Friday, June 4, 2010

Taking a Break -- #Fridayflash

This is a #fridayflash story. Comments, good or bad, are welcome. Constructive criticism is particularly welcome.

People in the bar were getting restless. They had come to hear some jazz. A 20 minute band break had turned into 30. The drummer was missing. Finally the musicians gathered on stage without him and started playing with the bass player picking up the rhythm on his own. Elena was singing the Girl from Ipanema. The guitar player looked at the sax player with raised eyebrows and shrugged. He hadn’t shown up in the underground garage to participate in the early coke break. Now after the second break everyone was buzzing along without him.

Cadillac Jim was sitting in his Toyota mini-van, tears running down his cheeks. Everyone wondered why his nickname was Cadillac when he drove a Toyota but that was not important now. He knew he should go back into the bar. It didn’t matter. He would not be able to contain his emotions and they would be incongruous with the jazz he was hired to play. But the demolition team, in the form of his future ex-wife, had turned his happy future into a slow motion implosion similar to the one he had seen on TV when the old basketball arena had been torn down last week. Both his life and the arena would be rebuilt in new locations with new designs.

Lily had slammed the Toyota door and run to her own car just minutes ago. She was hysterical. She had wanted to drive away immediately but her shaking hands prevented her from gripping the steering wheel. They had only been engaged two weeks and now they were not. She knew this might happen. His divorce wasn’t final when they met but his wife was already living with another man. The wildcard was his daughter. There would be a custody battle. His gigs were always at night so he had essentially been a stay-at-home dad raising his little girl while his wife worked long hours. He couldn't imagine daily life without his child. Lily understood that. During their relationship she and Janie had gotten so close that this was like a divorce for her, too. She was not only losing Cadillac but also Janie and there was nothing she could do about it.

Cadillac was startled by a knock on his car window. It was Jeff, the bass player.

“What are you doin’ man? You missed a whole set. Get your act together and get back inside. We don’t want to lose this gig. I brought you a little blow to get you back on track,” Jeff said.

“Sorry, Jeff. Lily’s gone. Kelly told me last night that she doesn’t want the divorce. She wants to try and patch things up. As soon as she found out about Lily she broke up with her Elvis impersonator boyfriend. I guess Janie told her about our engagement.”

“Wow, man. What are you gonna do? I feel your pain. You know how much trouble I’ve had juggling my wife and Liv. My wife plays dumb about Liv but I know she knows.”

“I just can’t imagine never seeing Lily again. Do you think there’s a chance she’ll still want to see me?” Cadillac asked Jeff.

“Trust me, man. She’ll go on seeing you. I learned long ago, when it comes to women in this situation they’ll always hang on. After all, 50 percent of something is better than 100 percent of nothing. Come on. We’ve got to get back. You want some blow or not?”


Tony Noland said...

Re: your comment - oi, bloody hell! Shhh!

Susan Cross said...

I won't tell a soul.It's our little secret Cadillac, er I mean Tony.

Susan Cross said...

Thanks for visiting Adam. Music permeates my life and often my fiction (and non-fiction).

Donald Conrad said...

The music feeds off the relationships and the drugs, or maybe it runs the other way. Who's to say. Nice story here and thanks.

Susan Cross said...

It used to be sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll. Now it's relationships, jazz and drugs. Doesn't sound like we've evolved much, does it?

ganymeder said...

Wow, this whole story is just so... sad. I mean, their drugs, views on women, kids caught in the middle...just so messed up.

Very well written.

Susan Cross said...

I agree, it is sad. It's amazing how a simple bad decision can make life so complicated

J. M. Strother said...

Bad choices on top of bad choices are bound to take their toll eventually. It's a shame for the kid.

As to constructive crit, I found this part just a wee bit confusing:
The guitar player looked at the sax player with raised eyebrows and shrugged. He hadn’t shown up in the underground garage...

It's a little unclear who 'he' is. If you name the drummer in sentence 4 you could change it to:
Jim hadn’t shown up in the underground garage...

and avoid the ambiguity.

Otherwise, I thought it was a well told, albeit sad, story.

Editor said...

Wondering how this would read in the present tense?

The bar patrons are restless. The jazz band they came to hear is 30 minute into its 20 minute break and the stage is dark and empty. Finally, the bass player bounds onto the stage, picking up a rhythm, and the lead singer, a gal, slinks into Girl From Ipanema. The guitar player picks at his (brand name), raises his eyebrows at the sax player, shrugs... Cadillac Jim is missing is missing. ....

Just a thought.

Susan Cross said...

That certainly would build the suspense. Actually, I prefer writing in the present tense but try to experiment.

I'll revisit this story. Thanks for the comment.