43 Maybe I'm Amazed

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Maybe I’m Amazed

I was late to the Wenco office. I could probably have been on time, but when I woke up and felt my head and tasted my mouth, I knew I had to have a shower. Jeremy had every shampoo known to man in his bathroom and offered me the use of his hair dryer, gel, conditioner, and so on. I just borrowed shampoo and left my hair wet. He told me we could come back and play the Pool Bar anytime we wanted, and I thanked him for the floor and the weed and then headed for the subway.

My stomach was in knots, churning alternately with fear and hope. If Artie’d wanted to sign us I’d have known it, he would have said something, I thought. He would have asked all three of us to come down to the office. But then, he couldn’t be meeting me just to tell me to get lost, you suck, he wouldn’t waste his time with that. As the subway car rattled its way uptown I let these two thoughts chase each other back and forth through my brain until I thought I would be sick. I shivered a little, thinking, this is what managers worry about. Ziggy hadn’t even given it a first, much less a second thought, or so it seemed. And I began to wonder where he’d spent the night and almost missed my stop.

Wenco’s offices were in midtown, near Radio City and Rockefeller Center. They didn’t challenge me in the lobby, I went straight to the elevators and up to the eighth floor. There a big-haired receptionist stopped me and asked me to sit in a chair by a potted plant. A glass coffee table was littered with promo material for some bands, press releases, photos, and a copy of Billboard magazine open to the Top 100 with some of the titles highlighted with marker. “I’m a little bit late,” I told the receptionist–Judy, it said on her desk plate–as she reached for her intercom.

Artie came out a few minutes later, looking the same as he always did, faded jeans, cotton button-down shirt tucked in. I followed him through a narrow hallway to his office, a crowded affair that was larger than it looked crammed with demo tapes, press packages, and the like. He cleared a pile of magazines from a chair and indicated I should sit before he went behind his own desk. He moved a pair of headphones from the blotter and put his feet up. I felt for a moment like I was visiting the principal’s office, but only for a moment. I forced myself to lean back in the chair and say something, while looking over the piles of stuff. “Nice office.”

He smiled. “Yeah, when I used to do a lot of traveling, it was neater. My assistant would take care of it while I was gone. But the past two years, well, now she’s afraid to even come near it.” He shrugged. “Heard from Remo lately?”

 “I was going to ask you the same thing.” Which was true.

He pulled on his lip. “He’s been out of touch for the past two months or so, working on things. I’ll hear from him as soon as he needs something.”

 “I haven’t really heard from him, either.” This was also true. I leaned on one armrest, but then Artie put his feet down so I sat up a little straighter. I guess the small-talk part of the meeting was over.

“That was a pretty good show you put on last night.” I kept quiet, waiting for him to go on. “It’s a fresh sound, lot of creative energy. Where’d you find that singer?”

 “On the street.” I let myself smile a little, a wet strand of my hair falling across my eyes as I did.

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