Blogger apologies: my old laptop went tits-up again, so I am far behind in my posting and in reading yours. It's not because I don't love you, whatever those other bloggers might say.
Mr. Billy and I are snug into bed; it's already well past my bedtime, and I'm reeling from a beer and two glasses of wine downed at a friend's book party at City Lights (yes, I'm a cheap date).
My head settles in to sleep, street sounds drifting in through the window. There's a party going down in the neighborhood, but I'm working it into my dreams, people laughing and talking, cars passing by, it's all good, already looping dreamishly, but then someone brings out a guitar.
I groan. "Someone out there with a guitar and a mouth," I say to Mr. Billy. He's still awake, I can tell from the quiet breaths, controlled shifting under the covers.
We turn over, in opposite directions, burrowing into the pillows. The song follows, stealing into my consciousness.
"Hey," I lift my head, "I know that song. It's the Heart of Saturday Night."
"Hunh?" Maybe Mr. Billy wasn't as wakeful as I'd thought.
"Tom Waits song." It was that Waitsian couplet that tipped me off, Tell me is the crack of the poolballs, neon buzzin?/Telephone's ringin'; it's your second cousin, I'm listening now for the next stanza.
"Maybe it is Tom Waits."
I start to laugh, but stop right away. It's plausible. Tom Waits used to live in this neighborhood. His favorite café is just down the street.
I'm sitting up in bed now, straining to hear. It doesn't really sound like him, but sound distorts traveling across a street, through window glass. It could be Tom Waits. I get up and put on my glasses, moving from window to window. The party's in the house that's obscured by a blossoming tree. I can't tell.
Mr. Billy's up now, too. He's opening the kitchen window and putting his head out. I'm out on the back lanai.
"It's a woman singing now."
We get back into bed.
"It could have been him."
We turn over, in opposite directions, punching at the pillows. We're quiet for a moment.
"What if it is him?" I say, then close my mouth. We should go to sleep.
They're singing up a storm at that party.
Mr. Billy gets up, and starts getting dressed.
"I'll call you if it's him," he says, heading out the door. I love Mr. Billy.
He's back in ten minutes.
"A bunch of hippies. And a cellist."
Maybe it's the Kronos Quartet, I think. They live in this neighborhood.
I don't say anything.