I was late.
Despite the fact that I hated to leave my hotel suite during my album recording sessions, I took the Benz and rode all the way to my record label’s preferred recording studio.
I had an appointment with a marketing person. Mo, our label’s boss, was trying to get more singles to chart at number one, so he was looking for new promotional strategies.
The marketing team was led by a young girl that was still underage. It was an embarrassment to work like that. I made music for adults. I had no interest whatsoever in a young and inexperienced person’s opinions of my work. To me it was curious how she had got this far in the industry. Mo was one of the biggest names in German music.
I bought a terrible coffee from a gas station and smoked cigarettes with the windows down, making my way to the studio.
When I arrived, I noticed that there was an Audi parked there. I figured that Nas had sent someone to keep an eye on my work with the teenager handling my marketing.
Nas was not fond of Mo’s new strategies of working with just about anyone who could make Mo more rich and famous. Years ago, when Nas and Mo started working together, Nas was the guy who could get anything done for the then small-minded Mo.
Now, the industry had changed. Nas’ shady side ventures were catching the attention of the press, leading to unwanted articles and journalists snooping around in Nas’ business. Nas was left with greed and an imposed need for remaining in the background.
There was nobody at the entrance to show me in. Letting myself in, I threw my cheap coffee cup in the trash and then started looking for the marketing girl. She said she would be here by 10 AM It was 11.30.
I opened a couple of doors, but there was nobody there. It was a quiet morning.
I remembered the Audi outside and figured that I should take a look at the cellar. The studio’s owner was extending his working space.
Stepping down the stairs, I heard two voices arguing. One was arguably female. I could identify that she was agitated. She was shouting. The other voice seemed familiar.
I entered the studio without knocking, becoming a witness of a sight that was horrendous.
The man Nas had sent was Ari. Mo’s recording artists, including me, rarely saw Ari because he was involved with the most disgusting aspect of Nas’ side ventures. Ari was implicated in human trafficking.
Today, Ari had decided to intimidate the underage marketing girl by tearing apart her blouse. He was fidgeting with her upper body, much to her dismay. He did not care whether anyone could hear her shouts and pleads because Daddy Nas allowed his minions to do whatever they pleased.
“What the fuck do you think you’re doing, Ari?” I thundered, exasperated. The girl flinched, noticing me in her horror. I could spot tears in her eyes, but I focused on getting Ari away from her.
“I think you should leave and come back next day, Michael,” Ari suggested, still fumbling with the girl’s breasts. “I’m teaching this girl a lesson. She’s very disobedient.”
“Leave her the fuck alone, will you?” I stepped closer. I knew that there was a possibility of him being strapped. I was also aware of the fact that killing one of the most famous rappers in Germany was not in Nas’ grand scheme of things. I grabbed Ari and he reacted by trying to shove me away. I packed him by the shoulders and dragged him off of the girl who was breathing heavily by now.
“Nas is going to hear about this!” Ari yelled in response. He was fuming. I stepped between the two persons.
“Go do whatever the fuck you do, Ari. Don’t mess with my side of things. If I tell Mo that you assaulted her, he will not like that at all,” I responded. Mo did not hold much power in Nas’ business, but few people were aware of that. After all, Mo was a very ‘powerful’ prominent person.
Ari made a step towards the girl and I cut him off. “Did you not hear what I just said? Fuck off.”
I could hear the panic in the marketing girl’s breathing. I did not need to see her. I knew she was stressed the fuck out. Ari had my full attention. Under his breath, he cursed in his native language, whatever that was. I did not care enough to know.
Eventually, Ari stomped away.
I was wearing layers of expensive clothing. I took off my jacket that could be zipped up and I handed it to her, avoiding the sight of her body. This was a delicate situation. She was underage. At 23, I was not as old as Ari with his age over forty but still. I had to be careful.
“I apologize for what just happened,” I said, after hearing her zip the jacket.
“You should apologize for being late,” she preached. Her voice was sharp like a knife, cutting slices of my skin. A woman scorned was a woman I never wanted to face. “He should go and fuck himself.”
“Let’s go out for breakfast. I think I owe you...”
Before I could make my suggestion, she interrupted me.
“If you think I’m staying in your company for a minute longer, you’ve been terribly misled.” She added, “I’ll give this jacket to my replacement.”
I turned around in time to see her march towards the door.
“What’s your name?” I asked, completely astonished by the situation.
“Mia Rose Winter.”
As the door shut behind Mia Rose Winter, it made the loudest and most uncomfortable noise one could imagine. The saying ‘she went out with a bang’ was not enough to describe what I had seen.