GM - Story #3

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Chapter 4

The evening sun streamed into Greyson’s apartment through slatted shades. Neon from the street blended with the ambient light to create an unnatural, pulsing glow. Greyson had awoken late in the afternoon, played a few hours of video games and then wandered 54th street looking for one of the local restaurants to jump out and appeal to him. It was amazing to him how an entire day could just slip from the glimmer of the morning to the dark of night with so little substance in between.

While downing a pint of fried rice well past nine o’clock, he suddenly recalled the only task he had to complete for the day. He pointed his iPhone at the screen, using it as a mouse to scroll through a menu of faces in his contact list. He clicked on a handsome young man in his late teens or early 20s with a broad, golden smile and lily-white teeth. Instantly, a set of notes popped up on either side of the screen.

Address: Apt 7B, West 128th Street & Amsterdam Ave

Last Contact: Thursday, 10:12am

Contact Status: Available

It went on to describe his talents as a singer and dancer, including credits of having worked with a number of local hip hop performers and rappers, primarily as a handler and a body guard as well as an occasional background performer. Images of him on stage in various frozen dance moves floated along the right edge of the screen.

His last posted message had been sent only 17 minutes earlier, an Instagram update that he and his two brothers and three cousins were out with some college girls at a pool party in a hotel around 78th Street.

Greyson clicked a link labeled “Locator” and a map of Manhattan popped up with a flashing push pin stuck into a street about 25 blocks north of his apartment.

“I got a what?” Latrell yelled into the phone like one of those weathermen reporting from the eye of a hurricane. “I got a suspension?”

“No, an audition.” Greyson yelled back, matching Latrell’s volume, which sounded strange when echoed across his empty apartment. “I got you a try-out with Alonzo King for that show about the rappers.”

“For real?” Latrell moved to a quieter location, jamming his head into a corner to better hear his talent coach. “I got a try out for a show? A real show?”

“Can you be there tomorrow morning?” Greyson asked. “10:00am. Bring your A-game. This is a good shot. They liked you in the videos I sent, and his assistant likes me enough to give us some pull. Mr. King thinks you could work into a starring role with a little more exposure and experience.”

“Come on man,” Latrell said with a smile. Greyson could only see Latrell’s static image on the screen as he was not projecting any moving video from the club, but he could just feel the perfect semi-circle smile of his client beaming through the face of his iPhone.

“I’m celebrating now, but I know enough to take care of my own.” Latrell continued. “I ain’t fooling around here. I’ll be there.”

Address: West 44th & 7th

Last Contact: Friday, 9:02am

Greyson had spent the past three years coaching local talent, prepping them and polishing them to give them the best possible advantage in auditions, interviews and performances. Sometimes budding young talent sought him out and paid for his services. More often than not, studios hired him to take the fresh faces they discovered and help them supplement their talent. King simply paid a small service fee for each candidate that Greyson brought to him and escalators if they succeeded.

He worked on interviewing skills, eye contact, social etiquette, refined speech and accents, proper handshakes and other basic personal skills. He brought in Cidalia to fit the right look, pick out clothes and style the hair to help get his clients into doors. Greyson’s advanced services included singing and acting lessons which made him enough money to work sporadically and continue to maintain connections at clubs and bars up and down the West Side.

He had also recently added manipulation of Social Media to his repertoire of services. The entertainment industry demanded that all participants maintain a 24/7 presence in the pervasive “look-at-me” culture. And anyone seeking a break had to have more than just a Facebook presence. They had to blog, v-log, tweet, instapost, follow the right people and amass followers of their own. They had to announce their presence wherever they made their appearance in public and they had to share their endless inane thoughts, observations and clever commentary at every opportunity they could.

Greyson set up all of the logins, shortcuts and profiles needed for his clients to successfully navigate this aspect of their budding careers. He also generated a fair bit of the content on his own to help craft their public personalities and personas.

He had come across Alonzo in several upscale night clubs in and around the Trump apartments. Greyson would spend his nights at clubs in Harlem and the Bronx. He would attend open talent shows at city schools and sometimes meet young want-to-be stars in dark alleys and shady corners of the city.

In his word-of-mouth, word-on-the street world of referrals, he couldn’t be picky about where he met his prospects.

For every diamond in the rough that went on to achieve multi-million-dollar super star status, Greyson saw a lifetime of cocky young kids looking for instant attention, easy money and a good party. Greyson had placed actors into New York based shows, movies and commercials. His most recent success was a kid from Washington Heights that starred in several Burger King commercials, followed by a regular secondary character spot on one of those documentary-style sitcoms where the characters periodically address the camera.

Greyson had heard that he had a new commercial for household cleaning products and a possible supporting role in a major motion picture but had yet to see either. Such was his involvement that once they made it big, they rarely continued to need their original coach.

Of course, more often than not, his prospects flopped once they arrived into an environment where they needed real talent to rise above the thousands of other hopefuls like them. Many of them self-destructed, preoccupying themselves too much with parties, clubs, drugs, sex and shady business partners, evaporating into the anonymous mix of handlers, attendants and gophers that clog the industry.

Greyson quickly keyed a message to Alonzo confirming his appointment the next morning and offering a few words about Latrell’s talent. He attached several additional videos from Latrell’s profile and sent them through his iPhone app that enabled him to control the computer attached to his television screen monitor.

A pleasant beeping sound penetrated Greyson’s concentration and a beautiful dark-haired, green-eyed woman appeared in the middle of his TV screen. She wore a red and black lacy nightgown and sat in a well-lit bedroom. Her video camera perched atop her computer enabled her to sit at the foot of her bed and still reach the keyboard and mouse as needed.

He flopped back onto the couch, smiled back at her, slipped his hands along the inside edge of his T-shirt and slid it up over his head.

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