Gimme Shelter


Eight empty green Heineken bottles lined the roof ledge. The sun moved to the middle of the sky. It was precisely noon. Helene Troy and Sadie Olivares looked over their small part of Hell Kitchen’s, New York City and were soaked in the moment. Sadie’s roommate, Jamie, stood. Her 6’2″ height shadowed them. She spoke sarcastically.

“I can’t handle any more of this rock and roll lifestyle. I’m going to nap, work out, then figure out where I’m playing basketball for a living. Tell your drummer, Mara, she missed the best jam session of all time.”

Two thirds of the band Slipper Socks Medium said goodbye to Jamie and strummed their acoustic guitars. A sheen of perspiration shown over both of them. Helene rose from the broken air conditioner cabinet she used for a chair and walked to the roof ledge, still strumming. Sadie looked on in admiration.

“How did Jamie get Heineken? Isn’t she broke like us.”

Sadie laid her guitar down and joined Helene at the ledge.

“Jamie got an insurance settlement from the New York Liberty. They cut her from the injured list. She gave them her playbook and uniform. They gave her a check.”

Feeling the alcohol, Helene, stopped playing and spoke without caution.

“Sade, can you talk to your other roommate and get me Jamie’s room if she leaves? In a co weeks, I’m going to need a place to stay.”

Sadie smiled and looked into Helene’s imposing green eyes.

“Jamie and I have already talked to our other roommate. She finds out about Greece tomorrow. If it happens, you’re living here. The worst case scenario is you crash at Mara’s one bedroom apartment on the grey poupon futon. I know living with Mara is like living with a militia mountain man but it will make you write great songs about your bad days before fame and fortune.

Helene liked Sadie’s sense of humor. She laughed. Sadie looked at her cell phone.

“Mara just texted me. She went into work early. She wanted to know if we’d talked about this, yet. Obviously, we ain’t letting our girl be homeless.”

Embarrassed but grateful, Helene looked briefly into the New York summer sky. Dark clouds formed in the distance.

“There’s a storm coming. I’m going to get into work a little early so I don’t have to rock the wet rat meets Axl Rose look for 12 hours.”

Sadie smiled weakly. Her reddish blonde hair and pale, freckled face grew small with nervousness.

“Leney, say what’s on your mind. It’s cool, I swear.”

Helene took the opportunity.

“Did Darcy ask you for a place to stay? I know she talks to Mara every five fucking minutes.”

Sadie walked back to her guitar and played several chords. She stopped and talked as she wrote in her notebook.

“Mara saw the eviction notice at your place yesterday. Darcy said she was going to stay with that loser boyfriend, Raleigh. Me and Mara talked about you last night after the gig at the Drunk Rhino.”

Helene didn’t answer. She leaned her guitar against the wall and started collecting the bottles. She looked back at Sadie and saw her freckled face frown. Helene shrugged her shoulders and mouthed the word “what?”

Sadie sighed and answered sheepishly.

“Don’t get pissed Leney, but I need to know, well Mara and I both need to know, if Slipper Socks Medium is going to be a thing?”

Helene didn’t want to lie to her but she had no idea how to answer Sadie. She could feel trouble coming and didn’t know how to prepare for it. She tried to make Sadie feel safe.

“As long as I can make it work. I love this band. Thanks for giving me shelter, my sweaty rolling stone.”

They laughed, finished picking up the bottles and guitars, then grudgingly got ready for their day jobs.

****blogger’s note***

This is a new episode of The Ballad of Helene Troy. You can find the story, so far, here:

Today’s song is pretty self explanatory. It’s what I was listening to when I wrote this. Here’s The Rolling Stones Gimme Shelter:


11 thoughts on “Gimme Shelter

  1. I like the camaraderie here between them. Whatever the trouble is that is brewing, I hope that they can remain friends and hopefully the Slipper Socks Medium.

  2. “Her reddish blonde hair and pale, freckled face grew small with nervousness.”

    I LOVE the idea of her face “growing small,” because that’s exactly how it feels. I’d move the hair to another line and let the facial image stand. It’s so good.

    And the Grey Poupon futon? Brilliant!

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