inessential by Brent Simmons


I’ve got this keyboard thing that can do lots of different sounds. With 66 keys it’s pretty big for one of these, though not quite as big as a piano.

So I select sound 12 which is a nasty organ sound and I turn it up. I sing “There is...” and hit a big two-handed A minor chord. I keep singing, with my best but sucky white-boy-blues imitation—as if I’m Eric Burdon or something—“There is... a house... in New Orleans,” I sing.

My kitten Papa is there. By the time I get to “My mother was a tailor” I swear to God he starts barking. Sort of like chirping but more like barking. He keeps doing it and I keep singing and doing these simple loud organ arpeggios with my right hand.

Then I’m swaying back and forth like I’m Ray Charles; I’m totally into it, and Papa’s still barking. “The only thing a gambler needs is a suitcase and a trunk. And the only time he feels satisfied is when he’s on a drunk.”

By the time I get to “With one foot on the platform and one foot on the train” Papa can’t take it anymore, he takes off running downstairs.

I finish the song and conclude the only thing I can conclude, that Papa was just too emotionally affected by the lyrics and my performance to be able to stay through the entire song. This was the first time he’d heard this song, after all, and I think the ending was just too sad and ironic for him.

“I’m going back to New Orleans—to wear that ball and chain.”

He’s a sensitive, artistic young fella with a great appreciation for music.

As I was typing this he jumped up on my lap and started purring. See?