In Case You've Wondered

My blog is where my wandering thoughts are interspersed with stuff I made up. So, if while reading you find yourself confused about the context, don't feel alone. I get confused, too.

If you're here for the stories, they can be found by clicking the labels button "stuff I made up".

One other thing: sometimes I write words you refuse to use in front of children, or polite company, unless you have a flat tire, or hit your thumb with a hammer.

I don't use them to offend; I use them to embellish.

Monday, January 7, 2013

One Night at the Club


Jim scanned the audience as he played and sang. It was a little larger than most Friday nights, but not so large as to make him think of buying that new guitar he wanted.

"Maybe I should just give it up." crossed Jim's mind as he repeated the arrangements he learned years ago. He'd finally given up on being in a band and added to his guitar with electronic devices, which he manipulated with his feet. He had drums, bass backup and even choruses he'd sampled and could add to his songs.

Jim noticed a woman sitting at a table with friends. She was staring at him and constantly making eye contact. For a few seconds, he wondered if she was hitting on him, but decided she was bored with her friends and being too polite to just get up and go somewhere else.

Jim's thoughts wandered to his girlfriend, Sheila. He felt his usual guilt of playing the club, while she stayed home. She'd once come to every performance, but eventually stopped going. It was almost the same show every weekend and boredom finally removed any desire to continue. Even though they'd been together for ten years, he was concerned she was feeling neglected. That was the reason his marriage dissolved and he never wanted to make that mistake again.

Jim continued with his show. It was now almost instinctive, except when he threw in an original arrangement. The owner of the club frowned on such things, so it was rare when he did. The extra money helped with the bills and he knew how it would be tougher depending only on his regular job of delivering beer for the local distributor.

Glancing over, Jim saw the woman was still watching closely, even though she was talking on her cell phone. Continuing with his song, he went back to ignoring her, in case she was actually attempting to flirt.

Eventually, it was time for his first break, so he finished his song, told the audience he'd be back in fifteen minutes and went to the bar. It was time for the only drink he allowed during his show and the bartender had already placed it at his usual spot.

After sitting down, Jim took a long swallow and paused before remarking to the bartender: "You're mixing them a little strong tonight, Phyllis. Are you trying to get fired?"

"No; only for you Jim. You look like you need a little inspiration."

"Am I that bad?"

Noting his concern, she remarked: "No, but you just don't seem to be in it tonight. I thought a little extra bourbon would take the edge off."

Pausing and digesting her comment, Jim eventually remarked: "You're right...and thanks."

As Jim sipped his drink, he glanced over at the table with the woman. As he watched, four more people arrived, they all hugged and the owner pushed some tables together for them to all sit together. Within minutes another group of eight people arrived and sat by the other group. They all knew each other and seemed to be in animated conversation.

"That's a good sign." was Jim's thought. "Maybe I can still drag them in."

Finishing his drink, Jim went back to the small stage and returned to his music. Realizing he'd been mechanical with his performance, he continued with the passion he'd felt in his youth. He was a lot older, but he was far from dead.

The difference was noted by the audience. Instead of idly chatting, they were now paying attention as he sang. The attention only made Jim want to try harder, so he added subtle embellishments whenever he could. The result was adding a personal touch to songs long worn out by continuous play on the radio and the audience seemed to appreciate the effort.

It was getting close to the end of his show, so Jim decided the last song would be one of his own.

"I want to thank everyone for coming tonight and would like to play you all one more song. I wrote it for my father and I hope you like it."

The audience became quiet as Jim started his song. After the first few chords, he made a quick glance at the owner, who now had a sour look on his face.

"Screw him." was Jim's thought. He realized he really didn't care if he liked it, or not.

As Jim sang, he put his heart into the arrangement. He missed his father and the words were what he never could say when he was alive. They made him sad, but they also made him proud of the man who gave him so much. The audience listened without talking.

When Jim finished the last chorus, he just sat for a few moments with his eyes still closed. The audience reacted with a loud applause. Standing, he made a quick bow, thanked them and started accumulating his equipment. He'd be home within the hour and was hoping Sheila was still awake. He loved to sit with her on the couch and watch the old movies that came on late.

"Excuse me."

Jim looked up to the find the woman that was staring was standing by the stage.

"I want to compliment you on your show."

"Thanks"

Jim waited. He hoped she wasn't just looking for company. He had none to offer. Those days were long gone.

Holding out her hand, she handed Jim a business card and said: "Hi, I'm Becky."

Jim shook her hand and examined the business card in the dim light. Besides her name, there was a company logo for an entertainment agency. He knew of the agency.

"I like to be blunt; I've always found it best."

Jim waited in anticipation. He had no idea what he was about to hear.

"I'll be honest, you'd never make it as an artist, but you're a damn good songwriter. I have a few clients that need some new material and I think you might be the source."

Jim only sat in silence and digested her words.

"Our flight leaves in a few hours, so I don't have time to discuss business. My email address is on the card, so if you'll email me some information, I'll start the process of getting you in touch with my artists."

"Well, thank you." was all Jim could say. He was a little shaken with the encounter and had to think about her offer.

"I forgot something"

Becky grabbed his card, removed a pen from her purse and wrote on the back of the card.

"This it the local law firm one of my clients uses for business in your state. Call and ask for the name I wrote on the card. Call him first. He knows the business and how to insure your legal rights are protected"

"Thanks."

Jim had a thousand thoughts and questions, but couldn't find any words.

Becky shook his hand again, said "Glad to meet you Jim." and walked away. Within seconds she left with her friends.

Jim stared for a few seconds and glanced at the bar before he went back to packing his equipment. Phyllis beamed at him and the owner gave him thumbs up.

Feeling strange, Jim finished his packing, had soon loaded his car and was on his way home. He'd see the owner on Monday and get his percentage of the door. 

Light rain started falling as he drove home. His thoughts changed from what happened tonight, to when he was just out of school and met his wife. The bittersweet memories pulled his emotions and the lyrics for a song started appearing. He'd come up with the tune quickly. He smiled as he continued on his journey.

2 comments:

  1. Good read!

    I am jealous - I don't have your skills with short stories, so the Great American Novel is right out as well.

    ReplyDelete