Thursday, August 23, 2012

Updates: Eat Neat Food And Feed The World

Back for another update and two days in a row making this a serious update streak.

Yesterday my fridge and cupboards were running low and I needed to make something at dinner. Enter into the fold the greatest library since The Great Library Of Alexandria aka the internet. Using it I searched for a cheap and easy meal. Ultimately I found the Canada Foodgrains Bank, a web site with some very simple recipes that people from various parts of the world eat for the need of survival. It was a great learning experience and I got to try a food that is eaten in various parts of the world just for its sheer simplicity. What if I didn't have a choice though? That was what I had to eat day in and day out, as do many families. A little bit of a humbling experience.

This is also the case locally in Canada as well with organizations such as Food Banks Canada, The Daily Bread Food Bank and Various Community and Church, Synagogue and Mosque run programs providing the slack that Canadians need to meet their weekly dietary needs. Just about everything we need to interact with the world in a functional way is dependent upon our diet especially if you`re growing up. A healthy diet is at least in part responsible for a healthy body and mind.

While you're at it, you may want to take sign a petition to help bring attention to a humanitarian crisis in Sudan and spread the word. You might bring attention to this in a way that could make a difference.

Being the adventurous person that I am and coming from a family where just about all of the men cook, I decided to try my hand out at improvisation with next to nothing (I mean these are the exact ingredients I had to work with, and nothing more). Here's what came out of it.

Wanna know what I ate? A simple healthy cheap meal.

Follow the recipe for the simple flatbread and prepare the following after you prepare the dough.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 Cup Balsamic Salad Dressing
  • 1 Can light flaked tuna
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, very finely chopped or crushed
  • Lettuce (Romaine, or any other kind you like)

Prep:

  • Mix the tuna, salad dressing, chopped onion and garlic in a tupperware container. Season to taste with oregano, rosemary, salt and pepper.
  • Chop the lettuce into thin strips enough for bite sized pieces.
  • While you are letting the dough from the flatbread recipe sit, allow the tuna mixture to marinate in the fridge covered for about two to four hours.

Cooking:

  • Break the dough up into pieces a little smaller than a billiard ball, roll them into a ball and flatten them with your hands or a rolling pin.
  • Cook in a skillet, with a light layer of olive or cooking oil until browned on either side.
  • Cut the cooked flat bread into pie piece sections and layer the outer rim of a plate with them.
  • Put the chopped lettuce in the center of the plate.
  • Put the tuna mixture in the center of the lettuce.
  • Eat it using the simple bread wedges as utensils.
Improving it: Sliced olives in the tuna mixture, maybe even some hot peppers.

Got any suggestions?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Updates

Back From My Man Cave


Glad to see everybody and I hope that you're all well.

I'm back from a bit of a hiatus and a bit of a flogging. Thanks to the efforts of some pretty nasty people, I have decided to pull Moving On from the blog. This is not to harm anyone who is going through the difficult road of addiction recovery but more to quell the kind of negative attention that it attracted from the grim underworld that it exposes.

I will post it online in the near future when the second chapter is complete. Unfortunately there are some people where I live who have been trying to steer the direction of the story by outside interference, and if you're anyone who has tried doing anything to make a little bit of a difference these days, you will know exactly what I mean. I can barely go anywhere in the city without a good verbal flogging by people who have read the contents of this blog and Risque Factor.

The people who feel the same way about what I have written don't believe that I wrote it, so they initiate situations to verify that it is indeed the real me and those that stand against it try to beat me up verbally and in groups because of it. Forgive me if I sometimes get a little manic because of it, no offense intended. It gets tiring getting flogged all of the time. The people involved want to steal credit for the efforts of others, so if they can make it appear to others like you don't have the personality that would match what you write on your blog, others won't believe that you wrote it, and they can lie and say that it was someone else. If you stood to benefit in any way from your efforts, that gets stolen from you, while you might end up with the blame for someone else's mistakes. The club involved will even try to make you appear to be hateful to cover it up. It gets very tiring. Be careful, this club tries to create debts that they try to collect from you by stealing credit for the things that you do.

In the story Moving On, I talk a little about the environment that makes all the Evelyns in western life possible:

"A whole economy had evolved to support this little mess. A system of dropping people to the depths of it's pit. A system of hiding people and keeping them hidden. People on the run from the law, the bank, creditors, loan sharks you name it, they were concealed there somewhere. A system of keeping anyone who had something that could be stolen or syphened from them, like a talent or an ability were kept there, often unknowingly against their will, while others around them would take credit and notoriety for their efforts, even pretending to be them. There was even an addiction for some to the theft of the notoriety of others. Thieves of a kind that the rest of society didn‘t even have a name for. Some had the choice, some didn’t and some didn’t want the choice at all, or change for that matter. All of this created a market for girls and hard drugs. Anything that somebody needed to escape for a time and a price. As rare as they were amongst all of this, there were still diamonds in the rough."

Unfortunately there are a lot of people whose goal it is these days to separate one from their past and present accomplishments, whose goal it is to steal them and give them out to others. So if you're not consistent with what you what you create, then they give credit for that to someone else. The same goes for your family and friends as well. If you can't defend all that connects you to what you care about, then they take it and give it to someone else. Its a shame really. Don't let it happen to you.

There's diamonds out there, I've been with a few and that's what makes this all bearable.

Speaking of diamonds:

Music

I finally bought a modest music keyboard, and have spent the last few days tweaking it with my computer setup. Of course it's an M-Audio KeyRig 49 like the same one that I had before at a great price from Saved By Technology, a great place in Toronto, Canada to get the scoop on technology based audio production.

Writing

I haven't spent much time writing recently however I did write additions to The Answer Is In The Keys and Stories From The End a few weeks ago without posting updates.

Movies: What movie should I see?

I am going to check out a flick at the movies next week or the week after and it has been a while since I've been to one. So here's the choices in no particular order:

The Amazing Spiderman, The Avengers, Prometheus, The Dark Knight Rises, The Bourne Legacy, The Expendables 2, Total Recall, Men In Black 3, Brave, 2 Days In New York and Ice Age 3.

I'm leaning towards the Imax 3D ones as I love that aspect of the movie going experience, although if it was a date movie I'd have to lean towards light hearted comedy or action adventure. Of course performance, plot, direction, art direction and music are pretty big points for me. Any recommendations? Please feel free to comment (or flog me if you`d like).

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Moving On Part 2


Introduction

The initial draft of the story was inspired by and meant to shine a light on a part of society that just doesn’t get enough of it, mostly because it doesn’t want the attention. In that part of society, there are group(s) of people that fall casualty to this, finding it nearly impossible to get away from. Especially vulnerable to this situation are some of the women who get lured into it and are victimized at the expense of their innocence.

The incredible courage and dedication that it takes for one to get away from such a life and get onto a different track is superhuman. This courage and dedication is exhibited by everyone who takes part in that process and is especially true of every Evelyn there is.

This second part of the story is not based in real life in any way although the person(s) that inspired Evelyn,  the support workers are very much there and always will be. This is new territory for Evelyn and her story. It is her chance to face her demons head on, but whether she ultimately triumphs in her effort remains to be seen.



Evelyn paused, taking in the situation while her gut twisted in both anxiety and withdrawal. The front desk attendant at the Rehab Centre printed some forms that would need Evelyn’s signature. Evelyn’s story could have ended right there at that counter, just like any happy ending. But this wasn’t one of those stories. Some problems don’t leave so easily, and some monsters do come back.

Evelyn finished the paper work for her sign up to the program feeling better than she had in a long time. One of the councillors took her on a tour of the facility, showing her everything that she needed to know about the program and the building. The last point on the tour was her dorm, which had four other beds in it and a shared bathroom. She had been given permission to sleep for the rest of the day, which she did without even getting her bedding in place.

Her dreams were a crazy mixture of memories that crossed over into each other. She seemed to be walking through the lecture halls at the University, where there were lectures were in progress. Girdy, another addict she knew from the Loop was making giant hand puppets with the overhead projector in lecture hall A, a small audience shouting requests to the makeshift performer. Evelyn walked down one of the hallways and into a lab, where there was a classroom lecture going on. This sight startled her. It was Lacy, at the front of the class, giving the lecture. It seemed to be a sociology class, with five of the regulars from Credit Street sitting and taking notes, and showing genuine interest in the subject and the lecture. They listened intently, fascinated by the subject. She smiled at the sight. She continued down the hall and turned into the medical theatre. There laying on a gurney was Tripper, his body lifeless. The medical lecturer, fully clothed for dissection a mask covering his face. He approached the gurney with Tripper’s body, a scalpel extended like a weapon. Evelyn screamed a soundless scream. Unable to wake her self she turned away.

“Young lady, you’re going to lose grades if you don’t pay attention in this class.” the medical lecturer stated in a condescending tone.

She forced herself to look and saw that the medical lecturer had been replaced by the body from the valley, John Doe. His wounds still apparent across his front, his head still slightly arched back, eyes grey.

“Young lady! Young lady! Are you hearing me?” said John Doe, turning his whole body to face her rather than craning his arched neck.

She became aware she was dreaming but was unable to wake herself. Focussing herself, she reached with one of her hands, clasping one of her eye lids by her lashes and pulled it open. She awoke with a start, her chest pounding as she caught her breath.

She tried looking around the room though the sun had set and the room was dark. She stumbled in the dark towards the bathroom, stubbing her little toe on the door way. She cursed again, sitting to use the toilet only to find the toilet seat up. She cursed under her breath a third time, scrambling for the light switch and flicking it when she found it. A clock sitting on a shelf in the bathroom read 2am. Feeling a little stuffy despite the air conditioning in the facility, She had a long shower, cursing yet again when she realized she had left the towels they had given to her with her bedding, out in the dorm. She threw her t-shirt on, still soaking wet and retrieved her towel, retreating to the bathroom again. Occasionally she awoke with a little pain and anxiety from withdrawal. She spent a short time drying off, then cleaning up after herself, leaving the bathroom spotless. She put her bedding on the bed and settled in again, this time not dreaming at all, or at least not remembering her dreams if she had them.

The next few days were spent getting accustomed to her new surroundings and schedule. She had kept to herself for the first few days. Still very cranky and occasionally sick from withdrawal symptoms. Her one on one sessions with the councillor would not start until the following week. Until then she kept herself busy with her chores. She enjoyed that part of the day, and spent her time doing as good a job as she could. It kept her busy and her mind from going astray. At other times, she would make plans as to what she was going to do with herself when she was done. How she was going to finish her schooling, get her career and life back on her track. She had already envisioned her home, how it was going to look, what she was going to buy for it. These details were far down the road, but it gave her a sense of direction even if she was biting off more than she could chew.

Evelyn had been having trouble with mood swings and anxiety attacks which were related to emotional stress and the pressure of abstinence. Her first one on one therapy session went well. Jana, her councillor, a soft spoken lady, whom had miles of patience was very encouraging, and helped alleviate much of her fear. They just talked. Well not really. Evelyn talked and the councillor listened. It was strange at first. Evelyn felt like her own therapist, asking the questions that she had wanted answers to and then answering them herself. The therapist cleverly guided her to the right questions. The ones that were barriers to her progress and the ones that were part the path that she wanted to take. She had felt as if a great load had been taken from her, though it was more like somebody had taken the time to help her organize her own load into a more comfortable arrangement, maybe removing something here or there.

These therapy sessions quickly became the highlight of her week. Every week they would talk. An hour at a time, a couple times a therapy session would go over the one hour mark ten, sometimes twenty minutes. She had noticed her nightmares had receded as well. Her group sessions were the same except that there were six people all together and one councillor. Questions would fly between client and client and councillor and client. One client’s answers would help the other five clients. The group session resolved issues as well, but she preferred the one on one sessions. Evelyn had always preferred her own personal time for her growth. The time in the program had flown quickly. Many of the people present were dedicated to making progress, so there was almost never conflict. This enabled the clients to let their guard down enough to feel safe, and open up to the councilling. Evelyn was always still a little bit guarded in that sense. Her life experiences had taught her to always be on guard, especially when she wasn’t expecting anything.
She had been in a meeting regarding the results of her physical examination and was talking with her counsellor when the counsellor’s phone rang.

“Nancy Wellens, how may I help you.” she answered with clinical detachment.

She paused, listening to the voice on the other end, then hanging up the phone.

“You’ve got a visitor. We‘re just about finished here anyway.” Nancy smiled to Evelyn.

“Thank you Nancy.” Evelyn got up, a little excited and curious as to who it was. She was happy to learn that she was in great health, no sexually transmitted diseases or any other associated health risks that were common in the world that she had just emerged from. She was having a great day and she felt healthy and full of energy.

She saw Detective Grady standing at the front desk, having some papers signed by the receptionist. She smiled as she approached.

“Detective Grady! How are you?” tears trickled down from the corners of her eye.

“Why hello Evelyn. Aren’t you looking strong and healthy today.” he smiled to her, winking.

The receptionist returned his forms, signed and he tucked them neatly in the inside pocket of his blazer.

“Do you feel like taking a little field trip today?” he asked her, already knowing her answer. He was a Detective after all.

“Uhhh sure. Where are we going?” She responded, trying not to look confused.

“We’re in a bit of hurry, I don’t mean to be rude.” the Detective said glancing to the receptionist and then back to Evelyn, masking his thoughts well enough.

They left the building and Evelyn instinctively walked to the back door of the car. The Detective looked at her, a little sympathetically and responded.

“Hey, things are different. You’re in the front seat now.” the door clicked unlocked and she opened it getting in without a pause.

He remained silent on the way out of the neighbourhood. He drove the unmarked car onto the highway southbound for the downtown core. Evelyn held her gaze ahead of her, glancing to the left in an attempt to draw him into conversation. He was deep in thought weighing in on some information that had recently come to him from an outside source.

“How’s the program working out for you? Are you keeping your end of the bargain?” He asked, finally breaking the silence.

“I’m right on track, although it was hard for the first few months.” She replied, not giving up any extra information to him.

Although her nightmares had subsided, something still bothered her about the situation with the body she had discovered, and Tripper’s disappearance. She knew there was a common thread that connected the two events and was afraid that her hunches about that yarn might be closer to reality than she thought.

“Have you ever heard of Alicia Danvers?” He broke the silence again, suspecting that Evelyn may have more answers than she had talked about in their conversation at the station months prior.

“She was a backup girl.” Evelyn answered, thinking that her silence would be more harmful than helpful.

“A backup? What do you mean?” he asked.

“We had regular customers. We’d be on the street at a certain time expecting them. If we couldn’t make it, she’d be my backup girl.” She answered, filling him in on the business of pleasure, though it was not the way that movies would romanticize it. Dirty cars. Dirty clients in dirty disguises. Dirty in a way that it would take a lifetime of showers to wash away. It was usually very quick as it would be in any piece work related business. The faster they got done, the faster they’d have their money and the faster they were able to score a hit.

“How many other ladies did she backup for?” asked the Detective, changing lanes as he did.

“She had about three or four other girls that she’d cover for. She was hoping to get her own spot in the area. That’s how you put your time in.” Evelyn answered, remembering the life like she had read about it in a novel more so than having lived it. It kept her detached in a way that she needed to feel when she talked about it.

“How about some names?” He asked her, keeping an eye on the sparse traffic ahead.

“Suzy. I mean blondie Suzy. You know her I’m sure. Trish the dish. Shirley and Wendy. That’s it I’m pretty sure.” she looked at him, waiting for approval.

He kept his eyes on the road, momentarily glancing in the rear view mirror.

“Did she have any problems with any of those girls?” he continued, typing a name with one free hand into the comtech console in the car.

“No. She was always pretty easy to get along with. She never caused problems and none of my customers ever said anything to me about her.” she answered, trying to get a peek at the computer out of the corner of her eye.

“What about with the customers. Anyone ever mistreat her, argue over money?” He asked, changing lanes hurriedly and nearly missing the off ramp.

“Not that I could remember. Though she did have some problems one time with Tripper. She was in an argument with him about a month before he disappeared.” she arched her head hoping to get a better view of the console.

The Detective stopped talking as they merged into city traffic from the highway. Tripper had been a non-stop source of problems from the time he had arrived on Credit Street. He quickly took over small time distribution for crack cocaine and crystal meth, nudging some of the other dealers right off the street a few times. He had even chased a competitor down and pistol whipped him, leaving him curled up in a ball on the sidewalk. The Detective had questioned him a few times, only to get all attitude and no answers. This made Tripper a hero to the other Credit Street misfits and put him on the radar of some people who did not like the attention. Tripper had a notorious reputation to the women working the streets, and he often took advantage of their situation if he could somehow profit by it. On one particularly bad night, just after he had been busted for possession, he had taken out his anger on a new girl to the Credit Street tour, beating her senseless and leaving her in a bloody heap on his front lawn. The paramedics had whisked her off to emergency and the police had been notified but the poor girl was too afraid to “rat” on Tripper out of fear of the repercussions from the rest of the Credit Street denizens. Suzy came onto the scene, hitting Tripper solidly in the face with an unopened can of cola several times and swearing to him that if he ever did anything like that again, she would kill him. He didn’t dare hit her back as she had friends at a local underground establishment that had a reputation of having ties to the mob. One week later and Tripper had disappeared completely although the timing was a convenient set of circumstances. Legend had it that Suzy had put a hit out on Tripper and that he was in the bottom of the harbour now sleeping with the fishes. Suzy did little to put a stop to the rumours, as not a finger was ever laid on any of the girls ever again by anyone on Credit Street. From that point on, Suzy had become the den mother to the girls there.

This did little to help the situation with Alicia Danvers whose body was found just outside of the downtown core in a dumpster behind a manufacturing plant. Alicia was a little ball of energy and never a bad bone in her body despite the hardship she had experienced as a little girl. Her parents were small time scam artists who sought to support their lifestyle through a series of rip offs that left a trail of wreckage across the city. She had left her dysfunctional home when she was thirteen and lived with her friend’s family until she was seventeen, at which point she had become quite a partier and dropped the idea of being a student. Her and her friend left that home together and were working Credit Street three years later hoping to achieve the freedom twenty-five retirement plan, which of course was quite literally a pipe dream.

She had been an on and off regular at Credit Street for the years that followed, and had become a backup girl just before Evelyn arrived on the scene. She had liked it that way, as there weren’t as many commitments as there were for the other girls working the streets. That and it was easier to remain a stranger to the customers as you never had regulars. With regulars, the girls became a part of their customer’s life and this presented some difficulties and risks for the girls working in that trade.

The Detective pulled the car into the coffee shop driveway and ordered some coffee and lunch for Evelyn and himself, paying at the drive thru window.

“I’m going to need you for the next couple of days while we try put together some pieces to a puzzle, and maybe get Credit Street cleaned up for good.” He handed her a soft drink and a sandwich, which she accepted gracefully, consuming the sandwich in three bites.

“Cleaned up for good? You mean closing it?” asked Evelyn in shock.

“No. I mean opening it. We’re fixing an open wound in the city that has been left for too long. You‘re going to help out.” he looked to her, offering up some of his fries. She paused for a moment, grabbed a small handful consuming them in little bites.

“What’s in it for me?” she said like a shrewd negotiator.

“Closure.” he offered, his stern face hiding any details of what may lay ahead.

“Won’t that be bad for your business to do that?” she asked sardonically, a little smile rising from the corner of her mouth.

He paused looking at her, his poker face slipped just a little.

“It would be bad for all of us not to do it. My business will just move its focus to other markets.” he replied looking her square in the eyes and in all seriousness.

“Are you planning on running for office?” she asked, still smiling that she was able to keep him on guard.

“No, but I may be running from the office with you as my partner.” he said firmly, breaking his assuredness with a wink and a smile as he pulled out into the midday traffic.



© Copyright 2012 Brian Joseph Johns





Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Answer Is In The Keys

Smoke filled the air in a dense cloud around the patrons of the bar. The house was packed, as it always was on a thursday and the whiskey flowed at a steady pace. This was the best night so far in the year of 1946 and the temperature peaked on the dance floor in the mid July night. Rolly Peters, the owner of the establishment eyed the packed room from behind the bar. He kept a close eye but never a close count of the transactions in the bar. His father had taught him that was bad business and bad luck. There was plenty of time to count your fish after you pulled in your net as they used to say on the Mississippi bayou, where his father had raised him. His father had worked his fingers to the bone on the bayou and Rolly had learnt everything he knew from his Pa. From the time Rolly was five, he had started out helping his mother with washing and fixing the tralling nets. When he had turned eight, his father had dragged him onto to the fishing trawler, claiming that he was going to teach Rolly a man's job. At eighteen, Rolly was running the fishing trawler himself while his father tended to the business and got into the juice. Rolly's father was an obsessive pragmatist and kept a close eye on his coin, but never jinxed a haul of fish with a premature count. Rolly had learnt it all, except for the love of the bottle, and it was the bottle that had killed his father. Rolly had been twenty five at that time, his poor mother found his father dead in a pool of his own piss and vomit. Rolly retired the fishing boat in a sale of the business and invested the money and their massed fortune (which was modest at best) in a new house for his mother, and bought a bar on Bourbon St. and never once thought about the irony.

Lorna's Bayou as he had named the bar after his ma, had opened in 1935 and had pulled in a whole thirty five cents for its opening night. He had spent five dollars for catering from the local deli and cannery as there was no kitchen in it then. His ma even cooked up enough crawfish to populate the muddy river while a crowd of hungry cats waited eagerly for the scraps and droppings. Eight people turned up for the opening night and seven left at closing time. The eighth, a man in his late forties had passed out in his chair and Rolly didn't have the heart to throw him out. He let the man sleep off his drunken slumber until five in the am and then woke the man with a glass of water and a complementary helping to the catering from the previous night. The man consumed the jambalaya, crawfish and guzzled the water down without so much as a peep and then stumbled out the door with a wink and "ah thankya boss". Rolly thought he saw his father's eyes looking back at him for a moment as the man left. He locked up the place and went to sleep for a few hours, it was Friday after all and he had to open the place at three pm. There'd be plenty of time for restin' when he retired to his grave.

Determined to make the Bayou into the best place in town, he tried every trick he could muster to draw in a crowd. He played with the prices, setup deals on off peak hours a la happy hour and had a small kitchen put in. The local economy was hit hard and the looming threat of war left most people weary of spending their hard come by money. Rolly had nearly given in to defeat when he came across a piano for sale in a competing bar that had recently gone out of business. He paid two whole dollars for it and a gave a half a bottle of Wild Turkey and a plate of seafood to the two guys who moved it for him. It was an oversized upright with eighty eight keys and a couple of cigarette burns on the lower register keys, as its last player had been left handed. It sat on a small stage in the corner of the bar and a section of tables covered what was now the dance floor. Rolly never had a piano, so he had no idea of how to play one or what was required to care for it. It was an investment for his business just like the cash register and like the cash register it had a lock.

Every day at three o'clock Rolly unlocked the bar and the piano. For two months the piano sat in that corner, without so much as a second glance, while the bar struggled to stay afloat around it. Rolly had been stressed out about the state of his business and kept himself busy running the business to stave off his worry. It was an historic night and war had just broken out in Europe and the air was full of tension. There were a moderate turnout that night and the energy in the air had changed after ten o'clock, but Rolly couldn't put his finger on it. At eleven o'clock pm on that fateful night Rolly had just about given up entirely when the piano began to sing. It began quietly at first, with a slow Southern Louisiana drawl that drew itself into a triple feel groove that left people swaying and feet a tapping. The entire bar had gone silent and all eyes had focussed on the corner where it sang. Rolly recognized the man who had slept in the chair on the opening night of the Bayou who was perched on the piano stool and bringing the place to life. The tune ran its course and the bar began to fill. By the beginning of the second tune, the place was full to the brim. The bar and kitchen were running at full tilt and Rolly found himself with more to do than he had the time to do it in. That was the way he liked it and he remembered the fishing trawler and the Mississippi bayou air.

"Don't you be countin' your money..." the singer's voice pierced the air and hit Rolly smack dab in the chest. Rolly had to stop and look.

"But you can always count on me" the voice continued while the ebony and ivory of the keys countered.

She was a medium framed lady with a figure like a violin and a voice like the night that left you in anticipation and wanting more. Rolly held his eyes steady on her, unable to move.

"Don't you be giving up lovin'..." she continued, the words rolling off her tongue and over her red and glossy lips.

"Unless you're giving it up to me" she winked at Rolly, and his heart jumped five steps back.

She moved her hips gently in sway to the beat, and Rolly stepped forward to clear away some tables from in front of the stage. A few couples stepped forward and started to dance and before long it was officially dubbed the dance floor.


"You don't have to keep on looking..." she looked towards Rolly and then to the rest of the room which was in motion to the rhythm that everyone shared.


"Unless you're looking at me" and she found Rolly's glance again and this time it was him that winked.

The music continued and the room peaked at midnight and Rolly hadn't stopped while this crazy river ran its course through the Bayou.

At exactly one in the am, the last tune ran its course and the floor cleared as quickly as it had been overrun by those eager couples. Rolly had during the course of the night hired two extra hands to help out, one a neighbor from down the street who had a tiny apartment above the shoe repair shop and the other a young lady and former waitress he had met while picking up the piano. By the time the music had stopped, his team had gelled like they had been together for years. Something magical had happened and Rolly's confidence returned along with his father's pragmatic discipline. He took inventory of the situation without counting the fish.

"Not the same man I saw a few hours ago." the serendipitous siren approached him from his flank, catching him off guard.

"Did that angel's voice come from you, or was I just dreamin'?" he replied, turning on his charm, and smiling slightly from the corner of his mouth.

She just smiled back at him, leaning seductively against the bar in a display of her confidence. It wasn't an invitation as much as it was an expression.

"I'm Rolly Peters, the owner of Lorna's Bayou." Rolly extended a hand, which she accepted gracefully.

"And who is Lorna?" the siren inquired, no visible change of her expression.

"Lorna is my mother. I named this place after her." Rolly answered, looking around and appreciating the moment the singer had given him.

"By what name may I call you?" he asked the singer without pushing her.

"In due time I'll let you know. You just look after old Jimmy and I'll see you again." she replied, looking over to the piano bench where the piano player had passed out onto the piano keys. A bottle of Old Port sat on the piano beside him.

"I'll see you soon Mr. Peters." she started for the exit of the establishment, strutting her stuff playfully as she left while maintaining her dignity; and her strut.

Rolly watched her every step of the way without giving her that impression, but she knew all the same.

The bar had cleared a little since the music had stopped, and Rolly let the atmosphere die out on its own. His father always told him never to pull the nets too early:

"Sometimes too late is a little better, even if it means that you lose some. Those ones are just on their way to tell their other fish friends about the great spot they found. You'll just get 'em next time." and then he'd take a pull from the bottle, and that would be Rolly's cue to start cleaning the deck for ten minutes until he'd pull the nets.

Jimmy took a long and hard pull from the bottle, setting it down on the piano. Rolly jumped over to it and pulled it from the piano, wiping the spot clean. Jimmy looked over almost at Rolly and spoke:

"I'sa just checkin to see if you was payin' a tenshun boss."

"That's alright Jimmy. You played a good night here Jimmy and I thank you." Rolly replied to Jimmy, not really sure of who was taking care of who.

"She's a beauty, aint she. Huh boss?" Jimmy spoke again, not really looking at Rolly as much as we was looking through Rolly.

"She's an angel and that's for sure. A voice like one too. Sent by the almighty himself. She sure is a beauty." Rolly replied looking at the door where she'd departed just five minutes earlier as if he could make out the imprint her figure had made upon the smoke.

"Boss. I'sa talkin about the piano." Jimmy responded in all seriousness.

"Well I..." Rolly tried to finish before Jimmy broke out into laughter.

"I know who you was a talkin' bout. Its ok boss. Yousa with Jimmy." Jimmy responded again before responding to the call of the bottle.

Rolly smiled and ventured back to the bar. He had been thinking about how he was going to make this up to Jimmy, and the mysterious singer but wasn't quite sure how.

© Copyright 2012 Brian Joseph Johns