Friday, July 29, 2011

The Jazz in her Soul by Darlene Cah

Howdy folks:

A wonderful piece of flash fiction by Darlene Cah for your reading enjoyment.
This piece originally appeared on Staccato Fiction.


The Jazz in her Soul by Darlene Cah

Little Man, he was on that night, pounding those keys like they was congas. JoJo blew notes made your teeth hurt. And me, I slapped a bass line made the scratched-up old bass dance, just like my granddaddy used to do.

I couldn’t see real good with all the smoke, but I could tell them folks in the front row with their pinched faces and tree trunk backs, looked like that picture of the farmer with the pitchfork. Stuffed. Stuffed Man and Skinny Girl. I seen them over to that Rocco’s mission on Mermaid, serving chicken soup and rolls and handing out beads to pray on.

I spun that bass around and ashes from my Marlboro flew in the air. Some must have set on the table up front ‘cause the man flinched. Maybe they come to expand their horizons, or maybe they thought they come to hear some folk music, but they ain’t never heard no fiddle played like Sam and Shoot played that night. Those strings screamed.

I laughed a big laugh and I know my gold front tooth scared Stuffed Man ‘cause he looked away real quick, but I saw Skinny Girl smile and start tapping her hand on the table. Everybody around them swaying and nodding, stomping their feet. JoJo hit a high note and a voice from way in the back, out of the dark yelled, “Yeah!” Skinny Girl getting in the groove now and Stuffed Man give her a hard look. Diminished chords. Sharps and flats. Devil’s music. Heaven’s gift.

We finished our set and he grabbed her by the arm, and even over the applause, I heard him growl, “How you gonna save souls, you can’t save yourself.”

I went out back to smoke a joint before the next set, and there go Stuffed Man pulling Skinny Girl across the parking lot to their van. Her voice filled the air with “Amazing Grace.”

Sweet notes. Soulful notes. Jazz notes.

Darlene Cah was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY. She now lives in a place where there are more cows than cars. Her flash stories have appeared in Smokelong Quarterly and Mindprints, among other journals. She has an MFA from Queens University of Charlotte.

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