Nigel drew a deep breath and knocked tentatively. He got all the crappy jobs.
On the other side of the door was current rock god, “Dirt.” Known only to his mother as Stanley Krabbowski, Dirt, and his band “Bulldozer,” took the music world by storm last summer with a hard-edged rock single called “Stuff It” supported by a platinum record that followed with the same name.
Dirt’s stage persona was one of an angry, anti-establishment, man-beast who was prone to spitting on, screaming at and otherwise abusing the faithful who came to see his shows. It puzzled Nigel as to what the throngs of people found so alluring about paying good money to be screamed at and pissed on, but he learned quickly that in the music business, there was no accounting for taste.
A muffled response came from behind the door, “Yeah?”
Nigel drew another deep breath, turned the knob and slowly swung the door open enough to stick his head in. “Mr. Dirt?”
Dirt was in the offices of Atomic Blast Records to discuss the terms of his next record and to sign off on some merchandising agreements. Once this little snag gets resolved, he would be out and away and doing whatever rock gods do at 2:30 in the afternoon.
“I’m Nigel Cro…,” his voiced cracked forcing him to swallow and clear his throat. “I’m Nigel Croft.”
“So?” Even in the shortest amount of space Dirt’s thick scouse accent rang clear.
“I’m from Atomic Blast Records, but I guess that’s obvious since we’re both here in the offices here at Atomic Blast, right?”
Dirt stared at Nigel, emotionless and still. He was a big man. Most of the current batch of rock-god wanna-bes, were slight, thin and pale. Even sitting on the couch, he was imposing.
“Right. Uh, I, uh, I guess it’s better to say ‘they,’ gave me the, uh, they wanted me to, uh,” Nigel said, sputtering as he searched for his mental footing.
“What’s wrong with you?” Dirt said. Beyond the slight curl of his upper lip, he remained stoic.
“Nothing,” Nigel said quickly.
“Are those the papers they want me to sign?”
“Uh, no. No, Sir they’re not. They are almost ready for you, but they want this little matter ironed out before they grab your ink.”
“What matter?” Dirt said.
“Yes,” Nigel said stepping into the room holding the papers out as he followed. “There seems to be some concern with the lyrics on your upcoming release. They, uh, them, not me, wanted to see if you could, uh, ‘take another look’ to see if you might be willing to make some adjustments.”
“Uh…well…they, not me, think this batch are…well…uhhh, offensive.”
“They’re love songs.”
“Wha…” Nigel caught himself before he let the full expression of his shock go. “I mean, yes. These are love songs. Of course…but, they, not me, are having a hard time, uh…seeing the love, as it were.”
Dirt sat still and silent.
“Let’s just take a look shall we?” Nigel quickly rifled through the short stack of papers. “Ah, here we go. This one. ‘Bleeding Whore.’ I guess that’s the working title. Uh, you start off really strong with the first word, ‘Woman!’ That’s really good, but then right after that where you talk about the ax and the long ride into the desert, and this bit with the rope and the animals nibbling and such…”
“What’s wrong with it?” Dirt said plainly. “It’s beautiful.”
“I agree there is some stark and vivid imagery there. I think you, ah, yes, you do mention a sunset there around the third verse. That’s nice. But then there’s this part with the entrails and then I guess Satan shows up at one point and there is something about collecting her eyes.”
“Beautiful eyes.” Dirt said, as a point of clarification.
“Right! Beautiful eyes. Nice. Still, they, not me are worried that this kind of imagery might negatively affect, well…everything.”
Silence filled the room. Nigel’s finger stayed glued to the printed phrase on the page about Satan’s collection of beautiful eyeballs. His arms stretched out so that Dirt could see the passage clearly. Never looking at the paper, Dirt fixed his gaze on Nigel.
“That’s offensive?” Dirt said.
“Yeah.” Nigel said nodding harder than he should, but unable to stop. “That’s… that’s offensive.”
“I’ll change it.” Dirt said, his gaze never wavering, his expression never-changing.
Nigel deflated a bit with relief. “That’s…that’s just perfect. That will be great.”
“Change eyeballs to lips.” Dirt said. “That’s even more beautiful.”
Nigel deflated even further. He got all the crappy jobs.