He is still trying to figure out if this guy is for real. The dude is so stoned it is hard to get a read on him and Robby is too stoned to conquer the difficulty. He tries to remember what he told the guy. He probably shouldn’t have asked for the twenty bucks upfront.
“Watchout!” Robby had almost tripped over the piano bench.
This guy has more money than brains, Robby thought. He had not questioned his professional guitarist claim. It wasn’t a complete lie, he’d had a good day busking. He wouldn’t have been in the bar otherwise.
He sees a stool in front of him. Robby steps forward and positions himself in front of the it. Slowly he lets the guitar slip off his shoulder and rests his butt against the seat. Taking the instrument out of its canvas bag, he wonders what would a session musician say now. Logistics, something about the logistics of the session.
“Hey dude, how long do we have the place for?”
“As long as we need it.”
“Fifty-fifty right? I get fifty percent of whatever comes out of this.”
The dismissive tone bothers Robby. He fingers a chord and starts randomly picking at the strings, comfort coming from the familiar feel of callus rubbing against the steel windings.
The singer interrupts Robby’s noodling.
“Hey, let’s do a song.”
“Sure. What about ‘Alley Blues’ by Jeff and the Dudes?”
“I don’t know that one.”
Robby goes ahead and starts improvising.
“They took his babe,
Playboy without his bunny,
Alley blues, Alley blu…”
“Hold on, hold on. You’ve got tune that thing.” and then turning towards the microphone, says, “Just warming up, just warming up.”
“Sure thing Jim. Take your time.”
The voice coming from the speakers reminds Robby that there is an engineer in the booth. He turns a peg and plucks the top string a couple of times, then the second. He gives the second peg a random half-turn and runs his thumb across the strings. The singer winces
“It’s my thing. Post-punk experimental garage art-rock.”
“Come on dude, think of this as an audition for a record contract.”
Robby gets the guitar sounding as good as it will with its cheap tired strings. “Post-industrial.”
“Okay, okay. You think you can get a slow 12-bar blues going with that thing? In E?”
“Sure thing Jim.”
Jim makes a sign to the engineer. Tapping the guitar, Robby counts off the beat and starts. The singer jumps in after the turnaround.
“This song’s for you gal, of the flowing hair, and
of the sweet perfume left floating in the air”
The voice is for real. Robby stops playing around and starts playing.