Sunshine alley led to Peg Leg's through a break in the old wood fence Nuni had rigged to her trailer. It was my sneaky entrance. Nuni couldn't tell if I was coming or going these days and she hadn't noticed I am with boyfriend now. Sweet Lucky Brown. What a cat. Jazz flowed from his fingers and he was only 38, not too old. He was good licks for me. Good Licks.
Grease wafted around every crevice in the bar. Sailors’ perfume. The mussels were steeped in a buttery garlic soup, the grouper was thick and white, raw oysters were eaten no matter the month and we didn't care if we got sick. Oysters were worth it. Made your tail stand on end. For most of the night.
Some of the patrons could no longer leap from the barstools like they used to. And they were shedding something fierce. Fleas were fat. Old cats hanging out, just looking for a place to retire and be left alone.
Sweet Lucky tuned up. I lit a smoke with my last match and blew right at him. He smiled, his tongue curled up and licked his mustache. I made a gesture for him to roll it back in. He laughed that deep, large Brown laugh. Sweet Lucky began to play. Time decided to take a nap.
The breeze came in to dance and carry the notes up and away, around and down, in and out. Fur started getting attention. Prickling first, one pore at a time, then the stroking. Tomcats sauntered in, some real well fed, some without a home. Didn't matter in the full moonlight, in the deep dark night.
Soft angel kitties strolled in with their white shirts and shorts, their perfect manicured coats of brown and blond. Young and old the males took a whiff. Sideways eyes longed, large wide pupils devoured, small tired ol’ girls went into the back to lick their wounds and their baggy old skin.
“Shots!” they hissed.
Beer buzz settled down the crowd so Lucky could work some good ol Brown on ‘em. I loved to watch the way it would settle and stir all at the same time, like hot steamed milk in a Cuban coffee. Jorge sauntered up to me, like he always does. I warned him not to put a paw on me. I was done with his inexperienced little baby ass and on to someone with style. I nodded to my new fence jumper. The cigarette in the corner of his mouth stuck to his bottom lip as he gave me a wink.
My eyes adjusted to the dark, following Jorge as he left with his tail between his legs. His fault. Tomcatting around all the time. I got me a man now. Grown and cool.
I watched a long tiger lift her leg to a stool, painted toes and thick black hair piled on her head and trailing out a perfect pony tail. I thought about her, looking at Lucky. Ha. He wouldn’t—Hey!
Lucky Brown! You best not even glance at that she-cat devil girl! You gonna miss this tail! It was too late. Her back swung around and she bent over real slow.
Notes made water in the hot wet air of July. Peg Leg's was losing its appeal.
My tears flung like pearls cascading into Nuni's red solo cup full of beer.
“Such a puss! You're messing my beer up. You know what Nuni says. Nothing but a bunch of Tomcats on this island baby, nothing but a bunch of Toms.”