End of part 2
He paid for the drink and gave me a generous tip. Surprised, I thanked him, wished him luck and moved along to my next table. He seemed so quiet and reserved. I couldn’t help wondering what he was going to sing. He didn’t strike me as a guy who would get up and make a spectacle of himself. Not that they were paying close attention to the singers. Most were too busy talking, looking at the books, and figuring out what they were going to sing to care about the person on stage.
I wasn’t a big fan of Karaoke. However, the host, Rick Dawson, owned the business and was a talented singer. He had a great sound system that Karaoke junkies liked. His equipment was state-of-the-art. He had been around a long time and took pride in his shows. Rick dressed impeccably and always worked with a female co-host. That night, he had a new girl with him. Alicia was a tall thin blond with an incredible voice. They were both excellent performers, worked well together and knew how to please their audience. His following of exceptional singers from all walks of life included teachers, bankers, accountants, machinists, secretaries, hairdressers, lawyers, and even a Superior Court judge.
The second round began with Rick singing his signature song, ‘My Way.’ Alicia followed him with Whitney Houston’s ‘I Will Always Love You.’ After that, everything became a blur to me as I scurried from table to table and tried to keep my thirsty patrons satisfied.
“Oh, Miss,” they yelled above the music. “Can we have another round over here?”
“Could I have a cup of coffee, when you get a minute, please?”
“Two Diet Cokes and a ginger ale for us, Miss.”
“Waitress, did you forget my beer?”
They had me hopping. I brought another Bud Light to my mysterious customer in the corner. He was still browsing through the book, and again tipped me well. I commented that I had not yet heard him sing. I thought maybe he changed his mind or needed more beer before he could get up enough nerve. He gave me that same smile. I walked away curious but too tired and busy to give it more thought.
As the round progressed, I paid little attention to the performers. Most of them showed up at Maxine’s every Sunday night. Grace, a sweet older woman with a lovely voice, sang ‘My Heart Will Go On’ from the Titanic. Richard, another regular and Maxine’s resident country singer, belted out ‘Friends In Low Places.’ The audience loved him, even if they didn’t like country.
On my way back to the bar, I heard Rick call up someone named Johnny to sing. I didn’t see him rise from his seat in the corner and walk up to the stage. Joelle, the other waitress, walked by and nudged me.
“Sara, look, it’s your mystery man,” she said, giggling.
Pointing to the stage, Joelle said, “The new guy. He’s Johnny.”
“Johnny?” I asked, having no idea who she meant.
When I turned around, I saw my customer standing in the middle of the stage with both hands wrapped around the remote microphone. He jumped off the small square platform onto the parquet floor, twisting and gyrating his hips as the music to Y.M.C.A. boomed out of the speakers. He began to sing. His energy snapped the crowd to attention. They loved him! The audience threw their arms in the air spelling out each letter as they sang with him. “Y-M-C-A. It’s fun to be at the Y-M-C-A.” The women clapped, screamed, and danced around the tables. Rick and Alicia stood on the sidelines, amazed at what they saw.
When it was over, girls were yelling, “Go Johnny.” Some women whistled as he left the stage. Rick thanked him and tried to quiet everyone down. I felt sorry for whoever had to follow that act.
“And I thought he was a typical Karaoke singer,” I said to Joelle. “Instead, he turns out to be Johnny, the unbelievable. Have you ever seen anything like that?”
“Yes. Be careful of him,” she warned. “Guys like him are dangerous.”
“Johnny, dangerous? I doubt it,” I said, laughing.
“Mark my words,” she said. “That man reeks of danger.”
© 2016, Lina Rehal. All rights reserved.
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