The Switcher: The Song of the Street - Chapter 2

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©2020 - Foxxe Wilder

A typical day for a street musician takes a sharp turn into the atypical.



Chapter Two

Damien looked up and down the street as he stepped off the city bus carefully guiding the hardshell acoustic guitar case through the passengers also exiting the bus.

He had a classic metal head look to him. His hair was a dark chestnut colour and he wore it long enough to drape over his shoulders. His unshaven face had a gaunt look as if he had not eaten for days.

His standard fair for the streets included a black leather jacket with jean jacket vest over top, a black teeshirt with the logo of Black Sabbath upon it. The rest was just a basic pair of straight leg blue jeans and a pair of black kung-fu shoes.

A few doors to the left was the old jewellery shop; now empty and up for lease. To the right and down the block a ways was the front entrance to the Orpheum with it's natural echo chamber in the front doorway.

The first location would be better for coin flow as it was right in the middle of the block but the Orpheum had those fantastic acoustics to play off of and Damien was addicted to the sound.

He shrugged, he could easier get into the mood for playing with a good sound.

He turned right and headed towards the Orpheum with a determined smile.

The weather was a comfortable 21 degrees, with a slight overcast and a gentle breeze coming in from the west. The best part was it was still the early part of the month so people were in a good mood.

This was good for two reasons. Happy, positive people meant he'd have a good time performing and that often lead to a more generous crowd, or so he hoped.

He set down the guitar case in front of the Orpheum as he had done uncounted times before, pulled out his acoustic guitar, strapped it on and deftly produced a guitar pick from his right pocket.

He looked up and saw that he was not alone. Officer Ron Sparks stood in front of Damien.

“Hey there Sparky, what can I do you for today?” he asked the police officer, “Care to hear a tune? You name it.”

“Well Mr. Leone, my friends down here keep telling me that you have been dealing out of the guitar case these days. I hope that isn't true because if I find anything on you when you have your guitar out then I just might have to confiscate your axe as well as bust you,” the police officer warned.

“Ah come on Sparky, you know me better than that,” Damien smiled, “I'm playing for chump change today, dude. I'll be lucky to afford bus fare home tonight unless I get lucky today.”

“I'll believe you this time but trust me when I say, I'll be watching you,” he warned.

“Aww that's really sweet of you, Sparky!” Damien joked, “Always a pleasure knowing I have an audience, even if it is an audience of one!”

Damien smirked as Officer Sparks turned down the street. As Damien turned around he noticed the smile of a young Tracey Uxbridge (aka “Trace”) passing by headed up towards the bus shelter he just left.

Trace was one of his regular and dedicated clients. Every so often the regular street people in the area would drop some money into his case in appreciation and some would request songs, which he did the best he could to fulfill.

Trace was a pretty 17 year old girl of a slight yet muscular build with chocolate brown hair cut into a pixie haircut.

She was dressed in her usual uniform. She was fond of the sleek dancer look with a touch of heavy metal punk influence.

Her jacket was black leather, and tailored to enhance her dancer's frame and was worn over usually a pink teeshirt that had random tears in it (to give it a punk rock look) all topped off with a pair of black tights. Her favourite footwear tended to be a pair of black suede short boots.

Yes, Trace definitely cute enough to be able to literally cash in on her looks in various rather unsavoury street professions, but her choice fell into the realm of small time cannabis sales.

She smiled at him as she walked by and cheered him on enthusiastically, “Woo Hoo! Rock and Roll!”

Damien returned a grin and set his gear down. He opened his guitar case so it faced the street and took up his place behind it.

He took in a few minutes to gather a feel for the street, reaching for that little spark of inspiration.

He put the guitar strap over his shoulder, grabbed a pick and began to tune up and as he did so, he ran through his repertoire in his head, looking for something that he could open up with.

He liked to draw the attention of the crowd subtly. He'd start off with a soft, easy song that pulled on the heart strings. Then he pulled them in with his own renditions of the classics.

Damien enjoyed performing here. It had a good sound and afforded him an excellent vantage point on the street. He could see almost a block in either direction.

His initial enthusiasm would carry him only for a few hours on end. Although the numbers of people were there, things were slow to build up.

People came and went into the numerous movie theatres nearby. Just as the 9 o'clock people started to gather Damien spied a disturbance coming his way from way up the block.

From this vantage point Damien often witnessed foot chases between many local minor league drug dealers running from the local police. He squinted his eyes in a vain attempt to see what was coming his way and if he could cash in on the happening.

He watched as a man in a dark suit came into view running down the block. He slowed at the bus shelter and ducked inside.

Then, just as suddenly a younger man in a tee shirt and jeans darted out of the same bus shelter, coming around the back to the entrance to a book store.

From there he saw Trace suddenly run out of the book store and sprint toward Damien's direction.

In all of the 7 months time that Damien had known of Trace, he had never seen such a look of crazed desperation as what he witnessed on Trace's face that day.

Trace quickly closed in him and was showing absolutely no signs of slowing down in the least.

In a desperate move to save his precious instrument, he quickly released the guitar strap and set the guitar down.

Damien had only just straightened up when Trace collided with him tossing him to the ground far and clear of his guitar and case. Damien lost consciousness for a moment just after Trace collided with him..

His next memory came in a dark haze. He had been lightly tossed aside as a male form got up from beside him and started to run down the street.

“Now where in hell did he come from?” he wondered as he sat up and looked around. His saw little more than a mass of hazy images. He rubbed his eyes.

His sight cleared up momentarily but not before the male shape had at least gained 10 feet of distance from Damien, and as his sight focused in, the male shape had just glanced over his shoulder to look back at Damien.

What he saw caused Damien's head to spin. For a moment he felt dizzy and his legs threatened to give way beneath him.

The face that had looked back at him was his own. The male shape that was running away from him was Damien's own body! All Damien could do was sit there in shock and stare at it getting away.

“How the hell could I be sitting here if that's my body?” he wondered as his body turned the corner vanishing from sight with a small group of darkly clad men in hot pursuit.

He blanked stared as the last of at least six men disappeared around the corner and out of sight.

“This is totally not my day,” he said aloud as he picked himself up.

He paused and put a hand to his throat in response to the strangely familiar voice he spoke with. It was not his voice in the least, no not by a long shot.

This voice was distinctively feminine and one he had just heard minutes ago.

He recognized it but could not place it. It was then that he realized his clothes felt very different.

He became aware that his pants were far too tight on him, totally unlike what he was wearing, then there was the jacket. Where was his own leather jacket and jean vest? This wasn't the jacket he was wearing.

He glanced down at it and froze. The jacket was of a very feminine cut and under it was a pink tee shirt with a few holes torn into it and beneath that he could feel something else.

He opened the jacket and found a pair of perky B cup breasts pushing out behind the thin pink tee shirt fabric.

“Oh my god!” he exclaimed aloud, gasping at the elevated tonality in his voice.

He began to form an idea of who that voice belonged to, now that he had seen the teeshirt and jacket, not to mention the shape of breasts beneath.

A quick glance past the fleshy twin peaks confirmed his suspicions. His legs were clad in black tights and his tiny feet were wearing a pair of black suede short boots.

He sat on the sidewalk for a few moments totally taken back by all the events over the past few minutes when he was suddenly picked up by a single man on each arm who proceeded to carry him away leaving his guitar and everything else behind.

He kicked and thrashed about savagely but the tiny body he was in made no headway in his attempt to escape. He was hopelessly out powered by these two men in dark suits, at least for the moment.

He was pushed into a white windowless van that had few rows of seats, many populated with confused people of various types and ages. He started at the sight of them for a moment then he realized that both men had released their grip on him.

He smiled, spying an opening just to the left of the nearest man and tensed up.

Within a half second he launched himself through the opening and found himself free.

He made a quick glance towards his music gear but two more men were at work cleaning them up. He shrugged inwardly; he had his freedom, but if he was to keep it he would need to give up on his guitar gear. A half second later he took off running down the street headed for the nearby corner and turned left then left again into the nearby alley. He knew these streets like the back of his hand. Well maybe not like the back of his hand now but suffice it to say he had an intimate knowledge of the area.

As he darted into the alleyway, he looked towards the corner he had just came around, spying the two men he just escaped had been joined by two others and they were also in hot pursuit.

He had to lose these people somehow and fast, the body he was in, although being quite healthy, was still a lot shorter in stature than he was used to.

He spotted a narrow passage between two buildings that lead out to the next street over, slipped into it and from there turned right and sped as fast as he could into the multilevel parking lot on the opposite side of the street.

Once in the parking lot he went up the stairwell, making as much noise as he could, to assure that his pursuers would chase him up there. Then at the 3rd floor he hooked back behind the steps and crouched down underneath desperately trying to hush his laboured breathing as he listened to all four of the men in dark suits run off into the 3rd level parking lot.

Damien smiled after they had gone out of hearing range and darted back down the steps as quietly as he could.

Upon returning to the street level he headed directly for a line of abandoned, boarded up buildings not too far from his location.

He had known of these buildings for quite some time, having had to use them a few times in the past as emergency housing when he was homeless not a long time previous. Right now that would be the perfect place to go to hide and try to collect himself.

(To be continued)

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no time for shock

he kept his head and got his freedom.


yes but...

But he LOST HIS GUITAR!! (a cardinal sin to a street player) :)

Street Music

Did that for a while myself, with 3 friends, two guys and one girl. She had the perfect voice for singing folk music, sort of a cross between Joan Baez and Carly Simon. So she sang, one of the guys played a bass, the other played rhythm guitar and I finger picked my 12 string that had a Rickenbacker style of stringing. (Harmony strings are set below the main strings instead of above them)

If you ever visit Key West, the place to be during sunset has always been Mallory Square, back then it was just an old unused wharf at the end of Duval street where everyone congregated at sundown, some set up small grills and cooked out, coolers full of beer were the predominate seating, etc.

Our group of friend rarely missed going on either Friday or Saturday night, sometimes both nights. We would find a corner and sit and just have fun playing together. None of us had ever thought of making money that way, it was just the way we had fun.

One day I was in a hurry and instead of closing my guitar case and placing it behind us out of the way, I had left it open beside us. When I first saw people dropping money into it, I was going to close it, but the others convinced me to leave it be. I'm glad they did, the change and singles and occasional fiver people tossed in added up at the end of the night. And of course I made sure to leave my guitar case open in plain view every time we played there after that. And the exposure there led to us playing in several bars in the lower keys.

We the willing, led by the unsure. Have been doing so much with so little for so long,
We are now qualified to do anything with nothing.

Street players.

Never got into the US. Came close once but we looked like musicians so they turned us back! lol

I initially just fell into the profession. All I had at the time was the clothes in my knapsack and an old El Degas hummingbird copy, so the guitar became my life blood. Always wanted to make the break to Europe but never got out of Canada at all.