A night at the bar…

This is by John W. Vinson (John The Wysard) on alt.callahans.

One evening the Place (Callahans) was as lively as usual, all sorts of conversations, laughter, and toasts going on. The door opened and five young men came in together; even in the Place they got some second glances, because they were wearing colorful, exotic looking Eastern European party garb. One of them came up to Mike, introduced himself as Ilye Constantinescu, and asked if he and his band could play a couple of numbers.

Fast Eddie and Jake weren’t in that evening, and the stage was vacant; Mike agreed readily. The band members went back out to the parking lot and returned, bearing bouzoukis, Macedonian bagpipes, tambouras, shawms and other less readily recognizable instruments (and not a pickup or cable connector amongst them). Quickly setting up and tuning, they launched into an energetic, rhythmically compelling dance tune, then another and another. The conversations came to a halt as patrons listened in fascination to the intriguing harmonies, and several folx got cramped feet trying to tap time to the 17/8 rhythm of one particularly lively number. There was enthusiastic applause at the end of the set.

Finally, the bandleader came to the front of the stage to address a proposal to the bartender. “We’d love to come once a week and play, if you’ll be kind enough to have us. And we won’t even charge much — all we ask is twenty-five cents per number played, plus whatever tips our poor efforts elicit from your kind and generous patrons!”

At this, Mike (who had been grinning and tapping his feet along with the rest) turned beet red and glowered. “Okay! Pack up those instruments and git outta here! We don’t want your kind around here!” he roared. Shocked, the musicians obeyed, fumbling in their haste.

John the Wysard, amazed at this turn of affairs, hesitantly asked, “Mike, you seemed to like the music, and they seem like nice guys… What’s up!?”

The barkeep replied, “John, you know we run a respectable place here. I just won’t put up with two-bit Horas in here!”

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