A Quickie in the Commodore's Office

byVoboy©

She was small, or at least short; there were definitely two parts of her that were not small at all, and my wildly darting eyes descended right to them. She smiled, clearly used to the reaction. "Hi," she said, her voice as smoky as her eyes. "Nice set." She was dressed in a long blue vintage gown, thick silk, complete with pearls and a piled pageboy hairstyle, glossy in the light. Formal gloves reached nearly to her elbow.

She was, what, some kind of vixen? A darker Marilyn Monroe? Maybe she was dressed as Audrey Hepburn? But no, she had the wrong sort of tits for that. She leaned in, smelling of flowers and hairspray, and whispered to me. "Maybe you should bring out the other bass after your break."

I jerked my head back, surprised, but then I remembered: hers had been one of the tight, sleek asses I'd seen walking into the club ahead of me, one of Abigail's sister's friends. She'd have seen the other case. "Wha?"

She smiled at me, a weird intensity behind her dark, dark eyes, and then let a silk-gloved finger trail slyly up my forearm. "See you soon," she murmured, and then the subtle movements of the crowd and the pressing needs of my bladder swept us apart.

* * *

We were happy to emerge from the stuffy Commodore's office, the little room stinking of our combined sweat and bad breath and the remains of the chicken Kiev the yacht club had served us. I was flying high once more and now walking very carefully, for this time I'd taken the smoky-eyed girl's advice: my nervy fingers were clutched tightly around the maple neck of a 1958 Fender Precision Bass, all original but with the pickup cover missing, and I made Jeff walk ahead of me so that nobody would knock into it. He laughed. "Just be ready to go get your Jazz if it doesn't work," he winked.

"It'll work," I snapped, and somehow I knew I was telling the truth: there was nothing at all wrong with this bass. Nothing. "We're starting with Telstar, right?"

Jeff shrugged. "Kids love sixties stuff," he shrugged uncertainly. "Especially if they don't know it's sixties stuff." I had my doubts, but it was only like four or five notes for me.

The whooping began as we took the stage, but it had a strained quality now; these kids had been at it for four hours already, and by now more were sitting than standing. Many had left, no doubt out in the parking lot getting wasted or fucking each other. But I did notice, as I switched my strap over to the '58, that the smoky-eyed girl was still there, leaning on the bar, watching.

Shit, what a looker. I regretted, fleetingly, that I wasn't the guitar player, and that the fresh line would leave me unable to get hard for awhile. Otherwise, I'd have been putting the hard sell on that girl, high schooler or no. She leaned with an easy, perfectly-proportioned confidence, looking through her lashes as I settled the bass across my shoulders and turned to plug in.

My mind was singing, buzzing hard with the fresh coke. I felt alive and exuberant. The ringing in my ears was equal parts auditory assault and sheer crazy excitement. I felt dissociated from the whole room, the whole situation, my whole life. It was as if I was hovering over myself, looking down as I fiddled with the amp cord. Out of the corner of one eye was Jorgenson, quietly tuning his snare drum; out the other, Classy Todd was packing up his electronics. Behind me, an expectant hush as the die-hard party kids waited for us to get going. Everything was silent, heavy, charged in a way.

The hands of the old clock on the wall above the stage smacked to midnight.

The amp plug made a satisfying thunk as it snapped into the bass, the jack still good after nearly six decades.

At once there was a sort of crackling noise, a feeling like I was being briefly and comprehensively wrapped in foil. For a moment my eyes went out of focus, but that was something that happened sometimes on coke. I blinked and looked hard at the amp, now no longer the cheap but serviceable Ampeg I'd always used, now a new-looking Fender Bassman that had to be one of the reissues, had to be; it was too clean to be vintage.

But what was it doing there?

I flickered my eyes over my amp cord; yup. I was indeed plugged into the Bassman, its blocky shape covered in waxy yellowish cloth. I frowned, but noticed something else disquieting: as my eyes scanned the cord, I saw fleetingly that I wasn't dressed in the scruffy jeans, Western shirt, and Vans I'd shown up at the gig in.

I was wearing a suit. Straight-leg black trousers, a tight red suit jacket with a skinny tie. Shiny penny loafers.

I straightened slowly, my ears ringing insistently, the dissociation getting stronger, my whole face numb. Behind me I heard a low hissing voice, Jeff's. "Come on, man. Everybody's waiting." I turned to listen and saw Jorgenson, his long hair now short and combed sleek and shiny, his suit jacket matching mine behind his Gretsch set. He was looking at me quizzically, and I wondered why he didn't have his contacts in, and where he'd gotten such crappy retro glasses.

Jeff stood on the far side, his fingers already shaped into an A chord while his pick waited, but now he had a different guitar, something cheap and solid, a Danelectro. His hair looked weird too, styled like a helmet against his long skinny head. His eyes were wide open, nodding at me expectantly, and his suit was the same as mine.

What the fuck?

Marveling at the strength of the cocaine, I looked down at the beautiful '58 P-bass strapped to my body and swiveled slowly, the hum of the electronics underlying the scene. I took in Cameron facing away in his own red suit coat, the sleeves rolled up and with his hair a weird feathery clump, center-parted in the back. He had a blonde Telecaster on a skinny leather strap, the kind they used to be sold with back in The Day, with no sign of his pointy heavy-metal guitar or his pedalboard the size of Delaware; at the mic, a bombshell-looking Abigail in a long, tight gown the same color as our jackets looked back over her smooth freckled shoulder at me.

Jeff cleared his throat. "Ready, Justin?" He nodded at me, and I shrugged and stared blankly back at him. Fuck no I wasn't ready. I was totally discombobulated. Christ. What song were we doing? Why were we wearing this shit? I was prepared to accept we'd decided to go all Halloween-costume kitschy during the intermission, then come out looking like Buddy Holly, but for the life of me I couldn't remember changing clothes.

"Uh, sure." I twiddled with my volume knob, bringing it way down in case I played the wrong note, and then eyed Jorgenson to see when I should play.

"Here's a new one," Abigail was saying into the mic, her voice throaty and bronzed like it always was when she was performing. "Number One a couple months ago; they call it the Hot 100 now, but we just call it a really swell song. Little Star, by The Elegants!" Jeff's A chord rang out, unexpected, and then came Cameron backing up Abigail with a weird croon that sounded vaguely familiar; Cameron was glancing back at me, and belatedly I realized there was a mic on a stand in front of me, too.

Shit, was I a singer now too?

It was one of those old-school microphones, all heavy chrome and looking like the front of an old car, and I wondered vaguely where Jeff had found it, who'd set it up.

I stumbled into a generic bassline, focusing madly on the song's quirky rhythm, relying completely on Jorgenson. I guess it sounded okay; by midway through the first chorus, I'd caught my breath enough to look out over the audience and see what was going on out there.

I saw... little. The yacht club still looked like the yacht club, but now there was no pool table, and there seemed to be a lot fewer lights coming through the windows from the town outside. Someone had put up a big papier-mache pumpkin by the door. The dance floor was ringed by chairs, sturdy ones; I didn't see any cheap folding chairs. Kids sat there, talking to each other, the dance floor not very full; in fairness, though, this was hardly a strong, modern dance song.

Actually, the kids who were dancing seemed to be awfully good. They were all doing the same thing, a weird kind of line dance-ish thing where they didn't touch each other much. I frowned, realizing something else was missing from the dancers, and as I fumbled my way into the bridge it came to me: I wasn't seeing any costumes anymore. I squinted into the fug, and saw also a distinct lack of yoga pants, untucked shirts, and the tops of breasts. There were bare shoulders here and there, and a very slight hint of cleavage, but suddenly all the kids looked like they'd just come fresh from a visit to their great-grandmother's nursing home on funeral day.

Sport jackets, ties, sweaters, calf-length skirts... these were everywhere. Not a single one of the boys had long hair, and not a single one of the girls had short hair. The '58 vibrated in my hands. My eyes roved around, looking for plastic cups and straw wrappers and the other crap that usually littered the floors and tables of gigs like this: I saw none of that. There were weird twinkles coming from all over the room, and it took me a moment to figure out I was looking at light on glass: glass bottles of Coke (not my kind, the other one), glass tumblers of what looked like apple cider, glass ashtrays, glass chandeliers that I was sure hadn't been there when Classy Todd took over.

What the fuck was going on here?

Little Star ended on a drawn-out chord from the guitars, and I saw Jeff glance over at me again while Abigail called the next song, and what the hell was she doing? Usually we just went from song to song, no banter. "Why, that was great!" she enthused. "Now let's speed it up with another really cool song by Danny and the Juniors, and I want to see all of you cool cats up and doing the Hop!"

Jeff, frowning down at his fretboard, started guitaring a piano part I remembered from some of my dad's old records, the ones he'd spun when I was a kid, and I went instinctively into a nice, fast 12-bar blues line while the kids hoisted themselves out of their chairs and hit the floor.

It sounded different with a female singer and no piano, but not bad. Even with my half-guessed playing.

As I moved into the first chorus, my eye fell vacantly onto the only person in the room not dancing, a compact girl leaning against the bar in a tight blue silk gown and long gloves. Dark hair, dark smoky eyes, a serious and lively face; she looked very familiar. She stared at me with a strange, dark-lipsticked half smile, more of a smirk, her shoulders rolling slightly to the rhythm of the song as she sipped at a tall, old-fashioned milkshake glass.

She winked at me, and then raised the glass in an ironic toast before a pair of her twirling classmates, dancing expertly in an energetic retro style, passed in front of her. I stumbled over the simple bassline, my bandmates looking at me closely, and I grunted a quick, exasperated "Goddammit!"

Into the mic.

At once everything stopped, like a cowboy movie when the villain walks into the saloon. The dancers halted, frozen, their eyes wide in shock. Cameron and Abigail had both turned completely around, their faces showing the same kind of surprise, and Jeff was stalking across the stage to grip my arm urgently. "Gosh, Justin!" he spat into my ear. "You trying to get us arrested here?"

"Say you're sorry," Abigail murmured slowly and clearly. "Say you're sorry before they kick us out."

The silence thickened.

"Uh," I spoke up, lamely, into the shiny old microphone, "I'm sorry?"

Abigail pursed her painted lips, then spun to her own mic. "Yes indeed, kids," she explained, "it's a little late, and that's a pretty fast song. Easy to get the notes wrong! We're sorry, Mr Cleveland." A tall, bald guy in a bowtie had advanced menacingly toward the stage, and I belatedly recognized the chaperone. He was glaring at me as though he wanted to take my head off. "Should we slow it down, sir?"

"I think you should." The bald man's head was thrust pugnaciously out, his jaw set. "We don't encourage such profanity, young man," he said, and it took me a second to realize he was talking to me.

Some response seemed expected.

"Yes, uh, sir. Like I said, I'm very very sorry." He held my gaze a moment, and then nodded, the kind of nod a general gives to a wayward subordinate. He melted back into the shadows, the chandeliers dancing across his bald head, and Jeff released my arm.

"We'll do that Dream song, the Everly Brothers one," he told us. "And then I think we should wrap this up before Justin screws the pooch again."

"Yeah, Justin," smirked Cameron, tweaking at his tuners. I blinked, and then Abigail announced the closing number, and by the time my eyes got back to the bar the smoky-eyed girl in the blue dress was gone, leaving only her empty milkshake glass.

* * *

I was stumbling along through the emptying yacht club, searching desperately for a bathroom and wondering when everyone would stop pretending it was the 1950s. Clammy sweat was prickling under my red suit jacket, and behind me the rest of the band was quietly packing everything away.

I walked among fresh-faced kids, all innocent and perky and laughing and standing well apart from each other. I passed the club's little bowling alley, which had been dark and dusty when we'd arrived for our set, now clean and scrubbed and polished, looking like it had been used just that day. I walked vaguely under the row of portraits of all the past Commodores, and I noticed with a twinge of uncertainty that the last one was engraved "1956-57."

On into the foyer, with clean-cut kids chattering clean-cut words to each other, and when they looked at me passing it jarred me. Normally, band members get admiring glances, shy eyelash flutters, often winks and smirks of a decidedly saucy nature. Now, I was getting looked at by these kids as a servant, an employee, no better than a waiter. They didn't move aside for me, and it didn't occur to me to ask them where I could piss.

Besides, I already knew. The Commodore's office had its own bathroom, a closetlike little space behind the desk, next to the faded old maroon sofa. I headed straight for the office.

I was vaguely aware I was weaving a bit, occasionally even stumbling, my head buzzing. I knew there was a reasonable explanation for what had happened to the yacht club. Somehow there'd been a prearrangement, a prank even, where everyone had gone into '50s mode; I just didn't remember changing, with all the cocaine. Or maybe none of this was really happening, after all; maybe I was passed out already on the couch in the office, dreaming all this.

Or something. Or, say, Greg Hicks had sold me some sort of enchanted fucking bass. Which had transported me back in time. Or something. Nope.

The office was unlocked, which bothered me; I'd left my J-bass in there, stacked on top of the old P-bass case in the corner by the wastebasket, next to Cameron's backup guitar. Only, none of that was there now. The office was cleaner than I'd remembered, tidier, with less crap scattered around. The old maroon sofa, I was surprised to see, was a new maroon sofa, clean and crisp, looking brand-new.

The desk calendar said October 31, 1958.

I shook my head, growing more and more troubled but trying to ignore the growing evidence that something really, really fucking strange had happened. A picture of Dwight Eisenhower hung next to the bathroom door, but by then I was only thinking of the toilet. I burst through the door, letting it drift toward closure by itself, and went to pee. I was puzzled at my lack of a belt, but I felt around my waistband and discovered suspenders under my jacket.

Shit. Suspenders? What was that all about?

My boxers were not the flannel ones I'd put on earlier, blue with little green frogs all over them. No, these were simple, white, and felt cheap. But I didn't care much now; my bladder was driving the train, and I burrowed into the little hole in the front of the boxers and hauled my dick out into the light of the bare bulb.

Phoah. Bliss.

My urine tinkled merrily into the bowl, my eyelids fluttering; I heard myself sigh long and hard as I pissed. At some point I glanced sideways to see myself in the cracked little mirror over the tiny sink, and I felt my mouth flop open.

I wasn't myself. And it wasn't just the clothes. I had no facial hair, the artful scruff I'd spent months tending now gone; my wild hair was combed way, way up in front like Morrissey, with long sideburns like I'd never, ever worn. I blinked, as with a long ascending note the stream of my piss weakened and shrank, splashing distinctly now. I waited a moment, then shook myself briskly.

Automatically my hand shot out and down to flush, only to encounter empty air. I actually flapped my hand a few more times, wondering where the damn toilet tank was, before looking stupidly downward and realizing it wasn't there, that it was on the wall, high up in front of me, with a beaded metal chain falling before me to do the flush.

Huh. They'd retro-fied the toilet. As part of the prank. During the last hour or so.

No fucking way.

I went slack, all my muscles caving in as I started to admit to myself that maybe, just possibly, I'd somehow gone back to 195fucking8, and I was reaching tentatively up to go for the flush chain when, all at once, I heard the office door open and then close, quickly. I froze, then heard laughter coming from out there, quiet playful laughter immediately shut off, and I wondered just how shitty my world was about to get.

I heard voices, two of them. One was deep and confident, a man trying to keep his voice down and his manner dismissive; the other smoky and feminine, a whisky voice, a voice like sin. "See? I told you. No one's back here."

"Lucky me." I could hear the lust in the kid's voice, thick as honey. As I listened, he cleared his throat. "Does it lock?"

"Do you want to waste time finding out," the girl mocked, "or do you want to unzip me?" She chuckled again, dry and husky, and I heard a sharp sigh from the guy. "Time's a-wasting here, pal."

"You don't say." He was still trying to sound nonchalant. I heard sighs and rustling, the sharp treble note of a long zipper falling down. "You ever done this before, baby?"

"Not with you," the girl replied at once, super-cool. "As for anyone else, it's none of your business, daddy-o." She gasped then, and just as quickly laughed at herself. "Your hands are cold," she explained.

"Mm." I heard quiet kissing noises. "But my balls aren't." My bathroom door never really had closed all the way, and I craned my head sideways until I was looking through the crack between the door and the jamb. What I saw out there made me catch my breath.

The girl with the smoky eyes. The girl with the milkshake. The girl, as I vaguely remembered, who'd told me to use the '58 during the second set. That girl was leaning the front of her thighs against the Commodore's desk, just a few feet away from me. She was upright, her head bent back and her eyes shut, standing like a statue against a tall, athletic boy behind her. They were pressed tightly together, so tightly there was no room at all between their hips, both of them moving slowly together like a pair of slow-motion hula hoopers.

The stiff, thick silk gown was off her shoulders, having fallen forward over the desk when he unzipped her, and I was looking at a sleekly gorgeous female body, the muscles of her abs firm and tapering toward her waist, her navel plain on her pale belly; above were a pair of phenomenal tits, as I could tell even through the old-school bra she was wearing. I saw a large male hand gripping her narrow waist, another clamped tight over her left boob up under the bra. The girl had the fingers of one hand resting lightly against the desktop; her other arm was high in the air, wrapped around the crew-cut head that now ran kisses along her shoulders, up her long neck, around her left ear.

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