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SHOULD THE LEVEE EVER BREAK, Act 1, Scene 1, part 6

The curtain rises on Bumblebee Babineaux walking self-confidently along Chartres Street. Bumblebee [singing]: Ain’t nothin’ gonna break my stride, nobody’s gonna slow me down. Oh, no, I got to keep on movin’… Tom Sickley, a disingenuous feather merchant, is standing between a barber pole and a cigar store Indian. He eyes Bumblebee with sinister interest as she approaches. Tom: Hey, little girl, can I interest you in some sweets? Wanna see my sticker collection? Bumblebee: I’m not supposed to talk to strangers. Tom: I’m not a stranger, honey. I’m a respectable businessman, a feather merchant. I’m legit. Come on over here and check out my product line. Everything’s on sale today. Bumblebee: I am on an important errand, sir. I must be along with my business. Tom: So, you’re an entrepreneur on a mercantilist endeavor? Do you require venture capital? Let’s talk turkey. I pride myself on knowing a thing or two about corporate spread sheets, and I can tell you sure got yourself a sweet little bottom line there, sugar. Come on over here and take a closer look at these collectable stickers of mine. I’ll even let you try a few free samples. Just lick ‘em, and stick ‘em. How ‘bout it babe? Wanna taste some of my candy? C'est très sucré! Bumblebee: I’m not allowed to talk to strangers. What kind of stickers are you selling? Tom: Only the best. As a special this week, I’ve got all the pioneers of jazz. Just look-ee here; I’ve got King Oliver, Bix Beiderbecke, Earl Hines, Nick LaRocca, Buddy Bolden, Jelly Roll Morton, Sidney Bechet, Red Nichols, Louie Armstrong… Bumblebee: It’s Lou-is. Tom: What’s that? Bumblebee: The father of jazz music and international ambassador of good will preferred that his name be pronounced Lou-is, like a true American, and not Lou-ie, like some foppish French king, or the title character in that Jamaican sea shanty written by Richard Berry in 1955, and made famous as an incomprehensibly mumbled rock and roll song recorded by a group called The Guardsmen in 1963. Tom: Well, aren’t you Little Miss Smarty Pants? Bumblebee: No. My name is Bumblebee. Bumblebee Babineaux. My first cousin on my father’s side, Cabernet Babineaux, studies yoga in Baton Rouge. We often talk privately and she tells me all about these things. She said the lyrics to the song were actually the subject of an FBI investigation regarding their alleged obscenity, but the charges proved unfounded. She also said that Rolling Stone Magazine rates the recording at number 55 on its list of the 500 greatest rock and roll songs of all time. Ironically, the musical genre that became known as rock and roll was really the precocious love child produced by the successful miscegenation among various African American musical modalities, traditional folk renderings, and the insatiable affluence of white teen popular culture. But I’m not supposed to talk to strangers.

Copyright © | Year Posted 2021

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