Otto and Grace – a Novelita

Otto rode filthy down the slumpline onto Cowpers – past Bleaker’s Brick, Mole Rat Slim’s and Dave’s Sour Onion, on down to quayside all hooked and hungry. Flyer said Gracey Mae Beam was hoarding the stage at eleven, hitting the planks of Varlot’s Velvet Rope with no back-up – no thunder drum brass or strung out string section to stifle the hoots and howls of them mongrel boys scrapping over leavin’s. He knew the drill. Gracey would lead with “Heaven” then lilt dissonant into “Hell and Lula”, spin down into “Luna”, swing out riffs of “Hypnosis” and barrel into “Gun Metal Blue” and run “A Lass To Mara.” Yes, he knew the drill cuz the set was theirs, arranged in a one bedroom walk-up shotgun with a Wurlitzer and bad plumbing. Damn, has it been that long? But Otto knew, felt it in a rib, it was coded on the leaflet – Gracey was playing Varlot’s – the first haunt – going it alone this time, no Wurlitzer, no Otto, just a dim lit backdoor black-smudged around the knob. He’d wait for her there, three smokes left and rationing. Three smokes left and hoping for a glint-eye nod.

Image: VanveenJF on Unsplash

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