The beach was somewhat full, being a winter summer. Frankie Morris adjusted his instrument and gave it a few tuning taps.
“Everyone ready?” he asked, sitting down on the bench and getting comfortable.
Joseph Moose sat down next to him, gave a strum on his ukelele, and turned a few pegs. “Yeah,” he answered, “just give me a few moments.”
“How can you be ready if we have to wait a moment?” Gail Stevens said as he leaned against the lamp pole, tapping the valves and making sure the reed was adjusted properly; his wingtips were gently resting on the sand.
“Doesn’t matter, doesn’t matter!” Frankie said. “We’re only missing one more thing.”
The trio looked at each other and nodded. “The hat!”
Joseph took off his bowler, and placed it reverently on the ground at Frankie’s feet. “Alright, we’re now ready.”
Frankie nodded and started tapping out a rhythm on the left bongo, a deep heartbeat interspersed with a slightly higher beat. A few moments of the drumming and Moose strummed a catchy, bouncy tune. Then the final part: Gail put his sax to his lips and started to play a riff that played along with the moose’s strings. A few minutes of the playing and Frankie started to sing the chorus.
“How much is that doggie in the window,
The one with the waggly tail?
Oh how much is that doggie in the window,
I do hope that’s doggie for sale”
“I must take a trip to California
And leave my poor sweetheart at home
If he had a dog he won’t be lonesome,
and the doggie would have a good home”
Frankie and Joseph harmonized with the chorus. By this time there was a crowd gathering.
Frankie went on,
“I read in the papers there are robbers (he thumped a drum a few times)
With flashlights that shine in the dark
My love needs a doggie to protect him
And scare them away with one bark”
Gail went with the next lines,
“I don’t want a bunny or a kitty
I don’t want a parrot that talks
I don’t want a bowl of little fishies
He can’t take a goldfish for a walk”
All three finished off with the chorus while Frankie and Joseph finished off with riffs and thumps. When the song ended, the crowd cheered and people tossed coins and dollars into the hat.
“Thankyew, thankyew!” Frankie said, thumping his drums. “I hope you enjoyed that little ditty and we’ll have more on our way in a moment!”
Joseph waved to a few squealing fan girls and flexed a bit to tease them while Gail nodded gracefully to those taking photos.
Frankie grinned to himself as he got himself ready for the next song. Who would have thought that this would be a great idea? He nodded to Joseph and asked him, “Number three?”
“Why not six?” Gail asked. “We havn’t done that one in a while.” Joseph nodded in agreement.
“Alright, number six then.” The otter placed his paws on the bongos and struck out a slow beat. The sax wailed on a moment after that. Moose cleared his throat and sang in a melencholy tone.
“It’s a quarter to three
There’s no one in the place
Except you and me…”
About an hour later and several songs afterwards, the crowd was dispersed a bit, but the ones who stayed on cheered. Gaul took the overflowing hat and called out to the crowd, “We’re gonna take a moment’s break while we get something to wet our whistles with. A pleasure playing for all of you.” They waved to everyone while the rest of the folks went onwards.
Frankie glanced over at the hat with a practiced eye. “I would have to say about twenty dollars. I don’t know about coins though.”
“Easily counted, otter,” Gail said. He took the bills and sorted them into an even pile while Frankie and Joseph sorted the coins.
“Comes up to ten dollars,” the moose said.
“Hmph,” the griffin said, pulling out a leather sack from his sax case. He opened it, and the others put in the money. “That makes it, wait, don’t tell me…” He did some mental math. “Almost two hundred dollars?”
“I would say so,” Frankie said. “I’m thinking we might actually pull this off!”
The other two nodded as Gail put the bag back. “Howabout some lunch?”