Song & Dance

Ricky Hammer struggled to get off the bus. Ricky rolled his eyes at the sign that directed people to exit at the rear of the bus. Jumping over the gutter, then squeezing past the small throng, Ricky moved down the sidewalk. The digital clock in Electrix Electronic Supply showed he had forty-five minutes to get to work. His cheeks tightened and he bobbed his head. His legs adjusted and a strut formed, carrying him along the sidewalk.

Ricky did a double take to the left, the the right. Two people on either side were in step with him. Complete with head bob. He shook his head to dismiss it.

At the crosswalk, Ricky stopped and fished out his smartphone. A quick flourish, and his head was filled one of his favorites from his playlist. He tapped his hand on his leg, and bobbed his head in time with the rhythm. It wasn’t unusual for a crosswalk to get crowded. It was unusual for eight other people to be bobbing their head and tapping their hands on their leg in unison. Especially to unheard music.

The walk indicator flashed across the street, and the guitar solo kicked in from Ricky’s music. He positioned his hands and air guitared through the cross walk. The other people, danced, shimied, shuffled, and other maneuvers acorss the cross walk. Ricky stopped what he was doing, and stabbed his phone, stopping the music. He cleared his throat and his head, then walked on. Everyone that was dancing moments ago, stopped what they were doing and went about their normal activities as if nothing happened.

Ricky yanked the door open on Julio’s Convenience store.

######

Owen Rodgers exited the front door of his building. He saluted the doorman and walked down the sidewalk. His lips tightened, then vibrated from his humming. The rhythm was that of the song that was coursing through his head.

The sidewalk became congested as he turned a corner. The song he was humming was heard in his hears, though not loud. An Asian woman was sounding out the base line, a man in a suit had the drum section going with his mouth, and the backup guitar sound was coming from a young kid. Owen kept going with his humming, but glanced at his other band mates.

The small group dispersed as the people went their separate ways, but Owen kept the song going.

Owen was slowed to a stop by waiting for a cross walk. The last song he was humming had since left him. Since he had passed two mounted officers, {Officer Krupke} was at the top of his head, which then put it on his lips as he whistled. Several people in every direction, picked the tune up. Within a few bars, words were belted out and backing vocals added. Owen smiled and enjoyed the song. People walking by stopped and snapped their fingers or tapped their foot along with the song. The light changed and the group hit the final chorus as they crossed the street.

The song ended and everyone diverted to their original course.

Owen dashed forward, catching the door to Julio’s Convenience store before it closed.

######

The door closed behind Owen and he darted towards the energy drink area. Selecting his normal large can, he moved to the cash register. It felt like he just shifted feet, but then he shifted back, then back again. Was that a shuffle step?

Ricky fixed a coffee and grabbed a danish. He flipped his debit card as he walked to the cash register. He caught himself muttering, “I feel pretty. Oh, so pretty.” A quick shake of his head and it went away. Was that from Westside Story?

The front door flew open, knocking the person going out onto her backside. In walked five tough looking individuals. They all wore the same color t-shirt, light blue, and jeans that sagged below their waists. One had on a ball cap and another had tattoos on his face.

Two of the thugs walked back to the beer cooler. A loud noise was heard, and both guys carried several cases to the front.

A third went to the sandwich area and pulled several sandwiches out of the fridge and piled them into a box.

“I don’t wan any trouble, but you are gonna have ta pay for dose.” The dark skinned, older man behind the counter shook his finger at the three remaining up front.

“Angel, pay the man.” The thug in the ball cap poked a finger at the store clerk. The gangster with tattoos strutted to the counter, reached across and snagged the old man. A quick smack, then the old man’s head was smashed into the counter.

The man in the cap pointed at Owen and Ricky. “You two. Turn out yer pockets.”

“When you’re a jet, you’re a jet all the way.” Ricky’s lips trembled as he muttered the first words to come to his brain.

“From your first cigarette, to your last dyin’ day.” Tattoo face turned to face Ricky and Owen, snapping his fingers.

“When you’re a Jet,if the spit hits the fan.” A thug from the back dropped his cases and his feet shuffled a few steps.

“You got brothers around, you’re a family man!” Ballcap wearing thug snapped his fingers and got in step with the other one.

Owen lowered his hands and leaned into Ricky. “I did the singing, where did the dancing come from?”

Ricky licked his lips and glanced at Owen. “It started happening this mornning. I guess it is me.”

All five thugs formed into a dancing V, snapping fingers and shuffling feet. In unison, the thugs harmonized their voices. “You’re never alone, you’re never disconnected! You’re home with your own: When company’s expected, You’re well protected!” They stepped, pivoted, and spun in time with each other.

The old man behind the counter clapped a hand on the counter keeping perfect time with the singing group. In his other hand, he had a cordless phone. “Yes, a robbery. That’s them singing. They are dancing, too. Yes, please hurry.”

“Then you are set with a capital J, which you’ll never forget till they cart you away. When you’re a Jet, you stay a Jet!”

A horse could be seen through the glass door. The uniformed officer threw open the door and slid into an offensive stance with firearm out. “POLICE! FREEZE!”

Owen and Ricky jerked their heads to the cop. Owne whisperedd, “Stop it.”

“Done.”

In unison, all five of the thugs fell to the floor, face down, arms and legs spread out.

The officer grabbed for his radio and called for back up. It wasn’t long before another mounted officer arrived, and they began cuffing the hoods.

“Wait! They were singing The Jet song. The one from Westside Story?” The second officer cuffed a thug, while he spoke.

“Yeah! Weirdest thing I ever saw.” The first officer held the door and pulled a thug with him.

“I am putting that on YouTube.” The store clerk moved for the laptop behind the counter.

Owen and Ricky had already given statements and paid for their merchandise.

“Shit, I’m late for work.” Ricky turned towards his new friend. “Number.”

Owen said it outloud.

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