So it was his.
Eric smoothed out the folded piece of paper, running his gaze over
the typed text and then smiling as he caught sight of the signature at
the bottom. Shaky it was, but unmistakeably that of Misfit Music's
in all her formal glory.
"I can't believe that it was as easy as all that." He murmured,
a nearby folder and slipping it inside. "I thought it would need more
- more coercing. It was well worded though - I must make sure I thank
for his legal opinion when I send him his cut. That accident tore up
her chest and, well, it didn't kill her, but it will mean she won't be
here breathing down my neck for a while. In a way it couldn't have
out better. Her death would have meant all kinds of logistical problems
but this way I have the company's finances under my control with
little stress or hassle."
He pursed his lips, considering.
"Of course, it helps too that the company's insurance people agreed
to pay out on Pizzazz's injury after my little conversation with them
morning. If I play my cards right this could be a very lucrative
for me. So long as I'm careful, of course."
"You look overly happy this morning, Eric."
A voice from the doorway made him start and then frown, as he
the lead singer of the Stingers.
"I'm contemplating today's workload, that's all." He said briefly.
"Since Pizzazz is unwell, she's delegated control of the company to me
in the meantime. I'm glad you're here, actually. I want a word with you
about your imminent plans for your group."
"Pizzazz's injuries must have included concussion, for her to sign those kinds of rights over to a man with your history." Riot said, taking an empty seat with a bad-tempered air. "What do you care about the Stingers, anyhow? Pizzazz doesn't care about us. If it wasn't for my own skill in planning and organisation we'd have been a sunk act coming out of this pit of a company. Now you're in charge I'm wondering if we should be a part of it at all."
"They do have a saying, you know, about rats and sinking ships."
absently. Riot's eyes narrowed.
"So you admit that the company is in trouble?" He demanded. Eric
his head, offering a smile.
"Quite the contrary." He responded. "Thanks to my quick action yesterday, things have never looked brighter. The insurance people seem satisfied that Pizzazz's accident was an accident and was not caused by dangerous driving or intoxication...so they have agreed to pay the agreed sum into the company accounts. And, of course, I intend on actively engaging myself in promotions for Misfit Music whilst I have control of the company. You see, my dear Riot, Pizzazz might put the Misfits first, but me, I put profit first. And while the Misfits are not able to perform, the Stingers are the company's biggest act."
"The Stingers would be the company's biggest act period, if someone
let themselves get carried away with helping themselves to company
and then lied about international clearance for one of our members."
snapped, anger in his blue eyes. "You know it and I know it. You might
sweet-talk Pizzazz with your lies but I'm not a fool like she is. I
your ways and I don't trust you. Tell me what you want with me and my
and get to the point. I'm not in the mood for your games."
Eric's expression became thoughtful.
"Very well." He said slowly. "Some weeks ago I received a letter from a company in Maine who wanted to invest in the business here. They were looking to buy shares, but Pizzazz refused to sell any stake in her company and relinquish full ownership. Their offer was extremely generous and the money they were willing to put forward would have provided ample promotion for your Stingers and for the Misfits. In short, equal publicity."
"But Pizzazz turned them down. What can you do about it?" Riot's
"At the moment, not a lot. But if Pizzazz continues to remain out of
my hair, it might be possible for me to work out some other arrangement
with them. I can be most persuasive in business matters."
"If Pizzazz found out you were planning to screw over her company's
ownership by arranging to sell sections of it off..."
"She won't, and I'm not." Eric fixed Riot with another smile. "But
it's to your benefit as well as to my own that these people are allowed
to invest in a stake of the company. Not only that, but I received
this morning from a business that manufacture high class musical
For some time now I've been trying to get them tied to a sponsorship
here, but have lacked the power to actually do anything concrete. Now I
have that power, I intend reopening negotiations on that front. It's a
potential million dollars which, with the Misfits out of action, the
will benefit from in it's entirety."
"It all sounds very good." Riot eyed his companion cautiously. "But
what do you get out of it? What are we going to have to do for you in
for you to help us?"
"Simple." Eric shrugged. "Your cooperation is all that is required." His eyes narrowed. "I'm not the fool you think I am, you know. I know you went to the Gabor place last night because I heard Stormer talking it over with Roxy downstairs only this morning. I know you tried to get control of this company and I know you're the kind of man who'll do everything in his power to take me down. What I want from you is for you to do as I tell you. I will handle the money side of things. I will see to the Stingers' promotions. I will do it all, and make the Stingers as big a part of this company as they were before...before Harvey Gabor bought the business back - so long as you sit back and do nothing to interfere."
Riot pursed his lips.
"I suppose that can be arranged." He said at length. "I had intended
to gatecrash the hospital this afternoon to discuss the situation with
Pizzazz myself, if at all possible. But in light of this discussion
I can delay it for a few days. So long as you keep your side of the
I will keep mine."
"Good." Eric smiled, offering his hand and after a moment of
Riot shook it. "Then it's settled between us."
"You will have to keep me abreast of the financial situation, so
I know what kind of promotions to ask for." Riot mused.
"You will be." Eric assured him.
"I had also meant to discuss with you - or Pizzazz - a tour that
and Minx have been plotting out. I wanted to see if dates could be
"Much as I would like you out of my immediate range, Riot, I can't send you away on tour when you're the biggest act on tap and when there are major local dates to fill in the Misfits' absence." Eric frowned, shaking his head. "These are important gigs - big gate receipts and only a band of the Stingers' status could possibly fill the Misfits' void. For now the tour will have to wait - but I promise you it will be worth waiting for."
"The Stingers will get all of the Misfits' cancelled appearances?"
"Where possible, yes." Eric nodded.
"Then I suppose the tour can be postponed until a more appropriate time arises." Riot's smile was cool. "I will speak to the others, and tell them what you have told me. Perhaps it will not be so bad to have Pizzazz out of action, after all."
* * * * * * * * *
"You over-taxed yourself last night."
Alan Garcia exchanged reproachful looks with his defiant patient,
her chart down on the bedcover. "I should probably stop you having all
visitors, since you obviously talked yourself to death when Miss Burns
was here and in consequence here you are today with a slight
I was hoping that you were going to start listening to me, but I guess
not. Remember what I said about sedation! If you continue to overstress
your stitches, then I won't have any hesitation in making it a
"Quit nagging." Pizzazz's voice was hoarse and pained, and the
"I'm serious." He said quietly, the teasing tone dropping from his
voice. "Your temperature is up a point or two and it should not be.
nothing sinister - yet - but I don't want it to get to that point. Now,
your father is here to see you this morning, and I know he can be
to keep you quiet, so you may see him. But I want you to take it easy.
Don't talk unless you really have to. Maybe we can get a notepad for
so you can write down any requests you may have. You've been doing so
and I don't want you going backwards, so work with me here, huh?"
He eyed her keenly.
"Whether you believe me or not, I do care about you getting better
back with your group singing again. At the moment it's certainly not a
He stood, replacing the chart on the end of the bed.
"I'll send in your father, and I'll come see you about lunchtime. I
have surgery now, so I might be a touch late, but I want to hear you've
eaten whatever they give you this time. I will forgive you for refusing
breakfast, since you're obviously feeling miserable today, but now I've
given you something for your temperature you should start to feel
and there was no excuse for you to tip the food all over the floor and
your bedcovers first thing. I expect that from my patients in the
wards. Not from a young lady who fronts a band and owns a business."
One: Summer, 1989
Chapter One: Alone
Chapter Two: A Night Out
Chapter Three: Tragedy
Chapter Four: Aftermath
Chapter Five: Alan Garcia
Chapter Six: Fire vs Fire
Chapter Seven: Eric
Chapter Eight: Ambition
Chapter Nine: Eric's Offer
Chapter Ten: Misfits To Arms