Author’s note

I’m serializing the first 10% of Smokin’ & Cryin’ here on my blog. It’s the story of a young American rock band set in the early 1970s. Please feel free to share this with your friends.

Overture is the first installment. This post is #11 in the series.


Chapter 4 – Econoline continued (part 4)

We were playing a two-nighter at this dive bar in the middle of a cornfield. Outdoor platform, concrete dance floor, cyclone fence to keep the riff-raff corralled, and beer served in half-gallon cartons. Those animals boogied down on top of the picnic tables. We showed them a good time, and because the mood felt right, slipped a few of our originals into each set. We did Purple Love Grass, a favorite of mine, along with Arthur’s bluesy reworking of Little Stranger. Those midwestern barflies danced their butts off no matter what we played.

After our final set, I was sweat soaked and too exhausted to stand. A waitress sashayed over to my picnic table with a basket of French fries and a bottle of Sprite. “You look hungry. Don’t worry hon, it’s on me.” Hot pants, flimsy T-shirt, platform sandals laced up to her knees. A real southern Ohio sweetheart. “You sure can dance. Sing, too. I can tell you’ve got that star quality.”

“Think so, huh?” I ate some fries. “Hey, thanks. They’re good.”

“I’m proud that someday I’ll be able to say I met Robert from Smoking Topaz way back when…”

“Robin.” I smiled. “Smoky Topaz.”

“Smoking, smoky, same difference.” She touched her face in the same spot as my injury. “Poor baby. Were you in a car wreck or did you cut yourself diving off an amp?”

The bench seat on my side of the table bounced as Waverly strad­dled it. “Neither. It was a fight. This fearsome beast saved my neck.” He swiped one of my fries and held it like a cigarette, took a bite and offered her the other end. “Hi. I’m Waverly. And you’re spectacular.”

That was it. He’d poached her off me like I didn’t exist. To tell the truth, I was relieved. I had no idea where to start with girls.

When we pulled out of the parking lot, Waverly was kicking back in her Camaro, tuning down to Wind Cries Mary, waiting for her to get off her shift. Once again, he got a bed and a babe, and we got a rest area.

Waverly, man. I was taking notes.

Read the twelfth installment of Smokin’ & Cryin’!

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Spotify playlist for Smokin’ & Cryin’


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