This story, now titled Nancy (With The Laughing Face) has been reworked twice under different titles and rejected at least 20 times which makes it candidate for overhaul. The basic fabric of the story remains as I believe it to be solid. Alterations are to the beginning and end with considerable tightening throughout. I think I will leave it as is and revisit in a week or two and see what I think. Somewhere down the road I will be satisfied enough to send it out again.
In this fragment Chip is practicing his saxophone with his cousin listening and his friend arrives unseen. Chip plays old jazz numbers from the 50’s and 60’s which, of course, none of his friends know anything about. Nancy(With The Laughing Face) is a Sinatra song reworked by jazz great John Coltrane as an instrumental, almost the whole tune is a slow and thoughtful tenor sax solo.
“Play another.” She said. “Play Nancy.”
“Nancy with the Laughing Face, you like that one?” Chip asked not looking back.
“You play it better than anything else.” She said.
Chip played and it was something Aaron had not heard before, he knew nothing about this music his friend loved. The melody flowed into the barn a pensive, crushing current as he leaned against the door. He watched Chip, eyes closed playing easily, swaying, consumed. Aaron looked away to the crop rustling with a night breeze, he felt the loss and betrayal of the notes.
“I told you that’s your best one.” Mimi said when he finished. “Who is Nancy anyway? She must have been happy if she laughed.”
“I have no idea.” Chip answered. “John Coltrane played it, I think it came from an old song.”
“She’s right.” Aaron added from the doorway. “It’s your best.”