Hello, all …
haven’t posted anything in a bit. … this is the first couple of pages of a short story i’m working on. i like it so far …
A Chicken Wire Juke Joint
It was a chicken wire junk joint alright.
“You furnish the towels?” Leonard asked the man, looking at the chicken wire, knowing we was gonna need ’em. “We gotta have our own?”
“Folks don’t throw bottles much they still got beer in ’em,” the man said. “Mostly it’s just empty bottles.”
“Anybody messes up my guitar I’m gonna bust ‘im,” I said.
The man looked at me. “We heard you was a real bad ass,” he said.
He looked at Leonard. “How come you put up with a man’s gonna bust payin’ customers?”
Leonard laughed. “Ain’t nobody else picks like Jimmy,” he said. Then: “I recon we
got to have our own towels?”
“I’ll round you up some bar towels,” the man told Leonard. “Park around back. Close up against the door. We git a crowd, we ain’t got enough spaces.”
We watched the crown start gathering. Pick-ups with rifle racks. Arkansas plates, come over from West Memphis. Some from Mississippi, Olive Branch and Senatobia. Red
necks, all of ’em. But that was okay, we was too: red necks.
“Goddamn, it’s gonna be a show tonight,” I said. Took a deep drag on a Chesterfield.
“Look at all them farmers, them truck drivers.”
“Long as they got real money,” Leonard said.
The man had sent out for some burgers. Real burgers, not that Daisy Queen shit. I’ll say that for him. Real burger with fries, washed it all down with some Dixie Beer he had in the back.
“And it’s some lookers too. … That redhead yonder.” I pointed the Chesterfield toward a Crown Vic convertible just pulled up, hadn’t even parked yet. “I might try her on for size.”
The dance floor was built up a step higher than where the tables were. Would hold, I figured, thirty couples. Thirty-five, thirty-eight for a slow dance. We didn’t plan on playin’ much slow stuff, just one at the end of each set. Maybe two some time around one-thirty.
The little stage for the band was another step higher, the chicken wire stretched between the front of the stage and the dance floor.
Leonard started plinking on the piano around 8:45, just dark. Two guys all the way in the back corner threw a couple of Miller bottles against the wire, laughed. Hell, they weren’t even drunk, pissed yet. Just part of the goings-on, getting in the mood.
The fellow with the Crown Vic and the red head pushed his way up front, dropped a couple ‘a twenties on an occupied table against the wall. Suggested to the early arrivers
already sitting there that they consider giving up their spot. The guy at the table suggested that the fellow with the twenties go fuck himself, stood up, took off his Razorback cap.
His wife, however, grabbed the Andrew Jackson’s, grabbed the Razorback’s arm. “This
is four football tickets,” she said. “A week’s groceries.”
“Goddammit, Rose. You the one wanted to git here early. A seat up front.”
“I know,” Rose said. “I know …” She pulled him through the growing crowd.
I played the first line of Move It On Over … Hank Williams. Move over little
dog, the big dog’s moving in. The red head winked at me. Sat down, touched
her hair, swayed her shoulders side to side. Set of nice boobs moving underneath a buttoned up white blouse.
“This is gonna be fun,” I told Leonard. “What you wantta play first?”
We gave them a twelve minute version of What’d I Say. Heavy on music, light on lyrics.
Ray Charles would have been proud. I could smell the sweat. It was gonna be a hot night, more ways than one.
At about minute number 10 into What’d I Say the red head caught my eye. She was dancing, facing the bandstand, looking across the Crown Vic guy’s shoulder. Looking
straight at me. I gave her a look, held that Martin guitar out at arms length, pointed the neck straight at her, played a riff. She licked the sweat off her upper lip. That set ‘a boobs was lookin’ nicer all the time.