the hall. "You know Christine, I sometimes don't yell at you because if we had sex I'd totally steal your panties when you went to cry in the bathroom, but would it kill you tell me who the f--k is calling before you patch them through!"
I picked up the phone. "This is Daniel Grant, apparently answering calls from everyone and anyone."
"Who is this?" I said.
"Why did you answer the phone like that?"
"I'll ask again, who the f--k is this?" I said impatiently.
"Well now that you've gone all sour I'm not going to tell you."
"Thanks then, bye now-"
"Dan wait! Dan, its Shawn."
I almost dropped the phone. However this was not a client I felt like putting Jordan's speech to use on, so I regained control.
"Shawn who?" I teased.
"Alright I'm tired of this game Dan."
I didn't laugh. "Well I'm f--king tired of you, Shawn."
"Dan I know, I'm sorry we didn't show, but I can explain." Said Shawn.
I turned on speaker phone and began to circle my desk. "Well you better give me a god damn mouthful of explanation before I decide to sign Christine and her slutty friends."
"Still haven't changed, eh Dan?" Said Shawn.
"Haven't changed towards clients of Phil Hedden, if that's what you mean." I said, remembering that Jordan said I had to be nice to my own clients.
Shawn hesitated. "Well that's the thing; I'm not a client of Phil Hedden."
The words came of out my mouth before I even thought to say them.
"What the f--k are you talking about Shawn?"
He expected that response. "Well remember when were in the basement at the party and I said Phil was a prick?"
"Well I said he was a prick because he was trying to change us, make us all Tokio Hotel, you know?"
"Okay." I said.
"Well on the day when we were supposed to sign with you, he sent us an offer that had a shit ton of money in it, but also a shit ton of Tokio Hotel in it."
"Doesn't surprise me." I said, even though I'd rather represent Tokio Hotel then the ugly bunch any day of the week.
"So we argued about the offer all day, and by the next day half of the band was signed with CTHA and the other half was agent-less." Said Shawn.
"Well, that surprises me." I said.
I sat back down into my chair to digest the entire situation.
"You know, you guys have as many problems as Metallica, yet you're about as well known as the bassist." I said.
Shawn laughed. "Yeah, I know what you mean." He hesitated. "But we were wondering if there was an offer still on the table from you?"
I thought of many responses, but picked the one a few days ago I would have never even thought of saying. "You've got a lot of balls for asking that after you ditched me man. But by 'we were wondering', who are you talking about?"
"Me, Coulter, and Tanner" Said Shawn.
I paused to think. "...I don't know who those guys are."
"For f--k sakes Dan, what kind of agent are you if you don't even know our names?" Said Shawn.
I raised my voice slightly. "An agent who gets left at the altar you f--king asshole."
"Oh, yeah, I guess we deserve it, but the we I was talking about was me who plays drums, Coulter who plays guitar, and Tanner who plays bass." Said Shawn.
I began to speak, but Shawn interrupted me. "But Tanner did a lot of the backup vocals on the demo and has had singing lessons."
"First, I can't believe I've been taking all of this shit from a drummer, and second, I'm not going to remember any of those names, because I'm not going to sign a band with only a backup singer." I said.
Silence began to fill the conversation as I recalled in my head Liam's description of the band, the backup vocals on the CD, and how much I hate Phil f--king Hedden.
"Well the vocals were the worst part of the band..." I said.
Shawn quickly became excited. "So what do you think Dan?"
"Wait, since you guys split up, is that stupid band name gone?" I said.
"It wasn't that bad, but yeah, the name went to CTHA" Said Shawn.
I cleared my throat. I couldn't believe I was about to welcome back the runaway pugs.
"f--k it. As long as you're not the Sunday Shovel Shits anymore I'll sign you as soon as possible."
Shawn laughed. "Dan, thanks so much man, we're really sorry."
I leaned back in my chair. "Yeah whatever man, now what were your names again? I think one of you is named Juan..."