The boys were lining up to audition at Planet Honeypop. I passed on the first two, but the third guy stopped me in my tracks. Akira Kibo.
Of course I knew who he was. You can’t follow the YouTube pop scene and not know Akira Kibo. He traveled with his own fanbase, namely Miko Ojo, his roomie at the time.
His voice slides smoother than the cream on top whole-fat yogurt. His style goes easy.
I was a little surprised, frankly, that he’d try out for our group. But this was a real chance, with real contracts, and a real producer–me. And the exposure couldn’t hurt the numbers of subscribers for his regular Youtube channel. We didn’t have an exclusive clause, so he could do both.
I started to get excited, daydreaming about him being the center of the group. I mean, the other potentials had personality and quirky charm, but Akira, he had talent and skill and experience. He was the real bomb.
He winked at me when he finished.
“Your turn,” he said.
No one else was waiting to sing at the moment, so I indulged him. He’d punched in one of my numbers on the karaoke machine–never mind how old it made me feel to have a hit song listed in the Golden Oldies section. I rocked it, and that made me feel like a teenager.
When I finished, I heard somebody calling out, “Hey! Hey! That was really awesome!”
It was Vaneer! I was tickled that he showed up. His spot was waiting for him, and all he had to do was agree to the terms, but here he was, at the evening auditions, lending support.
“The guy down there was asking about you,” he said.
I looked down the bar to see a bronzed god of a man. Oh, that facial structure! It looked familiar, somehow, but I couldn’t place him.
He approached me when he noticed I was looking his way.
“Well, you left your card,” he said. “Here I am.”
“None other!” he replied. “Tony McCarthy, at your service!”
He had a great speaking voice. A little high, but rich. I bet he had a killer falsetto.
“Tell me about yourself!” I suggested.
“I’ve always wanted to perform,” he said. “That’s why the statue thing. I can hold one pose for an hour. Maybe more. It’s OK. Takes discipline, which I got in abundance. But I’d kinda like to move. I wanna dance!”
“I’m more the quiet type,” he said. “Statues aren’t a speaking role.”
Meh. We’d work on it. And even if he, primarily, danced, that could work out, too. We could always use handsome.
Akira sauntered past.
“Am I in?” he asked.
“Of course,” I replied. I gave him the info. He sauntered off.
We had a few more auditions. Nobody really reached me. They were mostly too typical, too timid, cookie-cutter knock-offs. I’d had my heart set on a quintet. There’s just something balanced about five–lead in the center, flanked by two duos. But I guess we could settle for a quartet. Four wasn’t the loneliest number.
My throat was parched. Maybe I could get a cup of tea and ask the bartender to spike it for me.
Or maybe I didn’t need it spiked.
You make me feel…
Like I’m already tipsy.
Oh, he was something else. Sweet on the eyes! Very good with his hands. Every boy band needs somebody who can do tricks, right?
“How’re the auditions going?” he asked.
“OK, then not-so-OK, until now.”
We talked a bit. He was interested. The bartender was interested.
I sat down, humming the new song.
You make me feel…
And then Vaneer finished the verse for me:
“Like a unicorn, baby.”
“Vaneer! That’s it!”