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It Gets Worse
It Gets Worse
November 15, and Mori-san appears near the piano before work, my handler, the guy who negotiated my contract 5 years ago. Tall, 40ish, with the brittle, conditional friendliness of the Japanese man. He looks at me blankly. “Do you have time to talk?”
And there’s Wakamura, his boss, paddling around behind him. We wind up in back in the V.I.P. room. This couldn’t be good. Business has been bad for months. Wakamura is a paragon of Japanese gentility, impossible to dislike, young, upbeat, courteous, a class guy.
But I’m fired anyway. Effective January 1st.
Five years to the month. Enough is enough. Time for a “new system” - which means bringing in a different, mediocre pianist every night. Great for the piano players, bad for me. But it’ll probably work. A dynamic saxophonist is maybe too much energy in this room. Non-descript, cookie-cutter lounge pianists will bring the customers back. Yeah. That’s the ticket.
There wasn’t much to say except thanks for the memories, even if there weren’t any mammaries. They were giving me 45 days notice. They’d treated me great, paid me good and like clockwork, a personal driver had taken me home every night at 1AM. Free beer in the kitchen, Paid holidays.
I’d been an English teacher. I never expected the gig. It’s been five years. We’re talking 6 nights a week. 50 weeks a year. 1,500 nights, SIX THOUSAND sets. Over 25,000 songs. I played “Misty” a LOT of times. Built up my repertoire from 40 tunes to 370. Become a confident jazz and funk sax player and a decent singer. One man show guy. What’s not to like?
I shook their hands and went to start my first set. One of my fans came up and dropped 10,000 yen in my cup. I was going to need it. Later, the boys from Itochu Trading came in and we were sipping the good Merlot from the wine cellar. One of the guys was advising me to go to Shanghai, great city, really happening. Further questioning revealed a scene full of Philippine cover bands, surely playing for a fraction of what I make here. But if it weren’t for relationship commitments here I’d go. Then on to the Sheraton in Phuket. The Bucharest Marriot. The Capetown Day’s Inn. The Sunset Miami Travel Lodge. Wherever.
Maybe someday. Not now.
It’s been like waking from a dream. I will not miss the smoke, the screaming waiters or my loneliness among the starlets. I’ll miss Masumi’s sweet smile, Snake Lady, all the other unattainable little stunners that smiled and flashed their eyes at me and called out my name.
I'll bet it's of sight out of mind.
11/20/2005 4:35 am
Thanks man - hey, is there anyway to write to you? Your page is turned off.|