I had to get out of the flat. I just finished the worst job ever assigned to me. Well, maybe it was the best but I call it the worst because it wasn’t my work. Some brilliant, middle-aged woman in tornado alley wrote the story that burns in me.
I knew exactly where to go. I snatched my black hoodie and tromped down three flights of urine scented stairs. Down two blocks then left one. I stumbled into the dim lit, pungent room and inhaled…ahh Sumatra-aroma…heaven, at least for the moment.
I nod at the barista in her usual crisp white blouse and black apron longer than her black hip-tight skirt. She has nice legs. I can’t help but stare at them when she brings my cup of relief.
Alone in the corner, sipping bitter black gold, I watch and listen. Places like this stir creativity in so many. Why not me? It could be my turn tonight, yes?
I chew nervously on a stir stick, toe tapping to the beat of the jazz music.
The gentle bass: Boom…boom…boom…ba-boom.
Piano chords simple and steady: Ba-ba-da…ba-da… ba-da.
The bongo’s soft padded bop-bop-bopbop…bop-bop-bopbop, combined with the drummer’s gentle tap-taptap…tap-taptap and ch-ching-ch-ching…ch-ching-ch-ching of the cymbals.
Once everyone is hot on the beat, the horn slips in to fill the gaps with a sensual rhapsody that ties it all into one incredible moment of…Ahh…total peace.
I’m convinced Jack Kerouac would be inspired here. Reckless abandon lifts me out of my seat and I saunter towards the piano with far more confidence than I feel. I lean on the stool perched in front of the mic. The boys hold the rhythm steady, crescendo a few bars, and settle down, reading my body language.
I push the hood off my head, and shake the disheveled, dishwater-blonde bangs away from my half-open eyes. I hold the mic in both hands and hear my amplified breath, letting it escape slowly before I venture to expose emotions stirring in me.
They see a fat, balding, man chewing on a stogie,
Gripping their baby selfishly, tearing it away from their womb.
Their baby, their life’s work, their soul poured into words.
They fear their love child will never look the same,
When they see it again,
if they see it again.
They eat, they sleep, they wait.
And they eat some more.
Way too much more.
Fat balding man chewing on a stogie.
Their worst nightmare.
Their worst nightmare?
They are wrong in their perception, insight, observation, imagination.
Let me educate them, inform them, open their eyes.
Open their heart to my plight.
I pause, let a few bars pass: Ba-ba-da…ba-da…ba-da. I grip the mic with determination, my stance firm.
I’m a smart, sassy, somewhat sexy gal.
When I want to be.
When I have to be.
I’m young with a diploma on my wall.
A framed, official, diploma of little or no worth.
Still yet to be paid for.
I’m a writer without a story of my own to tell.
Inexperienced in life.
So they say.
I have skills. Mad skills, I say.
I lack life knowledge.
I lend them my crazy skills.
That’s all I do.
Their baby is birthed and laid in my bony hands.
I cradle it.
Imagine it as my own.
I improve their love child’s chance at life.
Their worst nightmare?
No. Not at all.
Their dream come true.
I toss a couple bucks on my table and nod to the black-aproned legs.
“G’night Sophie,” she mutters with sad puppy-dog eyes of sympathy.
“Later, Sis.” I pull my hood up and jog back to the flat.
I throw my sweatshirt off and strip down to my skivvies, stare at my reflection in the mirror, and study my legs. They’re ok. I suppose if I shaved them they’d be better. Nah.
I slide my hands over the manila envelope; some other woman’s love child. Sigh. “I can do this. I know I can.”
With the hall light on for Sis, I pull the Murphy out of the wall, grab my laptop, and settle in for the night.
My mind is whirring: I have skills. Mad skills, I say.
After an hour of skills with no depth, I slap the laptop shut and lay it on the pillow next to me. I stroke the smooth surface and groan.
I have no love child.
My worst nightmare.
(Insert beatnik snaps here.)
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