THE SECRET LIFE OF LILITH IV By Colette Dumas Got out of work, picked up Nina, did some shopping, went home and got dressed for my gig with the Goat Rodeo, if you’re not familiar, it’s a group that is best known for mixing Bluegrass and Classical music, because this is such a difficult thing to do, when done correctly, it is called a Goat Rodeo. I was asked to stand in for Edgar Meyer on bass; he’s a genius, so I was honored, of all the bass players in all of the gin joints, anyway, Yo-Yo Ma is the group’s cello player and while I’m not the easily impressed type, Yo-Yo Ma brings music into something akin to a forth dimension, the notes that he plays drip with a richness and soul that make one feel as though the sound is a divine language unto itself. The place, well that’s a bit of a story—about an hour south of Wichita is the small town of Winfield, Kansas. Winfield is best known for hosting the world’s largest Bluegrass Festival, usually about the third week of September. I could, and will write a blog about the festival itself one day, as I never miss it, but there is another well known, yet unknown, Winfield story, entity, mystery, enigma, riddle—the Chef’s Table and of course, the great Chef himself—Chef Stan. The Chef’s Table, which is only open to the public, sometimes, simply put, makes some of the best tasting things a person will ever eat. And while the Chef’s Table elevates the culinary art to a level of mastery that parallels van Gogh’s contribution to impressionism, it also produces food rumored to have a dramatically positive effect on the health of the patrons who consume it. I would go into great detail about this, but there are some things that should not be explained—they lay in the realm of the Secret and must remain there. Chef Stan, nobody knows his real name, even people who think they know it, don’t, was an eccentric billionaire, as legend has it, who decided to give away his fortune and dedicate himself to cooking for others. Unfortunately, for Chef Stan, the more money he gives away the more money he makes and this has caused him to work almost every hour of the day—six days a week, as he observes the Sabbath. So underneath the Chef’s Table, in the basement, Chef Stan built a speak-easy called, The Blind Tiger, which is never, open to the public. Rather, he invites a select group of artist to perform for an audience picked by his own hand. Needless to say, an invite to The Blind Tiger is never turned down—no doubt, if someone were so foolish to do so, they would never be invited again. And this is the unusual situation I found myself involved in, playing in a secret place, owned by a Chef with something akin to mysterious culinary powers, filling in for Yo-Yo Ma’s bass player. We entered through the back of the building and descended down an old staircase, which appeared to be the original, circa 1875. At the bottom of the staircase we walked through the ingress into a space that had the artistic, transcendent power of a gravitational vortex. For this purpose, the Chef had built an actual speakeasy, a seven-thousand-square-foot speakeasy, with dark mahogany paneled walls and a copper tiled ceiling. The bar was made of a matching mahogany, but the top had been inlaid with copper, which someone, I’m presuming the Chef, had taken the time to make countless indentations in with what I’m guessing to have been a tack hammer. Nina turned to me as we entered the space and said, “He built this for himself?” I nodded, “As I understand it.” She shook her head, “Wow, he’s either the coolest dude on the planet, or he’s totally mad, like Mad Hatter, mad. Either way, I have to sleep with him.” “No, you most definitely won’t be doing that…I can’t even believe you just said such a thing.” “Why, it’s not like I’m saving myself for marriage.” I looked at Nina with my stern face. “It’s not about your not saving yourself for marriage, it’s because he’s mine, I’m sleeping with this guy, he’s mine.” And it was as I finished the last few words of this sentence that I noticed the expression on Nina’s face had changed. I sighed. “He’s standing right behind me, isn’t he?” She nodded. I turned and faced Chef Stan, without missing a beat, I extended my hand, “And it’s nice to meet you, please pretend you did not hear what you just heard.” He smiled, a warm, kind smile, which made me want him even more. “How could any man forget the words uttered by a woman as beautiful and talented as yourself Lilith?” He leaned forward and kissed me on the cheek—easily the hottest kiss I’ve ever experienced. “I am so looking forward to hearing you play. You better get to the stage, they’re waiting for you.” “Okay,” I said, as I turned and walked away in a haze. I think Nina was following along behind me, but frankly, I don’t recall anything that happened very clearly until much later that night, the gig had ended and I sat with Chef Stan and had the most interesting conversation of my life…I haven’t decided if I’m going to recount it in my blog, I’ll let you know next time, I need to think on some things…

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