OH SOUL O'MIO
~ By Absolutely*Kate
Fame carries with it unfortunately,
many things you never saw coming at you.
The looking glass anchoring the center of the carved knotty pine dresser mirrored lack of sentiment. Or was that just reflection's way of jeering over shimmer? She sighed, resolved in what she must do, unaware while fingering enamel lids of each tiny paint pot before her, that her right foot was tapping tempo's tune to the program filling the room from the Philco on the chest of drawers by the wall. The papered wall, the pattern they'd picked out together. She remembered lugging labeled cartons up to their five rooms on the second floor. Living out of those boxes were the swellest times they owned together. He dropped bric a brac and she tendered giggles. The lean years, the in between years, the ones they should've better than worse cherished?
On the Philco? Tommy Dorsey's band, heavy-handed on the trombone, swinging a rendition simultaneously mocking both presence and pretense of mind. Jeepers creepers, and holy irony too, the tune was Without A Song. Innate habits, like keeping time, keeping attuned, never really dissipate. They just tap, tap, tap along.
Tapping the silver Timex bracelet presented eagerly, wistfully over cream linen on a little table in the upstairs bar room at Sardi's, last anniversary, reminded her timing was crucial. Best get on with it. Yet light, like lyrics, jabbed one-two as a prizefighter into the gut of her sullen mood. Prisms from the dresser lamp bounced facet to facet off the steadfast diamond glittering her left hand. Splendid sheen sparked the scene from within the glass. Alas, through the looking glass.
The looking glass. Legends from Italian heritage more real than transient illusions bounced at facet value too. What Zia Antonia had blurted when she and her cousins were the little girls caught red-handed, smearing crimson Revlon moments onto pre-ripe lips, rummaging treasures to pretty heaps and dangles on Grandma's mirrored vanity ~
"Hey youse bad girls! Whattsa dat you do? Shame on'a you. Dontchoo ragazzi know nuttin bout da soul? Si Maria, dontchoo give me dat oh-so-innocent face. The soul - she comes uppa outta you, si, e'vero. Maria, Isobella, listen. And you, little one, piccola, you listen too. Bene. The soul, she sneaksa into your mirror. Roma invented da mirror to look into our souls. Dontchoo forgetta dat. When the soul gets hurt, she gettsa like a woman furiousa outta Sicilia. O'Mio! She gettsa so angry, I'm tellin you. 'Member Zia Concetta? Huh? They call her Crazy Connie but she saw. She saw how her mirror tole her da soul hurt. One time she broke'a all da mirrors in Zio Tomas' house and she ground da shards to dust so no more shattered reflections coulda be seen no more. You - little lipstick smart mouths - you thinka I make dis up? You mess wit da soul dat's serious business. Now clean uppa dis mess and get outta Grandma's room. Andate! And remember, recordi sempre whatta I tell you."
She remembered. That's why the little prism lamp was lit so much. No good being in the dark with a hurt soul and a big mirror. Better to do something about some things.
One by one, she opened the little pots before her, tentatively touching fingertip to paint, paint to face, grease into crease, zig-jag-color-shade-edge-smudge just like the theatrical magazine she'd hid under her side of the mattress showed. Stashed right next to Ace Detective's issue explaining the wisdom of disguises when seeking information in the open.
Deft skills displayed a gruesome visage in her mirror, no longer la ragazza piccola applying lipstick dreams. She stroked another lash layer of Maybelline sable brown to boost resolve right to the edges. She fingered dark hair into a neat tuck under a wavy light brown wig.
"Always exaggerate one distinctive feature bystanders will immediately be drawn to notice. Embarassed for staring strongly, it is doubtful they will again meet your eyes directly. Less focus will be on your covert actions. Should you create the image of a victim of pity, they will go out of their way to avoid being crass in gaze. If asked to describe you, they will undoubtably recall and report that one distinguishing feature."
She fingered her distinguishing feature, freshly created, delicately tracing its intense jaggedy trail. I really don't mind the scars. These'll wash off. It's what won't go down the drain no more that's got my soul to hurting."
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
" The summerwind came blowin' in from across the sea ~ All summer long we sang a song and then we strode that golden sand ~ Two sweethearts and the summerwind ~ I lost you to the summerwind ~ Still the day, those lonely days go on and on ~ My fickle friend, the summerwind "
HE was out in front of the band when she was seated as expected, in a more shadowy corner of the Copacabana on West 34th. Averting eyes, the waiter handed her the embossed menu, took her drink order and hurried his skiddoo off, head held low and in check.
The gin sour going down did not sweeten up the night; she saw what she came to not want to see. The pampered Momma's boy who knew how to get his way, knew how to charm all the girls, knew how to climb his charted course, knew how to do it his way, he wasn't singing about his Nancy with the dancing eyes no more.
She saw his eyes, her eyes, Ava's eyes, and what they did, playing across a crowded Sinatra room. This was no enchanted evening.
These soul scars this time, might not wash away.
Click why the girls were swooning.
Frank Sinatra with Tommy Dorsey, 1941
"Without A Song"
(c) 2011 ~ Author Absolutely*Kate
RAT PACK REVUE ~ AT THE BIJOU
Credits ~ Photo:
Little lipstick girl ala Connie Schlosberg
Snippets crooned of "Summer Wind":
Original German lyrics by Hans Bradtke; English words by Johnny Mercer
Music by Henry Mayer / arranged by Dave Wolpe
Tommy Dorsey Orchestra and Frank Sinatra "Without A Song"
Songwriters: Vincent Youmans, Edward Eliscu and Billy Rose
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Luscious Ladies and Genteel Gents ~ This story came about as my response to a FlashFiction "Scarry Night Challenge" where a crime-noir writing pack extraordinaire were edged on to scribe at Pattinase, short story whiz Patti Abbot's dynamic fiction site. The line ~ "I really don't mind the scars," had to be included within a short story.
As we're hip flask deep into our RATPACKREVUE , I wrote in 'Rat Pack character mode', then tendered my offering in between the Academy Awards weekend matinee of Julie Morgan's "STAR" debut and the performance return of ROBERT RANDISI's open response night on the RAT PACK ala the progression of how he writes.
Catch all those shows and how the Pattinase "Scarry Night Challenge" shakes down (and scares up) as well. Just remember to pour what does the inspire when you do the admire.
AND NOW FOLKS ... DIG OUR CURRENT SHOWS ...
AND KEEP COMIN' BACK FOR MORE (popcorn's on the house!)
THERE'S MORE RAT PACK SHOWS COMIN' UP
Saturday Matinees too.
Be there or be square.
AT THE BIJOU
Always swell to see you here.
and our swanky staff of renown
THE PACK DON'T WANT YA TO MISS A SHOW:
Sinatra: "If power doesn't mean that you have the opportunity to work with the people that you love, then you haven't really got any."
Opening Night: "RAT PACK REVUE TO YOU"
RAT PACK REVUE: ROBERT J RANDISI TAKES THE STAGE
RAT PACK REVUE: "How Did All These People Get Into My Room?" By Robert J Randisi, working the lounge before he hits the main room
RAT PACK REVUE: "Who's Got The Action" By Kevin Michaels, knowin' the night club scene
RAT PACK REVUE: "STAR" By Julie Morgan, hitchin' TinselTown to a dick's star
~ ON OUR SWANKY STAGE ~
BIJOU AUTHORS ~ ERIC BEETNER ~ PAUL BRAZILL ~ KEVIN MICHAELS ~ ANTHONY VENUTOLO ~ and ABSOLUTELY*KATE
BIJOU DEBUT ~ JULIE (LEWTHWAITE) MORGAN ~ SEAN PATRICK REARDON
PLUS STAGE AFTER PAGE AGAIN ~ OUR HEADLINER ~
MORE OF RAT PACK MYSTERY AUTHOR ROBERT J RANDISI
WITH A FINALE OF AN RJR INTERVIEW (or Roast?) AT THE BIJOU
~ ~ ~ ~
PLAY GOOD TUNES.
~ ~ ~ ~
KatieMae,'o sole mio has never sounded so buona! I liked this old tale and new gal's intrigue and romance. Questa storia è stata molto buona.
Powerful stuff, Kate, sad and bittersweet, and so beautifully written. Loved it!
stylish and sad.smashing.
Sad song, sad story sweetly told.
This has more atmosphere than a classic Sinatra song or the best of B movies. Terrific.
Well done - a little heart break, a sad, stylistic POV, and vivid descriptions from beginning to end. That crooner from the Dorsey band is something else....the way he breaks those hearts....
Grazie molto bene you fine, fine writer-folks. This one went poignant on me and I felt myself goin' along for Nancy's ride.
Tis an honour to appreci'kate you feelin' it too.
~ Absolutely*Kate, who played Frank all through several nights of fine-tuning/crooning this one.
This a a subtle and poignant tale. Yes, it is a mirror world we create. That is what this story captures. It reflects how our own reflection brings the image we have in mind to the mirror and confirms it. The mirror in this way does not lie and that is what makes the soul hurt--for Lady Sinatra there was not escape, only reflection. As she was told long ago. Yet there is that in memory which is good and sustaining that will outlast the mirror of now.
Kate, your tender and sad story sparked these thoughts. That is your magic in the mirror. Bravo!
Nothing like a little Tommy Dorsey and a whole lot of make-up to either beat or give ya the blues. Lovely story, Kate, absolutely lovely.
Well I really liked the mood of this piece. And that moment when the girls get caught putting on make-up is very real, so real the honesty just croons. Nice job.
Great story A*K. It had a melancholy feel to it. Very well written. I have no idea why, but the song "Send in the Clowns" popped into my head as I read it.
SEAN ~ Good feel on the lyrics and the taunt of that song - I stayed true to 1941 all through this piece, down to the dials of the Philco, for authenticity -- but to conjure that feel in you (and blush at the cool stuff you said) ... sure made my day.
Trust you notice your book MINDJACKER is being peddled in our BIJOU AMAZON store over there with RJR's Rat Pack Mysteries, Eric Beetner's and Kevin Michael's edgy hits. Lookin' so forward to your Rat Pack tale on the big screen!
JACK! So love seein' that detective mug find his way around the jolly shadows of our AT THE BIJOU joint. You made a good point too, in reality of gettin' busted back in your childhood and how it sticks with ya, later colours some part of your world.
Now I'm gonna read how YOU scar up the place in the Pattinase crime/noir challenge.
THANKS SIR for your kind words,
CATHY ~ Lady, you're so grand I trust you'll always sing or sling the way outta any blues that dare get in your way. Should that not happen real easy, you just holler and I'll pour gin fizzes and we'll let Dorsey wash over the moment.
Much thanks for the warble you always bring a good croon. ~ Absolutey*Kate
MATT oh Matt . . . You see right into mirrors, memories, how words carve a painting and then elucidate it so my noggin takes on a rakish angle (under my prized fedora of course), and I nod, "Yeah, that's the ticket. He nailed it."
Soft kiss, strong thanks to the best support a writer who interrupts your couch gradings on a word, a phrase, a thought winging could ever have.
Smooth! Fabulous ambiance. Felt like I was right there in the hayday of old blue eyes.
Reading this story was like listening to a lush, sad, sweet song played slowly on an alto sax.
There's such a deep vein of pain running through this story - indeed, a deep soul hurt.
Wonderful imagery, as always, *Kate, and you have a way of drawing the reader in with words, images, sounds - like no other.
Good, good stuff.
I'm impressed with the way you managed to incorporate the scar challenge into your own Rat Pack theme. I didn't even realize it was a Scarry Nights challenge story till I hit the line!
So many elements to love here. Your ear for the Sicilian grandmother's voice, for instance. And the whole mirror imagery, which brings a fairytale dimension into what might have just been another sad jilted woman story. And the comic note of Ace Detective.
This was as good and rich as that gin sour ... Rich with imagry and detail, Kate...
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