Those Awkward Moments (Episode 12)

Those Awkward Moments (Episode 12)

Previously on THOSE AWKWARD MOMENTS: So Kevin attended a big club event with Demoniker Dawson, the music superstar he’s writing for, and not only did he get to play the piano in front of her hundreds of screaming fans, she also surprised him by performing his song, ‘Misery’.

Oh, and Kevin got paid fifty grand, plus he also got a cute guy’s phone number – well, and mistakenly flushed it down the toilet. Ouch!

Well, that’s all you missed in Episode 11…

*

“Presenting International Pop Sensation…” I heard the host at the Raven Club announce in a mic-enhanced voice. “Demoniker Dawson!”

And then a bright beam of stage light snapped on and shone down on me. I was startled. There was a mic in my right hand. The roar of the crowd was coming at me from beyond the stage, and the opening strum of instruments was resonating from behind.

“DEMONIKER! DEMONIKER! DEMONIKER!” the crowd bayed.

But I’m not Demoniker, I wanted to yell back at them. In fact, I could spot her in the crowd, cheering at me along with them. What is going on? My hands became clammy with the cold sweat of mounting consternation, and I rubbed my left palm down my side in an attempt to dry off the moistness.

The feel of silken fabric brought my gaze down to what I was wearing, and a sharp gasp escaped my mouth when I saw the sleek sheathe of snug black ball gown my body was encased in. WTF! My feet peeked out of the hem, shod in black stilettos, and I could feel the sway of long tresses about my face. A lift of my hand to my head confirmed my mounting fear; I was wearing a wig.

Horror washed over me. Oh my God, what is happening!

Suddenly, the baying of the crowd changed. They began shouting this time, “SING! SING! SING!”

I whimpered, staring wildly around, hoping for a window of opportunity to escape. But the spotlight blinded me to all else but the madness raging in front of me.

“SING! SING! SING!”

I took a deep breath, and my fingers tightened around the mic. I decided to embrace the situation. I closed my eyes and opened my mouth. And the opening lyrics of Misery slid out from my soul.

The shouting gradually dwindled, until the room became still except for the sound of my voice and the accompaniment of instruments. They were enjoying my performance. They had to be enjoying it. Their silence emboldened me and I added more strength to my decibels.

And then it happened. I’d closed my eyes and was crescendoing into the chorus, when something light but strong hit me on the head. It was squishy and promptly burst upon contact with my head, turning into a dribbling mess in my head. Startled, my eyes popped open in time for me to see another missile zooming toward my head. I ducked. It flew past my head and dropped to the ground behind me with a splat. I stared at it. It was a tomato.

What the –

Another tomato struck me on my chest. Yet another followed. This time, the assault became accompanied by boos. My voice wavered and my eyes began to tear up. They didn’t like me. They hated me. I forged bravely on into the second verse, but the vegetable abuse did not let up. The dreadful booing began to vie for supremacy with the music.

“BOO!”

“YOU SUCK!”

“GET OFF THE STAGE!”

And just then, pushed by a deep rage I didn’t know existed in me, I let out a loud roar that was made even more strident by the microphone. The roar ripped through the rowdy atmosphere, and began silencing my tormentors. It went on to be the start of another song. Suddenly, the room was quiet again, the crowd settled and the instruments took over. As I sang this really upbeat song that I didn’t recognise, I noticed how excited it made the crowd. They soon began to cheer and clap and shimmy in tune with the music.

“Let the music speak through you

Let it control you

Abi you want to turn up

Then let the lyrics own you

Listen to the music

Make them know say nothing do you!”

I had no idea where these words were coming from. They weren’t the words I’d normally come up with. But I was singing them like I was intimately familiar with them. And the performance was beautiful and very exhilarating. I was starting to have fun –

When I woke up!

***

I opened my eyes to the light of day. The morning sun was trickling into the parlour through the open windows. My eyes slid to the centre table where I caught sight of the cheque held down by a book. Beside them was a piece of paper. It had been left there by Mother and it read, ‘Gone to the mall. Have a great day at work. We’ll talk about THAT when I get back.’

That had to be the cheque.

Have a great day at work…

That part of her note belatedly registered in my mind as I glanced at the clock. I swore violently as I leaped out of the couch at once. It was past ten, which meant I was more than an hour late for work.

Goddamnit, Demoniker! See what late nights out with you has put me into!

In record time, I was bathed and dressed and dashing out of my house. It wasn’t until I was in a bus, work-bound, that I felt my panic subside, and give way for other thoughts to crowd my mind. Thoughts like Kuddus, the barman-cum-writer, whose number I was starting to realize more and more I didn’t regret losing. Jude still had my heart. I supposed what they say is true; we want the things we can’t have.

Fortunately, getting to Highland Records was a surprisingly smooth and speedy journey. However, it was getting inside that proved to be a problem. Due to my very hasty exit from home, I’d forgotten my ID card.

“Sorry sir, no ID, no access!” the sadly-unattractive security man said firmly to me.

“But I work here…” I explained in despair. “I’m a junior songwriter – I work for Josh Bassey…”

“If what you say is true, sir, then you won’t mind giving him a call.”

I cussed silently. Suddenly, rejecting Josh’s offer to get me a phone seemed like a terrible idea. “I would,” I began, “but the thing is, I don’t have a phone at this time.”

“Of course you don’t,” the man said sarcastically.

In spite of my irritation at him, I couldn’t blame him for not letting me in. his job was to keep interlopers out. And without an ID card or a call from upstairs, I was an interloper.

“Please sir…” I tried begging.

“Sir, please leave the line so others can pass,” he said rather stiffly.

“But –”

“Okay, that’s it!” he exclaimed before grabbing my upper arm to jerk me out of his front.

“Don’t worry, Chuks, he’s with me!” a female voice called from behind.

I looked back to see Josh’s assistant, Ngozi Okoli. She was also my unofficial arch-nemesis.

Why, you ask?

Well, it probably has nothing to do with how she made everyone hate me on my first day of work by spreading the malicious talk that I got my job through some sort of nepotism and not really because I had any real talent. The woman hadn’t even known me, and she was already tarring me with the brush of her vile tongue. She was really a bitch!

And this was why it surprised me when she came to my rescue.

“Thanks,” I muttered as the two of us made our way past the barrier. I almost threw up in my mouth at the thought of being thankful to her. “I left my card at home. Woke up late and all –”

“I helped you get in, Kevin. I didn’t ask for your life story,” she cut me off as she sauntered ahead of me.

I swallowed my nasty retort as best as I could. I’d let her have the grace of today with my cordiality. “So you’re late too?” I enquired as politely as I could manage as we got into the elevator.

“Oh, no,” she said with a sneering ‘You’re alone in that department’ look thrown my way. “Some of us here take our jobs very seriously.”

I rolled my eyes. One day is one day, I thought acidly.

The rest of the short elevator ride was silent and cold. The lift dinged to a stop on the admin floor. She got out without a word. Just before the doors shut, a hand slid into the narrow opening, automatically halting the progress. The doors slid open again, and I found myself looking at the biggest rapper Highland Records had ever signed. His name was Mula Mike, and as he got into the small transporter, I found myself struggling to breathe.

“Sup man,” he greeted in a baritone that caused small quakes in the elevator.

I tried to reply, but the words just wouldn’t come together. Perhaps, it was his blinding jewelry and soul piercing eyes that prevented my buccal cavity from functioning properly. But then, I remembered how Demoniker almost rejected me as her songwriter until I did what Jude would do. I spoke.

So I opened my mouth to do just that, when he said again, “I’m Mike, by the way – Mula Mike.”

“I know who you are!” I burst out. “HUGE fan!”

“No kidding. You don’t look like the type to enjoy my kind of music.”

“Wrong, sir. On the contrary, I LOVE your songs. They’re not like other rap songs that are generic in the Nigerian music industry. You always have a message. I think that’s cool.”

Mike smiled. “Thanks. So which of my songs do you like?”

“Umm, Burning Money…Hustler – oh, and Make Love Not War.”

He gave a short gust of laughter, one that sounded like he was surprised. “Those are my favourites too. What’s your name, bro?”

“I’m Kevin. I’m a junior songwriter here.”

“Oh, really? So no clients yet?”

“Actually, I do…just one – Demoniker.”

A wry look eclipsed his features and he gave out a sardonic chuckle as the elevator doors dinged open again. “Well, good luck with that,” he said as he stepped out.

“Okay. Nice meeting you!” I called back at him, a bit perplexed at his reaction.

Soon, I was outside Studio A, just about to go in, when the door flew open, the jamb missing my face by inches. The person barging out however didn’t miss me. He ran into me, causing me to careen backward a few steps. The two of us regained our balance, and I found myself staring with astonishment into the furious face of Demoniker’s producer, the man who had worked with us two days ago.

“Nonsense! Rubbish!” the man was seething loudly as he swept past me and barreled on down the corridor.

I felt a niggling of dread as I opened the door again and stepped inside the room. The first person I saw was Josh. He noticed me at once too. Then I saw Demoniker lounging on a settee, wearing headphones that were turned on so audibly, it was obvious that her concentration wasn’t in the room.

There were two other people in the room. They were both men. The younger one was seated on the producer’s seat, focused on an iPad. And the older one, clad in an expensive-looking suit, was talking. He looked really riled up. I recognized him at once and felt the frisson going down my spine intensify.

The man was berating no one in particular. “Honestly, I’m not happy with the pace at which this is going. For God’s sake, it’s been nearly a month now!”

“Demoniker didn’t get into the country until a few days ago –” Josh protested.

“That is no excuse!” the man lashed across his words. “You were supposed to have the bulk of the material for her album ready and waiting for her to pick from!”

“We’re working as fast as we can, as it is, sir,” Josh said stiffly.

“Not fast enough, it would seem,” the other man said scathingly. “Our competition, Mavin, is signing new artistes and releasing singles like they’ve got a personal Father Christmas stashed away in their offices! And Highland, we sign an international star, and we’re still deliberating song choices for her album?!” A fresh surge of outrage coloured those last words.

Josh hung his head in mortification.

“Tell me, Joshua, what the hell kind of incompetence is going on here!” his father, Chief Ryan Bassey, and CEO of Highland Records, exploded then in a tone that mingled frustration and anger.

“Sir, honestly,” the devil possessed me to blurt out in that instant, “we’re dedicated to turning out the best album we can for Ms. Demoniker.”

Even the man with the iPad looked up from his device to stare at the idiot who’d dared interrupt Chief Bassey. As I faced the older man’s cold stare, I could feel Josh silently begging me not to pull a Kevin on his father.

“And who might you be?” Chief Bassey queried silkily.

“This is Kevin, sir,” Josh hurriedly answered for me, “the talented songwriter I was telling you about –”

“Oh, the junior one,” his father snapped, not at all impressed. Looking at me, he continued, “So you’re the one who’s writing pathetic songs for an international star.”

“I beg your pardon, sir?” I felt myself instantly begin to bristle.

“I heard the claptrap you call ‘Misery’ – where do you think this is, Adele’s backyard? This is a homegrown album we’re making here, son. And you know what Nigerians want in their songs, don’t you?”

I stared wordlessly at him.

He hadn’t expected an answer. He continued, “DANCE! Everyone in this country wants something they can dance to, something upbeat. Not some depressing love song about your relationship issues.”

“Actually, Ryan…” Demoniker spoke up for the first time, drawing the attention in the room instantly to her. She had her headphones on her lap, and looked like she’d been listening for quite some time. “The crowd at The Raven seemed to love the heck out of that song. Except you’re saying those weren’t Nigerians and that I’ve suddenly contracted colour blindness.” The admonishment in her words was subtle and coolly-delivered.

Chief Bassey drew back, seemed ready to snap back a rebuttal, thought better of it, and instead turned to address Josh. “I’ll be back here in two days to see what you guys have for me. And you better have something good!”

He was heading out of the studio when I said, “Sorry sir, but two days isn’t enough to do what you’re asking us to do.”

He stopped and turned back. “Oh, you must not have heard me right. When I said that, you must have thought I was asking. Asking is for those who don’t own the building. I’m telling you that if I come up here on Friday, and you don’t have at least three new songs laid on track for me, it’s bye-bye to your job. Got it?”

“Yes, sir,” I answered, wondering how my job was suddenly the only thing endangered by Demoniker’s album. Then I remembered the producer barging out of the room. His job here in Highland clearly was already dead.

“And just so you don’t give me the excuse of having a crappy and lazy producer,” Chief Bassey continued, as though he’d read my mind, “I fired that tub of waste, and got you guys one of the best money can buy – Beatz!” He gestured toward Mr. iPad.

I recognized the name. I knew Beatz by reputation only; he was one of Nigeria’s top DJs and had produced a few hits in the industry. I hadn’t ever seen him before though.

He stood, at the mention of his name, and approached. As he moved, another frisson began to skitter up my spine. There was something familiar about him.

Then he came to stand before Josh and I, and it all came back to me, like a cascade of a waterfall – the games, the lies, the sharp words, the beating…

He stretched his hand out to me to shake, as he said with a smile, “I’m Beatz, but since we’re going to be working together, you may as well call me by my real name – Isaac. I’m Isaac Adedokun.”

TO BE CONTINUED

Written by Reverend Hot

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  1. Mandy
    August 25, 06:08 Reply

    Oh yes! My beloved KD’s-version-of-Empire is back! So, apparently, is Isaac. After messing up a bit of Kevin’s life, he doesn’t even have the decency to remember him years later? Mscheewwww!!!

    • #Chestnut
      August 25, 08:27 Reply

      You know this Isaac? Have I missed some episodes? I was even thinking he would turn out to be a past secondary school bully/midnight “kele kele” lover…
      Love this entry. This series gets better everytime. And wait, Mavin is their competition?MAVIN?hmm they need the grace of God to trump that one o!something tells me Demoniker will be a fierce contender though(Hey Tiwa Savage,how u doin?)

  2. Sinnex
    August 25, 09:39 Reply

    Nice one.

    Can’t wait for the next episode.

    Why can’t my life be like Kevin? I want to be meeting cute guys on a daily basis without having to go through the hassles of browsing through Grindr and Badoo.

  3. ambivalentone
    August 25, 10:05 Reply

    loool. So when they say lyrics to a lot of Nigerian songs is a stuff of nightmares, they meant it literarily??? I see

  4. Dickny
    August 25, 10:29 Reply

    Yet another lovely entry,Keep it up.

  5. JOJOARMANI
    August 25, 10:46 Reply

    Hummm… New producer? just like that new guy abi new dreaded producer Jamal Lyon met? … mmmm….Isaac

    Mandy like u know the Isaac guy.. I sure have missed some episode…

    • Pink Panther
      August 25, 11:01 Reply

      Yup you have. Trace your way back to the episode where Kevin’s father flogged him as a child.

  6. Kester
    August 25, 13:36 Reply

    Aaaaaaaaa it’s a lie oooooo, the guy that lied about the money. Now this is getting way to interesting, thanks pinky for the reminder I actually forgot who Isaac was. Very nice entry I enjoyed the beginning lol, what a dream. I dreamt that I and nate were doing it in prof annalise’s office and the witch came in before I could cum *OK bye *

  7. JOJOARMANI
    August 25, 13:50 Reply

    Geez! I just recalled!…. Sister pinky thank you!. would get you a gift for helping a sister..maybe would get uh one of Alexander McQueen’s designers gown

    • Pink Panther
      August 25, 14:19 Reply

      A nice man with sizeable instrument will do. I’m not asking for much, am I? 🙂

  8. JOJOARMANI
    August 25, 19:09 Reply

    Nah Really! .. Every average woman would ask for same.

  9. Regal Sweetheart
    September 01, 02:07 Reply

    No-Em-Gee!!

    Ok. So this is why I wait for entire seasons to be over before delving into them. Beatz is Isaac?!

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