End of the Blues

End of the Blues


One night in 1951 at Sandy's Blue Note Lounge:


Toni cries the blues,

gives voice to guttural torch songs.

“This is my life;

Waiting for you to say

tonight’s the night you will stay,

and for tomorrow, and forever”

Sung in spiritual sadness,

she would stun her audience

with all the despair

flesh can endure.


Jack laughed about living,

toyed with hearts and souls.

“Give me my life and my liberty

and the end to all my means

will justify my goals.

There are no promises, no tomorrows,

no forever, and no sorrows. ”

A brother of the wind,

he would soon be gone with the latest

jazz singer sure to be a star.

Her name was Louise.


Ray kept a heavy beat

internal, with a pair of sticks.

“The rhythm’s in my head,

driving me to use whatever is

rolling through my veins.

to extremes of foot and fingertip.”

Tonight, the drumming would cease.

Toni's blues would bring him peace

She’d left him all those years ago

To follow another, here, to Chicago.


Toni was shocked when Jack said goodbye

but she couldn't listen to more of his lies.

.“Don't worry darlin'

I still care for you, and if this one

don't strike it rich, I'll be coming back."

Toni told Jack to get out and leave her alone.

That night, she cancelled her show

Stayed in her dressing room, though

. . .and cried.


Jack was not moved.

Later, he went to knock on Louise's door.

There was no reply. He tried once more.

"You in there, Baby? It's Jack.

You ready to go?

Come on Baby, don't play games"

Jack heard no sounds from her room.

He went to get the key from Sandy.


Alone and distraught Toni never thought

That long-ago lover, Ray, was here in town

but there he was knocking her door down

"Hey it's me, Ray

I've been going crazy without you.

Open the door and let me see you, hon."

All was quiet for a moment and then the door was unlocked..

Ray walked in and found Toni, shaken and broken.


She was sitting at her dressing table.

He got as close as he was able.

"Oh, Ray, I've done a horrible thing.

I've killed someone. I... I... I shouldn't.

What will happen?"

Ray saw blood on her hands and a knife by her side..

He nearly died inside, his mind was unstable.


Ray reached for the gun he'd brought

Put it to Toni's head and fired a shot.

" What the hell?! Ray you bastard!

Toni?  Toni? ....

Jack, passing Toni's door,  raced in on Ray.

The gun resounded once more. Jack lay dead on the floor. Shot through his lower jaw. Ray placed the gun in Jack's hand then went outside, locking the door.


Ray slipped away in the resulting crowd.

All three bodies were found

by the police who avowed

"This case has been untangled.

No need for further investigation.

No need to search for clues"

They called it a destructive love triangle

where all three died, two by murder and one by suicide.


But Ray knew. . .it was the end of his blues.


  • Fay Slimm.

    A sad ending for the triangle of lovers in this wonderfully textured novelette which holds attention from the first line - - powerful read Phil.

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