Back on the tracks…

So, after a morning spent with migraine, work, migraine, and not very much writing, I chugged 1600 mgs of Motrin and a couple of bottles of water, went for a walk outside, ate lunch, surfed the web, and finally sat down to work on Steel-Toed Blues. I coughed out a couple hundred words. Then I surfed iTunes and bought some music. Then I coughed out a hundred more words. Then I re-wrote edited my husband’s letter of introduction and started editing my sister’s short story.

Finally that thing in my brain that puts words on paper (or computer screen) finally clicked and I found myself not only reaching, but then exceeding my word count goal for the day. Not only that, I came up with a few notes for this scene, a few notes for the next, and just now, a few notes for the next chunk of the novel. Tomorrow I will be back to the usual “no social media or movies before you hit 2K” routine, but I’m glad I pushed through today. Onward!

And, in the meantime, a snippet from today’s work…

~ ~ ~

The next set started with a few false notes, and it took a moment before the band settled back into its groove. Tamekia slid her gaze sideways more than once, and even the normally unflappable Clay noticed the unspoken tension between the two guitarists. Rose forced herself to relax, dropping her shoulders back and letting John take a few leads even when she had a promising riff rolling under her fingers. Luckily the first couple of songs were minor key grooves that lamented, in order, unfaithful men, unfaithful women, and ungrateful friends, and so the sour notes didn’t stand out too much against that backdrop.

It was during the fourth song of the set, a slow, bluesy rendition of B.B. King’s Rock Me, Baby, that Rose Allen looked out over the audience and almost snapped a string over one of the easiest riffs that beginning guitarists learned to play.

There, in one of the front row tables, sat Electric Sally. The strange woman grinned at Rose Allen, waved her copper-gnarled hand and smiled. The stage lights seemed to wink off something in her mouth, almost like she had some sort of dental work that managed to catch the light and refract it back in a thousand directions. Rose blinked hard until her vision cleared.

A crashing sound, barely heard above the electric groove, came from the back of the bar. Tamekia didn’t pause in belting out the tune, but Rose had to force her fingers to keep moving. Two men had apparently had words, and then exchanged insults, and then exchanged fists. They had moved on to the clinch part of the fight and were tugging each other back and forth in the small open space in the back.

Electric Sally pulled out on honest-to-goodness pipe and as she lit it, the smoke encircled the fighters, framing them against the dimly-seen bar audience. Unfazed—or unseeing—the band segued into Crossroads Callin’ Me, the final track from the album and Rose found herself in a tug-of-war with Studio John.

She frowned, concentrating on the music. The beat was faster than the previous song, a lick with energy that grew manic under Studio John’s strings. Ignoring his fellow bandmates’ attempts to keep the rhythm slower but still energetic, he embarked on a technically difficult riff, almost to the extent that he froze out Tamekia from her own hit, unaware that he was doing so.

Rose Allen looked back up to the fight progressing in the back of the bar. That’s when she saw them.

The small, warped-penny creature had brought a half dozen of his friends. One, sporting a long handlebar mustache in which was knotted several beads of plastic and glass, perched above Studio John’s amp. He appeared to be contemplating a repeat performance as John played with less and less concern for the other musicians. Three more creatures crouched in the ceiling beams over the barroom brawlers. One of them was wearing a green eyeshade and Rose would cross her heart that he was taking bets. A fifth was occupied with sticking his long, metal fingernails into an open socket. As Rose watched, he would receive a sparking arc of a shock that puffed smoke out of his ears and cause him to chortle his little pot belly off and the repeat the cycle.

The final creature sat on Electric Sally’s shoulders, a prehensile tail wrapped around her throat for balance as it leaned way over to hawk loogies into the drinks of the other guests who, incredibly, remained completely unaware of its presence.

Shaking her head—and inwardly vowing never to drink from a wide-mouth glass ever again—Rose picked back up, and this time, as John wrapped up his frenetic riff with an ever more intricate pattern, she pressed the distortion pedal on her amp and took the solo away from him.

To be continued…

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