By Roland Trenary
Third Saturday of the month and the first thing he needed to do
So several lugs up the steep stairs as
Actually, thinking back even a bit more…
Vis and Cari had first met at a life-drawing co-op. Way back when, like sixteen years ago. The co-op was
Benny was a sixty-something photographer who
So the co-op had started hiring from the modeling pool at the nearby University, then charging
Anyway, neither Vis nor Cari
The co-op threw a party a couple months
Co-op Mistress Gloria came over to where Vis, Cari,
Gloria proclaimed, “Cari, you know all these songs! Come on over and I’ll introduce you to Otto and you can sing with him.”
“Come on, Vis,” Cari elbowed Vis, her new friend. “I’ll bet you know these
Well, she sure showed him first. She had a lovely voice, sultry but uncluttered, not quite Bonnie Raitt. And he treated her to his uncanny knack for adding a harmony part, right off the bat. It turned into a floor show
Though Otto was never to be seen after that night, Cari and Vis started hanging out outside of life drawing, to sing. Vis played guitar well enough so that, with a songbook or two, they could string a couple hours together without repeating a tune. But by the time they were getting pretty good, Cari bumped into an old friend
Soon that duo added Geoff, an even newer “Friend,” to play lead guitar. They started getting gigs as “Cari and Friends” and lonely, forgotten
For one gig,
He stuck, and good music ensued.
So now, fifteen years later, Vis still schlepped the speakers, stands, monitors, amp, mixer, mics, mic stands, cords, effects, signs and tip jars – up and down his basement steps before and after every gig. His lot in life, he surmised.
Tonight they rendezvoused at The Cafe Oy-vey as usual, driving in
“Hey, Bud, Cari,” said Vis.
“Hey, hi,” piped Cari.
“Hi. How’re you?” added Bub.
“Got all the gear, as per. Anybody you know coming down to listen?”
Bub was unloading his guitar from his car. “I think a couple, and
“Me too,” added Cari.
Vis admitted, “Nobody I know of, but we’ll see.” He grabbed a mic stand under his right arm, his guitar case in his right hand, and monitor speaker in his left. The first of four or five loads.
As they walked down the puddled, narrow, brick-walled alley that led to the back service door that they’d used for ten years and probably a hundred gigs, they each felt their own mingled rush of performance anxiety and headiness.
The door was locked.
“Don’t know. I’ll go around to the front,” said Vis as the other “Friend” banged on the door.
“Wait a sec.” Bub paused, flattened his ear on the scuffed metal, then banged louder. “They’re probably clanging the dishes around. Oh, here…”
The grey dented door slowly swung open a few inches and a voice crept out to them, “Sorry, closed.”
“Hey, wait! We’re the band! We’re playing tonight!” protested Cari.
The door opened just far enough, a round face with a lower wisp of neo-beard and a topping of corner-knotted bandana stuck out a couple inches.
“I’m the only one here! The other workers couldn’t make it, so I’m not opening tonight.”
“Look, I can’t do cooking and run the front counter and cleanup too. I can’t open. That’s it.”
“We have an audience coming. Can’t you just serve up the cakes and cookies in the case and keep the coffee machine filled? You could just do that. Our people don’t usually order cooked food anyway,” Bub offered.
“Yeah, our people only like desserts. You could handle that. We’ve got all our own sound equipment. It’ll work. We can make it work. Whaddya say?”
“Well, okay. I guess so. I just wish the other workers had showed up. I’m still going to have to do the cleanup and dishes and everything. Rats.” The young scruff-mudget
“No. It’ll be okay. And thanks, man. Thanks a lot,” chimed the band.
No one knew at the time, but that Saturday marked
“We Can Work It Out” was pointedly not one of the songs in their repertoire, and never would be.
About The Author
Born in the first half of the last century, Roland Trenary has parlayed his modest Midwest upbringing into a modest 21st Century adventure.
He is creator of seven issues of the magazine Normal Bean, one acoustic album of self-penned/performed songs (Fever That Yearns), and several music-related videos on Youtube.
With over forty years of researching and collecting the artist Mahlon Blaine, he has gathered together Blaine’s definitive biography and bibliography (Mahlon Blaine ~ One-Eyed Visionary).
His novel of illustration adventure (Mahlon Blaine’s Blooming Bally Bloody Book) is on the Amazon charts, while he also continues to pursue an even newer career as a quick-sketch artist specializing in actors and musicians caught in the act of performing.
For the past several decades he has steadfastly maintained that his role as The King (in the Lincoln School 4th Grade production of the musical Rumplestiltskin) may have been his undoing.
This has yet to be proven.