Short Fiction: “After the music’s gone, you’ve gotta make the rhythm a new way, baby…”

This story is about the existential, yet sexual angst of Craig Collins. Collins is a virtuoso jazz drummer, who, at the moment at which we’re starting the retelling of this story, is in the midst of playing Barry White’s “Let The Music Play,” as part of a three song suite that will include Lou Rawls’ “You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine,” and will conclude with Van McCoy’s “The Hustle” blended into Herb Alpert’s “Rise.” He has 15 years of incredibly well-regarded experience. But, he’s sitting onstage at The Little Jazz School at 10:35 AM, warming up the crowd on an unseasonably hot 91 degree morning at the Montreal International Jazz Festival. The level of angst displayed on his tight-lipped and almost Hitler-mustached visage is exactly why we’re here. As a drummer, Collins is on a level where he should be on tour with a Janet Jackson, but is instead playing behind a jiggling and gyrating, heavily mustachioed, tanned and long, feathered haired older white guy. What’s this guy wearing? Well, today it’s a Crayola neon purple sateen jumpsuit and shiny, stack-heeled, black Stacy Adams Madison boots.

If you’re not aware of who Louis Delvecchio is, the fact that Craig Collins’ career is at Louis Delvecchio’s level of “entertainment” says a lot about just how far depression can get into someone’s head and alter the course of their existence.

Not many people are likely aware of the legend of Blue Bell, Pennsylvania-based DJ Licorice Delicious. Born Louis Delvecchio, for the past 30 years he’s performed under his birth given name as the bandleader and lead vocalist of Louis Delvecchio’s Lemonade Disco Experience. The Lemonade Disco Experience is a 12-piece disco orchestra that’s had four times as many members over three decades, and typically plays what Delvecchio calls “the soup to nuts that moves the butts.”

Delvecchio’s history as a performer kicked off in 1973, where for five years he toured the world as a Tony Orlando impersonator. ’73 was when “Tie A Yellow Ribbon” hit #1 for Tony Orlando and Dawn. Thus, there was a need for a tanned Sicilian with a bushy fu manchu mustache and a well-coiffed mushroom of long, thick black hair to impersonate Puerto Rican/Greek superstar Orlando. After five years touring worldwide that included opening for Up With People in Yugoslavia on a 23 cities in 27 day tour in 1974, he returned to the suburbs of Philadelphia burned out on singing, but definitely looking at the burgeoning disco industry as something to consider.

DJ Licorice Delicious was “the record breaker for your money maker,” and his career spawned from Delvecchio investing his savings from five years of singing “Tie A Yellow Ribbon” and “Knock Three Times” into 20 sateen jumpsuits with gold embroidered dollar signs down the sides of his legs, two turntables, the disco hits of 1978, and co-ownership of Academy Hall in Pottstown, PA.

Pottstown’s attempt at Studio 54 lasted one year and involved a visit from Carl Douglas who performed “Kung Fu Fighting” and “Dance The Kung Fu” on New Year’s Eve 1979. Nine years as a mobile DJ throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania’s Bucks and Delaware Counties later, and Louis Delvecchio’s Lemonade Disco emerged as a viable business option after, during a gig at the Doylestown Car Show in 1988, Delvecchio’s speaker system overheated. Saving the day with vocal renditions of the second half of his DJ set, Louis has, for the past 30 years, provided — as noted on his website — “to $100 million in employment for the world’s greatest live band and session musicians for some of your most beloved hits that are the soup to nuts that moves the butts.”

Before keeping time for the Lemonade Disco Experience, Craig Collins became a drumming superstar in the most salacious way possible. “Combustible Craig” earned his nickname as a high school boxer. A hardscrabble upbringing on the streets of Miami, Florida found Collins, then 16, arrested for aggravated assault after knocking his school’s bus driver unconscious for calling him a n*gger. He spent two years in the Miami-Dade Juvenile Detention Center. In that time he lost his baby fat, and put on 40 extra pounds of muscle from constantly weightlifting. Sporting his new physique, he got involved in a boxing-related release program, while also picking up drumming as a side hobby, given the popularity of Craig’s battle rapping fellow offenders liking to bust freestyles to rudimentary live takes on Doug E. Fresh’s “The Show.”

By the time Craig was 25, he was living in North Philadelphia, drumming in Chris’ Jazz Cafe. The spot was three blocks away from City Hall, and was the type of space back in 1992 where as many cockroaches as people stayed around for the late show encore. Doors closed at 2 AM, and pay was $500 a week for three nights of playing behind artists like saxophonist Bootsie Barnes, a young spoken word poet named Jill Scott, and the Jazzyfatnastees.

That was then, but this is now.

“You look like that 70s boxer. You know, Ken Norton? But you probably hear that all the time.”

The back of Melodie Jamison’s maroon satin jacket had “Sex Magic” written on it, surrounded by stars. The words and star patterns were done with a gold, sparkly iron on decal in cursive font. Craig couldn’t miss seeing it during the previously mentioned set at the Little Jazz School during the Montreal International Jazz Festival. She had her back turned to the stage. Her long brown hair was in a thick, single braid, and she had a maroon hibiscus flower behind her right ear. The billowing off-white bloomers and cognac-colored, open-toed, stacked heel sandals were a classy, yet understated touch.

When she turned around and smiled, doing a jaunty two-step to Herb Alpert’s “Rise,” Craig couldn’t help but smile, too. There were moments like these in his 150+ gigs per year where the job wasn’t thoroughly intolerable. This mystery lady’s big brown eyes were filled with effervescent joy, and her body appeared to be totally consumed by his groove.

Soon, Craig got offstage and was sitting by the makeshift bar, drinking an incredibly poorly made Jack Daniels and Diet Coke. A wide honey-brown hand with slim fingers, long red nails, and a gold ring with a one-carat ruby setting softened Craig’s visage as he was screwing up his face and staring in disgust at the concoction.

“Hi. I’m Melodie. You’re Craig, right?”

“Yeah…I’m Craig. But nobody knows me anymore.”

“I never forgot you. From ’95 to ’05, you were the man!”

“Yeah, that was awhile back. Now, it’s the Lemonade Disco.”

“You sounded great up there. Still ‘Combustible Craig, the guns on the drums!’”

“God, you sound like Louis.”

“It’s cute. But yeah. You look like that 70s boxer. You know, Ken Norton? But you probably hear that all the time.”

“Mandingo.”

“Exactly!”

“Yeah, that’s me, baby. 51 years old…still a slave to the man!”

“But what about that Mandingo part…”

“Yeah, well, I’m definitely single.”

“Me too. But anyway, I’m Melodie Jamison, and I was an Assistant Editor at Jet Magazine when it shut down. One of the stories I had on my desk was about what happened to you in ’04, and how it put you on the backburner for like, what? 10 years? I saw that the Lemonade Disco was playing and I said…I’ll never get another chance to meet this legend.”

“So baby, you want to know what happened?”

“Yeah, baby. Let’s go grab some of those lawn chairs. I’m not even on assignment. I just want to know.”

“Hell, girl. I was 25 and barely making ends meet. You know, just gigging, nothing too crazy. I wasn’t like, a great drummer. I couldn’t read music, and could only play covers. Learning jazz on the fly, couldn’t improv for shit. I don’t know how I was surviving, but I was. I guess they figured, 6'1” buff black guy, Definitely a look and a presence.”

“Lola Falana was at the club one night, singing, and her OPENER’s manager…yeah, she was a bad jawn named Neicy. Neicy saw me and said she knew a dude who knew a dude who shot for Italian Playboy and that I needed to be featured in there YESTERDAY. She made a call, and next thing you know, I’m on a plane, landed, and standing buck naked on a gondola in Venice with Ciccolina, that porn star politician chick. I didn’t do anything with her…but she knew a few commercial directors, and at this point…I’m in Italy, hanging around with hot people, making THREE TIMES what I made as a jazz drummer, so it was a no brainer. Six months later, I’m the half-naked brother in the tight white soccer shorts in commercials during halftime of the European Cup soccer games. I was a star. ‘Il Nero, Il Grande Violinista!’ Then I went to that Run-DMC afterparty and played ‘Peter Piper’ on the drums like I had about a million times before.”

Craig’s voice trailed off as he stared at Melodie. She was looking away, off in the distance, at Louis Delvecchio playing peek-a-boo with a newborn child who probably had no idea of what disco, or even life, really was. And there was Louis, all 68 years of him, with his now charcoal black-dyed, and ever widening parted down the middle, Tony Orlando-style hair and Just For Men-enhanced mustache. His hands were in front of his eyes. Craig had seen this act a million times before. Louis would get the kid to stop crying, and then sell an autographed 8 x 10 to the parents…”for the crib…to keep the bambino from crying!”

But Melodie. Wow. Melodie. She was something else. She wasn’t, like his grandmother always said the best women were, “brick shithouse hot.” She was tall and lithe. If Craig was 6'1", she’d have to be a shade under 5'11". Her only flaw? Everything about her seemed just a little outside of the expectation. She had wide hands with long fingers. Either she was the starting small forward for her college basketball team (she was…2006–2009 All-West Coast Conference First Team at Pepperdine), or she was just an awkward broad. Her face was long and not particularly angular, but her warm smile and soft eyes invited you in for immediately intense conversations like the one they were having.

Melodie wasn’t built like the rest of the African-American women he typically saw at his Lemonade Disco gigs. These were either plus-sized buxom women ten years his senior dressed like women half his age did in 1975, or women who looked like worn versions of pictures of jazz loving chicks on couches on classic episodes of Playboy After Dark. Instead, Melodie was vibrant, live, and in living color. She looked like she definitely worked out and ate with her health in mind. Moreover, she seemed to be the kind of chick who ran just hard enough on the treadmill to get a blush and glow on her skin, and could somehow eat a $42 plate of fettucine alfredo and drink half of a $58 bottle of red wine, and not gain an inch. Plus, like Mary Tyler Moore, she could turn the world on with her smile, so a $100 meal didn’t seem that worrisome at all.

As Melodie turned her head back around, she smiled at Craig.

“Oh I was listening, I just saw your bandleader over there doing his grandfather act. Would you ever want kids?”

“Me. No. All good.”

“I sometimes think I am, too. Then I start thinking that I could leave a legacy.”

“I mean, I know you as a journalist, and I think you already have.”

“WOW. Really?”

“Yeah baby, really.”

In the annals of on-film African-American lovemaking, the tryst between Ron O’Neal’s Priest and Sheila Frazier’s Georgia in Superfly is notably described as a “woozy, bathtub sex scene” that is “absolutely beautiful, hugely arousing and beautifully shot,” as “the black skin touching in the water and the emotion between the two actors is amazing.” For the past 33 years — that’d be since he lost his virginity at 18 — Craig Collins was very partial to the idea that that, ever since he saw Superfly as a precocious 10 year old, five years after its release, that if ever presented the opportunity to make love in a bathtub, that this is how it would go down. It was Craig’s undeniable belief that after a 45 minute conversation with Melodie Jamison, that this epic moment was finally set to occur.

Craig literally drew the shortest straw in the band and thus won access to the other California King bed, marble fixture bathroom and spa tub-having corner suite on the third floor of the Hotel Chateau St. Marc. Montreal was an every other year trip for the Lemonade Disco, and when Louis Delvecchio booked hotels for himself and the guys (the band hadn’t seen a female member — not intentionally — since 1998), he knew that half the band wanted the strip clubs and various delights of the infamous Rue de St. Catherine, while the others definitely wanted to pick up souvenirs for the family. Thus, it was the Hotel Chateau St. Marc, where the $5,000 performance guarantee for one day to test out the speakers as the “opener’s opener” for the Montreal International Jazz Festival’s venues could be subtracted from band member pay to cover rooms while still ensuring that the handsome $2500 each they earned for a week of music wouldn’t be touched.

“So they call this ‘poutine,’ huh?”

Melodie had ordered room service to Craig’s room, and while Melodie had cracked open the minibar and made a Tanqueray and orange juice, Craig curiously poked his thick fingers through a hastily composed plate of lukewarm hand-cut french fries, gelatinous cheese curds, and an elastic, thoroughly un-appetizing brown gravy. Craig was also staring blankly, with minimal excitement regarding having to watch Louis Delvecchio sing Tavares’ “More Than A Woman” while half-time and halfheartedly shuffling his way through Antone Tavares’ choreography, into his IBM ThinkPad laptop, at his itinerary for the week. Simultaneously, in the back of his mind, he was replaying Ron O’Neal and Sheila Frazier’s epic bathtub lovemaking scene from Superfly. Now 51, Craig hoped that he had the mental ability to will his body into the necessary actions he ideally felt were forthcoming.

“Yeah, it’s a delicacy up here. Has been for about a half-century.”

Melodie emerged from the small kitchenette sitting a plastic cup with the kind of orange concoction that passes for orange juice when near-expiration Sunny Delight is involved. Melodie was wearing what some would — inappropriate for the modern age — call a very form fitting white “wifebeater” underwear tank top without a bra, along with her off-white linen pants. Her cognac-colored stacked-heel sandals were haphazardly strewn under the right corner of the California King size bed adorned with a brand new faux gold satin and white cotton duvet cover that the hotel purchased an entire lot of for 50% off from Pottery Barn.

“Delicacy my ass!”

Craig bellowed his discontent while slightly chuckling. He was also pulling up a 1975 performance by Barry White from the Royal Albert Hall on Youtube as appropriate background music for what was to come.

“Oh wow. Is that the Lemonade Disco?”

“No, that’s Barry and the full Love Unlimited Orchestra from London in ‘75.”

“Goodness gracious. That’s something else.”

“Know what else is something else?”

“What?”

“That we’ve been in this room for 25 minutes and we haven’t addressed that there’s definitely a connection here.”

“Ha. Never thought you’d mention it. I don’t just go back to hotel rooms with every strange drummer that’s almost twice my age that I meet playing with cover bands at jazz festivals, you know…”

“So you’re telling me I’m lucky?”

“No, I’m telling you you’re good.”

“Good? How can I be great?”

“Well, that’s to be decided, right?”

Craig carefully jumped forward the video clip to the 17 minute point, as if he’d been planning this moment his whole life. He was still wearing the extra starched, high and long collared, white, ruffled, tuxedo style dress shirt, electric purple, vintage Italian gabardine slacks, and white leather driving loafers he’d worn on-stage three hours earlier. Carefully emerging from his entirely un-sexy desk and office chair combination broadly situated in the room’s northwest corner, he approached Melodie with not-so-sly, but still completely seductive body language.

“Wherever, wherever girl I’ll do it…forever and ever, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah…I’ll see you through it…thank you…thank you…”

Craig was pantomiming thanking his adoring fans while singing along to “Never Gonna Give You Up” as Melodie smiled, and sat down her gin and juice on the pure oak nightstand behind her. There were approximately two feet east and west and four feet north and south between the bed and the sliding bathroom door, and Melodie laughed as she sized up the situation.

“Aw shit now. Don’t you tell me you’ve got the steps too, huh? You trying to get it in?”

Craig paused.

“Not yet, baby. Not yet. I just wanna dance with you.”

“I mean, that’s fine.”

Craig deepened his voice into a Barry White-similar raspy groan.

“Feel your love on me. Feel my love on you. You know. I just really want to know what kind of love you have inside of you. It seems like you have a lot of love to give.”

“Well come here then. I think I have all the love you need!”

As they intertwined and began to engage each other in a two-step and occasional spin version of the Latin hustle, their chemistry was so palpable that the gnat buzzing in the air conditioning duct got a better seat for what was to come by merely becoming a fly on the wall next to the bed.

“Hey lady, you know I do this about 100 times a year, right? I step out from behind the drum kit, and Shawn Simpson, our bass player, plays the bassline to Chic’s ‘Everybody Dance.’ I do a dance with a bored ass housewife.”

“Is that so? Well, that’s not me. I took classical ballet and jazz tap until the 11th grade so I gotchu.”

Their dancing grew more athletic as Barry and the orchestra launched into “Never Get Enough of Your Love.” The twists, turns, giggles, and laughter increased as Craig and Melodie grew more physically familiar and comfortable with each other by the second. As White slowed things down and launched into a ten-minute version of his ballad “I’ve Found Someone,” the two began a slow, basement party red-light special-style drag, and Melodie very gently nestled her head against the right side of Craig’s chest. She felt the deep, thumping pulse of his heart against her left temple, and the heat of his ever-so-slightly overheating body. She melted into the vibe. A deep, relieved sigh from Craig caused his sizable pectoral muscles to flex deeply against his crisp white shirt, and it was at that point that their bodies melded into one.

Just as Craig closed his eyes to soak in the joyous moment of self-realization that his ultimate sexual dream was, in his mind, more than likely coming true, there was Barry and the band picking up the tempo. “Baby, sweet baby, my babe, what am I gonna do with you?”

“Uh oh…here it comes again…you ready?”

“Ummmm…yeah…ha ha ha, I’m ready! Let’s get it.”

The passionate pair began a Temptations choreography-style two step while interlocking fingers. Suddenly, Craig twirled Melodie with his left hand while holding her right, and he was hugging her, cross-armed, from behind. Inadvertently, his now rather prominent erection swept across the back side of her left thigh. Though Craig didn’t note it, Melodie did, and it was at that very moment that she decided that she was going to fuck this man. Though he’d emerged, quite scathed, from an astounding life backstory, he was here. He was there, in Montreal, with her, and his body felt strong, hot, and ready, in every way, for her and only her. It was as if this moment had been predestined for a lifetime. Every second they were not together had heightened the intensity that fed into these moments where they were. She wasn’t going to jump his bones, but rather, she wanted to see if he knew, as well, that this ultimate moment had arrived. “Yes, Melodie Jamison,” she told herself, “you’re going to fuck the life and spirit out of Craig Collins, and you’re going to love every minute of it.”

As “Deeper and Deeper” gave way to “My First, My Last, My Everything,” Craig knew foremost that the 49-minute Youtube clip was coming to an end. As well, he presumed that he needed to make a move at some point then, because if the video ended and they were still just standing there, now sweaty, in clothes, that there was a chance that this wasn’t going to happen. It’d just be potentially awkward, and wholly embarrassing. Here they were, a 50-year old man and a 30-year old woman, hand-dancing like 20-year olds, in a massive hotel room in old Montreal.

“Damn Craig!”

Barry wasn’t even at the final chorus of his concert, and it sounded like the record had scratched at Melodie’s sudden exclamation.

“What?”

“Shit, I’m sweaty as hell in here. Is the air conditioning on?”

“Yeah Melodie, it is! Ha. Yeah, you wanna take a break?”

“Well, I probably…gosh…this is gonna sound forward…but do you mind if I take a shower or something? I have tickets to Kamasi Washington tonight and I wanted to take pictures at the Olympic Park beforehand. I just wouldn’t want to do all of that like, stinky, you know?”

“Oh that’s fine. I mean…I have a spa tub if that’s more your speed?”

“Really? God, that’d be such an imposition on my part.”

“No, it’s my pleasure. I mean, it’s there, right? Why not use it?”

“Craig, you’re a good man. I appreciate it.”

As she hugged him, there was a lingering sensation in the level of tension with which her arms wrapped around his neck. He attempted to match it by wrapping his arms at a similar tightness around her waist. While attempting to figure out exactly how all of that was going to work, Melodie attempted to break from his grip, and slide open the bathroom door. Because of the strangeness of the moment, the kiss that Melodie had aimed at Craig’s cheek now grazed his lips. The tension release of the moment stunned both of them, and they ever so slightly giggled.

“I’ll be out in like, 30 minutes. Is that okay? Oh yeah, I found the shampoo. Bubble bath it is…Is that cool?”

“Yeah. I’ve got emails to answer. Louis has already sent five of them it looks like, all about our fucking outfits for this week. This guy doesn’t let up.”

Five minutes went by as Craig settled in for the afternoon and evening. He took off his white ruffled tuxedo shirt, being sure to not excessively crease it — this was a “two-wear” shirt — as he was taking it off of his surprisingly still-hulking frame. 6'1" 225 was now hovering maybe somewhere around 6'1" 242, but aside from the slight muffin top on his extra-tight gabardine pants, he still had the outline of a six-pack, and 15-inch biceps that, in 1999, made ex-pro wrestler turned Governor of Minnesota Jesse “The Body” Ventura say “well goddamn” under his breath in amazement at a campaign rally at the Mall of America.

After taking off his shoes and socks, and peeling off his almost body-constricting slacks, Craig stood in front of the mirrored clothes closet in the black and silver thong Calvin Klein bikini briefs he wore foremost because he hated having underwear lines under his performance pants…and also because he still liked showing off his well-defined 22-inch quadriceps.

“Whe…where is the shower cap in here?”

Craig was interrupted by Melodie, who he saw, very clearly, staring at his bare naked ass in thong bikini briefs, and broad and deeply muscled upper back. She didn’t look unimpressed.

“Hey. Yeah. I think I saw one in the drawers under the sink.”

“Lord, there’s like six of them.”

“I can show you. Do you mind if I come in?”

“No.”

Craig entered into what was an almost uncomfortably steaming hot bathroom.

“Wow. It’s hot as hell in here.”

“Yeah, I’ve liked hot baths and showers since I was an athlete in college.”

“Oh really? Where?”

“Pepperdine. I led our team to the NCAAs my freshman year, conference championships for the two years after that. Then I tried for the WNBA, but blew out my knee and had appendicitis.”

“That’s amazing. I think I found your…shit.”

Craig turned around and there was Melodie, naked, standing in front of him. There was a spa tub filled with essential oil-made bubbles, and he was standing there, now rather garishly, at full, eight and a half erect inches of attention.

As perfect as the moment was, she had a long, jagged, white scar on her honey-brown stomach, and what looked like a nickel-sized circle birthmark on her right breast. She was still a beautiful woman, and yes, they were still very much going to make epic love, but her body made him stop dead in his tracks.

What? It’s a body, lol. It’s not like, Jesus Fucking Christ, YOUR body, but I think it does what it needs to do well.”

“Yeah. I mean, you can definitely say that.”

“Ha! Before you ask (as Melodie pointed at her waistline), this is my scary appendicitis scar. They needed to do a deeper surgery, so I might’ve lost a little intestine as well. And this? (pointing at her right breast) That’s my birthmark. Not a tattoo. I’m not some ratchet chick outchea holding up musicians for child support.”

“You know you’re still beautiful, right?”

“(pointing at Craig’s very erect penis and smiling) Apparently! So ummm, when are you taking those off.”

“Now.”

“Wow. I like. Wanna get in?”

“I thought you’d never ask.”

As they sat in the spa tub together, Melodie initiated the action by placing her left arm around him and pulling him in for a long, deep, and to her, surprisingly sloppy, French kiss. At 51, it’s not that Craig was a bad kisser by any stretch. It was moreso that he was woefully out of practice at kissing anyone. There was that one Polish chick in Rochester, who at Craig’s guess would be 54 right now with a white-frosted blonde flat top — that, because she a) looked like Brigitte Nielsen at basic training, and b) enjoyed performing oral sex to completion on a man and then spit their semen back into their mouth — that everyone called Sergeant Snowball, but he definitely wasn’t a fan of hers. Every other woman with whom he routinely had sex? It was definitely a “wham bam, thank you ma’am” scenario, no kissing required.

Tiring of the less than exciting kissing, Melodie immediately reached for Craig’s already achingly erect cock, and began to massage it slowly with masturbatory strokes.

“Damn baby, what ARE you doing? I mean, I like to have some music playing or something whenever I’m about to make love. Do you?”

“Oh, honey, that’s so cute.”

Melodie stared deeply into Craig’s eyes and with a very knowing look said:

“after the music’s gone, you’ve gotta make the rhythm a new way, baby…”

Craig then groaned as if he were a wild rhinoceros being tranquilized on the Serengeti Plain.

“Let it out baby…let it out…”

For 33 of his 51 years on Earth, Craig Collins had predicated his entire adult life around making love in a bathtub. In 2004, Craig Collins was 37 years old, and in a bathtub in a ski chalet in the French Alps, where he was finishing up extra live drum tracks for Courtney Love’s debut album. Marie Claire’s last name is omitted on the police report, because at the time she was a 16-year old prostitute. Craig had picked up Marie Claire after a weeknight bender where he got very drunk on imported Belgian ale. They returned to his chalet, danced to Barry White, and then he passed out from the pain of going into cardiac arrest while sitting in the tub in an overheated bathroom. When the paramedics arrived and noticed a terrified, screaming, and naked minor being held by a pale and unconscious man twice her age, he was first declared as under arrest and then taken to the hospital.

Upon being revived, Craig Collins’ sordid, yet accidental tale was worldwide news. He brashly attempted to defend himself by “telling the truth,” and noting that “the lie sounds better and gets much higher ratings and newspaper sales, so believe that.” By 2014, his behavior amidst that chaos made him persona non grata in the mainstream music industry. Thus his per-gig asking price had fallen about 95%, making him perfect to be the underpinning of Louis Delvecchio’s Lemonade Disco. From live drumming “Big Ole Butt” for LL Cool J on tour to making “the soup to nuts that move the butts, it was an incredible story.

26 years old in 2014, Melodie Jamison had ended up at Jet Magazine after having been a fresh-faced “Beauty of the Week” in the magazine in 2007. By 2014, she was a fast-rising editor at a magazine that sadly was publishing once every three weeks, and on the verge of extinction. While out at lunch with a music industry insider friend of hers, and lamenting her future, she saw a bootleg video of a live LL Cool J concert. Her friend said, “well I’ll be damned if that isn’t Craig. Shit, I miss that man.” Upon asking all of the pertinent questions and doing the necessary research, she had a shocking investigative story with multiple layers set and ready to pitch. By May, the magazine went online though, and the article was killed.

Four years later, Melodie Jamison, upon accidentally seeing Craig Collins onstage at the Montreal International Jazz Festival, willfully allowed herself to be seduced in order to see just what would happen. Upon being romanced in the exact same way that a minor was nearly 15 years prior, she stunningly — by masturbating him to orgasm while in a steamy spa tub — put an end to a pattern of behavior that ruined his life.

“Damn baby. I guess you were tired. I was too.”

Melodie Johnson woke up, and after extricating herself from Craig Collins’ magnificent naked form that was fucked so deeply into the mattress that he looked like a chalk outline, walked over to his computer. She logged into her Spotify account, and pressed play on Funkstar Deluxe’s remix of Barry White’s “Let The Music Play.”

“Hey babe.”

She spoke to Craig while pulling on her tank top.

“Check out this remix. Old song. New rhythm.”

Melodie winked in his general direction. She then finished putting on her clothes, and lasciviously kissed Craig one last time. All he saw as he very slowly opened his eyes fully to his room at the dawn of dusk and a female voice saying, “your Kamasi ticket for tonight will be at Will Call,” was the back of a maroon satin jacket. It had “Sex Magic” written on it in gold, cursive letters, surrounded by stars.

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Creator. Curator. Innovator. Iconoclast.

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Marcus K. Dowling

Marcus K. Dowling

Creator. Curator. Innovator. Iconoclast.

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