Can’t rightly say why I tended to come back to this place. It was a place where I like to go, despite how it makes me feel. The dim lit locale has this wonderful bar, brass and gold with dark velvet and a big old tree surface. You can see how time of service had broken into the surface. Like this bar had its own story, its own scars and love marks. My glass of red wine was set down in front of me. The bartender looked at me, his eyes asking “Anything else?” My shake told him “No, I’m good”. I took a sip, felt relaxation settling into my weary body and bones. My mind started that journey where it probed outside my own personal sphere, drinking greedily from everything out of the surroundings. Was this the place that would help me find out the perfect murder mystery? The next great big title? Hmm, I looked around.
Don’t ask me why I picked this place to begin with. The music? Perhaps. The black guy standing on the small stage is moving perfectly to a rhythm building up. Bass and drums and then a piano slowly build up a slow heavy rhythm. It’s fucking perfect. So, I take up my notebook, take my pen out and start by writing a big fucking question mark as the starting point for my new book. A murder mystery about a…? Something something that gets killed by a…. thingy majong? Yeah, questions. The guy makes a few noises in the microphone and I know I will lose my concentration. He is hmm:ing in that way only someone really good do.
Recall that I said this place, I don’t know why I picked it? Double that hesitation as to why I’m such a masochist. The guy takes a few topics from the audience and then starts. This MC is rapping like a submachine gun with just a few lines and the flow of words that builds up to the slow rhythm, makes my own efforts look like that of an ant tying to move a leaf as on stage. Like a bull rushing up against the misery, the injustice and how it is to be black in today’s society. I sigh, take another sip, my head moves in that white way, but fuck that. This is so good I just sit and listen. I bite back my thoughts about not being privileged as the words hits a nerve. It’s a consideration of where you are standing when you are saying it. We all look up, and nobody likes being called privileged. It takes away our own struggle, and it makes a mockery of our own misfortunes and more so, our achievements. But here? It’s not the time nor the place to bitch about it. I just enjoy the stream of words complimenting the music.
I look down at my notepad, I have written a few things. Black detective. A singer. A club. All generic and so cliché. I sigh. I also have a big ‘DOUBT’ written at the side. Can I, as a white guy, write about a black detective? I want to. The guy on stage would be my mental image. He looks fit, he is quick and he laughs and still he moves in a powerful way. Probably a boxer, maybe martial artist. He catches enough eyes of the women on the dance floor to fit in the generic role model of a detective. So, is the generic really ready for yet another detective story?
A quick search on Amazon gives me the answer and I toss away the paper with notes. I order more wine, and some peanuts – please. It’s all there, like magic. I make a note to tip well. The guy on stage leaves to applause and people calling out loudly just how good he were. A woman comes out from the room behind the scene. She hugs the guy, steps up to the mic and nods to the drummer, who starts another rhythm. Harder, harsher and angrier. More aggressive, and he hit’s the cymbals with a frenzy. The woman bites in. No words from the crowd, no help. She just bites away, and I put down my pen again. This time I feel shame creeping up from the floor, clings to my leg and slowly claws its way up to take a cold grip of my scalp. So being white is not bad enough. I had to be a man too. I sigh and my character is a strong small woman who is strong and… Another paper flies through the air. I look at the red wine, it’s almost empty. Again? Shit, I know why all characters are white, drunk and miserable now. They are the ego of me, the author. And me the author is like a magnet. Attracting thoughts from the surroundings. It’s just that some things, I simply can’t write down, some things are worse than how I can phrase it. I try to take look at my self in the mirror. I see nothing. I try to open, but I have no filters. It’s all or nothing, and this night? This night, it’s too much. Some things… some things, are just the way they are. The newspapers and Twitter makes you consider suicide at least twenty times before I even consider to write another book, another tweet or even updating your Facebook page. Fuck it. I’m just filled with doubt and having that sensitive vibe going.
I shut my note-book, orders a whisky and the guy gives me a wry grin. It’s not an unusual ritual.
“Having a rough night John?” He asks with a smile and pours me a triple, cheap blend with ice and a small lemon twist and a coke on the side.
“Yeah, every night Damon” I say and nods my thanks. “Shit is real and stuff you know.” I say.
“Yeah, I hear you bro” he says and scopes up the money I laid down for the drinks.
As he reaches for the change in the cash register, I stop him with a gesture.
“We’re good Damon” I say with a thankful nod and sips my abhorrent whisky, that would probably make a Scottish distillery worker cry. I know Damon charged me a single anyway, so a healthy tip is alright.
I turn around and another guy comes up on stage. Same little ritual: he hugs the woman, gives the drummer a nod and a slower heavy beat is starting. He starts slowly, forcefully and build up as the other instruments fill in the void. His voice gives place to the music and goes back to small rhymes, some short lines and the music is tripping all over the place. I do that white man digging again, but with a grin. So fuck ‘em, I like this shit. It’s good and I don’t have to solve the biggest mystery for a detective story tonight, what the fuck to write. Tonight, I just know that music killed the inspiration for murder.