Salvation is playing a concert in New Orleans before hitting the road the next day. If Ryan had any pre-conceived ideas of what the club was liked, they're shattered by the reality when they get to Petit Chou. But everything will be fine, as long as they're together. See what's going on in this week's chapter of In Pieces. Don't forget to visit the other Briefers and see what's up with them! Their links follow my tale! Enjoy!
In Pieces #49 (12.3)
As they pulled up to their destination, Ryan couldn’t help but think Petit Chou was a surprisingly small venue, especially for New Orleans, and located nowhere near the heart of the city. He’d assumed it would be in the French Quarter, or wherever most of the music was, but that wasn’t the case, as the bar was located in a more residential area. Petit Chou sat at the end of a long skinny strip mall beyond which lay a group of apartment buildings and townhouses. There was little room for parking in front of the businesses. Most patrons either used the lot on the side of the structure or they parked in the wide street, but there was only so much space available there. Ryan suspected that most people ended up utilizing the much larger lot just across the street. Deacon parked the van in front of the building while Aiden found a space for Cameron’s sedan before they joined Deacon and Keanu at the van.
Deacon turned questioning eyes to Ben. “Think it’s cool to unload here?”
“On it,” Ben said. “C’mon, Ryan, let’s find out where they want us to set up.” Ryan followed him inside while the rest of the band lounged against the van to wait.
Ryan’s first impression of Petit Chou’s lack of size was only reinforced when they entered the building. It was maybe a third the size of The Dive, and a lot more dimly lit. The bar, which sat to their right, ran most of the length of the wall. Two casually dressed young men stood behind it, washing glasses and checking inventory. A young woman in blue jeans and a T-shirt stood at the end of the bar, cutting fruit. Just inside the front door, to the left, was a small stage. The dance floor wasn’t very large either, to Ryan’s disappointment. He’d planned to dance with Ben on one of his breaks. He tried to remain optimistic. No reason they couldn’t dance, if they could find room. And depending on how much the fans wanted to monopolize Ben’s time too. He had to get used to the idea that he couldn’t have Ben all to himself, at least not when he was working.
“Welcome, welcome!’ A small man bustled up to them from the shadows. His dark hair lay in a deliberately messy disarray, and he wore a warm smile. “I’ve been waiting for you. So good to meet you.” He held out a manicured hand, first to Ben, then Ryan. “I’m Clete Thibodeaux. Owner of Petit Chou.” Pride was evident in his voice as he waved his hand in an all-encompassing gesture. “I am a huge fan of Salvation. I was beyond excited to find out you were coming.”
“Our pleasure,” Ben said smoothly. If he was disappointed in the size of the bar, he hid it well. Ryan decided he’d follow Ben’s lead and try not to be so judgmental. “Is it all right to bring the equipment in through the front?”
“Oh absolutely, absolutely.” The bar owner practically bounced on the soles of his feet in excitement. “I expect a good crowd tonight. It’s gonna be awesome.”
Ryan scanned the room, which consisted of small tables set fairly close together. A few were already occupied. Through an opening in the back wall, he could see another room on the other side.
“Is that a pool table I see?” he asked, turning to Clete.
“Sure is. Two tables. Quarter a game. Feel free to play as much as you like. We have pinball machines too. We used to have poker machines, but I had them taken out. Caused too much trouble.”
“I can appreciate that,” Ben said. “People sometimes get crazy about that stuff and just don’t know when to quit.”
“You know that’s right.” Clete gave Ryan a searching look, as if wondering where he fit into the scheme of things, but made no comment. “Tell you what. I’ll set up a tab for the band,” he said. “So whenever you want something, just let the bartender know and he’ll get it for you.” Ryan noticed the bar owner kept glancing behind them, as if looking for something. Ryan turned, but saw nothing to produce such intense interest on the man’s part.
“I was wondering,” Clete began, a little hesitantly. “Do you think… I mean, would it be possible to get Deacon autograph? I just love the way he plays. And he’s so sexy. No offense to the rest of you,” he hastily added.
“None taken,” Ben assured him. “He is a wonderful keyboardist, I agree, and he’s pretty easy on the eyes. I’ll see what I can do about an autograph. Shouldn’t be a problem.”
“Thanks, man.” He held out a hand, first to Ben, then to Ryan. “I gotta take care of some stuff, but feel free to come to any of the staff if you need anything. And I’ll be around all night.” With a final nod, he moved off, maybe to an office or something.
“Nice guy,” Ben commented. He turned to Ryan. “Ready to get started?”
to be continued
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