Facebook's "On This Day" feature reminded me that two years ago yesterday I got fired from a gig for the first and only time. The owner of a restaurant in a relatively affluent Johnson County suburb of Kansas City called me and asked if I played "jazzy/bluesy kinds of things" and could play duet with piano. All I knew was the restaurant had just opened and was called "Pinstripes", which made me think "suits", and that combined with them asking for a duo made me assume wallpaper/dinner music at an upscale restaurant.


Nope. Rowdy outdoor shopping mall bowling alley with booze!


They also had a "stage" that you could tell they really wanted to use, which was an elevated plywood block about three feet above the floor, but only big enough for me and not Andrew Ouellette . So they set it up behind the shoe rental counter (?) and now I'm inexplicably towering over Andrew like a go-go dancer, only if go-go dancers wore suits and ties and held alto saxophones, and they cut off the house music which was "Takin' Care of Business" by Bachman-Turner Overdrive at the kind of raucous volume you would expect at a chain bowling alley that serves moderately-priced American cuisine, only for us to launch into what was almost certainly the most ill-advised rendition of Star Eyes ever performed.


She fired us halfway through Andrew's third chorus of Take The A-Train a half hour later (literally halfway - she said "Alright, we're done here"), but only after first producing a list of the kinds of songs she had apparently meant by "jazzy/bluesy kinds of things" - a compendium of Earth Wind and Fire, Van Morrison, and KC and the Sunshine Band wedding dance band tunes, explaining that "Our customers are having trouble identifying with your music."


We accepted a pro-rated version of our pay and a $50 gift certificate to - you guessed it - Pinstripes! as our recompense and ceased operations. The problem with that gift certificate, though, was that I was never coming back to that place and neither was Andrew. So if we were gonna use it it had to be right then. So we did. We sat at Pinstripes in our suits and enjoyed a free meal minutes after being fired from Pinstripes. The ensuing tension was not worth the free chicken fingers.


Also - then-Royals designated hitter Billy Butler was there. Which simultaneously tells you all you need to know about both Billy Butler and Pinstripes.