So much, so much, so much. Driving back from the bar tonight, after spending the whole evening composing what I was going to write, Bill said, “Don’t forget the Lolita factor.” Damn Bill. Damn all who have heard him laugh. Damn me.
Shae, our waitress for the evening, was about the friendliest person I have ever met. She had a way about her that made us feel right at home.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, you all know already that I have a soft spot for any woman who brings me beer. Shae was, honestly, different. She made me feel really special until I saw how she made the regulars feel even specialer. Still, before she was busy she pulled up a seat at our table and we had a chance to chat. Here’s a way I thought of to describe myself that won’t come as a surprise to those who know me: while I am verbally gregarious I am physically introverted. While I can (on a good day) engage strangers verbally, it takes far more than a good day for me to relax and allow familiar touches. Shea uses her hands to reinforce the contact she makes while she talks to you, or just walks past your table. With her, for whatever reason, I was comfortable. One time when she came up behind me she ran her hand up my spine. Boy that felt good. We talked about stuff, Bill making my aimless mission of drifting around the country sound much more important than it really is. We talked about itchy feet. Shea has difficulty staying in one place for a long time.
Shae is an attractive woman. “I don’t normally dress this way,” she said. “Well, I certainly appreciate it,” Bill replied. I must agree with Bill. There was another waitress there as well, young and cute smiley and all, thin and fit and generally hot, but our hearts and minds belonged to Shea. And to the Big-Ass Beers. (They actually call them Big-Ass Beers on the signs around the bar.)
But I’m racing ahead of the story. I’m sitting here now, aware of the smoke in my clothing, trying to figure how to tell you all the things that happend tonight. Triage is clearly in order; just because it was interesting to me doesn’t mean I should write about it.
We were there for a band. The No Dern Clue Mystery Family Revival Band. Bill knows the guy who put together the band, but this was their first public performance. We didn’t really know what to expect, but the guy’s previous bands played what Bill described as “eclectic country rock”. Not this band. I could see it was going to be a pretty big band when we sat down and I started counting microphones. Then the band members started to show up wearing black suits.
We sat and listened to the music, to grumbly growly vocals by the guitarist, to smoky raspy songs when the organ/acoustic/cornet player stepped up to the mike, sometimes singing with the cigarette still hanging out of his mouth, and to the clear tones of the bass player’s voice. The trumpet player could wail, and when he put a little growl into a riff the guitarist would spit right back with a grumble of his own. All the players could solo.
The core of the band was the horn line, however. The trumpet player, a little guy, middle aged, the one in the band that wore the black suit like he belonged in it, could quite simply wail. The sax and the flute were kicking ass, and the trombone wasn’t bad if a little more sterile than the others. Trumpet guy did a plunger solo, and it reminded me of a time when I was listening to amateur jazz in Scotland with Jesse and we were discussing the subpar plunger work. “You gotta feel like there’s a string from the plunger to the audience,” I said, or something like that. You’re trying to hold it shut, but eventually the drag it open.” This guy had that feel, that connection with us.
The band was at it’s best, however, when they were all grinding away together, getting big and ugly at the ends of songs, the red light shining on the bass drum jumping and throbbing like a vampire’s heart as the sound built to a train wreck where all the engineers were Picasso.
The only reason I know I got the name right is the flyer I pulled off the Men’s room door. Just below the name of the band it said “Saturday the 16th”. Half of October is gone. Time sure flies. My trip is almost over, or at least this part of it. I’ll have to come up with another name for the next part of my life.
Shae brought us another round and stopped to chat for a while. The tamale guys came through, and challenged her to a game of pool for some tamales. “Not tonight, hon,” she said. “He just wants to see me bend over,” she said to us, “I don’t need to in this outfit.” She was right about that. Ample amounts of ample chest were exposed. “My daugter saw me in this and said I must be going for the tips tonight.” Shae has a sixteen-year-old daughter, and in defiance of stereotype they get along. And that is the Lolita factor Bill mentioned on the way home. I imagined dating Shae, easy to do when a pretty woman is sa dang friendly with you, and I imagined meeting her daughter, who it only stands to reasin is every bit as pretty as her mother, while saying to myself “Look at her eyes look at her eyes only lookathereyeslookathereyes…” ’cause the last thing you want is for you date to catch you checking out her daughter, or even to think you were.
Oh, but the story gets better – even better than I realized at the time. While the band was playing two very attractive girls came in. I was concentrating on the band, so I paid them little heed. I did notice that they looked pretty young, but sad to say they all look young these days. Shae went over and talked to them, and they left. Here’s the thing I didn’t know at the time. Bill picked it up, but I was oblivious: Shae said to one of the girls, “Don’t call me Mom in here.” Shae then kicked them out. Yikes! That girl I was checking out was Shae’s kid. Luckily for all concerned, I found the mom to be more attractive. She came back over to our table and she said something like “Well, I got to be the bad guy tonight.” Not realizing that she had just kicked out her own daughter, I simply nodded sympathetically. At that point I was much more interested in the band and Shea’s breasts. But her daughter was cute, I’ll grant that. It’s the Lolita factor. When Bill first mentioned it, I had no idea how appropriate it was.
Bill said, “That’s the friendliest waitress I’ve ever met in my life.” Shea was that, hands down.