Pressure. Pressure. Everywhere I look there’s more pressure! It’s 1979 and I’m super busy working on my first solo album as an adult artist; Off the Wall. It’s really important to me because I’m finally branching away from my brothers and Joseph. I really want to prove to them that I can get by in the world of music and entertainment! This album has to be killer! It has to do well! It has to be better then the rest!
The album is almost done, but we still have some work to do. Ugh! Work. That’s all I ever hear! Work, work, work, work and more work! It just never ends! I guess it’s my own fault, I signed up for this gig so I’ve just got to make the best of it.
“This isn’t right,” I said in a soft voice.
“What’s that?” Quincy Jones asked me. Quincy was my producer. We were good friends and he was a great guy. He really gets me.
“The sound. It doesn’t sound right. It needs to be funkier,” I told him. Quincy leaned back on his chair deep in thought. He looked at the ticking clock on the wall.
“What do you think it needs more of Mike? What do you want to hear?” Quincy asked me.
“More percussion. We need more of that in the background. It would sound better,” I explained.
“Alright Michael, we’ll get that for you,” Quincy said. I smiled. He always got what I needed.
“No problem Mike! It is my job to make sure that this album is to your liking,” he replied.
“Thank you. I really appreciate it,” I told him honestly.
“Do you think we should call it a night? It’s almost midnight,” Quincy told me. I glanced at the clock! My God! He was right! I yawned and realized that I was pretty tired.
“That idea definitely appeals to me!” I replied. Quincy chuckled. We both got up from our chairs and headed out the door. Quincy stopped.
“Hey Mike?” he asked.
“I don’t mean to be nosy or anything, but how’s your relationship with that girl? What’s her name... Tatum O’Neal?” Quincy asked me. I moaned.
“Not well. I just don’t feel it anymore...” I told him.
“Oh yeah? Too bad, she seems like a nice girl,”
“Oh she is! She just isn’t for me,” I told him.
“Alright man, I just had to ask you that. I’ve been wondering for awhile,” Quincy confessed. I chuckled.
“It’s alright, I don’t mind,” I told him. He smiled and then we continued out of the studio. I jumped into a small limousine and then I was chauffeured back to my place. When I got there, the lights were off. Well, most of them were.
I quietly tip-toed through the house, being careful to make as little noise as possible. As I passed the living room, I saw Janet sitting in one of the chairs, staring at me. I smiled and then walked up and sat on the arm of the chair she was sitting on.
“Hey Dunk,” I said as I gave her a noogie.
“Stop it Mike! I’m not 12 years old anymore!” Janet said as she giggled and moved my hand away from her head. She straightened out her hair. I couldn’t help but giggle.
“Janet! You’re 13! You were 12 about a year ago!” I told her. She folded her arms across her chest.
“So? 12 and 13 have huge differences! When you’re 12, you’re a pre-teen. You’re still a little kid. When you’re 13 you’re like a whole new person! You’re finally a teenager! See the difference?” Janet asked me. I was still laughing, but I nodded my head.
“Yeah, I see what you mean,” I told her. She smiled.
“What are you doing still up?” I asked her.
“I couldn’t fall asleep,” she told me.
“Shouldn’t you be rehearsing your lines for that show you’re on? A new kind of family?” I asked her. She shrugged.
“I’ve already rehearsed them at least 50 times! I was just waiting for you to get back,” she told me. I smiled. That’s what every older brother wanted to hear from their little sister.
“Well, hear I am!” I told her.
“Well I expected you sooner! Now I’m just tired and I want to go to bed,” she told me. I frowned.
“Really?” I asked her. She nodded.
“Yeah, I was supposed to be in bed a long time ago!” Janet told me. I knew she was right, but I wish she wasn’t. I didn’t get a whole lot of time to spend with my family with this new album I’m working on. I especially missed Janet. Now, I don’t pick favourites when it comes to my siblings! I love them all equally! All I’m going to say is that I relate most to Janet! We both like the same sort of stuff.
“You don’t want to stay up a little bit longer? I want to talk to you,” I told her. She sat in the chair and thought about it for a moment.
“Alright, just a little bit longer. Only because I’ve been sitting here waiting for you for what seemed like forever!” Janet told me. I chuckled and then sat down on the couch nearest to where she was sitting. Janet stared at me, waiting for me to begin a conversation.
“Janet... I need to ask you something,” I told her. She leaned in closer.
“Sure Applehead! Ask me anything you want!” she told me. She was grinning from ear to ear because she had called me by Applehead. I guess that was her idea of revenge since I called her Dunk.
“No matter how good or how bad my new album is, you’ll still like it right?” I asked her.
“Are you crazy? I like everything you make Mike! Why are you asking such a stupid question anyway?” she asked me.
“Well, I’m working real hard on this album and I’m not sure how well it’s going to appeal to the public once it’s released. I just want to make sure that you’ll like it no matter what,” I told her.
“C’mon Mike! If this was all you had to ask me that was pretty lame. You should know that I’ll love whatever you do!” Janet told me. I smiled.
“Thanks Jan, I’m glad,”
“No problem Mike. Can I go to bed now? I think I’m going to pass out,” she told me. I laughed
“Yeah, you can go to bed if you want,” I told her. She yawned and then got up out of her seat.
“Goodnight Michael!” Janet said as she headed up the stairs. I waved to her.
“Goodnight! I’ll see you in the morning!” I said. She waved back and continued up the stairs. Once she had completely disappeared I got up and headed for the fridge. I decided to have a glass of milk before I headed off to bed as well. As I was about halfway through the glass, Joseph popped up out of nowhere.
“Looks who’s home,” he said. I swallowed the milk I had in my mouth.
“Hey Joseph,” I greeted. He walked up next to me.
“How’s the album?”
“Fine? If I was still your manager it would have been fucking fantastic!” Joseph shouted.
“Shh! You’ll wake up everyone!” I warned him. He didn’t seem to care. He didn’t care about anything.
“Well, if you change your mind-“
“No offense Joseph, but I’m perfectly happy on my own,” I told him. He glared at me and then walked off to who knows where. Whatever. I didn’t really care about what he did. I finished my glass of milk, brushed my teeth, changed into my pajamas and then headed off to bed.