Sherl listened in horror as the sharp, precise attack on every note that characterized her sister’s sound—even when she intentionally pushed and pulled or syncopated her rhythms—veered off course. She was rushing and slowing the pace, but not purposefully; she was simply getting sloppy, letting the song drag her around her instead of the other way around. A nearly full tumbler stood at Bobbi’s feet, and Sherl could only hope she had switched to straight soda. ...
Bobbi took a long sip from her glass and turned to the boys. Sam could smell the bourbon on her breath.
“We’re off-roading,” she called out, her code for doing an improvisational song.
“Nope,” he shot back, shaking his head violently.
Tony shook his head in solidarity with Sam and took several quick steps toward Bobbi to snatch her glass away before she could put any more alcohol down her gullet. The move sent the tumbler crashing to the floor, but Bobbi was already deep into a sea of tables before anyone could stop her. She wove between them, bantering with each person she knocked against on her way through.
Sam and Tony led the band in a few halting bars of “Junkie” in an effort to cue her to abandon the improv segment. From her vantage point at the edge of the dance floor, Sherl called out for the song, but Bobbi didn’t pick up on it.
“Now, those of you who’ve seen our gigs before and didn’t learn from the experience know that this is the part of the show where we all get a little hazy, crazy and lazy, and put you to work.”
A handsome older gentleman handed her a shot and held up one of his own in a toast.
“Oh shit,” Tony murmured.
“Aw, bless yor lil’ baby heart,” she teased the man in an exaggerated Southern drawl before tossing back the shot in one gulp.
“Ooh, mah fav’rite: rawket fyoo-all! Cough … so smooth, too!”
Sherl stared at Tony in a silent plea for action. He glanced over at Sam, who had a barely concealed look of panic on his face. For the first time that night, the three of them were on the same wavelength. They were watching Bobbi run recklessly to the edge of the proverbial cliff and there seemed no way to rein her in gracefully. She could be bullheaded and when she got a notion into her head, there was no derailing her. All they could do was hold their breath and hope she had her wits about her enough to work the same magic they’d seen her perform dozens of times before.
“I need a topic—go!”
Bobbi's Canon: Round 1 will be available on Amazon Kindle and paperback on or around Jan. 20. To pre-order a signed paperback, visit the Bookstore.