The Opposite of Being Fired

“I have something to talk to you two about,” Rick Springfield said to Elizabeth and I.  “I don’t have a lot of time; how about you hop in the van with me to ride over to the venue?”

Elizabeth and I looked at each other, eyes wide.  “Sure,” I answered in my most not about to jump out of my skin and scream voice.

We had met Rick in the lobby of his hotel in Columbus, Ohio.  Scads of fans were there too; word had quickly spread as fans found out which hotel Rick and his band were staying at.  This was Rick’s third summer in a row of touring, and the internet had made it so word traveled very quickly.  Fans knew that Rick would normally do a soundcheck around three or so, return to the hotel to get freshened up, go back out again for dinner around 5 or 6, and then go straight from there to the show.

Elizabeth and I knew it too, and we were right there with our group of friends waiting to get a nod or a friendly wave from Rick before the show. We had been utterly amazed when he’d stopped to talk to us all, and then asked Elizabeth and I if we’d be able to come with him to discuss something important.

I, of course, in my fatalistic head, assumed that Rick was about to fire me and have Elizabeth there as a witness.  I’d screwed up last week when Rick had sent me the cover art for his new live record; we’d asked if we could share it exclusively on the website.  He’d agreed with the caveat that he didn’t want it getting sent all around; I’d smugly told him that I could set up the website so that no one could save the image to their hard drive.

Unfortunately, I was wrong, but didn’t know enough about web design or computers to realize I was wrong.  Within an hour of me posting the image, a firestorm ensued of fans talking about and reposting the artwork on their own websites.  My phone had rung of course, with Elizabeth on the other end of the line, telling me.  I felt stupid and angry and caught by the fan base in my own ignorance.

I’d immediately ‘fessed up in an email to him about what had happened.  He’d assured me it was fine, but in the now year that I’d been working with Rick Springfield, I’d definitely noticed a tendency of Rick’s to not want to hurt anyone’s feelings.  Maybe it wasn’t fine.  Maybe he’d found someone more capable, more skilled, with more time than a girl who was still nursing her five month old baby in the suburbs of Cincinnati, Ohio.  Maybe he was about to tell me all of those nice things he’d said really had been a lie.

“So what’s up?” Elizabeth asked, breaking the ice.  She was behind him, and I noticed her quietly turn on her sound recorder that she kept in her purse during concerts.  I rolled my eyes at her and she smiled back at me.

Rick was sitting next to me, and he turned toward me; this way he could see both of us.  “Well I have an idea for something and I wanted to know if you guys would be interested or even able to do it.”

I gulped.  So it didn’t sound so far like I was about to be fired.  “Sure, what is it?”  I answered.  My voice cracked.  I wished I had a bottle of water.  My cheeks flamed red and I could feel myself shaking, just a little.

“OK, so I have this live record that we recorded, as you know.  What I am thinking of doing, before the national release, is selling a Limited Edition version of it, with all sorts of rare and unreleased tracks as a second disc to go with the live concert on the first.”

“Love it,” Elizabeth answered.  “The fans will totally go for that.”  I nodded eagerly.

“So what I was wondering,” Rick said, “Was if we had the capability to sell it directly through the website.  Cut out the middle man.  Just straight from the site to the fans.”

A split second of time passed, hardly perceptible as I wondered if I knew how to do this.  “Sure we could,” I answered, but it sounded more like a question.

Elizabeth didn’t miss a beat.  “All we have to do is set you up with PayPal to take the payments.  That takes care of the payment processing.  Then all Amy has to do is figure out a way to take the orders on the website.”

By now I had regained my confidence, my composure.  “Oh, sure we can do that.  All I do is set up an orders page where people fill in their information, choose quantity and stuff.  Totally doable.”  I could picture the page as we talked about it, the layout, how I would redirect the customers to pay after they’d filled in the customer order form.

“Really?” Rick asked.  He didn’t sound doubtful.  He sounded….excited.  He looked squarely at me.  “Can you do this?  Would you want to?”

Was he kidding?  To be trusted with something so important to him?  “Absolutely I can.  Elizabeth can help, we can absolutely do this. But…” I paused, wanting to slow down the train for a minute, “Wouldn’t you want someone closer to you to do this for you? Like say, your management company or someone like that?”  I mean, seriously.  We were two housewives with little kids.   How was Mr. Hollywood ready to trust us with something so important?

Rick laughed and shook his head back and forth.  “No way.  I trust you two way more than I would ever trust them.  Let me give you guys my cell phone number so we can talk about this next week after I get home.”   He was already writing on the notebook I had at the ready on my lap.  Out of the corner of my eye I could see Elizabeth making faces at me.  I didn’t look at her, trying actually process what was happening.

I was going to sell Rick’s next CD.  Holy Mother of Insanity.


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