The Great Downtown Jam Session

Kyle was walking down the street, heading toward a mall that allowed people to play music with little or no hassle. It was just another city somewhere in the United States, much like many other fairly big cities, with people walking or driving by without saying anything.

He wasn't really paying attention to where he was going until he had to stop at a street light to wait for it to turn green. Across the street was a small area where the city allowed musicians, comics, etc., to do their acts. Something pulled Kyle over to the almost empty square.

Now, you might think that Kyle was your ordinary teenager, but you would be wrong. Kyle had actually been born female and named Kylie after the singing sensation Kylie Minogue. She'd grown up for years knowing something didn't feel right, but it wasn't until she hit puberty that she fully understood just what was wrong. She hated her breasts, which thanks to her family filled out until they were a noticeable 44DD.

She had just turned seventeen when her parents and her only sibling were killed in a multiple car accident that happened when a semi and its trailer flipped over on the interstate between her city and the one where her parents and brother had been visiting with relatives. The accident left four others dead and at least ten injured, and was all over the place within minutes thanks to people posting to FB and other sites.

She was horribly upset by the deaths of her parents and brother, to the point where she was found semi-catatonic and was hospitalized. She had been so traumatized that she had stopped eating and was only found four days later when a friend dropped in on her with no warning.

She spent close to two months in the hospital recovering from what had happened. The really good thing that came out of being there was that her sessions with the in-house psychiatrist identified her gender identity issues and that doctor recommended a GID therapist.

Her father had been a scientist with a few contracts for making items for the military using a variety of materials. He'd been quite well paid over the years, enough that the wills of her parents and her brother left her with a very nice trust fund, somewhere around $3 million US. Her father had had each of them fill out wills that would leave any money and items to the others, thus everything came down to her.

She'd used a fair chunk of that money to have a double mastectomy done, and had talked with the GID therapist for a few months, then had been started on testosterone hormone treatments. Finally her life was feeling like it should have for so many years.

She started her real life test not long after that, living 24/7 as Kyle. He was glad to be able to be himself at last.

He made sure to finish high school, even working hard to catch up on what she had missed during her two months in the hospital. He decided, somewhere along the line, that he wanted to go to the Juillard School. He planned to work on a Master of Music diploma, which would take a few years, but he also had decided that he would get at least a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree there as well. It sure wouldn't hurt.

He spooked for a moment when a woman with a very yippy small dog passed by him, then crossed the intersection. He chuckled to himself, shook off the feeling of being spooked, then headed across the street when the light changed and walked into the square.

He found a spot that looked suitable, then carefully lowered his large army style backpack to the ground. After opening it, he pulled out a nice digital keyboard, plus a stand and a seat, and spent several minutes setting it all up, especially securing the keyboard to the stand.

He generally preferred rock music from the '60s through the '80s, but at the moment, his mood demanded something a little bit different. He took a few minutes to warm up his fingers and the keys, then launched into a nice rendition of Louis Armstrong's What A Wonderful World.

He hadn't even thought to set out something to collect change or bills that people dropped. He was lost in the music to the point that he didn't even realize that people had been listening to him playing until he played the last few notes and looked up as he heard the clapping.

He was in a pretty good mood, so his next choice was Bob Seger's Old Time Rock And Roll.

Kyle's voice had changed quite a bit over the last two years or so, deepening enough that he was no longer mistaken as being female because of it. Kyle's voice didn't quite match that of Bob Seger, but it still came across really well, and the applause after that was even stronger.

From there, he played and sang These Eyes by The Guess Who, Owner Of A Lonely Heart by Yes, Hotel California and Desperado by the Eagles, Bad Bad Leroy Brown by Jim Croce, Bad Moon Rising by Creedence Clearwater Revival and Let It Be by the Beatles.

Granted, he was only doing the piano portions of these songs and singing, but the growing crowd seemed to love it. Someone had even dropped a shabby old baseball cap on the ground beside him, and he could see lots of coins and several bills lying in there.

He smiled, thanked the people for the applause and the cash, then dove back into the playing, starting with The Rolling Stones' Sympathy For The Devil, then switched to Aerosmith's Walk This Way, Led Zeppelin's Stairway To Heaven and Lynyrd Skynyrd's Sweet Home Alabama.

Just as he was finishing Walk This Way, a beat up old Ford Econoline van passed by, the girl in the front passenger seat looked out and saw Kyle playing in the square. Penny turned to her fraternal twin Pete and yelled, "Hey, there's some guy on a keyboard in the square!"

Pete nodded, "I can hear it, sounds like he's playing decent music, we haven't had a keyboard player since Erick left town last year."

Aaron, a second cousin of the twins added his bit, "Maybe we could join him and just jam for a while, see what happens?"

Penny giggled, nodding, "Sounds like a plan, we weren't doing anything, we've got acoustic guitars, a bass guitar and your drums, Aaron."

Pete chuckled as he took the next available right turn and made his way around the block, eventually returning to the square. He stopped the vehicle at the side of the road, Penny and Aaron jumped out, opened the back doors and pulled down the heavy trolley they used to move the equipment around. They quickly loaded the three guitars and the drum set onto the trolley before hauling it into the square near Kyle.

Pete found an underground parking area about a block away, parked and locked up the van, then ran back to the square. He arrived there just as Aaron and Penny finished setting up their gear. When Kyle finished playing, Pete politely asked if they could join him.

The broad grin stretching across Kyle's face was all the answer that was needed.

Kyle asked for examples of what music they knew well enough to play, and nodded happily as he waved to Aaron to set the beat.

Aaron started playing the opening bars of Riders On The Storm by The Doors and the other three quickly joined in, making a sweet sound that soon filled the square. After that, they played through quite a few songs, including Magic Carpet Ride by Steppenwolf, Roxanne by The Police, Tom Sawyer by Rush, Whole Lotta Love by Led Zeppelin, Nights In White Satin by The Moody Blues, American Pie by Don McLean, Knocking On Heaven's Door by Bob Dylan, Here Comes The Sun by The Beatles, Take It Easy by The Eagles, Turn The Page by Bog Seger, House Of The Rising Sun by The Animals, We Will Rock You and We Are The Champions by Queen, You Can't Always Get What You Want by The Rolling Stones, Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison, Bloody Well Right by Supertramp and Running With The Devil by Van Halen.

Mixed in with those songs were some popular classic rock songs done by female singers, including Walk Like An Egyptian by The Bangles, Crazy On You by Heart, I Love Rock And Roll by Joan Jett and The Blackhearts, Sweet Dreams (Are Made Of This) by The Eurythmics, Heartbreaker by Pat Benatar, Dreamboat Annie by Heart, Here Comes The Rain Again by The Eurythmics, Heart of Glass by Blondie, Hit Me With Your Best Shot by Pat Benatar, One Way Or Another by Blondie, Cherry Bomb by The Runaways, Crimson And Clover by Joan Jett and The Blackhearts, Manic Monday by The Bangles and a cover of Have You Ever Seen The Rain by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts.

For each of the songs with a female lead singer, Penny too her turn at the microphone, giving her best effort. The three boys split the lead for the male lead songs, with only a quick few words in between to figure out who would do each one. All four were having a grand time.

After they'd been playing for about two hours, they drew the attention of several other musicians, many of them joining them to play. They were not only drawing the attention of other musicians, but also that of a few small food vendors who offered samples of their wares.

The expanding group continued to play as the afternoon passed by, their numbers continuing to increase as the music pulled more people to them. By the time that a nearby church's bells struck 6:30 PM, there were over fifty musicians with their instruments filling the square. Except for brief breaks for a moment to get a bite to eat, a drink or to use a nearby washroom, everyone kept playing as the day turned to night.

The music had drawn quite a crowd, it was a rare thing to see something like this, an impromptu jam session with so many musicians. There were at least two or three local bands present, including one group with a big band sound, and the music rolled out over the square.

The church bells had struck eight a few minutes before when someone yelled out that The Rolling Stones were right there, watching. The crowd had swelled to several hundred people and many of them swarmed over to the big name band to get their autographs.

What surprised the heck out of everyone was when a bus rolled up and the Stones members grabbed their gear and set it up behind the rest of the musicians. Having them join the jam session was a huge honour, so a few of their most popular songs were played as a tribute.

The impromptu jam session continued to play for another three hours, covering a wide variety of popular rock songs. Most of the players, including Kyle, Pete, Penny and Aaron, completely forgot that The Rolling Stones were there, they were so deep into the music.

At 11 PM, a city official came out and politely asked them to wind it down. The last song was Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Queen.

Kyle had completely forgotten about the baseball cap on the ground near him. As he packed up his equipment, he noticed it and received a heck of a shock, the cap was brimming over with coins and bills. It took him ten minutes to count it, there was $1,233.75 in the cap. He offered to share it with the other musicians, but one by one, they refused, saying that without him the whole session would not have happened.

He was stunned, he normally wouldn't earn this much if he busked all week long. He smiled and pocketed the cash. He was stunned even more when many of the musicians, including the members of The Rolling Stones, came and thanked him for the chance to play.

That wasn't the end, either, he got another shock when Pete, Penny and Aaron approached him with an offer to join their band. He took their info and said that he would have to think about it, then slowly walked away, heading for home after one hell of a great jam session.



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