Harper Tate didn't know what she was getting into when she accepted a job with Panic! at the Disco...
I waited nervously in the small room. Two doors were placed on opposite walls each for a different purpose; one was for “the opportunity of a lifetime” as my boss said. While the other was the door I entered and would soon exit through.
Two doors, two possible outcomes, two hours of waiting for my name to be called.
If you couldn’t already guess, I was waiting for a job interview. I was in a company specializing in tour management for up and coming bands. I hadn’t been in the company, called Nett Management, for very long, but my boss Mr. Quinn (though he insisted that I called him by his first name, Dalton) trusted me a lot. He said he liked my morals and thought I would be perfect for this job… whatever it was.
Oh, yeah, I should’ve mentioned that; he hasn’t actually told me what the job is. I have no idea what band I’m managing, how long I’ll be gone or even if I’ll be internationally traveling. I had no clue what I could be getting myself into; and neither did Mr. Quinn. He had told me it was an anonymous interview but reassured me that the band was popular. Whether they were popular or not, I was still really nervous.
I had been waiting, as I said before, for over two hours now; praying that my name would be called soon. I think I could’ve died of anxiety if I had waited any longer.
I was nervously fiddling with the hem of my black pencil skirt as I heard the door open. My head shot up, desperately wondering if it was my turn to be interviewed. A woman appeared in the doorway and looked down at a clipboard she was holding.
“Harper Tate?” she said, addressing me and the other hopefuls around me. I jumped a little at the sound of my own name.
“That’s me,” I said, quickly, my heart beating so loud I thought everyone could hear it.
“We’ll see you now,” she said, crossing my name off the list as I stood and smoothed down my clothes and hair. “Right this way,” she said, ushering me through the door.
The door led, to my surprise, to a hallway. It was brightly lit and had band posters on the wall. I read the names as we went by: The Academy Is…, Hey Monday, The Ready Set, Cobra Starship, Fall Out Boy…. I gasped when I realized what label this was; Decaydance.
Decaydance was one the most popular labels around right now with hugely successful bands in the pop/punk world; besides the fact that I was a huge fan of all these bands.
I couldn’t believe I was even in this place right now. Holy crap, I thought, this was a bigger deal than we anticipated. I suddenly didn’t care about the “who, what, where, when and why” of the tour; I had just struck gold. This really was the opportunity of a lifetime.
“So I’m guessing you caught on,” the woman, who I’m assuming was a secretary, said. I nodded excitedly. “That’s refreshing. Most of the other applicants had no idea what label this was or who half the bands were. It’s nice to see someone who gets it,” she said smiling.
We reached the end of the hallway and were at met by another door. She opened the door and gestured for me to hold on a second.
“Mr. Wentz, I have the next applicant,” She said. No way! I thought. No way Pete Wentz was going to interview me personally. There was absolutely no way-
“Great! Bring her in,” he responded. I knew that voice. I was a devoted Fall Out Boy fan and I realized I was really about to meet one of my inspirations; Pete Wentz.
The secretary opened the door a little wider and moved aside so I could go in. My face went pink with excitement when I entered the room. It was really him! Standing before me was in fact Peter Lewis Kingston Wentz III. As I walked closer he held out his hand for me to shake.
“My name’s Pete Wentz,” he said shaking my hand. “But I assume you already know that,” he finished with a good-natured smirk.
“Harper Tate. And, yeah, I did know that. I know you probably get this a lot but I’m a huge fan of Fall Out Boy, and everyone else on this label, actually,” I said, timidly. I was so nervous; no, I was so star struck. He laughed.
“I’m glad you are,” he said, smiling. “I haven’t met one other applicant who actually liked Decaydance,”
“Seriously?” I asked, astonished.
“Yeah,” he responded. “Most people didn’t know who I was until I introduced myself. Then they recognized me from TMZ or something like that,” he said, walking back around his desk and sitting down. “You can sit down, you know,” he said after a moment.
I quickly found the nearest chair and sat down.
“Nervous?” he asked, raising an eyebrow. I bit my lip. “It’s fine if you say yes, I won’t hold it against you,” I sighed.
“I’m extremely nervous, to be honest,” I said, looking down at my feet.
“That’s alright, over confident kids annoy the heck out of me,” he said, leaning back in his chair. I just nodded. “You can relax. I’m obviously not a business man, so this isn’t going to be a really intense interview or anything. I just want to get to know you as a person,”
“Really?” I blurted out. I had never had such a laid back interview.
“Totally,” he said, smiling again. “I hate interviews. They just seem fake to me. Everyone tries so hard to be perfect so you can’t actually know who they are,”
“That makes a lot of sense,” I said, already beginning to loosen up. I relaxed my posture and just tried to let myself be normal.
“There you go,” he said, noticing my change. “This label isn’t just a business; it’s a family. I only work with people that I consider as friends. Is that okay with you?” he asked.
“That’s great with me,” I said, smiling. This was going pretty smooth.
“Good,” he said, nodding. “So, how many tours have you worked on?” My face went pale and I looked down.
“I’m going to be completely honest here,” I started and looked back up at his curious eyes. “I’ve only worked one national tour. I’m new to this job,” he nodded again.
“Did you like the band?” I laughed.
“Not at all,” I said. “They were womanizing loser who were mean to everyone, even their fans,” I shook my head. “Plus they were always hung-over, which made them awful to work with,”
“God, I hate dudes like that,” he said rolling his eyes.
“Me too,” I said, shuddering at the memory of that horrible tour.
“Don’t worry, the band you’ll be working with is really cool,” he said. “They are personal friends of mine and I think they’ll love you,”
“I hope I’m not overstepping my boundaries, but you’re talking like I’ve already got the job,” I said, my heart pounding. A smile crept to his lips.
“I like you, Harper,” he started. “I really do. You’re very honest and you don’t hold back when you’re speaking your mind. You’re the first person today that’s held a real conversation with me without name-dropping or being politically correct. So, yes, I think you’re the right person for this job,” I was speechless.
“Wow,” was all I could finally say. I was so happy and excited and nervous all at the same time.
“So, there is some paper work you have to fill out and then we can talk details,” he said, smiling.
“May I ask who I’ll be working with?” I asked, butterflies in my stomach.
“A great new band that I just signed called Panic! at the Disco,” he said, grinning.
“They’re really great guys, you may have heard of them…”
“You’re kidding,” I said, barely believing what he just said.
“I kid you not, Miss. Tate,” he said again. “I’ll call you tomorrow and we can set up a meeting with the stage and production managers and, of course, the band,”
“Yeah, that would be awesome,” I said, breathless.
“It was great meeting you, Harper,” he said, standing and shaking my hand.
“It was great meeting you too, Mr. Wentz,” I said.
“Oh, please, call me Pete,” he said, laughing a little. “We’re family now, remember? You have my permission to be my friend,” he added, jokingly. I bit my lip, embarrassed.
“Right, sorry. Nice meeting you, Pete,” I added, smiling.
I walked out of the room and couldn’t hide the huge grin that was tugging at my lips. I got a job with Decaydance, got to meet (and become friends with) Pete freakin’ Wentz, and I get to work with my musical heroes Panic! at the Disco! I practically danced out of the building.
As I walked to my car I pulled out my phone and called Mr. Quinn.
“Dalton? Yeah, it’s me. I have great news…”