THIS IS THE DREAM:
It's a candlelit bar, tastefully appointed, smelling sweetly of jasmine and vanilla1. It's after midnight and drinks are flowing, but the mood is calmly buzzed rather than raucous. Friendly conversation rolls gently over tasteful music. Beautiful, intelligent women sit at every table; well-dressed men accompany some of them. It's a karaoke joint—but a remarkably classy one, the likes of which don't actually exist on this earth.
I take the mic. The KJ cues up the track. Over a few simple guitar strums, I croon, "I was a little too tall, could've used a few pounds2/Tight pants, points, hardly renown/She was a black-haired beauty with big dark eyes..."
One of the women at a nearby table—a black-haired beauty herself, with big dark eyes—begins to pay close attention. She's not alone. As the song simmers up to the chorus, its gospel underpinnings slowly work their holy ways through the room: "Workin' on our night moves/in the summertime/in the sweet summertime." Some people start singing along; everyone else is tapping their feet. This is church, but one where good booze is allowed, and there's the definite possibility of fucking a stranger afterward.
"And we'd steal away/every chance we could," I continue, finding the upper register of my scratchy but soulful voice, sending shivers down the collective spines of everyone in the room3. After the second chorus, I twist the tightly coiled energy even further. "Felt the lightning/and we waited on the thunder/we waited on the thunder," I intone. Jaws drop; men and women squirm in their seats.
Then, the music drops out. It's like the floor has vanished—everyone's in freefall. The room is silent, no one daring to breathe; heartbeats frozen in time, toes curled in anticipation. Lumps form in every throat. A misty tear forms in the corner of one of the black-haired beauty's big dark eyes.
Practically whispering, I slowly tug at the thread of the melody, bringing it back to life like Lazarus. "I woke last night to the sound of thunder," I murmur, breathing sweet oxygen into everyone's lungs. "Ain't it funny how the night moves?" I ask, "with autumn closing in..."
Tambourines appear out of nowhere; confetti pours from the ceiling. During the final chorus everyone stands and cheers. The well-dressed men congratulate me heartily; most of the women are too bashful say anything directly to me. Nine months later, a rash of babies are named "The Guy Who Sang 'Night Moves' That One Time." The KJ splits his immensely full tip jar with me and the black-haired beauty invites me to an afterparty with seven of her friends.
I've never sung "Night Moves" in karaoke, and I never will. You shouldn't either.
1 In the dream, those two scents go together wonderfully.
2 Oh, I am just a few pounds underweight in this dream, too. This may be the most farfetched part.
3 Again, dream.