»I was five and he was six
we rode on horses made of sticks. He wore black and I wore white
he would always win the fight.
He shot me down Bang Bang
I hit the ground.«
The song, which gently whispers soft jazz melodies into Ruby’s microphone, mutes the casino guests for a moment. With her charisma, the tragic depths of her eyes, the impressive understanding in her voice, she creates a story and lets the audience participate. In a place where people are celebrating all the time, where people expect entertainment in the form of bare skin, Ruby has found a small sanctuary. Ruby is in her mid-30s, has blonde, flowing hair and blood-red lips. Her appearance is reminiscent of the perfect beauty of women from the 1920s, not perfect, but too interesting to look the other way. She wears a black, tight dress, she never shows much skin, but always looks seductive. No matter which room Ruby enters, an elegant atmosphere accompanies her, she knows how to move. Proud and self- confident, she roams the casino corridors of »Harrah’s« like a gazelle night after night.
»Eye, gazelle, delicate wanderer, Drinker of horizon’s fluid line; Ear that suspends on a chord. The spirit drinking timelessness; Touch, love, all senses…«
On Thursdays Ruby always gets a small performance in the bar area of the casino to present her sad cover songs. New Orleans is her city and the casino is her home. In exchange for the gigs she can stay at the hotel, a fair deal. Afterwards she follows a guest to the poker table, she chooses the one who takes a lot of risks and finally pays her company with a high price. She now lives in the »Harrah’s« for more than 7 years, a long time that feels like a snapshot to her. Ruby senses the transience of youth, every time when she sits in front of the mirror after the shows to enliven her face with a little colour, she sees the traces of life, her skin slowly losing its shine, she can hardly bear this state of aging. Ruby never had to worry about her appearance, now she can only look at herself with make-up in the mirror. A deep sigh fills her lungs.
»Oh Ruby Blue, look at you.«
»Ruby Blue« is the stage name she gave herself. At the age of 28, when she entered the gates of »Harrah’s”«for the first time, she was ready for her show. She was wild, adventurous, a little naive, but so ready. Many disappointments lay behind her after she wandered from place to place to find fulfillment. She called love her fate. She met men who did not want to commit themselves to anything serious but at the same time succumbed to her sexual charisma. Men whose erotic fantasies were reflected in Ruby’s figure, but found no room for continuation. Ruby was fed up with it, always doubting herself and turning her disappointment into a wall of self-confidence.
She turned her back on love and since then she only wanted to conquer just to drop them afterwards. Sometimes, when she felt like it, she seduced the men at the poker table and picked the highest bidder for a night. Once she arrived in the suite, she turned into the nymph the men were expecting from her. Then she disappeared without leaving a message.
As Ruby sings the last verses of her Nancy Sinatra cover song, she notices a special guest. This man is different. He’s not here to have fun, a melancholic aura surrounds him, she feels somehow attracted to him. Their eyes meet. Glances that are characterized by understanding and deep longings. She thinks of Jim, a past affair, Jim, who gave her many sleepless nights. She thinks of Neil who promised her love and then fell in love with someone else. She thinks of Mat who didn’t dare to hold on when she was ready to give up everything for him. She thinks of all the men who have broken her heart. She sings the last verses and turns her gaze away. She can’t risk any further disappointment, she would stay with herself, a strong, unbreakable woman who may never be completely happy, but at least she would be spared a certain sadness, a sadness she knows just too well. She sings the last few verses and looks back into the crowd, looking into the eyes of greedy men screaming for Ruby’s attention. She looks at the flashing display boards in front of the windows. She looks at an empty spot.
»Now he’s gone
I dont know why.
And till this day
sometimes i cry.
He didn’t even say goodbye he didn’t take the time to lie.
He shot me down
I hit the ground
That awful sound
My baby shot me down.«