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Birthday Stories 2015
Meet the Melodies
"Hey guys, I got a gig for you!" The band looked up from their practice at their manager.
"Oh, uh, thanks Mr. Welk, when is the gig?" asked Art.
"Tonight, at the Lotus Hotel, five o'clock sharp." The band glanced at each other.
"Uh, why so soon?" asked Andy.
Clarence Welk handed Art a pamphlet, "Because their first choice cancelled on them last minute, and you're the only band available."
Art glanced at the pamphlet, "Mr. and Mrs. David Stewart celebrate their sixtieth anniversary, followed by their grandson Michael's sixteenth birthday party. So, classical for the sixties and popular for the sixteenth?"
Art's bandmates chuckled as Clarence rolled his eyes, "Basically, the back has a list, two lists, actually, of the songs they want."
Art's eyes widened, "Spring Aria, Ode to Love, Desire of Man's Heart, Butterfly's Wings, and Over the Mountains?"
"Whoa, that's more Philharmonic work, there's only four of us," Rhonda pointed out.
"No, not really. There are variations in which you only need a piano, a harp, a flute, and a violin, something they can afford and you can do. Here, sheet music for each part for each song, including Michael's requests."
Jazz glanced at the sheets, "Dream Magic, Journey to Franktown, Letter for You, Playtime, Flying, Love in Season, Kick It, and Never That Way."
"Gotta hand it to that kid, he's got good taste, and they're fairly easy songs. Might have to work a bit on the Backstreet Belles ones, but otherwise, all doable," remarked Andy.
"Yup, and since we've got our pop instruments out, we'll practice a bit on Mike's selection before pulling out our orchestral instruments," suggested Art.
"Alright, then I'll go make the necessary arrangements."
"Thanks Mr. Welk!" the band chorused. Clarence gave a quick nod before ducking out of the room, leaving the band to practice.
Six hours later, Clarence pulled into the Lotus Hotel parking lot. He parked, and helped the band get out their instruments to set up in the lobby. The band finished setting up while Clarence mingled with the crowd.
"There�s a lot of old people out there," whispered Andy as he peeked through the curtains.
"Get used to it, you'll be joining them soon enough," Art quipped from his seat at the piano. The girls giggled as Andy rolled his eyes, passing Art on his way to the harp.
Clarence poked his head through the curtains, "Are you ready?" The four nodded. "Good, give me a minute." There was a pause, then they began to fidget, but stopped abruptly when they heard Clarence�s voice ring out. "Thank you all for coming to celebrate with the Stewarts on their sixtieth anniversary!" Applause echoed throughout the banquet, but Clarence didn't continue until it had stopped. "I know you were expecting the Rocabelles from Symphorian, but I hope you won't mind a different band. They're just as good as the Rocabelles, if not better. Allow me to introduce to you Art Nesmith, Andy Tork, Jazz Jones, and Rhonda Dolenz. Ladies and gentlemen, the Melodies!" The curtains drew back, and the audience saw the band for the first time.
Art glanced at his team and gave a slight nod. signalling the start of Spring Aria. At first, the music seemed to drag on, but then, as the notes grew sweeter, it seemed to take flight, and it flew fast. Before they knew it, it was time for a break, and then on to Michael's selection. The scene changed, from the old waltz to the young swing, as they got back on stage to begin "Love in Season." At the end the Melodies huddled together, they would do one more song, but it was a surprise, and what a surprise it was. With Art back at the piano, Andy got his guitar, Rhonda went to her drums while Jazz picked up her tambourine and her flute, the four began playing a mix of "Ode to Love" and "Love in Season." The crowd was shocked into silence, but it wasn�t long before the song took their feet to the dance floor. The applause at the end was the loudest they had ever heard, and shouts of 'encore' thrilled them.
That night, the band talked with their manager and the five came to an agreement, it was time to reintroduce classical music to the younger generations, via mixing classical pieces with modern pop. And thus Arthur Nesmith, Jasmine Jones, Andante Tork, and Rhonda Dolenz embarked on a journey that would later become the Melody legacy.
(A box is heard falling over, followed by a grunt. A young man's voice whispers)
"Dixie, did you hear that?"
"Yeah, it sounds like it's coming from behind those boxes at the end of the aisle."
"And it sounds like it's getting closer. Hurry it up!"
"Hang on, Joe, this is a delicate process, I have to do it right or I won't get anything."
"Quickly, it's almost here."
"I know, Joe. Ah, got it! Let's go!" (crumpling paper)
"Thank goodness, come on, this way! Give me your hand."
"But Joe . . ."
"No buts! Now is not the time to get separated!"
(sighs) "Oh fine." (footsteps echo through the storage dock, the two are panting) "Uh, Joe, are you sure this is the way out?" (footsteps stop)
"Yeah, I left a marker right . . . wait, where is it?" (a creepy laugh echoed in response)
"Oh great, now we don't know how to get out of this labyrinth, and that creep is bound to find us if we don't get out of here."
"I know, but we need to go this way, I remember putting a marker right there."
"Alright. we better get going, I know he's not far behind."
"Right, come on." (footsteps continue for a few seconds, then stop again)
"OK, Joe, where to from here?"
"Um, I don't remember, give me a second. Stay right here." (a pair of footsteps move slowly, then begin running at the sound of a scream) "No!"
"Dixie!" (the sound of boxes tumbling, and a body falls)
"Joe! No, let me go, let me go! Joe!"
"Gah, I hate cliff-hangers! But hey, we'll be sure to check in next week for the exciting conclusion of "Southern Damsel." Man, those writers know how to keep us coming, raising questions like, will Ray and Connie be able to find Joe? Will they be able to save Dixie? Well, that one should be easy, these are "The Adventures of Dixie Johnson," so they should be able to find her, but you can't help but wonder. And, of course, the biggest one of all, who is the creepy culprit? The answers, all coming next week. Ugh, why do we have to wait so long. But, at least we can got to the theater and watch the complete movie of "David Turner and the Skeleton Committee." One of David's creepiest mysteries yet, perfect for the Halloween season. Parents, be forewarned, scary material was involved in the making of this movie, but it looks so awesome. Committee members are disappearing and skeletons are all that's left, or is it? Carol Santonio might have a hand in it, she's certainly got a big part in the movie. And David's girlfriend, Trin Thompson, is on hand to help the great detective. At least we won't have to wait a full week for the conclusion of the movie. I don't know about you, but I want to watch it, so this is Robin Conkrite signing off. My brother William is on next with news and other boring stuff. Talk to you next week!"
Author's Note: This short story takes on a surreal effect by listening to the selected music. Just click on the first word "She" of the story to hear the music while reading. Thanks!
She stepped on something, something that crinkled under her shoe. She took her shoe off, and bent over to pick it up. It was a picture, a dark picture, it looked like it had been taken by one of those old cameras and it hadn't developed yet. She stuck it in her back pocket, and swung her flashlight around the old mansion. Where was everybody else? They were supposed to have met in the living room thirty minutes ago. The picture was proof that the others had been there, but where were they now? She jumped as one of the floorboards creaked on the second story. She tried to slow down her heart as she went to investigate the sound, thinking that her friends might have caused it, but when she got there, there was no one to be seen, only another photo. She stuck it in her back pocket with the other one, fairly certain now that her friends were trying to play some prank on her. She heard another creak from the attic, and boldly bounded up the ladder, thinking of a way to get back at her friends. But no one was to be seen and, yet again, she found another photo. She took out the other two to look at them and gasped as all three were now clear. She glanced quickly around the attic, fear written on her face. She turned and climbed quickly down the ladder. She could hear heavy breathing coming from somewhere in the attic, but she didn't pause to see if anyone was following. She raced to the front door and yanked on it, but it wouldn't budge. She checked the windows in the living room and the dining room before checking the back door, none of them budged. She ran frantically to the second story, hoping for an open window, anything, for another way out. The breathing seemed to surround her as she rushed through the hall to the rooms. She checked one, then another, going through each room, nothing, except for a key. Thinking that this could be the key to one of the doors, she raced back to the stairs, and paused. A shadow was moving around the living room, and stopped when it heard her reach the stairs. It moved toward the staircase, but she was already moving back down the hall, hoping to hide in one of the rooms. She tried to turn the knobs, but all the ones she had just checked were now locked. She glanced back at the staircase, footsteps were coming closer slowly, like it knew it had her trapped and wanted to savor its victory. She finally reached the last room she had checked, it was unlocked. She rushed in, closing and locking the door behind her, the footsteps still getting closer. She went around checking everything for a possible secret door, but nothing budged. She turned her attention back to the window, pulling and pushing with all her might, not stopping until she heard a creak. She could see in the reflection of the window that door was open. She turned, and screamed.
"Oh my goodness! He's ordering a cappuccino! Now he's sitting down outside! I have a clear shot of him, I'm taking a few pictures. Wow, this is gold! I've never been this close before, I'm so close I can almost smell that cappuccino. Oh, he texting somebody! Oh, wait, it's me! OMG OMG OMG! What did he say? OMG! Here it is! His text!! It says. "STOP FOLLOWING ME!" Aw, isn't that sweet? He texted me! Oh, wait, where did he go?"
**Stories by: Amanda P.