This book can be bought at most online retailers. Click her for link to Smashwords.
Price of Fame, Book 1
by Emily Wendling
The horror story is purely fictitious and is for educational and entertainment purposes only. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. All characters depicted are over the age of 18.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, including photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.”
Categories: Fiction, Horror, Crime Thriller
January 8, 1980
Joey wanted nothing more in this world than to be a rock star, but the odds were against him. He did not know how to play any instrument, nor was his singing ability anything special. It hurt him even more that he did not know anyone within the industry. Still, he wanted to be a rock star. Unfortunately for Joey, he was also lazy and undisciplined. He was just a few years out of high school and could not hold a job. He would work at various fast-food joints and hated it. He would always get fired after a few months. He lacked the skills and education necessary to get a better job, but even if he could, he would not want it. He wanted to be a Rock Star.
1979 had just come to a close, a brand-new decade had arrived. Joey felt it was his time. Joey did benefit from living in Los Angeles, instead of some no name town in the Midwest. There were a couple of famous music studios nearby. Every couple of days he would stop by one of them and he would provide them with a sample. This was such a daily occurrence, that it was to the point where the receptionists of those studios would just smile and throw his samples into the trash. When it came to being a rock star, Joey was a persistent young man, so he never gave up.
Back in high school, Joey and a couple of friends formed a band. The band tried hard. They were able to play at the prom, and a few other events. They tried to keep it going after high school, but the band slowly fell apart. One of the members quit. Another got married. The third went off to college. Joey was the only one hanging on for hopes of becoming a famous musician.
It was like ground hog’s day. Joey would go to work at the burger joint. He tried his best to put on a happy smile. When he came home, he would practice singing or learning to play the guitar. He felt lonely, since all his high school friends had moved on. He was stuck. Stuck living at home with his mom, dad, and sister. Often, he would drown the sadness away by illegally drinking beer, or watching his favorite show, the dukes of hazzard.
January 9, 1980
It was Wednesday, January 9th, 1980. This day would turn out to be different for Joey. He drove to downtown Los Angeles in his old 1972 yellow Honda Civic. It was rusty and small for his six-foot frame, but the vehicle was exceptionally reliable. As usual, he entered one of the music studio offices without an appointment and handed the receptionist his sample. This music studio was not his first pick either, but it was the closest. The receptionist gave him a fake smile and a snide remark. She took the sample and tossed it into the wastebasket. Normally, Joey would walk away with his head down. However, not today. Today was different, Joey lost his temper. He had enough. He was sick of people not treating him with respect, not giving him the chance.
He grabbed the receptionist by her shirt and pulled her across the desk with maximum force. He then pointed a finger at her face and started to yell at her with all his frustration. This continued for a minute before an old man rushed out from one of the offices and broke Joey’s grip from the receptionist.
“Hey, take it easy!” The old man shouted.
He did his best to calm Joey down. Joey, in his angry state, wanted to turn and punch the man. However, he noticed the man was old and frail. The man was of no threat. Joey also noticed that the man was dressed impeccably. His suit seemed to have been perfectly ironed and worth a fortune. The old man must be the owner or someone important Joey thought.
“Easy young fellow. There is no need for violence. What is the issue?” The old man asks.
“All I want is someone to listen to my demo.” Joey said angrily.
Joey let go of the woman and calmed down. The receptionist straightened her light blue shirt and whispered “weirdo” as she sat back down. The old man wanted to calm Joey down and send him on his way.
“Young man, what is your name?” The old man said.
“It’s Joey.” He replied.
“Why don’t you give me the demo and we will definitely take a look at it.” The old man said.
He was for sure not going to look at it, but he just wanted to keep the young man calm. Joey’s emotions switched from anger to elation. He was so excited that his hands trembled. His anger caused him to forget that he already gave the receptionist a copy of the sample, which she threw into the wastebasket. He poked his hands into his pants and grabbed another copy of the demo. As he pulled his hand out with the second copy of the sample, a folded picture of him and his sister came out of his pocket. It quickly fell to the floor. Joey did not notice because of his excitement.
The old man bent down to grab the folded picture. Out of curiosity he opened it. The old man was stunned by how beautiful the girl in the photo was. A big grin filled his old face. He did not notice Joey handing him the demo tape.
“Here is the demo.” Joey said.
Joey extended his hand with the demo tape.
“Is this your girlfriend? Young fellow.” The old man said with a smile.
“No, that’s my sister.” Joey replied.
The old man took the demo tape and handed the photo back to Joey.
“Do you have some time? Maybe I can listen to this now to see what we got here.” The old man said.
Joey’s heart almost popped out of his chest from the excitement. He could not believe it! Someone was taking him seriously. His day quickly went from a day of frustration and anger to one of elation and happiness. The man opened the glass door and signaled Joey to follow him.
Joey followed the old man through the door and down the hall. He was mesmerized. On both sides of the wall were gold record trophies, for all the albums that sold at least 500,000 copies. There were also trophies for the records that went platinum, having over 1,000,000 records sold. Further down the hall, there were pictures of all the famous singers. The young man could not believe it, he recognized most of the singers and bands. The first photo he recognized was a photo of the blonde female singer from Europe, who sold over 13 million copies. Next, he recognized the rock band of three brothers, they sold slightly over 10 million copies.
As he proceeded down the hall, he noticed another band, a Swedish band that sold more than 7 million copies in 1979. On and on, as he moved down the hallway, there was not a singer or band he did not recognize, and beneath their photos were the gold and platinum albums. Without even looking, the old man knew that Joey was impressed. When they reached the old man’s office, Joey entered, and the old man signaled him to sit in the chair in front of the cherry oak desk. The old man then sat himself in the leather chair behind the desk.
The old man then proceeded to make small talk with Joey as he put the demo tape into a tape player and hit the play button. The two of them sat there quietly as they listened to the demo. Joey saw stars, he was sure the old man was loving it, since he noticed the smile on the old man’s face. The old man put on his best fake smile expression; he hated the demo. In his head, the old man did all he could to resist telling Joey how crappy the demo was. After all, the girl in the polaroid was the reason for bringing Joey back to the office in the first place, regardless of how the demo played out.
Mentally the old man’s brain cringed at Joey’s singing. The notes and pitches were way off. Being in the business for over 25 years, his talent meter detection placed Joey at two out of ten. The old man’s brain veered back to the girl in the photo, she stunned him. Not in the glamour girl style, but in the girl next door style. Even though he only got a quick glance, it was enough to hook him. Thoughts of what he and his associate would be doing to Joey’s sister gave the old man an immediate hard on. It was good that there was a big oak desk between them, this way Joey did not yet know his true intentions.
How does one achieve music success? The public really does not know the behind the scenes of the music business. How they determine who is and who is not a star. If the public did, there would be a riot. Truth is that there was always a price for fame, and it was no different in the music business. Within the music industry, there were only a few powerful organizations, mostly run by powerful men, and they were the gateway to the music industry. They determined who would be a success and who would not. Who would be played on the radio, who would be advertised in the record stores, and who would be shown on the television. Not only can they make a star, but they can break one too. They can also prevent talent from becoming stars. These men were not good, nor were they evil, they just had their own agenda.
When the demo ended, the old man complimented Joey on his performance. The old man was such a good deceiver that Joey did not even notice. The old man understood that to pull this off, he needed to hook Joey to the power and joy of fame, particularly of being a famous rock star. His first task was to invite Joey to a party with all the music superstars. Joey gladly accepted. Joey left the office with a feeling of euphoria. He felt on top of the world. He felt vindicated. All his life people told him he could never do it. Never be a famous musician. Deep inside, he knew all along he was meant for stardom, and what just happened proved him right. As he drove home in his Honda Civic, a song called “Piano Man” came on the radio, and Joey happily sang along with it.
January 20, 1980
Joey was 21 years old, but he was still living with his parents. At 5 pm, Joey stood in front of his parent’s house with the best rental tuxedo he could get for $100. He was picked up in a long black limousine. Joey was in disbelief at the luxury features the limousine had. Inside the limousine, there were two young females. They were dressed in short skirts and a tight blouse. They introduced themselves to Joey and informed him that they were his guide for the evening. The limousine was stacked with various alcohols. There was even a TV, VCR, and an Atari. Joey smiled with joy; he knew his time had come. As the limousine pulled away, the driver panel closed, and the beautiful young girls got on their knees in front of him. Joey was speechless. He had an intuition of what was about to happen, but he just could not believe it.
The girls unzipped his pants and pulled his cock out. He went into a daze when he felt the warm mouth engulf his cock, while the other girl used her tongue to lick the entire length. Joey did not last long, but it did not matter. He was young, and the girls kept sucking and licking until he got hard again. They kept it up until the limousine arrived at the party. For Joey, the party was beyond all expectations. He walked around with his eyes wide open. He absorbed all the sights and sounds. There were stars of every type at the party. He originally thought there would only be music stars. However, there were all kinds of celebrities and stars.
There were lots of movie stars that he recognized, TV stars that he loved, and rock stars that he admired. Though they were stars and celebrities, they greeted Joey and spoke to him as if he were one of them. Joey never felt so loved and accepted in all his life. All the years of being called a loser by his parents, his former schoolmates, his peers, all the bad memories and life’s disappointments evaporated. Some of the stars made more of an impression than the others, but he was still impressed by them all.
There was the young blond female on the most popular sitcom of 1979. She was the lust of all men and boys. She greeted him as if she knew him all his life. She even flirted with him. There was the male star from the top grossing horror movie of 1979. Joey remembers watching that movie alone in the theatre after work. He was so scared he could not sleep with the lights out for at least a week. Joe could not believe he was talking to the star of that movie.
Then Joey spoke with the Italian star of the best-selling movie of the seventies. Joey also considered it one of the best movies of all time. He was surprised that the star was much shorter in real life than he appeared in the movies. The Italian star was very charming and he himself was accompanied by an incredibly beautiful female movie star. He recognized her, but his brain just could not place what her name was or movie she was in.
The famous female from the science fiction movie of the year also spent some time with Joey, saying how much she had heard about his singing ability, and how much she could not wait to listen to all his songs. She flirted with him for a while then moved on. This is life! Joey could not get the smile off his face. This is perfect, and he would sell his soul for this life. Joey thought to himself. He then spent the next thirty minutes flirting with his two female guides.
Joey finally spotted the old man himself. The old man wore a unique red tuxedo and had two beautiful young girls, one on each side of his arm. They looked young enough to be his granddaughters. Joey was extremely impressed. The old man walked over, with wine in his right hand, smiled and then greeted Joey. The two chatted lively. Joey did most of the talking. He talked continually about all the stars he met. On and on he went. As the night went on, the old man introduced Joey to even more stars, showed him the possibilities of being a star, and living the life of luxury. The old man introduced him to more beautiful young girls that he would have otherwise no chance with.
Before the party was over, Joey had sex with at least six different girls. One of them was even a tv star in a popular sitcom. His old friends would have never believed it. When the party was over, Joey went home with his two female guides and had even more sex. So much that he fainted from exhaustion. Joey retired that night feeling on top of the world.
February 3, 1980
The old man setup a few more parties for Joey. He provided him with VIP access to various movie and rock star events. However, it just was not these wonderful events. The movie stars and rock stars invited Joey to lunch and dinner with them. They invited him over to their house for social events. Strangely enough, he never felt out of place, he felt like he belonged in their social circle. The old man also had many beautiful young girls on his payroll, and he used them on Joey with good effect.
The old man scheduled for Joey many sessions in the studio. He made sure the most famous musicians of 1979 were there. They would work on future songs together with Joey. Joey not only got to see the inner workings of the studio, but he also got to spend lots of time with who is who of the music industry. Joey considered these weeks to be the best time of his life. He loved it and wanted more.
The old man then invited Joey to his office. When Joey arrived, he was under the impression that the old man wanted to sign him to a contract deal. That was somewhat true.
“Joey, there’s a price to be paid for fame. Fame is not free, and it does not come without a price.” The old man said.
“Sir, I am ready to work hard, and as many hours as it takes!” Joey said with excitement.
The old man smiled.
“It takes more than hard work, it takes sacrifice.” The old man responded.
“I’m willing to sacrifice.” Joey said.
“I like to hear that. We can make you a rock star for sure. You have enough talent for us to work with. However, we will require you to make a sacrifice.” The old man said.
“Whatever it is, I’m willing to do it.” Joey said without hesitation.
“We want you to give us consent to take your sister and train her to be one of our girls.” The old man said.
Joey was in shock. It was such an odd request. What does he mean by “train” his sister? Crazy thoughts ran through his head.
“Let us just say, we provide services to extremely wealthy clients. Kings, presidents, senators, famous men, powerful men. The services sometimes include the use of beautiful females.” The old man said.
“I am not going to whore my sister out!” Joey said in anger.
The old man, disappointed, leaned back in his leather chair. He then shrugged his shoulders and leaned forward.
“Then I guess we really don’t have anything else to discuss.” The old man said.
“I can sing, and I can play the guitar, that should be good enough.” Joey said.
“So can many others. No, fame requires a price. Every one of those stars you met, had to pay a price. You are no exception. Take some time and think about it.” The old man said.
“No way I am selling my sister out!” Joey said.
Joey pleaded endlessly with the old man. He tried to negotiate. Anything but his younger sister. After an hour of back and forth, Joey stormed out of the office. Upset and depressed. The old man had Joey right where he wanted him. For the next couple of months, life was miserable for Joey. He no longer had access to the stars. Matter of fact, when he tried to reach out to some of them, they acted like Joey did not even exist. Joey continued to work at a burger joint. He went back to his routine of handing out demos and trying different avenues. Little did Joey know how tight the network was. The old man had Joey blacklisted with every firm.
The other companies would immediately kick Joey out the moment they saw him. Joey became an outcast among all in the music industry. It was done on purpose. They wanted Joey so defeated that he would sacrifice his younger sister. Joey went through major depression, from living the high life to living like a peasant. It did not help that he did not have any friends after graduating from high school. His parents always called him a loser for not going to college. He was almost 21, yet he felt his life was over. There was an internal struggle within Joey. His good side vs his selfish side. The two struggled for another three months, then something snapped.
March 29, 1980
The old man was sitting at his office when Joey walked in. The old man knew Joey would break. He had seen people’s desperation to be famous many times. He smiled as Joey walked in.
“What will happen to my sister?” Joey asked.
“Nothing much, she will just be trained to serve us.” The old man said.
“Will any harm come to her?” Joey asked.
“No, our customers don’t like damaged goods. At least no permanent physical injuries.” The old man said.
Joey sat there white as a ghost. Guilt covered his entire face. His body slouched, a clear sign of defeat. The two sat there silently.
“Don’t look so depressed Joey. In time, she will learn to like her duties.” The old man said.
The old man grabbed some documents and placed them in front of Joey.
“Just sign here, and we will take care of everything. Your sister will have a new life and you will be a rock star.” The old man said with a smile.
“What am I signing?” Joey asked.
“Oh, just a bunch of NDAs (non-disclosure agreements), some copyright and intellectual statements, nothing interesting.” The old man said.
Joey looked depressed. He knew he should read the document, but it was so thick, it looked to be hundreds of pages. His lust for easy fame got the better of him and he started signing the parts that were highlighted in yellow. The old man sat there and smiled. He waited until Joey was done, the expression on his face became serious.
“Joey, listen to me carefully.” The old man said in a stern voice.
Joey sat there and had a look of excitement but also fear.
“We will make you a star, but you have to do exactly as we tell you. You know, I am a genuinely nice guy, but my boss is not. If you disobey us in any way, there will be serious consequences. It is not nice to throw threats around, but you are a good kid, and I just want to warn you that the people that run the show are immensely powerful. They have great influence with the police and the American government. They can make your entire family disappear and it will just be marked as an accident by the authorities.” The old man said.
Joey sat there with a sense of fear.
“But let us focus on the good stuff!” The old man said with a smile.
The old man stood up and walked to Joey. He patted Joey on the shoulders and held out his right hand. Joey hesitated but grabbed the old man’s hand and the two shook hands.
“You are going to love being famous!” The old man said.
This book can be bought at most online retailers. Click her for link to Smashwords.