This short fictional creation centers around a weekly event held in a local establishment... "The Yesler Street Grill"
It was a typical Thursday night, and the third long boring day of negotiations in a row for me. I was dead, dog tired.Part of me wanted to hang out and another part of me wanted to catch that new flick eye lids, showing in my bedroom.
I decided to relax and unwind in Pioneer Square; my favorite part of Sea- town.
Pioneer Square was a hub of pubs, cafés, and night clubs. It was an area formerly known as Skid Row.Although it was thought to be heavily haunted, it was surprisingly thriving as far as the live music scene was concerned! Music of all genres could be found in one of the many bars on every other corner.There was the Gothic Bands, the Soul Bands, Funk, and Jazz. Just name your poison and you could get it in “the Square”.
Late eighteen hundred buildings lined the streets of the infamous Pioneer Square, and some of the streets were still cobblestone.
There were crack-heads, pan handlers, and hot dog vendors on almost every other block.
There was one venue that was set aside from all the others.
In a quiet little nook of “the Square”, was the Yesler Street Grill.
The Yesler Street Grill was the oldest grill in the square.It was the original brick building from the eighteen hundreds.The original mahogany bar, the wood stove in the kitchen with brick walls, and restrooms equipped with the original basins and chains.The portraits of past owners were still adorning the walls on their original nails.There were even signed portraits of the infamous “Lou Graham” (former German born saloon and bordello owner in “the Square)”. The portraits had notes written on them like, “Come down and pay me a visit sometime”. There were constant ghost sightings at the grill; stories of the original cook’s ghost that threw kitchen utensils constantly”.
The rats in the alley behind the grill were like kittens.
Despite the goblins, the crack-heads outside, and the huge rats in the alley, I enjoyed the live entertainment at the grill on Thursday nights.
On Thursdays, Miz Floes would bring her open mic / stage show, Rhythmic Rhyme to the Yesler Street Grill.The Rhythmic Rhyme was a community event.The vision was to unify the community through the use of live art.There was live jazz, live poetic expression by way of Spoken Word, and the mic was also open to any aspiring or established artists. Yeah, definitely worth the forty minute drive.Even if you couldn’t feel the poetry of the open mic artists, you were sure to get a laugh or two from the aspiring vocalist.Miz Floes always gave courtesy claps, and hugs of encouragement.Her kind gestures often resulted in regular attendees.Many attendees were like me, just attending for the purpose of observing open mic participants and the band’s jazzy show.
It was a nice spring night.The wind was welcomed by the nape of my neck as I exited my vehicle.I always parked at the garage across from the grill, to avoid the hassle of looking for street parking.It was just about and I didn’t want to miss any parts of Miz Floes’ show.Sometimes she gave away door prizes to the first people present; she said it was just for caring enough to arrive on time and prevent her from performing for chairs. I walked into the grill and took a seat at the bar, near the front door. I yelled out to Tee Jay, (the barmaid), “Hey skinny chick, gimme a glass of Riesling and make it quick!Tee Jay smiled and replied, “Yessum, Right away Lil Miss Pee Jay”.
Tee Jay was a red haired, blue eyed, skinny woman from Idaho with a very pale complexion and humongous breasts . She was 23 years old and working her way through college.Tee Jay often sassed customers and was completely fearless.She always mocked security and told them she could do a better job bouncing.The majority of the customers liked Tee Jay. She was real and fair. She worked on Thursday nights because she really enjoyed the Rhythmic Rhyme show, and often times performed with Miz Floes and the band.
As per usual on a Thursday night, the house was packed!This event was a big “to do” in the city of Seattle.It was only five minutes into the set and there was hardly room left to stand in the place.Not even a seat available on the lower level, near the second bar and restrooms.
Tee Jay gave me a dirty look and a wink as she delivered my glass of Riesling.
Miz Floes had already taken the stage, and was performing a Spoken Word piece with the accompaniment of the Carmel Latté, (her jazz, fusion band).
Miz Floes had the sexiest voice one could ever imagine. She stood approximately 5’2, a thick build,with long, brown, wavy hair. her eyes were the softest brown, I’ve ever seen.Her smile could light up a room, and dimples deep enough to swim in.
Her spoken words were thought provoking, romantic, educational, and inspiring.
I enjoyed her grace and her warmth as well as her performances.
Occasionally she’d woo attendees with smooth and melodic song fused into her Spoken Word.The men would throw their phone number in the tip jar along with ten and twenty dollar bills, throughout the night.
As Miz Floes spoke her band played old-time jazz, smooth jazz, or they’d transform the night into an improvisation jam session and jam all night long!
The all female band wood the men and often took home what they called “one night onlys”.Sometimes this proved to be a little chaotic.Lovers quarrels would result in a Spoken Word thrashing by the hostess herself.Yeah, Rhythmic Rhyme, the new millennium, grown folks party!
This Thursday was a unique night, Miz Floes announced the launching of the Rhythmic Rhyme fashion line and a new CD project titled, The Rhythm of My Rhyme.
After a small speech, including the history of the project, Miz Floes reached into a box and began to toss CDs from the stage into the cheering crowd.When the box was emptied the house lights dimmed and the band began a bluesy jazz selection as Miz Floes performed her signature piece…DEVOTION.
She spoke, “Love is what a man feels for his woman. The soft gentle touch of her tiny fingertips, her style”....
The band was in rare form, there jazz was crisp and the fusion of blues was evident.
The band member’s facial expressions gave off responses to Miz Floes’ poetry.
The temperament of the audience was mellow and laid back.They were captivated by the melodic vocals Miz Floes fused into her poetic performance.
It took approximately 40 seconds into the performance before the tip jar was filled to the rim.Normally there were three sets performed during Rhythmic Rhyme; but tonight Miz Floes had a treat for the audience.Not only was the Rhythmic Rhyme fashion line being launched, it was being debuted on the same stage.Miz Floes was planning to describe the fashions models were wearing, in the form of Spoken Word.
As our hostess / commentator began her poetic spill, (introducing the fashion line and its origins), the models were coming up the stairs from the lower level of the grill. The models would first pass the bar and pause; then continue to the stage steps. Once the models were lined from the top step of the lower level up to the stage steps, the fashion extravaganza began.
“Stepping on the scene, in her free flowing tangerine”…
The attendees cheered and laughed as Miz Floes fused comedy into her poetry.The models both male and female were very obviously enjoying the evening as well.Their laughter rang through the isles as they sauntered the runway to the beat of the “African Drumming” performed by Miz Floes’ father Frenchmun Floes. There were for categories of fashion in all; there was cotton, silk, leather, and denim. These fashions were amazing. People were placing orders and requesting one of kind fashions.
At the conclusion of each category, Miz Floes and her team of open mic regulars would perform Spoken Word skits.The skits were also 4 categories in all; life, love, community and politics.The skits were depicting real life, everyday situations.Once again the audience was captivated.Was there anything this woman wasn’t good at?
Only smiles, fashions, poetry, and rhythm.I heard people saying thing like… “She’s on her way up out of here!” “Somebody’s gone sign that girl”“This band is off the charts!”
I must admit, the evening was the best entertainment I’d ever experienced under one roof in one night.I felt as if Miz Floes was definitely headed in the right direction.She always kept the evening fresh.Never would you view the same show twice.It was an incredible experience.Better than sex? Nope, but a close second.
I realized that I was having such a good time, I forgot I was tired.I knew I had to return to the grind at 7AM, but I wanted to stay it was almost the last set; Carmel Lattéand Miz Floes had to perform their signature, “When Everything Was Cool”.
“When Everything Was Cool”, was a crowd favorite and people knew it was time to go home when they heard it.The cool thing about the selection was, it changed with Miz Floes’ mood.She’d perform an improvisational piece.It would either make you laugh real hard, or you could relate to the circumstance so you cheered.Either way, we all looked forward to the last song of the night.It was like a “you should’ve been there” moment of the evening.
This final set of the night was different than others.For starters, our gracious hostess was in a rear corner of the stage on her cell phone. She appeared a bit nervous, and even unhappy.As her trembling body took its rightful place in front of the lead mic, her face held the look of bewilderment.Her poetry was not cool but sad.Carmel Latté normally performed and upbeat neo-jazz tune; it now included a hint of blues.Tears streamed from Miz Floes’ soft brown eyes and crashed violently down her somber cheeks as she continued with her sad tone and words.She spoke of love lost and no new beginnings.
The vibe from her poetry was that, things would never be cool for her again.
I wondered what had she experienced that hurt her so deep.Who was he?More importantly…what had he done to shatter this woman’s confidence in herself?
As I pondered these questions, I noticed that Miz Floes’ teary eyes grew tight, and her sad appearance now took on the characteristic of fear.She was now looking toward the front entrance.I adjusted my gaze as well.
The man entering the establishment was approximately 6 feet, 3 inches.He was of a medium build, and quite handsome.He looked angry and he was violently pushing and shoving his way through the crowd.The closer he came to the stage, the more frightened our hostess appeared.Still her performance continued as did the band’s.
Soon the angry man had reached the stage.He stopped just short of the steps to the stage.As he stood staring into the eyes of Miz Floes, her words seemed to be lost.She began to stutter and shake.She was now very obviously afraid; her voice became fainter with every word.The musicians hurried through the selection nervously as the angry man kept his eyes locked on the hostess.
When the selection was finished, the crowd cheered as the angry man aggressively took the stage.He grabbed Miz Floes and began choking her and shouting, “You must be out of your damned mind”! “Did you really think you were going to leave me”?
As she struggled to free herself from his grip, her band members began to approach the angry man.It was at that precise moment, he pulled a gun from its nest inside the waist of his slacks.The band members froze in their tracks, and Tee Jay, (the barmaid) screamed “Security!”Just then Miz Floes broke free, ran down the steps pass the angry man, who was now pointing his gun at Tee Jay and calling her a loud mouthed slut.
Miz Floes headed in Tee Jay’s direction yelling, “No, she didn’t do anything!Please don’t do this.This is between you and me!” Miz Floes then positioned herself in front of, a frozen stiff, Tee Jay.The crowd had already begun disbursing frantically and was nearly gone.Out of nowhere the haunting sound of a gun shot was heard and Miz Floes dropped to her knees, with tear filled eyes. Immediately another gun shot is fired. The bullet penetrated Tee Jay’s left eye socket, causing a gruesome sight.The musicians were scrambling to get out of the establishment, security officers are intensely attempting to take the gunman down.More shots are fired.At the end of the struggle Tee Jay’s face was a bloody mess, two of the three security officers had been injured and the third security officer was killed when a bullet ricochet off the beer tap, and landed in the rear of his head. There were a total of five shots fired that night inside the Yesler Street Grill. The last of which went into my thigh as I sat shaking violently on the bar stool, digging my nails into the wooden counter of the bar; for support.
The gunman would not see justice on this day, for he escaped through the lower level of the grill long before the sirens were heard.
Soon detectives and ballistics swarmed the Yesler Street Grill.Miz Floes was amongst the first to be questioned.The detective asked, “Miz Floes did you know the gunman?”Miz Floes replied, “Yes detective Hayek, I met him a year ago at an open mic session. His name is Earl Gray.His mother and I were co-workers at a furniture store last year.I’d informed his mother of the open mic session I do here at the grill every Thursday night.They came down together and he and I hit it off.We moved in together about six months ago and things went sour last week.So I packed my things this morning and moved out.”Miz Floes explained that she’d only escaped the bullets by pretending to be shot in the chaos.When the gunman fired the very first shot, she’d dropped to her knees as if she’d been shot.In his anger, the gunman immediately turned his attention to Tee Jay and fired.Not having time to reflect on any damage, he continued to pursue an escape from the grasps of the security officers, before turning to fire on them. Therefore he never noticed that Miz Floes was still alive.
Miz Floes then requested protection, she was very obviously, still shaken. She was concerned that he may find her and finish what he started.
I was amongst the last to be questioned.By the time the detectives got to me, I was sitting in the rear of the ambulance unit having my thigh was pre-treated.Prior to speaking with me, the detective spoke medical jargon with the attending paramedic.
After speaking with the paramedic, the detective retrieved a tape recorder from the inside pocket of his blazer. He pressed the record button and began speaking,
“Gunshot wound is a penetrating wound to the poster lateral aspect of the proximal left thigh, 36 1/2" below the top of the head, The 7/8" oval perforation has a 1/16" to 1/8" margin of abrasion. There Is no fouling or stippling of the adjacent skin.
After perforating the skin, the bullet perforated the gluteus muscles and entered the pelvic/peritoneal cavity. There is no visible hemorrhage adjacent to the wound track.
The direction of travel Is left to right upward and back to front.
I couldn’t help thinking…I should’ve just gone home at the conclusion of the fashion extravaganza.