Wes Boyd's
Spearfish Lake Tales
Contemporary Mainstream Books and Serials Online

Hat Trick
Book 2 of the Bradford Exiles series
Wes Boyd
©2004, ©2010

Chapter 4

It was a thrilling day for Sandy. Dayna found a nice pitch under a tree away from the stage, and they quickly worked up a couple of numbers, Dayna backing Sandy on one, the other way around on the other. They ran through them a few times in the next hour and a half, while some money collected in Daynaís hat Ė not a lot, since it was still early, but something; Dayna urged all comers to come see the show on the stage up yonder, starting at eleven.

After a while, they headed up to the stage for the first show of "The Renaissance Pair", and there was a good-sized crowd. From Sandyís viewpoint, it was clear that Dayna and Tim had worked up some good duets, and backed each other up well on solos, cracking jokes at each other between songs. "We have a friend with us today," Tim said. "This is her first time at a renfaire, so please welcome Sandy Beach, whoís going to do a Celtic number for us I heard her play magnificently this morning."

Surprised at the call, Sandy got up on stage and worked her way through The Hills of Home, played with even more feeling than sheíd had in the morning Ė and got nice applause. At the end of the show, which included a couple of rollicking, laughter-filled songs, Tim fired off a laughter-generating hat line, and the two women passed around a couple of metal buckets that got quite a bit of cash put into them. "Not bad," Tim smiled as the crowd drifted away. "Sandy, you were looking like you were having fun. Is this really the first time youíve been to one of these?"

"It is," she grinned. "Itís been fun so far."

"It is fun," he grinned. "Why donít the two of you stroll around, check out the sights, and when you find a good pitch, just throw a couple tunes, pass the hat, and press on?"

"Sure," Dayna grinned. "After the hat last night, Iím not greedy, and Sandy needs to find out how some of this stuff works. Come, MíLady, let us be wandering minstrels for the nonce."

There was a lot going on at the renfaire. There were a lot of shops, selling everything from quasi-medieval food to costumes and jewelry, swords, and knouts. They stopped for a few minutes at a shop where a woman played a hand-built harp; there were several other harps around her, and there was a price in the four-figure bracket on them. They stopped by a shop under a canvas roof that had hats for sale; Dayna had Sandy try on a black one, flatter, with a broader brim than the one she was wearing, but with a white feather, as well. "Looks pretty good," she laughed. "If youíre going to be a busker, you need a hat!" She reached into her corset where sheíd stuck a small money clip and bought the hat for Sandy.

They wandered by demonstrations of sword fighting Ė not fencing; this was broadswords and armor, and the dents in the shields and armor showed that the swords may have been blunt but the blows were hard. They passed by another field a little later, where armored knights on huge draft horses were jousting Ė and they werenít fooling around, either. Every now and then, the two would stop, unsling their guitars, play a song or two, throw a hat line, pick up a few bucks, and head on.

Coming around a bend they found a platform with a double pillory on it. There was a woman with neck and wrists locked in one side, and there was a barker needling the crowd to come up and join her. Sandy didnít see how it could be fun, but the barker usually had little problem finding someone to lock in the pillory for a few minutes, and several photos. "Oh, MíLady Dayna!" the barker called. "Itís good to see you again! Could you perform again that song for us you sang last week?"

"Certainly, MíLord," Dayna smiled, unslung her Gibson and pounded out a little ditty Sandy later learned was called Ode to the Pillory, with a refrain that went, "Oh! The pillory! Wonderful toy! What a shame, what a joy!"

"Thank you, MíLady," the barker laughed. "And is there anyone else who would like to experience the shame and the joy . . . "

They stood and watched for a few minutes, and yes, people seemed to be having a good time. "I hate to say it," Sandy said. "But that doesnít look like fun to me. But, on the other hand, whatever rocks your boat, I guess."

"I tried it once," Dayna said. "It is kind of fun. That was down at Maple Leaf, where they play a little rougher. Once you remember itís a showoff thing, itís kind of fun. You ought to try it some time, just to say youíve done it."

They wandered on, found a crowd watching a group of jugglers, found a shady spot not far away and began to play a little just as the show broke up. They soon drew a crowd of their own Ė not large, but a couple of Sandyís baroque pieces and a rollicking song from Dayna entitled The Chastity Belt, about a knight who lost the key to his wifeís chastity belt while he was away on Crusade, only to find out that the stableman had a spare. The hat from that triplet was probably the best single one of the day for pitches theyíd done by themselves.

They barely made it back to the stage for the two-oíclock show, with Sandy bearing a huge grin. This time yesterday sheíd been sitting in a dull orientation with Dayna and frankly looking forward to a dull weekend Ė and sheíd had more good clean fun in just one day here than sheíd had all summer at the amusement park. And, what was more, the day wasnít even over yet.

After the show, they bought bratwursts and lemonade, then, since Sandy felt a little warm on her bare blonde skin, they found a shady spot to eat. "Are you having fun?" Dayna asked.

"I canít tell you when Iíve had as much fun," Sandy grinned. "This may be even more fun than last night."

"Tell me," Dayna grinned. "Would you rather do this next summer than work at Cedar Point, especially if the money is better?"

"Oh, good grief, yes!" she replied. "If I never see a roller coaster again itíll be too soon."

"Good," Dayna said. "Look, come and busk around here with me for the rest of the run, itís four more weekends, and I suspect Tim will be willing to let you do a tune or two in the stage shows. If it still seems like fun, letís work up an act and hit the faire circuit next summer. I donít think Iím going to be playing with Tim next year, since he and Charlene are talking of doing a circuit in the east. If we get on the bandwagon early, I think I can get us booked here and at the Maple Leaf next year, and we can just travel around and busk any time I canít get reserved."

"And weíd be working just weekends?"

"Pretty much," Dayna nodded. "I think we could find some pitches here and there elsewhere if we really got greedy. I got to thinking this summer that it might be fun to go up and set up on Mackinac Island, especially in period costume like this."

"Dayna, you talked me into it."

"Letís work together a few times before you firm it up," Dayna warned. "But working this circuit is kind of like working private parties. Iím not real crazy about being out on the circuit by myself, but if I have someone with me, itíll be safer and more fun."

"All right," Sandy grinned. "Weíll keep a final decision till the end of the run, but as far as Iím concerned, itís made. My mother about shit bricks when she found out that I was going to be working at Cedar Point this summer where she couldnít bitch at me. Wait till she finds out Iím going to be a wandering medieval minstrel next year."

"Iíve managed to ease my folks into it in stages," Dayna laughed. "Itís kind of like putting a frog into a pot of water on the stove and turning on the heat. The temperature rises so gradually he doesnít realize heís being cooked. Now, letís finish up these brats and go find a pitch."

"Sounds good," Sandy said. "Can we swing by that costume rental place?"

"Sure," Dayna grinned. "Got anything in mind?"

"I want to see how much of a discount theyíll give me on this outfit. If theyíll give me a good one, Iíll buy it. If not, letís go shopping."

As if their reputation around the CMU campus wasnít already off to an interesting start, it was added to many hours later when two medieval buskers in black hats, long skirts, and corsets marched into Hunter Hall, playing guitars and singing The Chastity Belt.

*   *   *

Like many colleges, freshman year at Central Michigan was not the most interesting one on campus, or the most challenging. There were only a limited number of "intro" courses available in their majors, and several of them were rather mundane. In fact, in their first semester, there was only one course open to them in their fields, and it was rather simpleminded. The strain of studying for the first month was low, which was good, since they were running over to Flint for the renfaire every weekend. That first weekend, they went to a nearby K-Mart and bought Sandy a cheap sleeping bag and foam pad, and they camped out on Saturday nights near Tim and Charleneís motor home.

Sandy soon learned that what went on after the faire closed for Saturday evening was even more fun than during the day. Their little campsite became a popular place; it turned out that Tim and Dayna had a stock of pretty bawdy songs, and theyíd play some of them, some of the blues they both liked Ė Dayna was good, but Tim was even better Ė and then just whatever came to mind. Sometimes there might be fifty or more performers around, but since they were all people who were "with it," the hat didnít get passed after the show closed.

On the other hand, there were bottles passed around; Sandy had never drunk much, but one Saturday night things got a little rowdy. And she woke up with the worst hangover she could ever imagine. Of course, that was the morning that Dayna decided to start their stroll by the pillory with Ode to the Pillory, not done in nice light medieval touch, but instead, in her heavy blues style. Sandy cringed, and cringed some more when Dayna suggested to the pillory master, "She had a little too much to drink last night. Donít you think some punishment would be in order?" Sure as hell, about four people grabbed her and locked her in the pillory Ė not for long, but even with the hangover it was kind of fun.

"Someday, Dayna, when you least expect it," she said while locked in the pillory. "Iím gonna get you a good one." But she wasnít there long, and pretty soon the two were out working the crowd again.

Sandy wasnít a singer, but she could fill out a chorus, and as time went by the two integrated their material, with Sandy taking the lead in instrumental bridges while Dayna accompanied, and then switching back for the singing. Tim helped them a lot with figuring out how theyíd work together, and the final weekend of the year, he stood back on the stage, only joined in on a couple songs, and let the two carry the heavy stuff, including the joking around. Their show was still pretty rudimentary, but before the day was over they were booked for the following year.

Once the renfaire season wound down, things got quieter Ė well, a little quieter. Dayna did a little promotion and got permission to work a local mall once every other week; they played a few football crowds coming into the stadium at home games, and usually did some sort of small-bore public performance at least once a week. As often as not they used their renfaire costumes Ė in a college town, the corsets always seemed to get them a better hat.

They studied, probably not as hard as they could have, but both were on the deanís list after midterms, so you couldnít ask much better than that. They also spent an awful lot of time rehearsing, coming up with new music, some of which they wrote, and just messing around with the instruments in their room. Soon, it didnít take a long and painstaking rehearsal to work up a new tune Ė a run-through or, at the most, two, to work out who was going to do what. After a while they were understanding enough of how each other played, and even that wasnít necessary Ė and then a half a dozen more runs through it to set it, and they were in business. They didnít work on just renfaire songs, either; they could put together a whole evening of pop and blues at the drop of a hat, probably another evening of lighter stuff, and an hour or two of country-western. There was a girl down the hall who was pretty religious and played some pretty decent Christian music; she taught them a dozen or so standards, so they would be capable of busking a church if the need ever arose.

As Dayna predicted from the beginning, they got asked to play private parties, often in frat houses. Some of these got a little out of hand, and there was a point where theyíd draw a line and not come back, especially since by this time they could play a party just about every Friday or Saturday night. Usually they started out with blues and wound up with some of the bawdier or steamier stuff, like Help Me Make It Through The Night or Midnight at the Oasis. Sometimes these parties got pretty boozy; usually at least one of them would stay sober enough to drive the Chevette back to the dorm, but if the party was in walking distance, once in a while theyíd get about as steamed as the rest of the crew.

It wasnít the drunkest party, but one of the drunker ones that almost caused them to split up. It was early in November; the term was far from over, but there was finally a patch of light visible at the end of the tunnel. Somehow, theyíd gotten into the steamy and bawdy songs early, and the girls at the party were having about as much fun as the guys. Although neither Dayna nor Sandy was paying much attention, they eventually noticed various couples leaving the party for a while, and then returning; it seemed pretty obvious that there was some serious ashes hauling going on in the various rooms around the frat house.

One of the guys, drunker than most, kept hitting on Dayna, during the breaks, even during the sets, and she kept brushing him off. Finally, he asked her rather loudly, "What would it take for you to go to bed with me?"

Dayna reached out and signaled Sandy to stop. "What would it take?" she asked. "First, itíd take you sobering up. Youíre so goddamn drunk you couldnít get it up, and if you did you couldnít keep it up long enough to do a decent lay."

"Aw, bullshit," he said. "I can give you all you can handle."

"If youíre so goddamn hot to go to bed with me and you think you can handle me, youíre going to have to give me more than a fast mouth," she told him. "Youíre going to have to give me a grand."

"A grand?" he said, puzzled.

"A thousand fine steel engravings of George Washington," she said. "Or fifty of Andy Jackson. Best of all, ten Ben Franklins, since theyíre easier to carry. I donít do credit cards and I donít take checks. Now if youíre so goddamn hot to trot, put your money where your mouth is."

"A grand?" he said. "Come on, get real!"

"Take it or leave it, but shut up about it," she replied, rather nastily. "I donít do freebies. Sandy, letís take it from the top."

The guy stalked off, muttering something, and the two began to play again. They pressed it on for another hour or so, and the party just got drunker, so they finally decided to call it a night. Theyíd already passed the hat several times, and the last time it had come back almost empty, so apparently they were wearing out their welcome or the crowd was too drunk to care. They zipped up their gig bags, left the frat house, and walked the best they could back to the dorm. Once they were away from the frat house a bit, Sandy asked, "Did you mean what you said to that guy? About going to bed with him for a grand?"

"I sure as hell wouldnít fuck him for free," Dayna snorted. "He looks like heís all mouth and no dick, anyway, so it probably wouldnít be much of a screw."

"Yeah," Sandy protested, "But to ask for money?"

"Drove him the hell off, didnít it?" Dayna laughed. "Thatís all I wanted to do. Most frat guys have too big an ego to pay for it at all, much less pay that much. Besides, when was the last time you saw a college guy wandering around with a thousand bucks in his pocket?"

"Yeah, right," Sandy nodded. "But still, thatís kinda, uh, crude."

"Of course it is," Dayna replied. "He was so goddamn drunk it was the only way to get through to him. Sandy, I havenít had a decent fuck since last summer, and I frankly could stand one. I doubt like hell Iíd get it from him, though."

The next day, the two were sitting in their room, working on a complex renfaire song, when the phone rang. Dayna picked it up.

"This is Dirk Byers," the guy said on the other end of the line. "Hey, Iím sorry I was so drunk last night and made a pest of myself."

"Thatís OK," Dayna smiled. "Booze will do that to you."

"What I want to know," he said. "Is did you mean what you said? About a thousand bucks?"

"Yeah, I did," Dayna nodded. "Itís not worth it to do it for less."

"All right, I got the money," he told her. "You want me to pick you up someplace?"

Dayna let out a long sigh. This was a risk she had taken with the come-back sheíd used, and sheíd been caught. "All right," she said. "A couple of things. Weíre not doing it at your frat house; Iím not in the mood to pull a train of your frat buddies. No bare-backs, you gotta wear a condom. And weíre talking cash up front. Meet me here at 307 Hunter, and you give me the cash before we leave."

"OK, but where are we going to do it?"

"How about one of the motels out on Central?" she sneered. "I pick the motel, but you pay for that, too. Then weíll see who out-fucks who."

"All right," he said. "Iíll be there in fifteen minutes."

As Dayna hung up the phone, she heard Sandy say in a shocked voice, "Dayna, youíre not actually going to do it, are you?"

"Like I said last night, I could stand a decent screw," she sighed. "Iím probably not going to get it from him, though, but a grand will make it worth the effort."

"But Dayna! How could you do it?"

"Would you rather I do it for free? Does that make it any better? Like I said last night, there ainít no way Iím fucking him for free." She let out a sigh. "Sandy, something like this was probably going to happen sooner or later, and at least this way, it ainít cheap. I guess I better get some hot clothes on, just to make it worth the effort."

"Youíre really going to do it?"

"Yeah, really," Dayna said, stripping out of the sweat shirt she was wearing for lounging around the room, then slipping off her bra. "Look, before I leave Iím going to give you the money. Hide it someplace, I donít want him changing his mind after itís over with and trying to strong-arm you or me. Iím going to try for the Motel 6 out on Central, and when we get there Iíll give you a call and tell you what room. If you donít hear back from me in three hours, call the cops. Iíll call you when I leave, and weíre going to come straight back here. Like I said, Iím not in the mood to pull group-sex games with all his frat buddies."

"Dayna," Sandy shook her head as her roommate pulled on a lacy, skimpy strapless bra. "I canít believe that youíre going to turn yourself into a prostitute."

"Iíd just as soon not, but the moneyís fair," Dayna said. "Look, Sandy. Playing the parties like we have as gigs, Iím a little surprised itís taken this long. Yeah, Iím doing it for money, but itís not like Iím walking down Central with fishnet stockings and a skirt up to the crack of my ass trying to get some guy in a car to stop so I can blow him for fifty bucks. I didnít really think this frat rat would come up with the money, but if Iím going to sell myself, I donít do it cheap, OK?"

"But Dayna!" she cried. "I couldnít bring myself to do it."

"Thatís you," Dayna shrugged as she pulled on a summer-weight tank top. "I donít blame you for thinking that. Letís just say that I realized this was going to happen sooner or later, and I thought it out a long time ago."

Dayna had a lot of work to do in a few minutes. She pulled on pantyhose, a short, dark skirt, and a white sweater, then brushed out her hair and put on some makeup. "Why are you going to all that trouble?" Sandy asked.

"Heís paying that much, Iím going to try to give him his moneyís worth," Dayna told her. "Just like people expect their moneyís worth when we play music. Same thing, Sandy. Weíre selling ourselves for money when we play. Think it through."

Just then, there came a knocking on the door. Dayna opened it, to see the frat guy standing out there. "You bring it?" she smiled.

"Yeah, I did," he said.

"Come on in, and give it here," she nodded. They stepped inside and closed the door. He handed her a wad of bills, consisting of fifties and hundreds. She quickly counted through it, and left it on the dresser. "Here you go, Sandy," she said. "Do what I told you." She turned to the guy. "Come on, lover," she smiled. "Letís go party."

*   *   *

It was late in the afternoon when Dayna returned to find Sandy still sitting on the bed, eyes down; it looked like sheíd been crying. "Howíd it go?" Sandy asked her.

"It went," Dayna sighed. "He was a lousy lay, just like I expected. I blew him off, then tried twice to get a decent fuck out of him. The last time made it up to halfway decent, but he seemed satisfied, so I called it good enough. God, I could stand some decent loving. I knew better than to expect it out of a college kid, but Iím horny. For that kind of money it was worth a try."

"God!" Sandy shook her head. "You seem so damn professional about it. I never realized I was living with a hooker, too."

"I guess I am one, now," Dayna said. "Look, Sandy, that was the first time I ever did it for money."

"But why did you do it? You didnít have to!"

Dayna let out a sigh, and went over and sat down on the bed next to her. "Look, Sandy," she said. "You know what I want to do, and thatís play music. I donít know what even Iím doing in college, but I figure I ought to at least stick it out till Iím twenty-one, if I can manage that long. Now, you know that, right?"

"Yeah," she said. "Until now, it seemed like a pretty cool idea."

"I still think itís a cool idea," she said. "But Sandy, letís assume weíre out some place. The hats have been lousy, we havenít been able to find a decent pitch, weíre pretty close to flat broke, and then the car breaks down. Turning a trick or two might be the only option for fixing the car and gas money home. I hate to say it, but it could happen, and thatís the way it is. I had to be sure I could do it before I got myself into that situation. At least now, I know I can. I donít intend to make a habit of it, but this might not be the last time, either."

"But your reputation?"

"What reputation?" she snorted. "Neither of us has the cleanest reputation around campus. We wear hot clothes, we sing dirty songs, and because of it, a lot of people think we screw a lot. If this gets around, at least anyone who comes to me isnít going to be expecting to get it cheap. It was pretty well clear to everyone last night that I didnít think much of the guy, but I lost a put up or shut up, so it probably wonít stick. Anyone who asks will now know Iím not free. How many girls did it for free at that party last night? Just for the sake of the fucking? It probably was pretty lousy fucking for most of those girls."

"But you acted like youíve done it before. Lots."

"Good training, again," Dayna grinned. "Like I said, I thought the whole issue out a long time ago, and I spent a lot of time picking up how to go about it from a woman who did it for years, just so I could know how to do it safely if I had to. It came off just like she taught me."

"I . . . I just donít think I could do it," Sandy frowned. "Maybe Iíd better think about not playing with you next summer, if that could happen."

"Look, Sandy," Dayna replied. "I donít want you to hate me over this. I guess I shouldnít have rubbed your nose in it. Youíre a virgin, arenít you?"

"No, Iím not," she said. "Iíve had sex. Not a lot, but I didnít enjoy it very much, either. I even tried doing it with a woman once. It just didnít work."

"Nervous, huh?" Dayna smiled.

"Well, I was scared I was going to be a lesbian."

"Nothing wrong with it," Dayna shrugged. "If itís what it takes, itís what it takes. Iíve done a woman, several times, and I had a good time with it. That doesnít make me a lesbian, and I donít even think it makes me bi."

"Youíve done it with a woman?" Sandy said, eyes wide. "And liked it?"

"Yeah, I did," Dayna smiled. "Iíve done threesomes, too. Damn it, Sandy, you knew I wasnít a good little girl from the minute we met. Like I said, Iím surprised it took this long. Look, would you have felt any better about it if there wasnít any money involved?"

"I donít know!" Sandy cried. "All I know is that we sing all those dirty songs, and people get a big laugh out of it, and . . . well, I watched some of those girls go off and get laid last night, and I wondered just why the hell they could have fun with it and I canít."

"Look," Dayna said. "Have you ever tried to make love? I mean, not just let yourself get fucked by some guy who wants to get his rocks off? Or that woman you did?"

"I donít know," she sobbed. "It just sort of happened."

"Sandy, now is probably not the best time to ask, but Iím better at doing either men or women than anyone else I know except the people I learned it from. Weíre friends. If you want to try it sometime, Iíll do my damndest to make it fun for you. I had to learn it the hard way myself. But like I just said, I need some decent loving, too."

Sandy lifted her head and looked at her. "Dayna," she said. "Are you sure? Iím scared to try it again."

"Nowís probably not the best time," she said softly.

"Thereíll never be a better one," Sandy said, and turned her head to put her lips on Daynaís.

Several hours later, they were still lying nude in Sandyís rather sweaty bed. "Well," Sandy sighed, "I donít know if that makes me a lesbian, but I guess it makes me bi. Thanks, Dayna."

"Youíre welcome," Dayna said. "Everything better now?"

"I guess," Sandy said. "I guess Iím going to have to find some guy sometime to find out for sure."

"Weíll have to hustle some guy out of a party for you," Dayna smiled. "Maybe I can get one too, and we could make it a foursome."

"Yeah, maybe," she sighed. "Letís just sit on it and see if the mood strikes me."

They were still friends, but for a while some of the enthusiasm was out of their music. Things went on for about a month like that, until Christmas break was on the near horizon. One Saturday afternoon, Dayna had a seminar that ate up the whole afternoon; she wasnít in the best of moods when she got back to the dorm, to find a sock tied around the doorknob. That was the girlsí mutually agreed signal that they didnít want to be disturbed, since they were going to be entertaining someone. Theyíd never used it before, and Dayna almost opened the door before she remembered what the sock was for, but stopped herself just in time. Maybe Sandy had some guy in there and was working out that issue, she thought, then turned and headed back down to the cafeteria.

The sock was gone from the doorknob when she got back, and when she walked into the room there was a distinct aroma of rutting. "Have a good time?" she asked.

"Very good," Sandy answered. "Dayna, I hope you wonít get pissed with me."

"Why should I be pissed with you?" she asked.

"You know that guy you did for a grand a month or so ago?"

"Yeah," Dayna nodded.

"One of his frat brothers called looking for you. You have your rep as a lover. He was willing to go a grand. I told him you were in class, but if he wanted to get laid that bad to come over here and Iíd do him."

"And you did?" Dayna smiled. "For a grand?"

"Yeah," Sandy smiled. "I realized I had to find out if I could do it, too. And I can. Now, since weíre both hookers, do you know any good hooker songs?"

"Not off the top of my head," Dayna grinned. "So letís write one."

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