14th – Flying Without Wings


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School holiday brings a lot of joy for The Stars, without school activities they can focus only on their music and of course keep trying to sell their album.

It was sunny Sunday but their audiences are not as shine as the sunlight since they have lost with other performances.

‘Oh, so here you are, that’s why I thought you’re familiar to me,’ greeted a half aged man to Jerry as he passing The Stars’s pamphlet to the strangers who pass him by.

‘Oh hello sir, how are you?’ Jerry asked politely.

‘As you can see, I’m pretty fine. You’re playing good. Are those your albums?’ The man asked CDs Jerry is holding.

Jerry nodded, ‘it is our first album.’

Seeing Jerry is talking with strangers John approached them, afraid of his youngest members has trouble since Tom often had one.

‘Is anything I can help?’ John asked as he approached Jerry.

Jerry shook his head, ‘oh no, he’s a regular customer at Spice and sir, this is John our leader, John he is Mr. Fong’ Jerry introduces them each other.

‘Oh nice to meet you, you guys have a unique music to play. When I saw Jerry at the restaurant I thought I must met him somewhere else outside the restaurant but I forget where it was.

‘Every Sunday,’ John replied and suddenly he took one CD from Jerry’s hand and held it out to Mr. Fong. ‘This is our first album, we will be glad if you take your to listen to this.’

Mr. Fong examining it lightly and smiling wide, ‘thank you.’ He said. ‘I guess we’ll meet again soon,’ Jerry and John look at each other, what he is means by “soon”? ‘Keep playing your style, you guys are good.’ Mr. Fong waved the CD he held to bid goodbye.

‘The first buyer?’ Suddenly Tom appeared behind Jerry and John.

John spun around and shrugged, ‘I give it for free.’

Tom’s eyes widened and Jerry recounted his explanation about who Mr. Fong is.

‘But what does he mean by “soon”?’ Tom asked.

 Both of John and Jerry shook their head.

***

Four members of The Stars are about to packed their instruments when Mrs. Smith calling them to join with her and her guest. There somebody wants to meet you guys, she said.

A half aged man welcoming them with wide smile for John and Jerry’s surprise it was Mr. Fong they met on the last Sunday.

On the small room usually set up for meeting that now has changed to be a dinner room, in the table already laid several dishes, assorted fruits and everything. The Stars members looking at each other, what is this? They thought.

‘Here, here come, have a seat.’ Mr. Fong pleases the boys to sit since four of them standing still in confusion.

‘You know each other do you? Well Cristo, I leave you all on your own, my job done and enjoy your dinner.’ Mrs. Smith smiling and said once all of them sit around the table.

‘Sir, what this is all about?’ Jerry asked.

‘Ahh let’s talk later, now we just enjoy the dinner first. You know I was really enjoying your performance and now this butterflies need to feed.’ Mr. Fong pointed to his tummy, made all of them laugh.

‘Thank you sir,’ John replied Mr. Fong compliment about their performance.

Mr. Fong waved his hand, ‘well, let’s have a dinner, Anna already prepare nice dinner for us, come have a taste.’

‘If I may sir, how do you know Mrs. Smith?’ Jerry asked before he sips a spoon full egg drop soup.

‘Oh, Anna’s late husband is my best friend, we were friends for decades, it’s sad he leave so soon.’ Mr. Fong explained.

***

Four of them going back home in silence, no one neither speaks nor fooling around like usual. Even uncle bus driver happen to asked them whether they had a bad day.

‘Ah no uncle, we’re fine, just too tired maybe.’ Ringo smiled.

Tom put his guitar recklessly on the table and slump to the couch as soon as they are entering the house. Ringo meanwhile, who usually scold to whoever who did not put the stuff on its right place, says nothing this time. Instead, he took the guitar and put it on to Tom’s room.

‘Thanks,’ Tom said shortly while Ringo is back to the living room.

Again, it is a long silence between them, everyone have been busy with their own thought.

‘Well, what do we do?’ John broke the silence, but still no one of his member replying.

‘We have no plan yet,’ after a moment Ringo pull out his thought.

And that night, just passes without any conclusion, and they let the matter hanging on the sky. Maybe tomorrow they will have better idea to discuss. Who knows?

***

The house is completely dark and quite since it is over midnight already. Probably the only living creature in the dark house is Jerry who still doing his assignment on the living room instead on his room; probably he does not want to distract Ringo’s sleep.

Jerry turn his head acknowledges Tom’s appearance but said nothing and back to his laptop’s screen.

‘Do you think I’m selfish?’ Tom suddenly asked.

Jerry looked up to his band mates and back to the screen.

‘What are you talking about?’ Jerry asked.

Tom let out a deep breath and took some time to replay Jerry’s question.

‘Well, I know all of you wanna take the offer but you guys put it down because of me, you think that I won’t agree or something.’

‘And are you?’ Jerry asked with his eyes still on the screen.

‘I don’t know,’ Tom shrugged and he leaned his back down to the couch.

Jerry who is busy with his assignment let his band mates on his own thought.

‘We’re all know that you’re stubborn, but you’re definitely aren’t selfish.’ Jerry said after long pause.

Tom chuckled, ‘thanks,’ once again Tom turn silence.

‘So should we take the offer? I mean should I take the offer?’

‘You should know that it’s very rare chance,’

‘So do you think I supposed to let my idealism just… go?’

‘No, I don’t. We have to hold it firm instead.’

Tom’s eyebrows join one and he straight his back up.

‘What did you mean?’ Tom asked in confusion.

‘Look, whatever our idealism is but as musician our main goal is to have many more people to listen to our music, isn’t it?’ Tom nodded. ‘So, we need as many and powerful as possible partner and this is a great and rare chance, I don’t think Mrs. Smith wants to sell us, she knows everything about us. All I wanna say are we can make it clear so our idealism didn’t infringe.’ Jerry stops talking because Tom looking at him in strange looks. ‘What?’

Tom laughed, ‘no, nothing, I just never imagine that you already such in deep thinking.’

‘I’m not as stupid as you think’ snorted Jerry and Tom’s laughed grows louder.

Suddenly Jerry remembers his conversation with his band mate’s mother sometimes ago.

***

‘It’s hard, isn’t it to live together with Tom?’ asked Mrs. Carrick in the second day her staying.

Jerry was help Mrs. Carrick preparing lunch since he was the first who came back home. And Jerry just smiled hearing the question.

‘Not really, I know he never mean it.’ Jerry said.

‘Well, Tom is very stubborn person that I ever know, though he’s my son but I have never seen somebody like him before.’ Both Mrs. Carrick and Jerry laughed. ‘He’s quite opposite with his twin, Heyley, she’s more like you. And I think you should know why he’s rude to you; it’s all because he envies you. You can express what are you feeling easily which he can’t. The only friend he has since kid is only John and seeing him right now, with you and Ringo, I’m really thank to guys, most of the thing is that because you guys can bear with his unusual personality.’

Jerry laughed, ‘yeah, he’s stubborn indeed but actually he’s very caring to us.’

‘Well, thanks for praising him.’ Mrs. Carrick said in her laugh.

***

‘I think we should take the offer,’ Tom said once they are gathering on the school backyard.

‘Is it okay with you?’ Ringo asked.

Tom smiled as he acknowledges his thought was true, all of his member never talk about Mr.  Fong’s offer because they know he is not okay with it.

‘Yeah, of course but,’ Tom look at Jerry before he continue and Jerry just smile encourage him. ‘We have to make it clear that we’re partner, we do our music and they do the marketing. We make sure that we have full control for our music. How do you think?’

‘I’m agreeing that idea, yeah,’ Ringo said.

John nodded, what Tom said is great idea. They should make sure that their music will not infringe by anything or anyone else just because they are joins the company.

‘That good you have this kind of point of view.’ John said.

Tom shook his head, ‘Jerry who’s the one who came up with this idea.’

***

‘It should be somewhere here,’ John said while looking up to the building next o them.

Tom had said nothing but seems agree with John and even led the leader to come inside.

It was out of their expectation since all of the staff there are pretty helpful and friendly. It seems they are already waiting for John and Tom to come.

Both of the boys look around them, it is indeed a big company but why Mr. Fong wants to pick them up under his wings? And suddenly, Tom felt all of Jerry had said would not work here. How it does possible to them to request something here? It seems they only need read the contract and sign for everything who had print it out.

Maybe Tom’s worries are mirrored on his face because then John patted his back and saying.

‘Don’t worry, we’re still in our plan, they’re agreed or we leave.’

Tom turns his head and smiled. Though still in a little doubt on what will happen as it their plan before.

***

Mr. Fong nicely asked them to come to his big and luxury office.

‘Oh welcome, come and have a seat, where is the other two?’ Mr. Fong asked.

‘Jerry and Ringo still have class.’ John replied as

‘I thought you didn’t take my offer.’ Said Mr. Fong.

‘I’m sorry Sir; we took a long time to discuss.’ It was Tom who replied this time.

‘So, how is it?’

‘Our main point is that we’re partner, we do our music and you do the marketing, that’s all.’ John said carefully.

Mr. Fong smiled, these boys just exactly as he thought and he acknowledge that it is impossible to take them like any of his. He got up to his feet and walked across to his table and take papers which the contract had been drafted.

‘Well, you guys read this carefully and discuss first. Is it a week enough, can we meet again next Tuesday?’

John and Tom looked at each other; that was all?

‘Oh, okay sir; we will come again next Tuesday.’ John replied.

Both John and Tom remind silent on their way back to home. They just sit side by side on the g bus drown by their own thought. Tom who sits beside the window keep staring outside as if he let the speed of the things who passed him by could take away his thought.

***

John sits at Tom’s amplifiers holding some pamphlets he supposed to give to the people but he simply watching at them. His band mates are in the distance busying themselves promoting their album and distributing pamphlets, Jerry even nowhere he can not be seen. Surely he, Jerry, put his best effort both to sell their album distributing the pamphlets.

Some days ago when finally they had their CD sold for the first time, it was Jerry and from that time on, among them three, Jerry is always the busiest when it comes to the promoting and selling.

‘I told you! We can do this, just don’t give up that easy, we can sell all of this!’ Exclaimed Jerry that day.

And the other day John heard Tom asked Jerry not to push himself too hard.

‘No I don’t,’ Jerry replied cheerfully like usual, ‘look I passed my target today, its matter of time ‘till we sold our entire albums.’

John smiled, he is very thankful to have reliable band mates. At first it was only Tom that he thought has the same passion with him but he find it wrong to thing like that. Ringo and Jerry were another treasure for him now. It is true both of them did not work as much as he himself or Tom in their songs but surely both of them takes over everything he and Tom can not do well.

The role just approached them without any of them had order to each other; John does the most of in album production as producers, main composers, arrangements helped by Tom which Ringo does the most of the manager’s job as well as Jerry who does the most in selling and promoting. It just comes naturally, no one asked and no one ordered you do this and I do that.

‘What are you thinking?’ Tom asked as he shoved pet bottle.

John raised his head, smiled and took the bottle.

‘Nothing, I was just thinking about what we are doing right now.’

‘What that supposed to mean?’ Tom kicked aside his guitar case and sits on the pave, stretch his both leg before he cross it.

John shook his head, ‘I just realized that we’re definitely as crazy as our classmates think and why Choi’s parents decide to sent him back home instead of letting him stick together with us.’

‘And you realized me, I’ve never think about Choi anymore, that’s bad that I forget him. Well, sounds that I trouble you with my idealism.’

For the second times John shook his head, ‘no you don’t. We were decided by ourselves no one push each other to join in, remember?’

Tom laughed as John reminds him about Jerry’s word on the night they had fought to confront John months ago.

‘So, what do you think about the contract?’ John asked.

Tom shook his head, ‘no not yet, see first what Ringo and Jerry think.’

‘That’s of course; I just asked whether you have suggestion over this.’

Tom shook his head as his reply.

The day going to be dark as the late summer twilight approaching, here they are, John, Tom, Ringo and Jerry leaving Shinjuku station with wide smile today. Another selling today, the remaining copies just need a little more time to be sold and as their plan before, once they are able to sell the first hundred of copies The Stars attempt to put a display theirs on the music store. Thank to Mrs. Carrick for her silent help in cost and Mrs. Smith for her recommendation which store they are about to display. Also, Mr. Fong’s offer to join in his company is another thing The Stars need to be concern about.

Well, their path seems to be clear yet it is not a guarantee everything will be easy.

The Stars

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