Beyond the Western
The Devil Runs the Show
Scott A. Gese

Image Source: Erik McLean / Unsplash

He thought he could play by his own rules. Turns out he was wrong.

Beyond the Western

Eddie Hardy sat in his downtown music studio sipping a cold beer while his manager tried to talk some sense into his stubborn head.

“Eddie, you can’t keep saying the things you say on stage. If you do, there’s going to be consequences. Just go out there and play your damn guitar, OK.

Your fans want to hear your music, not the crap that’s been coming out of your mouth lately. They pay to hear your music. You’re at the top of the charts right now. Don’t blow it with all this ‘satanic music industry’ nonsense you’ve been spewing lately.”

“It’s not nonsense, Jake, and you know it. The music industry is going down a bad road. Half the musicians I know have sold out. They’re involved with satanists and devil worshipers. The other half are being pressured to do the same. Me included. I’m not playing that game.”

“The thing is, Eddie. None of them are talking about it. Especially during their performances.”

“Sure they are. You hear it.”

“But they’re not talking about it on stage like you are. Record labels will blacklist you if you don’t shut your mouth. Keep it up and your record sales will plummet. You’ll be selling encyclopedias for a living.”

“Jake, I ain’t worried about it and you shouldn’t be either. The controversy can only do me good. People are talking. Isn’t that what we want? To be in the news. To be focused on and talked about?”

“Sure it is, but only if it’s in a good way and this isn’t it. I’m telling you, Eddie. Knock it off now or you may be found dead from an ‘accidental’ overdose or a successful suicide attempt one of these days. It’s not like it hasn’t happened before.”

“I don’t do drugs and I’m not about to kill myself.”

“That doesn’t matter. Shit happens in this industry. You know exactly what I’m talking about.”

“It’s like I said, Jake. I’m not worried about it. They can play their game and I’ll play mine. I’m not subject to their rules.”

The conversation was interrupted by a knock at the door. When Jake answered it, the man on the other side asked him to leave. Jake didn’t argue. He left Eddie and the stranger alone.

The stranger shut the door behind him, walked over and leaned against the studio’s control panel next to Eddie. “Do you know who I am?” He asked.

“No, should I? Why don’t you fill me in.” quipped Eddie.

“I’m the man who wants to own you. Fall in line and follow after my organization. You do that and I’ll make you a mega star. Keep talking about the music industry the way you’ve been going on and you’ll suffer the consequences.”

“What organization are you talking about?” Asked Eddie. He knew. He just wanted to hear the stranger say it.

The stranger continued. “You said it yourself on more than one occasion. Half the music industry has agreed to my terms. Now it’s your turn.”

“Like hell it’s my turn. Pardon the pun. Get out of my studio. I’ll never sell my soul to you or this industry. What I do is my game. I don’t want any part of yours.”

“I’m real sorry to hear that, Eddie. Real sorry. Now, I’m afraid you’ll have to suffer the consequences.” The stranger left the studio.

Eddie didn’t know what to think. The stranger had unnerved him. When Jake came back into the room, he seemed to be a changed man. He had calmed down.

Now it was Eddie who was upset. “Just who the hell was that and why did you let him in here?”

“Don’t worry about it, Eddie. Everything’s going to be fine.”

Jake pulled a small electronic device from his pocket and touched it to Eddie’s arm.

Eddie pulled back. “What the hell was that?”

Before he could get his answer, Eddie grabbed at his chest and slumped in his chair.

“Sorry Eddie, Game over,” replied Jake.

© Copyright 2020 by Scott A. Gese All Rights Reserved.