Singing about your sadness unburdens your soul. But the blues hollers shouted about more than being sad. They were also delivering messages in musical code. If the master was coming, you might sing a hidden warning to the other field hands . . . The blues could warn you what was coming. I could see the blues was about survival.
B. B. King
Believe me, I know all about bottle acoustics. I spent much of the sixth century in an old sesame oil jar, corked with wax, bobbing about in the Red Sea. No one heard my hollers. In the end an old fisherman set me free, by which time I was desperate enough to grant him several wishes. I erupted in the form of a smoking giant, did a few lightning bolts, and bent to ask him his desire. Poor old boy had dropped dead of a heart attack. There should be a moral there, but for the life of me I can't see one.
Your mother hollers that you're going to miss the bus. She can see it coming down the street. You don't stop and hug her and tell her you love her. You don't thank her for being a good, kind, patient mother. Of course not - you vault down down the stairs and make a run for the corner. Only if it's the last time you'll ever see your mother, you sort of start to wish you'd stopped and did those things. Maybe even missed the bus. But the bus was barreling down our street so I ran.
ONE OF A KIND BABY GIRL SO FINE SHE'S MY JOY YOU AIN'T GOTTA GUESS THE COIN SHE A DIME SHE AIN'T LIKE THEM OTHER WOMEN SHE'S THE LEMON TO MY LIME SO I RONNIE ROMANCE HER LITTLE DINNER LITTLE WINE I'M ALL OVER HER AS SOON AS SHE THROWS A SIGN MAKE HER FEEL IT IN HER SPINE TILL SHE HOLLERS IT'S MINE AND I KNOW THAT THAT'S A LINE, GIRLS USE ALL THE TIME BUT I DON'T THINK SHE LYIN IF I'M IN DENIAL SO BE IT SHE SHOWS ME VICKI'S SECRET, AND YA'LL DON'T GET TO SEE IT AND IT'S ALOTTA THINGS THAT SHE DOES THAT I DON'T AGREE WITH BUT SHE SAYS SHE LOVES ME, AND I KNOW SHE MEANS IT, PEEP IT YA'LL DON'T UNDERSTAND IT, I DON'T TAKE IT FOR GRANTED SHE MAKE A AVERAGE JOE FEEL LIKE THE MAN ON CAMPUS GOT ME THINKIN BOUT CAR SEATS AND PAMPERS IF YOU EVER WONDERED HERE'S YOUR ANSWER...
We have been waiting for an hour when we see a squad of German soldiers line up on the roadbed alongside the train. Next comes a column of people in civilian clothes. Surely they are Jews. All of them are rather well dressed, with suitcases in their hands as if departing peacefully on vacation. They climb aboard the train while a sergeant major keeps them moving along, 'Schnell, schnell.' There are men and women of all ages, even children. Among them I see one of my former students, Jeanine Cremieux. She got married in 1941 and had a baby last spring. She is holding the infant in her left arm and a suitcase in her right hand. The first step is very high above the rocky roadbed. She puts the suitcase on the step and holds on with one hand to the doorjamb, but she can't quite hoist herself up. The sergeant major comes running, hollers, and kicks her in the rear. Losing her balance, she screams as her baby falls to the ground, a pathetic little white wailing heap. I will never know if it was hurt, because my friends pulled me back and grabbed my hand just as I was about to shoot. Today I know what hate is, real hate, and I swear to myself that these acts will be paid for.
Life has always seemed to me like a restaurant, ' said Peter. 'When you're born, you come in and sit down... ' 'Oh, my God, ' said Brenda. '... and they show you the menu, ' went on Peter, frowning at Brenda. 'And it's a swell menu. It's got everything on it. And they tell you that you can have anything you want, the rarest and tastiest and most wonderful dishes imaginable.' 'Who's they?' asked Brenda. 'They is a sort of waiter-cum-proprietor, ' said Peter, 'and he represents organized society in the parable.' 'It's a parable, is it?' 'Yes. So you study the menu and you pick out the dishes that appeal to you most. Some people pick more exotic viands than others, but everybody picks out something he thinks is swell and the waiter-cum-proprietor pats him on the back and says it's an excellent choice. And you sit back and wait to be served. That represents the period of adolescence... Damn it, where was I?' 'You were adolescent.' 'So you sit and wait to be served your fondly chosen dish, ' resumed Peter, 'and pretty soon the waiter comes in and what does he bring you? He brings you hash! "Hey, " you say, "this isn't what I ordered." "Oh isn't it?" says the waiter who is no longer friendly. "Well, it's what you're gonna get." Now this is the important part. Some people meekly eat their hash. Some drown it with catsup and try to enjoy it.' 'I get it, ' said Brenda. 'Those are the drunks.' 'But there are a few who say, "Goddamn it, I didn't order hash and I don't want hash and I won't eat hash." They get out of their chairs and the waiter tries to push them back, but they say, "Get out of my way, who the hell are you?" And they fight their way into the kitchen while the waiter hollers and protests and there they find mountains and mountains of hash. But they keep looking around and pretty soon in odd corners of the kitchen they find the dishes they ordered, the rare and costly viands they had their hearts set on. And they eat 'em and they enjoy 'em and then they go out of the restaurant the same as the hash eaters do, but boy, they've dined!' He threw down his cigarette and stamped on it. 'That's all, ' he said. 'Thank you for your attention.' 'Who pays the bill?' asked George with interest. 'I don't know, ' said Peter irritably. 'That would complicate the parable to the point of chaos.' 'Who did you say the waiter was?' asked George. 'Organized society?' 'That's right. A pale flabby guy with a walrus mustache.' 'I don't quite see it, ' said George. 'I do, ' said Harriet, sitting up on the day bed. 'I see it. It's beautiful.' 'It isn't so bad at that, ' said Brenda. 'You're damn right it's not.
Seven years ago tonight, every dream I ever had came true. That's not something too many men get to claim. I'm very lucky, blessed, whichever you believe. Probably a lot of both. Tonight marks the anniversay of my debut performance at Caesars Palace." On his cue, the crowd whipped into congratulatory rapture. Blindsided by his recollection, Isabel was motionless. That's what he recalls happening on this date? "Indulgent, lazy, self-centered... jerk!" she said, grabbing her purse, thinking she'd climb over the seat. "I'm going home!" Before she could turn, hoisting herself over, a spotlight landed on her. In the darkened arena Aidan and Isabel were face-to-face. He stared. The same way he did years ago in his pickup truck, holding tight to her wrist, the same way he did on the dance floor at the gala. The same way he did the moment she left him. "If you can believe it, " he said, still staring, "something even more improtant happened that day. As dreams of fame and fortune go, this topped everything. I've always known that." Then, in a softer voice: "And I'm a fool because I should have never given up." Even from her vantage point, Isabel could see the gulp roll through his throat. "It's my great privilege this evening to introduce my wife, Isabel Royce." He gestured to the box. Isabel responded by sinking to her seat. "What's he talking about?" she hissed to Mary Louise. "We're divorced!" From her right, Tanya nudged her. It was like being on a palace balcony, Isabel offering a deer-in-the-headlights wave to the subjects, a thoroughly baffled look at Aidan. In return, he smiled at her clear confusion. "My wife... " "Why is he calling me that?" There was a mixed reaction, lots of gasps, some applause, and the disappointed groans of female fans. "She's done me the tremendous honor of making a rare appearance at one of my shows. Seven years ago, she agreed to marry me. At the time, my life was more trouble than promise. We were just two scared kids who had nothing but each other. Really, it was all I needed. We were married in true Vegas fashion." Hoots and hollers echoed, his glance dropping to the stage floor. Sharing this was making the performer uncomfortable. He pushed on. "While most women would have been satisfied with a ring... " His long fingers fluttered over the snake. "This was Isabel's idea of a permanent bond." It drew a wave of subtle laughter, Isabel included "Do you remember how the story went?" he said, speaking only to Isabel in a crow of thousands. "As long as I had it, I'd never be without you. Turns out, it wasn't a story, it was the absolute truth. Lately though, " he said, turning back to his public narrative, "circumstance, some serious, some calculated, has prevented me from getting my wife's attention. So tonight I resorted to an old performer's trick, a captive audience. I planned this moment, Isabel, knowing you'd be here. Regardless of anything you may believe, I meant what I said on our wedding night, in the moment I said it. I love you. I always have.