Saturday, December 27, 2014

The March, Chapter 63: Happy Endings

Let’s dance!

On the night of Rosie’s big gig at Lobo, Fred walked into the office at The March to pick up his new staff shirt.   He was going to work the door for a month or so and then Caleb would put him behind the bar.  They figured he’d have learned the ropes enough to be a fully functioning assistant manager within a couple months.   Mary was sitting at the desk doing paperwork.  When Fred walked in, he grinned at her. “I guess I’m just getting started while you’re on the way out.”

“Fuckin A, Fred,” said Mary. “This is what you want to do?”

“This is what I want to do,” he agreed.

“Well, shit,” she said  “I think that’s genuinely fucking awesome.”

And that’s when Fred kissed her. 

(This, too, was totally romantic.)

They headed out together, holding hands no less, to Lobo. The March staff all planned to show up and support Rosie on her big night.

When Fred and Mary got there, they found Will and Brooke sitting at a table with Gio and Celia.  They joined them and ordered beers and shots.  They crowded around a small table, playing Thumper, laughing, and ignoring or enjoying the stink eye shot their way from the cool club kids.
On her way back from a trip to the ladies’, Brooke passed Tré, sitting alone at the bar, sipping a glass of water.  Even his hair looked deflated.

“Tré!” said Brooke, giving him a hug.  “Why are you sitting here by yourself?  Come sit with us!  We’re acting like idiots.  You’d love it.”

“Oh, no thanks, Brooke,” said Tré.  “I’m just here to see Rosie and then I’m on my way home.”

“Why not,” she asked, sitting down next to him.  “We’d love for you to join us!  All of us would.”

“Shit, Brooke,” said Tré, too exhausted for subterfuge  “I don’t have any money to buy rounds.  I’m days away from getting kicked out of my apartment.  I don’t have a job.  And Rosie hates me.  I’m just too depressed to be around people.  But I really wanted to see Rosie do her thing before I left.”

“Rosie doesn’t hate you,” said Brooke.  “She cares about you very much.  And if you come sit with us, we’ll cheer you up.  And don’t worry about buying rounds.  No one cares about that.”

“I care about that,” said Tré.  “I’m just … just terrible fucking company, Brooke.  Go back to your friends and have fun.”

“You’re my friend” said Brooke.  “And I don’t want you to sit here alone being miserable.  Please come sit with… Oh!  I have a great idea!”

“What,” said Tré.

“You should move in with me!” she said.  “Celia practically lives with Gio and I have an extra bedroom and the rent is next to nothing.  We can float you until you get on your feet.  It’s perfect.”

“Brooke,” Tré smiled.  “I can’t live with you and not pay rent.

“Why the hell not,” said Brooke.  “I have a free room and you’re a nice person.  And I remember how you backed my recycling plan.  It’s the best thing I’ve done and I have you to thank for it.  Listen, Tré.  Just do it!”

He was quiet.”

“As for Rosie,” said Brooke letting him think about the apartment deal.   “You know she doesn’t hate you.  She’s just scared about New York.”

Tré stayed quiet, but something inside of him seemed to ease.

Brooke reached over and took Tré’s hand.  “Tré,” she said.  “Come on.”

He was silent a moment longer, looking down at his sad glass of water.  Sometimes you just have to say ‘yes.’  He smiled at Brooke and squeezed her hand back.  “OK, Brooke,” he said. “Thank you.”

Brooke hugged him hard and then took his hand and led him back to the table.

“Look who I found,” she said, announcing him.

“Tré!” shouted the table.

“We’re playing fucking Thumper,” said Mary. “Like a bunch of dumbasses.”

“You are dumbasses,” said Tré, squeezing in.  “Has anyone taken the black power sign?  That’s always mine.”

“Jagermeister for you,” said Fred, putting a shot in front of him. “And a Heineken.  You have some catching up to do.”

Before too much longer it was midnight and the DJ announced, “We have a special guest tonight.  Ladies and Gentlemen… Rosie.”

The club chatter only died down after about 45 seconds without music.  And when the crowd stopped chatting, the place grew silent, and the silence began to linger.  Tré knew this trick, but still, he began to feel nervous.  Where was Rosie?  The atmosphere thickened in confusion and anticipation.  And just as it seemed that the silence would reach its breaking point, Rosie entered.

She stood up on the DJ platform, somehow managing to look spotlit.  She was wearing a strapless black leotard, fishnets and thigh high boots.  She’d cut off her long flaxen hair and it haloed around her head in blonde, punky spikes.  Her lips were red.  Behind her, the music began to swell with a familiar “ahhh-ahhh-ahhh- ahhh.” Rosie threw her arms in the air and turned slowly around.  Her back was tattooed with a succulent, blood red apple; a yellow snake wrapped around it, its mouth open, just prepared to take a bite. Rosie leaned into the microphone and said, “All right, Chicago.  Let’s get this shit started.”

LL Cool J boomed out of the speakers, and demanded, “Don’t call it a comeback.”  And as Mama Said Knock You Out filled the room, Lobo exploded in delight.

The night before the whole city had celebrated the Bulls victory.  Tonight, the people who’d served them drinks and cleaned up after them, celebrated Rosie’s.  She was off to New York the very next day.

And the March crew?  They danced all night.