Christmas Deliverance

Deliverance (Book 2) had a chapter dedicated to a Christmas dance for the book’s era. Here is an extract and if you want to read more, download the price promo book from Amazon. (Click)

A tall thin man stepped forward with his admission money. “What time does the bar close?”

     “When the drink runs out!” cried his friend next to him.”

     “We have a special license to consume alcohol until 10.30,” said Evelyn. “An additional thirty minutes.”

     Both men and several others behind them in the queue cheered. Whilst Evelyn continued to take money, she once more glanced at the function room clock. The band had not appeared. Then, five young men in long unbuttoned dark coats and hats, black suits, white shirts and dark neckties carrying instruments approached Evelyn. One member raised his hat. “Apologies, our transport broke down.”

     “Can you start at eight.”

     “No problem, we’ll set ourselves up right now.”

     “Terrific,” said Evelyn, smiling.

     The bandleader looked towards the stage. “I see the piano is in place.”

     Evelyn nodded.

     Band members took their instruments plus a drum kit to the function suite stage situated adjacent to the bar. Whilst they awaited customers, Vivien and Charles looked on. The five musicians removed their coats and hats, then placed them in a neat pile on two chairs put together.

     “They appear on the young side,” said Charles.

     One bespectacled member opened his case, took out a guitar and then placed it against a chair. He stood back and stumbled over the case. Another member grabbed him and prevented a fall.

     “One of them also appears unsteady,” said Charles, as he smiled.

     “I bet he’s had a skinful,” added Vivien. “He would fit into a Laurel and Hardy sketch.”

     As Charles laughed, the drummer positioned his kit, pulled over a chair to sit on and bumped into the cymbals. When they crashed to the ground, revellers laughed and whistled.

     “Is this the cabaret, or a band?” said Vivien, as she shook her head.

     “A bit of both,” said Charles cheerily. “Pre-dance entertainment.”

     Revellers who infiltrated the function suite approached the bar and a queue formed. The first customer looked at the band and then Vivien. “At least the piano can’t be knocked over.”

     “Don’t hold your breath,” said Vivien.

     The customer laughed.

     After they bought a drink, revellers would head for tables and chairs in which to sit. The band began their preparations to entertain them. The pianist, trumpeter, drummer, bass and clarinet player familiarised themselves with their individual instrument of music.

     A young woman moved forward and handed money to Evelyn. “What time does the band start?”

     “Soon. They play until 8.45 and then have a break for thirty minutes when snacks will be served. The band resumes at 9.15 until 10.15.” Evelyn handed her a ticket.

     “Are the snacks free?” said her friend.

     Evelyn nodded.

     “What do they consist of?”

     “Sandwiches and sausage rolls.”

     “Don’t lose your ticket, Doreen.” She nudged her friend.

     Evelyn looked at the metal cash box full of money. She spotted a nearby empty bucket a short distance from where she sat. An observant male guest in the queue approached her. “Would you like me to fetch it for you?”

     “Please.”

     The young gentleman walked over to the bucket, picked it up and carried it to where Evelyn sat. She smiled. “I’m grateful.”

     “Do I get in for free?”

     “No, but you will receive food free of charge.”

     He laughed and handed over his admission money. Evelyn took his money and dropped it into the bucket. “Next please.”

     “Busy evening?” said a lady.

     “Hello, nice to see you again.”

     The lady glanced at her acquaintance. “This is my aunt, she persuaded me to come along.”

     Her aunt stepped forward. “I am Isabel, Elizabeth has told me a lot about you.”

     Elizabeth handed over money, then glanced around the room. “Not many spare chairs left.”

     “We will squeeze in somewhere, Elizabeth,” said Isabel.

     Evelyn gave Elizabeth two tickets. “Have a terrific evening.”

     “Thanks,” said Elizabeth, as she took the tickets. “When does the band start?”

     “Soon.”

     “Let us find a seat, Elizabeth, my feet ache.”

As Isabel and Elizabeth wandered off, Evelyn welcomed more revellers to the popular event. A queue stood outside the function room entrance and only a few vacant chairs remained. A group of young men approached Evelyn. The tallest cast his gaze around the room.

     “We are short on chairs,” said Evelyn.

     “We don’t need them, we’ll stand.”

     “Are you sure?”

     “We’re sure,” said the smallest member of the group.

     “If Shorty says it’s okay, miss,” said the tallest member, “that’s fine by us.”

     Evelyn handed him the last five tickets and the group followed the leader to the bar. She looked around the suite, then at the queue. As the empty ticket book was laid on the table, Evelyn looked at a young man. “Sorry, we’re full up.”

     “Can you not let us stand around the floor?”

     “No. However, there is room in the other two bars.”

     Male and female guests made for both lounge and public bar entrances. Evelyn lifted the heavy bucket and metal box onto a small trolley, then wheeled it into her office. She opened the safe, put the admission money into it and locked the door.

     Revellers sat on every available chair and those who did not, stood around the dance floor. The band commenced at 8.05 and soon the sound of laughter and chatter diminished. They played a selection of melodic good-time tunes and revellers tapped their fingers on tabletops.

     “That band sound good,” said Elizabeth.

     “It is all new to me this jazz stuff,” said Isabel.

     “I went to a club in St Louis and witnessed something similar. However, the American musicians had a professional background whereas these guys will be part-time.”

     “Look, Elizabeth! Its James.” Isabel pointed.

     “James?”

     “Yes, from the hospital.”

     “The porter?” Elizabeth frowned.

     Isabel nodded. “The chap in a dark suit.”

     “Most of them have dark suits.”

     “The chap with the beard. Next to the small guy in the bar queue.”

     “Yes, I see him.”

     “I will introduce you.”

     “I’m not desperate!”

Note: 23 year old Evelyn is the future mother of Emily, a main character in the current release, EARTHMAN.

September 1962

In this month 60 years ago, medium-range missiles were shipped to Cuba and if armed, could reach America. Thus began the Cuban Missile Crisis which culminated in the above newspaper headline. The forthcoming novel is set before and during events and will be released in October to coincide when the crisis reached its peak. Details to follow.