by Miles Rost
Mike and Chelsie walked into the theatre five hours early, expecting to practice in the silence of the hall without any problem before the big performance that night. Mike was a horn player with his expertise in the trombone, though when asked he could bring out his trumpet and whip up a Herb Alpert production that would put the man himself in awe. For Chelsie, she worked with Mike for many years as his piano accompanist. She was adept on the ivories, and could be brought in for session work for any major band as a pianist or a keyboardist.
When they received the invitation to play the “New Fillmore” theatre in San Francisco, they jumped at the chance. After playing in smaller venues like Missoula, Montana and Boise, Idaho, they were ready to take their chance. Even playing in larger venues like Sacramento and Reno were good, but they weren’t the big spots. They weren’t San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, or even their dream: Los Angeles. When they got to the New Fillmore Theatre, they expected to have the theatre to themselves.
Boy, were they wrong.
As they opened the door, it was pandemonium. In one part of the backstage area, labeled as “Rehearsal Studio D”, there was a loud raucous band of youth attempting to try and perform like the Tijuana Brass. In Mike’s eyes, they weren’t going to even make the Tijuana Prison Brass Band look bad. And down another hallway, it was a dance troupe practicing only what Chelsie could think of as high school grade danceline work.
They walked up to a woman with a clipboard, wearing a dark blue pantsuit and a serious expression.
“I don’t know if we’re in the right place…”
“Then why are you here?” the pantsuit girl turned around to them, with an annoyed, yet serious expression.
“We were invited,” Chelsie responded indignantly.
“Mike Clark and Chelsie Daniels.”
The pantsuit girl leafed through some sheets and scanned the paper.
“Ah, the boner/pianist duet.”
“You make it sound so dirty,” Mike responded.
“Shorthand usually does that. You’re in Rehearsal Studio E.”
“Main stage. We’re really full up in places, and Studio A is booked with the main act.”
“Surprise. Can’t tell you.”
Mike looked at her blankly, wondering just where this woman came off acting in such a way.
“Head to the main stage. Make sure you’re only playing what you’re supposed to play for the show tonight. Any sort of musical hanky-panky will get you removed from the schedule. If you want to play such things…”
The pantsuit girl gave both of them a nasty gaze, as she breathed in.
“…play it on your own damn time.”
She suddenly turned away and walked toward another group of people that were not where they were supposed to be.
The duo looked at each other, looked at the programs in their hands, and felt like they were trapped. They knew that even though they didn’t want to have to do this gig, this seemed to be the only time when they could play at a major location and maybe get noticed.
What they didn’t notice was a man, looking at them from a dark wing away from notice. He smirked as he thought about the changes coming.
“These two musicians will work perfectly…” he said to himself, pleased with his choice.