Categories > Cartoons > Daria > Tigresses


by DrT 0 reviews

The Spiral gets an offer, and Daria gives herself a birthday present.

Category: Daria - Rating: R - Genres: Drama,Romance - Characters: Daria,Jane,Trent - Warnings: [!!] - Published: 2014-04-02 - 6165 words - Complete

Tigresses of Lawndale – 13 – Spiraling

By Dr T

The Spiral gets an offer, and Daria gives herself a birthday present.

With her after school activities and occasional dates, Daria had seen very little of Trent, outside her and Jane’s now-rare forays to McGrundy’s or the Zon. She was a little ashamed that Trent had had to ask Jane to get her to come over to talk on Sunday.

Daria knew there was no reason to arrive before 2:00. As it was, when she came at 2:45, Trent was just having his first cup of coffee. “Hey, Daria.”

Daria slid into one of the kitchen chairs. “Hey,” she responded. “Do you have some more music for me?”

“We do, but that’s not why I needed to see you,” Trent said. His shoulders slumped. “I hate to ask this, but we need a favor.”

“‘We’ being the band?” Daria asked. She knew Trent would have been less shy if Jane needed something, while if the favor was merely for himself, he likely would not have even asked.

“Exactly,” Trent answered, nodding. “I wouldn’t ask just for me. Still, the guys are excited of course. It was all I could do to put them off at first.”

“Of course,” Daria agreed. “And they are excited about what exactly?”

Trent looked at Daria, frowning. Then he looked at his mostly full cup of coffee and sipped at it. Then Trent looked at Daria, opened his mouth, and then shut it for a moment, before asking, “I didn’t answer your question, did I?”

“Err, no,” Daria had to answer.

Trent looked around, frowning, and then stood up. He had been sitting on a folder of papers. “We’ve been offered a contract, for touring and music.”

All Daria said was, “Ah.” She almost had managed to hide her surprise that the band would ever get an offer.

Trent nodded. “I know. I like to think we’re good, but even if we are as good as we like to think we are, there are a lot of rip-offs in the music business.”

“I’ll take care of things,” Daria assured Trent.

“We know,” Trent agreed. Daria’s eyebrows went up. Trent sipped a bit more coffee and said, “We’ve been at this a while. The last few months has been the closest we’ve come to making a real living, and in part it’s because we play so often we’re playing better and in part because of your lyrics. Suddenly, an old guy comes along and offers us a chance to tour and, oh, by the way, why don’t you throw your songs into the pot, too? Not us recording our songs, but the songs themselves. We’re small time and none of us are sharp entrepreneurs, but once we got over the excitement of being asked, we’re not that stupid.” Trent nodded at the contract in the folder. “There’s hardly a sentence I understand. How about you?”

Daria opened the folder and speed-read through parts of it. “Well, I understand it’s written in high-level legalese,” Daria answered. “This is the type of language which lawyers use for any combination of three reasons: to impress the hell out of each other; to close every loophole they can think of; or to screw some poor dumb bastard out of his fillings.”

“And do you understand it?”

“Oh, hell no,” Daria replied. “This can only be understood by a good lawyer if it’s well written. If it’s poorly written, then it might take a great lawyer to figure out if it means anything.”

Trent sighed and slumped even more.

“Hey, I wrote all or part of most of your current lyrics. You can’t sell them without me, and so I need legal advice.”

“I can’t ask you to do that,” Trent said. “I know how you feel about it. For that matter, I know how I feel about it!” Trent shuddered. “I just couldn’t do that to a friend.”

“Trent, there are two reason why I did all those lyrics,” Daria said firmly. Then she added, “Well, three if you include the practice. The first was to help a friend.”

“And the other one?” Trent asked.

“Trent, I want to make a decent living out my writing if I can. Just like you wrote that jingle for Happy Herb, if I have to, I’ll write greeting cards to support my other writing. I’d rather write jingles than greeting cards; I’d much rather write lyrics to real songs than commercial jingles. I get to hear what I write for you. That’s more than just practice.” She held up the contract. “I am not getting ripped off; I will not let my partners get ripped off. I want you to make it because you’re my friend; and I want Mystic Spiral to make it because then I make it, too.”

Trent thought about that, then nodded. He thought a moment and stood up again, this time so he could give Daria another piece of paper, this time from his back pocket. “Here. This says, well, you read it.”

Daria took the sheet of paper, signed by all four band members, and saw it authorized Daria to be the band’s full agent in all legal dealings. She looked at Trent in surprise.

“You value money more than I do,” Trent pointed out, “but you also value friendship more than anyone I have ever met. Even if you were mad at the guys, you’d protect them from anyone else on the planet, unless they’d hurt someone you cared about more. And no, I didn’t say anything. Jesse said it first.”

“And what did Jesse say?” Daria asked, amused.

“Well, Max was having one of his fits as he tried to make that thing out – he’s been ripped off by sales contracts he didn’t understand. Nick said we didn’t dare sign it unless someone could figure it out. After his divorce settlement, well, it wasn’t pretty. So before I could say anything, Jesse said, ‘Ask Daria. She’s cool’.”

Daria smiled prettily for a moment at the compliment, and then her smiled widened – an orca would be going shark hunting.


“Mom, can we talk?” Daria asked later that evening.

“I take it this is something serious?” Helen asked. Daria was already dressed for bed. In just socks, shorts, and a loose t-shirt and her hair pulled back, Daria looked very young and vulnerable (as she intended, of course).

Helen followed Daria into her bedroom. “What is it, Sweetie?” ‘Please don’t let her and Theo be having sex!’ Helen thought.

“I hate to do this, but I need a favor,” Daria said. “A legal one.”

Helen blinked. While she was off-balance, Daria told her the story of her lyrics, the band’s improvement, and the offer. “Let me see it,” Helen simply said, holding out her hand. Daria handed her mother the stack of paper, the band’s authorization on top.

Helen glanced at the first page of the contract, frowned, and then sat down at Daria’s desk, switching a desk lamp on as she did so. After five minutes, Helen was only on the second page of the twelve page document. She sighed and looked at her daughter.

“Tell me, is that dribble masquerading as legalese, or is that the most high-flown and elaborate legalese there is?” Daria asked.

“Oh, it’s the latter,” Helen replied.

“Would Trent have had any fillings left if he and the band had signed that?”

“I haven’t gotten far enough to say,” Helen admitted. “However, few lawyers use this type of language just to show they can. We just hired on an entertainment law associate – his wife is our new immigration law junior associate. I’ll ask him to look at it and see what he thinks.”

“I hate needing this type of favor,” Daria admitted.

“I understand.” Helen favored Daria with the same orca smile Daria had given Trent earlier. “And who knows; this might be fun.”


Trent was surprised when Daria called him the next evening and told him they had an appointment at Lawndale Law the next day at 4:00. “Are you alright?” Daria asked him as they stood in the lobby of the wing of the office building that Lawndale Law occupied.

Trent was pale, and was dressed in his ‘best’ – newish jeans, a clean flannel shirt that was partially buttoned over a black t-shirt, a old but whole denim jacket, and a pair of boots that had been polished at some point, but not very recently.

Then Trent caught sight of the ‘Lawndale Law’ sign Jane had painted. He looked at Daria and coughed. Then he said, “You know how I feel about authority.” He sighed. “I guess I have to grow up.” His shoulders sagged. “I just realized, if we do pull this off, I’ll even have to get a watch.”

“I’m afraid so, Peter Pan.”

“Well, then let’s go see what the news is.”

Daria saw that Trent was sweating, and even shaking a little. “Here,” Daria said.


Daria waved her hand in front of Trent’s face and then lowered it. “Take my hand.” Daria smirked. “It’s pretty clean.”

Trent returned the smirk as he remembered and just put his arm around Daria’s shoulders and gave her a brief squeeze before dropping his arm. “Nah, I know you’ll protect me. That’s enough.”


The lawyer they were meeting with was Victor James, a rather average looking man of about thirty. “Well,” he said somewhat jovially, “you two managed to make my week. I don’t know if I’ll be able to make yours.”

“How is that?” Daria asked.

“Back a little more than thirty years ago, there were two friends out in California. They had been friends since they were college roommates, and one was in law school and the other in business school. Both had played in different bands, and even in the same bands, but never came close to making it. They started organizing concerts instead, and around Nineteen-seventy they went into it full time. The business school man had five younger brothers, and over the next fifteen years, they all came into the business. The lawyer brought in a few relatives as well. Now, anyone not an insider just looking around would think their one company was actually about a dozen or so competing against each other, but it’s one big Company, one of the biggest, in fact. They have concert tours of all kinds all over the United States and Canada, and those tours have at times reached overseas. And by all kinds, I mean just that – any type of rock, pop, and even some country, rap, jazz, and classical. Still, it’s mostly rock and pop, and except for a little fusion or cross-over country, that’s all they arrange to have recorded.”

Seeing the two were following, James continued. “Now, they don’t have any real superstars, or even real stars signed. They specialize in running the concert tours, organizing the merchandizing, and supplying the other acts when the real stars tour, so that they and their managers don’t have to do all the work.”

“Other acts?” Daria asked, mostly for clarification.

“Sometimes the other stuff is pre-recorded, but these folks still prefer all live music. So, a really big show might have a band playing as the people come in, then a real warm-up band, an opening act that might be pretty well-known, the main group or star, and maybe even another band playing for a bit as the crowd leaves. Their other concerts, except for the really small ones, might have the same band doing the walk-ins and outs. With me so far?”

The pair nodded.

“Now, excluding the stars and superstars they work with but don’t have under contract, they rank their contract acts pretty simply: As; Bs; Cs; Ds; and Fs. They don’t usually sign Fs unless they have a short term need for a throw-away band, or if the band has something they want.”

“Like their tunes,” Trent groused.

“Exactly,” James agreed. “They offered you a double-F contract. To tell you the truth, I had heard of them, but didn’t think they actually existed. I thought they were a law-school legend. The Company itself is pretty well-known, and we studied them in some of the entertainment law classes.”

“So, we’re F’ed?” Trent managed to joke.

“They want your tunes,” James agreed. “The questions are: how badly do they want them and what do they actually think of you? If they hate your band, there’s not much we can do except get you a good deal for your songs if you want one. It’s also possible that it’s not that they hate or even dislike you, but that they have enough other bands they don’t need to bring one along if they can rip you off instead.”

James saw they were about to ask questions and held up his hands. “Now, despite their offer, when they give out the decent contracts – the A’s, B’s, and even C’s – they are also well known for fulfilling them better than most agencies and studios. So, may I contact them and see what I can do?”

Trent slumped. “I don’t know if I can ask that.” James frowned in confusion. “No offense,” Trent added, “but I don’t think you work cheap.”

“True,” James agreed. “However, you’re giving me a chance to take on one of the giants in my field. If I can win, I’ll still bring in a little something, plus I will have shown my bosses what I can do, and, yes, I’ll have done a favor for one of them.”

“Trent, you and the band said I should decide,” Daria reminded him. She turned to James. “Have fun.” James returned the evil smile that Daria had just given him, as he thought how much Daria looked like her mother.


John Jay Shapiro looked up from his paperwork and answered his phone. “Shapiro,” he merely said. Although related to the owners, he was the only Shapiro, and except for his mother and girlfriend, few outsiders had his number.

“Hey, JJ, this is Vic James.”

Shapiro was surprised at the call. “What’s up, Vic? I heard your firm folded when the senior partner had a heart attack.”

“True, and only three months after Joy and I got back to the East Coast. Still, we were just picked up by an even bigger firm a few towns over, a place called Lawndale.”

“Sounds suburban.”

“About as suburban as you can imagine,” Vic James agreed. “And yet, I have in my hand one of your uncle’s infamous double-F contracts.”

Shapiro winced. “How did it get to you?” The firm’s agents rarely recruited Fs, and those few they did rarely could go to as good a lawyer as Victor James. Double Fs were even more rare; as that meant the music was at least potentially very good.

“Obviously what you want is their music,” James replied. Shapiro of course knew that those groups signed only for F playing contracts usually didn’t even have their music mentioned. They were used for a few stop-gap gigs and dropped hard. “The lyricist is one of the partner’s daughters.”

“Papa caught wind of it?”

Shapiro snorted. “The daughter is supposedly a genius and apparently instantly identified the high-flown legalese as something her mother had to look at.”

“I deal with merchandizing, not the band contracts. That’s still my uncle’s department,” Shapiro pointed out.

“If I have to spend time getting through to him, it’s probably not worth my time, and the band agreed to do as the lyricist decides,” James pointed out.

“Okay. The band’s name?”

“Mystic Spiral.”

“Odd, sounds more like a 'Doors' cover band than one with original stuff we’d want. Give me your numbers; someone will be back with you.”


John Cohen and John Essex, the original partners, were in Cohen’s office having a general business discussion over coffee when the private secretary buzzed and asked when Shapiro could see them. Essex shrugged, and Cohen had his nephew come along.

“What’s up, JJ?” Cohen asked.

“Do you remember my mentioning Victor James from law school?”

Cohen remembered more details than most people could. “Number three in your class, interned in New York, spent time in two big entertainment law firms in LA, and came back East last year?”

“That’s him. He’s got one of our double-Fs, and obviously isn’t thrilled.”

“We’ve only got two double-Fs on the table east of the Mississippi, unless someone put it out yesterday,” Essex mused. “One in Jersey and one in Maryland. Is this Catcher’s Rhyme or Mystic Spiral?”


“And what did you tell him?” Cohen asked.

“That I’d refer the matter to the proper people and someone would likely get back to him,” Shapiro answered.

“Good answer,” Essex said. “Someone will contact him with our decision, probably next week.”

“Find out about this guy’s law firm by tomorrow afternoon,” Cohen added to his retreating nephew.


That Friday night was the last Lawndale away football game, against the somewhat distant Riverdale. Daria was in her room, typing away with headphones on.

Quinn came in, looked at the radio setting Daria had, and pulled the plug on the earphones.

Instantly, Daria turned around as the Lawndale radio station broadcasting the game came out of the speakers. “Why’d you do that?” Daria demanded.

“I wondered if you would miss hearing Thor play,” Quinn teased. “Are you sure you’re not in love with him?”

“I like him a lot, and I’m even very attracted to him on many levels, but I am not in love with him,” Daria stated, giving Quinn a dirty look.

“Are you satisfied with him?”

“I am perfectly satisfied with him,” Daria stated, and then went on, softening her voice. “I don’t need the procession of boy toys you use to get gifts, any more than I need those four geeks you play sex games with.”

Quinn blanched.

“What? Did you think no one could figure it out? Why else not only occasionally go with four unpopular if not totally unattractive geeks, but also apparently just hang out with them some nights? Why else, when you ‘go out’ with Orion, Toby, Jimmy and especially Matthew, you don’t usually say where? Or that you always seem so excited about it, since they don’t give you any gifts, at least none you talk about? The other geeks, the ones you just flirt with, do your tech work, but not these four. Why is it that you always get a manicure the day of or the day before going out with those four, but never consistently with anyone else? Or that you sometimes have odd damp patches on your clothes when you come back from seeing those three? Or that while you obviously haven’t been drinking, you always smell of mouth wash or mint after a date with Matthew, and sometimes have different lipstick on when you come back?”

“Are you going to tell Mom?” Quinn asked.

“Of course not,” Daria replied.

“And the price?”

“I’ve never done what you’ve done with Matthew, but who knows, some day I might.”

Quinn smirked. “And you’ll trade silence for, well, you want pointers?”

“I believe in consulting experts.”

Quinn smiled, and she and Daria sat down to exchange ‘girl talk’ that would have likely killed, or at least knocked out, any straight male who overheard it. Even though Lawndale went on to defeat Riverdale 25-20, neither sister paid much attention.


The next morning, Daria and Jane were at a classroom building at Lawndale State early. The high school and college students were gathering to take the SAT, GRE, or CLEP exams in Spanish and/or French. The Spanish exams were given first, followed by the French. Daria was therefore busy the whole morning, while Jane was free to wander about the campus for a few hours after the Spanish exam.

Jane decided that while the school had an interesting new computer graphics program, the traditional art programs were not worth considering if she didn’t get into BFAC or Ellis. She decided that any one of a half dozen two year art college programs she knew about would be more useful unless she decided she wanted to teach art than what Lawndale State had to offer. She had suspected this was the case, but was now certain.

When Daria was finished, she drove Jane to Cranberry Commons – there was a stand at the food court that offered their favorite chili cheese fries. After that, they walked the mall a while before heading out. John was going to a jazz concert that night, so Jane was planning on getting some painting done on something other than her huge after-school project.

Daria and Quinn returned home at about the same time, and both had dates for 6:30. Quinn showered, and then started her two-hour prep. Daria came out of the shower and wondered what to do with herself waiting for Thor to show. She wondered if one reason Quinn spent all that time getting ready for meaningless dates was just to fill time.

She shrugged and worked on the romance novel until her father called out, “Dar-ia! Thor’s here!” promptly at 6:30.

“Did you bring it?” Daria asked Thor as she climbed into his truck.

“As ordered, one quiche and a bottle of sparkling pink lemonade,” the confused teen replied as he started the truck. “Where to?”

“Your house.”

“My house?”

Daria nodded. “You said your parents would be gone until at least Ten, right?”

“More like Eleven, but yes.”

“Then your house.”

Confused but certainly willing, Thor did as he was told. He left the quiche on the kitchen table and put the bottle of lemonade in the refrigerator, and was very happy to follow Daria, who was wearing a tighter skirt than usual, up the stairs. He watched with growing excitement as Daria turned off the lights to his room – a recently acquired small red lava lamp gave more than enough light. Then as Daria requested, Thor stripped and lay on the bed. He was more than happy to watch Daria slowly strip down her to her panties and then come and lie down next to him. This was the first time they had been this intimate.

After over half an hour of heavy kissing and petting, Daria laid Thor on his back, took him in hand, and, her eyes meeting his, slowly lowered her head and gave herself a present, glad she had been coached by Quinn.

Just over two hours later, Thor returned Daria home. “Thank you,” he said as he kissed her deeply.

“Thank you,” Daria returned. “You were quite the savory birthday present.”

“I don’t think we should try for a repeat at your party.”

“That was more my present to myself than one from you, even though you were a most tasty and delightful delivery system,” Daria answered. “I wanted to prove to myself I could.”

“Until tomorrow at Two,” Theo said, kissing her again. He then watched Daria get out of the truck and go into the house, both pleased by the evening and concerned that so much was going on inside Daria’s head that he had no clue to.


Daria’s birthday that Sunday was unusually well-attended. In fact, it was by far the most attended birthday she had ever had. Besides her parents and Quinn, Jane, Thor, John, Jodie, Mack, Trent, and Brittany were there. Andrea had been invited but did not wish to be near Mack and Jodie, although she had sent a present (a comic strip featuring Daria and Jane snarking in the halls of Lawndale High). Helen had swallowed her residual resentments and prejudices and had invited Amy, who had come. Helen and Amy were managing to be friendly, which pleased everyone who knew them.

The party was not fancy – lots of finger sandwiches, chips & dips (not to mention carrot sticks and celery), and of course ice cream and cake. At Daria’s request, all the presents were kept small. Still, she was pleased. She knew she still had stronger defenses than most people would consider normal, but felt that over the previous seven months, she had (for the most part) torn down some of the defenses which were hindering her. If she was careful, those that remained would be under her control.


Helen told Daria the next Tuesday that she should round up Spiral for a meeting Thursday at 4:00, and that Jane should come. Jane, of course, did not want to miss an afternoon of painting, but she could hardly turn down the invitation.

Daria was a bit amused at seeing the band’s reaction to the law firm and the typical run of clients – and the associates’ and clients’ reaction to the band as she and Jane herded them along to James’ office.

Once the band was settled in, however uncomfortably, James quickly started the meeting after Daria had made the introductions. “First of all, Ms Morgendorffer told me that you were all informed by both her and by Mister Lane of my opinion of your original contracts. Is that correct?” Getting affirmatives, he went on, “Now it turns out, the Company, as it’s commonly called, would really like your music, with or without you attached. They made a good offer for the music without your recording it, and also made an offer where, with a lot of hard work and some luck, you might be able to make a good living off your music for at least a few years. If you remember my description of the contracts, you have a B offer if you just sell the music and a C offer as a band plus your music. Ms Morgendorffer said she believes you’d prefer the second option, but it’s up to you. Shall I tell you what you would need to do?”

Needless to say, the band was interested.

“Well, to succeed, you’d have to agree to a pretty tough tour schedule, starting in January. Two weeks of intense rehearsals, and then twelve weeks of touring, with four to six concerts every week. Seven weeks touring with one band, five weeks with another. I have to say, I never heard of either band, and as far as I’ve seen, neither has had a hit in the top sixty. You’d be playing two half hour sets, one as the crowd comes in, one on their way out. Now let’s be honest, some of those people will be hostile, in part because you’re the warm-up and closing band, and in part because these won’t be top bands on the upper bill. You’ve probably played in front of worse crowds, but not of this size.”

“How large?” Daria asked.

“At the largest concerts those last five weeks? Two to three thousand.”

That made the band members exchange looks – these crowds would indeed be at least ten times the largest size they were used to, if not twenty times.

“Before they put you in front of really large crowds, they want to see if you can handle it, so the first tour will be with crowds of five hundred to a thousand. In addition, while they don’t want to change your sound, they would like you to play a little tighter. The third thing they want to test is if you can handle the pressure of touring without falling apart while keeping to a schedule.”

Jesse looked at Trent. “You’re getting a watch, dude.” Trent merely winced, but nodded.

“On the twelve week tour, you’ll only have t-shirts for them to sell. If they like what you’ve done, then you’ll be spending three weeks recording, have two weeks off to work on new material, and then move up a step to be the closing band for some big tours, or maybe even two steps and be the walk-in band. That would be after about two weeks of rehearsal, so with luck you’ll have at least one cd to sell by then as well as the t-shirts. Now, the overall offer they made shows me they’re serious about giving you a shot. But, it’s up to you to decide.” He showed them their choices – two stacks of paper.

“Did you read these, Daria?” Nick asked.

“I did.”

“What do you say?” Jesse asked.

“It’s up to you; if all four of you are willing to really work at least as hard on your music as you have been, and even harder to keep to schedule, then the concert route gives you a real shot at what you’ve all said you really want. It won’t be easy, but it is what you all claim you want to do.”

“But it is possible, right?” Max asked.

“Yes,” Daria answered. “This is likely your best shot.”

“I’m in,” Max said.

“So am I,” Nick agreed. “We’ll get some more details before we sign, right?”

“Of course,” Daria said, “plus it will all be spelled out in the contract.”

“Cool,” Jesse said. “I’m in.”

“You guys will have help me, and each other,” Trent pointed out. “I’m not the only one who sleeps through some rehearsals.”

The other three winced.

“Alright, before you sign, let me talk you through some of the important points,” James told them. “Ms Lane, you’re here because you designed the Mystic Spiral t-shirt and the original banner and symbol, correct?”

“I did,” Jane agreed.

“If it comes to it, will you want a shot at designing the cd covers?”

“Of course!” Jane said enthusiastically.

“Okay, they’ll be reproducing the Spiral banner, and you’ll get a hundred for that. The band’s share of any t-shirt will be a dollar and a quarter. From that, Ms Lane will get a quarter, Ms Morgendorffer a nickel. Lawndale Law, which will also be officially registering and supervising the use of your logo and copyrights, will get fifteen cents. You’ll each get twenty cents.” James gave the band dirty looks. “The Company will make certain all royalties are paid, along with all taxes.”

“Ah, man,” Max grumbled.

James slid a cd over towards Jane. “This has the official software for designing cd covers, including design blueprints.” Jane merely nodded and picked it up.

“Now, the reason I know the Company is serious is your signing bonus.” The band again perked up. “Now, before we get to that, let’s talk about your pay and expenses.”

The band again perked up – for a moment.

“Let me say right off -- the pay stinks.”

“How much?” Nick asked.

“A hundred a gig. . . .”

“Twenty-five bucks each!” Nick squeaked.

James shook his head. “No, a hundred each per gig. Fifty-seven gigs, fifty-seven hundred each, minus taxes. However, you really shouldn’t have to pay a cent out of pocket.”

“Really?” Trent asked doubtfully.

“The only things you should have to pay for are for entertainment – and let me tell you guys something up front. The Company doesn’t care what you do on your own time, but if you get busted or wreck a room or get arrested for drunk and disorderly or something, or miss the tour bus or worst of all if you’re late, drunk, or stoned during a performance, they’ll leave your asses and gear in a pile by the side of the road in the middle of nowhere – or maybe two piles in two different places.”

“They all stopped using about two years ago,” Jane said. “Right?”

The band admitted she was right. Jane had guilted them all into it.

“Well, there will likely be a lot of shit floating around, so be careful,” James warned. “Okay, there should be three buses, four trucks, and an RV in both tour groups. Each band will be in a different bus.” Seeing that Max looked confused, he added, “The walk-in/closing band – that’s you – the main band, and the opening band.” Max nodded.

“The roadies, techies, and support people will be split between your bus and the opening band’s bus. The Company road managers will be in the RV. Still, you shouldn’t have to sleep on the buses on this tour – that does happen, though, so this time you’re just lucky. You’ll have two rooms to split each night; and you also get free meals plus food at the concerts backstage. Don’t overdo it on the steaks and you should be fine with as much as you want to eat, although you pay for your own alcohol – if you feel they aren’t treating you right, you call me and I’ll straighten things out. We’re getting a commission out of you, so call me if you need help.”

The band nodded.

“Providing you don’t make too big a mess – and I was in a band, guys, so you know I know what can happen, if it does, clean it your selves – but the Company people will even do your laundry. If they have to clean up real messes, though, they’ll probably throw a roll of quarters at you. And I do mean throw!”

Again, the band nodded. Jesse turned to Trent. “You still owe me a shirt.” Trent merely nodded.

“So, food, transportation, lodging, all provided for. Now, the signing bonus.” James glared at the band. “Do I just turn your portions over to you guys, or do you want your manager to take care of you?”

“Is it a lot?” Jesse asked.

“For what you guys are used to? Yes. As a band bonus? Not really.”

“Let Daria do it,” Jesse said.

“Yeah,” Max and Nick agreed.

Trent merely nodded.

“Now, as for your music, if you are kept on to record it: most important is that you get to record it first and so long as you sell enough of each song, they can’t let any of their other artists play or record that song for three years after the release date, and after that, those of you who contributed to the songs you get as good a deal as any songwriters get. You submitted thirty-nine songs, and you will be able to choose at least twelve of them to record. And yes, I got you good deals if you can generate some real interest. The Company is on-line and if they record you, they’ll have a web page where people can order your music and t-shirts.” James again pointed at the contracts they were about to sign.

“Anything else?”

The band looked around, and shook their collective heads. James then handed each an envelope as each signed. “There’s an advance on your bonus of three hundred and seventh-five dollars each.”

“Nick, we both know where a third of that should go, right?” Daria asked.

Nick merely nodded, as he knew his common-law wife and daughter could use it, despite her having a good job.

Daria went on. “Guys, a third of that should go for checking your equipment, other than your amps – the Company will supply the amps and someone to work their sound system. Trent, I know you have at least three guitars, and Jesse, you have at least two. Nick?”

“I have another old ax,” Nick said.


“I could put together another kit,” Max agreed.

“Have them all ready to go, you don’t want to be stuck looking for a last-second replacement while you’re on tour in the middle of nowhere,” Daria warned. “I hate shopping, but we’ll go after Christmas to get your clothes, strings, sticks, et cetera.”

The band signed where they were told to and left, with Jane and Daria driving off in her VW. They decided to go off and celebrate with burgers and ice cream.

As they got in the VW, Daria handed Jane an envelope.

“What’s this for?” Jane asked.

“An advance on your cover work,” Daria answered.

“Cool. You know, that lawyer didn’t strike me as a rocker.”

“Fusion – he was the second trombone in a Chicago-wannabe band.”

“Oh.” Jane thought a moment. “Just how big is their signing bonus?”

“Twenty-five thousand.”

“And if they blow it?”

“The money or their chance?”

“Their chance,” Jane answered.

“Then they better finally learn some 'Doors' covers.”
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