Here is my latest release. My twins Ryland and Ryder have a new set of challenges in this one and while writing the third story, two more came about! *blinks* Such is the life of an author.
“I’m wavering. I’m sinkin’ into the abyss with you,” Dale Mooney strummed his acoustic guitar on the steps of the Down Home lounge. Because he was good friends with the owner, he was allowed to use it as his stage while the place was closed. Dale wished he could get some kind of big time deal to support himself and his mother in her time of need. The money from his brother, Waylon, only went so far.
As he continued to wail, a small crowd gathered around him, clapping to his melodies and moving to the beat with him and his background band. They did pretty well with the change, bus cards, and food from onlookers, but it was never enough. Dale really hated taking money from his more successful brother all the time. He paid his rent, gave him cash anytime he asked for it, and Dale was starting to feel like a burden. Still, Dale knew his sibling didn’t mind. The kind-hearted Waylon Mooney would never say no.
Besides that, much of Waylon’s money went to taking care of their sick mother. The insurance she had only went so far, and the bills had gotten out of control. Dale knew he had to do something, so robbing the old lady he’d been helping over the last couple of months was necessary. Sure, he felt guilty, but she was too rich to even notice the three thousand he’d taken.
“My, my, my…little sister…can’t stop thinkin’ about your love.” Dale rolled his eyes at the lyrics his bandmate had written. Dale could care less about a woman, but his drummer, Dave, didn’t think any tunes about man love would go over well with the masses. Dale mentioned artists like Adam Lambert, but David balked, saying he wouldn’t be singing any “faggot” songs. At times, Dale wished he could ask David to leave the band, but he was by far the best drummer they’d played with.
“Sing it, babe.” Interrupting him, a pretty young woman yelled out to Dale, dancing to the beat and snapping her fingers in front of the small crowd. As if on stage, she twirled around and maneuvered her body, much to everyone’s enjoyment.
Despite not being attracted to the ladies, he took pleasure in seeing someone dance to one of their tunes. “Go on, baby… go for it now.” Dale continued to strum, looking away from the woman to concentrate on his notes. He loved the interaction of the crowds and wished his band could land regular gigs to make extra money. Of course, if that happened, there would have to be changes in order to be successful. The question was how far Dale was willing to go to get to the top. This was the reason Dale’s Nola Connection Band stayed in the shadows even here in their own state. Dale was too headstrong to change and too lazy to do more than what he had to. If only he had the same drive as his brother, Waylon, then he might not be in this situation.
One more lyric, a few picks of the strings, and Nola Connection was done with this set. At the close of the song, people cheered and applauded, leaving change and dollar bills in the small case before them. Much to Dale’s chagrin the song his drummer wrote seemed to be a hit every time they sung it. Too bad he couldn’t change the words around to fit his sexual preference.
“Hey, see there, man… see…” David ran up behind him, clapping him on the back. “Told ya that song would be a crowd pleaser.” Smiling wide, he crouched down, picking up the wads of money in the guitar case.
“Yeah, yeah, all right, you told me… still, it don’t mean nothin’, dude. When we get some kind of regular gig or a deal then come talk to me.” Dale glared at David and the other guitarist, Sid, who were grabbing handfuls of the cash. Yeah, he liked the money a whole lot but could care less about this chump change. The fact remained, he was still broke and living off of his brother when as the older of the two, he shouldn’t be a moocher. Dale knew he should be setting the example, not following it.
David looked up from his kneeling position with discerning eyes. “Well, when you gonna get that for us, Dale? I mean, we been waiting for your lazy ass to come through with something. Unlike you, me and Sid got day jobs and families to feed. We don’t need this as much as you do, yet you ain’t done a whole lot to make things happen.”
Dale’s brows furrowed, and he tossed his guitar pick away. “Fuck you, man! I’ve been making calls to get things going, right? I talked with a couple of bars in Metairie about playing there and in Mississippi.”
“Yeah, at the same tired places we’d been to, man. What about deals, what about sending our shit to some companies or having people come check us out here? I thought that was your main focus?”
Dale grimaced when David spewed the same idiotic nonsense he’d heard before. “Dude, people don’t do that shit anymore; they DIY every fucking thing. You put your shit on Facebook, upload on YouTube, which I’ve done. We got over six hundred thousand hits on some of our street performances, man. Just hoping to get noticed by someone, that’s all. It will happen too…mark my words.”
David held his hands up. “All right. Don’t forget, this is mostly your dream. And again, you won’t get very far singin’ songs about boys when you are one. That guy Lambert got lucky…” He stuffed a few bills in his pockets, as did Sid. “Left most for you, dude. Why dontcha buy some new duds with it or something?” I gotta get to work.”
“Yeah, me too. See ya tomorrow night, then?” Sid snapped his case closed and slung it over his back.
“Yeah, later, dudes.” Dale waved them away and dropped to his knees, taking the rest of the money for himself. As much as he wanted to buy some clothes, he couldn’t, knowing tonight’s money would be for groceries for the next three days. Too bad because many of the pairs of jeans he owned were starting to show wear and tear. Perhaps Waylon would take pity on him and take Dale shopping when he arrived back in town in the next few weeks. Waylon hardly ever said no to his brother, and Dale was mighty grateful.
Sighing, he loaded his own jean pockets with the last of the money and placed his guitar in the case. The Down Home was due to open any minute, and he needed to move before the masses made their way inside. Perhaps he’d stick around a moment, especially to meet the hot man he ogled a few days ago.
That creature, that man, was strikingly beautiful. He was so damn shy he refused to come out of the shadows. The poor man must’ve been so afraid; he hid behind a car, trying to stay away. Dale wished he hadn’t. Someone so beautiful shouldn’t be hiding themselves. But before he could react or introduce himself, he was gone and hadn’t come back to this spot since.
“Where are you, sexy man?” Dale tilted his head to the side, peering at the people gathering at the entrance to get into the club. This was one of the best places in the Quarter for people to enjoy cheap drinks and great music. Tourists flocked to the Down Home because of its favorable reputation. Dale lifted his case and nodded at the onlookers. “Have fun, ladies and gents, and when you come out don’t forget to tip your friendly street performer.” Dale yanked his pack of cigs out of his pocket and headed to the corner.
Dale’s daily routine was to play on the steps with the band then on the sidewalk alone. Here, he’d be able to do his own songs without worrying about David or Sid.
With a Marlboro hanging from his mouth, he pulled out his guitar and popped a squat on the blanket he used as a seat. Softly, he stroked the strings, thinking about the gorgeous stranger who ran away
Hey, good looking man, why dontcha come back and see me play.