Article: 288681 of talk.bizarre
From: (Ed Gaillard)
Newsgroups: talk.bizarre
Subject: straight no chaser
Date: 1 Dec 1996 23:00:22 -0500
Organization: Miskatonic Springs Bottling Company
Lines: 68
Message-ID: <57tk8m$>

A trio is playing "A Foggy Day" as I walk into the restaurant.  This
proves--once again--that I'm not the star of *this* movie; if I were,
"Don't Get Around Much Anymore" would be more suitable.  It doesn't
even fit the weather; I'm brushing snow off my shoulders and my hat.

The owner spots me and comes up, smiling.  He has a busboy take my
coat and leads me to our usual--*my* usual table.  He doesn't ask me
about you.  It really isn't my soundtrack.

I sit down and look around.  The normal Friday-night crowd of yuppies
is at the bar.  A busty, twentysomething blonde sits at one end, in
front of a collection of empty highball glasses.  A couple of the men
are flirting with her.  She doesn't seem to be enjoying the game.

The trio has moved on to "Well You Needn't", and the music catches my
attention.  I look over at the "stage"--just a clear area at the back
of the place.  I can see two of the musicians--bald, bearded black men
about 40, playing trumpet and bass.  They could be twins, not just
from their appearance but from their apparent telepathy as they trade
licks.  They're maybe a little too good for a dinner-music gig like

A table of people is just standing up to leave.  They're between me
and the piano.  The waitress comes to take my order.  She's new here.
Tall, too thin, very black hair against very pale skin, too much
mascara--if she ran a personal ad, it should say only "Morticia seeks

I order the lobster ravioli that you always liked so much.  And water,
just water.  When she leaves, I look at the piano player.  He's a
skinny white kid, can't be more than eighteen.  He looks a lot like
Koufax when he first signed with Brooklyn.

They're starting on "Stella By Starlight."  The kid takes the first
solo, and begins to deconstruct the tune with high-register clusters
of notes that seem random at first until suddenly the pattern becomes

His technique is raw, but technique can be learned.  He's going to be
good, very good.

My food arrives.  Absorbed in the music, I get through half of the
meal without tasting it before the trio takes a break.  The black guys
move to a vacant table next to the stage; Koufax stays at the piano,
noodling.  His chops aren't quite up to improvising solo pieces.

The blonde at the bar brushes off another yuppie and sways over to the
musicians' table.  She seems eager to be friendly; a certain
awkwardness in the men's body language tells me they haven't met her
before.  But they're happy to make her acquaintance, oh yeah.

Koufax gives up on free improvisation and joins them.  He's jittery,
talking too fast, smiling too widely, trying to get a peek down her
neckline.  She smiles indulgently and I turn back to my ravioli.  I
suppose it's good.  I can still barely taste it.

Morticia comes by and asks if I'd like anything else.  I hesitate,
look back towards the window at the restaurant's entrance.

It's still snowing, and I have nowhere special to be, and the trio is
going back to their instruments.  I tell the waitress to bring me a
Jim Beam, neat.  The trio starts playing again.  They launch
themselves into "Straight No Chaser" and for once I'm in synch with
the soundtrack.

-ed g.