Chapter 45   The Premier
     “Sure, you do!”
Everyone was waiting for Harry to continue.  “There is someone who can do the job, and do it better than that creep Schattenborg ever could.”  He turned to face his friend.  “Jimmy?”
     There was complete silence.  Jimmy knew that everyone was looking at him.  Slowly he began to realize that Harry meant he should play the premier.
     He said,  “Harry, I ... I can't.  You know why.”
     Mr. Randolph, who had reached the same conclusion, said to Jimmy:  “He's right, son.  You know it!  I've heard you play.  Young man, you are a world class talent.  I know how your father feels about this.  I would never want to come between two people whom I have come to respect and care for.  I don't like the idea of asking a son to go against his father's wishes!”
     He turned to Mr. Day.  “Bob, this is a turning point for you and your son.  I understand what you want for your son.  I might even feel the same way in your position.  This would have happened sooner or later.  I know he's young and he must have your permission, but I have to tell you, your son is simply the greatest natural talent I have ever seen in this business.  He loves you.  I know you love him.  Forget the fact that this business venture, in which you've heavily invested, is at this moment in great danger of a significant financial loss, not to mention embarrassment on a national scale.  You have to let him play!  I think you should let him play because it's what he was meant to do.  Nevertheless, I must consider the welfare of the company.” Mr. Randolph paused, and said to Mr. Day,  “I hope you'll forgive me, Bob . . . I have to do this!”
     Mr. Randolph turned to Jimmy.  “Son, you know the situation.  I am officially asking you to do the job.”
     He turned back to Mr. Day.  I'm sorry,  Bob, but time is short.  We need an answer from you and Jimmy now.”
     Harry, who never cried over anything, had tears in his eyes.
     He respectfully approached Jimmy's father,  “Mr. Day, Jimmy and I have been best friends all our lives.  We discovered music together.  We've shared everything.  You and Mrs. Day have treated me like I was your own son, and I love you both.  I want you to know, sir, that Jimmy will never be happy in his life if he can't have music as his life!  I'm asking you for him, 'cause he would never go against you.  Please, let him play!”
     Mr. Day's thoughts tumbled one over another as he gazed at his son.  With new eyes he looked at Jimmy.  He saw a fine young man.  It was as if he had seen him for the first time.  He saw, not his own son, but a talented and accomplished young man.  He suddenly felt a great surge of pride at being his father.
     He turned to Mr. MacLeod and Miss Mel with a wry smile.  “Keith, Melody, is he really as good as they say?”
     Keith smiled and nodded his head.  “Yes, sir. And he still wants to study, he wants to learn more, needs to learn more.  But yes, he can do the job now, all right!”
     Melody said looking at Jimmy, who was still as a statue,  “Yes, Mr. Day, Jimmy is well qualified. In fact, I think that Mr. Randolph will approve; I'm offering Jimmy a job, if he wants it and you'll allow him, as a staff organist of the Floridian Theatre!  We can work around his school schedule.”
     Mr. Day turned to his wife.  With her eyes full of tears, she had been watching the changes in her husband.  She inclined her head, encouraging him.  Mr. Day turned and faced his son.  He smiled as his eyes searched Jimmy's
     Mr. Day asked:  "Son, do you want this?"
     Jimmy said solemnly:  “Yes sir, this is what I want.”
     “All right then!  Do it, and with my blessing!”  He held his open arms out to Jimmy.  Father and son enfolded each other in a long overdue embrace.
     Everyone heaved a concerted sigh of relief.  The theatre staff, who had been watching from the back of the auditorium began to applaud. Everyone was shaking Jimmy's hand and pounding him on the back.  Melody and Jimmy's mother began to fuss over him, straightening his tie, smoothing his hair.  
     Mr. Randolph, taking charge, said  “OK folks, careful of his hands! He's got a very important job to do!  Places everybody!  We're going to start a little later than scheduled.  I have phone calls to make and I know some of you would like the opportunity to clean up and change.  We might be late but the show will go on!”


     Several hundred excited people line the barricades along the street in front of the Floridian Theatre.  This is a day the people of Jacksonville will long remember.  Sirens are heard from up the street.  A beautiful gleaming white and gold Rolls-Royce pulls up to the lobby entrance.  The crowd begins to applaud and cheer as the handsome Bainbridge Politaire exits the car waving to the crowd.  He extends his hand as he bows and gestures toward the car. Out steps the gorgeous star, Miss Etta EauKlaire.  Flash bulbs pop and reporters crowd around.
     Inside the theatre Jimmy Day enters the tunnel leading to the organ console pit.  In his mind's eye he sees Mr. Edwin, his beloved teacher, sitting on the front row with his famous friend Zeguenia Hildebrune.  There, too, are Mr. Mac and Miss Mel, both of them bruised and bandaged but insisting on staying for the show in spite of their injuries, saying they wouldn't miss it for anything.  He thinks of how grateful he is to his mom who had encouraged him, all along.  He thinks about Harry, the best friend a fellow could ever have, who had been a true friend when he spoke up for him today. With a lump in his throat he recalls the proud look he saw in his father's eyes.
     He says a prayer.  He mounts the bench.  He checks his watch.  There is no fear, there is no doubt.  There is only excitement and a good feeling that this was meant to be.  The lights dim, the crowds hush.  It's time to start.  He presses the lift button and positions his hands.  With a majestic fanfare Jimmy and the console rise into the spotlight as together he and the organ pipes play the glorious sound.
The End

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