I’ll never forget the day it happened. I was sat in front of an old computer waiting for the egg timer to disappear while an ancient copy of Microsoft word opened up. I was working in the most boring job that I could possibly imagine and had worn a path in the carpet between my desk and the hot drinks machine, to break up the tedium. I was even considering taking up smoking as an excuse to walk outside for five minutes.
My mobile phone rang. Usually unknown numbers get ignored but I was so bored, I decided to answer it.
“Can I speak to Olivia Jones please?” A woman’s voice spoke to me.
“Hi, Olivia, my name is Julie and I’m calling from Sony. We’re interested in your Jerk Chicken animation.”
I was speechless. Jerk Chicken was an animated character I’d created at university. I found the files recently and uploaded the video to YouTube. I don’t know who found it and shared it but it’d had over a million views and even I was sick of being sent the link by email.
“Oh, okay, interested in what way?” My mind was racing; Sony – maybe a Playstation game? Oh please let it be a playstation game!
“We’d like to sample it and release a single.”
“You’d animate the video for it, of course.” Julie continued, “would you be interested in coming in to meet with us?”
The radio was already on when I arrived at Ruth’s house. Her husband Andrew opened the door, grinning widely when he saw me.
“The count down is on, Olly,” he informed me, “they’re into the top ten now and still no sign of that jerk,” he grinned, pleased with his joke.
I followed the sound of music into the kitchen and found Ruth slicing meat.
“Just tell me it’s not chicken,” I laughed. She shook her head.
Ruth and Andrew had invited me over for dinner, to listen to the top forty count down on Radio One. Jerk Chicken was tipped for the number one spot. I wasn’t convinced it would make it. the song was terrible – a Euro pop style dance tune with a sample of the Jerk Chicken video mixed into the chorus. The video was pretty cool, though I say it myself, but by the time I’d finished the 3 minute animation I was sick to death of the song.
“No sign of my song yet then?” I asked, I’d left it as late as possible to turn up in the hope of missing it. Ruth grinned, knowingly.
“Nope, I am telling you, it’s number one.”
“I got this in the post today,” I placed a plush chicken doll on the counter top, “merchandise, can you believe that?”
“Oh stop moaning,” she laughed, “how much did they pay you again?”
“An obscene non-refundable advance, so it can flop for all I care.” I grinned.
“And what do you plan to do with your new found riches?” Andrew asked as he handed me a bottle of beer.
“I just rented an office in that old school building round the corner. I’m going to make my own apps.” I said proudly.
“That’s great news, nice one Olly.” Andrew raised his bottle and clinked it against mine.
“Oh here we go the final count down.” Ruth shushed us, turning up the volume on the radio.
“Which means this week we have a new number one, straight in to the top spot it’s Jerk Chicken with The Chicken Song.”
Ruth threw her arms straight up in the air in celebration and I leaned over to give her a hi-five.
“Guess I can tick ‘have a number one hit single’ off my to do list then!” I grinned.
Prologue Part Three