Chapter 14 – Part 2. The Old Man Met Joe’s Father
Joe decided Sam was nuts. He started to get up when Sam touched his arm, “You want to hear about Joe and the Flamingo’s then keep your itchy ass in the seat. You young people got to show more respect and patience.”
Joe forced a smile, “Go on, Sam. I’m listening.”
“All right. I had to give you the background stuff. You don’t know nothing until you know context. Maybe I didn’t go to college, but I graduated from the school of getting knocked down and getting back up. Yes sir. I graduated with honors from that place.”
“What about Kenny?” Joe prodded.
“I was just getting to that. You gonna drink your coffee? You only took a sip. If you’re not going to drink slide it on over.”
Joe slid the worst tasting coffee he ever tasted in his life across the booth to Sam. Sam took a sip and said, “Man, this is strong. It’s going put hair on my chest, not that I need any more. I like it. You don’t know what you’re missing, son. The guy next to me happens to be Kenny. I say, “Kenny?” He turns a bit sideways, you know you can’t turn full sideways when you’re at the urinals it’s against urinal protocol. That’s another rule. Anyway, Kenny goes, “Kiss my ass if it isn’t Sam Fidler.”
Joe made a mental note of Sam’s last name and was going to text it to Jody. It is one piece of information.
“Well Kenny and me, we go way back. Kenny invites me to have a drink at a bar down the street. We have a beer and talk over old times. He tells me he’s working with Merle. Can you beat that. Kenny Langoff, who can’t tell up from down, got himself a job working sound for the king of singers, Merle Haggard. He tells me he has to work sound for this other group, the Flamingos. They were a warm up act for Merle. He said the lead guitarist and singer, his name was Joe something or other. I think it ended in a vowel. It was some kind of foreign name like Mexican or Italian. I can’t tell the difference. I got nothing against them, I like their food.”
“What did Lenny tell you about Joe?” Joe prodded again.
“I tell you, I didn’t like this guy from the second I seen him. The damn fool was wearing sneakers instead of cowboy boots. Do I have to same more?”
Joe shook his head.
“Besides, he couldn’t hit the right note if it stood right in front of him. His mama must have been the one told him he could sing, because he’d scare a cat off the fence at midnight with what come out of his mouth. There was this girl, now she was a looker. She was pure country. She was poured into her jeans and was wearing real cowboy boots, she looked mighty fine with her blonde hair and all. She could sing. She sounded a little bit Patsy Cline and a little bit like Tanya Tucker. I could tell she and Joe were together, the way they looked at each other. Joe could play the guitar okay, but he was no Merle, no sir. The other guitarist was fair at best. He played like he smoked one too many of them funny cigarettes. Now, the drummer, he was the only one with any real talent. He’d whack away on the drums trying to give whatever they was doing a good beat. You could tell he was frustrated.”
Joe glanced at the time on his iPhone.
Sam noticed and said, “That’s the trouble with young people, you’re always in a rush and miss out on life. It’s the last time I’m gonna tell you to take the ants out of your pants. Don’t make me lose my place. Kenny was telling me that Joe wanted Kenny to get him some cocaine for the Flamingos. Kenny told him to find somebody else. He don’t do drugs. Kenny, he’s a straight shooter. He tells Joe to find another sound man. Joe pleaded with Kenny to do the sound. Kenny said he’d do it but he’d need help, it’d cost an extra fifty dollars. That was me. That’s how I got to shake Joe Flamingo’s hand. I never seen him again.”
Joe said, “Thanks.” He offered his hand and stood up.