Mingus Beats the Smingus Out of Dingus—Elaine Bonow

Mingus Beats the Smingus Out of Dingus

            This Smingus-Dingus day was going to be different, Anya thought. “Molly, Catherine,” Anya called out, “Bring me all the Mingus records. I have a whole new idea for this years Smingus-Dingus day celebrations.”

Molly was the first to find her mother’s Charles Mingus records in the vast collection of vinyl her mother had collected through the years. Catherine followed behind her elder sister. “I don’t get the Mingus thing that mom is doing.” Catherine said.“ I’m more into the singers of that era. People like Mingus are just to heavy for me.” Catherine was the spitting image of her mom. She had fair hair that was very curly. Molly was her father’s doppelganger. Her hair was dark and she wore it in an exuberant Afro.

Anya was the most exotic person in the community. She had married Bob not giving a damn that he was a black man. His family was Buffalo royalty that had settled in Buffalo before Revolutionary War. He was handsome and very wealthy. Anya, able to pursue her musical career, had made quite a name for herself as a top-notch musician when she was younger and since they both loved jazz frequented all of the hippest jazz clubs. After the clubs closed they would invite all of the heavy hitters to their get away apartment in Harlem for jam sessions, cocktails and expertly rolled joints.

Anya’s parents had settled in Buffalo with a whole tribe of Polish refugees where Anya grew up at her father’s knee playing the accordion, first on a cut down model then graduating to a full size custom accordion in opalescent pink and pearl white. All she ever wanted was to be a musician. She mastered the accordion and then piano, guitar, bass and saxophone. She had great success touring in her youth. When she retired from touring to raise her family, Bob had a recording studio built in the garage.

Her record collection took up a whole wing in the old mansion.            “I wonder what she has in mind for tomorrow. I’ve already bought a new outfit guaranteed to be completely see-through when I get doused.“ Molly knew how to exploit her body. She was a fast girl and all the local boys love to hang out with her. “I wonder if Peter is going to stop by. I really like him. I hope he throws a whole bucket of water on me. I’ll have to spank him  extra fierce.”

Catherine leaned back against the packed bookshelves and let the Mingus albums spill around her. “I think Pete likes you too. I wonder if, you-know –who, is ever going to be serious with me. He always jokes around but he’s never made even a little attempt to kiss me and I have tried everything.” Her red hair hung loosely in front of her face. The weak spring sun streamed into the lace-curtained windows lighting the young-girl tableaux like an Andrew Wythe painting, Snow White and Red Rose sprawled on the wooden floor punctuated by 12×12 squares of artistically rendered poses of Mingus and his bass in black and white.

“Mom here are the albums you wanted. What exactly do you have planned for tomorrow? You realize that our whole gang has been getting ready for Smingus Dingus for weeks.”

Well girls, I have lived here all my life and if I never hear the words Smingus Dingus again in my life that would be great. All of you kids dripping wet ruining your clothes. This is going to be my last Smingus Dingus and I am going to have a blast doing it.”

“But mom!” Molly said, “You used to love playing for the big parties.”

“Yeah, but now days no one has those huge parties. In fact for the past few years, more and more kids refuse to get wet and the police have come down so hard on everybody. I mean busting people for drinking in public. We’re all good Catholic adults for Christ’s sake. Plus the parties are now just DJ’s playing that horrible rap music.”

“Oh mom, you are so old fashioned.” Molly said. “I’m disappointed in you.”

Catherine looked surprised and kept her mouth shut.

“Oh my girls. Don’t look so defeated. I’m going to go out in style. Smingus and Dingus, wait till you meet Mingus.

The following morning after Easter, Molly and Catherine took time getting dressed and primped for dousing. They started with beautiful new bras and panties all sheer, low cut and down right sexy. Both girls had bought new summer dresses lightweight and almost see through. They were armed with freshly cut pussy willow branches to whip the boys into a frenzy. Molly was thinking of Pete and how he wouldn’t be able to resist her charms all pale pink in a perfect contrast to her dark hued skin. Catherine was a vision in pale green voile, her mind mulling over the best way to get you-know-who entangled in her red-haired web.

The pastel sisters found Anya and Bob downstairs. Bob was drinking coffee with a bemused expression. Anya motioned them all to the front porch. She had taken the Mingus records to the local copy shop and gotten huge posters of the best of Mingus albums, and hung them ceiling to floor around the porch. In the middle of the porch was a professional DJ set up, two turntables and two huge speakers. Anya dressed for the occasion in her finest gigging clothes, pink and white fringed jacket, skirt and her most prized Nudie snakeskin boots. She strapped on her accordion and perched on a stool in front of the turntables. “Check this out!” She sang out and put the first Mingus record on the deck. “Here we go, Hold on tight. Mingus is ready to rock this town.”

And, Anya rocked the house till 2 in the morning. Throughout the day everyone in the community came by. There was a heap of food and drink. Anya played all Charles Mingus on the turntable turned up tastefully loud. Her friends brought their instruments and would join her jamming to the steady onslaught of Charles Mingus.  She played Moanin imitating the horn lines on the accordion, kicking out the Baritone riffs with ease. Goodbye Pork Pie Hat was played at least three times during the day with various side men including local hip-hop kids hooking up fierce beats with their I Pads. On and on they went: Hobo Ho, Pithecanthropus Erectus, Don’t Be Afraid, the Clowns Afraid Of You.

Bob kept the action flowing smoothly until midnight. Anya was relieved when he signaled the end of the festivities. The girls were nowhere to be seen having joined their friends escaping from the relentless Mingus Dynasty. The last stragglers of the evening a bit out of tune mumbled as they danced towards home into the night. Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus Mingus


About bbcstudiowrites

This blog is me archiving the BBC Studio Writers Workshop.

Posted on April 20, 2012, in Fiction, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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