Monday, December 05, 2005

Virginia

“Entertainment?” I asked, astonished.
“Sure! You want people to come here when they’re bored, right?”
“Well, yeah.”
“Then you’ve gotta give them a reason to think it’s not boring here.”
I frowned. He was right. We needed something to draw a crowd and I didn’t want to resort to the Authentic Lunatic.
“Ok, entertainment,” I began. “Any ideas?”
He nodded. “I know just the act,” Nick said with a grin.
“Who?” “Virginia Wolf.” He was beaming at his own genius.
“Virginia Wolfe?” I frowned. “Are you kidding?”
“No. Totally serious.”
“Ok, look Nick, I’m not sure that Virginia Wolfe has the kind of material we’re looking for. For that matter, I don’t think she’d be particularly interested in entertaining the crowd I’m hoping to bring in.”
“Oh, so you’ve heard her?”
“Well, no, but I’ve read her. Her books aren’t exactly boring but I’m not sure they’re bar material.”
“No! No! Not the author, the musician.”
Well, that was a relief. For a second there I was having second thoughts about Nick’s expertise.
“She used to sing at the place on Broadway I worked at. She didn’t really fit in there, but she’s perfect for this place.”
I was starting to feel better about this. “What’s she like?”
Nick scrunched his face up. “You really have to experience her first hand. I could try to explain it to you, but it’s much better if you hear it. I’ll see if I can track her down.” He took off and left me standing alone in the middle of the room. I decided to check on Crazy Angie.
She was back in the lab working on a few new drinks. She had taken on a new look: white lab coat, pocket protector, and goggles over her glasses. She was huddled over a set of beakers and as I approached her I could hear her mumbling, though I’ve no idea what she was saying.
“How’s it going in here?” My voice must have startled here because she jumped when I spoke.
“Oh! Fine,” she said, out of breath. “Really great, actually. You wanna try it?” I narrowed my eyes at the peculiar liquid she was stirring.
“What is it?”
She shrugged. “Not sure yet. I’m still waiting for inspiration.”
“I think I’ll wait until it gets here.”
Not sure what else to do, I went back out front. I took a few moments to take in my accomplishments. I was really starting to feel proud of myself. Here I was, not even a high school graduate yet, and already an entrepreneur. An inventor! I was creating the cure for boredom. Sometimes I think I lost focus of that goal.
“I found her!” Nick came running back into the bar, breaking my solace of reflection. I could only assume he was referring to this musician he’d spoken so highly of. He was so excited that he forgot to duck when he came in the front door and was knocked flat on his back with a loud thud and then a still louder smack. I gasped in horror, rushing to his aid.
“Oh! Are you ok? Nick?” He made no sound or movement. I knelt on the floor beside him and tried to revive him with gentle, and then not so gentle, slaps to the face. Nothing was working. I was starting to panic.
“You might try throwing water on his face. That always works when I pass out.” A strange voice spoke and I looked up. There, walking up to the bar was what I least expected. The voice belonged to a large furry creature making its way up the sidewalk. I was speechless. I was so shocked at what I saw that I could neither speak nor move. I just stared at it.
“I said you should try throwing water on his face.”
“Wha..wa..”
“Yes, water. Splash some on his face.”
“Wa-ter.”
“Spreckenzie English? Par lay voo English?”
“Are you talking?”
“Oh, so you can talk.”
“Yeah. So can you.” Just then, Nick started to groan. “Nick! Wake up!” I slapped him again.
“Ow! Quit hittin’ me will ya?” He sat up slowly and rubbed his forehead. He looked at me, then at the furry thing and suddenly remembered what he been in such a hurry to tell me. “Oh! I found her.”
“What? Found who?”
“Virginia! Virginia Wolf.”
Virginia Wolf. So, this thing was a wolf, and a musical one at that.
“This is the entertainment?” I asked in shock.
“Yeah. Just wait ‘till you hear her. She’s great.”
I wasn’t quite sure what to think of all of this. I was supposed to believe that this thing was not only a wolf, but a talking, singing wolf at that. Right!
“So, you want me to audition now or what?” Virginia asked.
“Uh, sure,” I said, not knowing what else to do. “Uh, Nick, can I have a word with you for just a sec?” I pulled him off to the side and began shouting in a whisper. “What is this? You expect me to believe that this thing is a musician? And what’s the deal with a talking wolf anyway? Are you out of your mind?!”
“Hey, now, just a minute. You told me to find entertainment. She’s the best there is in my opinion. You haven’t even heard her sing yet!” I scowled at him. He was right I suppose. But the whole thing was just a little too weird for me.
“Well, fine then. I listen to her sing, but I’m not making any promises. I still own this bar and I still make the final decisions. If I don’t like her, she’s out.” With that, I stormed off to the lab to fetch Crazy Angie. If nothing else, this might be her only chance to see a real authentic lunatic.
We all assembled at the back of the bar where the entertainment area was. The construction workers actually did a great job on building us a little stage. It had great lighting and a not-too-shabby sound system too. Virginia stepped up to our sole microphone on her back two paws. She stood about as tall as Nick, which was a little frightening, but she seemed friendly enough, so I tried not to worry.
“You want me to sing something traditional or some of my own stuff?”
“Let’s go with originality. Traditional screams boring,” I said.
She took a few moments to loosen up and tune her voice. When she started singing, I was truly amazed. It definitely wasn’t anything in English. I couldn’t understand a single word she said, but her voice was incredible. To say she could carry a tune would be an understatement. She made Roberta Flack sound like a mouse.
When she’d finished, Crazy Angie and I were both speechless. Nick just sat there grinning, like he’d just won the Pulitzer Prize.
“Wow.” Crazy Angie said.
“It’s much better when I have my band with me. I’m not used to this acapella stuff.” Virginia had not need to make excuses. I was impressed.
“No, no, that was really great. What language was that, by the way?”
“Language? No, just gibberish. This way I get to change it every time I sing it and no one knows the difference. It’s on of those songs that can never be recorded or it will loose its originality.”
Well, that was creative. It certainly couldn’t be classified as boring. I liked her. I liked her a lot. Virginia and I discussed terms of her employment, with Nick’s guidance of course. Only one thing worried me about Virginia. Sure, she’d draw a crowd. People would definitely want to see a singing wolf. But I didn’t want her drawing too much of a crowd. We didn’t want the cops on our hands. We certainly didn’t want our liquor license revoked. I would have to keep a tight lid on her; that was certain.

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