I Canít Get Started 

 

I remember one night when I was down at Sheldonís. The place was packed. Always was, back then. Everybody crammed in shoulder to shoulder. And good Lord, the jazz. Talk about hot. I couldnít get enough of the stuff. 

Anyway, Iíd gone alone that night and I was standing by the bar, which worked out just fine, because I lived close enough to stumble home without much trouble. I was a lot younger then. I could really put he stuff down.

I was standing there feeling pretty good, but there was this guy at a table beside the bar that must have been feeling a lot better. Heíd really been hitting the stuff hard, and it was showing. He wasnít getting rowdy or anything, but you could tell he had some in him. He had that look in his eyes. And he had some girl with him. She was the kind that always looks uncomfortable, and it was pretty clear she wasnít having a good time. Sheíd glance at him every now and again and give him a tired, glazed look. The guy would just get this ridiculous smile on his face, and wink at her. Itís one of the funniest things Iíve ever seen. I canít really say why, though. I must have been a little giddy. Every now and again this girl would lean in and say something to the guy about wanting to leave or something. Whatever it was, heíd just get tickled. Heíd do the funny wink.

The band started into a hot one. High Society, I think. One of the standards, anyway. Whatever it was, this guy started dancing. All by himself, too. He just stood up and started dancing. He wasnít going crazy or anything, just kind of juking around, moving his hips a little. The bartender got kind of rattled. He said ďHey man, stop that. Youíve got to stop that. We donít have a cabaret license. You canít dance in here.Ē But Iíll tell you, this was nothing compared to what that girl with him did. She grabbed him by the collar, yanked him back, and said ďwhat do you think youíre doing?Ē The guy laughed a little, told the bartender he was sorry, and sat down. He looked over at the girl with him and stuck out his lip, then shook his head real slow. That really lit her fuse. She grabbed her purse like she was going to leave, but she didnít. She stayed. But she didnít look too happy about it.   

 As soon as the band started another tune, this guy started tapping his foot and moving his head back and forth. Then he started swaying side to side. The jazz really moved him, you know. The hot stuff. The girl knew what was about to happen, and tried to reason with him. She leaned over and said something to him and put her hand on his arm, like she was trying to hold him still. It didnít work. He stood up and started moving around again. I swear I think the music got to him worse than the liquor. It really did something to him. The bartender saw him and went through the whole thing again, but a little more forcefully this time. He told him not to do it again. The guy was nice enough and sat down. He didnít say anything. He wasnít trying to cause any problems, he was just having a good time. I donít think he could help it, really.

The band was playing I Canít Get Started. After a few choruses, the guy couldnít take it anymore. He got up and started dancing again, and a good bit livelier this time. The bartender came unraveled. He came around the bar and took the guy by the arm and said ďall right, buddy, youíve go to leave.Ē The guy didnít say a word. It was the funniest thing. He just shrugged the guyís hand off, leaned down and kissed the girl on the cheek, and started moving toward the door. He was still juking around, too. He didnít look back or anything. Everybody in the place was watching him go. I think we all expected some kind of grand exit, but there wasnít one. The guy just stepped out the door.      

 

                                                                                                            Carl Nery