Photo by Jeffrey Winke
Chronicles of the Cool Jazz Cat: Alternate Realm Dwellers
Here in this gritty corner of the city among forgettable old buildings sits The Jazz Club, where the gentle beauty of the restless and exotic come to escape into the welcoming embrace of the music. Amidst the soft flicker of candles and mournful intertwining of a tenor saxophone sit the jazz lovers—humanity at its best and most forgiving. Differences, conflicts, and gripes are shed at the weathered door in the soft yellow-lit arched entranceway. Jazz blurs the lines. The Jazz Club accepts all as they come.
In the shadows of one dark corner is where the Cool Jazz Cat snugly resides. Unnoticed and cloaked by darkness he sits… alone with his thoughts, impressions, and opinions. He observes. He senses. He knows. He exudes the essence of jazz.
On this night, the city is alive with options. Being a hidden away locale and being jazz always limits the crowd, yet the jazz aficionados fill the club. The jazz quintet is playing hard. The bass and keyboard player are stand-ins and are pushing the group to play differently. That difference may have been the cosmic pull… the magnetic force that pulled them in during this final half-hour of the night. The Cool Jazz Cat notices the couple enter and sit at a nearby small mahogany table immersed in the glow of candlelight.
The Cat hastily jots on a scrap of handmade paper, which he slips to me… “realm dwellers!” I look at them closely. They have a different look and aura. It’s as though they walked off the pages of a comic book or the cover of the Beatles’ Sargent Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Band Album. They are eccentric-looking… a bit of a hard edge… and beaten down. As a couple, they are mismatched—an argyle sock with a striped one.
The Cat writes down a book title, The Compendium of Exotic and Oft Rare Knowledge. I look up to question him and he is gone for the night.
I have since found this 1886 tome in the Rare Books Collection at the Central Library. The index brought me to this brief description:
Realm Dweller or Alternate Realm Dweller visits are rare. As the name suggests, they are occupants of a different existence than 99% of us.
Our Realm Dwellers, if that’s what they are, do appear to be most comfortable in a post-midnight world. They didn’t stay long and appear to be the Roma of the night, drifting as gypsies do from place to place. Mystics on the run. They clearly dwell in a different realm.
Jeff lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in a warehouse loft with an obstructed view of Lake Michigan. He writes haiku, haibun, flash fiction, and articles about heavy equipment moving dirt. A recent victim of the global economic recession, Winke supplements his unemployment check with odd jobs that include paid participation in medical experiments and being a doorman for a jazz club located in a dark corner of the city. Much more on Jeff can be found via his web page by clicking here… or just click his portrait on the left. Some of his books are available via Metropolis here…