This was after the war, when we were hungry for the way things were after the last war. Our lives are an endless cycle of going to war, hating each other, and then waking up in the yellow industrial dawn with a well-deserved hangover. I had stumbled into one of those magic places before midnight, the kind of place where the cat’s pajamas are still the groove, and that old occult yearning is like electricity at your fingertips. It was a place of saxophones and trumpets, a piano, and cigarette smoke making question marks and exclamation points in the air. I had seen the brunette across the room, and after some idle chatter with my friends, she joined us and we laughed. It was like a dream, and it all mostly faded away, except for a few snippets she tossed out like confetti from her perfect red lips. “Whatever happened to Gene Rains,” I asked, and she danced a little, like a sultry panther. Then she waved her hands like some character from Bell, Book and Candle. The lights flickered, and Lotus Land and Jungle Drums and Sayonara and Bangkok Cockfight all shimmered to life from hidden speakers. We all danced, and I was jealous when she danced with the beatnik in the dark turtle-neck and the artist’s beret. When I finally had her dancing with me she whispered in my ear with her delicious hot breath tickling me, “Oh, baby, I love Martin Denny and Arthur Lyman, too.” Then it was my turn to laugh, and I gave her Stan Getz and Thelonious Monk. I’ll never forget the look in her eyes. She gave me Les Baxter, and it was enough, more than enough. We had them all that night, but it was best with Gene Rains. The vibraphone and flute and percussion and piano and experimenting with martinis because it was the thing to do. Soshu Night Serenade reverberating long after the music stopped and she was a fading whisper that I desperately wanted to decipher. Her voice like wind-chimes. Her eyes molten. “I want you to know that I like it slow even if I don’t know if you’re going to come or go.” But that was a long time ago, and all of those people are gone now, but sometimes I still wake up at night sweating because I thought I heard something. I wonder, whatever happened to Gene Rains? Jasmine and Jade, baby, all night long.