Crusin' with the Count

By: Ben Slackenov
March 2, 2003

i hear the familiar sound of a smoothly tuned V8 pull up outside my apartment
i push apart the mini-blind covering the front window
Just like everyone else, i have to look
In the parking lot sits a pearl white 59 Caddy with the top down
In the black trimmed interior sits my two pals:
Smiley at the wheel
Chubs riding shotgun
Count Basie is blasting out of the high zoot stereo
Like a live band letting loose in a Chicago jook joint
Yeah, them neighbors gotta look, look at all that class
The boys are dressed to kill in their suits with black ties
And the back seat is open, for me and my gal:
Dolly, in her white flowing dress with a pink ribbon in her ebony hair
Dolly and i run out and jump in the car like two kids after school
“Where we headed boys,” i say
“Who cares!” The guys answer
That means up and down the boulevard
Then the beach,
Whither or not, by chance, the guys put an arm around a dame

We’re crusin' with the sweet sounds of Basie
Piano rolls off the man’s fingers like dollies locks through my hands
Bass is slow and easy bouncing in the breeze
like a Cadillac over warm evening asphalt
And the boys are singin' to all the pretty gals,
“When you see me comin' baby - - raise your window high
But when you see me passin' baby - - hang your head and cry”
Its a beautiful thing, the melody of loneliness
It keeps a man’s soul hoping
Dolly is tapping her feet and snapping her fingers to the horns
Her red lips know the words
We sing together softly while the guys ham it up
The big fins rockin back and forth
We cruise up and down until the boys are horse and the sun goes down
When the night is still young we cruise the country roads to the beach

We park facing the water
We can see the lights from the scattered houses sparkling off the black lake
Chubs pulls a flask out of his jacket
“It’s gin Ben Your favorite”
He raises the flask and takes a long swallow then hands it to me
I take a pull, hand it to Dolly
She takes some and hands it to Smiley
The flask only makes it around one more time and we’re feeling good
Basie is still swingin'on the radio
The guys start looking at the stars trying to name constellations and planets
“That’s Pluto,” Chubs says
“That’s Uranus,” Smiley counters
“No way man! That’s too small to be Uranus”
“Not your Anus Chubs”
Dolly giggles
I haven’t been able to take my eyes off of her bare leg since we parked
She just noticed
A slow piano eases into a sexy horn line
She pulls her dress up an inch more and looks into my eyes
“Guys,” i say
Me and Dolly are going for a moon-light stroll
Keep the music swingin' and give us a holler when your ready”
When they’re ready to head to the club and try their luck again that is
i just felt my luck starting to pull the waistband of my shorts away from my skin
It was time for me and Dolly to work off some gin
We got out of the car and i put my arm around her and we walked down to the beach
We followed the water’s edge into the trees
There we found a soft patch of grass to lose my trousers and her panties
The Basie drifted over the water like her cigarette smoke would the next morning
The fucking was slow at first
And we hadn’t realized we were going fast until it was all over
We laid in the grass looking up through the trees at the stars
We could here the guys laughing and talking about the noise Dolly and i had made
Jazz, swingin', and having a good time
That’s what it’s all about man

"Ben's Jazz Poems"