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Old-School Jazzman

Red Kelly

So, these two nuns are being raped….” Dead silence. No one says a word. No glasses tinkle; no blenders whir. The only sound is an occasional furtive giggle. Red Kelly repeats the line: “These two nuns are being raped.” He looks around, proud of his ability to play an audience the way he plays the electric bass. Pianist Peggy Wied looks bored; she’s heard Red’s lines for five years. Kelly continues, “One nun says, ‘Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do.’ And the other nun says, ‘Mine does!'”

Kelly’s Club in downtown Tacoma, Wash., convulses.

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