William Bienes

Shoebox Rollins and Daddy Sweet Keys have not seen each other in almost forty years. They were both giants of the Harlem jazz scene. Daddy, the scene’s patriarch, revered pianist, and Shoebox’s mentor, went for a walk during the intermission of one of their bebop sets. He never returned.

Daddy Sweet Keys left music, his first love, for the continued survival of his second love, Ethel. Getting mixed up with some of the vices of the jazz scene; Ethel was spiraling downward, with Daddy soon to follow. Realizing that they would both end up in a “bad way” if this behavior continued; he left New York City for the countryside of New York. From the rural south, Shoebox never left Harlem, N.Y., his adopted hometown. He never left his first love. Jazz was always the wife in his life, and women, the mistresses. Martha, Shoebox’s wife is tired of being the mistress. She wants his attention, and will not put up with being second anymore. She wants to be treated as a wife should. James, a bright, wide-eyed 12 year-old boy wants to learn to be a jazzman. He listens to Shoebox play on the corner everyday, waiting for the right moment to inquire about teaching him the music. The only problem is Shoebox is not interested, until he meets up with Daddy Sweet Keys.

Daddy Sweet Keys visits New York City for the first time in forty years. His grandson is
a finalist for the Heisman Trophy. Daddy feels the need to revisit his roots, and walk the streets of Harlem while he’s in town. He meets up with James, Shoebox Rollins and
Martha, realizing that he and Shoebox were both a “Prisoner of Love”.

Copyright 2005 William Bienes
All Rights Reserved