The sick smell of the city streets.
The grainy black backdrop lit by the
orange glow of street lamps.
A stumbling figure, alone in a back alleyway
searching for somewhere to be.
The bright neon sign of a jazz bar,
lazily missing a few letters, obnoxiously
invites him towards false safety.
A thick haze of pungent cigarettes and stale cologne
greet him like a punch to the face upon entering.
Underneath this was the stench of rotgut ashtray whiskey and
pompous bourbon, all of which seemed visibly disturbed
by the sound of his hesitant footsteps clodding on the peanut
shells and broken dreams.
He glances nervously at the door, hoping.
The bar waittress slinks over to him and asks for his
drink preference; he says nothing, appearing slightly annoyed
and just stares at her dimly lit eyes searching for a quick answer
to make her leave.
He just says bourbon.
His drink delivered, he goes and slouches into the darkest corner
of the dive. His table is sloppily cleaned with generic sugar packets,
a half-empty salt shaker, and little shit candle.
To him, the cloud of hopeless despair that settled over this
dismal scene clung to the people here such as the
half forgotten memory of a…
His thought was forcibly stopped by a loud clamoring
at the door. It opened, and a man, bent double by years of
arthritis, hobbled in carrying an instrument case and his walking cane.
In the shallow light that caught his face, the man in the corner
could see the milky white of a cataracted eye.
The old man walked onto the little platform of a stage and plopped
down heavily on the stool there, giving a deep sigh of relief.
Opening his case revealed a worn out saxophone, with signs of
patina on the bell and two keys missing.
He closed his eyes and pursed his lips to the reed, and began
a slow off key melody that soon picked up a bayou rhythm.
The man in the corner marvelled at the immense strain
the sax player was exerting to give his music soul, and in the
flickering spotlight he saw tears rolling down the man’s heavily wrinkled,
puffed out cheeks. The notes picked up a blues tempo for a minute, then
In a husky, nicotine scarred voice, he mumbled into the
microphone," That one was for my woman, who dead now goin’ on three years.
Thank ’ee vury much."
With that he then collected himself and slowly hobbled out.
The man in the corner just turned back to his empty glass,
and motioned over to the waittress for another bourbon…