Volume II, Issue III Autumn 2003

Mortification Blues

This article originally published in THE BRIDGE Illustrated.

The Loma Alta Brass Band wound up the practice session, and Trombone Butch pulled his mouthpiece from his horn and announced nonchalantly: "You know, fellas, they got a 'Ladies Night' goin' on down at the 101 Club, where they hire in some male strippers to dance for all the gals."

Ellis laid his tuba down and said, "Do tell?"

Clete packed up his clarinet and surmised, "Betcha that's one hell of a wild crowd."

Butch rubbed his sleeve on his horn, picked up his plunger mute and said, "I'll tell you what: those girls come outta that place after a night of stuffin' dollar bills down those hot shots' crotches, and they are Hot to Trot with a capital 'H' an' a capital 'T'."

Bob growled out ten notes of the melody to Gershwin's "Summertime" on his tenor sax then said, "I think we oughta to go down there and check it out; it's gettin' to be, if I'm not mistaken, 'bout closin' time."

They sat in Clete's sedan in a dark corner of the parking lot as the ladies – giddy and high-stung, laughing too loud, stumbling with the accumulated liquor – poured out of the club.

"What do you say, Bob," Butch queried the most enthusiastic of his companions, "that we head on out there and try to cut us one outta the herd?"

Bob said, "Yeah," with feeling, opened the door, but he shut it right back up again when he saw his wife Glenda out in the herd he'd meant to cut into.

"Is that...?" asked Clete before Ellis gave him an elbow.

"Jesus," said Butch, "It is, isn't it."

"She told me," Bob whined, feeling the weight of a heavy mortification lean in, "she was goin' to a Tupperware party."

Mortification's lean got too heavy when Glenda, standing at the passenger door of her girlfriend's Hyundai awaiting the unlocking of the door, extracted a pair of men's still-steaming briefs from her purse, clamped them between her teeth and shook her head and growled like a dog with a rat.

Ellis burst out laughing, and Clete and Butch snickered and snorted as they attempted to conceal their amusement, and Bob bellowed wordlessly, burst from the car, lunged across the parking lot and knocked Glenda unconscious with a big right hand, bringing Glenda's girlfriend Gabrielle out from behind the wheel to mace Bob into submission. Then she tugged Glenda into the passenger seat and jumped back behind the wheel and ran over the writhing Bob on her exit from the parking lot.

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