Continued from It Sings Itself - Part Two
It Sing Itself - Part Three
Bass pulsing, drums throbbing, the Blitz buzzes with people morphing between loose strands of individuals entering the bar one by one and large clumps of already familiar bodies, chatting, laughing, and dancing. Saturday nights are said to be the busy night at the Blitz, and tonight the energy in the room is thick, oozing like white glue, slowly crawling over my skin as I enter the foyer.
“Hello,” the woman behind the counter chimes, “tonight we have the Diggy Dogs playing. We are collecting a five-dollar cover.”
I reach into my purse, pull out a five-dollar bill, and pass it to the woman. “The Diggy Dogs are great, aren’t they?” I smile.
“Oh yeah… they are really great. They are on a break right now but should be starting again very soon!” She motions to the clock above her. I nod, then walk into the club. Walking slowly, the sound of my clicking heels are swallowed by the pulse of Bob Seger pumping through the sound system. The Diggy Dogs are a group of well established local musicians who I have seen many times before. Both the bassist and the drummer played tracks on the CD that Mark and I recorded. I hope they still remember me: I’ve been locked away at university for way too long. With a swing in my hips, I wonder up the bar.
“What can I get you?” the bartender asks. The lights from the nearby dance floor sparkle across his face, illuminating the square of his jawline and the plasticity of his gelled hair.
“I’ll have a Caesar, please.” I respond with a smile, flashing my eyes. He looks up for a moment, lips firm, then grabs a piece of lime, squeezing the juices over the sides the glass as he circles the rim.
“You bet,” he answers as he smiles at the slender girl standing beside me. I look over at her. She seems to be in her early twenties with shoulder length blond hair and a firm body.
“Yep, you’re fuckable sweetheart… you better work it while you got it!” I whisper under my breath as I turn away from her. After rimming the glass, he adds ice, vodka, spices, Clamato juice, and a straw. Again, he smiles at her, then passes me a glass dripping with juice and salt. I reach for it as my mouth salivates.
“That’ll be $5.25 please,” The bartender says, extending his hand. I pass him the money. Raising the glass and placing the straw between my lips, I turn and walk towards the stage. Scanning the crowd, I see my friend, Steve, walking towards me.
“Steve, sweetie… it’s been so long!” I squeal as I open my arms, beckoning him into my grasp. I grab him and wrap my arms around his neck, pulling his head against my face.
“Why hello beautiful,” he coos as I pull him off balance, “I am surprised to see you out and about… the good little student that you are.” He reaches around and squeezes my ass, the tuft of his white pony tail brushing against my lips.
“Ya, no kidding… I am finally taking a day to go out, but… I am actually here because of school,” I declare as I twist out of our embrace, “I’m here to look for musicians to interview for my research methods assignment.”
“Really? That sounds interesting. You could interview me. I’m a musician,” he says as he pulls the elastic from his hair, raking his fingers through his long curls, before pulling it back into a pony tail, “we could go back to my place after work tonight and I could show you all my deep, dark places.” Chuckling, Steve grabs my hand and pulls it into his crouch.
“You are so bad!” I pull my hand away, smile, and give him a soft kiss on the cheek.
“You gonna be here for a bit? I have to get to work.” He motions to the stage where the band is preparing to play their third set.
“Yes,” I reply, “I’ll come and see you on your next break.” He kisses me on the cheek, and then steps into the sound booth. I scan the club for a table. Spotting one near the dance floor, I walk over to it.
“This chair will be perfect,” I chuckle as I pull out the chair and sit down. The band is on the stage tweaking their instruments and discussing the set list. I sit, sipping my Caesar. The bassist, Kirt Delaney, notices me sitting near the floor. Smiling, he waves. I wave back as renewed excitement spirals inside my stomach. He remembers me! Kirt was playing bass with Mark on the weekend when Mark heard me singing with the worlds worst garage band.
“Hey there, that was a great set. Want to sit in and sing some tunes with us?” Mark asks me as I step down from the stage. It is a humid July 1st and I am performing at the Music in the Park with my band Crimson Willow. We were proud to be finally performing our newly written songs for a live audience. Mark Jules is a local celebrity due to his run with the band Mac Park. Needless to say, I am completely honoured that he is speaking to me at all, let alone asking me to sing with him. From the metal stage I can feel the radiating reflection of the blazing sun. Sweat is pooling in the bottom of my shoes and I can feel the frothy glue of the leather moistening as I scrunch up my toes.
“I’m sorry,” I reply, looking down at my sopping feet, “I am lyrically challenged!” Mark chuckles then ascends the stairs to the stage. Shortly after that event, I am at home making dinner when the phone rings.
“Hi, Elizabeth, this is Mark. I got your phone number from your mom. I hope that is alright?”
“Of course it’s fine,” I reply. I am completely shocked that he would seek out my number and call me.
“Great! The reason that I am phoning is because I wanted to know if you’d be interested in starting a new project? I’m starting a new band and we are looking for a hot R&B singer and I was hoping that it would be you…”
The Diggy Dogs start their set with my favorite James Brown song, “I Feel Good,” and the dance floor fills with bodies jerking to the funk rhythm. I watch as an older man steps side to side, arms pumping as if performing bicep curls. A young red-headed girl grinds her hips while another jumps on the spot, spiraling her hands. Flecks of multi-coloured lights circle on the ceiling above the dance floor, spiraling, enticing, inviting the rhythm into my body, like the soft tongue of a familiar lover running across my lips. My legs begin to vibrate to the pulse of the rhythm.
“I’m here to work!” I tell myself, as I resist the groove. The lead guitarist begins to solo; his fingers dancing on the fret board, as he grinds his pelvis into his guitar. Kirt stands firm with open legs, turning his head side to side with eyes closed, finger tips walking across the strings. The keyboardist is bent over his organ, his tongue pressing against his upper lip, his fingers slapping at the keys. Drum sticks sparkle on the high hat as the drummer accentuates sixteenth notes. Something tantalizing lingers in the air and my body vibrates with anticipation.
From the corner of my eye, I notice two men wading through the swarm of bodies dancing on the far edge of the floor. I can’t stop watching them as they melodically weave and swerve their way through the crowd, carrying beer bottles above their heads. The taller of the two is wearing a small, flat hat. From where I am sitting, it looks like some kind of patch work creation. He has a high forehead and graying hair that curls out from beneath his hat. The shorter man has black hair that frames his face with soft waves and mid-length sideburns. He has dark, square glasses, a strong chin, and strikes me as being one of the most handsome men in the club. They are both dressed from head to toe in black except for the patches of colour on the taller man’s hat.
“Those guys are definitely musicians,” I whisper, “maybe I could interview them.” I place my straw between my lips and suck until the glass is empty. After a minute or two, the two men make their way through the crowd, pull up a chair near the wall and settle in to watch the band. Sipping from bottles of beer, they periodically turn towards each other to speak, break into a laugh, then return their gaze to the stage.
“I should go and talk to them,” I say to myself. My heart pounds and my legs vibrate incessantly as I watch them. “I have to go and talk to those guys.” I stand up and begin to weave my way through the pulsing bodies.
“Would you like to dance?” a man asks me as I approach the outer edges. He is wearing a wrinkled white hat, bent upward in the back as to stay off his neck.. Both his hat and his smile are tilted to the right side of his face, eyes barely visible beneath the folds of skin around them. Raising his arms and circling his wrists above his head, he shakes his hips to the rhythm. A sudden smack of body odour reaches out. I turn away, holding my breath. Oblivious to my disgust, he dances in a circle before backing into me, rubbing his backside against my left hip.
“Thank you for asking,” I reply while trying to hold my breath, “but I don’t dance anymore!” I turn away from him, scanning the far wall for the two men, then continue to weave through the bodies. The words “I don’t dance anymore” reverberate inside my mind. I stopped dancing when I stopped going to see live music. I used to love to dance, especially on the stage.
As I emerge from the floor, I notice the shorter man looking in my direction. A hot flash rises over my face as my heart pounds. For a moment, I hesitate. Maybe I should turn back? What if they tell me to go away? I should have gone to the bar and had a shot first. Taking a deep breath, I force my feet to lift and close the gap between us.
“Hi,” I shout, trying to raise my voice above the band, “My name is Elizabeth Smith.” I extend my hand to shake the shorter man’s hand. “I am a student at Twin Rivers University and am conducting research on local level musicians sense of self. I would like to interview you and your friend.” He shakes my hand, looking a little bewildered. “I mean, not right now… right now, I’d like to just gather contact info so that we can arrange a time for the interview.” Laughing, I reach for the taller man’s hand.
“Sure,” says the taller man, “my name is Carl. This is my friend, Barry. We play with a band called the Silly Suckers. Suddenly the music stops and the crowd cheers. The dancers on the floor begin to jump with their hands in the air.
“Well folks,” the guitarist from the band bellows over the mic, “we are gonna take a short break. Don’t you go away.” The crowd dissipates as the DJ begins to spin a twelve bar blues. The band members one by one leave the stage heading to the green room down stairs.
“Please excuse me,” Carl says, as he rises from his chair, “I have to talk to the singer from this band. Get the info you need from Barry.” I look at Barry and smile. He pulls a chair out beside him and motions for me to sit down. I nod at Carl and walk towards the available chair. My palms sweat as I approach this beautiful man. He smiles at me and I know from the shape of his lips that he played the saxophone.
“So, what information do you need from me?” he asks, taking a sip from his beer, “Can I buy you a drink?”
“Sure,” I stammer.
“What would you like?’ he asks as he motions the server over to his table.
“I’ll have a Caesar thanks!” I feel blood collecting behind my cheeks as a rush of warmth crawls across my face.
“Hi,” he says to the server, “Can we get a Casear, please?”
“Certainly,” the server replies. Quickly, she turns and heads towards the bar.
“Thank you…” I smile and take a deep breath, my leg pulsing beneath the table, “so, what I need from you is your contact information so that I can arrange a time to conduct the interviews.” I stare into his eyes. He has large, brown eyes and long, curled lashes. Butterflies churn beneath my blouse.
“Ok, well… I can give you our card. Carl’s phone number is on it already and I’ll write my phone number on the back.” He reaches into his pocket and pulls out a card. “Do you have a pen?”
“Yes, I do,” I reply, reaching into my purse, “so what brings you to the Blitz?”
“Well, we just finished a gig at The Urban Couch…”
“I knew you were musicians as soon as I saw you walk in the door,” I chime, “so, you have to tell me… what instrument do you play?”
“I play tenor and baritone sax,” he answers.
“I knew it. I knew it!” I wiggle in my seat.
“You knew, hey… well that’s intriguing. Tell me, how did you know?” He leans in towards me.
“Well, I ah…” A sudden rush of embarrassment surges, my cheeks redden, and legs tighten, “I could tell by the shape of your lips. I dated a sax player for a long time.” I look away. “So, you guys just came down for a beer after the gig?” Smiling, I try to change the subject.
“No actually…Carl heard that The Diggy Dogs were playing here. He’s interested in the singer, Jeff,” he replies.
“Why the singer,” I probe, my heart reaching through my fingertips as they rest on the table.
“Our lead singer, Will, is leaving the band, so we are looking for a replacement. Do you sing, by chance?” Smiling, he touches the side of my hand.
“I used to,” I answer, looking into his eyes, “but I haven’t since I started school. I used to front a funk band called Jade.”
“Really? Wow, I knew there was something special about you, Elizabeth.” He flashes his smile and leans back in his chair, one arm hanging over the back. I imagine our lips meeting, our tongues spiraling, as he caresses my cheeks.
“Do you have a CD or anything? You know, something that I could bring to the band,” he asks, “we are a pretty democratic group. We all have to decide on the singer.”
“Yes, I do, but not here. Can I mail it to you?” I lean forward in my chair. I can smell his cologne. It’s rich and woody and I crave his hands on my breasts.
“Yes, the address is one the card as well. Maybe you should give me your phone number so that you could come and audition for the position. You know, if the guys decide…” He grabs my hand, “that would be awesome.”
My heart leaps into my throat as the butterflies scatter into the room. I can’t believe what I am hearing. What if this meeting actually brings performance back into my life? What if this meeting means that I could sing again? My mind races with visions of performance as needles of electricity spark over every inch of my skin. Not wanting to remove my hand from his, I scratch my phone number onto his coaster. He quickly grabs it, folds it in two, and stuffs it into his shirt pocket. My legs twitch beneath my blue jeans, my toes grabbing at the loose leather inside my shoe.
“Ok, Barry… we should fly,” Carl says, the sounds of disappointment dripping from his voice, “The band is going to start up again soon and Jeff isn’t interested in singing with us. He’s too busy with these guys.” Barry winks at me.
“Did you give her everything she needs?” Carl asks, as he tilts his beer upwards, emptying the bottle.
“ I believe I gave her what she needs for now,” Barry chimes, flashing a wink, and grabbing my hand once more, “I believe we will hear from Elizabeth very soon.”
“Great,” Carl smiles, “Nice meeting you!” I smile at him.
“Yes, it was very nice to meet you,” Barry says as he kisses my hand, “we’ll be in touch.” He pats his shirt pocket. And with that, Carl and Barry leave the club. My heart pounds with elation and my mind spirals. The band begins. Music saturates the club. Heavy bass tones vibrate my chair as my Caesar arrives. Smiling, I reach into my purse and pay for the drink.
“Can I bring you anything else?” the server asks.
“No, thank you,” I reply. Placing the straw between my lips, I suck the drink back in one breath. The keyboardist slaps his Hammond and a syncopated groove erupts. “I think that I may have found everything I need,” I whisper as the server walks away.
Smiling, I rise from the table and slowly walk onto the dance floor. My hips grind to the deep groove as I close my eyes. Taking a deep breath, I raise my arms above my head. I see lights flashing blue and red through my eye lids, sparkling like glitter over my pulsing body. Spinning, a tingling sensation rises from my feet, caressing my legs, outlining the curves of my ass. Bass notes walk up my body, circling my breasts, tweaking my nipples, as a wailing guitar sends tiny teeth biting from my shoulders to my neck. I can see Mark’s face, smiling, his silver hair flowing freely, “The music is still there, isn’t it? Listen, it sings itself!”