Bradley Schuster and the Holy Grail: Chapter 26

The girls left sometime in the wee hours of the morning. I woke up just enough to note by the light coming through the crack of the bathroom door that there was hushed activity going on around me, then drifted back toward sleep. I vaguely re­mem­bered both of them gently kissing me goodbye at the same time, one per cheek.

The next thing I knew, it was 10:40. A typical Sunday morning in the old days, but definitely a radical departure from my new weekend regimen. So I wolfed down a bowl of Cheerios and got right to work.

Or sort of got to work. My fingers were poised over the typewriter keys, but my subconscious was still busy processing all the diverse feel­ings and expe­riences from the night before. Singing in a rock and roll band and a sexual fantasy-come-true, both in the same night. So The Grail got maybe 40% of my attention. I would have been totally unable to deal with the drama and irony of Jesus’ week in Jerusalem, so I guess it was perhaps the ideal time to hear the subdued little interlude of Mary Magdalene and Joseph of Arimathea.

But The Grail didn’t scold. And no poke and wink, wink either. As she had told me —jeez, was it only a couple of weeks before?—she was no prude. She just went about the business of telling her story matter-of-factly, deli­cately drawing me in.

Starting late, we finished late. I dined on peanut butter and white bread a couple of times during the day, not wanting to stop for something better even though I could afford it, for once.

I’d halfway expected to hear from Judy Blue Eyes, but I guess I wasn’t really surprised not to. She was probably out picnicking with her own thoughts and emotions. Either that or spending the rest of the weekend in extended communion with Jenny Slade. Whichever the case, I didn’t mind. For myself, I was­n’t up for any more of the pursuit of happiness than I could find in the solace and solitude of my own bed. The lingering delicious smells of love on my sheets and pil­low combined with all that pent-up reminiscing gave me a night full of the most carnal dreams I can ever remember.

Monday night I finally got the call I had been expecting from Judy Blue Eyes. She was no more embarrassed in telling me what a great time she’d had on Satur­day night than she’d been while having it. She didn’t offer any juicy tidbits on what had hap­pened after they’d left my place, and even fielded my “Jenny Slade get home OK?” gambit with a non-commit­tal, “No problems.”

But that wasn’t what she’d called for. There had been a freelance music reporter at Bilo’s on Saturday, and he’d written a two-inch critique of my performance in the Weekend Section of the Sunday Houston Chronicle. She read it to me over the phone.

Mr. Brad Schuster, a musical unknown, put on a stunning vocal perfor­mance at Bilo’s last night. Singing with SGT Jenny Slade and the Pri­vates, he exhibited raw power and inten­sity rarely glimpsed, even among the greats. From what I have been able to discern, it was a genuine, impromptu amateur performance. There is no evidence that he had ever sung or even re­hearsed with the group be­fore, making the ac­complishment even more in­credible. We can only hope that, whoever he is, he gives up whatever he is doing and becomes a professional musi­cian. Soon.

“Gee, he said some pretty nice things,” I replied lamely. “Guess he must not know much about music.”

“Except that his judgment is exactly right. You were master­ful to the point of genius. What I want to know is, how?”

Well, if she had given me a little dirt about her Sunday with Jenny Slade I might have been more willing to come clean (a most inter­esting mixed metaphor). But as it was, I felt no compulsion and only the mildest guilt in dodging the question. “Judy Blue Eyes, m’love, I guess it must just be one of those unex­plained phe­nomena. Conver­gence of the planets, maybe. A miracle, the gullible might claim.”

She was silent for a long pause. “Brad, I’m absolutely convinced you know more than you’re saying. But that’s your privilege. For now, anyway. I won’t ask you di­rectly, since I don’t want you to get into the habit of lying to me. But I’m ready to hear it all when you’re ready to tell.”

Damned feminine intuition.

Bronze goblet final

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