It smells like sweat and it's a hundred degrees on the rotating stage and Jason has been playing for about twenty minutes and all he wants to do is sing the last song, which the band, when he mentions it during a break, thinks is a bad idea. All the songs are from the last three solo albums but from the first row all he can hear are members of the audience cry out the big hits he played when he was still with the original band. The new band launches into the biggest hit off the second solo LP and he can't tell if the audience is enthused even when they applaud loudly and a hundred foot tapestry- JASON LEE WORLD TOUR 1997- billows behind him and Jason's moving slowly across the large expanse of stage, trying to focus on into the audience but the blinding hardlight spotlights pointed at him turn them into this giant moving mass of black darkness and as Jason begins to sing the the chorus, he forgets the lyrics. Jason sings: "Listen to me, I'm on.. I'm on, I'm on...." and then he freezes and the band stops. A guitarist suddenly stands up straight with a look of concern and the bassist moves closer towards Jason, while the drummer barely keeps a loose beat. Jason stops play strumming on his guitar and just concentrates on the lyrics. He starts again :"Listen to me, I'm on ...I'm on...Um Um...I'm on ......." then nothing. The bassist yells out to Jason: "Stereo! Stereo! Listen to me I'm on Stereo!" and Jason still can't hear. Jason says: "Whaaaa ? What?". The bassist even more irritated yells annoyed: "Listen to me, I'm on Stereo....Stereo!" Jason mouths back polietly to the bassist: "Im sorry, I can't hear you, what are the lyrics? I can't remember the lyrics!". "It's Stereo, you idiot! Youre supposed to sing 'Listen to Me, I'm on Stereo!'" shouts Bolme looking pissed. Not knowing what to do, Jason motions the band to continue with the bridge and wrap up the end of the song. The band barely finishes, Jason leaves the stage and theres no encore.
Janet, that bitch, trying to tout whatever accomplishments the bankrupt circus known as Vision Street Wear possessed.Trying to get that one up on Jason in front of the Skatemental posse. Janet, trying to crawl on top of the human shit pile that is the Action Sports Retail Association.
Jason well knew that A S R A had blood on their hands , that they'd indirectly fueled the monster of recklessness that killed that poor girl. Janet couldn't think about it though- because she simply was never there to see it first hand . Jason and Rocco's skateboarding videotapes had single-handedly dismantled the entire market (they become thousandaires within five years before World's Collapse), but of course Janet was clueless enough to tout the Vision sold madd prod through Macys in '88-89.
For Jason, it was familiar though;People always talked down to him, ignorantly- like they had been there in the trenches with him all along. Like he hadn't been the actual one to make such innovations- discoveries that because of him that were now common knowledge.
Reese continued while Larry Balma and Jannet were passing out copies of Transworld Buisness Journal to the sales crew.
"Well guys me and Lair have been discussing..... need to get hip to whats going on in the TBJ. Should go without saying that what you read from now on should be incorporated into your dialogue with the retailers. Theres certain terms you should be familiar with. Let's talk like we know what were doing here,guys!......from now on, that's the way things are gonna wash around here, guys all right? Okay? Well Um..Right Lair?? Well okay, also note here on the insert, guys, it specifies that you should also be kept current with our rider's standing visibility reading on their exposure index."
Larry speeching, taking more force full control over the group, accidentally revealing in the tone of his voice that there was something hidden past the innocence he projected when he originally introduced himself to the Skatemental possee.
"There will be a three pronged process to getting The Mental more firmly placed on top of the CORE Acion Sports market. It starts with PD- that's product development, then its reinforced by advertising and street visibility, ya know the public relations and then- and this is real important here guys, its 'closed' or sewed up by how we represent our organization directly to the distributors and retailers and such."
"ABC! GUYS! ABC!" claps Reese half jokingly even though everyone knew he was serious.
Larry comfortably stroking his white devil's goatee continued: "Me ,Reese and um Don will be in charge of product development and advertising.It's your job as sales crew to reinforce our pitch."
"Rider visibility, is something we have been working on-" Reese reinforces to the beat, standing behind Larry, elbow in hand nervously biting his thumbnail.
"Yes- that's key, Reese." Larry answering back into the dialogue like they were making such conclusions on the fly. "Rider visibility! Thats something I would like to talk more about. Is it okay Reese? Can we go into that one?"
"By all means." says Reese with his eyes shut in a gentle, solemn whisper.
"Ok guys, we got a little surprise here....something we've been toying with." Larry glares at Jason, slightly pulling the top of his eyeglasses further down his nose."Are you here with us, Jason?"- continues Larry nuggingly.
Jason not answering back,looking bedraggled, still nauseous from the cocaine he had ingested in his cubicle right before the gnarliest emergency noon mental meeting to date. Reese and Larry Balma had their own plans for Skatemental but now, Jason lacked the necessary mental energy that was needed to argue against what Reese and Larry Balma were cooking up. Lately For Jason, this behavior wasn't uncommon- he was usually too hungover or apathetic during the work day, to ever speak up. At Skatemental, were the bad ideas are plentiful, he had became overwhelmed by having to criticize almost everything that came out of the art department. Now more often than not, he was forced to go along with such derivative and half baked ideas- he was practically forced to passive aggressively wear those unremarkable logo t-shirts. And even if Jason had the motivation and stamina to object against those bad ideas- he still wouldn't necessarily have the answers to remedy the problem- sometimes there was just no way to fix a bad graphic. Jason was used to lazy designers validating what they produced, by touting how many hours they clocked in working on them. What Jason knew better than anyone else , was that the best ideas were the ones that came out the fastest.
"CORE ACTION TECHNOLOGY!" continued Balma "We are in touch with engineers who have designed a special groundbreaking software that is going to change how Skateboarding, Surfing, WakeBoarding, Waterboarding, Longboarding, Stickboarding, Wiggle-waggleboarding and BMX are consumed!"
"This is really cool, guys. Listen to this!" Reese interrupting Larry, trying to contain his canned excitement.
"Well, it's a microchip really- no bigger than the tip of your pinky and about as thin as a wafer. They're durable too and what they are, are basically a sensor that is read by a smart video camera. The camera picks up when the micro chip passes it and automatically films the pro/am-boarder when they are within it's range. Now from what these guys are telling me, is that in five years basically every skatepark in America is going to be equipped with thses Core TEK cameras. We have been introduced to a technology where these microchips can be made into stickers and that in the next decade or so we are going to be dealing with a veritable ocean's worth of gnarliest street park footy! Now if skatemental is the first to act on it, we can be the first to claim our stake on all this rad park footage that is gonna drop!"
"Its wide open. Digital! That's the future! Get used to this guys, because the future of skateboard media is digital!" announces Reese.
"Well how is the public going to see all this footage that comes about?" asks Danny Minnick, sitting in the first row looking concerned.
"Two ways. First we are in the process of building an electronic media department for Skatemental. Now, if the loans clear like we think they are, then we will be publishing out own bi-monthly skate video cassette from all of the park footage we get from all these kids." answers Reese optimistically.
"The second way, is that this digital footage will be able to be placed into a computer server which consumers will be able to plug their home computers into. When a kid has purchased their subscription, they will have a code to access all the sick footy on the database. The data server will be up all the time, so they literally will have access to the footage on demand, twenty four hours a day!"
"What about other companies that sell similar types of stickers?" continued Danny with skepticism in his voice.
"Well, that's the beauty, of it .....What is your name, son?" questions Larry.
"Danny." retorts Danny Minnick cooly.
"Yes Danny, because Core Action technology will be signing an exclusive contact with Skatemental, giving us sole use of their patented computer video equipment- We predict everyones going to simply come to us!"
"What about other people who have invented a similar technology like this on their own?" presses Danny further.
"Well if they don't want to make enemies they will deal directly with Transworld! " said Larry lightly and jokingly.
"ummm.......okay." motions Danny dismissively, turning his head away from Larry.
Reese making sure the awkward silence is hastened, takes up the reins of the emergency noon mental meeting:" Now guys flip to page 16 of the TBJ. We got a little surprise for you guys....and Jason I think even you might like this!"
Larry places the TBJ onto the overhead while Meagan gets up to dim the lights on the wall near the meeting room entrance.
Jason glares at the image projected on the marker board: "Wait is that?????"
"Yes Jason!!! Your old boy back in action- officially on flow for Skatemental, now!" answers Reese genuinely trying to win Jason's approval.
The image was of Stephane Laurance apparently switch backtail skidding the LE Dome mega ledge on the rider standing visibility index page of the Transworld Buisiness Journal.
The last time Jason had seem his old friend Stephane was randomly in LA, years ago.
Although Stephane had been living off his sock and S-1 insoles royalties for a couple of years- he had completely stopped skating and had replaced it with taking Tuinals daily and was also trying to start his revolutionary blues band. Long gone were the days of Jason super 8 filming Stephane playing his trumpet on top of Twin Peaks for his intro in Visual Sound . Long gone were the days of Stephane's game changing fakie tre line at Black Rock. It had all left a really bad taste in Jason's mouth when he had suspected that Stephane had fucked Heather behind his back- that day he randomly found one of Stephane's socks underneath her bed. All the signs were there: the way Jason would catch Heather and Stephane talking right before he entered the room- the feeling he got in his stomach when he thought about them- the instinct a man feels when his woman is fucking around on him.
"Switch back tail LE Dome!" announced Reese with over exuberance.
Immediately Jason felt skeptical, something just wasn't right about the photo- something was off but he couldn't quite put his finger on it. Since when did Stephane get good at his switch back one eighty scoop motion?!!
"Is there any video of it?" asks Jason as if he were a prosecuting attorney on LA LAW.
Reese motions to Larry Balma,"Umm......yeah ofcourse theres footy! Theres footy right Laird??? Yeah um, I think Ryan Keinrich filmed it."