"Point Eight; We agree that neither we... nor, uh, anybody on our behalf... will disclose to any, hmmmm... third party that the Rolling Stones are in residence at Lake View Farm." "That's Long View Farm, Joe."
"Hi, Joe," I said cheerfully, trying to get things off on the right foot. "What can I do for you?"
"You can put two new points in your Agreement, which I've got in front of me here. Points eight and nine, they'll be. Two new ones. Here they come. You ready?"
"Ready, Joe." I was scribbling on the back of twenty or so Purchase Invoices (Purchase Invoices? It did say on these things, "Sold to Long View Farm." And down on the lower right-hand corner of each was Stan's signature.)
"Ready, Joe," I said, knocking my head once against the wall. "Go ahead."
"O.K., let's see. Pity Mick got that communication in Bombay. Tsk, tsk. Worst possible thing that could have happened under the circumstances. That's his province, you know: press, media, little bits and pieces put out about the band. Wasserman comes up with a lot of ideas, but it's Mick who really loves that end of things. Worst possible thing that could have happened. Well now, let's see. Why don't we start like this: Point Eight; We agree that neither we... nor, uh, anybody on our behalf... will disclose to any, hmmmm... third party that the Rolling Stones are in residence at Lake View Farm."
"That's Long View Farm, Joe."
"Right, Long View Farm. Read that back to me, Gil, will you?"
I read it back to him.
"O.K.," Joe continued. "Now we've got to do something to put minds at ease concerning the matter of bootleg tapes. Unfortunate experience we just had in New York City, you know. Fellow came in saying he was a maintenance guy. Wanted to check out the studio cassette deck. No one thought anything about it, until the next day. There were cassettes of the Stones all over the city — and before they had really gotten their act together, too. Most unfortunate. Everyone hit the ceiling, including Stu, who generally looks out to make sure those things don't happen. I hear you guys are putting in mike lines up there..."
"Yeah, Joe, but they're for use only if the band requires them."
"Very unlikely, Gil, very unlikely. In the meanwhile, let's you and me agree on the following prose. This will be Point Nine, and it reads as follows: We agree further... that no recording of the Rolling Stones, hmmmm, will be retained by Lake, I mean Long View Farm as its property, or used — make that nor used — by us for any purpose. Now, let's see, a bit more. If it is determined that any recordings have been so retained or... used, it is understood that... you — that means us — will have the right to immediately repossess same... and seek injunctive relief. Got that, Gil?"
"Sure do, Joe. Very scary stuff."
"No choice, Gil, no choice. It's best to have this prose in the can, ready to go. Then if we decide to use your place we'll have the Agreement all set up and ready to sign."
"Decide to use my place, Joe?"
"Right. In the event they decide against Woodstock, and want to give your place a try. You never know, man. You won't really know until they're there. And even then, you won't really know how long they're going to stay. Meanwhile, you've got to keep your people as quiet as possible, and tell them not to have any cassette recorders or anything like that around if and when the band arrives. Good luck, Gil."
"Joe," I shouted, "what about our deposit? I thought I'd have seen that by now. We're not exactly sitting on our hands up here, you know."
"No problem, Gil. It's in the works. In the works."
"Great," I said. "I'll send you the amended contract, and you send me the money. Right?"
Then we hung up, and I felt that old, familiar, cold feeling in the pit of my stomach once again. Joe wasn't going to send me that deposit before it was clear to him that the Stones were coming to Long View. And apparently things weren't that clear yet. In the meanwhile, I'm holding these yellow Sales Agreements in my hand, and wondering how I'm going to pay for the oak.
"Stan," I said, "I didn't just buy all this gear, did I?"
"No way. It's free. Absolutely free. Courtesy of Systems, Inc. I put the stuff over there, all of it, just like you said to. Look, there are no strings attached. Not one. The stuff is absolutely, unconditionally, one hundred percent yours.
"Congratulations, and good luck with the gig. Of course, I'll be stopping back every now and then once the band arrives... just to make sure all this stuff is working properly, and that you don't need anything else which Systems, Inc., might be able to provide."
"Better check with me next time by phone before coming out, Stan. I'm not sure what their attitude is going to be about guests on the premises. In the meanwhile, thanks to Systems, Inc. Tell them I'll do an endorsement for them later in the fall. I'll say that I buy all my gear from you, or something like that. With all this stuff here, I guess that's the case, huh?"
"That's why they're sales agreements, Gil. Get it? Get the point?"
"Got it, Stan. Got it."
"Hey, Stan," I threw in as an afterthought, "what if, say, the Rolling Stones didn't come at all — that for some reason they just didn't come? What if?"
Stan's face showed signs of terror.
"Only joking, Stan," I said. "Only joking."
All original material copyright © Gilbert Scott Markle. All rights reserved.