“Are you serious?” I asked my new friend, drawing my gaze down from the ladders that led to the alley rooftops. Snowbird gave me a look that said climbing rusty fire escapes of dubious integrity was nothing new to her. She was sincere; I wanted to hug her right then and there, and I grinned widely at the thought of the childish mischief to be had later that night. But first, we had an inquiry to make at Julian’s Piano Bar.
Upon entering, I was directed to the owner – an old woman sitting alone against the wall. “No, we don’t have any open mic sessions these days,” she answered me pleasantly. Well, that disproved one rumor, which we had hoped would help us pass the evening. But the owner must have made some subliminal gesture to her husband, because before Snowbird and I realized what was happening, the old gentleman was behind the piano, pulling out microphones and switching them on. I guess we were expected to entertain the thirsty crowd, so I dashed out into the streets of Butte, Montana to find my Jeep and grab some instruments before the expectations of us minstrels could rise too high.
That night, I played my blend of percussive and celtic rhythms on the Irish whistle, and the denizens of the mining town seemed to like my style. I received proof when I was handed a complimentary glass of wine and a felt top hat filled with money! Snowbird borrowed a guitar as well and coaxed a beautiful medley of gentle, touching songs from her memory. Despite my protests, the bartender kept passing the hat around, and we couldn’t seem to spend the money fast enough. After making $25 for the evening, we withdrew to Snowbird’s house and donned black clothing, because the continuation of our urban adventures required a bit more stealth and secrecy.