The Switcher: The Song of the Street - Chapter 11

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©2020 - Foxxe Wilder

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



Chapter Eleven

Tracey closed her eyes to assist her in getting into the mood for performance. It was a form of quick meditation that helped her to focus.

"Holy shit," Randy replied, "You know Damien used to do that all the time before we started practice!"

Jason spoke up, "No shit! You really know his playing that well? Just how close were you two anyways?"

"Hey, cool out guys," Dwayne warned, "Give the girl a chance. She's got the background; let's see how she does!"

Tracey smiled, she expected some sort of response like this. She knew them all far too well.

"Like I told Dwayne, all I know I can directly attribute to Damien!" Tracey told them.

"Shit I didn't even know he had a student," Jason interjected, "I've been his best friend for years, and I didn't even know about you!"

Tracey chuckled, "Yeah but Damien never did really share a lot of his life with those that were not a direct part of it. He didn't tell me much about you guys, just as he didn't tell you about me."

"True enough," Jason admitted.

Tracey closed her eyes again and refocused herself, shifting Damien's bass on her shoulders, "Damn, this really feels different this way. I hope I can at least keep up! I didn't really consider how small my hands are now.”

“Okay, any time you guys are good to go,” Tracey said as she readied herself.

“Sure then, We'll do two covers to warm you up and then we'll do two originals. Just do your best and feel free to improvise on the originals.”

Dwayne counted them in. They played the two covers, “Stranglehold” by Ted Nugent and “Wicked Garden” by Stone Temple Pilots. They paused only for a moment after the cover songs, all three guys showing obvious signs of how they felt.

“Okay this first one is basically a pentatonic progression in A. Then the next goes into E major,” Randy coached her.

Tracey grinned inwardly.; she knew she had the gig long before she showed up. Sure she honestly struggled a bit having to use smaller hands than she was used to with the bass but she kept up despite it all.

Tracey went out of her way to add a few extra flourishes here and there to spice up her part in the songs. She didn't want to mimic her old style.

“Wow, you really have his influence, that's for sure!” Randy said. “I can definitely tell you've been taught by Damien. There is a lot of his style in the way you play. Even your playing with the originals is pretty reminiscent of his stuff.”

“You got that right,” Jason nodded, “I don't doubt you can fill his shoes. How about singing though? Can you do backup vocals with harmony?”

“Sure, not a problem!” Tracey grinned exceedingly happy to be able to use her new voice professionally.

Jason glanced at Dwayne for a moment, catching his eye then turned to catch Randy's eye then suggested with a nod, “Seven Bridges?”

Randy and Dwayne nodded back.

Dwayne counted them in.

“There are stars in the Southern sky,
Southward as you go
There is moonlight and moss in the trees
Down the Seven Bridges Road”

Tracey knew her craft well, she sang a higher part than she normally would but now she could pull it off easily. They all stopped singing together at the end of the first verse as if cued.”

“Fucking incredible!” Dwayne announced, still sitting behind the drums, “She plays bass, sings in harmony and looks good on stage!”

Tracey turned to look at him directly with a raised eyebrow and a look of surprise on her face.

“Yeah perhaps but I think her performance is more what we need. The looks are just a bonus,” Randy reminded them.

Tracey smiled at Randy. He always did have a sensible attitude. Jason was a bit of a natural showman but that was only on the stage, Randy was the serious, cerebral one of the group and then there was Dwayne. He was the joker.

Dwayne was also the one that was more likely to hit on any given girl that might cross his path. Tracey knew this all too well but never expected to have to deal so directly with it.

She sighed softly. Dwayne's comment about how she looked was his typical opener. Tracey, as Damien, had witnessed Dwayne at work many times She had to defuse him before he started to pick up steam.

“I'm only here to play and perform as a musician,” Tracey said, “I want my talents to speak for me, not my looks.”

“You got my vote!” Jason replied cheerfully.

Randy nodded, “Same here.”

Dwayne grinned and looked to Tracey, “Well that's all of us then! I guess we can't use the same name now, though. It kind of hard having a band called Doodz with a girl in it.”

Tracey grinned, “Well you can change it just a bit. Just call the band Dude!, with the exclamation mark.”

“Sweet idea!” Dwayne responded.

Randy and Jason nodded as well.

They continued chatting for the next hour setting up regular practice sessions as well as an accelerated practice schedule to get the band tighter for the contest gig.

Tracey couldn't believe it. She got her old position back, and even got the opportunity to get her old bass back, although she agreed to buy it off the band for a decent price.

She really didn't mind that part though. She was just happy to be able to get that bass back. She had gotten very attached to it as Damien.

Dwayne got up as Randy and Jason put their respective instruments down.

“Well there you go guys,” Dwayne smiled impishly, “Only in the band for a few seconds and she's already changing stuff!”

He laughed with Randy and Jason then added with a smile to Tracey, “Just kidding Trace with a y!”

“Trace with a y?” Randy asked.

Tracey laughed, “Yeah it's a joke based on the spelling of my name. I'm often referred to as just as Trace.”

Inwardly a part of her winced. Initially she didn't want to be confused with the original owner of her body but that worry was beginning to fade. She no longer felt alien in her new life; things were finally falling into place.

“You want a ride home there Trace?” Dwayne offered with a smile, prompting a pair of sighs from both Randy and Jason.

Dwayne looked at both of them with a sheepish grin, “What??”

Randy just shook his head but Jason replied, “oh, it's nothing... Casanova!”

The look upon Dwayne's face looked like a dog that got caught eating the Christmas turkey. Despite everything he just smiled and shrugged.

Tracey couldn't help but to giggle and replied, “Okay but I need to be dropped off on Robson Street near Thurlow; I'm meeting my roommate at the Black Angus.”

Dwayne pulled his old station wagon over to the curb, “Here you go. Remember, practice the day after tomorrow.”

Tracey nodded as she stepped out of the car.

“So, call me sometime?” Dwayne asked almost timidly, “it doesn't have to be band related either. Just to get together over a few drinks - or tokes – and maybe some dinner sometime?”

Tracey had never seen Dwayne acting so passively. Feeling a bit inspired she replied, “yeah, I'll give it some thought. See ya!”

Tracey closed the car door carefully, pulled her bass out of the back seat, throwing the gig bag strap over her shoulder and entered the restaurant to join Shadoe.

Shadoe was beaming when Tracey spotted her in the rear corner table. Tracey walked over, careful not to hit anyone with the bass.

“So I take it that you got the gig?” Shadoe asked, “not that I had any doubts of course.”

Tracey smiled, set the bass down in the corner and sat down, signalling the waitress for a coffee as she did so.

“Well, it was a bit of a stretch,” Tracey replied as she held her right hand out, “literally! These fingers are a bit shorter than what I started out with. But I know the bass well enough and I already had the bass part down. Although I had to throw in a few extras things to make it sound a bit different than how I used to play, but in the end I got it done!”

“So they gave you your old bass?” Shadoe asked nodding to the bass nestled in the corner.

“Hell no, they offered to sell it to me though. For dirt cheap actually. They've pretty much written Damien off now. Well actually buying it from them was my own idea. I've set up a payment plan for it and the rest of the gear Damien had to leave behind.”

Shadoe looked at Tracey with a mixed look on her face, “Written Damien off... the rest of the gear Damien had to leave. You are speaking of Damien as if he was someone else entirely!”

Tracey looked thoughtfully for a moment, “You know, in a big way I am beginning to think of Damien as someone else. I mean, yeah I used to be him but that seems so long ago now. His life and the life I have now are two different points in time and space. I am totally not the same person. I could hear it in my voice while singing and even my playing is a bit different now.”

Shadoe furrowed her brows a bit, “you already said your fingers are smaller.”

“Yeah but that's just the start of it,” Tracey smiled, “there's more to it though. Who I am now and my life as it is now all contribute to how I play and even though I try to play the same way, it feels more like an effort to recreate someone else's style than that of my own. I have my own feel to it now. I really can't explain it but it does appeal to the guys in the band and they want to keep my input.”

“So I saw Dwayne dropped you off and he had a pretty goo-goo look on his face,” Shadoe smiled slyly, “what was that all about?”

Tracey felt herself blush, “Well he asked for me to call him sometime for drinks or dinner. I've never seen him this way before.”

Shadoe grinned, “You're going to call him aren't you?”

Tracey paused for a few moments, “well, maybe. I don't know.”

Tracey felt the blush in her cheeks darken. Shadoe grinned triumphantly.

(To be continued)

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