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Swing Night (standard:drama, 4262 words)
Author: Bobby ZamanAdded: Feb 05 2002Views/Reads: 1773/1115Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
On a harmless blind date Anil learns a devastating secret from Mona.
 



SWING NIGHT 

by 

Bobby Zaman 

"I really want to," she said. 

"I can't," I replied. 

Anything but that.  I just couldn't and refused to make a fool of
myself.  The last girl I dated did it to everything with everyone.  I 
tried, and did put in a valiant effort but my limbs always failed me.  
So, she had no choice but to sit and envy the other women, and watch 
their pliant bodies paraded around like happy, reveling puppets. 

After a half hour break the band started another medley of Gershwin
numbers.  This was the part of the evening I enjoyed most.  Mona looked 
at me again.  I shook my head and looked at my drink.  It was a date 
destined for disaster.  Jasper and Courtney were lost somewhere in the 
process of getting drinks at the bar.  Kimberly Gordon was at the mike 
and Alan Gresik, the bandleader, had just begun to lead his orchestra 
into the last hour of playing.  It was midnight on Thursday at the 
Green Mill Lounge. 

Bodies were everywhere, wall to wall, moving, talking, drinking, and any
new arrivals had to desert any hopes of finding an empty booth or 
barstool.  Here and there heads turned and sprang to attention any time 
someone stood up from a seat.  Finding a booth for four was rare and 
fortuitous.  Having learned from experience, we got there early, much 
before the time Jasper and Courtney ever thought of going out in the 
evening.  Everyone had to endure Courtney whining for the first twenty 
minutes as it was strictly against her "rules" to not leave the house 
before ten. 

Going there on Thursdays for Swing night was a sort of ritual I
followed, and on several occasions went solo.  I'd been doing it for 
nearly a year.  Sometimes I passed the word onto a co-worker and 
sometimes they took me up on it.  There were days when I went with a 
group of friends as large as eight.  Even though each time I was only a 
spectator, I was never bored.  Whatever the size of the entourage, by 
nine p.m. on Thursdays I could be seen tapping a foot to the sounds of 
the bygone days of George Gershwin, Benny Goodman, and Billie Holliday 
at Chicago's oldest operating bar. 

That particular Thursday would put a whole new "spin" on the memories
I'd recall of going to the Green Mill. 

Monday of that week Jasper and I got together at his apartment to watch
"The Godfather" and drink beers.  Courtney, his fiancé, was still in 
Columbus on a weekend-long trip for work.  She was expected back early 
the next day, so this was the last night Jasper could treat the place 
like a bachelor pad.  Jasper didn't quite share my affinity for cigars, 
fedoras, and big band music.  He frequented the more contemporary, 
pop-culture havens.  I'd been trying to talk him into going to the Mill 
on a Thursday but he would never agree. 

"I hate Swing," he'd say, "Can't stand it."  So I gave up. 

"So you hate Sinatra, Dean, Sammy, all the great ones.  Not that they're
Swing, but they're the masters," I'd argue. 

"So? My old man was into all that.  I had to listen to hours of Sinatra
every time there was a party at the house.  Drove me nuts." 

"Alright.  But just so you know, they never play Sinatra at the Mill,
not on Thursdays at least.  They stick more to the really old school 
guys.  Benny Goodman, Gershwin, those guys mostly." 

"Who?" 

And I took that to be the cue to prolong the conversation no further. 
It's not that Jasper was completely without knowledge of the more 
archaic glories of twentieth century music; he just liked to live more 
in his own times.  I always sought to dwell in times that had nothing 


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