Blame it on mom. She was a jazz freak and I grew up hearing Billy Holiday, Anita O’Day, June Christie, Ella and Louis, you name it. “The cats,”
she called them. She knew all the words and she’d sing to the records, snapping her fingers, looking at herself in the mirror, moving her hips. I remember sitting on the floor, holding the record jackets, looking at the pictures on the front then up at mom singing to herself. She sang when she did dishes or was dusting around the house. I can still see her holding a dish and washing it over and over while she sang, “When you wish Upon a Star
” or “Stormy Weather
.” I can still hear her sing, “It’s raining all the time,
” moving her head from side to side while I sat on the floor playing with my Raggedy Ann doll.
I remember how she’d laugh at me when I came to her holding one of her Billy Holiday albums and I’d say, “Billy on, Billy on.” She’d say, “Ginger, baby, you’re going to be a jazz singer when you grow up.”
She’d put the record on and I’d sit on her lap and listen to Billy singing, “Strange Fruit
” and “All of me, why not take all of me.
” The record was scratchy and worn out, but I could tell how much mom loved those records and so did I.
Mom wanted to be a singer but got knocked up by some guy I never knew and had me. She worked at different jobs, dropping me off at Charlene’s Day Care then picking me up on the way home. I remember Charlene, a big fat black woman. She laughed a lot, especially when she’d hear me sing jazz songs while I played. I’d sing, “How High the Moon,
” or my favorite, “A Tisket a Tasket a little yellow basket.”
I sang it just like Ella and even did some scat singing, doowy-doowey,dee, dee, doo.”
Charlene would say, “Chile, where you learnin’ dem songs?”
The other kids in the group sang nursery rhymes and songs like, “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.” I remember singing that song, but I’d jazz it up, standing in front of them, moving my hips from side to side like mom, and say, “Sing it like this, “Twinkle…twinkle,” and I’d snap my fingers and sing it fast, changing the notes so it had some feeling and pizzazz.
I know mom wanted to be a jazz singer but had to work to put food on the table. That’s when she’d say, “I’d be a jazz singer if I didn’t have to put god damn food on the table.”
Her saying that made me feel sad and awful like it was my fault she couldn’t be a singer. That’s probably why she drank so much and would fall asleep drinking and smoking in her chair listening to Billy or Sarah. I used to see her when I woke up in the morning, sound asleep in the chair with the needle from the record player clicking and clicking. I’d turn it off and put the record back in the album then wake mom up and say it’s time to get up and go to work. And I had to get to school, something I hated, by the way.
The drinking got worse and she didn’t sing like she used to. Her long brown hair was getting gray and she no longer wore colorful scarves around her neck or even seemed to care about her appearance. She’d come home from work and the first thing she’d do was pour a drink, take a gulp, let out a loud “ahh” like she was finally getting some relief. She’d put on Billy or Ella and sit in her chair, smoking. Sometimes we didn’t have dinner until eight or nine and dishes were left in the sink. I started doing the dishes and doing the dusting and by the time I was 16, mom was always so drunk, I’d eat by myself and try to wake her up. It made me angry when she’d drink because I’d come home and have no one to talk to. It was lonely and like living with a ghost.
It got so I hated coming home. There was hardly any money coming in. Mom was on welfare and we lived on food stamps. I hardly had any clothes that fit. My jeans were faded and really tight, my shirts were snug, especially around my tits and didn’t even reach to the top of my jeans; the few skirts I had were way to short as I got taller.
I noticed how boys at school would look at me and also older men couldn’t keep their eyes off me. I have to admit I had a good body, a nice ass, my tits weren’t huge but they weren’t little bean bags either. At first I was surprised and embarrassed. It felt a little strange, but then, I hate to admit this, I liked it. It was exciting to be looked at like that.
When I was sixteen I got a job as a waitress at Roma’s Pizza and worked there from after school ‘til 11 at night. On Saturdays during the day, I was a cashier at the Save-way Gas Station and Convenience Store. I worked there until three and headed over to “Roma’s” to work ‘til midnight. Well, I took my first week’s pay and tips and went to this cool thrift store, Second Hand Rose and got really funky clothes, way different than the preppy girls with their plaid skirts and white blouses. I liked looking sexy. I had long dark hair, halfway down my back and made sure that what I wore caught guy’s attention, you know, tight jeans, snug tie-dyed t-shirts, low cut peasant blouses. It was the mid-sixties and I became a kind of hippie, though I didn’t know what that was. All I knew was I didn’t want to be like anyone else and I didn’t want to end up like my mom.
When it was slow at the Save-way, I’d look at the magazines near the door and see the covers with these sexy looking women wearing practically nothing, but you know, they all looked like Barbie dolls. I wanted to be sexy but not like that. I’d read articles about some of the actresses and their relationships and wondered if I’d ever have a relationship. I was fascinated by sex and loved playing with myself and wondering what it would be like to really have a man do it to me. Lots of guys flirted with me at the Save-way. Some of them were in their twenties, some a lot older and I liked how they looked at me and ask, “What are you doing after work.” Sometimes I’d smile back, give them the eye and never say anything, but in my way I was teasing back. Even though I liked the guys teasing and flirting, still it was jazz that I cared about more than anything.
Forget about school. It didn’t exist, though they tried to get me to come. School was unreal. It was crowded and I didn’t care about what happened in 1812 or want to read the lame books they assigned like, “Silas Marner” and I forget what other books that didn’t have anything to do with my life. I had no friends. The girls cared about clothes, boys and getting into a good college. The guys were jerks and just wanted to get laid or shoot hoops. The music they listened to was dumb. I didn’t fit in that’s for sure.
There was one guy named Gabe I liked. I met him when I was a senior and already eighteen. He always carried a guitar on his back and I’d see him on the fire escape practicing. He was a loner, like me. He had long black hair and was definitely not a jock. He seemed serious, like he was always thinking about something. He was in my Algebra class and I could tell he was bored because all he did was doodle. I saw his doodles--music notes all over the page and lots of swirls.
One day after Algebra, I asked him if he liked jazz. He looked at me, startled, like he wasn’t used to any one, especially a girl, talking to him, let alone asking him a question, but the first thing I noticed were his intense blue eyes when he looked at me.
“Well, I see you like music because I see you practicing on the fire escape and noticed your doodling in algebra.” I paused. “Do you like jazz?”
“Kind of,” he said, “I guess. My dad’s a jazz musician. I’ve been taking classical guitar lessons.”
“Classical,” I repeated. “Cool! I‘ve never heard classical guitar.”
“I play a little jazz,” he said, “but I really love flamingo and Bach.”
“You said your dad’s a jazz musician. What kind? I mean, what instrument does he play?” I asked, as we started walking down the hall.
“He plays piano and has a jazz trio. His real job is an accountant, but he plays jazz on weekends at different clubs.”
“I’m gonna be a jazz singer,” I told him. It was the first time I said that out loud. I don’t know why I said it and it scared me to blurt it out like that, but it also felt great to finally tell someone my secret thought, my dream. It felt right to say it to him because he loved music. There was no one else to say it to. Not at work. Not at school, until then, so I repeated it, just to hear the words again, “Yeah, I’m gonna be a jazz singer.”
Gabe looked at me like I was from outer space then smiled, “Cool,” he said. “Good for you. Not too many kids around here are into jazz.”
We continued to walk down the crowded hall without speaking, but I knew both of us were wondering what to say next. It was weird to find someone who loved music like me that wasn’t rock and roll. Finally, just before he stopped to go into his next class, he asked, “Would you like to hear me play the guitar?”
“Sure. I’d like that.” I said. “Would you like to hear me sing?”
There was an awful silence. Finally I asked, “When?”
“Now, let’s cut and get out of here. It’s last period anyway.”
And that’s what we did. I cut school all the time, so it wasn’t a big deal, but Gabe said he never did anything like this before. He was in the honors track, even if he didn’t pay attention in Algebra. He was on the school’s debating team and seemed pretty serious, but there was also something else I sensed, something I couldn’t put into words. All I know was I felt excited to be cutting with him.
He got his guitar out of his locker and we walked out of school and went to the park across the street. We went over a hill and sat down on the grass under a big tree. Gabe took out his guitar and tuned it. He looked at me then started playing something by Bach. He called it a partita. I was amazed at how his fingers moved so fast and how he bent over the guitar and concentrated. I couldn’t take my eyes off of him. I loved those intense blue eyes, his long hair falling over his face, the way he moved his head and those fingers gliding over the strings. He looked up at me after he finished and said, “I’ve been working on this like crazy for a month. What do you think?”
“You’re amazing. I never heard anything like that. All I know is jazz.”
“My dad was a classical pianist then switched to jazz. Can I hear you sing now?”
“I don’t know. It feels weird singing jazz in the park. I need someone playing.”
“Come on,” he insisted. “Sing something.”
“I always sing along with records. I never sang without music but here goes.” I took a breath and sang, “All of Me.” I sang it real slow. I mean super slow and made it sound sad, “Why not take all of me. I’m no good without you.
” I remember closing my eyes and pretending I was singing to someone I couldn’t see, but I was talking to him with the words, pleading, “Take all of me
” I opened my eyes when I finished and Gabe was staring at me with his mouth open.
“Hey, you’re great, Ginger. That was something else.”
“I never sang for anyone before. You’re the first person who ever heard me,” I said, loving how he looked at me.
“I hope I’m not the last,” he said. “You have to sing for my dad. You’ve got a great voice! You’re amazing.”
“Really, you really think so. When can I sing for your Dad?”
“Tonight, come home with me for dinner. He’s got to hear you.”
“I can’t. I gotta get to work in an hour at Roma’s.”
“Come afterwards,” Gabe insisted.
I told him I would. He played another piece by someone named Scarlatti and then I had to go. He said, “I’ll come get you at Roma’s” and he did. I remember looking at the clock, thinking about singing for Gabe’s dad, going over the words of songs I liked, trying to think what I’d sing. It was pretty slow at work and it seemed like forever. I wanted to look good when I sang for his dad and was glad I had worn a pretty paisley skirt and white peasant blouse I got at the thrift store. It wasn’t real short but came up above my knees. I liked how it fit and with my long, dark kind of wild hair and thought I looked like a gypsy, especially with the dangling earrings.
Gabe picked me up in his VW bus right at eight and we headed for his house. His dad was reading the paper when we arrived. “Gabe says you’re a pretty good jazz singer,” he said, a nice smile on his face.
He looked like an older version of Gabe except he had a mustache and goatee with flecks of gray. He shook my hand and told me his name was Peter. He asked if I wanted a coke or something and then we went into the living room. He had a baby grand piano and said, “Okay, Ginger, let me hear your chops.”
“Chops,” I asked, feeling stupid.
“Yes, chops,” he said, smiling. “That’s jazz slang for show me what you can do, you know, your sound.”
He sat down at the piano, ran his fingers over the keyboard, played a few chords.
“What do you want to sing?” he asked.
“Do you know, “Blue Skies?”
“Cool,” he said, “Not too many singers do that Berlin tune. Let’s try it in C.”
“Play it real slow,” I snapped my fingers to give him the tempo. “Then the second time we’ll pick it up.” Suddenly, I felt confident, like I knew how I wanted to sing.
Gabe sat on the couch and his father smiled up at me while I sang. I closed my eyes and sang the words, “Blue skies, smiling at me. Nothin’ but blue skies, do I see
.” I sang it slow and smooth the first time, emphasizing each word, like mom did. When I finished the first time, I looked over at him then the second time, we picked up the tempo. I was snapping my fingers and moving my hips, swaying back and forth almost dancing. I felt like I was melting into the words, saying them so each word was important. I was telling a story about how the sky was smiling and I was happy, “Blue skies, nothing but blue skies from now on.
” I really thought about the words, trying to say I just got through a hard time, but things were better now. I saw my mom’s face and how she used to look when she sang and now how she could hardly get out of the chair, but here I was singing about blue skies and things are getting better.
When I finished and opened my eyes, I saw Gabe looking at me with his mouth open and his dad staring at me like he was dazed or stunned. No one said a word then they both clapped. “Hey you’re really good. That was amazing. Where’d you learn to sing like that?” Gabe’s father asked.
“From my mom,” I said. “She loved jazz and that’s all we ever listened to.”
He said he had a gig Saturday and would I like to sing with his trio.”
“I gotta work Saturday,” I said, “But maybe I can get off early.”
“You’ve got to. You’re damn good. Wait until the guys I play with hear you.”
“Cool, I can’t wait,” I said looking at him then at Gabe. I was excited and scared.
“The place we’re playing is pretty much of a dive and we play to a lot of drunks but it’s a gig and the owner, Ed, appreciates good music. So, come and do a few tunes. It’ll be good experience.”
Gabe drove me home in his beat up VW bus and we sat in front of the apartment house where I lived, just talking. It was dark except for a streetlight and I liked how he looked at me. My skirt was high on my thighs and the white peasant blouse was low on my arms, revealing my shoulders and a little cleavage. He turned and leaned against his door and told me how Segovia was his idol and how he wants to learn more pieces Paganini wrote for the lute. He spoke with such passion and it excited me to hear how much he loved music, but I also liked how his eyes kept drifting to my legs and tits while he talked and I knew there was something happening between us. I was really turned on and felt this wetness between my legs. We sat outside for almost an hour before I went in, but I really wanted something to happen.
I wanted to tell mom all about meeting Gabe and Peter and I’d be singing at the Black Cat, but she was asleep in the chair with an empty scotch bottle dangling from her hand.
I couldn’t wait until Saturday, my first time singing to an audience and with other musicians. I told my boss Tony about my chance to sing and he let me off at eight so I could be at “The Black Cat” by nine. Gabe was going to pick me up. I bought a change of clothes so I would look older. I wanted to be a hit and get everyone’s attention so I wore this vintage black cocktail dress from the forties I found at the thrift shop. It was cut low, showed my cleavage and came down below my knees but I made it much shorter, about mid thigh. It clung to my body and I loved how sexy I looked. Mom had an old pair of shoes with heels that fit perfectly and my dark wild hair came halfway down my back.
When Gabe saw me come out of the bathroom at Roma’s, he just looked at me like he had never seen me before. “Wow you look beautiful,” he said, his eyes wide open. Everyone in the place turned and Tony said, “You better be careful.” I knew what he meant by the way he moved his eyes up and down my body.
Even though Gabe and I were eighteen, we weren’t allowed in places like the Black Cat, but since Gabe’s father was there, Ed said it was okay. We sat at the bar both drinking ginger ale. I made sure mine didn’t have ice. I read that singers never have ice in their water before they sing. The lights were low and the place was half empty. I noticed a couple of pool tables along the side. Peter was right. It was a dive.
Sitting on the stool next to Gabe, my tight skirt was pretty high up on my thighs and I noticed how Gabe kept looking at my legs. I wondered if I had made a mistake wearing such a low cut dress because Gabe kept glancing at my tits. I liked how he looked at me and felt something stirring that made me want to touch myself but couldn’t so I turned and looked up at the band stand, imagining me standing on that little stage singing. I was nervous, listening to the music and watched a few couples dance, but mostly, people were talking, smoking and drinking, hardly listening to the trio.
The place was pretty dark and Gabe was quiet, but I could feel his eyes on me and sensed he wanted to do something but was hesitant. I felt the tension. I was sitting pretty close facing him. First his knee touched mine then he put his hand there then did something that really surprised me. He slid his hand up my skirt and rubbed the inside of my thigh. He looked into my eyes to see how I’d react and I bit my lower lip and heard myself moan looking back into his eyes letting him know I liked how it felt.
He leaned forward and whispered in my ear, “You turn me on.”
“Is that so,” I said and smiled, looking into his intense blue eyes then leaned closer, “I like turning you on,” I whispered in his ear, putting my hand on his under my short dress, wanting him to move higher.
Just then the trio finished their first set and came to the bar where Gabe and I sat. He pulled his hand away before anyone could notice. His father introduced me to the musicians. Chuck played drums and had a pot belly and a thin mustache. The other guy’s name was Al. He played bass and wore a baseball cap with a big A on it. They both looked at my tits but tried to hide it.
“Hear you’re gonna do some tunes with us,” Al said before gulping down a whole bottle of beer without taking it from his mouth.
“Do Blue Skies like you did the other night and you’ll wake up these drunks,” Peter said. “What was the other tune?”
“All of Me,” I said, “Let’s do it real slow.”
When the guys walked on the stage, I took Gabe’s hand and put it back on my thigh. He looked at me and smiled. I didn’t say anything but our eyes met and I bit my lower lip and for a minute forgot I was going to be singing in public for the first time. I just wanted to feel his hand moving up my thigh but suddenly remembered where we were and sat up straight, took a deep breath and a sip of my ginger ale, my heart beating faster. The trio was playing an upbeat version of “Stardust” and Gabe removed his hand then leaned forward and whispered in my ear, “I want to touch you all over.”
“I’d like that,” I said softly and felt a tingle between my legs, surprised at seeing this side of Gabe, remembering that sense I had about him when we first met. I wasn’t sure what-it was, a kind of intensity and passion lurking beneath his quiet shyness. I saw it when he played the guitar for me in the park. Also, those blue eyes seemed to look into my soul. I knew I wanted him and knew he wanted me. I smiled, looking into his eyes, knowing it was just a matter of time.
When they stopped playing, “Stardust,” Peter, said, “We have a special treat tonight, a great young jazz singer making her debut. Let’s give a hand to Ginger Lee Dawling.”
I walked up to the stage as a few people clapped. Someone whistled and for a minute I wished I hadn’t dressed in such a short tight dress. I looked at the mike and moved it closer to me and looked up at the spot light. I never sang into a mike before and squinted trying to see the audience. Gabe’s father started a little intro and I snapped my fingers to set the tempo. I started singing, “Blue Skies” real slow, looking out at the audience. The place was half empty, filled with smoke and people hardly paid attention. I closed my eyes and concentrated on the words, thinking about the story and let the words flow, when I heard someone shout, “Hey, girlie, show us your tits.” And another guy shouted, “Shut up you jerk.” I saw Ed, the owner, come over and pull the guy by the arm. The man yelled again, “Come on girlie, show us your boobs.” Ed pulled him to the front door and pushed him to the street.
I kept singing but had trouble concentrating. I was scared and had never been yelled at like that. I looked at Peter urging me on. “Keep going,” he said, nodding, smiling.
When I finished people applauded. I sang, “All of Me,
” and just concentrated on the song as if the audience wasn’t there. The piano, bass and drums inspired me to sing like I never sang before and I knew I was hooked. I knew there was nothing else I wanted to do but sing jazz. When I finished, people applauded, even the guys in the band applauded. I was a hit and when I went back to the bar, Ed came over to me and said, “You’re going to be a star, you can sing here anytime.”
Gabe stood up and wrapped his arms around me. “You were so good,” he said.
It felt wonderful to be held like that and I pulled him closer, my tits crushed against his chest and didn’t want to let go. I was feeling high after singing and loving how it felt to be on the stage, even if people weren’t really listening and liked how it felt to lean against Gabe’s body, feeling his strong arms and that tingle between my legs and whispered in his ear, “Let’s go and have some fun.”
Gabe’s bus was at the other end of the small parking lot. The only light came from a small spotlight on the corner of the building, but it was dark where he was parked. When we got in he said, “You want a smoke a joint” and without waiting for an answer took one out of his shirt pocket.
“I never smoked pot before,” I said
He lit the joint, inhaled deeply holding the smoke in then passed the joint to me. “Well, there’s a first time for everything and this is one of those times. Your first gig, now your first joint and maybe later, another first, unless I’m wrong about you.”
I chuckled, knowing what he meant and took a deep drag on the joint and held in my breath, excited to be in his van smoking pot for the first time. “You surprise me, Gabe.”
“Why?” he asked, looking a little baffled.
“Well, you seemed so serious when we met the other day and it was the first time you ever cut and I cut all the time.” I passed the joint back waiting to feel something.
“I am serious and determined to get a scholarship for college, but I think I’m more like you than you think. I mean, my music means everything to me.” He paused, took a deep drag and looked into my eyes before speaking. “I want to be the best but I also want to be out there. I want to be free and uninhibited like you. When we met the other day, you blew me away with not just your singing but your determination and I like that you don’t give a fuck about what people think.” He passed me the joint and I took another deep hit. “But that’s not all I like,” he said, looking at my legs then into my eyes, a little smile on his lips.
“Yeah, what else do you like?” I took a deep drag on the joint and held in my breath, excited to be in his bus and how he was talking to me. I handed him the joint and suddenly felt my head getting light and my body loosening and that feeling that comes to my pussy when I want to masturbate.
“I like how you dress. I mean you dress and act different than most of the girls at school but somehow you’re way more sexy.”
“Is that so,” I said, smiling, looking into his eyes and shifted in my seat, moving my skirt higher on my thighs. I was really stoned now and wanted him to do something. I wanted to encourage him, lure him. I wanted him to move his hand on the inside of my thighs like he did earlier but go higher. I turned and glanced towards the rear of the bus and saw the middle seat in his VW was missing and there was a carpet on the floor and room to lie down.
He saw me look and then looked at me, took my hand and we slid between the seats and suddenly he was all over me and I was all over him. It was like a dam had burst and all that pent up tension needed release. We were attacking each other’s mouths with fierce kisses, making out like crazy, groaning and moaning. He was laying on top me, my legs spread apart and I could feel his hard cock grinding into my pussy while I lifted my hips aching for more.
I wasn’t sure how experienced he was but it didn’t take long to know what to do. Our bodies were on fire from being stoned and also being so ready to fuck. I somehow pushed him on his back and straddled him, rocking back and forth, my tits crushed against his chest, our tongues swirling in our mouths, my pussy pressed against the hardness in his jeans, my tight dress was way up over my hips and he grabbed my ass pulling me harder against him while he lifted his ass, grinding harder and we were humping each other like crazy. He then pushed me on to my back, got up on his knees, unbuttoning his jeans while I lifted my ass off the floor squirming out of my soaked panties. I spread my legs and pulled him down on me.
We kissed wildly, grinding and humping again then suddenly he started rubbing the head of his cock against my dripping pussy lips, opening me. I lifted my hips wanting him to go deeper, my pussy aching to have him in me. He pushed his cock harder, thrusting, inching his way, opening me, my desperate pussy gripping his cock, loving how big he felt. This was so much more intense then my fingers. Soon, his cock was pushing against my hymen causing me both pain and pleasure.
“Oh you feel so good. Keep going. Don’t stop!” I moaned.
Suddenly, he reared back and with one hard thrust broke through causing me to scream through the pain, “Ohhh I love it, I love it!” I shouted, feeling my whole body shake and this overwhelming sensation sweep through my body and suddenly it hit and I exploded in a huge orgasm, my pussy gripping his cock.
“You’re so tight,” he screamed as he pulled out and thrust faster and harder, opening me even more as he filled me and I climaxed again even harder.
I felt his body tensing and knew he was about to explode. I remembered mom getting knocked up and suddenly started pushing him away, but he already knew and just as he exploded pulled out, screaming and shooting cum all over my face, tits and thighs as I lay under him, looking at his closed eyes and writhing body. Spasms still rocked through me and he collapsed on my body, his cock pressed against my wet pussy, my legs wrapped around his back, my arms holding him, clutching him, both of us panting and gasping.
Neither of us spoke, trying to catch our breath but the realization I was no longer a virgin excited me and I just lay there with Gabe on top wallowing in the afterglow, realizing I was in his bus in the parking lot where I had sung jazz for the first time to an audience. I loved the feeling of the bass and drums and how Peter’s piano made me sing better than ever. I also loved getting fucked for the first time and knew I wanted a lot more.
Gabe drove me home. It was after midnight but we sat outside and made out some more. He pushed the driver’s seat back and I straddled him with the steering wheel touching my back. Somehow I lifted myself while he unzipped and pulled his cock out and moved my soaked panties aside and I came down hard on him then started bouncing up and down faster and harder, his cock filling me, going deeper with each thrust. I swallowed my screaming as I exploded all over him then felt him about to cum and again he suddenly pulled out and I felt his hot cum spurting all over my thighs. It was so intense holding each other, breathing heavily and feeling so good. It was hard to leave him but it was really late.
Mom knew I was singing that night and I couldn’t wait to tell her how it went but again, she was asleep in the chair with an empty bottle of Jack Daniels on the floor. The record player was on and the needle was making a scratchy click, click sound at the edge of the record. I tried nudging mom to wake her up but she was too drunk. I turned off the record player and sat in the dark looking at her head slumped to the side, her mouth open. She looked old and tired. I remembered how she used to sing in the kitchen and what a great voice she had. How she had me and had to work to put food on the table, but ended up not able to do that or sing. I wasn’t going to let that happen to me. I was going to sing to people who would listen. I was going to sing because mom couldn’t. I was determined to be a jazz star.
Gabe’s father let me sing with his trio at the Black Cat and then at a few other clubs. I would do a twenty minute set, usually four songs. He even started paying me twenty bucks, not much but I didn’t care. I just wanted to sing. We hardly rehearsed cause with jazz you just let it happen and I got pretty good with improvising, you know, letting the words and the mood take me where I needed to go, playing with the melody, bending notes, scat-singing and the trio just followed.
Then someone named Frank Weinstein heard me at another club called Ken Barry’s Town House, a pretty classy place compared to The Black Cat and said he knew an agent in New York who could get me bigger gigs. He got me to make a tape with the trio and he sent it to this agent who really liked it. Peter and Gabe were excited for me and encouraged me to go to New York, but I couldn’t, not with my mom being in such a bad way so I put that on a back burner and kept singing at the Town House and a few other places.
I started getting a following and Ken, the owner said he booked Peter’s trio cause of me and that I was going to go places. He used to invite me in his office to hang out and talk, but I could tell how he looked at me he wanted more. He was in his fifties and kind of sleazy. Then one night, he said how about a drink and poured me a drink, a Bloody Mary even though I was underage and sat with me on his couch, but he must have poured a lot of vodka in it cause I got really woozy. I said I better get going but when I stood up and staggered, he pushed me up against the wall and put his hand up my dress, grabbed my pussy real rough, tried kissing me, his cigarette breathe stinking. I was drunk and almost gave in, but then I squirmed away and ran out of his office. I never said anything to Peter or Gabe, but Ken kept trying to get in my pants. I wanted to quit singing there, but it was a good gig for the guys so I just handled it.
I kept working at Roma’s and the Save-way and hung out with Gabe. I was on the pill and he’d pick me up after work. We found this isolated out of the way place on a hill over looking the city. He got an old mattress and we put it on the floor of his bus and sometimes we’d stay there all night. We also fucked at his house sometimes when his dad was at work. His mom was a real estate agent and never home during the day.
When we graduated, me near the bottom of the class and Gabe was third. He got a big scholarship to Oberlin because they had a good music program. We had a great summer. He always drove me to the gigs and afterwards we’d go to one these all night diners and have eggs, home fries and coffee which gave us lots of energy then we would go to our favorite spot, get really stoned and fuck all night. I dreaded the idea of him leaving in September but that’s what happened.
One day that agent who had my tape called and said I was really good and should look him up when I come to New York. His name was Morris Katz and said he could line up some gigs but I couldn’t leave mom. I could see she was getting worse and then that fall, the doctor said she’s done for, her liver was shot. She wouldn’t make it past Christmas.
Two weeks after mom died, I took the bus from Akron, Ohio to New York with one suitcase. I figured I’d find clothes in thrift stores but I made sure I had that black cocktail dress and mom’s shoes. It was hard in the beginning not knowing anyone but I got a room at the Y then went to see Morris Katz at his office on the sixth floor of the Shubert Building. Max was in sixties, bald, fat but loved jazz. I was nineteen so he got me a fake ID so I could get in those places. He said he had a friend with a small studio apartment in the Village. The guy owed him for something and so I could stay there for nothing for a few months until I got some gigs.
I got a job in one of those coffee houses in the Village where they had open mikes and anyone could sing or read poetry. I liked working there because the tips were good and on weekends, lots of tourists came to be part of the Beat, Hippie scene. Most of the waiters and waitresses were actors, dancers or artists. It was cool listening to all the different singers, some really good, most so-so. They played guitars and sang what they called folk music, songs that told stories, never any jazz and I wanted to get up there and do my thing but I was so different. Also, I didn’t play an instrument so I had to find someone who could play the beat up piano they had.
I put up a sign on the crowded message board near the door: jazz singer looking for pianist. It turned out one of the waiters named Ben came over to me and told me he played piano and so we agreed to try some tunes after the place closed and that’s what we did. When everyone cleared out except the manager, we finally went over to the piano.
As soon as he played his first few chords and made some runs, I knew he was great. Something about his playing startled me and I remembered the first time I heard Gabe play the guitar with that passion and intensity. Ben loved all the old standards like I did from mom’s records and when I sang, “I Got You Under My Skin,
” he knew exactly how I wanted to sing it. Our eyes kept looking into each others eyes while I sang and man we were so connected, so in a groove that I knew something was going to happen. Finally, we had to leave because the manager kicked us out and we went back to my place which was around the corner for coffee and to talk, but it didn’t take long before we were fucking like crazy on my futon couch.
Ben was just under six feet tall and had dusty blond hair that was kind of disheveled and came just over his ears. He was thin and lanky and I could tell he was strong by the way he held me. I could feel his energy, but it was his imagination not only when he played the piano but how we played teasing games when we fucked that made me know we had something special that would come out when we did jazz together.
I called Morris and told him I had a great pianist and could he get us some gigs and he did. Ben and I were really hooked on each other and he’d stay at my place or I’d go to his tiny apartment on the fourth floor over a bakery on McDougal.
Ben and I liked getting high after work and listening to his great jazz records, getting ideas and trying things out. He had a really cool imagination and we loved coming up with role playing scenes and acting them out and we fucked all over the apartment.
I called Morris and believe it or not, he got us a gig to open for Mose Allison at the Village Gate, a pretty famous place. He was really cool, a kind of southern gent, but he said we were really good and he told some club owners about us and we started playing all over the city. Ben knew this sax player named Bill McHenry and he had a bass player and drummer and we started doing gigs together.
Bill thought I should make a record and he knew a guy at a small label called Blue Note. So we got him to hear us at a club and he said I had what it takes so we went into the studio to cut a record. Bill was an amazing sax player and it was like he had absorbed all the sax players before him.
During one of our breaks at the studio, Bill said he had some cocaine and would I like to try it. I said why not and while Ben went out to get a sandwich or something, we went into the bathroom and he showed me how to do it and I’ll never forget that first time, how intense it was and how hot it got me. I just wanted to fuck and so did Bill. He locked the door and he lifted me on the sink with the mirror in the back of me and pulled off my panties, spread my legs and rammed his cock into me, putting his hand over my mouth so no could hear me screaming. It didn’t take long for both of us to explode in huge wild orgasms.
I didn’t know what to feel when Ben came back. I tried acting like nothing had happened, but knew I had to keep my cheating on him a secret. I hated how that felt and started thinking about my body and how I needed freedom to be me and not belong to anyone. I knew I loved Ben and didn’t want to hurt him, but I liked what I did with Bill and suddenly realized I should be able to fuck who ever I wanted. I wanted to be in charge of my life. I wanted to feel free.
The rest of the session went well and ironically I sang that great Berlin song, “Always.” You know, “I’ll be loving you always. With a love that’s true, always.
” That song made me think about eternal love, was it possible or some ideal illusion? I didn’t know. All I knew was that after fucking Bill McHenry I wanted to experience everything there was. I have to admit after singing, “Always,” I was confused and wondered if that was all bull-shit.
It took me a few days before I got up the guts to tell Ben how I felt about needing freedom. I really loved him and didn’t tell him about Bill and the coke because I didn’t want to hurt him or break up our act. It’s not easy to find a pianist like Ben and we were so in a groove, so connected. I wanted to be a jazz star and I wasn’t going to let anything get in the way. I felt determined and strong and knew I didn’t want to end up like my mom.
Ben saw the change in me and we had long talks. I said he should fuck other women and I wanted to fuck other guys if I felt like it. He didn’t get it. He didn’t want to share me and he didn’t want any other woman. I told him I loved him like crazy and just because I fucked another guy didn’t have anything to do with my relationship with him. It was just fucking. He tried to tell me I was wrong and it wasn’t moral and I said that was bullshit. I said I was being honest and it was better to have an open honest relationship than a fake dishonest one because of society’s rules. What the fuck was morality anyway?
Finally I had to tell him about fucking Bill in the bathroom and the coke and he just looked at me stunned. I could have kept that a secret, but I wanted to be completely honest and took the chance that we could break up. It broke my heart to hurt Ben and realized how much I really loved him, but I had to be honest with myself first or I could never be honest with anyone or with my singing.
When he slumped back in his chair and I saw the pain in his eyes, I went to him and sat down on the floor between his legs. I felt so much for him and wanted to show him.
I put my hand on his cock and started rubbing it. He didn’t budge but just sat back, but I moved my hand up and down wanting to give him pleasure and hoped he wouldn’t stop me and storm out. At first, he started to move back, shifting away from me, but I could feel his cock getting hard and then he lay back in the chair making soft moaning sounds. I wanted to seduce him, let him know I desired him and the harder he got, the hotter I got. I unbuttoned his jeans, pulled down the zipper and put my hand on his hard cock, gripping it, feeling the throbbing pulse. I was wearing a short denim skirt, no panties and could feel how wet I was but this was about him. He started thrusting, wrapping my hair in his fingers, pulling my hair, lifting his ass off the chair and started really fucking my mouth, but I could feel his fierceness like something powerful and violent was taking over. Something didn’t feel right.
Suddenly he pushed me onto my back on the floor, got on his knees between my legs and rammed his cock in me with more energy than I had ever felt. He then grabbed my hands and held them over my head, looking fiercely into my eyes thrusting his cock deep and hard with each powerful hard thrust, his fingers squeezing my hands, his eyes looking into mine. It felt good but also different. Something wasn’t right.
“Come on Fuck me! Fuck me!” he shouted and I could hear his rage and feel his strength as he filled me with his mad thrusts. He then picked me up, lifting me by the ass, carried me across the room and slammed me against the wall, my legs wrapped around him and he pounded me faster and harder, banging me against the wall screaming, “Fuck me you little whore. Give me your cunt you fucking bitch!” he yelled in a voice that didn’t sound like role playing.
He rammed his cock savagely, driving me into the wall with each thrust then suddenly he pushed me, practically throwing me to the floor, grabbing my legs, pulling them over his shoulders and drove his cock into me, opening me like never before with his animalistic thrusts pounding me faster and harder.
“You’re mine. You belong to me!” he shouted, looking down at me.
“No I’m not! I don’t belong to anyone!”
I didn’t know what to do. I wanted to get away, but I also wanted him to take me right there. I felt his rage, his hurt when he yelled, “Fuck me whore! Fuck me you little fucking whore!
I wanted to shout for him to stop but couldn’t. I was crazed and captivated by his passion. The power of his thrusting, rubbing against my clit made me insane. I had never been fucked like that but when he shouted, “Tell me you’re mine! Tell me,” I shouted, “No! I don’t belong to you or anyone.”
I was crazed and needed to cum but I wasn’t going to give in.
“Tell me!” he yelled louder.
I was out of my mind. This was beyond anything I had ever experienced. I felt his rage, his passion and wanted him to fuck me more than anything. I was desperate. I had to have it. I knew that what started out with me wanting to turn him on and give him pleasure turned into something else. He wanted to hurt me, punish me, pour his hurt and pain into ravishing me. It wasn’t role playing, but in a way he was telling me how much he loved me.
“Take my cock, Take it! Take it! Give me your pussy!” he screamed, thrusting savagely then suddenly the most intense orgasm of my life swept over me and I convulsed again and again, my whole body shaking like an earthquake.
“Give me that tight cunt! It’s mine! Give it to me!” he yelled, thrusting harder and harder, faster and faster. I felt his whole body tensing and knew he was about to explode. I looked up at his angry face. “Oh, fuck, I’m cumming! Just fuck me!” he yelled thrusting madly then his body went stiff and hot gushing cum shot deep into my pussy making me explode again in a wild orgasm, the most mind blowing orgasm of my life. I was sobbing, tears filling my eyes, my body in spasms.
He collapsed on me, both of us panting and gasping and unable to budge. We lay on the floor next to the wall, weak and exhausted. I didn’t want to think, but gradually began to remember how this all started and how I wanted to be free, yet here I was lying on the floor under him feeling so possessed and not sure how I felt. He then rolled off of me and away. Usually we spooned after we fucked, but not this time. There was nothing tender or sweet, just our heavy panting and the quiet.
He then got up, zipped up his jeans, grabbed his coat and left, slamming the door. I screamed, “Don’t go! Don’t go!” But he was gone and I lay there on the floor, sobbing, not knowing what to think, tears rolling down my cheeks. The thought of losing him ripped at my heart. I got up and went to the window to see if I could see him, but all I saw was the crowded street below. I didn’t know what to do and hoped he would come back but he didn’t. I tried sleeping but kept waking up thinking I heard a sound at the door but it was never him, just my imagination.
We had the final recording session the next day at ten and I hoped he would show up. We also had a gig in two nights at a place called Joe’s Pub, a really hip jazz club and a really big break. It was even written up in The New Yorker and called me one of the new jazz singers to be watched.
When I got to the recording studio, Bill and the other guys were there but not Ben. We paced back and forth, looking up at the clock because every hour in the studio costs money. We had to finish today. I didn’t say anything about what was happening, but I was questioning my decision to be independent of anyone, to be free to be with any man I wanted. I didn’t want to need a man, but right then I needed Ben to play the piano. I knew I had hurt him and he took his revenge out by fucking me like a demon and crazy as it sounds, I liked it but wasn’t sure why. I began wondering what was more important, my being a jazz star or having Ben and if not him, any man. I was one confused woman.
Finally, Ben showed up at the studio. I ran up to him to hug him but he brushed by me and went to the piano, “Okay guys let’s get this over with.”
It broke my heart to see him like this. He was always so sweet, gentle and funny, but now he was all business and hardly looked at me.
The number we did was one of my favorites, “Our Love is Here to Stay.
” It’s funny how my favorite songs were always about eternal love, you know, “Always”
and now, singing, “It’s very clear our love is here to stay,
” and here I was singing that song after telling Ben I want us to be free to fuck other people. I either needed to find other kinds of songs to sing and stop being so romantic but those were the songs I grew up with, the songs mom sang, the songs I needed to believe in if I was going to be honest.
When we did the session, I sang my heart out, looking at Ben when I said the words, “The Rockies might tumble, Gibraltar may crumble, they’re only made of clay but our love is here to stay.”
He looked at me then turned away while he played and I could feel his hurt and anger, still we made a great recording. He played a solo that was so incredible I didn’t know where it came from, but I could feel his passion, his tenderness and somehow his hurt. He played with his eyes closed and I couldn’t take my eyes off of him, listening to his fingers moving over the keyboard, hearing sadness in how he played the notes, as if he was whispering the words our love is here to stay,
and crying at the same time. It broke my heart to hear his playing.
When we finished recording, he got up to leave and I tried to stop him at the door but he just looked at me and said, “I’ll be your pianist but I won’t take your bullshit” and he left.
Bill came over to me and asked what was that all about, but I didn’t answer. He asked if I wanted to do some coke with him and hang out. I have to admit I was tempted. I wanted to get high and forget what was going on but said, “No, I need some space.”
It was a cool spring day, I remember and I just wanted to walk around the village and be alone. I felt good about the recording session and some of the gigs coming up, still, Ben’s words about being my pianist but he won’t take my bullshit kept going through my mind.
Then something happened when I was walking through Washington Square, a really amazing park where people played chess and kids climbed on the statues and all kinds of characters hung out. I was sitting on a bench and saw this old couple walking past me. They must have been in their seventies or eighties. They were holding hands and they seemed so content and I imagined them being together for fifty years and I could feel their love and it made me think of the romantic songs I loved. I wondered if they had hard times, conflicts that they somehow worked out in order to be still holding hands. They looked so beautiful together, so happy and I suddenly saw what was possible and then more than ever, I wanted to find Ben and tell him I wanted only him, I wanted his passion, his imagination, his heart. I remembered how my mom sang those love songs but ended up alone, a drunk and unhappy.
I went to Ben’s apartment over the bakery and when he opened the door I threw my arms around him and told him to forget what I said about wanting to fuck other men. I wanted our love to grow and I wanted to sing all those old songs. I wanted to believe them and I wanted to sing them with him at the piano and that’s what happened. I never got real famous but made some good records and we got to play in some good jazz clubs all over the country and most important, I got to sing mom’s songs because she couldn’t.
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