Too Many Rock Stars

By: Candy J. Starr

He just sat there, hunched over staring at his hands for long enough that panic set in. He could say something instead of just looking defeated. Surely he'd know I had a zillion questions. Everyone would. That was a massive bombshell to drop.

My heart sunk like a drowning man. That was not what I'd been expecting at all. I couldn't get my mouth to work. I had the functionality and facial expressions of a goldfish.

"I don't know, Violet. I really don't know. He is running numbers now and trying to figure out how long we have to pay this back. Maybe we can pay instalments or something. It does mean that this place has to start making some serious money. Enough to cover my tax bill."

I wanted to ask how big the tax bill was but was afraid of the answer. Even though Trouble wasn't anything fancy, it must cost a heap to run, with wages and all that.

We had to pay the bands plus we needed at least two staff in the downstairs bar plus two upstairs on a regular night. Then there was security and cleaning and bussing. I had no idea how much money the club made. Of course, I knew how much the door takings were for the bands and how much we paid them but then there was the bar as well. It wasn't like the place didn't make money.

"We have to make serious cuts. No more bar tabs, no more free drinks. No more having half a crowd on a Saturday night. We need to get bands that will bring in people, paying customers."

Well, there went all of my work. I could tear next month's roster into pieces. This place had never been like that. That's why I loved my job. It wasn't some ritzy club just out to make money. We did stuff like gave bands a chance to prove themselves and all the misfits somewhere to gather. Even though Chuck was a jerk, this place worked. It worked as a family and a refuge from the shitty world.

"Will that do the trick?"

"It might, I can't really say at the moment. It's all a mess."

He was right about that. Things were going to change and I hated change. It seemed bloody stupid to me that just because Chuck or his accountant had screwed up, we all had to suffer. The moment of pity I'd had for him passed quickly to be replaced by a rage at his incompetence. I knew this was his club but in some ways it was mine. I was the one who booked the bands. That wasn't as easy as you'd think. It wasn't just picking up the phone and telling some bozos to come in and play. It was an art, a special blending of the right sounds and the right people to create something magical. Sometimes that meant seeing the promise in a young band and letting them play a few times to get their confidence. Nurturing them until it all clicked. I’d built it all up and made it something special.

Now Chuck had screwed that all up.

I'd given everything to my job. I had no life outside of work. I didn't date. I didn't have outside of work friends. I didn't even do family. Hell, for my last birthday, my family had given me a gift card to some swanky department store. It was still sitting in my drawer. The guys at the club had given me a caramel peanut cheesecake and a vintage pair of Docs. Shit I really needed.

My hands shook worse than Chuck's and the icky feelings took over my stomach. I stood up. I had to get up.

If Chuck sold the club, I'd be back on the streets. No job, no money, no friends. People say they'll keep in touch but that's easier said than done. I'd built up the roster at this place. I'd created something. If he sold this place then that would've all been for nothing.

“Well, thanks for telling me, Chuck. Now I have some calls to make so I’ll let you go tell the rest of the staff.”

Wow, I could sound so professional and in control but really I screamed inside. I wasn’t sure how I’d cope with this.

Chapter 5 VIOLET

Alex came in early, almost as soon as the bar opened. Carlie nudged me as he walked across the room.

"I can see why you were giving Razer the brush-off."

I shrugged. I hadn't been giving Razer the brush-off. I'd been giving him nothing at all. Just a friendly warning to keep his distance. That wasn't dependent on another man being in the picture, he'd be outside the frame regardless.

Still, the sight of Alex did give me a little bolt of pleasure. I'd have to watch out for him or I'd end up doing something stupid. Damn his soulful eyes.

I'd called him earlier in the week to book him in for a gig.

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