Playing the Blues Ch. 01

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“Where the fuck have you been!” Jenny almost screamed at Pat when he opened the front door.

“What do you mean honey, it’s Friday, you know I always work ’til six on a Friday.” Pat said cautiously, they had been together for two years and in all that time he had never seen Jenny looking as pissed off as she did tonight.

“Oh yeah! Well I rang you at work today and Billy said that you left at fucking lunchtime.”

“Oh, what are you checking up on me now?” Pat said his own voice rising to match hers as his anger grew.

“No I wasn’t fucking checking up on you, you bastard. I rang you to remind you it’s your mother’s bloody birthday tomorrow, I wanted you to pick up a card and some flowers for her on the way home.”

“Oh shit!” Pat sighed.

“Yeah, oh shit! Billy said you always go at lunchtime on a Friday ‘cos it’s your half day.”

Pat’s shoulders slumped. “Oh.” was all he could think of to say.

“So where have you been every fucking Friday afternoon for the last two fucking years. You fucking bastard.”

Pat’s anger was rising again at Jenny’s attitude.

“Well if you must know I’ve been Screwing someone else.”

“You what!” Jenny screamed “You bastard how could you do that!”

“Because at least she knows how to keep a man happy!” Pat shouted back.

“And what the fuck is that supposed to mean!”

“Well you aren’t exactly lively in the sack are you? When was the last time you started anything in the bedroom?”

“You fucking bastard, how dare you. Get out of my fucking house. Go on, go back to your bitch and stay there!”

“Ok I will!” Pat stormed up the stairs. Jenny could hear him banging around opening drawers, probably stuffing some clothes into a bag. She stood in the centre of the living room. Dry eyed, she wished some tears would come to ease the hurt she felt at Pat’s betrayal.

Pat clattered down the stairs a few minutes later.

“I’ll ring you next week to arrange to pick up the rest of my stuff.” he said coldly.

The front door slammed shut. Jenny waited, and waited but still the tears didn’t come. Jenny heaved a deep sigh.

“Maybe I need to get pissed, yeah I think I will. Fuck him, the bastard. He’s not worth my tears anyway.”

Ten minutes later Jenny was taking the short walk to her local pub the Barley Sheaf. There was a sign outside advertising that a band, The Sister Blue were playing tonight.

“Oh well, a bit of blues could suit me now.” She thought as she entered the almost empty pub.

As she had expected this early the pub was almost empty, apart from the band setting up at the end of the room. Jenny got a pint of cider from the bar and wandered over to a table near the band who were just tuning up.

They seemed to be four young women with another girl standing in front of them calling out to turn this up or that down as the girls set up their gear.

Jenny winced as the Bass player played a simple bass line and dropped several notes, the room rang with secondary notes from badly placed fingers. Unfortunately the girl who was standing at the front of the band happened to turn around and spot Jenny as she winced.

Smiling the girl wandered over to her table.

“Give them a chance they are quite good really. I’m Kes by the way.” she smiled and held out a hand.

“I’m Jenny, I’d be happy to give anyone a chance but that Bass, sorry but that’s pretty basic stuff.”

“I know, she’s not a Bass player, Amy is usually on keyboards. But Kas who used to play Bass split yesterday, her partner went to London and Kas followed after her.”

“Mmm, could I have a word with your Amy a second.”

“Sure come on over we aren’t due to start for an hour yet.”

Jenny followed Kes over to the band.

“Hey Amy, this is Jen, she wanted to talk to you about your Bass riff.”

“Oh god it was bad wasn’t it.” The short dark haired girl flushed a bright pink.

“Sorry, I don’t mean to be critical, but you aren’t holding it right for a start. Look, put your thumb here to steady your hand and then play the string upwards. If you just let your casino oyna hand float like that you will keep hitting the wrong strings.”

Amy tried to do as Jenny said but couldn’t seem to control which string she hit half the time.

“How long have you been playing Bass?” Jenny asked her, she was wondering if this was a good idea, Amy looked to be near to tears and the rest of the band were looking unfriendly.

“Only since Kas announced she was dumping us yesterday afternoon, my fucking fingers are sore and I’m never going to get this.” Amy said her eyes welling up with tears.

“Can I borrow it for a moment.”

“Uh, yeah sure.” Amy handed over the large instrument.

Jenny settled the strap over her shoulder and adjusted it slightly. She picked each of the strings and adjusted the tuning slightly.

The instrument didn’t sound too bad but wasn’t as good as the Fender P Bass that Jenny hadn’t even taken out of its case for at least two years.

Settling herself into position Jenny tried the opening to the Art of Noise version of Peter Gunn. The drummer joined in with a simple Rhythm. Jenny lost herself in the rich sound from the Bass for a while, just happy to be playing again.

As she finished the song Jenny blushed as the band applauded her.

“Wow, there’s no way I could do that, I think I should just stick to my keyboards.” Amy said with a sad smile.

“Well I’m a bit rusty, haven’t played for a couple of years but thanks. Here.” Jenny took off the strap and went to hand back the guitar to Amy who held her hands up and shook her head.

“Uhuh, I’m gonna stick to my keys. I know what I’m doin’ with them.”

“Hi, my names Julie.” The lead guitarist held her hand out to Jenny.

“Hi, Jenny. Sorry to break up your practice time.”

“Um, I don’t want to impose, but can you play blues as well, we’re really desperate and to tell you the truth, shit girl you’re good.” Julie said grinning.

“Thanks, I played in a blues band for a couple of years when I was in Uni. But I haven’t picked up a guitar for two years.”

“Would you at least give it a try please. It isn’t fair of us to ask Amy really considering what she has gone through. Please, we need you.”

Jenny smiled broadly, the idea of playing with other musicians again appealed to her all of a sudden.

“What’s your play list, I’ll have a look and see how much of it I know. But I can’t promise I’ll be any good.”

“Thanks Jenny you’re a life saver.”

Julie ran through the play list for the night and then introduced her to the rest of the band. There was Chris on drums, Amy on keyboards, Sally on rhythm guitar and Julie on lead. They all made Jenny feel welcome and soon they tried a couple of numbers together.

The evening flew by, it felt so good to be able to lose her troubles in the melodic sounds and just forget her problems. Before she even realised what was happening Julie was announcing a break.

They all went to a long table that the bar staff had laid out with their drinks and a few sandwiches.

“Jenny you were great.” Julie enthused. “I reckon your far better than Kaz used to be.”

There was a short pause then, “Sorry.”

“S’okay.” Amy mumbled, “Gotta go pee.” And left the table.

When she had gone Julie put her head in her hands and groaned.

“Me and my big mouth, every time.”

“Why what’s wrong?” Jenny hated the thought that she could have caused tension between the band members. “I thought she didn’t want to play bass.”

“It’s not that Jenny, Amy and Kaz were an item, you know. Or at least everyone thought they were, turns out she was sleeping with someone else and upped and left. Yesterday was the first Amy knew of it. She felt she had to try to cover Kaz’s Bass like it was her fault the bitch left.”

Jenny was a bit startled, the diminutive Amy didn’t fit Jenny’s mental image of a lesbian. Then a light came on in Jenny’s head, she noticed how close the drummer Chris was sitting to the girl who introduced herself as Kez earlier. And Sally was almost leaning on Julie’s shoulder.

“Oh, slot oyna Um, you all, um, you’re, ahh.” Jenny shut up and went red as the band laughed at her mumbling.

“Yeah were all lesbians, if that’s what you meant. But don’t worry we don’t bite.”

“Oh Jesus, I’m sorry, I must have sounded like a right dork.”

Julie gave her a wry smile, “Yeah, kinda, but you get used to it.”

“Listen, now that your embarrassed and are bound to feel like you owe us something, even though you saved our necks this evening. Can we ask you a favour?”

Jenny laughed, she liked these girls, they had a good sense of humour and were pretty good musicians. “Go on then ask away.”

“Well were kind of stuck for a Bass player Saturday and Sunday nights. You couldn’t help us out could you? We can pay you for your time.”

“Yeah I’d like that.” Jenny said after a moments thought. “I haven’t got anything planned for the weekend and I’ve enjoyed myself this evening. Thanks I’d love to. Where are you playing.”

Now Julie looked a bit sheepish.

“Well that’s just it, I don’t know if you know ‘Silk’s’ do you.”

“Not that I know of, where is it.” Jenny thought she could remember something about the name but wasn’t sure.

“Um, it’s a lesbian club over the other side of town, it’s on the edge of the industrial estate. Look don’t get me wrong, if you don’t feel comfortable about playing there we’d understand.”

Jenny was stunned, did the town even have a lesbian club, where there that many that they could fill a club.

“Uh, I guess it could be ok. I mean like you said you don’t bite.”

“Well some do, but we can put the word out to make sure no one puts any moves on you, you know.”

“You better bloody well not!” Jenny almost chocked on her drink. “I’m not going to be stood up in front of an audience so that people can say ‘Oh look there’s the token straight girl’ Jesus, if I can cope with a room full of drunken guys at a gig I think I could cope with a few women.”

They all laughed at Jenny’s shocked expression.

“Thanks a lot. We have five nights a week there, we are just doing this gig tonight cos’ we’re short of cash this week.” Julie said.

“Yeah we’re screwed ‘cos that bitch Kas legged it with our rent money for this month.” Kez put in.

Julie shushed her as Amy was on her way back to the table.

“Hi guys sorry I was so long. There was a queue for the can.” Everyone could see that she had been crying but seemed to have got herself under control.

“Listen Amy, I’m sorry if I made you feel bad earlier, I don’t usually barge in and criticise someone’s playing. Sorry.” Jenny said afraid that she might have made Amy’s evening even harder.

“No. No. That’s ok. Julie’s right you’re a lot better than Kaz was. And way, way, way better than me. I guess I’ve just got to get used to the idea that she’s gone.”

“I know how you feel. I found out this afternoon that my guy has been fucking some bit on the side. Not only that but he’s been doing it for the last two years. We were only together for two and a half years. Bastard.”

“Oh Christ girl, why didn’t you say something. We never would have imposed on you like that if we knew.” Julie said as the other girls responded with similar comments.

“Nah, it’s good. I came down here to get pissed and instead I’ve had a wonderful evening doing something that I gave up because Pat thought it was a pointless waste of my time when I should have been looking after him. I haven’t had as much fun in years. And I’ve made some new friends. That’s gotta be better than getting drunk, being sick and waking up with a hangover.”

A few minutes of small talk later Julie said the break was over and they returned to the small stage. Once they had checked their tuning Julie went to her mike.

“Ladies and Gentlemen, we had a bit of a problem tonight. Our Bass player couldn’t make it and you can’t play the blues without a decent Bass can you. Out of the blue this young lady here.” Julie’s arm indicated Jenny who was almost glowing with embarrassment.

“This young lady offered canlı casino siteleri to help us out. Now when she was showing us what she could do she played a nice little Bass number that I’m sure you will all recognise. So we would like to ask her to play it again for you. Ok Jenny.”

Jenny nodded nervously. Oh Christ, Bass solo on her first night playing in years. She wished she had her own bass with her as it would have sounded even better, but still this was supposed to be fun.

“We will do our best to accompany her so take it away Jenny.”

Jenny closed her eyes took a deep breath and began playing Peter Gunn again. Again Jenny lost herself in the rich sounds, she was almost surprised when she got to the last note and the audience erupted into applause.

For the next hour Jenny enjoyed playing some of her favourite songs along with the girls. Then when they started to wind things down the band started playing the last number for the set. Jenny quickly fell in step with Chris with the rhythm for Albatross.

Jenny closed her eyes and felt the powerful wing beats of the huge bird reflected in her and Chris’ steady rhythm. The lead and acoustic guitars captured the mournful cry of the creature’s soul, lost and alone in the vast gulf of the sea. This is my life, Jenny thought, alone and adrift, a solitary voice drifting across the ocean of my life.

As the tune progressed she could feel her tears starting. She had been unable to cry when Pat had walked out, but now the sad cry of the seabird was pulling the tears from her soul.

As they played the last bars Jenny opened her eyes, they stung slightly from the tears. There was a stunned silence throughout the room and Jenny looked around confused to see what had distracted people from the music.

To her shock every eye was turned on her, both the audience and the other band members. The silence lasted until Julie reached over and gave her a hug, their guitars meeting in a discordant crash. The audience erupted into applause.

“God girl, that’s feeling the blues.” Julie murmured to her as they parted to take their bows.

“Are you ok?” Chris asked as she came around from her kit.

“Yeah, I just lost myself for a bit that’s all.” Jenny answered wiping the traces of tears from her face.

“That was beautiful to watch, I almost lost my beat. That solo was just incredible.”

“Solo, oh shit I forgot. We used to play it like that when I was at Uni. Did I mess every one up.” Jenny was devastated, she hadn’t even noticed she had played the solo she had worked out with Josh years ago.

“Nah, we coped, everyone could see you were so into it, we were almost expecting something special.”

“Thanks, I’ll try not to do it again.”

Chris laughed. “It’s no problem, just let the rest of us know next time if you could.”

Jenny helped the girls pack up their gear and load it into the van they had brought. Then they were all standing beside of the van ready to go home.

“Thanks girls, I haven’t had as much fun in years. Sorry again for the impromptu solo.”

“Um no it’s us that should thank you. Here take this.” Julie held out some notes.

“What’s this for?” Jenny asked.

“It’s your share of the gig money, we got paid £600, so you got £120 for your evenings work.”

“I can’t take that, I mean I sort of muscled in on you trying to earn your rent. I can’t take your money.”

“Yes you can, Jenny don’t be silly, you put in a hard nights work and we couldn’t have done it without you. The landlord wants us to come back in a fortnight. Do you think he would have if you hadn’t turned up, you heard us earlier. Take the money and thank you.” Julie said sincerely.

“Thanks, like I said I enjoyed myself. Um, what do I wear for tomorrow night.”

“Well the management insist on smart, you got a dress or suit in blue?” Julie asked her

“Yeah I can find something, um is it okay if I bring my own guitars, that one was alright but it doesn’t have a terribly good tone, sorry Amy.”

“Hey it’s no problem, we borrowed that one for the evening, Kaz took hers with her.” Amy said sadly.

“Ok I’ll see you tomorrow then. What time?”

“Around four if you could, we can have a practice then grab some food before we start.” Julie told her.

“Ok see you then, bye and thanks.”

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