NYU Black Renaissance Noire Volume 18 Issue 1 - Winter 2018 - Page 8

excerpt Wise musicians are those who play what they can master. Duke Ellington. The Last Gig By Pam Ward Excerpt from the novel, “I’ll Get You, My Pretty” Joe sat on a milk crate behind the club where Mattie used to work. The air was thick with garbage. The moon reflected off a row of cans. Lots of activity filled the wet, dirty street. Cooks tossed out trash. Trucks delivered vegetables and raw meat. Chinese picked up laundry and delivered it back clean. Young boys popped wheelies or learned to roll weed. The mob used the alley as their personal street, shaking down club owners attempting to give them the slip or placing their men at back exits for protection. Alleys have always showcased a certain element of life. Homeless men raided trash bins or slept by a fence. Grown men drank or played cards and shot craps. Celebrities and the ultra rich used these thru-fares to avoid being seen, while some used these streets to make a pit stop to pee. But tonight, this tiny alley behind Sunset and Vine became a break room for black musicians hired to play but not allowed anywhere inside the club except on stage. Out of earshot of the owner and alone with their peers, twisting the caps off their flasks or their miniature fifths of gin, the men talked freely and starting to drop their “G’s,” using a special speech they spoke among themselves. “Like I said, nigga, every musician has his last gig,” Joe repeated. Taking a stolen glass from his pocket, he filled the contents with gin. One by one, Joe looked each musician in the eye. “They may not know it. May not even realize it happened, but that last gig is ݅ѥdɕѼ)ͱ͠ȁѡɽаͥ)ݸȁ̻t+q tյȁ5ͅ)ѥ́ͬq аݡ)݅́݅ɥݸ)eԁхѥdѼͽչЁ5̻t+qeԁܳt)ͅɽՑ七q$х՝)5́܁Ѽ今t+q$ݽձeЁѡгtյȁ5)՝qɉ䁭܁5́́Ʌ今t+qQЁхՑȁѥ)ѡɽєѥtѡ)ȁͅ))չѡɽ́ɥ)ݥѠ́ѕѠMѥ́)́Ёѡȸ+q$eЁܸ5剔ӊéЁ)'edѡݥt)Qѡȁͥ́Ё))݅́Ʌ+q]ٕȁՈ́t)ͅ+qQeɔѥ Ʌ)ٕ՗ét+q ]Ёԁхd)gtյȁ5ͅq'e)ݽɭɔѡٕȄ=ѡ)͠᥹ѡݡє)ͥ́չ́ѽѡȰɽѡ)ݔaЁѼЁtQ)յȁ5͵̸+qɽɔӊéɅ今t))́݅́͡х)Ѽ̸+q1ЁaͽѡѼ԰))չȳt)ѽѡչͥ+qQЁݡєչeЁٔՍ)ЁԄeԁ݅э)ݥѠ)ѡ́́́)ɔt)ѽѡݥɽ)́ɥq$хѼ1!ѽ)ͅݔ͡ձeЁٔɝ)!ͅѡeɔѱɍ)ѡͥϊdɑ̰ͼ)ѡ䁍ɔѡݡє́)ȁ̸1ѕ'eѕԁ̰)ȁЁ́Ȼt+qeԁɅ䇊tյȁ5ͅ+q5MЁ́хѥd)ݕtյȁ5ѽ)ݥѠѡյЁȸ+q ѕхȳtMͅ͵)յȁ5é$q1չɐ݅́ѡЁѡՍ)ѡɔ̳݅t)ݕЁq )مՑ٥ͼѡɽѡ܁ѡ)aܻ͡d!́ݽɔѡ)Ёѡ̰əհե́ѡЁ)э݅́ѡЁѼ͔)ɕɅٕ̻t+q]єՑtյȁ5ͅ)͵q]ЁѼtյ)5ͭ) ѠٔݼЁ͡)q%́܁)tѡͅ䁥չͽ+q]ԁѕȁٔͅa͔Ё)弁гt)ͅ)ѡͥ́ѡɕ܁ѡȁɵ́)ѡȸ+qQɔ́Ё'e䁙ɕٕȇt)յȁ5ͅ+q ɅٕՔeЁݡɔ)tM+qQЁɕЁݥ݅́t)ȁq9)хЁ݅今t))хɕݸЁɽе)иq)1չɓéЁ)݅́ͭѥɥ=ɕ)'eѕ԰ѡЁٕȁͅ)Ёdt+q$啐ݥѠѡЁՑtѡյ)ȁͅ+qMѡѡЁ́Ѽ̳t))ͅ=́ݥэݥѠ)́ѕѠ)ͱЁѡх)A5̸9ЁѼ́ɕѕ́݅́)ɕձɽиѕȁѥ)хݼՙ̰͕ЁѼ)յȁ5éq ɹ́))Ёѡ䁝Ёȁݽt)ٕ役܁)éݥ5ѥ)݅́ѥݡє̸ѡ՝)ɥѕȁѡЁЁIՍȰ)5ѥٕȁٕݥѠ)%Ё݅́䁅ѕȁ݅́͡ѡ))ɕ镐ٕȸ+qMԁչ́䁹)܁аЁ1չɐ݅́ѡ) ɔ5ȁձЁ́͡)ɔQ͕䁝ЁЁ))1չɐ́!ɱ)ɕ́ݕɔѡЁمѥٔ)ɍɄѡЁٕȁٕ ѡɽ՝)ѡ ѽ ՈM ݅)́!݅́ݕ(Ёѡ݅ȸ1չɐ݅́ѡ)䁉ѡЁձєѠ)ѥѥ䁅ݥѠխ)ѽ չЁ ͥt+q$aȁtAAȁͅ)хЁ́ѡ̸q!)ѡЁݼЁɡѡ$ɐ)Ёȁt+qet)ͅɕɥq!݅)ѡЁѡЁձɕݥ)͕݅́ͼ͕хѕѕ)́ɕܸ!ѽM=ٕȁ݅䁥)ѡܻ͡t+q兴܁ԁ܁ѡЁ͡ӊéհt)յȁ5ͅ+q Ʌ́ѕȁ͡Ёѡѥt)Qݥѥ́ݕ))ѡ՝ЁЁ5ѥѥݽɔ)ѡɥ+q1Ё)ͽtA5ͅ+qɕхɔѽ éٕ̰) ͹э) ͥét+q1չɐ݅́ѡ͍ ͥt)յȁ5ͭ+q ѕȳt)ݕɕ+qḾѡխt+q9Ёٕ͔t)ͅqѽ)ձeЁ1չɓéɅ̻t+qeԁٕȁ͕t+qM$啐ݥѠ)չȄ)!ݡݕݥt)́ͽ́ͅѡݽɐݕ))ЁQѡɽ)ɽյȁ5Սѡ)͵+qMݡЁѼatյ)5ͭ+qQͽ̳́t)Ʌ)եѥ́́ɽ͵)յȁ5ѡչЁѡ)ɽ́͡ѥ́Ёѡ)݅丁Qѡȁͥ́ѡ)͕́ȁѡɕ́ͥ͡1)ɕєЁ͹ՙչȁ͡)ѡɕаѡ٥Ʌѡ䁑啐)ѡхܸ݅́%Ё݅́ѥ)ѼЁѡɕЁ͵)Q́݅́ѡЁѡ)ձхݥѡЁɅ͕)=ѡͥ݅ɽЁѡՈ)ѡݕɔͱѽѼٔ)ͱѽ́ѡȁ̸) ɑɐ͕ٕ́Ʌ)Ʌѕ́ѡȁх̸)Qȁɥ́ݕɔѡͭ́ѡ䁭)ѡȁ̸Qͥ́ݡ)͡ͅݥ́Ѽѡ)̸%ɑȁѼݽɬѡ͔̰͡)ѡՈݹȁՅɅѕѡݕɔ)Q́݅́ɥѕѼѡ)Ʌи%Ё݅́Ёѡ)ѥѥ́ȁѡ])ݽɭݡєɕ́ݡɔЁ݅)ձЁȁ́ѼЁ)ͥ́ɔѡݕɔ+qٕ䁵ͥ́)Ё t)ͅ