by Deirdree Prudence
Black and shiny like onyx, greased waves curling into his eyes, a slam dance of a hairpiece up and down, Cab Calloway’s hair is a joy to behold, archived forever and ever on film.
The world would have been lost if the new generation didn’t have access to the spectacle of Cab Calloway’s hair.
I bet it smelled of sweet opium and hash.
That jitterbug was too much.
His parted Hitler meets John Waters mustache, his trademark threads of a white suit and coattails, the bellowing scatting and jive talking (he did, after all, write The Cab Calloway Jive Talk Hepster Dictionary) and dancing like a professionally trained epileptic, the entertainer that set the country aflame in the 1930s & ‘40s never would have been if it wasn’t for that diabolical, that wretched hussy, that red hot hoochie-koocher of the Golden Dragon opium den in Chicago, Ms. Minnie La Rue.
It was shortlived.
As are all love stories that realign the stars.
She was out of this world.
Living too fast a lifestyle with one of the most upping and coming big band leaders, Minnie was sent to a psychiatric hospital where she held hands with Zelda Fitzgerald and trillied into the clouds.
Cab went on to write 23 songs for his Min, his main queen, creating a persona for himself in Smokey Joe, and spun tales of the exploits they should have shared.
They were a solid murder to all the ickies out there, the squares who took his Min away.
He went on to have a long-lasting career, performing in movies, on Broadway and the makeshift stages of pallets in an alley of Skid Row.
Every line of cocaine was for her.
Every toke of reefer,
Every kick of the gong around,
it was all for her.
“They took her where they put the crazies
Now poor Min's kicking up those daisies
She was just a good gal, but they done her wrong
Poor Min, Poor Min, Poor Min.”