Behemoth got soul by Andrew Lilly

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Beneath the sound of blaring horns, beneath the tinkle of the piano's chords, beneath the staccato of the electric guitar, beneath the steady footsteps of the double bass, Behemoth danced. You could hear him: his feet thudding in an erratic rhythm, never stopping, the muscles in his belly and the sinews in his thighs driving him onward, onward with the beat, against the beat, darting in and out amongst the beat. Behemoth was laughing. His joy was complete. He sweated; it was hot. He was hot. He was full of fire.

The horns cut out; the rhythm section followed. It was just Behemoth. He redoubled his efforts, sweat bursting from his every pore. He danced wildly, beating out rhythms of his own. For sixteen glorious bars he had the stage to himself; the eyes and ears of the audience were fixed on him. He did not disappoint. By the time he reached the last bar, he had worked himself into a frenzy. The strength in his loins was fading, fatigued by a long night of performing, but he was sustained by the energy of the audience. They were cheering and clapping. Not a soul in that building heard the last bar: the cheering drowned it out. Even Behemoth himself couldn't hear it.

The horns blasted back in. They too were feeding off the energy from the audience. For the last time they sang through the chorus, rising in a crescendo until they drowned out everything, even Behemoth, who had not bothered to slow his efforts when his solo ended. The song finished with the sound of wood, brass, steel and string being pushed to their limits to be heard. When the band hit the last note the audience burst into applause. They cheered and yelled and rose to their feet. Behemoth slumped back in his seat. It was over: he was satisfied.

***

It was not Behemoth who got up off his seat: it was Jack Landego. His lanky frame stood up straight, stretching. He put his sticks into the bag that was hanging from the floor tom. The applause had died away and the people in the audience were gathering their things and making their way to the door. Jack wanted a smoke. He felt about his person for the package. Ah! In his shirt pocket. He lit up, watching the people file out of the room. Several of the other musicians told him that he had played well tonight. It wasn't necessary: he knew he had played well; he had been there, watching.

It was hot and he was sweating. He headed outside, into the cool autumn air. They were in Chicago. Everything was dark and gray. Street lamps made little pools of yellowy light at regular intervals along both sidewalks. Now and then a car drove by, but it was late and not many people were about.

"Hey, I liked your drumming tonight." It was a feminine voice, soft and low. Jack looked up. A girl stood just in front of him, looking at him and smiling faintly. "Thanks," said Jack, repressing his desire to utter one of the sarcastic responses that had flashed through his mind when his bandmates had said the same thing.

"My name's Katie," she said, coming closer to him. "You're Jack Landego, right? I'm a big fan of yours.

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