Raylorian Dawn
Author: Othello Gooden Jr.

Chapter 10

Earl was on the sofa watching TV. His watch suddenly beeped. He slowly rose from his chair and made his way to the hall closet. He started straightening his dark brown tie matching his all brown alligator skin suit.


“Kayla? Marion?” Earl called noisily from the bottom of the stairs. He pulled a brown wild western type hat and fitted it on his head. “It’s almost 5 o’ clock!”


“Just a minute!” Kayla spoke from upstairs.


Earl watched his two daughters charge down the stairs from their room all dressed up. Kayla wore a blue Pashmina Scarf Stole over a matching all blue Tunas Sleeveless Dress. The young woman’s flute was in a case strapped over her right shoulder, overlapping a red purse. Marion had on a 1 piece long, glittery gray skirt. The teenager lugged a medium sized black purse over her shoulders before heading out. Earl and Kayla followed her out to Kayla's car parked across the street.


The Dartans drove down the street from their house and passed the abandoned business sector. Kayla slowed down after passing by the vacant buildings, shortly tailing other cars continuing around the corner. Kayla looked up at a giant sign with neon lights. It had an arrow pointing downward with the title, “Marinacci’s” in bold white glowing vertical lettering. The lights danced like ants around the neon lights display in the arrow's direction.


As Kayla and her family neared the brick structure, they could see more people entering the complex. They were coming from a huge parking lot across the street. A fold up plastic sign with a picture of Kayla and her band sat next to the entrance. In the headlights above the canopy read, “Tonight’s feature: Anedra and her Latin Travelers”. In the small subheading underneath the bold head letters read, “With music from various artists and originals.”


Kayla continued driving around the corner after taking a glance at the sign. While following the car line, she entered an area passed another sign reading, “Special Guest Parking”. She drove into a parking space next to Brandon's caddy. Before the Dartans was a large red canopy over a declining red carpeted staircase.


“You must be Anedra.” A young man coyly said to Kayla as she stepped out of her car with Earl and Marion. He was smiling at Kayla as he did a brief gunpoint at her.


His movements got Kayla’s attention but not the kind that was due. Kayla rolled her eyes at the boy. The employee grinned wider with a quick flex of his eyebrows, persisting in his seduction tactics.


“Leave a love letter in my car and you’ll regret it.” Kayla whispered coldly in his ear as she stepped passed him. “Got that?”


The boy wasn’t fazed by her threat one bit as he held his ground, standing in her way. She pushed forward, dimming her eyes at him.


I don’t have time for this.” Kayla thought with a growl. She briskly bumped him in the shins with her flute case and stepped hard on his foot with one of her high heels.


“Yes ma’am.” The boy said in a small voice after feeling the pain of Kayla’s aluminum case bang on his kneecap. Stomping on his toe with those sharp heels made him quickly move out the way. Kayla could feel fear overtaking the boy. The young woman smiled evilly as she walked down the stairs with Earl and Marion.


“Creepy!” the boy mumbled as Earl passed him.


The boy looked at Marion with that same look he tried on Kayla earlier, thinking he’d be more successful with the younger girl. That smile quickly faded as Marion gave him a piercing look before heading down the long staircase.


“Was that even necessary?” Earl sneered at the situation.


“Yeah, Kay.” Marion agreed. “You could’ve just told him you weren’t interested. Now he’s gonna think you’re crazy!”


“Good!” Kayla said with a grunt. “Let's keep it that way!”


At the bottom of the staircase were two bouncers guarding the entrance. One of them smiled at Kayla before opening the door for her, Earl, and Marion. Kayla returned the smile before entering. She felt that she had nothing to fear from them. She tried looking up the stairs again for that flirtatious guy. He was nowhere to be found. Kayla laughed at the guy presumably taking flight after that embarrassing moment.


Serves ya right, fool!” Kayla thought with a smug on her face. She turned her head back inside and walked in.


Inside Marinacci’s was crowded with people in a huge candle lit area. In the foreground was small stage enclosed in curtains. The audience sat in the arrangement of chairs stretched out in an arch before the concealed juncture.


Behind the curtain, Julian tuned up his congas on stage. His fingers were individually wrapped in surgical tape. He was sitting by his congas that were positioned on the side by the Clara's piano. Brandon's bass next to the setup, leaning up on a stand near his his amp. Brandon and Clara were stationed in the foremost part of the stage adjacent to Julian. Brandon was closest to him.


“Claire,” Brandon called. “Give me an E.” Brandon plucked the note on his instrument, twisting the tuning knobs in unison with Clara as she played an E on her keyboard.


“Got it!” Brandon continued while tuning the other strings on his bass. “Thanks.”


Kayla and her family were escorted by one of Marinacci's employees to Kenji, who walking around backstage. The other band members were pulling in their instruments from the back door. Dante pulled up after the Dartans in his car. He entered through the back door carrying his base drum and kick stand. Some of Marinacci’s employees were helping Dante with his other cases that contained his cymbals and other assorted instruments. Another employee came in with Dante’s bag of stands. After Dante sat his base drum on the ground, he dusted off his all dark blue suede suit. He adjusted his grayish blue and white tie. Kenji, dressed in a white suit with a matching white shirt and tie, came in shortly after Dante did. Kayla’s other band members wore a similar pattern to Dante’s suit in formal attire. Similarly, each member had blue in his or her choices.


“Glad you could make it!” Kenji greeted the Dartans as they met up with him. The four sat down in chairs near the stage controls.


“You ready?” Kenji asked Kayla with enthusiasm.

“Yeah!” Kayla answered with a smile.


“No, no, no.” Kenji said with a laugh. “What was that one word you always used—meaning to make something look overly easy?”


“Oh you mean—beast?” Kayla laughed at knowing. “Yeah, I’m ready to beast!”


That’s when Dante finished setting up. He came over and joined in the conversation after hearing Kayla’s mentioning of the word.


“So what’s the difference between that word in its verb tense and using it as a noun?” Dante asked Kayla. “I’ve heard it used both ways.”


“What?” Kayla looked at him in confusion. “Don’t know what you talking about.”

Kenji, Earl, and Marion began to laugh at Kayla’s feigning ignorance.


“Weren’t yall talking about the meaning of the word ‘beast’?” Dante was slightly confused.


“Guess I have to invite you into this conversation, now don’t I?” Kayla grinned. Kenji, Earl, and Marion laughed harder at her joke. Kayla still kept a straight face. It quickly turned into a smug as she failed at not trying to laugh along with them. Dante started to smile after catching onto her joke.


“Anyway,” Kayla cleared her throat and continued in a normal voice, “The difference is that a Beast is equivalent to someone who’s really good at something. If you say you're beastin’, you claim to make stuff look easy. In this case, sound good.”


“That’s what defines you, Kay.” Dante complimented with two thumbs up before turning toward the stage. He started walking onto the stage to meet his fellow band members.


Dante stopped at his drum set in the middle, surrounded by his other band members, and sat down at his 7-Piece Drum Set. To the right of him, an electronic drum pad machine next to his crash cymbal. It sat on a small stand. His high and mid toms were on the left side with the ride cymbal towering over it. His snare drum sat on top of the bass drum. The hi-hat towered over his snare on the left side of the setup. He hit one of the squares of his electric drum with a drumstick. A record scratching sound was heard. He hit the adjacent pad and a handclap sound played. Dante pressed a few buttons on the computerized screen above the pads, followed by another strike on the pad. A cowbell sound was heard.


“Hey Dante?” Julian called to Dante after hearing the cowbell.

“What?” Dante answered as he looked up at Julian by his congas.


“How about we get a little guaganco going with that cowbell?” Julian shortly did tapping motion on his congas.


“Yeah!” Dante nodded. He hit the electronic cowbell sound to a Latin rhythm.


Julian followed him on his congas with a rhythmic progressing using all three congas. Dante hit another pad that sounded like a shaker in between the cowbell sound. The jam session went on for a few more moments before Clara cleared her throat loudly. At hearing her for the second time, both Julian and Dante stopped playing. They received a small applause from a few people in the audience.


“Hey you two,” Clara began with sudden displeasure to her band member's short performance. She paused to shake her head shortly before adding, “Save it for the gig!


“What’s wrong with a little jam session before we play?” Julian turned to Clara.


“You know how Kenji doesn’t like us jamming before the gig!” Clara reminded. “It sounds unprofessional!”


Julian and Dante both rolled their eyes at Clara. Brandon watched from behind the stage watching the three argue. He just shook his head, laughing to himself at the scene. Julian and Dante sat quietly in front of their instrument while Clara ranted on about them being in the wrong for what they just did.


“Seriously,” Clara started in response to Dante and Julian’s nonchalant attitude. “We’re getting paid to play music—not to jam!”


“Oh but Latin Jazz roots started with jam sessions!” Julian said coolly.


Clara dimmed her eyes at Julian. Clara was about to say something else until she heard Brandon clear his throat. She gave him a short look.


“Just let it go.” Brandon said to her. Clara was still thinking of something to counter Julian’s argument. “After all, they do make their money on improvising!”


“Yeah, and keep in mind, those big boys probably composed some of their hit songs live out of a jam session!” Julian added.


“Whatever.” Clara shrugged, answering Julian apathetically.


Minutes before the show began Earl and Marion took their seats in the reserved front rows.


“It looks like we have the place jammed pack, Kay!” Kenji exclaimed after peeking through the side curtain out to the audience. “You might get a big paycheck after tonight’s—”


Kenji stopped talking. His jaw dropped with a gasp at seeing a group of neatly dressed individuals walk into auditorium. They sat down at a table in the back row near the door.


“What?” Kayla asked at hearing Kenji gasp. She came closer to him, trying to look over his shoulders. All she could see was the crowd.


“You see those people dressed nicely at a table in the back row?” Kenji asked as he moved out the way for Kayla to see.


“Where?” Kayla asked, looking at tables with people laughing, drinking, and eating food.

“Near the door, Kay!” Kenji answered.


Kayla scanned the tables near the door for a few moments. She stopped at looking at three individuals in formal attire sitting down. The lady in the group dressed in a dark green blouse. The two men accompanying her wore an all light-gray suit with solid dark gray ties. They stood out in the crowd that consisted mostly of those who wore flashy clothes if not casual clothing.


“Who are they?” Kayla asked. “Wait—”

Kayla stopped at remembering what he told her the other day.

“That’s Lady Holly Terrance, isn’t it?” Kayla backed away from the curtain nervously.


“That’s right!” Kenji nodded while backing away from the curtain, and turning toward her.


“Terrance?” Kayla pondered over the name aloud, pausing in thought. “I went to school with a Terrance.”


“Chances are they’re related.” Kenji said.

“How? Terrance is a common last name.”


“The Terrance family are always in the news—mainly the ones in office. Marlon Terrance—Lunar-2’s governor?”


“Is that her husband?”

“Yes! Then their son is a famous X-Games snowboarder and their daughter is a lawyer.”

“You mean Gordon Daryl and Farris Angelwood?”


“Just great!” Kayla laughed nervously.


“It could be terrible if the Latin Travelers aren’t tight!” Kenji reminded. “First impressions mean a lot.”


“And the band has come a long way.” Kayla added tensely after turning toward him again. She shortly rubbed the back of her head. “We haven’t played in a while since that last review.”


“By that Jeane Fletcher?” Kenji’s tone turned into a growl. “She gave the band such a bad review last year, most of our members quit just because!”


Kayla stepped back after turning towards Kenji, overwhelmed in fright.


“Look, Kayla,” Kenji took hold of Kayla by the shoulders and looked deeply into her eyes. “Just do your best, okay? I’m sure you'll do fine!”


Kayla looked at him with a straight face, trying to hide her fear from him.

“Smile and think positive!” Kenji further added with optimism.


“Hey,” Kenji continued to look into her eyes as Kayla continued in her fear, looking despondent. “I don’t see you smiling! You don’t want me to bring Earl and—”


“No!” Kayla interrupted with a grin. “I’m smiling, okay?”

“Go get em!” Kenji said with encouragement.


Kayla nodded at him with a smile before going out on stage with her flute in her right hand.


“Just think positive, Kayla.” She mumbled to herself before reaching the microphone on a stand. It sat at the edge of the stage sitting in front of her music stand.


“Alright,” Kenji motioned to one of stage technicians. “Open them!”


At once, the technicians pressed a button on the control panel near Kenji. The curtains rose. The audience applauded as Kayla and her band were revealed to them. After a few moments of applauding, the auditorium became quiet. Kayla detached the microphone from its stand and began to speak.


“Hi, my name is Anedra. This maybe our first time Marinacci’s but we hope yall will enjoy our music!” Kayla stopped to briefly gesture at her band to get ready.


The girl raised her flute to her lips and continued, “This first one is one of my favorite! It’s called Soul Bird, a tune by Cal Tjader.”


Kayla at once started to play with a smooth flute solo intro before her Latin Travelers joined in. First the Conga player, followed by the drummer. When she started the melody, the rest of the band joined in.


“That girl can play!” a guy in a colorful purple and light green suit leaned over toward Earl. He wore a pink, peacock feathered hat. He appeared to be in his early 30s.


“That’s my daughter!” Earl answered him proudly.


“Really?” the guy looked at Earl in surprise. He stared briefly at Marion who gave him a ‘What’s up’ nod.


“So what's her heritage?” the guy asked Earl after briefly looking at Kayla.


“Uh—” Earl hesitated in trying to remember. “African American Korean.”


“I knew it she was mixed with some race from the Orients!” the guy laughed. He quickly nudged a woman sitting next to him.


“What?” the lady looked lazily at him, she was broken from her grooving to Kayla now entering her solo. She sat her martini down on the table after taking a sip of it. The lady glanced at Marion as the man next to her began whispering something in her ear. He had his arm around her. His purple short sleeve shirt against her glamorous purple silk gown crumpled as the guy held her tighter.


“That’s Anedra’s father!” the guy pointed, hugging the lady.


“I see.” the lady said with enthusiasm. She turned her attention to Earl. “She’s adopted, isn’t she?”


“Huh, what?” Earl turned his head toward her, not fully hearing the woman over the music.


“Anedra is adopted, right?” the lady repeated.

“Yeah. How’d you know?” Earl grinned.


“No offense, but she doesn’t have any of your traits.” the lady answered him, shortly smiling at Earl’s grin.


“I get that all the time!” Earl laughed. “No offense taken!”


“So, how about her?” the lady nodded at Marion now listening in on their conversation.


“This is my flesh and blood!” Earl embraced Marion, kissing her on the forehead. Marion smiled while looking over to the lady.


“What’s your name?” the lady asked.


“Marion.” Marion introduced herself with a smile. “And in case you’re wondering—my mom was Indian.”


“From native America?” the lady blinked.

“No,” Marion laughed, shaking her head. “The other Indian nationality!”

“Oh,” the lady laughed. “From India!”

“Yep!” Marion nodded.


“How rude of me!” the lady said after a short silence. “I’m Sarah. This is hubby—Gerald.”


Marion and Earl nodded in unison to the both of them.

“So, Marion, you play an instrument like your sister?” Sarah asked.


“I use to play the sitar when I was little.” Marion answered after thinking for a moment. “Then I switched over to the guitar before we moved to Lunar-2.”


“You still play now?” Sarah sounded intrigued.

“A little bit here and there but school has me tied up.” Marion hesitated.

“Is your sister still in school?” Sara rubbed her chin, drawn to the subject of school.


“She’s been out for three years—an MCLT-2 graduate.” Marion explained, emphasizing the school.


“Oh,” Gerald harrumphed at hearing the school’s name and laughed. “You mean that preppy private school that birth little Einsteins?”


“More like Evanstonians, dear!” Sarah countered.


“Yeah, I forgot, MCLT is way outta Einstein's league!” Gerald said. Sarah chuckled at his witty remark.


“What’s on the list, Ryn?” Earl whispered to Marion, interrupting the conversation.

“Huh?” Marion looked up to him in confusion.

“The program?” Earl looked down to her.

“Oh, uh—” Marion stopped.


Kayla finished playing their first song after coming out of a long, bluesy ending. The audience clapped after Kayla stopped playing.


Marion picked up a pamphlet lying in the middle of their table and opened it. The thick piece of paper was folded into two halves. On the front was a picture of Kayla in the blue blouse she wore now, with both hands around her flute. On the backside was a picture of her band members in the center. On the right side was another picture of Kayla smiling while holding up a peace sign. Inside and on the left side was the list of songs:


Music Night @ Marinacci’s


Featured Artist: Anedra and the Latin Travelers @ 8:00 PM


Songs to be played:



Afro Blue—Santamaria

Home Made Jam—Humphrey

Red Clay—Hubbard

Poinciana—Simon & Bernie

Georgia on My Mind—Charles

Mr. PC—Coltrane

Manteca—Gillespie et. all




Come What May—Najee

Blue Bossa—Dorham

Step in the name of love—R. Kelly

<s>Mr.</s> Ms. Magic—Washington Jr.

Songbird—Kenny G

Children of Sanchez—Mangione

Samba Blues—Dartan

Anedra’s Jam—Dartan


Marion scoffed at seeing the strike-through on Mr. under the song by Washington Jr. She turned the other way, rolling her eyes while handing Earl the program.


“What?” Earl briefly glanced at Marion scoffing.

“Kenji must’ve done that!” Marion pointed at the song and shortly laughed.

“Eh heh—Considering that Kayla is a woman.” Earl grinned.

“Funny!” Marion playfully shoved Earl in the arm.

Earl started laughing.


Marion sat there in silent contemplation, listening to her older sister play. The crowd clapped after each song. Kayla slightly bowed to their applauding. After the last song in the first set, the band stopped playing and Kenji walked out on stage. Kayla handed him the microphone.


“We’ll be back after a short break.” Kenji informed and added in a fake Italian accent, “So don’t you go anywhere, kapeesh?”


Some in the audience laughed to his fake Italian accent while the others either nodded with a grin or didn’t say anything. Marion rolled her eyes at Kenji’s voice acting before getting up from her seat. She headed backstage to look for Kayla. Earl followed shortly behind her. The two soon found Kayla, posing with the band in front of cameras, getting their pictures taken. News reporters were also present, interviewing Kenji on Kayla’s performance.


“Mr. Mackey,” One of the reporters called Kenji from a far. “You must be the man behind this young woman’s talent?”


“Really,” Kenji stammered. He pointed to himself and continued after a short pause, “I’m just the connection—Kayla and her band is the attraction!”


The news reporters reacted with a nod, making audible sounds of agreement. Some swarmed around Kayla with bright shiny lights as she entered the backstage with a bottle of root beer in one hand. She sat down, briefly before the lights assaulted her from all angles. She leaned backward and away from the equipment invading her personal space.


“So, Anedra,” one of the reporters began. “How does it feel to play at Marinacci’s?”


“Great!” Kayla smiled with one eye open. She was starting to feel the burn from the blinding light.


“How long have you been playing the flute?” the reporter continued with his questions.


“Since I was—” Kayla stopped to count the years on her fingers. “10!”

“Influences?” the reporter asked abruptly.


“Excuse me?” Kayla looked at the reporter. She turned away from the lights to take another sip of her drink.


“Your style seems to mimic the great jazz flute players of old!” A male reporter clarified.


“Oh!” Kayla laughed. “Eric Dolphy and Bobbi Humphrey, I guess.”


“And that’s what makes her one crazy beast!” Marion added loudly and from behind the crowd.


The mob of reports suddenly turned around to see Marion cheekily grinning at them. She had her hands on her hips. The media quickly gathered around her and Earl.


“And you two are?” a lady reporter asked.

“Marion and Earl Dartan.” Marion answered swiftly, and before Earl could answer.

“So how about—”


“I think that’s enough, don’t ya think?” Earl interrupted with a frown. “If you excuse us, we’d like some quality time with our family member!”


The lady reporter looked at him briefly. She stood there defiantly. Earl folded his arms and suddenly cleared his throat. That's when the lady decided to move on. The crowd of reporters followed her. They stopped at another one of Kayla's band members and started to ask them a thousand questions.


“Thanks!” Kayla said after a sigh of relief. “I thought they’d never leave!”


“You never thought they'd treat you that way, now did ya?” Marion grinned, slightly singing to her question with a short rhythmic head motion.


“Nope!” Kayla answered with a laugh. “Cuz I’ve never been in the spotlight before!”

“Don’t you tell that tale!” Earl accused, looking at her with a grin.


“Okay, you're right!” Kayla shortly laughed. “But the media wasn’t that massive at the Science Fair. Just a few moments ago, I thought all of Lunar-2 had invaded my bubble!”


“True that.” Earl laughed.

“By the way, Ryn—” Kayla stopped to punch Marion in the arm.

“Ow!” Marion held her arm in pain. “Why you—”

“Hey you two!” Earl jumped between them, holding out his arm.

“Those were my words you stole!” Kayla stuck her tongue out at Marion.

“Oh, like the plenty of times you did mine?” Marion defended.

“Whatever.” Kayla said shortly.


“Anyway,” Earl began, looking around at all the people and continued, “Marinacci attracts the crowds! This place is jammed packed!”


“Yep!” Kayla agreed. “But I think most of them are affiliated with the Paparazzi!”


Earl and Marion laughed at Kayla’s joke. Kayla took another sip of her drink to hide her grin.


“Hey, get back here!” a man in the distance yelled. Some people backstage turned their attention to footsteps racing around the corner.


Kayla looked up to see Makoto rushing into the open area. She looked away as the two met each other eye to eye. Everyone, including her band members froze, looking at the young man standing near the vending machine area. After seeing Kayla, he came toward her. She sighed hopelessly at his presence. Kayla hesitated for a moment at hearing Makoto call her name.


“You again? She grumbled, rising from her chair as she slowly moved towards him. She kept her stern eye on Makoto.


“Kayla, you know this hoodrat?” Kenji came and stood by her side.


“Hoodrat?” Makoto yelled, doing a shooing gesture at Kenji and added, “Who you calling a Hoodrat, ya scrub? This doesn’t concern you—so skiddable!”


“Kayla, please! I want you back! Give me a second chance, please, baby, please?” Makoto said, whining.


“Makoto, I think you need to—”


“Shuddap—old man!” Makoto interrupted angrily at Earl trying to come in. Earl backed away from Makoto after his sudden outburst. “Because of you, she—”


Kayla slapped Makoto hard in the face. Dante looked in Kayla’s direction at hearing the loud smack. The bouncers soon caught up with Makoto. The young man stood there momentarily stunned by Kayla's slap.


“Don’t you ever come in here and embarrass me in front of my friends, family—” Kayla stopped at a photographer snapping a shot of her and Makoto together. Brandon quickly snatched the camera from the reporter’s grasp and threw it in the trash.


“And the media,” Kayla continued, giving Makoto the evil glare. “Ya here?”


Kayla blew out air. The gust shortly parted her bunny ear hairstyle before returning to its place over her eyes. Kayla cocked her head towards bouncers and grinned.


“You can take the trash out now, boys!” Kayla flexed her eyebrows with a smug on her face. The bouncers grabbed Makoto from behind.


“Kayla, please!” Makoto grabbed for Kayla but came up short after the bouncers dragged him away in a vice-grip. “NO! I’m sorry!”


Makoto’s voice faded as the bouncers carried him back through the hallway. Makoto continued trying to get loose but to no avail. The bouncers had him hung up like a scarecrow, unable to move his arms or legs.


One of the employees opened the back door for the bouncers as they passed him on their way out. Upon opening the door, the bouncers both launched Makoto out. The young man landed on the concrete road of Marinacci’s backstreet with a thud. Makoto sat there on the ground, staring up at the two with an angry look.


“Don't you just love taking out the trash?” one of the bouncers joked to the other as they slammed the door in Makoto's face.


“Yeah, especially rejects.” Makoto heard the other bouncer add loudly from the inside. He heard some of the employees laugh at the bouncer’s remark.


Makoto got up with an angry grunt. He kicked an empty bottle on the ground and watched it skid across the pavement and shatter after hitting a wall. Inside Marinacci's, Kayla shortly shook her head at the scene as she returned to her seat.


“Who was that guy, anyway?” Kenji asked as he sat at the table with Kayla and her family.


“You don’t wanna know.” Kayla turned her head away from him.

“Maybe you should go to the police if he’s been stalking you.” Kenji suggested.


“I could. But why go through all that trouble just to get rid of him?” Kayla hid her smile as she took another sip on her drink.


“She won’t have any more problems from him.” Marion smiled at Kenji. “She has the—”

Kayla kicked Marion, under the table. Marion flinched, hesitating in her reply. “Mechanisms to keep him away.” Marion cleared her throat after rethinking her words.

“Okay!” Kenji nodded as he got up from the table and went out on stage.


“What are you two hiding?” Earl asked with his eyes darting at Kayla and Marion repeatedly, his arms folded.


Marion looked to Kayla. She briefly looked back at Marion, disgusted. Kayla quickly hand motioned a ‘beheaded’ sign across her neck at Marion. The girl sighed after Kayla lowered her hand.


“Alright,” Earl pressed, glancing at them both. “Out with it!”

“Daddy, not now!” Kayla said while pointing at the media.


“Alright, Kay!” Earl nodded, dropping his hands to his side. “But when we get home, you will tell me!”


A few minutes later, Kenji’s watch beeped.


“Okay, breaks over!” He yelled to the band backstage after sticking his head out of the curtain, first turning to Kayla. “Anedra, it’s time to get back on stage and play.”


He turned to the other band members.


“Let’s go Latin Travelers!” He whistled loudly in attempt to get the other band members attention.


Earl and Marion returned to their seats. Kayla and her band started moving back on stage.


“We’re back again!” Kayla said into the microphone as the tech crew rolled the curtains back. She stopped to pick up her flute on its stand.


“Hey, Kayla!” Gerald yelled through his hands cupped around his mouth. “Why don’t you tell us about yourself?”


Kayla squinted over the crowd and saw him and Sarah sitting in a booth next to Earl and Marion at a table. Other audible agreements were heard followed by short loud whistles.


“Well,” Kayla started as she cleared her throat. “Originally I’m from San Diego but I grew up here on Lunar-2.”


“School?” Another person mumbled.


Kayla leaned forward at barely hearing the question coming from the back row. She held out her ear toward the audience.


“What school did you graduate from?” the guy repeated louder.


“Oh, what school?” Kayla asked as the audience made audible sounds of confirmations to her deduction. “I graduated from MCLT-2 in 2034.”


Kayla swallowed hard, followed by a nervous laugh.


“Everything’s gonna be alright!” Kayla assured herself and continued thinking as her lungs began to cramp from her stage fright. “Just breathe, Kayla, breathe.”


She took another deep breath just before the audience flooded her with a wave of questions.


“What did you do at MCLT-2?” one of the employees asked from their place by the front door.


“I started off in music. But I switched to robotics yet still played and composed at home!” Kayla explained.


“How long have you played in a band?” another one boomed, sitting at a table in the middle of the restaurant.


“For two years now!” Kayla answered with a smile.


“Psst! Kayla!” Kenji called to Kayla above a whisper. She quickly glanced back to him watching her from the backstage. He had a huge grin on his face. His arms were folded, leaning against the wall, laughing with the shake of the head. He shot her a thumb up before folding his arms again.


Kayla returned to gazing into the fore. She fixed her eyes on the balcony above her. It was filled with the giant lights that were beaming down on her and the band.


“Hey,” Kayla started while shielding her eyes from the bright lights with her left hand. “Can we get a spotlight here?”


The light cut on, appearing on Dante. He turned away, squinting in reaction to the light shining down on him.


“I want to introduce you to our band. That’s Dante Riche, our drummer.” Kayla announced.


Dante waved his sticks in the air with a quick twirl after recovering from the light burst.


“Next on the keys we have my sistah, Clara Gates.” Kayla continued.


The spotlight followed Kayla's pointing, illuminating Clara waiving at the audience.


“Then there’s her brother Brandon on bass.” Kayla pointed to Brandon. The spotlight slowly moved over on the tall young man. He hit a string with his thumb lightly. The crowd heard fret noises from his amp.


“On congas,” Kayla paused. The spotlight moved from Brandon over on Julian next to him.  Kayla waited till the light hit Julian and said, “Mi amigo, Julian DeSoto!”


“Olay!” Gerald shouted from the background. Some began to laugh at the man imitating a Spanish accent.


Juilan reacted to Gerald’s words by playing a short rhythmic Latin progression. Some people started salsa dancing in their seat. Gerald and Sarah rocked to the beat together for a few moments.


“You know me as Anedra. But that’s just my stage name! My full name is Kayla Anedra Dartan.” Kayla said after Julian stopped playing. The spotlight finally loomed over her.


“There’s my family near the the back row.” Kayla pointed into the audience towards Marion and Earl, directing person controlling the light from above. The guy aimless scanned the audience for Earl and Marion.


Earl squinted as the light finally found him and his youngest daughter in the audience. Marion looked up at her sister and chuckled. She was unfazed by the light shining down on her.


“That’s my father, Earl.” Kayla explained and paused as the light moved over on Marion. “Next to him is my little sister Marion.”


The two sat there looking at Kayla in silence.

“Wave or something, guys!” Kayla said, pleading.


“Wassup!” Marion exclaimed with her tongue out. She shortly bobbed her head while shooting a ‘rock on’ hand sign up at Kayla.


The crowd laughed at her display. Marion put her hand down. A few people behind her repeated her words. Marion quickly looked back at the crowd. They raised Budweiser beer bottles up at her. Marion cheekily grinned with a tongue-through-teeth laugh, almost hissing. Earl nudged Marion lightly. He was grinning at her outburst. Marion turned toward the front with a giant smile on her face.


“That’s my girl!” Earl finally yelled at Kayla, shortly whistling in celebration before spotlight moved back on Kayla.


“Yall ready for the next set?” Kayla asked.


Some people in the audience made audible sounds of favor.


Kayla turned her ear to them and almost every in the audience yelled, “Yeah” in unison.


“Lez do this, then!” Kayla said as she raised her flute up to her lips. “To begin, we’re going to play a song by Najee entitled ‘Come What May’.”


Kayla turned to Clara and shouted, “You’re on, sistah!”


Clara started with a declining chord progression. At the end of it, Kayla started playing the melody. Dante started a funky jazz pop beat before the other band members jumped in with their instruments.


The band continued playing through the set. They stopped after playing Children of Sanchez with Brandon singing the lyrics while playing his acoustic guitar in place of his bass on this song. Kayla ended with the melody of this song. The band members followed behind her in a combined tremolo finale and then became silent. The audience rose in applauding.


Kayla bowed lightly.


“We have two more songs for you before we go.” She paused. “These last two are originals composed by yours truly!”


“Kayla!” Clara called.


Kayla stepped away from the microphone briefly as Brandon poked her in the back. She turned around, looking at him confused. He pointed to Clara.


“How we gonna start it off?” Clara asked her.


“Take it to the bridge!” Kayla said after thinking for a moment. Her band nodded to her decision. Kayla then returned to the microphone.


“This first one is entitled Samba Blues.” Kayla explained.

“Ready, band?” Kayla asked her band while speaking into the microphone.

“Yeah!” All of them shouted in unison.


Dante held his drumsticks in the air, ready. Kayla looked to Clara. Her hands were over the first chords to be played in the song. Brandon looked to Kayla with one thumb ready on his bass. Julian's hands were relaxed on his congas. Collectively, Kayla's band members looked to their flautist, anticipating her queue. Kayla turned around to the audience and started with the bridge of the song—a short phrase before a pause. Clara ran a major arpeggio with her left hand following Kayla’s musical statement. Kayla repeated that phrase three more times before reaching the climax of the intro. The remaining phrases were a 2-5-1 progression leading into the melody. In the percussion section, Brandon hit his crash symbol with syncopation to Kayla's notes. Julian followed Brandon’s pattern as all of them reached the end of the 2-5-1. They dropped out, becoming silent as Dante hit his high-hat three times to count in the melody.


On the ‘and’ of the third count, Kayla began the triplet run a part of the melody. Brandon switched to a funky jazz-rock beat on the drums. Julian switched to a guaganco rhythm in the background. Clara just played chords to Brandon's thumping his bass to the notes outlining the melody's changes.


Before long, the band moved into the bridge, which was much different from the intro. Kayla started with a mellow legato phrase. Brandon ran a counter bass melody, complimenting Kayla’s run. Clara played chords until the end of that phrase before switching to a funky, minor groove with Brandon. On congas, Julian shifted his elbow around the head while beating on it, bending the conga’s pitch with that maneuver. He moved his elbow downward toward the end of each phrase. Dante hit his crash symbol at intervals like he did with Kayla during the intro.


The Latin travelers repeated that progression three times. On the fourth, the chord progression changed leading back to the melody and the start of Kayla's solo. Kayla progressed through the changes with bluesy runs, using a few arpeggios coupled with syncopated rhythms. Clara clunked at the keys with a turnaround movement at the end of Kayla’s solo and back to the melody.


When the band reached the “second” bridge, Kayla started a slow groove after playing the last note of previous section in starting the next. Dante changed his style of playing to a rim shot with his base drum playing between it. Clara and Brandon followed Kayla in a laid back sound. Julian was the last to break from the melody's fast pace with a slow beat from his congas waiting.


Kayla raised her flute. Her band suddenly knew to play the melody again after ending the “C” section. Dante hit the snare twice to the last two notes in this section. The other band members did the same with their instruments in unison with Kayla finishing up. The crowd responded to the sudden progression with a short applause, cheering as Kayla and her band returned to the melody. Kayla ended the song by repeating the last phrase in the melody a twice but hit the final note a few octaves higher. The others ended with her on the same note.


The audience roared in applause after the band stopped playing.


“Thank you!” Kayla said into the microphone with a giggle as the encore died down. “This last one is entitled, Anedra’s Jam!”


Kayla played the melody of the song solo, purposely hesitating on the last few notes before a short silence. Dante immediately started playing a pop fill in before Kayla started the melody. He continued to play a pop beat as Julian played a similar progression on his congas. Brandon thumped away at the bass, mimicking bottom notes of Clara’s chord progression riff.


On the bridge, Clara’s 2-5-1 complimented Kayla’s musical phrases like a mini turnaround between their flautist’s lines. At the hook, Clara played a syncopated interval rhythm, harmonizing with Kayla before returning to the melody.


Kayla started her solo after her band started playing the melody's chord changes. She used her style previously used in Samba Blues, mixing it up with more rhythmic, triplet runs and arpeggios. At the end of her solo, Kayla started to play the melody but stopped at noticing Clara still playing the melodic accompaniment.


“Teh—I feel ya!” Kayla thought with a grin, using the first part of the melody as her second solo, molding the rest into a high energy trilled syncopated runs.


Some in the audience were clapping to the rhythm of Anedra's Jam while others were bobbing their head to the beat. Marion swung her head a little to the right and then to the left, grooving to the catchy rhythm. Earl bobbed his head, but not in tune with the song's rhythm. He kept missing the groove. Marion stopped to look at him and laughed.


“What?” Earl turned to Marion, acting innocent.


“Never mind.” Marion answered, shaking her head with apathy. She resumed dancing with her head.


At the hook, Kayla ended the song on the harmonic part played between her and Clara. The audience roared in applause. Moments later they gave Kayla and her band a standing ovation. Kayla and her band got up to stand in a line before the crowd. They bowed together while holding hands. They repeated that twice before Kenji came out on stage. He bowed also.


“Our band’s manager, Kenji Mackey!” Kayla said into the microphone, introducing him at last. The applause rose louder, this time with cheering.


“That’s it for tonight! Oh, be sure to look out for Anedra’s Album for sale on Amazon December 2!” Kenji said vivaciously after Kayla handed the microphone over to him.


After the show, a crowd of people flooded around Kayla and her band. Many of them were commending their performance. Kayla watched the crowd of people around Kenji. He was handing out business cards with her and her band’s info on them.


“Impressive Kayla!” Sarah complimented, poking Kayla in the arm, getting her attention.


“Yeah, Kayla, you really showed ‘em up!” Gerald smiled, sluggishly rolling his eyes to the left and then to the right. He staggered to the left a little bit, his arm around Sarah's waist.


“Uh, thanks!” Kayla smiled. She looked at Gerald, concerned. “Is he—”


“Mr. Drunken Monkey over here can’t seem to hold his liquor like moi!” Sarah laughed.


“Bye now!” Gerald waved and hiccupped. He and Sarah exited up the stairs through the front door.


“Ms. Dartan, I presume?” A feminine voice boomed from behind the crowd of people around Kayla.


“Step aside, yo, we here on business!” A man ordered.


The three pushed through the crowds until they got to Kayla. The girl stood there with her band and family near the back door.


“You must be Anedra!” the woman said, slightly daunting as she stepped in front of her two bodyguards as the three reached Kayla. The lady's green one-piece dress glittered in the light. It shined brightly in contrast to her red makeup.


“Lady Terrance?” Kayla turned towards her nervously at hearing the woman’s voice.


“Please, call me Emma!” Her tone became much friendlier as she extended her hand out to Kayla in a handshake.


“Okay.” Kayla said, less nervously as she shook Emma’s hand.


“You have quite the talent there, young lady, I’m impressed!” Emma cheerfully complimented. “Talent is rare in this city, especially in a town that prefers the obscene over salsing, you know what I mean?”


“Yes Ma’am.” Kayla nodded.


Emma glanced over to one of her escorts and snapped her fingers.


“Well, you know the deal.” One of her escorts started to explain in a ghettoish accent at hearing her finger snap. “Emma writes a review in the Lunar-2 music mag, the Lunarian Beat. If you’re review is good, you’ll be selling mass music like the big boys and girlies! Ya dig?”


“Yeah, sweet!” Kayla answered him, enthusiastically with a smile.


Lady Terrance and her escorts continued passed Kayla toward the exit.


“I know about your band's last review, Anedra.” Emma stopped for a moment, turning around to Kayla before reaching the door. “Ms. Fletcher is no longer with us. Her discreditably came after being disapproved by someone of a higher authority—more specifically, Madam Naira II.”


“Ewww.” Kayla cringed at hearing Naira’s name. “I heard she doesn’t like anything degrading.”


“People do what they want to, nowadays, Kayla.” Emma explained. “Not all music is bad—yet the vast majority makes millions off things that are. Those are the ones Naira’s hunting.”


“You know what she sayin’?” the other guy asked Kayla in an affirmative tone. “Princess Saul’s droppin’ da bomb on dem low-lives!”


“I get it!” Kayla laughed with a nod. “I get it!”


“I can assure you that my reviews are unbiased.” Holly explained. “You and your band will be judged fairly this time around.”


Lady Terrance and her guides started toward the exit again.


“Peace out!” one of Emma’s men turned around, walking backwards out the door after gesturing a sideways peace sign to Kayla, her friends, and family.


Marion and Kayla returned an upright peace sign with head nods. Emma and her escorts disappeared out the door.


“Kayla!” Marion exclaimed happily, hugging her sister tightly. Earl joined in the group hug.


“I’m proud of you,” Earl smiled but added in a serious tone, “But don’t think it’ll always be like this.”


“But there's the possibility of—”

“You’ll become a starving artist like the rest of them.” Earl interrupted.

“But Emma just—”

“She’s just saying that to keep your hopes up!” Earl sighed.

“But Emma’s right, Earl,” Kenji butted in. “She has a chance to—”


“Not in Lunar-2.” Earl shook his head. “And travel costs are too high between the colonies!”


“If you say so.” Kenji said with apathy. “Look, I gotta go, nice job everyone! Oh, remember—we got a band meeting next week, Kayla!”


“Okay!” Kayla waved to Kenji who waltzed out the door with Dante carrying his base drum on a dolly. Kayla and her family were the last to leave Marinacci’s.


When the Dartans got home, Kayla speedily headed toward her room after entering the front door. Liz barked inside her cage behind the sofa after the door swung open. She had awakened from the sound of the door banging against the wall behind it. Marion followed closely behind her sister, rushing up the stairs.


“Kayla… Marion…” Earl called as he slammed the front door behind him. “Come back here—the both of you—NOW!”


His tone was less than pleasant. Both girls knew they weren’t getting out of this one. They turned around slowly, hearing his impatience, and faced him from the banisters.


“What’s this thing you’re hiding from me?” Earl folded his arms with darting eyes between his daughters. He stared coldly at Kayla, tapping his feet.


“You should’ve kept your big mouth shut, Ryn.” Kayla growled low into Marion’s ear. “Well, how else was I—”


“Stop bickering and start talking!” Earl yelled louder, interrupting Marion.

“I—” Kayla nodded off her hesitation. “I’ll have to show you—”


“Oh, no!” Earl stopped, putting his foot down. Kayla and Marion stopped abruptly from heading up the stairs again. “You’re not pulling that one on me again... Let’s see—”


Earl suddenly stumbled forward and began breathing heavily. He rubbed around his chest area, undoing his shirt collar.


“Daddy, you okay?” Marion looked at Earl starting to sweat profusely. Earl blinked, unresponsive. His shirt was saturated in sweat. Suddenly, he fell to the ground unconscious with a loud thump.


“Daddy!” Kayla screamed. She and Marion ran to his side. Marion propped Earl's head up with her hand after he hit the ground. He looked at them with his eyes rolled back in his head, unresponsive to Marion’s repeatedly calling him.


“We need to get him to the hospital!” Kayla looked to Marion trying to compose herself from her grief.


“Help me get him to the car!” Marion rushed. Immediately, the two lifted Earl's unconscious body out the door and into the back seat of Kayla's car.



They drove to the medical center around the corner. Marion stayed with Earl in the backseat, attempting to resuscitate her father by doing CPR. Kayla got out the car rushed into a side door labeled “emergency personnel only”. She came out a few minutes later with two men in paramedic uniforms. One of them pulled a stretcher from the inside.


“We got it from here!” One of them assured Marion while loading Earl onto a stretcher


“Thanks!” Kayla said to one of them. The paramedics then took Earl through the sliding doors and into the emergency room.


For two hours, Kayla and Marion waited in the lobby.


“Are you Earl Dartan’s daughters?” A tall, slender oriental man in scrubs asked after approaching Kayla and Marion.


“Yes?” Kayla asked. “How is he?”


“He’s on IVs right now.” The man answered. “Does he take anything for chest pain?”

“Yes.” Marion answered. “But we can’t seem to—”

“Quiet, Ryn.” Kayla interrupted. “Is he going to be okay?”

“He will.” The man replied.

“What—was wrong with him?” Marion said over Kayla’s hushing.


“Mr. Dartan’s blood pressure is skyscraper high.” The man informed. “Coupled with high cholesterol—that's one deadly combination! Fortunately, you got him here in time!”


“Will he be able to come back with us tonight?” Kayla asked.


“Not exactly. His heart is frequently going out of rhythm. I’m having a pacemaker put in him.” The man explained. “So, we’re going to have to keep him overnight. But we’ll try to get him home by tomorrow morning, okay?”


“Okay!” Kayla nodded. “Thanks Doc!”

She and Marion walked back out to their car.


“So fortunate, Ryn.” Kayla mumbled low at Marion after she got in on the driver’s side. Both of them slammed their doors shut.


“What else was I supposed to make up?” Marion cried as Kayla started the car and drove off. “He’s already suspecting something!”


“Don’t you think I know that already?” Kayla raised her voice.

“Then what are we going to tell him?” Marion sounded nervous.

Kayla didn’t answer her. She turned the corner toward their home a few feet away.


“He’ll get it out of either one of us sooner or later!” Marion’s apprehension rose with stuttering.


“Tomorrow then.” Kayla finally said after pulling into their driveway. “When he comes home.”


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