Search This Blog

Saturday, July 28, 2018

"Yeah, A Harbor" Nominated for Song Of The Year




When I write songs, I write from a “Local Perspective”. Being in the Trop Rock genre, this is a rare point of perspective. Trop Rock is viewed largely as escapism. While many songwriters write about, say Key West, they are writing about the excitement of coming here or the wild experiences on Duval Street. It's the vacation perspective. That's fantastic, but it's not me. I live here.

When I first looked into Trop Rock I found a genre with massive areas for growth. I always had gravitated to the local songwriters and their songs written about the island. Those who lived on the island. People who were the vibe and pulse of Key West and their roots ran deep into the rock.

Mike McCloud's “Pool Shootin' Woman”, The Survivors “In Cayo Hueso”, Bill Blue's “Pretty Girl, A Cadillac, and Some Money” were songs written from a local perspective, as three examples. It was songs like this which germinated out of the coral that forms these archipelago islands called The Florida Keys and in these three examples, specifically, Key West that the true feeling rose out of. This music was the energy, heart, and soul of Key West and The Florida Keys.

Trop Rock is rooted in escapism, be it Key West, a tropical bar, margaritas, beaches and having fun in a lite atmosphere with a dose of mirth tossed in.

So.... Imagine my surprise when on Facebook I saw someone posted that my song “Yeah, A Harbor” was nominated for the TRMA song of the year!!!!

My jaw dropped and after researching it, sure enough, there it was!

After picking myself up off the floor, dusting myself off and regaining my composure, I started thinking about it. Here was a song that is not about beaches, sand, bars, cocktails, or traveling to a tropical destination from afar. Rather a song that paints a picture of day-to-day life in a harbor/marina, virtually all of which are actual experiences.

It laments on how Land's End once was the shrimp docks. It talks about the unkempt, crusty salty dogs drinking in the bait shop who don't give a hoot. A fishing boat comes in loaded to the gills with dolphin, tuna, and wahoo being filleted on the dock and Captain Marlin Scott Hopp knows how to rock. A big thanks to Captain Marlin Scott for allowing us to showcase a local captain!



Boats that arrive from foreign ports of call and the tails shared both euphoric and tragic shared by all who are at the mercy of the sea. 


The song touches on the passing of friends and the heartaches and dockside rituals that go along with it. Then it finalizes with mirth as the protagonist waking up very early one morning on his boat only to find his liveaboard neighbor, Doreen, taking a shower on the bow of her's “... it's a beautiful way to start the day, I'm thinking 'bout now”.





Who would have thought that a song like this would be nominated for the TRMA song of the year???


I am completely honored and humbled. From the bottom of my heart, thank you!!


I have doubts that the song will win, mind you. However, a song of this nature being nominated shows that the Trop Rock genre is expanding and that's fantastic!

Voting is open to all TRMA members... Ha Ha! Feel free to vote for it! :-) 


Here's the song: “Yeah A Harbor”


YEAH, A HARBOR
1


SOME OF THE BEST TIMES OF MY LIFE I SPENT IN HARBORS

BREATHING SALT AIR AND THE FRAGRANCE OF THE SEA

BOATS ROCKING TO THE RHYTHM OF THE TIDES AND BREEZE

YEAH THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT A HARBOR

2

LAND'S END USED TO BE THE OLD SHRIMP DOCKS

'ROUND THE CORNER YOU'LL FIND THE BAIT SHOP

AND SOME SALTY DOGS WITH THREE DAY BEARDS DRINKIN' BEER
CAUSE THEY REALLY DON'T GIVE A ...

(bridge)
SOMETHING ABOUT A HARBOR, GATEWAY TO THE SEA,

LEADS TO MORE PORTS OF CALL AND MY BEST MEMORIES


3
SAILBOAT ROLLS IN FROM THE BVI

ST. JOHN'S BEER AND PUSSER'S RUM LAST NIGHT

TALES OF STORMS AND CLOSE CALLS TOO CLOSE TO MEET THE EYE

YOU KNOW WE ALL LAUGHED, BUT THEN WE SIGHED


4

A FISHING BOAT SHE'S LOADED TO THE GILLS

BUSY DAY OUT TRAWLING QUITE A THRILL

DOLPHIN, SNAPPER, AND WAHOO BEING FILLETED ON THE DOCK

YEAH, CAPTAIN MARLIN KNOWS HOW TO ROCK



(coda)

'CAUSE SOME DON'T MAKE IT AND THEY DIE

DAMN GOOD PEOPLE, THE REST OF US CRY

WE HANG OUT AT THE BARNICLE BAR AND TOAST 'EM HIGH

IT'S OUR WAY OF LIFE

5

SUNRISE, I'M UP EARLY IN THE MORNING

NEIGHBOR DOREEN SHE SHOWERS ON HER BOW
IT'S A BEAUTIFUL WAY TO START THE DAY, I'M THINKIN' 'BOUT NOW

YEAH, THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT A HARBOR


(bridge)

SOMETHING ABOUT A HARBOR, GATEWAY TO THE SEA,


LEADS TO MORE PORTS OF CALL AND MY BEST MEMORIES


SOMETHING ABOUT A HARBOR, GATEWAY TO THE SEA,


LEADS TO MORE PORTS OF CALL AND MEMORIES

LEADS TO MORE PORTS OF CALL AND MEMORIES

YEAH SOMETHING ABOUT A HARBOR AND ME

© 6/7/2016 by Christopher R. Rehm BMI

The story behind the song:  http://keywestmusic.blogspot.com/2016/09/story-behind-song-yeah-harbor.html


Thank you for reading my blog! 

Please check out my book "Time Traveler - The Oddities and Adventures of a Key West Bartender". Follow Mark Straight's continuing journies and friendships from current Key West, back to historical Key West and elsewhere!

 Order paperback or download here! Paperback comes with a free download!

24 Ratings - 24 Five-Star ratings!









Also, my first book, Bar Stories, is now available in paperback!


Available on Amazon! 18 Five-Star ratings!






Naturally, if you liked today's blog, get the music here at iTunes!










Saturday, July 7, 2018

How To Inspire and Get The Most Out Of Studio Musicians

One of the issues in recording these days is dealing with musicians in general, particularly guitar players. The problem here is they often just don't give it their all and sometimes become satisfied with mundane performances.

This happens for a variety of reasons ranging from a fight with a girlfriend to a hangover of one nature or another.

I have found the best solution in overcoming these obstacles, however. It lies in the old school. So, as so many of my songs are sailing, harbors, and ocean-related, I'll tie in with saying the idea came to me from the good old floggings they gave on sailing ships, in days of yore.

If you're not happy with what they are putting out for you, just get yourself a nice flogging whip and give them some inspiration!

There's something both musical and magical about the whistling of the whip as it cuts through the air followed by the crack as it hits home! You'll be amazed at how everything changes and the desired performances are achieved!

Just look at how well this works with the guitar player of my song “21St Century Kinda Girl”!






:-D

Thank you for reading my blog! 

Please check out my book "Time Traveler - The Oddities and Adventures of a Key West Bartender". Follow Mark Straight's continuing journies and friendships from current Key West, back to historical Key West and elsewhere!

 Order paperback or download here! Paperback comes with a free download!

23 Ratings - 23 Five-Star ratings!









Also, my first book, Bar Stories, is now available in paperback!


Available on Amazon! 18 Five-Star ratings!






Naturally, if you liked today's blog, get the music here at iTunes!








Sunday, July 1, 2018

PBS HIGHLIGHTS TROP ROCK!






Several months back in March, I was contacted by PBS who wanted to do a piece on The Shanty Hounds for their Art Loft series! PBS wanted to do a piece on a Trop Rock act! Fabulous!

Frankly, it was a mystery to both myself and Dani as to how they came up with the idea of focusing on us? Furthermore, they sent it to our Shanty Hound email address. We never really do all that much with this address and it had been to the point that neither Dani or myself had been there in quite a while.

By chance, I went to check it and there was the query from them only a day old! The fact that it was only a day old and we hadn't been there in months makes me think it was just in the cards that it came about. I immediately replied in the affirmative and the ball started rolling very quickly. Likewise, I didn't want to ask too many questions about how they came up with us as a subject. We were flattered they did however and left it at that.

They wanted to film us at Boondocks, a bar/restaurant up on Ramrod Key, twenty-eight miles north of Key West, which is a venue we play. Boondocks is also good for us in that Bob Tucker plays bass and sings our three-part harmony at this gig! Subsequent to that, they wanted to interview us the following day in Key West and everyone felt comfortable with the bar I co-own, The Cork and Stogie, here at 1218 Duval Street!

The PBS crew and The Shanty Hounds arrived at Boondocks about a week later. The PBS crew were both highly professional and fun to work with. They were looking for a complete set of original songs, both mine and Dani's, which was easy to accommodate for us. During the set they seemed to appear out of nowhere in different locations, filming as we played. I'd look and see them on my left, out in the audience using their video cameras, then look away and look back in what seemed like five seconds, and they'd be on the complete opposite side of the restaurant filming away! The PBS crew on the project consisted of three young women and they were truly amazing!



The following day they met us promptly on time at The Cork and Stogie. They interviewed Dani first outside on the veranda, which lasted maybe a half hour. Then they interviewed me inside. Again, these women were first rate professionals and did such a fabulous job, it was a sincere pleasure to work with them!


Production, of course, takes a fair amount of time. However, the end product is now out and aired! Everyone I speak to think it's fabulously done and I agree. The piece is six minutes long, so it's easy to view. Please check it out!



This excerpt is The Shanty Hounds segment of the Art Loft show.

Here is the link for the entire Art Loft show. Check it out, it's a very well done show promoting the arts!




The production was done by PBS/PBT of South Florida and is available to any PBT station around the country.

What an honor to have PBS do a piece on a Trop Rock act from the Keys and they chose us!

Thank you PBS!!!

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Shanty Hounds July 2018 Schedule










We also just received the perhaps the most flattering comment of the year! At a gig on 6/28/2018 a patron leaving said to us:

“We've been here a week and you are the best band we've seen since we arrived”

A comment such as this, especially from a complete stranger can really make you feel like you're doing something worthwhile.

June 2018 was a great month for The Shanty Hounds! Thanks to ALL!!!




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Thank you for reading my blog! 

Please check out my book "Time Traveler - The Oddities and Adventures of a Key West Bartender". Follow Mark Straight's continuing journies and friendships from current Key West, back to historical Key West and elsewhere!

 Order paperback or download here! Paperback comes with a free download!

23 Ratings - 23 Five-Star ratings!









Also, my first book, Bar Stories, is now available in paperback!


Available on Amazon! 18 Five-Star ratings!






Naturally, if you liked today's blog, get the music here at iTunes!








Saturday, June 23, 2018

"This Is Key West Calling" Is calling out for Trop Rock artists!




This is Key West Calling is a very, very unique event held on Sunday, November 4th from 11 am – 4 pm at Sunset Tiki at The Galleon in Key West.



The event will be broadcast live by the absolute best Trop Rock radio stations on the planet Radio Trop Rock, Tiki Man Radio, Beach Bar Radio, 104.9 The X, Tiki Pod Radio and Shore Life Radio! These stations will be all working together at the event!

Additionally, Digital Publishing will be airing the video of the event on the web live, as well as Shore Live TV.

Beachfront Radio is planning on airing the show subsequently, while Island Time Radio and Songwriter's Island Radio hope to air particular performances subsequently as well.

This is a TRMA recognized event.



Having six stations working together on the same broadcast has never been done by anyone else in the history of radio. Butting heads is old school. Working together for the advancement of Trop Rock is our way. Therefore, it's newsworthy! We're sending out press releases to all of the major news agencies, both national and international.

The entire purpose of this event is to promote the growth of Trop Rock Music

Having this event during MOTM is a natural, as so many Trop musicians are here in Key West, enjoying the event and getting a lot of exposure to both new and old fans. With six Trop Rock stations broadcasting the event live, two live video feeds, and three additional stations/shows rebroadcasting the event, either in whole or in part, it's more than obvious that this event will have the largest media reach by far, of any event during MOTM week, no matter what venue.

While the exposure is a super-major plus, showing the world that we all work together for the benefit of the genre, is the name of the game here. We have a great genre that is 100% positive! Let's show the world! 

The objective is to bring more fans into the fold. Let's face it, there are people out there that like Trop Rock, but don't even know it exists. We'd like to change that and help Trop Rock grow into a better-known genre. We'll be starting off with this event and hoping to branch out with others during the next year.

If you are a solo performer, duo, or band who would like to participate in the event, here are the basics.


  1. Sets are twenty minutes long
  2. The turn around is 5 minutes to set up/5 minutes to tear down.
  3. Maximum players on stage, 3
  4. This is a non-paying event.
  5. Hold membership in the TRMA

We are hoping for both seasoned Trop Rock artists, up and coming artists, and anyone in between! If you would like to help us promote Trop Rock to the world and help attract new fans to the genre by playing this event, please contact me at:


Thank you!

Chris Rehm (Key West Chris)

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Thank you for reading my blog! 

Please check out my book "Time Traveler - The Oddities and Adventures of a Key West Bartender". Follow Mark Straight's continuing journies and friendships from current Key West, back to historical Key West and elsewhere!

 Order paperback or download here! Paperback comes with a free download!

23 Ratings - 23 Five-Star ratings!









Also, my first book, Bar Stories, is now available in paperback!


Available on Amazon! 18 Five-Star ratings!






Naturally, if you liked today's blog, get the music here at iTunes!
















Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Fans/Friends - Friends/Fans

The Shanty Hounds is a very, very, very fortunate band! We have the absolute BEST folks who follow us! Some are local Keys residents and others are from all over North America, plus a few from Europe as well, not forgetting those from Australia too!



Our local friends all seem to make it out to see us play anywhere between a couple of times a week to once every six weeks. It's always great to see everyone and we appreciate your support!!!

For the friends that are not from the Keys, some are down once a year, others two, three, four, or more times a year. We always hook up with everyone when they come, not just at gigs, but also on our off playing time.

It's important to get to know people outside of the stage, and I mean both people in the audience, as well as fellow musicians. If it's only on stage, it's “Hi! How are you? Thanks for coming! See you later” This is not getting to know someone!

That brings to mind a funny story. Last year there was a guy who sat in with us and played harmonica quite well. I invited him over to a BBQ we were having and when he arrived he asked “When is everybody going to start playing?” to which I answered “Playing? Oh, we're just hanging out doing a BBQ.” “No playing?” “No, just enjoying everyone's company. This way everyone gets to know each other” At this point, he got on his bicycle and rode off and I've never seen him again! While I admired his passion for playing music, I felt not wanting to get to know the people he played with was quite shallow. From experience, I realized he just wanted a band he could play at. Not play with, mind you, but play at. That's not my cup of tea, so it's just as well it turned out the way it did.

Often we invite out of town musicians and radio people visiting from out of town to our house, mostly, but not always, for BBQs. We hang out and have a blast! It doesn't happen all the time. Many times we don't hear back from visiting musicians, or sometimes they may call with other commitments and can't make it. It's a shame when they can't make it because, as author, Rusty Hodgson stated: “I've met the most fascinating people I've met at your BBQ since I've moved to Key West!”




It doesn't always work. A funny note. There was a popular group in town and I've played with one whom I had a good rapport with. When I invited them to a BBQ the one I had played with promptly un-friended me on Facebook.... well, like the saying goes, the cream rises to the top.

We also invite our friends over who are in visiting from out of town! These folks we met here at The Cork and Stogie, or a gig and they've become great friends over the years! Hanging out with the folks who show up at our gigs is a fabulous way to make new, strong friendships with fabulous people. Something that would never happen if all we did was have a thirty-second chat from the stage.





We have some friends from around the country who look forward to our live little pre-Rick's gig intro vignettes that I'll do on Facebook. They're only a few minutes long and I air them on my Facebook page every Tuesday, preparations permitting, just before noon, EST. What a nice surprise it was to hear people tell me they look forward to seeing these every week!

So, as I say, we are so blessed to have the absolute best friends/fans in the world!







Understand, music is subjective and we won't appeal to everyone. That's a given. While I don't actually see people that don't care for us, as they are someplace else. most likely.

There is one patron who makes us laugh, however! As soon as we start setting up, or start playing, they leave the establishment! This happens every time unless they are working an event we're playing! We laugh every time!

Our motto/creed is a saying I made up from something my old friend, Rick Asci said when he had to throw someone out of the business we worked at thirty years ago. Rick was always extremely well spoken and polite. The guy was totally out of hand and Rick calmly said to him “I'm sorry sir, but I'm afraid I'm going to have to ask you to leave the facility”. That stuck with me over the years and being the jovial guy that I have adapted it to the band! You may have heard me say it at gigs, now and then?

If anyone is not having fun, I'm afraid we're going to have to ask you to leave”.



Call us what you will, but no one will ever say The Shanty Hounds are not fun! HA HA HA!





In closing, just a salute and a “Thank You!!!” to all who enjoy what we do and give us all of their support!





I can't begin to tell you how much we appreciate you, not just as fans of our music, but much more importantly, being our friends!!!!! We're your fans!!! 





Christopher R. Rehm  a.k.a. "Key West Chris"

Join the Shanty Hounds Pack!  https://www.facebook.com/groups/shantyhoundsnation/ 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Thank you for reading my blog! 

Please check out my book "Time Traveler - The Oddities and Adventures of a Key West Bartender". Follow Mark Straight's continuing journies and friendships from current Key West, back to historical Key West and elsewhere!

 Order paperback or download here! Paperback comes with a free download!

22 Five-Star ratings!









Also, my first book, Bar Stories, is now available in paperback!


Available on Amazon! 18 Five-Star ratings!






Naturally, if you liked today's blog, get the music here at iTunes!











Saturday, May 26, 2018

A Chapter of Key West




Time Traveler -The Oddities and Adventures of a Key West Bartender

Chapter 1 - The Dream



It wasn't as though he had any control over it. When the phenomenon started, he was asleep. That first time, when he woke, it seemed like such a vivid dream. On the other hand, it seemed like it was just too real, and, he didn't feel rested at all. As a matter of fact, he was quite tired! Odder than that, he felt the mild effects of alcohol from the night before, yet he hadn't drunk anything at all. In his quandary, the day went on and the memory was not at all like that of a regular dream that fades as the day and minutes.went on. It was so real. The people he met during the experience were so much in the flesh, as were the experiences. The other odd thing was that the “dream” occurred in the town he lived in, albeit many years prior. Here he was in the twenty-first century, but dream took place in the 1930's. It was so peculiar, bizarre even. If there ever was an appropriate word for it, Bizarre was indeed the correct word.



Key West. That was the town of choice five years ago. It was a small city on the outer limits of the U.S. an island town over one hundred miles out to sea. Curiously enough it’s a city you can drive to, island hopping across forty-five bridges that link the archipelago coral chain of islands known as The Florida Keys.



His name is Mark Straight and he has been around the world several times in his lifetime,  approaching his fifth decade. He certainly was no green traveler. He had seen the good, the bad, and the evil and decided the bad and the evil were not his cup of tea. Key West offered the sanctuary he had been seeking. Key West wasn’t the real world. It was isolated and had a mentality of its own. The Keys in general, be it Key West, Key Largo, or The Dry Tortugas for that matter, had an entirely different way of life than the rest of the United States. Back in 1982, the island chain had actually seceded from the U.S. in a mock uprising. Declaring themselves independent, they coined The Conch Republic as the name for their brave new world. This was a cornerstone, long overdue, that reflected the independence of the islands and the very different mentality that they encompassed. In many cases, if something could be warped into a farce, the Conch Republic is where it was found. Laughter was the order of the day and this is what Mark craved at this juncture in his life. He moved and settled in the capital of The Conch Republic, Key West, five years ago.   



At this stage of the game, he knew the island like the back of his hand. He learned all of the insights through the tradition of experience. For instance, he knew Key West is a town where you drive your car only out of necessity. Parking is too much of a nuisance. No, you generally either walk or ride a bike., unless you’re hauling goods, the vehicle stays parked.



Consequently, one tends to read between the lines as far as the geographical nuances go: when one walks or rides a bike innuendos pave the path. The town is loaded with nooks and crannies that you would never see driving in a car. As a matter of fact, even riding a bike, you tend to miss about fifty percent of what you would see walking. While Mark did a good deal of bike riding, he also did a lot of walking. He knew this town inside out.



Key West is a town; unlike its northern neighbor Miami, it preserves its past. Miami pledges its allegiance to the bulldozer and its trusty assistant, the wrecking ball. Key West has ordinances set out that forbid structures being torn down. It is permissible to restore older buildings, and the funny thing about this is that the restored versions tend to be much more opulent than the originals. It's all good, albeit there being more renovations rather than restorations, but the point, is that the town today looks quite the same as it did over one-hundred years ago.





In his peculiar sleeping experience, Mark found himself knowing points of interest and living where he currently lived, albeit in a different setting. Unlike regular dreams, there was no jumping from one point to another. If he was going from one point to another, there was time and traveling involved, just as in real life. The oddest thing was that it seemed exactly like real life.



Mark, in conscious life, works as a bartender making exotic drinks at an old, classic, Victorian bar in a mansion which dates from the 1840's, The Side Car. He also works in another bar which specializes in local beers from around the world, as well as wine and cigars, The Cork and Stogie.



As he rode his bike to work to the Victorian bar that morning, all he could think about was the very peculiar dream he had. The more he thought about it, the more puzzling it seemed. He actually had seen this very  Victorian mansion in the dream, however, in the 1930's, it was a home and office of a well-known doctor.



The dream started with Mark tending bar at a restaurant on lower Duval Street, the main street in Key West, called The Victoria Restaurant. When the dream started, Mark was tending bar and mixing, fittingly enough, an Old Fashioned. As he turned to his left, he found himself facing his fellow bartender, Freddy. Freddy was quite busy vigorously shaking a whiskey sour.





Got yours done? Glades is ready” questioned Freddy.



All set. Here you go” replied Mark, putting his drink on Glades' tray. It was odd indeed. Suddenly, there he was in a rush hour, in the midst of mixing cocktails, yet thinking nothing of it at all. There was a job to be done. At that moment, all he knew was that he was mixing an Old Fashioned and the waitress was waiting. In this dream, he also knew everyone well.



Glades smiled. She looked like one of the Andrews Sisters. Her hair was up in a bon vivant style. Her outfit was much more like an old time nurse's ensemble. White, with red ruffles, It appeared to be full of starch and possess the flexibility of cardboard. Mark marveled at how quickly she scooted from the bar with the drinks in that stiff contraption she was wearing.



A "contraption" was the right word, as well. After she delivered the drinks to the table she was serving,  she approached the kitchen, stopped and bent over to pick up a stray napkin, Mark watched her and was amazed to see what appeared to be the equivalent of a suspension bridge with straps going this way and that, under her dress. She looked back to see him looking at her in amazement, then quickly composed herself and rushed into the kitchen, nervously pulling her compact out, to check her makeup and lipstick, as she whisked through the swing doors of the bustling kitchen.



Mark didn’t realize it, but that was how she wanted it to look. She was looking behind her to see if Mark was still looking. He was, and she smiled to herself. Curiously, Mark found Glades to be indeed quite attractive. He even had a hankering to try out as a Flying Melinda high-wire act, and go for a swing on Glades’ trapeze.



Glades Valdez was twenty-six. Her parents came from Cuba before she was born after she was conceived in Cuba. She would joke “Hecho en Cuba, nacido en U.S.A.”. Which translates into “Made in Cuba, born in the U.S.A.”. She spoke Spanish with a Cuban accent and English with what is known as a Conch accent. Throughout the Florida Keys, the people born on the islands call themselves “Conch's”, a throwback from the original settlers who came from the Bahamas and referred to themselves after the crustacean prior to emigrating to the Keys.



The Conch accent is a unique one. It sounds a lot like if Brooklyn mated with Alabama. Glades and Fred had Conch accents. Mark, however, was different, he was from Connecticut.



I think that Glades has a thing for you, Bubba,” said Freddy. The colloquial term, “Bubba” being the term for, someone who was “one of them”.



Seriously?” replied Mark.



Uhm-Humm! No doubt about it. Hey, you want to hit The Blind Pig after we get off?”



The Blind Pig? Sounds great I could use a cocktail made for me for once”





The Blind Pig was actually its old name from when it was a speakeasy, but that was only a few years before. In this town, old names are hard to shake and new names take a while to settle into the place.  Mark looked at a paper a patron left on the bar. March 16th, 1935 it was the date.



1935? How did I get here?” Mark was thinking. He looked around and immediately knew where he was. He was in Sloppy Joe's, but it looked a bit different. There were no fish on the walls. There was the men's room where the kitchen had been. The tables were all covered in white linen with matching napkins. When he looked up he saw the sign “Victoria Restaurant”.



Every now and then one realizes that they are in a dream, in the dream. This was now dawning on Mark



This is one hell of a dream,” he was thinking. Then, he thought “I'm just going to roll with this. It could be fun!” Indeed, it was one of those very rare occasions where one actually realizes they are, in fact, in a dream.



He and Freddy finished up and, unlike a dream, it was as though it was in real time. It took an hour to clean and set up the bar for the next day. The bottles were all an older style, ornate and heavy, with beautiful labels. The fixtures were also heavy and quite stylish; and when he turned on the water, unlike a regular dream, he could feel it.



When they left, Freddy subtly leads them in a brisk walk across Duval Street to the other side and the corner of Greene Street. Arriving at the corner, Mark stopped dead in his tracks. He stared at the sign on the bar hanging over the sidewalk.



Freddy, impatient, took a few more steps and turned around and said “Hey! What are you stopping for? Let's get a beer!”



Mark looked at the sign. He knew the place as Captain Tony's, but there it was, plain as day, reading “Sloppy Joe's”. Everyone in town today knows that Captain Tony's was the original Sloppy Joe's. Sloppy Joe's is an institution, after all. It had been in this location from 1933 to 1937. Before that it was the speakeasy known as,The Blind Pig.



They walked through the open French doors. The layout was different than he knew it. Yes, there was the hanging tree growing through the middle of the bar, however, the bar was along the left wall, with booths in the back. In what he knew as the pool room, there was a dance floor instead. The sign read  “The Silver Slipper”. Couples were dancing to Cuban music of the era, blaring out of a phonograph cone speaker from a 78 record.



The bar was dark. The only light seemed as though it was from the street lights outside.



Hey! Grab us a couple of Royals from Skinner!” hollered Freddy, as he hurried to the men's room. Mark had seen a local beer named Royal back at the Victoria, so Skinner must be the bartender.



Skinner was a large black man, no less than three hundred pounds. He had a big grin on his face, yet at the same time, you could tell he kept a little bit in reserve, just in case. In a bar like this, that “just in case” most likely happened several times a day.



Mark walked up to the bar casually, but at a deliberate pace. “Hey Skinner, how are you?”



Skinner replied “Alright! You Mark? What will you be having tonight?” It was funny because everyone in this dream knew him, and he felt like he knew them.



Could I get two Royals?”



Skinner reached down into the ice box and pulled out two cans of Royal beer. They were curious cans of the era, with a cone shaped top and a screw cap. Skinner opened them both and set them on the bar.



That'll be twelve cents, Mark,” uttered Skinner



Surprised, Mark laughed shook his head and asked “Twelve cents?” Beers started at five dollars back in the Twenty-First-Century.



Yeah, they went up a penny from last week.”



He reached into his pocket and pulled out a buffalo nickel and a mercury dime. “Here you go, keep the change”.



Skimmer smiled, nodded and then moved on to the next customer.



Freddy came back and Mark said to him “Price of beer is up to six cents. I got this round, but the next one's on you”



Six cents! What's the world coming to?” Freddy exclaimed half in surprise half in jest.



Just think, by the Twenty-First century they'll probably be five bucks each,” Mark said in a little tongue-in-cheek joke to himself.



Can you imagine? No, that'll never happen, Five bucks a beer! HA HA HA!” replied Freddy, his Conch accent heavy and his a laugh loud.



Frederick “Freddy” Carpenter. He was a little younger than Mark, at thirty-three. He stood around five-seven, and maybe one hundred and forty-five pounds. He was full of energy, and easily excited about things in general. Born to a well to do and long established family in town, he nonetheless went out on his own instead of going into the family business. He loved his family but loved his independence more. He loved a good bar and this was his favorite. Freddy took a hard swig of his Royal, directly from the can. “Ahhhh! Now that's what I've been waiting for!”



To Mark's sophisticated palate, this Royal beer was actually a decent beer. It was an all malt pilsner product brewed in Key West. Not bad. He and Freddy joked for a bit drinking a few beers when Freddy nudged Mark and used his eyes to point to the side. Taking his cue, Mark turned around to see Glades and Erica, one of her girlfriends, walking through the front door.



They went directly for Mark and Freddy and gave them a friendly greeting. The girls ordered Manhattans, and the conversation took off from there. They first started talking about their common bond, working at the Victoria. Co-workers, customers, order mix ups. Mark thought that in all these years, the restaurant business never changes. After a bit, Mark suggested to Glades “Let's go cut a rug at the Silver Slipper!”. Glades thought it was a great idea, agreeing enthusiastically.



The Silver Slipper was off to the side and a couple of steps down. As things turned out, Mark was quite a dancer, as was Glades, and they made quite a hit with the crowd on the dance floor. It got to the point that on one energetic number the couples on the dance floor went off to the side and clapped to the rhythm of the beat of the music, cheering on Mark and Glades as they burnt the carpet to everyone’s enjoyment.



It was a great evening. When they stopped dancing they found that Freddy and Erica were no longer in the bar. He offered Glades another drink, but he had run out of change, so he pulled out his wallet and found it with several dollar bills from a different era than he was accustomed. He gave Skinner one and Skinner gave him the change, the beer, and the cocktail.



After a couple more libations, Mark offered to see Glades home. She didn't live far away, just a few blocks down on Fishbone Lane, which ran between Eaton and Caroline Streets. He knew it as Pecan Lane. It wasn't far from where the shrimpers hung out, and that was no place for a girl to go at night. She was a few blocks west of there, but Mark thought it best to walk her home.



Shrimpers were about as rough a crew as one would find. They’d just as quickly shake your hand with a warm greeting, as they would knocking your lights out. The latter happened when they were drinking. It was nighttime and a shrimper’s bar, the Bucket Of Blood, was just a couple of block’s down from where Glades lived. Mark would see her home at this hour.



Glades had a room above the corner store, which had a rear entrance. She jokingly called it The Pelican’s Nest. When they got there, Glades said “I know you are acquainted with a lot of old things. Collectible antiques and haberdashery-like things. I inherited this brooch and maybe you can give me some advice on it?”



I'd be happy to. When would you like me to look at it?”



Well, you're here right now. I know it's late, but it will only take a few minutes”



Sure,” Mark said in a matter of fact fashion.



Good! Come on, let me show you!” she said happily.



They went inside to review the brooch. It was classic and ornate. Mark was guessing it may have been around one hundred years old. He was impressed with it. Gauging it against five cent beer, he guessed it may be worth around twenty-five dollars. Glades was standing next to him and he felt her hand touch his back and slowly work its way up, and back down. He looked at her, embraced her and passionately kissed her.



When Mark started heading for home it was almost five in the morning. He arrived back at his apartment on United Street. The furniture was entirely different, however. The apartment was largely the same as it remained to be in the Twenty-First Century, even with the refrigerator, stove, and fixtures being different. He reached in his pocket and put the change on the nightstand next to the bed. He hung his shirt in the closet on metal hangers and draped his pants on the chair next to the bed, as he's always done.



As he climbed into bed, he thought to himself “What a weird dream I’m having,”. All of this was unlike anything else he'd ever experienced. It was all so real, and the timing was so accurate. Plus, he could smell things like the cigarette smoke at The Victoria Restaurant, the musky atmosphere at The Blind Pig/Sloppy Joe's and Glades’ French perfume. Then again, the sensations of making love to Glades were so real. However, he was very tired. Sleep came quickly, in only a matter of seconds.



----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

If this caught your attention, there are twenty-nine more chapters which follow, where you can see where and who Mark Straight's adventures take him to! As of this writing, the book has twenty-two five star ratings.  

Available on Amazon in both paperback and digital download for Kindle (The Kindle app is free and available for computers, smart phones, and tablets). The paperback is available with a free download as well, however be sure to click the option on the paperback's page!

Thank you!