Lorraine spent a whirlwind day shopping for her country music debut later that night. It was so hard to decide what clothing would work best for this audience. Her previous singing experience had been with the Asheville Choral Society singing classical music. The whole chorus dressed in sober black with the idea that they would all be uniform. Tonight she needed to stand out and look extra sassy. Eileen Fisher would certainly not do.
After combing through the shops, she settled on a cute, revealing top, a high/low skirt and a glittery camisole. Your favorite purchases, though, were a cowboy hat (to cover the mess that was her hair) and high-heel cowboy boots. She had just enough time to go to a nail salon and get some gels. She was nervous but ready!
The hour arrived and she called an Uber to take her to the club. She didn’t trust herself to drive, especially without her glasses on. She hated wearing her glasses in general because they made her look dowdy, but there was no way she would wear them on stage, and her false eyelashes were so long that she couldn’t wear them regardless.
She was met at the door of the Bluebird Cafe by Big Jimmy. “You ready to knock ‘em dead?” he asked.
Lorraine thought of all those dogs and people who were dying from Covid, and thought perhaps that was an inappropriate choice of words, but she wouldn’t rain on her own parade. “I am ready!” she crowed.
Big Jimmy took her by the elbow after she walked into the wall and nearly fell over. “These pesky heels! I’m just not used to walking in anything but flats!” Lorraine tried, rubbing her head where she had hit it.
He lead her into the dressing room back stage, instructed her to make herself comfortable and help herself to refreshments. “I’ll come and git you when it’s your time to come on stage!”
Lorraine explored the dressing room and located a stocked bar and fixed herself a stiff Bourbon. She settled into a comfy armchair and must have dozed off because it seemed only a few seconds before Big Jimmy was shaking her shoulder and urging her to get her shit together. “You’re on next, sister!”
He lead her unsteadily backstage and she could hear the announcer introducing her. “Straight from Black Mountain, North Carolina, making her stage debut, here is Luscious Lorraine!”
“Luscious, indeed,” she thought.
The crowd was clapping and whistling and she danced onto the stage, a portable mic in hand.
She launched into her song, “Stand by Your Man!” and did what she considered a good job on the song. As she sang, she remembered moments with El Chapo in Mexico, and then she vaguely remembered earlier times with Frederick. She was inspired. She was on fire!
She looked out into the audience and saw the bright faces of the audience and smiled wide as she belted out the song. When she finished, the crowd roared. She took a bow and tottered off the stage.
Big Jimmy was waiting for her and gave her a hug before leading her to the dressing room to unwind. “So, how do you think I did? The audience seemed to love me,” Lorraine asked.
“Ur, well, yeah!” Big Jimmy responded hesitantly.
“There was a big crowd tonight!” said Lorraine.
“Well, actually, because of Covid, there was no one in the audience.”
“NO!” yelled Lorraine. “I could see their faces and hear their applause”
Those were pictures of people we taped to the seats. And the applause was a recording. Still, you did a bang up job, Sweetheart!”