“Play Me Out, Jack Hopke”

Saturdays I listen to “Saturday Night Jazz” on WWNO. Jack Hopke spins records from places I’ve never seen—Spain, Brazil, Japan, New York. The music’s rhythm depends on the origin point, but all of them are jazz, Jack Hopke says. All have that it Jack Hopke won’t describe.

Errol and Momma spend Saturday nights out, come home late. “You be a good girl now and stay inside,” Momma always says before locking the front door.

Sometimes I awake to their thump-thump-thumping against the wall. If music’s still on, their thumps mix, become Chick Webb drum beats. If the show’s over, radio off, their pattern is erratic, music-free. I close my eyes, picture myself far away in the pretty sounding states—Tennessee, Kentucky, Wyoming. I pretend I’m music notes going up the country, swimming against Mississippi’s current. Do I stop in Memphis, become blues? Do I take myself all the way up, up to Minnesota, like a piccolo trumpet solo? There the river is ice, and you can walk out to the center, stand in concrete current.

Jack Hopke’s got my daddy’s voice. He speaks into the microphone soft, giving the musicians’ names, where they come from, records they’ve released. When I’m feeling myself asleep before the dreaming comes, he says, “And this last song’s a lullaby for you, Rissie Kay, New Orleans’s girl.” The tune’s always the same, and that’s when I know it’s a dream song.

Tonight I hear the signoff before I’m asleep, hear Momma’s toes make the wood creak, her soured sweet smell lingering after she kisses my head. She shushes Errol, pulls their bedroom door to. “Rissie Kay’s dreaming,” she says. “Now what we gonna do?”

Related Posts
Filter by
Post Page
Featured Fiction New Fiction Novel Flash Most Popular Finalist for Ernest Hemingway Flash Fiction Prize Essays/Articles (all)
Sort by

“A Jack Daniels kind of Bullet”

It would have taken me a million years to kiss all her freckles. They were littered across her skin, poured on her
2019-05-13 09:22:11


Novel Flash: Yellow Jack

2015-06-29 17:17:37



Usually we play Go Fish or War, but not tonight.  It’s the third night in a row we’ve been sitting in my room with th
2012-04-03 01:00:03



I. They stand side by side facing a row of dining room cabinets. Audrey examines each one carefully, looking
2020-02-17 07:43:02


“Rabbit County”

Jeremy said that one of Marsha’s rabbits got away again.  He told me last night while we were sitting in Dino’s wait
2019-11-15 09:07:07


“Fire’s Aftermath: Joan and the Pets”

After the fire, Joan received a post from Next Door about free kittens. Looking at the picture of the five kittens
2019-10-25 23:54:42


“I’m Blue”

Caracas, Venezuela They fly around the city making their cawing sounds, behaving like nothing is
2019-10-18 20:10:41


“I’ll Have What She’s Having”

Fun fact: Nora Ephron and I share the same birthday. I first experienced Ms. Ephron with her film “Heartburn”
2019-10-04 23:47:26


“A Proper Fight”

Meena remembered once seeing a girl in a movie suck on a guy’s bloody knuckles after a fight. The girl had brushed h
2019-09-25 21:03:41



Coach unzips his blue tracksuit, zipper fizzling down the suede, as the wind carries the sound off the bluffs at the
2019-09-23 11:04:54


About James Jordan

James A. Jordan is pursuing his PhD at Southern Mississippi. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Greensboro Review, The Pikeville Review, and The Saturday Evening Post, among others. A member of the Peauxdunque Literary Alliance, he serves as a Festival Associate for the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans Literary Festival and Saints and Sinners LGBT Festival. He received his MFA from the University of New Orleans.