“A Real Piece of Work”
After more than twenty-five years, Johnny had compiled enough great material for a new album. He’d recorded a few samples in his home studio when he got out of bed each morning. Johnny was surprised by the quality of his voice on the demos. There was something brand new about his sound.
Last night, as Johnny slept, an entire suitcase full of brand new songs, and song seeds, were dropped off by the goddess Cheri’s song writing aliens, Buddy and Ada Brill. A gift from Cheri to her faithful puppy-dog, Johnny.
Johnny’s time was near.
* * * *
Frankie and Nat continued to teach him as he slept. Dino would offer suggestions, hand out the cigarettes, and mix the drinks. All three would often take turns teaching Johnny how to sing the old and new songs properly.
When he had his big comeback, he would be assigned to the legendary William Morris agent named Sid Arthur. Sid had been the best agent in show biz. “Had been,” as in Sid was currently dead. “Dead? I can fix that, kid. You’re listening to a guy who’s had more returns than Costco’s customer service!” he said while Johnny snored in agreement. Sidney, still a germaphobe, insisted that the dead bald singers known as “The Chrome Domes” clean up their booze bottles and filthy cigarette butts! “What do you think this is?” He scolded Frank, Dino and the others, “the goddamned bowery? Okay, now one of you should get on the horn, and call up Cheri!” said Sidney. “Stat! The kid is ready.”
“Stat?” Asked the laid-back Dino. “Oh, so you’re a doctor, now, Sid? Doctor Kildare? Ben Casey? Call Cheri yourself, big shot!”
“Why you punk! Who do think you’re talkin’ to, Junior? Don’t forget that I was the one who booked Jesus’ appearance on the fuckin’ mount! Maybe you don’t remember. It was because of me, Sid Arthur! “Hitler at Nuremberg! Wait…uh no, that wasn’t me. Shea Stadium, The Beatles! I got them here in 1964! Hell, I WAS The Ed Sullivan Show! You ungrateful tadpole. I’ll make sure that you never work in this town again!”
There was a dangerous pause in Johnny’s bedroom. Then they all cracked up, together. Frank nearly fell off his bar stool.
“Just you wait, Dino,” laughed Sid, pointing a warning finger. “I can make your afterlife a haunted Hell. Remember, your old partner, Jerry Lewis is coming soon. Jerry is coming. So, if I were you, I’d watch it.”
“Thanks for the happy reminder, Sid,” said Dino. “Fucking Jerry. Now, I need another drink. So much for the idea of a peaceful afterlife, you putz.”