‘I miss my mum,’ says Syd, holding onto the steel rail.
Great, thinks Jimi, like being caught up in another one of Jim’s rambles on lizards wasn’t downer enough already.
‘Is there anybody out here…’ he demands to know, ‘whose feet are howling to dance?’
‘What’s going on?’ You want to know. You want to know a lot of things but this one will do for now.
‘Well, hello there, baby!’ Jimi cries, beaming like a cat that’s just seen the gates to the cream factory unlocked.
‘Early comer, I like that,’ he ruffles your hair. His hand feels tingly, electric. ‘For you, little man, the highest chair in the house, you dig?’
You don’t dig.
‘Well, son, have we got a great show lined up for you tonight! There’s Bill doing the warm-up, same old routine but it never gets old, we’ve got Janis and Amy together on stage for the first time, then Bob, you can always count on Bob to bring that sunshine right on in, and finally, Kurt, wouldn’t you know it, Kurt pulled out, let me get an echo on that surprise, so instead headlining tonight, it’s the ‘Dead, man. Don’t be surprised if Jerry doesn’t play a single damn tune you or anyone here can hum along to.’
‘That sounds great,’ you say, unsure.
‘It is great,’ assures Jimi. ‘Not the greatest, mind. That’ll be the day when Don and the last of the good ‘ole boys ride on up in that Chevy. The levee won’t run dry on that day, you can bet your life on that. Man! That’s gonna be one hell of a gig.’
‘You look like a terrapin,’ says Syd. Everyone always forgets he’s there.
Add that to the digging pile.
‘Where am I?’ You wonder. Jimi sees you tremble. Like a harp, he thinks.
‘Why, you’re home, little butterfly,’ Jimi smiles his biggest smile yet, winking at an angel who blushes a shade too fiery for a place like this.
For Pip (—13 Apr 2010). By Shihab S Joi
Hat-doff: Roger Waters/ Richard Wright