Wednesday, October 10, 2012

And It Feels like Rain

Ralph Carter, the Saxophonist walked into Mabel Jenkins's Soul Food joint and looked around...He hadn't been in Philly for close to twenty years and this spot hadn't been here the last time he was living here...He looked around arrogantly, checking out Baby Phatt and Anita Jenkins...

He then walked over to our table..

"What's goin on Meek?...You weren't at my show last night."  he said.

"Mannn, I was supposed to be there..I got held up, you know how it is?" said Meek Rollins...

Ralph said nothing to me...Didn't even look my way.

''Who was she Meek?" he joked...So he did have a sense of humor.

''Awww man, why it have to be a woman?" he asked pretending to be deeply hurt.

"I know you Meek....Music, Cards and Women rule your life and not in that order." he said.

Meek Laughed !

"So tell me Meek, who are the babes?" he asked.

"Man, get some food....The food and the coffee here is off the chain." said Meek.

"That aint what I asked you, besides...I've had a platter from here...I sent a couple of guys out to get me food the other night and they got platters from here...The food is good..but I want to know about the babes." he said.

"Welll..that one right there....Anita is the owners sister , she's an Assistant Manager. The other one is Baby Phat, she's a waitress." he said.

Mabel Jenkins and her other sisters, Victoria and Corrie walked in, Talked to Anita a bit and walked into the back...

"Lawd Jesus, this place is crawling with women...what's up Meek?" he asked.

"Ralph,Ralph, forget it...Those three are taken...That's Mabel Jenkins, the owner, she's married to "88"..In fact they just got married." he said.

"88?" The Keyboard player in Reed Nelson's band?" he asked.

"Yeah...and her sister, Corabeth is married to a friend of mine, Clerow." Meek added.

Ralph laughed.."Clerow?? What kind of name is that?"

"He's a friend...knock it off and the other one, Victoria is the oldest...She's married to the Deacon at the church.

Ralph looked at all three of them.....

"Wow, guys took them off the market quick....I don't blame em...How that youngest one?" he asked.

''Anita?? She's engaged...To a lawyer." he said.

"Wowwwwww..So the other one...The one named "Baby somethin or other?" he asked..

"Baby Phat" ,She's single as far as I know." said Meek...

"That's the one I'll have tonight." he said.

"Pretty sure of yourself ?" I said, speaking for the first time... Ralph looked at me and said dryly....

"Yeah I am...I didn't come here to talk about babes...I actually came here to talk some sense to you...I was told that you were in here eating." he said.

"Yeah? Talk some sense to me?  Well first you gotta give up some cents...Ya dig me man...Somethin like two hunnard dollars that I'm owed." I said.

"You were late, so I docked you...The contract, which you signed says I can do that."he replied dryly...

"Screw you and your contract!'' I said.

"Meek talk some sense into him....I don't want to have to bring him up on charges." he said.

"Charges? For two hundred dollars..Man you crazy!" I sneered....

"Now Rob...Rob...Listen to me...It's not worth being sued for....Stick with me...I'll make sure you're on time okay....You just got the one more gig....right?" Meek said diplomatically...

"Uh actually it's two more...Tonight and my last show tomorrow." said Ralph...

"And when are you going back to where you came from?" I asked, not joking at all...I was developing a seasoned dislike for this guy.

Ralph Laughed.....

"I live in the Village, up in New York...but I'm considering coming back here to live..It's much cheaper here in Philly."he laughed.

"Ralph...look..I guaruntee I'll have him at the gig on time." said Meek...

"Okay..Your word is good with me Meek." said Ralph......

"Cool." said Meek- "Let's get some food baby" he said.

"So....With that unpleasentness out of the way..." said Ralph.

Baby Phat walked over to our table...

"Can I take your orders guys." she said.

"I'd like an order of you!" said Ralph...

Baby Phat who'd been hit on by smoother cats than this guy ignored him...

"Sausage and Grits and another tumbler of coffee, cream and extra sugar." I said.

"Shrimp and Grits and know how I like it." said Meek.

"Uh..I'd just like some coffee and your phone number." said Ralph with a devilish grin..

"My number isn't on the menu." she said -"I'll bring you some coffee." she said and walked away...I laughed...My girl Baby Phat...I was going to give her a big tip for that!

I couldn't help but get one last dig in....

"Damn, I'd order more for breakfast if I had gotten paid all of my money last night." I said.

Meek held his head down..Ralph was visibly annoyed by the dig!


Meek Rollins was as good as his word...He got me to Josie's thirty minutes before I was supposed to be there....A new Bass player, A New Guitarist and a new Keyboardist were already there...Only the drummer was present from the night before... Ralph Carter came in with Baby Phat...They were laughing and talking and he bought her a drink !

"You're late " I said , looking at my watch...I could tell he was visibly annoyed by my saying that in front of the band...but he said nothing...

We gave a good show... The new guys only had a half hour to rehearse the numbers, but they were really professionals and knew their craft...

One song we played was one that I often did myself with my band.....When we got to the break...I did a nice innovative solo on my trumpet....Gus and the entire crowd erupted in applause....Baby Phat smiled at me..I smiled back..I noticed she was sitting with a couple of her girlfriends by now...

When we finished our set, we got a standing ovation...Symphony Sam got on the Mike..

"Mr. Ralph Carter yall....and our own Downtown Rob Brown...." he said...Big Mistake!

''Hey Negro...I'm on the marquee..this aint no double bill." spat Ralph.

Symphony Sam looked at him like he was crazy, then he looked at me..I shrugged my shoulders.

Once again...Ralph paid the band members...When I got my pay...I was short one hundred and fifty dollars?

"Hey man....I was on time tonight...In fact I was here before you." I said.

"Yeah, and you show boated..You got cute with that little solo of yours...It wasn't part of the program...So Showboats get docked." he said.

"And chislers get clocked." I said.

Meek and Symphony Sam grabbed my arm before I could crack him.

''Rob, it aint worth it man."said Meek Rollins.

"Be on time tomorrow and no showboatin or smart alec remarks." he said.

''Screw you...I aint comin tomorrow and you can sue if you wanna..And if you do sue me, I'll kick your ass all the way back to New York....Take that to the bank." I said.

''Rob..Rob ." said Meek...

"I'm done Meek..End of conversation." I said.


Ralph looked over at the bar...Baby Phat was gone....So were her girlfriends...There was two other girls sitting there that looked over at Ralph and smiled... He ignored them and ran out the bar....There was no sign of Baby Phat..

''Hey did anybody see that girl?" he yelled...

"You mean Baby Phat?" asked Gus.

"Yeah!" he yelled.

''She's gone." said Gus.

"I can see that...Where did she go? When did she leave?" he asked.

Gus was the wrong person to get sarcastic with...He turned to Ralph and said-

"Sorry Chief...Not my turn to watch her....Looks like it wasn't your turn either!"he said.

Meek, Symphony Sam and I laughed....So did the other musicians...

Ralph stomped his foot and stormed out....

Just then, it seemed like the sky opened up......rain came pouring out of the sky...He was drenched and too embarrassed tocome back in Josies...He walked to his car, soaking wet and got in, pulling off in a heap...

Symphony Sam and Gus howled with laughter...

Meek Rollins turned to me-

"You serious about not playing the last gig tomorrow night?" he asked.

"As serious as Cancer...besides...Delores comes home tomorrow...I'm backed up anyway...I need some sex in the worst way." I said.

"Man...He's a petty mofo...You see that..and now he's mad because his woman for the night done walked away...He'll sue you man...and over two hundred dollars?" said Meek.

"I believe it's three fiddy now." I replied...

Meek shrugged his shoulders.

(To Be Continued...)


Grover Tha Playboy said...

These two are really having a gigantic pissing contest!

Toni said...

He docked him again! I wouldn't work for him either!

Sunflower said...

Am liking this story! It's funny!