"Go AWAY, Ray.Go wherever you want to go. Just don't tell me how to feel when nothing's changing for you." --Ruby Tabeata, The Beat on Ruby's Street
Greenwich Village, 1958. Ruby says she’s grownup, but she’s still a kid. Thinks everyone’s supposed to be together forever and never split up. When Nell-mom and Gary Daddy-o had fights, that’s tricks, we’re all supposed to be fine with that. But nobody goes to Splitsville on Ruby’s watch.
What she doesn’t see is that breaking up doesn’t mean it’s a forever thing, either. You might stay away from someone a while and then realize you can’t, right? Jo-Jo and I broke up a thousand times.
But you can’t talk to my sister. She has it all, she knows all. And all you can do is try to distract her. I’m trying to get her to put something together, like a reading with me playing sax in the background. I’ve done that a couple of times for a friend and people thought it was great. Really dug it and all.
And I’m not going off with my dad on some extended tour of the world. I might go sometimes in the summer for a little bread, why not? It’s not like we have school or anything. Gigging with my dad and his band doesn’t mean I’m leaving the family.
But that’s the think about sisters. They want to be the boss even if they don’t know anything sideways. So I’m out of here, tonight at least. Grab Jo-Jo and go to Chinatown for dinner. Her mom charges me a song, so I have to bring the sax. She liked “My Melancholy Baby” and once I play it for her, I get the most amazing dinner you’ve ever seen.
Maybe later, we can see if Les and Bo can get us in to The Five Spot on 5th and Bowery. You can hear Thelonius Monk on piano and Lester Young on sax. If I can ever play even a fourth that good, I’ll die and go heaven happy. Or even hell.
But fine as these cats are, nothing’s permanent, you know? And isn’t that the point of being a Beat–being alive right NOW and knowing that’s enough. That’s what Gary Daddy-o always says.
Everything ends. Good ends. Bad ends. But something else is coming at you, right behind it. You just have to be cool and let it happen, okay?
That’s what I’m trying to say to my sister. But when it comes to Nell-mom and Gary Daddy-o, that’s exactly what she doesn’t want to hear.