Friday, November 11, 2011

Excerpt from "An Echo Remains"

I have not written a piece of flash this Friday as I'm slightly behind on my NaNoWriMo project. Anyways, I decided to post a quick scene from my NaNoWriMo project, "An Echo Remains" for your enjoyment (hopefully.)

The gray brick building sat in the middle of an old industrial park, surrounded by rusted barbed wire fencing. Old grain towers next to the rail yard loomed overhead, covered in graffiti up to the point where humans with spray paint could reach. Thom stepped out of Mark’s car and said. “Looks about like what I expected.”

“What do you mean?”

“For some reason I figured it would be in some abandoned industrial park with all kinds of rusted crap all over.”

Mark glanced over his shoulders at the grain towers. “You know they still use those right? Just because something’s been tagged a couple times and all the metal work isn’t freshly painted, doesn’t mean it’s abandoned.”

“I suppose.” Thom reached into the car and fetched his notebook and pen. “Shall we?”

Inside, the building was no less impressive. The oak-like laminated front desk showed its years in the fading of its color and many chips. Behind it, a woman sharply descending into her early 50s sat at a computer. She looked up from the screen and said, “You here to see Leonard?” Mark nodded. “Have a seat and I’ll let him know you’re here.”

Mark remained standing as the couple ripped leather chairs didn’t succeed in luring him in. The walls were painted a faded yellow and there were no framed gold records on the wall like he had imagined. A couple old newspapers sat on a small end-table. Him and Thom traded glances for a moment until Leonard emerged from the back.

“Hey guys.” said the large, balding man wearing a wrinkled polo shirt. “So I hear you’re looking to record your first record. Well, I think you’ve come to the right place.”

He motioned for them to follow him into the back. Mark and Thom hesitated for a moment before reluctantly . Lingering behind Leonard, Thom whispered into Mark’s ear, “I have a bad feeling we’re about to be taken into a basement, tortured, and never seen again.”

“You’ve been watching too many horror movies.”

“Still, this shit’s creepy. I don’t care how good they are. I couldn’t play well in this place. My anxiety is already spiked.”

They caught up to Leonard who stopped at their mixing board. It was slightly older looking than the other ones they saw that morning, but at least it didn’t look as dated as the waiting room. Through the glass, a moderately sized recording space was filled with guitars and amps for some band that must have been taking a break.

“So this is it. We’ve got this space, a big drum room with a twenty foot ceiling, and an isolation room. The acoustics we have here can’t be beat. Now, we may not have every bell and whistle that you may have seen downtown, but all our equipment is top notch, plus I’ve been doing this since the early 70s. And one thing I have learned in that time, is that having a good, experience engineer is the most important thing you can do to make sure your sound is solid.

“Our mastering engineer Teddy isn’t here either, but he’s been doing this with me for just as long, and he’s just as good. I know when you see our hourly prices are a bit steep, but me and Teddy, believe me, we’re worth it.”

He sat down on his chair at the console and clicked a couple buttons. “All I ask is that you listen to the last thing Teddy and I finished from a local metal band. Now, I know it’s not your style exactly, but I always want to show guys like you our latest stuff so you know just what we will typically do.”

The studio monitors came alive with the crunch of the heavily distorted guitars and pounding drums. But the sound was solid and full. After the opening bars of the song, the singer came screaming in with such ferocity that the hairs on Mark’s arm stood on end.

After the song finished, Leonard turned around and explained what they had done with that particular band to get their sound, the microphones they used, the signal processing they did to extract every bit of crunch that they could out of their guitars.

“So now what can I do for you guys?” said Leonard, before answering his own question. “I’ve got a selection of high quality microphones that goes back since I started this business that can give you just about every imaginable sound you want. And if you don’t like what your amps or even guitars are doing, I’ve got my own equipment that, again can allow us to do whatever you want. Do you have any questions?”

Mark scooted forward in his chair. “I’m going to state the obvious here. Your location and waiting room don’t exactly inspire a lot of confidence in me that you guys are very successful. So why should we put this much trust in you?”

“Wow, you’re direct. To answer that, Studios that pander to your creature comforts over sound quality disgust me. I’m all about sound here, not fancy leather couches and cappuccino machines.”

Thom asked a couple more questions about the amps and microphones he had, plus some of the processing effects. Mark got a list of references and a couple high-profile bands that he had worked with and they left after about an hour.

Back in the car, Mark threw his head back on the headrest and said, “So, what do you think?”

“I don’t know. Like I said, I don’t know if I’d be comfortable there, and their rates, holy shit. I don’t drink it, but for that price I would want access to a fucking cappuccino machine.”


Icy Sedgwick November 11, 2011 at 11:18 AM  

The stand-out line was "a woman sharply descending into her early 50s sat at a computer" - such an EXCELLENT way of putting it. There's a lot of tech speak in this but you know, I think I'd probably hire him. He sounds like he knows what he's talking about!

Helen November 12, 2011 at 6:08 PM  

You set an interesting scene here, I liked the characters, and now I am wondering if they will use him after all.

Just a couple of small #stabbyloves for you.

Right at the beginning you say: 'an old industrial park,' then in the line underneath you say 'Old grain towers' perhaps substitute one of those olds for another descriptive word.

Around about the forth para down you say: 'Him and Thom traded glances' - shouldn't that read He and Thom?

Michael A Tate November 16, 2011 at 5:49 PM  

Icy and Helen, Thanks for your comments, especially you Helen for being stabby. That's the way I like it. Hopefully it makes the editing process a bit easier :D

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