A dirty story of true jazz
January 6th, 1987. I remember the date very well. What I need is just to forget it! On that bloody night I nearly ran the risk (oh, me the fibber!) of going to please Old Nick’s pointed ears with my idle chattering.
Well, it was January 6th, 1987. It was the Twelfth Night. Much to my surprise, that bitch I had shared my last eight years with had suddenly decided to get married, like a good Christian, to a motherfucker millionaire, only to let me destroyed, to say the least. Oh, it was her fucking business!
Me? Just to remain faithful to the popular saying “An Opportunity Missed is an Opportunity Lost” –I can tell you! If a lost opportunity can be referred to women, it has to work for men as well– I was losing myself into a stream of dirty glasses of Jack Daniel’s, the bad guys’ whiskey, while a shower of heavenly notes, coming from a shiny tenor saxophone, was creeping, like a powerful drug, into the countless folds of my brain.
The night was going fine and smooth, the rhythm of music was almost convulsively moving my hand, busy at wasting ink in the vain attempt of finishing a short long story I had begun months before… or was it a long short story? –never got the difference.
Good Gianni Cazzola on drums was playing steadily, but not too loudly, as ever charismatic and low-key, after all. Piano, bass, and trumpet, all of them were doing their job all right, more than fairly.
But it was that fucking saxophone player who was taking the lead. He was blowing and blowing and blowing as if he wanted to inflate, with the only power of his lungs, a Zeppelin airship. He had managed to put everything in his 15-minute-long number, from a night in Tunisia to tenor madness, –don’t worry, nothing to do with Pavarotti– from salt peanuts to blue train, and much more. After a troubled final section “…Today, maybe for the last time, I will start my day looking at the world through the bottom of a glass… and may Woody Allen help me!” I had written the words The and End at the bottom of the work of art. Happy with that –I really couldn’t stand it any more– I was trying, and easily succeeding in convincing the most moderate part of myself, certainly the weakest, to celebrate with the umpteenth glass of Jack Daniel’s, when a blast of gunshots were fired at the door of the club.
At first it occurred to me that some idiot must have blown the rest of the fireworks he had not used for the latest New Year’s Eve.
Nay. It was six, and when I say six I mean six, bandits with their heads (I should say their dickheads) masked with nylon stockings, worn as ghostly rubbers.
Suddenly the music, the whiskey, the chattering, and the laughing were over. Over the jazz, and everything. Only fear, inside and outside.
Guns were produced, watch bracelets unfastened, necklaces pulled out, rings slipped off, glasses shattered, chairs tilted, and next wild screams, On The Ground!, Face Down!, shots at the ceiling and, in a few minutes, all was ruin as after a tornado.
Only broken words in my throat and semolina pie for toothless mouths inside my legs. Then only rage and a hysterical laugh. Those six panty-hosed assholes thought they had stolen something from me… but they had given me a great story to tell, instead.
Translation by Michele Curatolo (edited by Chiara Canova and Robert Mardle)