Take It Light: Chapter 8, “This Old World”

Making friends for the world to see
Let the people know you got what you need

With a friend at hand you will see the light
If your friends are there, then everything’s all right… (1)

February 1971
Washington, D.C.

Will rented a room for them. Neither could cook so they had no use for a kitchen, and they liked to be out-and-about so they didn’t need furniture except for a bed.

He abandoned his party-girl threads for a hippie-boy look: John Lennon spectacles and a rawhide jacket with fringe; she used brightly-colored Indian-silk scarves as head-bands and borrowed tight hip-hugger bell-bottoms from him.

Under the stars they walked to whatever bar was having a free-drinks-for-ladies night. Sometimes they dropped acid before they went. Sometimes Ellie came with them if Ron had a gig. The complimentary hors-d’oeuvres fed their bodies; the juke-box music and dancing saved their souls.

Libby ordered their favorite drink – a “milkshake,” made with crème de cacao and cream on ice – and then they flirted with whichever businessman might pay for Will’s next one.

Will put the first quarter in the jukebox and they danced like nobody was watching – though they knew everybody was – and after that their patrons gave them quarters, and drinks, so that he and Libby would keep dancing.

Seen a lot of things in this old world
When I touched them they did nothing, girl
Oo baby, here I am
Signed, sealed, delivered
I’m yours… (2)

“A milkshake, please.”

What I feel, I can’t say
But my love is there for you any time of day
But if it’s not love that you need
Then I’ll try my best to make everything succeed
Tell me, what is my life… (3) 

“Yes, I’ll have another, thank you.”

Now, if there’s a smile on my face
It’s only there tryin’ to fool the public
But when it comes down to fooling you
Now honey that’s quite a different subject… (4)

“Sure, I guess we can have one more. Cheers!”

Well there ain’t nobody else
In the whole wide world like you…
‘Cause dancing with you baby
Really turn the soul shake on… (5)

Around midnight Libby and Will went home – “Take it light!” he’d call out to the patrons as they left the bar – and eventually they fell asleep in each other’s arms.

* * *

Will had paid the rent, but the only thing he’d been paid for since then was painting a sign at a Georgetown boutique. After a couple of weeks, they decided they’d better earn some money.

“I know something we could do,” he said.

“Like what?” Libby asked.

“Artist model.”

“Why would anyone want to paint a portrait of us?” she asked doubtfully.

“They’re always looking for nudes, silly. Like, anonymous naked people, to practice on.”

So the following week they were at the Corcoran School of the Arts, stark naked under bright lights in front of at least a hundred aspiring artists, first he and then she striking a new pose every twenty seconds for twenty minutes, for quick pencil sketches. Libby found that after the first few poses it was difficult to think of something else to do. Was she supposed to look natural? Probably, but what was natural in this situation? Was she supposed to look sexy? Probably not…

Then a few days later they – first she and then he – were on a platform in the middle of a small circle of art students at Georgetown University. This one was harder because they had to strike a pose and hold it, perfectly still, for twenty minutes while the artists made as many sketches in charcoal as they liked. They wanted Libby completely nude, so she took off the short kimono she had brought for when she was waiting around. When it was Will’s turn he put on her kimono and they sketched him like that.

Afterwards, she asked if anyone would give her a sketch of herself, but no one did. One guy said, “I want to keep yours, but you can have this one of your … friend? … if you like.” He gave her the sketch of Will-as-Lola: sexy as hell and balls-out beautiful.

Girls will be boys, and boys will be girls
It’s a mixed up, muddled up, shook up world
Except for Lola
, lo lo lo lo Lola… (6)

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(1) Elton John
(2) Stevie Wonder
(3) George Harrison
(4) Smokey Robinson
(5) Delaney and Bonnie
(6) Kinks

Note: Chapter title is from “Signed, Sealed & Delivered” by Stevie Wonder

© August 23, 2018 [draft]