The Switcher: The Song of the Street - Chapter 8

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©2020 - Foxxe Wilder

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



Chapter Eight

Tracey crept out cautiously. This chase game had become much too stressful. She had enough to deal with just with the change of body issue, never mind having to dodge these assholes in the dark suits.

“Peek a boo!” a male voice said from behind her causing Tracey to physically jump and scream.

“Oh shit, I don't believe I did that!” Tracey stated dryly then turned around to see a man with long dirty blond hair standing idly by the door. He was trim in build with a noticeably heavier build in his upper torso, and Tracey knew him on sight although she had to play dumb.

“Hiya, the name is Dwayne, and you look like you could use a break,” He smiled, “you can relax a bit here if you want. It's cool.”

Tracey desperately tried to hide a smile. The man smiling at her was her own drummer from the band she used to be in before all this weird body swap crap raised it's ugly head.

“But that was another life,” she thought to herself.

“Hi, the name's Trac...” she paused, wondering if it was smart to use her current name with a stranger.

“Cool. Trace; I like it!” Dwayne smiled, “A lovely name for such a work of art!”

Tracey was going to argue for a moment but got swept up for a moment in Dwayne's obvious flattery.

“What the fuck dude?” Tracey thought to herself, “why the hell should his words mean anything more to me now than they ever did before?”

Tracey allowed a giggle to escape.

“Oh well,I'm just going to have to watch that sort of stuff,” she reasoned.

'Well Trace really is a natural short form for my name though, which is Tracey. You know, Trace with a y,” Tracey giggled unconsciously.

““Oh shit, am I actually flirting with Dwayne?! What the hell is wrong with me?” she thought.

Tracey had to remind herself that there was no way at all that Dwayne would recognize who she really was. Her fears were just working overtime.

“Wow, you really are jumpy there, girl,” Dwayne replied thoughtfully, “you gonna be okay there?”

“Oh yeah, I just have issues with people in suits,” she replied after a heavy sigh.

Dwayne laughed, “Yeah I hear ya. They have absolutely no sense of fashion at all! Suits!”

Tracey couldn't help but to laugh. There was something calming about the familiarity of Dwayne's sense of humour that took down all her defences.

Dwayne reached behind the door, “Care for a beer?”

Tracey really needed this. She realized that she had caged herself in Shadoe's apartment over the past few weeks and avoided going out as much as possible.

Today really got her blood flowing there. The fear. The chase and the sudden shock of being discovered all added to her excitement.

Tracey shook her head. “No, don't be thinking like that! The thrill of the chase should be seen as a warning sign, not an enticement! Dammit Trace!”

“Yeah just one though,” she replied, “it is kind of early yet!”

“Early?” Dwayne laughed, “shit it's long past nine am!”

Tracey turned to join Dwayne beside the cooler.

Tracey had just turned when all of a sudden a hand landed lightly upon Tracey's shoulder, causing Tracey's blood to run cold. She let out a high pitched squeak of surprise.

“Holy shit girl, you tense or what?” Shadoe's voice remarked from behind Tracey.

Tracey sighed and tried to ignore the fact she knew she was blushing deeply.

It's the suits again,” Tracey replied feeling her heart begin to slow down once again, “I saw a couple cars at the former's market so I ran.”

Shadoe put her hands on her hips and sighed heavily, “and did you actually see anyone chasing you?”

“Well I did see this SUV driving slowly and then suddenly turn toward me,”

“So no, you saw no one actually chasing you then?” Shadoe smiled, “And this tells you what now? Yeah, we really need to work that tension out of you girl! I think I have a way too.”

Shadoe looked at Dwayne and smiled, “Hey little drummer boy! How ya doin' blondie?”

Dwayne visibly puffed himself up in response to Shadoe's flirtatious remarks. Tracey smiled.

Damien always had thought it funny how Dwayne could always fall prey to the flirtings of a pretty girl. Even if their flirtations were obvious covers for some ulterior motive.

Tracey saw this same man now in a whole new light though. She had caught herself flirting with him (and enjoying it) and enjoyed seeing Shadoe do the same to him.

Shadoe looked at Dwayne and went serious for a moment, “So have you dudes decided on what to do about Damien's disappearance?”

Dwayne looked up in obvious pain, “we all got together and talked it out for hours. We need to move on. I mean, yeah, I'm sure Damien would understand too. We have no idea where the hell he is, or if he can even contact anyone or what is going on. The government has put close on all references to him. It's strange shit happening there.”

Shadoe nodded, “Yeah he definitely didn't go willingly according to eye witnesses.”

“Yeah well now we need to find a new bass player that can learn everything Damien did.

Tracey's ears perked up. She looked at Shadoe inquiringly, “You say you have an idea that will help me? With going out and all?”

“Shit yeah,” Shadoe beamed proudly, “I am sure I can make you look totally different. You only need to co-operate a bit.

“Well I'm in for it,” Tracey smiled then turned to Dwayne.

“Damien and I have been pretty close off street. Everything I know is because of him. I am sure I could fill in for him. However, I don't have any gear at all.”

Trace smiled inwardly. She knew her old bass guitar, cables, pedals and amps were all stored in the practice space. She could rope her old gig.

Dwayne smiled slyly looking Tracey up and down suggestively, “Holy shit! She's sexy and cute, and she plays bass!”

Tracey grinned, “And play guitar and sing multi part harmony as well.”

Dwayne smiled, “Sure, we'll give you a shot at it! Damien was a background singer too so you got the total package! We'll definitely get back to you within the next few days,shit maybe even sooner! You have a number?”

Tracey looked to Shadoe for her silent opinion.

Shadoe gave a subtle nod and a smile.

Tracey pulled out a pen and pad of paper and scribbled the number to the cell phone she used.

“I think we should get right on this social issue of yours PDQ girl,” Shadoe said, “Perhaps we should head back to my place so we can get started?”

Shadoe gave Dwayne a peck on the cheek and Tracey, feeling a bit of peer pressure to follow suit, also gave him a peck on the cheek and they started off for the apartment.

As they walked Tracey's mind was churning. She was excited about retaining her position in the band, albeit as someone else but to retain even just that little bit of her old life helped to make everything else tolerable.

As they walked, Tracey had a thought then looked at Shadoe suspiciously, “Remember I am not doing any escorting. At least not yet. I don't believe that things have gone that way just yet. I'd sooner work on the musical end.”

Shadoe laughed, “Oh hell girl, it's nothing like that. But on that front if you ever want to get into it just ask me, I'll help you any way I can.”

Tracey smiled uneasily. She didn't want to get into boy girl relationships of any kind just yet. Besides which she still had a lot to learn about her new role in life as a teenager.

“I just noticed your roots this morning,” Shadoe replied.

“My roots?” Tracey wondered, “what the hell is she saying? Isn't this Trace's hair colour?”

“Shit girl, even the dye can't cover up your blonde nature!” Shadoe laughed, “shit has it been that long since you've seen your natural hair colour?”

“I'm a blonde...” Tracey said blankly.

Shadoe laughed and slapped Tracey playfully on the back, “and what a blonde! But that should be enough to toss any assholes off your scent! Just go back to your normal hair colour! And hey, we can take a trip to the mountains if your want for a few weeks, Just to get away from the bullshit for a while. You seriously need to chill for a while.”

Shadoe opened the door with her key card and led Tracey through the lobby past the security desk.

The security guard on duty, an older man of his mid fifties greeted them on the way by, “Good afternoon Miss Couldrey and Miss Uxbridge.”

Tracey waited until the elevator door closed, “the security here knows me?”

“Hell yeah, but don't worry about it babe,” Shadoe winked at Tracey, “he's on our side!”

She accented her words with a sultry shifting of the hips which wiggled her butt enticingly.

Tracey looked away. She'd been female now for over two weeks but there was still that over active male ego in the background of her mind. Damien had a crush on Shadoe years ago and it went unseen and inactive. Damien was relegated to close friend status with Shadoe and as such set his relationship with Shadoe at a fixed setting.

But Damien was no more. The last time he saw his body, it was running away from him. That incident did leave a bit of an emotional scar on him but it was not always easy to see now that he was Tracey full time.

Shadoe led them both back into the safety of Shadoe's apartment, locking the deadbolts behind her.

Tracey went straight to the bathroom though. She had to see these roots. All this time she was convinced that chestnut was Trace's actual hair colour, now of course she had to know for sure.

She looked at herself in the mirror up close. It was true. There was just over a quarter of an inch of new growth and it was a sandy blonde colour.

She furrowed her eyebrows and pulled back from the mirror, trying to picture that face as a blonde.

“Holy shit, I'm blonde,” she repeated softly to herself.

“You know you scare me sometimes, kid,” Shadoe remarked from the open door, “Ever since that weirdness downtown a few weeks back you haven't been yourself at all.”

Tracey smiled in spite of herself, “Well it was a bit of a stress show.”

“They did get a few of us though,” Shadoe said solemnly, “at least six people, including you, vanished off the strip, never to be seen again.”

“Including me?” Tracey asked.

“Yeah, I ain't telling no one where you're at. I don't need that type of heat on me,” Shadoe replied defiantly.

“Did they get anyone you know?” Tracey asked.

“Well Gremlin, Mouse and Little Janet are gone for sure,” Shadoe replied, then added with a sad sigh, “as well as Damien and witnesses say he was babbling in Chinese and trying to fight people, which is totally not like Damien at all.”

Tracey reached out to the wall to steady herself. Her knees felt weak. Finally there was confirmation. The body of Damien Leone was in the possession of the mysterious dark suits.

Tracey let out a heavy sigh.

Shadoe moved over to help support her, “Shit girl you gonna be okay? I didn't know you and Damien were that close!”

Tracey perked up a bit for a moment, “Oh yeah, we didn't hang out much together on the strip but he is directly responsible for everything I know in music! But we were just friends, you know. Like jamming buddies.”

“Yeah, I know what you mean, “ Shadoe replied nostalgically, “I had a bit of a crush on him years ago when I first met him. There was something dark and sinister about him that attracted me. But over the years we just stayed as buddies.”

Tracey raised a surprised eyebrow, then remarked, “No boy-girl stuff with you either.”

“Yeah, he's never been one for relationships anyways,” Shadoe said, “Not that I could picture anyways. He's a musician; married only to his music.”

Tracey smiled, “Yeah, you could most certainly say that for sure! “Till death do we part!”

Shadoe smiled, “Okay here's the deal. We put your hair back to it's natural colour again. We have the colour professionally stripped from your hair.”

Tracey ran her fingers through her hair still a bit surprised to learn that Trace dyed her hair at all. She was more bothered that she had not noticed the colour of the roots that had grown in since she became Tracey.

“I just can't picture being blonde anymore I guess,” she suggested.

“Yeah well even I almost forgot had you not slipped up over the past few weeks. You usually keep right on top of the root issues.”

“Yeah I really haven't had my life together recently. It's like I'm grabbing desperately at what everyone has,” Tracey replied.

“Well your audition for the band with Dwayne will give you a direction to go in,” Shadoe replied, “Although I think if they do take you on as the bass player, they might have to change the band name from Doodz, because you'd be screwing that up.”

Tracey smiled, “Well they could always just use the name Dude! Instead. Damien told me that they actually did think of that as a name when they first formed; maybe they'll reconsider it, if I get the gig.”

“think positive girlfriend,” Shadoe grabbed her wallet and stuffed it into her purse, “okay let's hoof it bitch. I can get you in at a friend's hair dressing shop just a few floors down. We can get that hair stripped and set and not have to leave the building. She also sells hair extensions too and she can match the colours perfectly.”

“Oh but that's sure to run you up big time!” Tracey replied.

“Ah shit, what good is having all this at my fingertips if I never get to use it?' Shadoe slapped Tracey's butt as they headed for the apartment door.

Shadoe took them down the 3 floors and knocked. The door flew open wide displaying a short stocky black woman of middle aged years. She had a sparkle in her eyes and a wide smile. She placed a hand upon Tracey's shoulder and gently guided her in, “So you must be Tracey! Shadoe here told me of your problem and I am very sure we have a solution for you. Anyway, my name is Rhonda, and I am very glad to finally meet you.”

Tracey glanced to Shadoe with an inquiring look, “finally?”

Rhonda smiled, “Oh she's been here a few times since you joined us here. But don't you worry your pretty little head; we been friends for years now. Hell I even used to be her baby sitter years ago!”

“Oh okay,” Tracey forced a nervous smile, “it's just that so much has happened over the last while, I guess I have become a bit paranoid in some respects.”

Rhonda turned her attention to Tracey's hair, “Oh yeah I can do it all right and you are lucky. I am sure I have all sorts of extensions in this shade. We are going to make you look fabulous! How long you been dying your hair girl?”

Tracey smiled, “well it's been so long now. But it's been years now.”

Of that Tracey was sure. She didn't quite know how she was sure but she knew that Trace had been dying her hair since the onset of puberty.

If she tried though, she could recall faint images from the back of her mind of seeing the reflection of a young pretty prepubescent girl with long flowing sandy blonde hair.

“Well the procedure is a bit involved,” Rhonda explained as she led Tracey to her shampooing sink and sat her down in the waiting chair, “First we wash the hair; I have a gentle shampoo that's perfect for the job. Then I apply the stripping agent. Many people call it bleach but trust me, girl. It ain't bleach by any stretch of the imagination. It will help to remove the old dyes. Naturally we'll have to add a touch of colour to even things out but trust me, in two hours you are going to be a whole new woman!”

“Yet again,” Tracey thought with a smile.

“So what made you go for the pixie look?” Rhonda asked.

“You know I was wondering that too,” Shadoe added.

“Well to be honest with you both,” Tracey answered with a smile, “I can't remember exactly why. I guess it was just on a whim. And you know me, Shadoe. I do tend toward the whimsical.”

“That's for sure,” Shadoe laughed, “it is nice to see you settling down though. That chase down on the strip must have set your mind on a new path, which is a good thing I should think."

“Well,” Tracey smiled as she sat down and leaned back putting her head in the sink behind her, “I have rather mixed feelings about all that, but I guess a change of life was in the cards for me. Mind you I'd just as soon have it crop up without all the excess dramatics.”

“Well,” Rhonda laughed as she turned on the water, “some people have to have their ass whupped before they listen to reason. Shit, I used to be the same way when I was your age.”

Tracey smiled languishing in Rhonda's gently massaging of her scalp, “So there's hope for me then?”

Rhonda laughed harder, “With any luck girl, with any luck!”

(To be continued)

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connection to her old life

nice. but being a musician will bring her attention



but speaking as a retired musician, I can attest that quite often we are relegated as "atmosphere enhancers". and hence often overlooked.