Part One: The lounge
Cecil Monroe swayed in the spotlight as beads of sweat rolled down his forehead and into his eyes. He blinked the sting out of them as he watched bodies on the small dance floor twist and dip to his bands music. Smoke swirled and parted about them. Lowering his trumpet he turned to his band and flashed a smile.
"The guests are restless tonight," he said.
Cecil pulled a cotton handkerchief from his breast pocket and smeared the sweat around his face before tucking the damp rag back into his jacket. Waves of sound washed over him as he lifted a mason jar from a stool beside him and took a long pull of the golden liquor within it. He rolled the scotch over his tongue, bobbing his head to the beat being driven by his drummer and bassist. He placed the jar on the stool next to an overflowing ashtray and pulled a fag from his shirt pocket. Cecil fished around the cluttered tray finding a butt still hot enough to use to light the fresh cigarette.
'I sure hope everyone is having a fine time this evening," he said as he puffed several times on the filter, drawing the remaining life from the dying embers into the fresh tobacco. "We'll keep this up most of the night for our outstanding guests," he announced to the crowed. They, in turn, replied with cheers and whistles.
"Get loud gentlemen!" he said as he twirled is hand in the air.
The band renewed its vigor as the jazz they played swelled in volume. Snapping his fingers to the music, Cecil twisted across the small stage as he drew in a lung full of smoke. He exhaled a thick cloud, put the trumpet to his lips and threw in some ad-lib notes to accompany his pianist. The crowd ebbed and flowed in time with the band. The energy from the audience pulsed inside him. The trumpet cracked the air as he hit the high notes. No need to write this down. It was in his blood. He lowered his horn and squinted past the spotlight. He looked out on the smoke enshrouded room. "I love my job!" he proclaimed as his pianist laid down a lively rift.
The bottle of bourbon rattled against its neighbors and splashed liquid onto the bartenders cheek as he dropped it into the well. Rob Mickler slid three highball glasses down the bar to a group of men, then lifted his apron and wiped his face.
"Okay gentlemen. Charging three more bourbons to your room," he projected his voice above the music as he dropped his apron, smoothed his attire and straightened his bow-tie.
"Room 1501. Top floor. 'Specially for the richest bastards this side of the Mason Dixon," the youngest of the three slurred.
Rob turned his attention back to the bar well just in time to hide a wicked eye-roll. "Yes, sir. Room 1501," he managed to respectfully reply.
"Son I told ya before we left the house not to embarrass my ass," H.B. Overton slapped the back of the young man's head. "I'm sure he knows which room we're in by now, ya damn idiot. I suggest you take my warning to heart and try ta get ahold of yourself. I mean. Ya act like ya never had a damn drink ya entire life. Ya don't see Isaiah stumbling over his own dick all drunk now do ya?" He shot a sneer of disgust at his son before throwing back the last bit of his previous drink.
Isaiah Crawford tucked the new drink next to the half-full glass he was currently nursing. "That's because I'm still on my third round. Merle just needs to enjoy life a little slower. He's young yet. He'll learn."
"He's a buffoon and damn lucky he's my boy or he'd be just another piss-ass loser, digging ditches or cut'n logs," H.B. exclaimed, then spit a dark stream of tobacco juice into an empty glass beside his fresh drink.
"I ain't drunk, ya bastards. I'm fine an I'll prove it." Merle said, spraying spittle on his companions before shooting down the remainder of his drink. "I'm gonna dance to whatever the hell this shit-ass music is," he said as he stood, ran his fingers through is dark brown hair and tugged down his vest. He turned toward the dance floor. A significant list to the right drove him into several patrons as he made his way through the crowd.
"I swear his momma done slept with the damn stable boy. There's no way that damn idiot is mine," H.B. said as he watched the drunken man make his way through the room.
"I'm gonna have to side with Mrs. O this time. He looks just like ya, H.B. Right down to yer dark hair and red beard. It's kinda tough to get that combination," Isaiah said as he sipped his bourbon and slipped a wink to a passing barmaid.
"Damnit Isaiah, let me enjoy my damn fantasies," H.B. growled. "Why couldn't he be more like you? You're level headed. Ya have a strong back. Ya even have an I.Q. higher than a damn chicken."
"Can't answer that H.B. Ya do love him, even though he is a chicken...hen mind ya, not the rooster variety."
The older Overton sighed. "Shut-up, Isaiah and go find me something to relieve my tensions. Preferably something with cocoa skin, a firm ass and big tits."
Isaiah stood, finished off his third round, picked up his waiting drink, and started toward the door of the lobby.
"And make sure she's young and pretty," H.B. said. "No need to waste the night on plain old ugly."
"I agree, sir," Isaiah replied as he pulled the lounge door open.