Publish Novellas 19 October 2022
EPISODE 2 – CONCERT
During the most exciting month of the year, singles vie for attention and the chance to raise a family in an idyllic town with the right partner.
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Randy Papcke is the 26-year-old genius behind the colorful music festivals held throughout the year. As someone with synesthesia, he endeavors to share his vision of sound. Synesthesia is a neurological condition that amplifies and overlaps various senses in response to stimuli.
Upcoming activities make August the favorite of all monthly music concerts. Randy pumps up the sound and the colors of various musical tracts and live performances so attendees can rock out.
Zachary Dunn is the feature artist this month with his unique crossover of country to pop music. In the weeks leading up to the concert, men and women are busy inviting dates. It is a sell-out event with 1,000 tickets. That’s 20 percent of the population.
Marcus Katz is a wealthy widowed restauranteur who owns several of the eating establishments in the city. His 28-year-old son Aaron Katz tries his best to keep up with the nightlife.
Dr. Alison McCarthy is the most overworked dermatologist in town. She recently hired an assistant named Dr. Beverly Jordan. Together, they are familiar with every square inch of each Agassi resident.
Aaron has Beverly on his arm at the concert.
“The music is so intense with the colors!” Beverly shouts.
“Yes, it’s like LSD without the bad repercussions!” Aaron replies.
Beverly’s impression is that Aaron is more interested in the LSD sensation than in her. Unseated crowds are dancing, singing along, and snapping pictures while enjoying the colorfully loud music.
Two weeks later the annual face-painting festival hosts twice as many Agassi people. The rather long theme is, “I Know How to Party Without Harming My Body” In addition to the various genres of music from local residents, there is a paintball contest and face painting booth for the kids. Residents bring their bakery goods for tasting and one receives a blue ribbon.
Becky Thurman teaches at the local culinary school. She has won the blue ribbon so many times that she has been promoted to a judge along with Marcus Katz. Her departure from the competition has doubled the amount of bakery entries this year.
Prior to becoming an Agassi citizen, Nicole Devereux had a tattoo artist boyfriend named Ricky Sanders. His gift to her was inking much of her body. When they parted ways, she learned from Jillian, a customer of her ex-boyfriend, about Agassi. Nichole underwent a year of laser treatments and skin grafts to remove her tattoos.
Finally, Nicole was able to receive approval of her application for residency. Cooperating with law enforcement, she now performs unarmed townhome security patrols with zip-ties and a taser. Her training included conflict resolution and martial arts.
Nicole is busy patrolling the festival when she receives a phone call. It is from her ex-boyfriend who is trying to reconcile. She has made such a transformation in her life that renewing that courtship would be a step backwards.
“Hey Nicole. It’s Ricky. Thanks for answering.”
“I recognize your voice, even though I deleted your contact info from my phone. What do you want?”
“I just wanna talk, you know, and maybe see you, to catch up.”
“There’s nothing to catch up to. And I’m really busy monitoring a festival.”
“A festival? What kinda work you doing now?”
“This is not the time. I have moved on. Please don’t call again. Goodbye.”
That abruptly ends the conversations but not the rekindled feelings Nicole has for Ricky. Covered from head to toe with tattoos, he is the polar opposite of an Agassi resident. But she can’t help wondering if she can somehow sneak him in for a visit. Her reasonable mind fights back by telling her that he does not know where she lives and it should remain that way.
The town is small enough that eligible bachelors have dated nearly every bachelorette. It is just a matter of who calls dibs first for each outing. Nicole is left out of the dating pool at big events because she is busy monitoring attendee activity.
Phyllis Robbins is an attractive 24-year-old single female that keeps busy with odd jobs like organizing festivals, waitressing, and running errands. Her best friend since high school and current roommate is freckle-face bachelorette, Susan Barlow.
Aaron, who is with Phyllis this week, learns why Beverly did not accept his invitation to the festival. She is with Michael Winston.
Michael Winston is systematically dating every female in Agassi with copious note taking. Though it gives him platonic history with all the women, he actually wants to settle down and marry.
“I don’t know if it’s embarrassing or comforting to know that you’ve seen photos of my entire body,” Michael says to Beverly, “Does that put me at a disadvantage for an ongoing relationship?”
“It’s not ethical for doctors to date patients. But this is a small town. The good news is that I’m not your doctor. You were examined by Alison in the past. I can’t say which one of us will examine you next. As long as you request her, we should be fine,” Beverly reassures.
“For a serious relationship with you, a man should request that Alison examine him wearing a jock strap?” Michael ponders. “That sounds rather odd. Can you see yourself settling down with someone in this town?”
“I’d like to raise a family here.” Beverly pauses. “But I haven’t given much thought to who here might complete that picture.”
Michael inquires, “If you do marry someone here, how would you feel about Sarah doing annual tattoo exams on him?”
“The exams by Dr. McCarthy are entirely professional,” Beverly reasons. “It is no different from me being in a relationship with a man and seeing a male gynecologist, right?”
“Point taken,” Michael acknowledges.
“Here’s an observation, I have never before been on a first date where there was as much talk about a serious relationship. Most bachelors are chasing free milk without buying the cow.”
Extending the metaphor, Michael remarks, “Let’s just say that I have an interest in a small dairy farm.”
“Really? How many heifers does that require?” asks Beverly.
“One really fine cow is all.”
Beverly playfully objects, “You must realize that’s a potential date-ending unflattering comparison.”
“It’s your analogy, not mine.”
With a coy gesture, Beverly asks, “Will you need to examine many more prospects before making a decision?”
“No, with your recent tenure, you should be the last consideration,” Michael says while closing his tiny black book and sliding it into his pants pocket.
“Your last… until another attractive woman moves into Agassi?” Beverly adds.
“I can only shop so long before the best of the herd thins out.”
Through a seductive gaze, Beverly asks, “So will you be closing a deal on your dairy farm soon?”
“I’d like to think so,” Michael teases.
“You’ve probably said that to every woman in this town.”
“Not saying I did, but if so, does it change the fact that I’ve narrowed down my search?”
“It could mean that you’re indecisive. I’m a busy professional woman who doesn’t have much time for unproductive dating.”
“Nevertheless, you’re new here. So every single man will be queuing up to take you out. I didn’t move fast enough for the last concert. Would you commit to attending the next two concerts with me?”
“Are you asking if I’ll go out with you every thirty days?”
“I’m impressed by a smart woman with a professional career. I’d like to phone you during the week and go out on weekends between the concerts.”
“This already sounds like a formal courtship. You’ve had the luxury of exploring your options. Why should I limit my prospects? I’ll grant you my arm at the next concert.”
“I’m not aimless in my endeavors. Here’s a proposition for you. Let’s settle the question in a paintball booth. If I win, we share the next two concerts together.”
“And if I win?” Beverly asks.
“You hopefully choose the same.”
“It’s my choice, though?” Beverly clarifies.
“Absolutely! But if you agree to the paintball, I’ll sweeten the deal with a slice of this year’s award-winning dessert.”
“Deal! You haven’t met my competitive side.” While tying her blouse in a knot just above her belly she agrees. “Let’s do it!”
Police Chief Jack Agassi receives a report that a caravan of cars are blasting rap music. A swarm of six police cars intercepts three vehicles to block them from the path of the festival. The drivers claim to be teenage children of a visitor that did not know rap music is banned here. Their invitation is revoked as they are escorted out of Agassi.
After clearing the area, Jack arranges a prank with two other officers. He calls Nicole on the radio, asking for backup support to deescalate the situation. After hurrying to respond, they bombard her with colorful powder.