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    Greenwich Village - Jan 1, 2022; 6pm

    Fat Cat Club:

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    A hole in the wall bar before the end of the world, the Fat Cat hadn't exactly come "up" in the world after either. Once a hot spot of exploration where kids from Julliard came to practice their chops at 2am jams, the Fat Cat was still a hole in the wall bar but live music was more elusive these days. People came for the liquor, the jazzy jukebox and the tables. Pool, pong and shuffleboard still lived in the dark place on 7th street. Along the walls one could catch the roll of dice as backgammon and scrabble were still pastimes people found time to indulge in, and in the back left corner near the old stage was a chess game that had been going on for nearly a year now.

     

    She had no desire to be at the "extravaganza" at Satyr tonight. It was bad enough she would have to be there the fourth night to play for the big match so she chose to excuse herself from the other three nights. Instead she was here, perched on a rickety stool with a motley crew of musicians that happened to be in the club tonight, accompanying her on some articulate Wes Montgomery. They were decent enough to keep up and knew how to let jazz melt together. Electric chords beneath her calloused fingertips sang as thumb plucked from the side of the strings making the same distinctive soulful sound he was known for. Left long leg was hitched up on the rod across the front of her stool, the sleek instrument nestled on her thigh as she languished in the notes. Jeans were well worn, the dark brown leather jacket showing signs of having lived a long and healthy life as the dim moody spots highlighted in pockmarks across the old stage and its players. Behind her neck a hair tie had been used to sweep back the long mahogany into a tail that was then half pulled through a second time to leave a mussed halo behind her shoulders. Stool to her left had an untouched glass of water on it and a nearly empty glass of Absolut Black Russian.

     

    She had been a recluse the last few months. After the absolutely atomic show she had put on for opening night at Satyr, it seemed her former identity was not as dead and buried as she might have liked. "Fans" suddenly realized who she was and had come out of the woodwork to try and get into Bakkhos on the nights she played. Eager clawing hands always on her shoulder and elbow, flinching her very flesh over her bones. Gaspari seemed to sense his guard dog was about to go rabid and she had been released from her Bakkhos gigs for the time being.

     

    Here they seemed oblivious or else respected her privacy.  Lawrence, the old jazz aficionado that had taken over Fat Cat, knew. But he had no intention of exposing her or trying to profit off the information. She often came in and didn’t play, just sat at the bar and shot the shit with him. Discussing and often arguing over the old greats. This was her place to just…. be.

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