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    Arran
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

I Will Sing for You - 2. Debut

This chapter is mildly suggestive.

Tuesday

I received a call late this morning from Joe Maris, Chris’ manager, telling me that Chris had given him my name and phone number and that he would like to schedule an interview and an audition for one of the two performances that he planned to stage in the Saguaro Grill bar. I was elated and wanted to share the news with Chris and thank him again, in person. He had mentioned last night that he would be working again this afternoon and evening, so I head to the Saguaro Grill mid-afternoon, hoping that I’m not too early.

“Hi, Callan,” he greets me with his signature smile as I approach the bar. “I heard that you have an interview and an audition with Joe at one o’clock tomorrow afternoon. Would you mind if I sit in and listen?”

“So you heard,” I smile. “I was hoping to be the first to give you the news, but it doesn’t matter. And I certainly don’t mind if you sit in on it if Joe doesn’t mind.

“My second reason for coming is to thank you again for turning me on to this opportunity and your recommendation. I appreciate it very much.”

“Anything for my new friend,” he smiles. “Can I draw you a Kilt Lifter?”

“Oh, no thanks. I have a meeting with my research advisor in an hour. I just came to give you the news and thank you again for what you did for me. Thanks, Chris. I hope to be able to return the kindness in the not-too-distant future.”

“Hey, it’s okay,” he smiles. “I’m happy that I could help, and I’m really looking forward to hearing you play.”

“And I you,” I reply, returning his smile.

“Well, I’ve got to go,” I say, embracing his shoulders with both hands over the bar. “See you tomorrow, Chris.”

“See you tomorrow, Callan.”

Wednesday

I enter the Saguaro Grill, guitar in hand, at 12:45 and am immediately dismayed when I don’t see Chris working the bar. Then I notice a distraction in my left periphery and see him sitting at a table waving his arm and smiling. I return his smile as I make my way over to him.

“I don’t work today,” he says after greeting me, “and I only had two classes this morning.” He looks nice, casually dressed in a pair of crisp new Levis and a plaid button-up shirt. Up until now I’d only seen him in his work attire: black slacks, black shirt and a black apron.

“So you made a special trip just for this?” I ask, looking him in the eyes. “I’m honored, Chris. Thank you.”

He chuckles, and I hear a slight nervousness in it. “I’m here because I wanted to be here.”

“Well, despite that, thank you anyway.”

“You’re welcome.”

“I didn’t know what to expect, so I came up with five songs, all a little different, to demonstrate my versatility as well as my ability,” I tell him. “Some involve finger-picking and some flat-picking, slow tempo and moderate tempo. I hope that Joe likes them.”

“Well, I know Joe well enough to know that he’ll like you, Callan, because you’re an easy guy to like. And I expect that you’ll impress him with your ability too.” I silently gaze into his dark brown eyes for a moment, searching. Did he just say that? I’m an easy guy to like?

“Thank you, Chris. You’re an easy guy to like too,” I smile, feeling a sudden strong connection between us. I think I can see it in his eyes and in his smile, and it’s not just wishful thinking. I sure hope so, anyway.

“So, do you work, Callan?”

“Well, my research takes up a lot of my time, and I’m always reading and learning. Working on my masters required that I learn physical chemistry, higher-level math, statistics as it relates to the physical sciences, and of course physics. So I’m pretty well-rounded. But to answer your question, I earn a stipend working as a TA for the geology department teaching a course in Physical Geology to undergrads. I also teach a Physical Geology lab and a mineralogy lab. Add to that several hours a week examining, classifying and curating minerals for the University Mineral Museum, it all keeps me pretty busy.

“I’m surprised that you have the time to do this.”

“Because it’ll be fun and something new,” I reply, “I’ll find the time. And of course discovering a new friend in you makes it even better.” There, it’s out there now. I want Chris to know that his friendship is very important to me. There is another silent look between us reinforcing the connection that I’d felt earlier.

“Callan, I presume,” I suddenly hear to my right. “I’m Joe Maris.” I stand and we shake hands. Then Joe smiles at Chris and says, “Good afternoon, Chris. Can’t stay away from here on your day off? I’m impressed.”

Chris smiles. “I like the place, but I’m not that dedicated. I wanted to hear Callan’s audition and he told me that he’s okay with it.”

Joe turns his attention back to me and says, “Since there are so few people here right now, we’ll just conduct the interview here and then you can play me a few songs. Either we can bring over a stool from the bar or you can stand. Whichever is most comfortable for you. I assume that you haven’t a problem with Chris’ presence during the interview too?”

“Absolutely not,” I reply, smiling at Chris.

Joe asks me a number of questions about my educational pursuits, then segues to my interest in music, how long I’ve been playing the guitar and my experience performing for an audience. He appears to be satisfied with my responses, then asks me to perform for him.

“Wow…” Chris breathes in awe as I open the guitar case and remove my guitar. “You have a Taylor guitar… That’s definitely not cheap.”

“Definitely,” I smile as I shoulder the strap and switch on the tuner clamped to the headstock. “It’s an 814ce DLX. It cost me $4,000 and worth every penny of it to me.”

“Obviously your music means very much to you,” Joe says.

I nod as I tune the strings to standard tuning. I play an E-chord to check the tuning, then launch into the arpeggio for Dust in the Wind, written by Kerry Livgren in 1977 and debuting on Kansas’ Point of Know Return album. Joe appears pleased at the end of the song and Chris is smiling, so I recheck the tuning and then launch into the arpeggio for The Dangling Conversation, an introspective song that is as much poetry as it is music written in 1966 by Paul Simon and featured on Simon & Garfunkel’s Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme album.

“So far, I like what I’ve heard,” Joe says when I end the song. “How about one more?”

I retune my guitar to an open Cmaj6. When I’m in tune, I fret the fifth string at the third fret and strum a ringing, rich-sounding C-chord, then launch into Bron-Yr-Aur, an instrumental piece written by Jimmy Page in 1970 and released in 1975 on Led Zeppelin’s fifth album Physical Graffiti. When I end it with a ringing C-chord while flexing the neck for a vibrato effect, Joe smiles at Chris and says, “What do you think?”

“Wow…” Chris gushes. “Awesome!” Then he looks at Joe and exclaims, “I like him! He’s really good!”

Joe looks at me and says, “I think so too, Callan. As I said, beginning next week I plan to stage two people, one on guitar and the other on keyboard, alternating Wednesdays and Fridays from 9:00 in the evening until midnight. You’ll do split sessions of two hours each on Saturday beginning at 8:00 pm. Assuming that you have enough material to carry you through for a week or more, I’d like you to be the guitarist. Will you have time with everything else you have going on to do it?”

I look from Chris to Joe. “Yes, I have the material. I just have to brush up on it. And I’m always adding more to my repertoire. Regarding your question, I think I can manage it. But if I can’t, I’ll give you plenty of time to find a replacement.”

Joe looks from Chris to me and says, “Fair enough. Then you’re hired, Callan. You begin next Wednesday. Here is a list of specifics. You’ll have a 15-minute break at 10:00 pm, and another at 11:00 pm. Call me if you have any questions.” And with that, he leaves.

Chris beams as I place my guitar back in its case. “Congratulations, Callan! I don’t work next Wednesday, but I’ll definitely be here for your first performance.”

“Thanks, Chris,” I smile as I seat myself at the table facing him. “So when do I get the pleasure of hearing you play?”

“I’m definitely not as good as you,” he quietly informs me. “And I don’t have a guitar nearly as good as yours.”

“You haven’t been playing for as long as I have, Chris, so that’s understandable. And I played for a long time on a guitar that was inferior to what I have now. As your ability improves, you want better.” Now I just have to figure a way of getting together with him away from the Saguaro Grill so I can listen to him play.

Wednesday a week later

“Good evening,” I say, addressing a moderately-sized crowd before me at 9:00 pm. I’m mainly looking at Chris, though, who is sitting by himself a couple of tables back from the front. He notices it because I get a heart-warming smile in return.

“My name is Callan Jameson. I’m a 23-year-old post-graduate student at the University of Arizona, and this is my first time performing for an audience in years, so please bear with me.” Then I immediately segue into America, a song about a young man and woman boarding a bus to see America, written by Paul Simon and debuting on Simon & Garfunkel’s 1968 album Bookends.

The evening goes well and before I know, it’s nearing midnight. My penultimate song of the evening is I’ve Just Seen a Face, a lively, happy tune on the Beatles’ 1965 Help! album. I launch into a presto, brisk strum in the key of G-major and begin the lyrics, except I change ‘she’ and ‘her’ to ‘you’ and ‘girl’ to ‘one’ and sing the song looking mostly at Chris, surreptitiously telling him what I think of him, yet not coming out and boldly admitting it. The woes of having to hide or mask feelings that society is unwilling to accept. But then if he doesn’t have similar feelings for me, he probably won’t even get it. Safe. Right?

Then, for my final song of the evening I tune my guitar to Cmaj6 and launch into the allegro arpeggio of Bron-Yr-Aur, which goes over really well with the audience. Apparently I’m not the only fan of Jimmy Page. I select it because I know that Chris really liked it during my audition.

After the set has ended and my guitar securely stowed in its case, I head to Chris’ table. “Great first night!” he enthuses as I seat myself to his left, noticing that he was thoughtful enough to buy me a beer. “Kilt Lifter,” he smiles.

“Thank you, Chris, and thank you for being here on your night off for my debut. I’m really glad that you’re here.”

“Hey, I wouldn’t have missed it for anything,” he smiles.

“Well, just know that I appreciate it more than words can convey.” Enough said.

He smiles in response.

Hope you enjoyed the chapter. Thank you for reading.

Copyright © 2019 Arran; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
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Chapter Comments

Maybe Callan took the wrong major!  Neat to see him secretly serenading Chris in public. (We all know whom he's playing to!)

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3 hours ago, mikedup said:

Excellent chapter, the music will go on so the saying goes. I can't wait for more

Thank you, mikedup. More to come soon.

  • Like 1
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28 minutes ago, quokka said:

Awesome Chapter, keep up the great work.

Q

Thank you, quokka. Glad you liked it.

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3 hours ago, travlbug said:

Maybe Callan took the wrong major!  Neat to see him secretly serenading Chris in public. (We all know whom he's playing to!)

Thank you, travlbug. We all know, but does Chris know it?

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7 hours ago, Tonyr said:

This is getting betterby the paragraph. Congrats.

Thank you, Tony. Glad you like it.

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6 hours ago, chris191070 said:

Awesome chapter. Callan did well with his first performance. Does Chris realise he is being serenaded.

Thank you, Chris. I can’t speak for Chris. At least not yet. Stay tuned for more developments.

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So nice! can't wait to hear Callan pluck Davy Graham's Anji next week - or will he play it one day together with Chris? Like Paul and Ed Simon did in 68!? That'll be a treat!

 

Edited by IBEX
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1 hour ago, IBEX said:

So nice! can't wait to hear Callan pluck Davy Graham's Anji next week - or will he play it one day together with Chris? Like Paul and Ed Simon did in 68!? That'll be a treat!

 

Thank you, IBEX. I never knew that Paul has a brother Ed until you mentioned it. Just viewed the performance on YouTube. Cool! My, they looked so much alike in 1968. Nice that both brothers were accomplished guitar players. However, because the story has already been written, sadly our Callan and Chris won’t be performing it. I’m sorry to disappoint you, but please keep reading anyway.

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So now I know how Callan is checking out Chris, by changing a few significant words to I've Just Seen a Face. The most significant line of the chapter: "The woes of having to hide or mask feelings that society is unwilling to accept. But then if he doesn’t have similar feelings for me, he probably won’t even get it. Safe. Right?" Sets the whole background for the novel.

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7 hours ago, Talo Segura said:

So now I know how Callan is checking out Chris, by changing a few significant words to I've Just Seen a Face. The most significant line of the chapter: "The woes of having to hide or mask feelings that society is unwilling to accept. But then if he doesn’t have similar feelings for me, he probably won’t even get it. Safe. Right?" Sets the whole background for the novel.

It’s interesting that you homed in on this, Talo. It didn’t occur to me. Thank you for the comment.

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