Stuck in a rut

Started by Calixto at Apr 19, 2020 5:11 AM
January 9, 1924
673 Views
38 Posts

Grace (Gracie) Stroud

Waitress
204
?Years Young
79 Posts

The song is done. The melody lingers on. You and the song are gone. But the melody lingers on.


The foreigner was certainly taken by the instrument. Perhaps he once owned one Gracie wondered.

“Ah, but surely you can play such a thing, Miss Gracie; I am reliably informed that all young Americans can play the ukulele and compete in dance marathons for days on end.” he gently teased the young blonde.

"No, not this young American I'm afraid," she shrugged then added, "Although Johnnie and I took part in a dance marathon once. Just to give it a shot. We had fun...the first five hours and then Johnnie said to hell with this and I whole heartedly agreed. We ducked out then."

It was a fond memory.

"Umm, Johnnie was my boyfriend," she figured she should explain to the Baron.

He liked her phonograph joke, it drew a nice laugh. But then he was back to his fascination with the ukulele, almost caressing it as he explained how it worked. That cinched it for Gracie, he knew how to play this thing alright. He then proceeded to prove it too.

His performance was both unexpected and quite good too. When he finished, she clapped in appreciation.

"Oh that was just jake, Baron. You should be in show business, a regular Eddie Cantor," she grinned.


Alafair Corbin

Club Singer, ex-Nurse
42
?Years Young
14 Posts

“Oh, Miss Corbin, I am … sorry.” he fumbled, quickly putting the instrument back on the seat where he had found it.

"Attaboy, Baron!" Allie said, bringing her hands together in a brief round of applause. "I could put you to work with my backup singers at Club Lorelei," she added, her tone light and cheerful.

With the impromptu concert finished, Alafair carefully started her car and pulled around the baron's stalled automobile. "There is a gas station about two miles down the road. We can call someone for your car, fill up mine, and head back for Miami."

Allie's usual method of driving was a combination of careful and fairly fast. However, with passengers in the car, she decided to go a bit slower. She was a good driver, but there was no sense in risking a wreck on the narrow road.


Calixto

Barón y Tarazona
82
?Years Young
17 Posts

"There are even rumors that we are descended from Hatuey, an early Taíno chief of Cuba, but that, my dear lady, is an entirely ridiculous hypothesis."


Calixto had been momentarily worried that his absent minded choice of the poignant 1916 song, which had become emblematic of the very personal aspects of the tragedy and loss of the Great War, might have inadvertently struck a raw nerve with the ex-nurse. Luckily, the bitter-sweet melody didn't seem to have affected her emotions and her reaction was rather jolly. The Baron sat back in the comfortable back seat with a sense of relief, and reminded him to think before he launched into a musical interlude next time!

"Well, I shall certainly cut a figure, being driven into Miami by two attractive chauffeus...es!" he chirped, somewhat surprised at having to employ for the first time in his life the feminine plural of the word.

Alafair certainly knew what she was about, warming up the engine and setting off before he even knew it. He just had time to ignore Ho as the car set off past the Chinese man, as he stood to attention giving the three of them a semi-military salute as they churned up the dust in his inscrutable face.

The Baron was fascinated by the novelty of many aspects of American life, but some were as new to the Americans as they were to him. He had to ask: "So, Ladies, will you both be voting in the elections? Are you for Martin or Catts or maybe you like those other fellows, the ...er Republicans?" Women had just missed the chance to vote in the last gubernatorial election in 1920, so this would be the first flexing of the Flapper Vote in the State. Most white Floridians he spoke to seemed to be Democrats to a man ... or woman ... to the extent that he wondered why they bothered with an election at all.


Cat's Meow! 1

Grace (Gracie) Stroud

Waitress
204
?Years Young
79 Posts

The song is done. The melody lingers on. You and the song are gone. But the melody lingers on.


Gracie was beginning to feel like a third wheel, this baron was certainly more interested in Alafair what with her better wardrobe and her far more impressive resume - a nurse in the war and now a singer. Not to mention she was driving the expensive automobile. No matter, the blonde waitress wasn't trying to compete for the man, this foreigner swell. They pulled away then from the side of the road, bypassing the forlorn Oriental driver who dutifully saluted his employer or master or whatever he was.

The baron then asked about voting in the upcoming election, mentioning two names whom, in all honesty, Gracie had no idea who they were.She shrugged.

"I don't pay no mind to politics, they're all crooks anyhow," she declared, Johnnie had always said that last part.

'Gangsters steal with threats and guns. Politicians steal with lies and lawyers.' That was another Johnnie line. But she kept that to her thoughts.Being a good patriotic young miss, she did not want this foreigner to think that Florida was full of criminals - even if it was.


Cat's Meow! 1

Alafair Corbin

Club Singer, ex-Nurse
42
?Years Young
14 Posts

Alafair considered the Baron's question and his conversational focus. She was reluctant to engage in a strong political debate at the moment since she needed to concentrate on driving. However, she admired the fact that he had ventured into the quagmire of American politics.

"Gracie is probably the smart one on that score. I am a conservative," Alafair told him, "and would prefer the government to keep its nose out of the private affairs of its citizens." She shrugged and smiled, "I vote for the person that I hope will do the least amount of damage. Sadly, when it comes to politicians, you really have to go with 'judging the book by its cover' approach since it is not often you get to know the real person."

The gas station came into sight, sitting in a small graveled lot on the side of the road. Alafair slowed and made the turn, expertly pulling the car to a stop by the pump. "Fill it up," she said to the attendant that came out to greet them. She noted with relief that his coveralls were relatively free of grease and grime. "Might be a good time to hit the head and get something to drink. Oh, and we can make arrangements for your hire car and Mr. Ho," she said to her passengers and started toward the small station, intending on hitting the lady's room herself.

Before long, they were back in the car and on the way to Miami. Allie noted the time and sighed with relief. They would be back in the city and on familiar streets before it got dark. She could drive at night but hated doing it on unfamiliar roads. After a few minutes, Alafair could not help asking, "Baron, have you immigrated to Miami - the United States permanently, or are you here just for business?" She glanced at Gracie, wondering if she was also curious about the man.


Calixto

Barón y Tarazona
82
?Years Young
17 Posts

"There are even rumors that we are descended from Hatuey, an early Taíno chief of Cuba, but that, my dear lady, is an entirely ridiculous hypothesis."


The Baron listened carefully to Alafair’s ruminations on the political scene; she clearly knew her own mind in political matters, but did not seem particularly interested in discussing them. A pity! Calixto was interested to see if these new women voters were motivated by the same sort of passions as the male voters in these parts, and whether they could come out with the same kind of hot invective against Calvin Coolidge he was used to hearing from any man with a southern drawl. He surmised from what she had said that she was a Democrat, like every other normal white person in these parts, but as to whether she wanted to see roads built or schools, he was none the wiser.

At the petrol station he had been able to use a telephone to get through to the garage from whom he had hired the motor, and they had been attentive and apologetic about the matter, as well they might. After a small and somewhat predicable tussle between himself and Alafair as to who should pay for the gasoline, they were off again, and it was now one of the ladies' turn to quiz him.

Baron, have you immigrated to Miami - the United States permanently, or are you here just for business?" She glanced at Gracie, wondering if she was also curious about the man."

The Baron leaned back in the comfortable leather padding of the car’s back seat with a sigh, and looked rather like someone deciding which book to choose from an exotic library shelf, even going far as to reach out a hand and pluck the volume from the thin air before him.

“I open a book, what do I see? It is Spring! I see a happy child, playing with his sister on the white sands of a Cuban beach…” he mimed turning the pages of the book, “a few short pages later, a picture of two orphans, their parents murdered in cold blood, being sent off on a ship to a unknown land a thousand leagues away across a fathomless ocean!" he declared histrionically. "I flick through the rest of the book: a harsh military school in old Vienna; the joy of comradeship, the autumnal sadness of those same comrades falling like dead brown leaves to the ground. Joy again, sadness again. Love affairs; battles; dances; the Pest… so it goes on, this strange life we live.” He shrugged, returning to the original question.

“What is permanence, Miss Corbin? Where is it? Time, place, our very souls - they spin and spin in endless motion. I have come full circle in the return of my blood to the Floridas. Yes! perhaps that means that I can stop, at long last, and call a halt to these infernal peregrinations.”

He mimed closing the book and placed it with great care back on the shelf. Then he chuckled, laughing at himself a little.

“Please excuse my strange fancies, dear ladies. The short answer is that for the first time in my life I have money and time on my hands, and I am visiting Florida to conduct some historical researches into my family history. However, in the course of this little hobby of mine, I have inadvertently become a land-owner in your beautiful land.” He accompanied this last statement with a sweep of his be-gloved hand, as if to indicate that he had snapped up the whole of Dade County in a Five and Ten Cent Store.


Alafair Corbin

Club Singer, ex-Nurse
42
?Years Young
14 Posts

Listening to the Baron's lilting accent and his lyrical prose made Alafair smile. Impulsively, she hummed a few bars of a song to set the pitch and scale. The song was a somewhat melancholy ballad, one that she had heard Lucian MacLeod sing. It made her long for her family home on Tybee Island in Georgia. The way the man spoke of his past, his family, and his home made Allie wish she was in Savannah.

Alafair sang, her naturally perfect tone and pitch made accompaniment unnecessary. She did not bother to disguise her soft Southern drawl, which complimented her contralto voice perfectly.

Let go darlin' I can feel the night wind call.

I guess I'd better go

I like you more than half as much

As I love your Spanish moss

Spanish moss hangin' down

Sweeter than the southern love we've found

Spanish moss

Keeps on followin' my thoughts around

Georgia pine and Ripple wine

Memories of Savannah summertime

Spanish moss

I wish you knew what I was sayin'

So I'm rollin' north thinkin' of the way things might have been

If you and I could have changed it all somehow

Spanish moss hangin' down

Lofty as the sycamore you've found

Spanish moss

Keeps on followin' my thoughts around

Georgia pine and Ripple wine

Kisses mixed with moonshine and red clay

Spanish moss

Wish you knew what I was sayin'

So I'm rollin' north thinkin' of the way things might have been

If you and I could have changed it all somehow

Let go darlin' I can feel the night wind call

The devil take the cost

I like the way your kisses flow

And I love your Spanish moss

Allie's voice trailed off and the song ended on a soft sigh. She glanced over her shoulder quickly at the Baron and then over at Gracie, "I'm sorry," she said. "The Baron's words made me think of home."


Grace (Gracie) Stroud

Waitress
204
?Years Young
79 Posts

The song is done. The melody lingers on. You and the song are gone. But the melody lingers on.


The other two talked politics for a bit, Gracie just stared out the passenger window, that kind of stuff didn't interest her. It was plain too the man had little interest in anything she said. No matter. He was a bit....odd. Alafair was curious about the man too and asked a question. The Baron's answer was long and , well let's say it proved Gracie's assessment of the fellow to be a correct one. She had no clue what he was babbling about. He tried to excuse himself then, maybe suspecting (correctly in Gracie's case) he had lost his audience but the only part of that vague useful was he seemed to have bought some property in this country. Florida most likely. Goody for him...

Suddenly Alafair burst into song? Gracie turned to listen and watch as she performed this little number. Well, that was unexpected. Granted she was a professional singer. With a good voice too. And looks to match. She was certain the Baron would be enthralled. Once it was over, Gracie smiled and clapped.

"No, that was nice. See why you became a singer," she complimented.

"I sure hope you two don't expect a song out of me now? I can't sing, I don't even know the words to any song," she pointed out to the pair.


Alafair Corbin

Club Singer, ex-Nurse
42
?Years Young
14 Posts

"Thank you, Gracie," Alafair said with a soft laugh. "I don't usually spontaneous burst into song, but the Baron's poetic answer to my question brought it on. When Lucian sang that one for me, it really made me think of home - which was Tybee Island, Georgia. My parents owned a bakery and cafe in Savannah and a breakfast cafe on the island."

Alafair fell silent then. She had made a tidy sum on the sale of the business after her parents' death, but she still had their beachfront home on Tybee Island. Allie rented it out during the summers and went there when she had time off.

"I still have our cottage on Tybee. With some luck, I will retire there someday," Allie said, her voice becoming lighter in tone, "This has been quite the adventure!"


Calixto

Barón y Tarazona
82
?Years Young
17 Posts

"There are even rumors that we are descended from Hatuey, an early Taíno chief of Cuba, but that, my dear lady, is an entirely ridiculous hypothesis."


"Thank you, Gracie," Alafair said with a soft laugh. "I don't usually spontaneous burst into song, but the Baron's poetic answer to my question brought it on. When Lucian sang that one for me, it really made me think of home - which was Tybee Island, Georgia. My parents owned a bakery and cafe in Savannah and a breakfast cafe on the island."

The Baron had listened, both enraptured and intrigued; both at Alafair's singing and the song itself, both the melodic pattern and the lyrics and the meaning of the odd air.

"This ... Lucian ... he wrote this song?" he queried "It is a most intriguing melody, I think. Old fashioned like an old folk song, but somehow ahead of its time, what is the word these jazz musicians use - yes, it has a 'futuristic rhythm!' Either way, you sang it most wonderfully. No! That does not capture the essence your voice, I would rather say that you sang it unbearably beautifully, Miss Corbin, I hope I will be honored enough to hear you sing again very soon. Or are you set to return to this ... Tybee Island?"

"I still have our cottage on Tybee. With some luck, I will retire there someday," Allie said, her voice becoming lighter in tone, "This has been quite the adventure!"

The Baron shrugged "I would like to think, rather, that this an adventure that has only just begun, dear ladies. Tell me, do you believe in prescience, Miss Corbin?" It was clear from his tone that he did, and that something in the song she has so sweetly trilled had confirmed his belief.