Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Wake Of Jake

32 Dollar Friday
I woke up Friday morning with about 16 dollars in my pocket. It was what was left of the-jar-that-can-never-be-touched.
I spent it down to about 8 dollars with the usual purchases of cigarettes, a half pint of whiskey and a chaser for the whiskey.
I left the Royal Blend after yesterdays post at its closing time of 6 p.m.
I walked up Royal Street, to Rouses Market, where I exchanged a couple bucks off my food card for a 24 oz. can of Modelo Beer, then saw Mark* across the street playing blues on his Seagull acoustic guitar, with his girlfriend (who looks like a blend of Japanese and ?) by his side.
He motioned me over and, holding his pint of whiskey out to me, asked for a cigarette.
I took a swig, gave them a cigarette, then decided to smoke he and his girlfriend "up" with the remainder of my weed.
The "Jake" spot by day, before it was a gallery
This soon put me in the mood to walk one more block to the Jake spot and play, especially after Mark hinted that he needed to make some money.
That is a tough spot to make money at, as people are accustomed to seeing a much bigger "production" there than Mark and his girlfriend who looks like a blend of Japanese and ?, such as Doreens Jazz Band.
But, Mark is a trooper and puts in several hours a night there, after the heavyweights (excuse the pun) leave.
I remember him counting out what looked like 12 single bills one time and saying "Not bad for a Wednesday." I had to bite my tongue, because that was shortly after I had gotten the $170 tip at the Lilly spot from the guy who played my guitar and broke a string in the process.."Oh, my...I've put you out of business; I'm so!"
I have decided that, since the Lilly spot doesn't start hopping until almost midnight, that the Jake spot might be the answer to the "where to play from 7 p.m. until after the horse cops ride by Lillys at 10 p.m." problem.
This time, it looked like he was pretty much broke, but had the pint bottle to trade sips off of for cigarettes.
I feel sorry for him, because he knows some cool blues songs and sings them well, but he is like a white elephant, or maybe a pink elephant or whatever the expression is; on that corner there.
I always downplay the amount of money that I make, and never flash any in front of them; but I always catch his girlfriend eying me when I emerge from Rouses Market holding a 3 dollar can of Modelo beer.
The gallery was still open at the Jake spot.
Inside was the guy who had told me about Jake passing away the same night that I had gotten the impulse to play on his spot.
He said that something was going to be done to memorialize Jake, and that he would notify me about it -a "second line" parade, he said.
I don't really know what a second line parade is; maybe I could die and find out....
I sat by the red door and wailed away and had about 8 singles thrown between my two circling plastic sharks (which have, for now, replaced the tiposaurus) and then, finally, after a harmonica/guitar solo on Shakedown Street, by The Grateful Dead, which pushed me to my limit (not much of a shove) I looked down to see that a 20 dollar bill had magically appeared amongst them.
I had played for about an hour and made 30 bucks.
It had crossed my mind, while I was playing that the curator may have thought it callous of me to have usurped Jakes spot before it had even cooled off from his body heat.
Then I would think that I was playing my heart out in Jakes memory.
Then, I would remember that Jake used to wait until the place closed before he started to play (after 7:30 p.m.) and think that I might be bothering the guy; and so went my imaginings as I wailed away...but I made 30 bucks...
Then, it was back to Rouses Market and past Mark and his girlfriend, who appeared to have about 3 or 4 dollars in their case.
I hid the Modelo in my pack before I came out of the store, ashamed of my opulence.
*Brian Hudson told me once that Dorise (of Tanya and Dorise) owns properties and rents rooms to people "by the day," and that Mark is one of those people.


alex carter said...

Aha - if I visit, I could rent a room from Dorise! Thanks for the tip.

I guess this means I'll have to tell you what a second line is.... it's when they hold a funeral with music or "Jazz Funeral" as the tourists call it, and people who are friends, relatives, etc of the deceased follow the parade.

Daniel McKenna said...

and they dance, I found out

alex carter said...

Yes, and they dance. Apparently (like back in Hawaii) there's this big culture among locals of one-upping each other as to who's more "local" Meanwhile, ever skeezy train riding kid in the country plus guys like you are there boldly innocent of what a second line is .... laugh's on the snooty locals I guess. I was pretty amazed to learn that Tanya's from Taiwan and Dorise is from NYC (strangled cry rings out: New York City!?!?!) and I think it's generally agreed that it's a good thing that they're there.