Dear Reader: I wrote this around 1992.
Darryl sees the table that his leg is about to bump into but his leg bumps into the table anyway. Crash. Woops. Sorry. He’s thinking damn, what are they doing with those stupid skinny wine glasses in here in the first place? Used to be real country people in this bar. The music that was so country, you could track it in the house. Not this teeniebop crap they make in Nashville now. And as if that wasn’t enough, now they’re drinking out of goddamn wine glasses. It deserved to break. Has no business in here.
He maneuvers onto a barstool. All it takes is a glance and a nod to order a shot of house scotch. “Here ya go, Darryl,” says the bartender. “How goes it?”
Robbie the singer ends the set on a crowd-pleaser. He bounces down from the stage with the pride of a smoothly dismounted gymnast. Straight to the bar, he stands behind Darryl. A glance, a nod, and a beer is on the way. “Here ya go, Robbie. Great set guy!”
“Thanks man! Feel good look good play good!”
Darryl turns his head just far enough to leer back at Robbie. Robbie gives Darryl his best smile as usual. This time, Darryl accepts the invite.
“My brother and me had a band,” says Darryl.
“Yes really. Damn tight band too. We were supposed to open up for George Jones this one time, except George didn’t show up. My brother wrote a song about the whole mess. The crowd was going damn near riot crazy. The song is called, ‘George You Done Us Wrong.’ Kickass little number. You’d probably like it. Then my brother all a sudden up and leaves the band. Moved to Nashville he did, figuring on maybe getting rich writing songs, so he said. Ha! A year later he kills himself. Too bad he couldn’t write a song about that. Might have been a hit. Dumbass. His timing never was for shit.”
“Don’t know why I’m telling you all this. I see some of him in you I guess. But it wasn’t all that bad for my little brother. Lotta laughs, like this one time, you wouldn’t believe it, we’re all partying hard with one of Willie Nelson’s roadies, and they start betting on darts, and …”
Robbie’s senses inadvertently drift away. He’s looking at Darryl, but he sees the people just beyond. He hears Darryl, but he’s listening to the jukebox.
“… and next thing you know, Willie Nelson’s roadie is using that very same dart to clean coffee grounds out of his teeth. Never seen nothing like it in all my days.”
“You don’t say,” says Robbie.
Robbie sees Marty the bass player approaching. Their eyes meet. Robbie’s eyes roll toward Darryl, then back to Marty, then at the ceiling. Marty gets the message. He walks up to Robbie and says, “Hey Robbie, sorry to butt in, but we need to check the ohmage on the new monitor amp before the next set.”
Darryl knows what’s on a stage. He knows about amps and ohms and he knows that Marty is full of shit. Darryl also knows about rescuing fellow bandmates from babbling drunks. He remembers, and he grins, and his voice drops a few pitches when he says, “Just one second, boys.”
Robbie and Marty stop.
“I’ve heard you play before and I just want to say that ya’ll play pretty good.” He looks at Robbie. “And your singing’s okay too, I mean, for a kid.” Darryl smiles so the other two do too.
“Thanks, old man!”
“Now go on, git. Make some noise.”
The boys gesture a hasty goodbye and walk away while Darryl finishes, “Just remember that the music is always way bigger than you are. You’ll be alright.”