It was already past nine o’clock when Rob got off the bus at Hollywood and Vine. The Capitol Records Tower loomed in front of him, the building shaped like a stack of 45rpm records. Now he
understood why Mr. Robe and Slippers told him he couldn’t miss it. He wondered if the robe and slippers guy would still be there.
He was. Rob found him sitting in the lobby. He dressed in a decent suit with a white shirt and tie. His shoes could have used a shine, but at least he had shoes on. He glanced at his watch when Rob
"Yeah, I know, I'm late," he said. “I had to take the bus.”
"Let's get this over with," he said as he headed for the elevators.
"Hey, wait a minute.” Rob stopped him. "I don’t know your name."
"It's Craig," he said stiffly. "Craig Drummond. Now when we get up there, you stay quiet and let me do the talking."
That sounded ominous, but he followed Drummond to the elevators. Craig pushed the button for the seventh floor. He was sweating heavily and stuck his index finger into his collar, tugging it away
from his neck. Rob felt more and more anxious as they rode the elevator upward. Why was this guy so nervous? Shouldn't it be Rob who was nervous? What the hell was he getting himself into?
The elevator doors opened, and they stepped out into a semi-circular hallway. Closed doors to several offices were on the outside of the circle. The thick carpet muffled their footsteps.
Drummond stopped at one of the doors and turned to Rob. "Remember what I said," he warned. "Let me do the talking."
"What are you getting me into?" Rob asked suddenly. "I don't like this. You're very nervous, and I still think you're full of shit. I should just go."
"Go ahead," Drummond said. "There are a thousand singers in LA who’d love this chance. I'll find someone else."
Something in Rob’s gut told him to stay and see it through. So what if he let Drummond make a fool out of him? He would never see these people again. What did he care?
"Okay, I'll stay."
"Good boy," Drummond patted him on the shoulder.
The sound of phones ringing was the first thing Rob heard. The smell of expensive perfume filled his nostrils. The office was richly decorated with overstuffed leather furniture. Live plants hung
from the ceiling in the corners, and fresh roses in a tall vase occupied the secretary’s desk.
The secretary wore a navy-blue pantsuit that matched the blue in her eyes. She wore a pair of dark blue pumps on her feet, the heels at least three inches high. She piled her brown hair on top of
her head. Rob was in awe of the classy way she looked.
She glanced up as they entered the office.
Her eyes narrowed when she saw Drummond. "He's busy, Drummond," she said with annoyance.
"Here we go," Rob thought.
"Hi, Julie," he smiled, ignoring her obvious displeasure. "I want Larry to meet Rob Starre. He has the voice of an angel."
"I'm sure he does," she said shortly, ignoring the fact Rob was standing right in front of her. "But he's busy. I'm sure he won't see you today."
When Julie dismissed them to answer, Drummond made his move to the inner office.
The interior office was just as lavishly decorated, only this office had nothing feminine about it. A black leather couch sat up against one wall. On the opposite wall hung with row after row of
gold and platinum records.
Opposite the door, a well-dressed man sat with his feet propped up. When they entered, he lowered his feet, whispered something into the phone then hung it up.
"Get out!" he shouted, his finger pointing at the door. "Get out now!"
"Larry, buddy," Drummond said apologetically. "I'm sorry I interrupted your phone call. I just wanted you to meet a dear friend of mine, Rob Starre. He sings like an angel. I think you should give
him a listen."
"Get out!" Larry shouted again. "You get out before I throw you out myself!" He started to come around the desk.
Drummond backed quickly away until he was against the door and had nowhere to go. He turned swiftly around, opened the door, and fled the office.
Brown pointed a finger at Rob. "You, stay. Sit down."
Rob sat down on one of the chairs facing the desk. He looked at the man behind the desk but said nothing.
"What's your name?"
"Rob," he answered. "Rob Starre."
"So, I'm curious. How did you get mixed up with that bum?"
Rob shrugged. "I'm not mixed up with him. I just met him."
Larry leaned back in his chair and laughed. "That takes the cake. How did he convince you to come here?"
"He showed up in the bar I was playing in. He told me if I didn't listen to him, I would miss out on a golden opportunity. I told him he was full of shit."
"But you still came."
"I figured what the hell. If he were wrong, no harm done, I would never see you people again."
"And if he's right?"
"That remains to be seen, doesn't it?"
Larry chuckled. "You're a pretty smart kid. You got any talent?"
"That also remains to be seen."
Larry threw back his head and roared with laughter. "I like you," he said, wiping his eyes. "I think I just might make a demo with you. On one condition, that is."
"What's the condition?"
"Drummond’s out of it. This is between you and me now. And if you have no talent, I will tell you straight up, and I never want to see your face again."
It was Rob's turn to laugh. "That's two conditions, but you have a deal, Mr...?
"Brown. But you can just call me Larry." He stood up. "I already have studio time booked for an artist that had to cancel. Luckily for me, the studio's deposit is non-refundable, and I hate to
waste good session time. Come back tomorrow, and we'll see just how much talent you have.”
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