12:09 AM, Columbus and Broadway

The weather has finally changed; northern California's Indian summer has finally drawn to a close, and the air has a misty dampness that signals the beginning of yet another winter. I kind of like it, actually. It's like the first snow back in Ohio, quite novel when new, but by the time February rolls around you've had enough.

I was on the payphone outside a liquor store next door to one of the Broadway strip joints, talking to a cool bohemian cat, when suddenly I got a whiff of a familiar perfume; familiar, yet something one does not normally experience in North Beach. Suddenly, I saw a shock of bright red hair on the head of a tall woman with pale, porcelain-like skin. I smiled, knowing exactly who it was.

"Veronica!" I called out. The woman turned around; we locked eyes, and she smiled.

"Matt, I have to call you back," I said, and hung the grimy handset back on its chrome cradle. The coins fell into the coin bin with a dull clink.

It was none other than Veronica Klaus, the voluptuous San Francisco chanteuse I know and love...and absolutely adore.

"Chad!" she exclaimed, and we embraced. I hadn't seen her in months, since her show, Family Jewels, at the Exit Theater in the Tenderloin, which is quite possibly one of the absolute best shows I've ever seen. We talked a bit, then she handed me a flyer for a show she's doing at Pearl's, a live jazz club on Columbus Avenue.

Her show is called "Blue Holiday" and it's on Thursday, December 15th, one night only. There are two shows, one at 8:30, the other at 10:30.

"I can't wait," I said, looking forward to a night of Veronica Klaus in my very own neighborhod.

"You really should make reservations," she told me.

"Hmmm...if I go to the 10:30 show can we all hang out afterward?" I asked. After her Family Jewels show, Downie Syndrome, Glamamore, Veronica, and I hung out a bit, and I had a ball.

"But of course, darling!" She gave me a big hug. "I have to run, my ride is waiting for me."

She walked off into the night, and I reached into my pocket for two more quarters. Calling Matt back, I thought, maybe I'll ask if he'll go with me.

We'll see.

© 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 by Chad Fox. All rights reserved.