TWO SOULS: INTO THE FIRE
Steve's heart skipped a beat. "Oh, God, Ghost...how can I even do this?" he asked, beginning to panic. "This isn't how it's supposed to be."
They stayed there in the doorway only a couple minutes more, but it felt like an eternity. The crowd was waiting, and they'd worked so hard for this night to be successful. Hand in hand, they walked to the stage.
At the bar, Kinsey felt it, too. He'd been watching the people coming in, and every time the door swung open, he jumped, thinking it might be the woman from Disneyland...Steve's long lost sister...and, then it was. He saw her come in...definitely her.
She looked around, as she made her way up to the bar. Smiling, she said, "Hello, Kinsey, remember me?"
Kinsey nodded, "Yes, Linda, I remember. How have you been? Can I get you a drink?"
"Yes, a beer will be fine," Linda said, getting out her billfold.
"Uh-uh, it's on the house," Kinsey said, as he set the glass beer mug in front of her.
"I had to come..." she said. "I have to see Steve again, it's been so long. That day, when you recognized me there, I was shocked. I knew it was you, but I was scared. Scared that I'd been found...so I denied everything, you know..." she trailed off, remembering.
Kinsey nodded, "Yes, I figured as much. I'm glad you did come; it's for the best. It will be fine, don't worry."
"Did you mention me to Steve?" Linda asked.
"Yes, and he feels the same as you. Excited to see you, but nervous too, of course."
Linda was confused. "He knew I'd be here tonight? How? I didn't even know until yesterday."
Kinsey cleared his throat, then said, "Ghost knew...he had to say something...Steve could tell he was sensing something."
"Ghost? Who's that? And, why would this person know of me?"
Kinsey rubbed his face...so much to tell, and this wasn't the place, and definitely not his place, to tell it. "How did you know to come here tonight?" he asked. "Was it because of the show, or just a coincident? Why now?"
Linda shrugged. "I don't know...but, after I saw you at Disneyland, I couldn't stop thinking of Steve...of Missing Mile. I'd decided to come out here soon, but then I saw a flyer for the band, and remembered you saying something about Steve and a band, here in my home town. I'd not given this town much thought in many years. The flyer caught my attention, so I decided to just do it, just make a trip out here, now."
"Wait...wait..." Kinsey frowned. "You saw a flyer for Lost Souls out there in California...for tonight's show?" Now he was confused.
"Yes, it was in a coffee shop I go to...why?"
"Oh my God...Maxey..." Kinsey said.
"You know him?" Linda asked, surprised. "He plays the coffee shop circuit, these days. He used to be a big shot or something, awhile back, so I heard. What's he got to do with Steve?"
Kinsey took a deep breath. "Listen, Linda, there's so much to catch up on, and you and Steve need to talk...but not at this time, and it's not for me to tell. I hope you understand? For right now, please...just enjoy watching your brother's show. He's a hard worker. We've had our troubles, but he's a good kid. Get to know him, again."
"Yes, I'm sorry. I know you're working. I'll enjoy the music, and talk to Steve, after," Linda said.
"Here, let me get you a table, so you can be comfortable," Kinsey said. "Let me know if you want another drink." He led the way over to a prime table for watching, but was out of the way of the dancing kids.
"Hey, you kids...clear out...the lady wants the table," Kinsey said to the kids sitting there.
"Sure thing, Kinsey," they said, as they got up to find another table.
"No, it's ok, Kinsey...let them stay."
"There's no problem, Linda...they're local kids...we're tight." He left her there, as he went back to work, and saw that Lost Souls were about to take the stage.
He did a double take, as he saw what Ghost was wearing, now that he got a good look at him. He chuckled, thinking you just never know with that one. Looking over at Linda, he saw she had her hand up over her mouth, and was tearing up. Following her gaze, he could tell that Steve, up on the stage, was in full alert mode...eyes scanning the crowd.
Then it began...Lost Souls were back. There was a rush to the dance floor, and the house lights went down, leaving the spotlights trained on Ghost and Steve. For a small club, in a small town, this seemed more exciting than any big arena show could ever be. Then there was Ghost...making an announcement?
"Hey y'all," Ghost spoke into the stand up mic. "Thanks for coming to the Yew, tonight." He paused a second, while the crowd cheered. "We want to dedicate this here show to Kinsey. Y'all know him...he runs this place, and he's a nice guy...unless ya do something stupid...then he'll run you out." He waited, while the crowd laughed.
"And, we want to dedicate this here show to Terry, too. He's our drummer." Ghost turned toward Terry. He's a good guy, too, 'cause he lets ya listen to records over at the Whirling Disc, and then he sells them to ya. So, let's hear it for Kinsey and Terry, y'all," he shouted.
Both Kinsey and Terry were surprised at this. They had no idea, and were touched by the recognition.
"Ok," Ghost said. "We're gonna start, but when we're done, y'all buy our stuff. We have the new CD, with a lotta songs on it, and a book me and Steve did, about ghosts." He beamed with pride. Nodding at Steve, he said, "Let's do it."
Steve played the intro to *"Amie", and Ghost's golden vocals soared, putting the crowd into a frenzy. They went into the next two songs, working the stage with no let up, pausing only for a few seconds to take huge gulps of ice cold water. The next song was pretty rocking, too, and by the end, Ghost had to take off his scarf, to mop his sweaty face. Then off came his boots, leaving him bare footed. Steve was surprised, that Ghost had no socks on to hide his missing toe. He laughed, as Ghost kept on singing.
After the next song, Ghost signaled Steve, Terry, and R. J. to stop playing. Looking out at their fans, he said, "Ok, y'all...I'm so damn hot up here, I think I'm gonna die." Everyone laughed, because they were all feeling the same.
"So, we're gonna slow these here songs down a little, so we can kinda cool off, ok?" Everyone hollered "Yeah."
"Kinsey, can you open the door, so we can get some cool air...please?" Ghost said, looking over at him.
"Sure, guys, no problem," Kinsey said, going to open the heavy, carved front door.
"Ahhh, thanks," Ghost said. Steve started playing again, and this was the start of their new songs...slower, and more meaningful than ever, Kinsey knew. The crowd was in transition, too, to a less frantic dance party, and adjusted their dancing accordingly. Then the last two songs, were very slow, and the crowd swayed along, their lighters held up, showing their appreciation for their amazing friends on stage.
As usual, Steve and Ghost interacted with each other, in their own special way, during the songs, and both were in tears as they completely lost themselves to the meaning behind the words. This time, they ended the last song in a way as never before. No one knew if it had been planned that way or not, but Steve and Ghost knew it had not. It was spontaneous, brought about by the extreme emotions of the night.
They ended the last verse, forehead to forehead, and Ghost was moved to put his arms up around Steve's neck, pulling him into a tender, slow kiss. The whole club went silent, watching this intimate moment between them, touched beyond words. They already knew these two were lovers, but sharing in this moment with them, after hearing the words to the songs, well, it was amazing.
Then the spotlight was turned off, and the house lights slowly came up, but only partially, so the place was still dim, with hundreds of tiny lights shining from the ceiling like stars. Ghost whispered into the microphone, "I love you, Steve." And Steve whispered back, "I love you, Ghost." They turned, walking hand in hand off the stage. Terry and R. J. followed, and the crowd was released from their trance. They began cheering, and talking about the show, from first to last, and how incredible it had been. Kinsey announced last call, and drew up beers and cokes for the next hour.
First, though, he went over to see about Linda. He sat there with her for a few minutes, holding her hands, while she cried. "Why haven't I been back here, Kinsey? I've missed so much," she said through her tears.
"I know, Linda, but you are here now. Go...go find your brother. He'll be backstage, waiting, I'm sure." He helped her up, and showed her the way to the backstage area, then went back to the bar.
It was all up to them, now.
*Amie - sung by Pure Prairie League, on the album "Bustin' Out", released 1973, on the RCA label, written by Craig Fuller
Next part coming soon!
Peace, Love, & Writing