Author : Roger Dale Trexler
“It’s amazing,” Hennrich Gould said. He shook his head in disbelief. “A pristine live recording of Robert Johnson….and with songs that have never been released! Where’d you find it?”
James Robinson smiled. He reached forward and clicked off the iPod on the table between them. “It’s an archive,” he said. “I found a vault of recordings by Charlie Patton, Robert Johnson, and a myriad other old blues and pop singers from the turn of last century…all brilliantly recorded.”
He took the iPod and put it in his breast pocket.
Hennrich shook his head yet again. “You have no idea the historical importance of these recordings,” he said. “Hearing someone like Johnson or Patton singing the popular songs of the day….it’s….it’s simply amazing.”
“It is,” replied Robinson. “And I would think there would be a lot of people interested in these recordings.”
He tapped the iPod in his shirt pocket to bring the point home.
There was a long silence between them. Then, Gould said: “I wouldn’t be so sure of that.”
Robinson let out a chuckle. “You’re a poor poker player,” he told Gould.
Gould drew a deep sigh, then let it out. He leaned forward. “Let’s cut to brass tacks, shall we?”
“Let’s,” replied Robinson.
“How much?” asked Gould.
Robinson let the air hang heavy for a moment. He wasn’t much of salesman; he knew that. But, what he did have was something worth a lot of money, and something that millions of people would rejoice in. He could release the music himself, but he had neither the time nor inclination to bother with it. His interests lay elsewhere, but he needed money to make those dreams a reality.
“A quarter of a million dollars,” he replied finally.
“A quarter million!” Gould almost shouted it in the confines of his small office. “Are you insane!”
Robinson smiled again. “Not in the least,” he said. “But, what I am is a man with a sellable product that will be much in demand when the music buying public learns about it.”
Another heavy silence fell.
“Listen,” Gould said. “The world has changed. Vinyl’s made a comeback, but the Internet and mp3 sales are still the way to go. We just can’t give out that sort of advance on sales….”
“….It’s not an advance,” replied Robinson. “At least, not this time.” He took the iPod out of his pocket and held it in front of him. “If you buy these recordings….which I will provide you the master tapes of….I’ll sell them to you outright. After you recoup the quarter million dollars, you’ll have nothing but profit.”
He grinned, then added: “On any future sells, I’ll require a percentage as well as an advance.”
Robinson nodded. “I can get recordings of practically anyone you wish…pristine recordings. Just tell me who you want a recording of.”
“That’s for me to know,” replied Robinson. “Now, do we have a deal?”
Gould regarded him a moment. “I’ll have to check with the higher-ups,” he said.
“Of course…but don’t wait too long…there are other people interested in these tapes.”
“Don’t sell them until you hear from me,” Gould said. “We’ll meet any offer, plus ten percent.”
“I wouldn’t dream of selling them out from under you,” Robinson said as he stood. “I’ll expect to hear from you soon.”
“Very soon,” replied Gould.
Robinson smiled and turned.
As he walked out the door, he wondered where he would take his time machine to next. Perhaps Jimi Hendrix playing guitar for Little Richard, he thought. Or Elvis before Sun Records. Or Johnny Cash. Or Roy Orbison. Or John Lee Hooker. Or Lightning Hopkins.
Regardless of whom he chose, he knew the possibilities were endless.
Just like time.