A Story by Willys Watson


1. The Job Interview

The day after Kay Kramer received her degree in Marketing, with a Minor in Computer Animation, she E-Mailed her Resume to twenty five of the top advertizing agencies in the country. She wasn’t really interested in writing ads, but in doing the animation for those that required it.

Still, being realistic about it, Kay didn’t expect many replies because of her lack of experience in the field. But, she figured, why not try? She did receive four replies, with three reminding her she just didn’t have enough experience. The forth offered her an internship, without pay. Neither Kay or her family were well off and she couldn’t afford to take a job that didn’t pay her.

The next day, as she was doing the research to mail out twenty five resumes, this time to lessor known Advertizing Agencies, she received a phone call from Andrew Crowley, of Crowley And Cromwell, asking her to come to his office for a personal interview. His agency was only a twenty minute drive from her apartment and Kay said yes to the interview for the next day.

Driving to the interview, Kay really wasn’t worried about making a good impression because it was a job from a company that promoted musicians and singers and she didn’t expect to be offered the job. What she was interested in was why Mr. Crowley called her.

After sitting in an arm chair in front of his wide, long desk, Mr. Crowley smiled at her. Then, in what seemed like minutes to her, to Kay’s surprise, he seemed more interested in her knowledge of music in general than her lack of experience. So she informed him she grew up in a family of musicians and their interest varied from Big Band to Jazz to Folk, Classical, New World Music, Rock, Country and Pop. After listening to her, Mr. Crowley leaned back in his desk chair and smiled at her again, then  explained why she was called in for the interview.

“Our company promotes musical acts, “ he finally told her, then added, “And our next Promotion is for a fund raiser charity event to aid the victims of the heavy rain and flooding along the South coast caused by Hurricane Henry. And it will certainly help to have someone on our side who has such a vase knowledge of music in general.”

“This is a job I would love to have,” Kay sincerely replied, then asked him, “ But why was I called in for this interview when I have no experience in your field?” 

“Are you, by chance, related to the Charlie Kramer who played Sax on some of the well known Jazz albums in the 1950s?

“He was my Great Uncle.”

“Thought so, but it was just a bit of luck, I suppose. An old classmate of mind, a guy who works for one of the agencies you sent your E-mails to, suggested I call. And he mentioned you were likely Jill and Johnny’s niece. And you resume did mention it as an interest of your’s. And I remembered old newspaper stories and made the connection.”

“Yes, they were a duo of Folk Singers years back, so a bit of luck is involved.”

“Now I want to ask you an important question and I want you to be honest with me.”

“I always try to be, Mr. Crowley”, she assured him.

“How nervous or uncomfortable would you feel being on stage as the MC with over two hundred people in an  auditorium where the event takes place. Some will be well known actors, others will be elected officials, some you may recognize, and others might be strangers to you. And all of these donated $50,000 or more to attend the fund raiser.”

“I’ve been on stage, behind the Mike, at least a dozen times, the last time as the Valedictorian of my class from the university I just got my degree from.”

“Okay, Ms. Kramer, I’m offering this job as a tryout, so to speak.” he told her as he reached across the desk to shake her hand, then added, “It’s in Nashville and just a tryout, but you’ll receive full wages while there and travel expansive.”

“Thank you, Mr. Crowley.”

2. In Nashville

Kay took the afternoon flight to Nashville and checked into her reserved hotel room. She did this so she relax, eat supper and get back to her room. In her room she first called her parents, then took a shower. After she got dressed again she watched the film ‘Nashville’ on cable. Kay also went to bed early, early for her, because she had to meet the stage manager at the auditorium so he could walk her through the process. She was to meet him at Noon.

When she meet Hank Henderson, he showed her where she would stand in the middle of the stage. And behind her were three slightly raised platforms. Stage Left was where the famous Country Band would perform. Stage Right was where the famous Rock Band would perform. Center Stage was where the Pop Singer, who had the Number 1 hit in the nation, would perform. After thanking Hank, Kay went back to the hotel to eat a light lunch. Because Kay was fairly short it didn’t take much to make her feel full.

3. The Concert Fund Raiser.

In a phone call to Kay before she left for Nashville Mr. Crowley suggested she not talk to anyone in the auditorium, unless it was job related, because he wanted the MC to be a surprise. And, unknown to her, he had a backup MC ready in case she froze on stage. But Mr. Crowley certainly underestimated her self-confidence . 

She knew the donors were going to be served dinner first and, after dinner, the tables would be cleared, then the audience lights would slowly be dimmed. So before the lights were dimmed Kay, hiding behind a Stage Left curtain, studied some of the faces in the audience and Mr. Crowley was right because she recognized very few of them.

“I know I’m going off-script a little here,” she told the audience,” but I want to thank all of you for donating to such a worthy cause.

Saying this brought a round of applause form the audience. When the applause died down Kay looked around the tables of donors and waved and smiled at them.

“And now I’m going way off-script and may lose my job for doing so,” She began, then added, “But what I would like, actually hope, is you people, if so inclined, would rise up from your own tables and introduce yourselves to the strangers closest to you. Also, if so inclined, I would like to see some handshakes and even some hugs. Either would be a kind, nice gesture to your fellow donors. And, in a way, we’re all part of a large family helping those in need.”

For the first time after she accepted the MC job Kay admitted to herself she was worried because, instead of rising up from their tables, the strangers in the audience just looked around at the other strangers. But finally a table of four rose and introduced themselves to the strangers closest to them. Within a few minutes a half-dozen other donors had risen from their tables and introduced themselves to other strangers. Soon after it seemed like everyone in the audience had stood up to introduce themselves. And Kay saw a lot of handshaking and even some hugs. 

And to her amazement Kay heard loud applause coming from behind her and she turned around. This time it were the performers applauding the audience. Kay, thinking she might be fired for her tossing out the script, told herself is was worth it to bring such a diverse crowd of donors together. 

After what seemed like a half-hour everyone in the audience had sat down again an Kay asked the stage manager to dim the audience lights to be dimmed again.

“Thank you all, you kind and caring people,” she told them, then added, ”And now the first performer for our fund raiser is Lilly Longing and she’s going to sing her Number 1 hit, “You Never Loved Me The Right Way.”

4. The Unexpected Visit

It was after Midnight when Kay got back to her hotel room and she was tired, wanted to sleep and was willing to sleep without taking off her dress. As she was turning off the lights she heard a knock on her door. Thinking it was the Night Porter asking if she needed anything she opened the door to see Mr. Crowley in the hall. She invited him in, then turned the lights back on.

“I suppose I’m fired for disregarding the script?”

Before answering, Mr. Crowley sat on the Sofa and stared at Kay a moment.

“I have every right to fire you for what you did,” he assured her and she nodded yes, then he added, “But that stunt you pulled is bringing in unexpected donations from around the country, according to our tracking service.  And, BTW, I was watching if from my own hotel room.”

“And?” Kay asked as her spirit lifted.

“What you did was a bold, risky gamble and it paid off. And I want you to do the same thing, depending on the circumstances, for all of the fund raisers we produce. And public television is going to show the event next week.”

“Thank you so much, Mr. Crowley.

“As to the non-fund raisers we’ll try to work them to fit you personality. Especially with the bands, musicians and singers.”

“Is it okay if I ask for their input first?”

“Of course, as long as the gigs are for music promotions, and not political fund raisers, because we won’t promote them,” he told Kay, then added, “Get some sleep, take a few days off and be in our offices Monday.”

Kay wanted to kiss him on the cheek, but settled for a professional handshake. Mr. Crowley said goodnight and headed back to his own hotel room.

Kay removed her dress, turned off the lights and laid on her bed. As she was trying to go to sleep Kay told herself that sometimes a gamble, certainly for the right causes, is worth taking. And encouraging strangers to talk to other strangers is also worth the gamble.

© 2021 Willys Watson

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Added on November 13, 2021
Last Updated on November 17, 2021
Tags: Donations, Flood Victims, Music Promoters, Hurricanes, Fund-Raisers, Charity


Willys Watson
Willys Watson

Los Angeles, CA

Writer, Artist, Scalawag. more..