Fame went very well for Maria Valens and the Blues brothers. They had two number one albums out that topped the billboard charts and brought in a new audience of fans at thier concerts. They even met and made friends other with legendary blues musicians such as BB King, Albert King, Bo Diddley, Jimmie Vaughan, his brother Stevie Ray, and Muddy Waters. Not only was their social life improved, their income was pretty impressive as well. Because of those royalty checks form the concerts and ablum sales, the band members lives have all improved greatly. All of them bought nicer houses and new cars, with the exception of Elwood who still wanted to keep the Bluesmobile.
"How come you don't want a new car?" Maria asked as she parked her new Rolls Royce on the driveway of her, Elwood and jake's home
"It has character" he said his girlfriend as they stepped out of the car
She chuckled "Well, who am I to judge? You've had that car longer than you've had me so I can't say anything."
"Besides" he added with smile as he hugged her waist "We finally got a decent house"
"I know" Maria said as she gave him a happy peck on the lips "And I'm so happy."
They felt like they were as rich and famous as The Rolling Stones. Life was good.
Until Jake got arrested.
One night after a gig, Jake decided to spend all the moeny he had on him in an Indian Casino, hoping he would win some big bucks. He didn't take into concideration he was part of a very sucessful Blues group,; he just wanted the money ASAP. When he found out he was all out of money, and booze, in his drunken state, he decided to attempt to rob a nearby restarunt. Jake was arrested and sent to prison to serve 3-5 years for attempted robbery. Knowing the band couldn't continue without Jake, the band decided to take a break from touring and perfomring until Jake returned. In the mean time, they all went their serperate ways and took up solo projects. Matt and Blue Lou went with Matt's wife back at the Soul Food cafe, mr Fabulous led a symphanony, Murph, Duck Dunn and Bones malone became DJs. Willie Hall opened his own strip club. Elwood and Maria decided to stick together as well as stick to music, so they took over Ray's music exchange when Ray decided to retire. Despite the anger they had towards Jake for maiking the band break up again, Elwood and Maria made monthly visits to Joliet Prison for visiting hours.
"How are you holding up?" Elwood asked into the small telephone as he looked at the uniformed jake behind the glass.
"The food here still sucks." Jake complained "On Wendsdays they have some bad pepper steak."
"Can't be as bad at the oatmeal at the cook county slammer" Elwood said
"Or the soggy eggs they served at the Illinois State Women's joint" Maria grumbled
"Neverhteless, Prison food sucks" jake complained
Maria rolled her eyes "yeah"
"So...how's the band?" Jake asked, changing the subject
"They went their serperate ways again" Elwood replied "But Six Strings and I took over Ray's music echange"
"Can you guys save me a new mike for when I get out and we reform the band again?" jake asked
Elwood chuckled "Sure, man."
"Have you talked to Rita?" Maria asked
Jake suddenly looked sad when she mentioned his girlfriends name. He hadn't seen her since his sentece hearing.
"No I haven't" he replied "I think she's really pissed at me."
Maria sighed "Well, I can't speak for Rita and how she feels. Maybe I can try to convince her to visit you so you two can straighten out things."
"Thanks Six Strings" Jake said
Things were redundant for the band as each day passed by.
Wake up, go to work, visit Jake, go home, sleep and wake up again.
Elwood and Maria later forgived Jake and still sustained enthusiasm for Jakes release and the reformation of the band. They saw Ray's music exchange as a temporary thing before Jake gets released. Their enthusiasm came to a sudden, and saddened, hault when they arrived home from work one day. Elwood noticed the answering machine's little red lgiht blink, signaling a missed call. Maria went upstairs to change as Elwood turned on the answering machine
This message is for Elwood Blues, from Joilet State Prison.
"Oh Shit" Elwood cursed
We here at Joliet state regret to imform you of a certain incident that involved your brother Jacob.
Jacob was invovled in a mess hall riot and was punctured repeatedly on the chest and on his side.
Elwood momentarily lost his breath.
The blood loss was great by the time the guards got to him and... there was no chance of him surviving.
Elwood's whole body and mind went numb upon hearing the news. His chest felt constricted and he quickly pressed the pause button on the machine. There was absolute silence as his legs began to tremble, barely supporting him. Maria, a few moments, decended down the stairs unaware of the news.
"Who was that on the..."
Her voice came to a hault once she saw her boyfriend's drastic state. His wobbly legs couldnt take it anymore. He suddenly dropped on his knees and buried his face in his hands. maria dashed to Elwood and scraped her knees gainst the carpet to meet him at eye level.
"Elwood! Whats the matter?" she asked him with high-panic in her voice.
He turned his head away from her, almost in shame of crying in front of her
"Mi amor..." she cooed
She held him close to her but as she embraced him, she noticed his whole body was trembling beneath her arms. He let out a deep sob and her heart sank with pity for her boyfriend.
"What happened?" she asked him calmly, almost getting ready to cry
"R...Rewind the message on..t.. machine" he managed to say
She stood up and pressed the rewind button. As she listened to the news, her mind became numb. It was hard for her to breathe and her eyes began to water.
"This can't be...this just...no! NO! This can't happen!"
iThis must be hard for you, but we need for you to come down to fill out the funeral forms. That is all/i the machine concluded.
Maria got on her knees to Elwoods level again, this time feeling not only pity, but complete heartbreak. Her first true family member, the only guy that treated her like a sister, was taken from her and Elwood's lives.
It's not fair...it's just not fair...Why now? Why not in 50 or 60 years?
Elwood leaned his head against her shoulder and sobbed. He had never cried like this in his whole life, because he had never felt such sorrow and never felt willing enough to cry in front of someone, becuase of pride. She closed her eyes as she embraced him again even tighter and the tears fell rapidly down her cheeks. For some time, they sat there in each others arms and released all their sorrows. After what seemed like forever, Maria spoke up between sobs.
"W..we need to tell the band...and ...R..Rita" Maria added with a hiccup
Maria, the next day, made the calls to the men and Rita, arranging for them to meet at her and Elwood's house. Elwood in the meantime, laid down on his couch and stared sleepily at the shades he had taken off that was on the coffee table. Maria came into the living room from the kitchen, finshed with a call from Murph.
"Murph said they're on their way"
" 'Kay" was all Elwood could say
Maria, noticing her boyfriends condition, sighed in pity and sorrow. His eyes were still red and swollen from crying and he looked like there was no hope left in his future. She walked across the lving room to the couch and she sat next to him as she ran her hand through his hair, trying to comfort him. Elwood rolled to his back to face her and she smiled sadly as his non-shaded eyes met hers
I hate seeing sadness in his eyes...
"I...I don't know how to...I don't know if I'll be able to...compose myself when I tell them" Elwood said to her
"I'll be at your side and I'll help you tell them" she comforted as she still stroked his hair
Elwood sniffed and wiped his eyes "Thank you"
"Of course" she whispered
Maria leaned down and gave him a gentle kiss. Her comforting Elwood was almost like Deja Vu to her. It reminded her of the time when Elwood comforted her about her parents while they were at the cemetary together.
And now, I'm gonna do the same thing...because he needs the comfort...I can't imagine how hard it is for him right now...
She parted the kiss and Elwood opened his eyes, not wanting it to stop.
"I love you" she said sincerely to him.
The pain was still hurting him, but he managed to smile just a little "I love you too"
She continued to stroke his hair until the doorbell rang. Elwood slowly sat up and put back on his shades as maria answered the door. There stood Rita, Lou, Matt, Murph, Mr Fabulous, Bones, Duck, and Willie.
"Hey guys" Maria greeted quietly "C'mon in"
The band members walked inside and Elwood stood up from the couch to let them sit down.
"What's going on?" Murph asked curiously
"Yeah, is everything okay?" Rita asked with concern
Elwood took a deep breath and let it out, trying to find a way to tell them the news.
After a few moments of hesiation, he finally spoke up. "Today, I got a call from Joliet, concerning Jake"
The band members remained silent, but they felt some tension hearing the tone of Elwood's voice
"The warden informed me that...there was a mess hall riot. Jake was at the wrong place at the wrong time and...and..."
He took a deep breath again "He was...punctred in the stomach and on his sides..."
Rita gasped and covered her mouth. her eyes began to get glassy with tears.
"Is he...okay?" Rita asked quietly
Elwood bit his lower lip and looked down, not wanting to tell the news to Jake's girlfriend.
I don't want to see her reaction...
Elwood hid his face in his hands and didn't finish. Maria put a hand on his shoulder and choked back as she continued.
"The warden said that the blood loss was great and...there was no chance of him surviving"
Rita's eyes began to get red as she remained silent while the band memebers all had mixed reactions. Some had looks of shock while others looked mournful. Rita closed her eyes as the tears began to flow and she let out a big sob.
"NO! He can't be...no!" Rita interjected
Murph went to Rita and gave her a friendly hug, but he was as shocked as everyone else.
Elwood let his hands go from his face and looked up at the men "Guys, I'm gonna need pallbeaers for the funeral and I have to sign the documents ASAP. Will you guys...be the pallbearers with me?"
They were all hesitant, due to the shock of the news, but soon Matt stepped forward "I will"
Mr. Fabulous sighed "I know we had our differences with Jake. I have to admit though...he was a cool guy who gave this band their sound. We owe him."
He stepped next to Matt "I'll be one"
"Hell, we'll all do it" Duck Dunn added as he stepped forward
One by one the remaining members stepped forward, as Elwood and Maria looked.
You truly know who your friends are when shit hits the fan... Maria thought to herself. She faced Rita, who looked emotionally wrecked. Poor her...If I had lost Elwood...I don't know how I wouldv'e lived
Maria approached her and gave her a big hug. Rita cried onto her shoulder and Maria began to cry along with her.
"I loved him so much!" Rita cried out "He was the first man I ever loved who didn't...didn't..."
Maria finsihed her sentence "He didn't raise his hand to you becuase he never beleived in hitting women."
She knew of Rita's domestic violence past and how it impacted the way Rita trusted other men. Jake was a breath of fresh air for her, but now he was gone...
For the remainder of the evening, the band and Rita all discussed the memories they had with jake and as a band.
"Are we going to ever perform with each other ever again?" Murph asked as he looked around the group
Elwood sighed and ran a hand through his hair "I don't know Murph..."
The next day, maria went with Elwood to Joliet prison to try to talk to the warden about having a public funeral instead of a prison one. They went inside the warden's office, where they found the grey haired man on his desk sipping coffee.
"Mr Blues, Mrs. Blues" he greeted them with a handshake
"Oh I'm not mrs Blues" Maria snipped, but blushed "I'm Ms. Valens"
"My apoligies" the Warden apoligized "Please have a seat"
Elwood and maria sat down at the two chairs in front of the warden's desk.
"I am sorry for the loss of your brother, mr. Blues" the warden said to him
Elwood locked his jaw and remained silent.
"I know you're angry and sad but let me just say..."
"You need to hire more security for your damn prison, warden!" Maria suddenly yelled "If you had more security, the riot wouldve been stopped and Jake wouldve still been alive!"
"Maria..." Elwood began "Hold on, Elwood" she said before turning to the Warden again "I know security costs money, but you can't put a pricetag on the life of someone we both love! I know you think Jake was just another prisoner in your pathetic prison, but he was more than you'll ever know! he was a singer, brother, a friend, and a loving boyfriend who made a simple mistake!"
"Look Miss Valens" The Warden began, getting frustrated "What happened with Jake was unfortunate, but I never meant for it to happen to him or for the other inmates who were killed!"
"If you really feel that way, then you will let Jake be buried in a regular cemetary instead of the prisons." Elwood spoke up
The Warden faced him "I can't do that, Mr Blues. It's policy."
"What if you can make an exception?" Elwood bribed as he opened his breifcase
he dumped 5 thousand dollars with of bills on The Warden's desk. The Warden, who was a greedy man, eyed the money pile with great intrest.
"I'm just someone who wants to give his brother a proper burial" Elwood added "Just because Jake was born in a prison, doesn't mean he should be buried behind one"
The Warden bit his lip in thought as he flipped the wrapped dollar bills with his thumb, couting the bills mentally. After a few moments of thinking, The Warden sighed and faced the guitarist and surviving Blues Brother.
"Alright you two, I'll agree to your offer"
He stood up from his desk and extended his hand for them to shake, but they refused.
"Karma and guilt are gonna bite you in the ass" Maria snipped "but we still thank you for accpeting"
The Warden retracted his hand and sat back down "So...let's fill out the paperwork..."
A few days after Elwood filled out the paperwork requesting for Jake to have a proper funeral, came the day the band was dreading.
The Rosary and then the funeral.
Elwood set up the rosary to be held at the church he and Jake used to go to, growing up in the orphanage. He wanted it to be small, with only the people who knew Jake best, and no one else. The press was already aware of the singers' death, but Elwood didn't want them to be involved in any way, so he hired security around the church to let them mourn in privacy. In the church sat the band, Maury Sline, Rita, Ray, Sister Mary and Curtis, all looking very solumn and mornful. The open casket in front of the church, laid Jake in his black and white suit outfit as well as his fedora hat and black sunglasses with his arms resting on his chest. It looked like he was sleeping.
The priest that gave the eulogy went on about how Jake and his music helped save the orphanage and how it was concidred "Saint-like". Elwood or Maria weren't paying that much attention, howver. Both had written thier own seperate eulogies and planned on going up next to the open casket to give them out. It was going to be painful for the both of them to do it, but it was something they both wanted to do to honor Jake. After the preist was finished, Maria went up with a few notecards in her hands.
Her hands were trembling with anxiety, but she looked up at Elwood and thought It's going to be so hard for him when he does this next. He's known him all his life...I've only known Jake for a couple of years...
She layed the paper on the podium and read what she had written down on the cards
"I know that I havent known Jake as long as everyone else here in this church, but nevertheless, his presence in my life impacted me in a great way in more ways than one. He gave me a laugh when I needed it, he gave me an opportunity to do what I love for a living while giving me the utmost respect from one fellow musician to antoher, and he gave me the brotherly-love I never had growing up..."
Everyone remiained silent as she continued
"I remember when I first met him and his brother Elwood, I was talking to Sister Mary about the five grand tax the orphanage owed a couple of years ago and I never knew he and his brother would make such an impact on my life. When I met them, I honestly didn't think they looked like the kind of men who cared about the orphanage. After we had left the orphanage, there was something about them that drew me to them and the more time I spent with them helping them out with raising the money, the more I began to like them. At first, however, the feeling wasn't mutal with Jake. It seemed like he didn't trust me, which looking back now I understand why. As time went on however and once I got to know him more, I had a feeling that he began to like me, despite the teasing he did with me and Elwood."
A few chuckles echoed the church. Maria smiled sadly and looked up from the cards "I think Jake teasing us was his way of showing how happy he was for the both of us, even when no one else was."
Sister Mary in the front pew, felt a slight pang of guilt, becuase she knew she was one of those people who didn't approve of Elwood and Maria being together. Maria bit her bottom lip to prevent herself from crying, but the lump in her throat was making it hard for her.
"I am so glad and privileged that I became part of a highly sucessful and fun band becuase of Jake and Elwood. I just wish I had the opportunity to tell him truly how much of a good friend he was to me and how much he meant to me."
She leaned her haed against the podium and began to cry. her body shook slightly as she lifted her head up
"I just hope when he arrives in heaven, he will be greeted with open arms and will have a happy eternal life."
She faced the open casket "Thank you, Jake. For everything you and Elwood have done for me. I love you"
She approached it, knelt down in front of it and said a silent prayer.
God, please let Jake up in heaven and promise him a wonderful afterlife. It would give me and Elwood so much comfort, knowing that he's in a better place with no crime and evil...Despite the negative things he did in life, he still prayed to you and beleived in you, so please...let him live a happy life...amen
She got up and kissed Jake on the forehead before returning to her seat. Upon sitting down, Rita cried harder and faced her friend
"That was touching."
Maria smiled sadly and hugged her firend as she cried on her shoulder. Elwood sighed nervously, gently fiddling with the paper in his hands. Maria faced him, with Rita still crying on her shoulder, and held his hand encourageingly. He kissed her cheek and stood up, ready to gvie his eulogy. He walked to the podium, and faced everyone there.
"Being raised in an orphanage wasn't exactly a day at the beach. It was almost a constant reminder of why I couldn't live life like normal kids because my parents abandoned me. There was only one person in that orphanage who made life worth living..."
He cleared his throat and continued "I've known Jake all my life and from day one, he's been like a big brother to me. He looked after me, taught me what I needed to know, while at the same time teased and played around with me like normal boys. We were both different in many ways, but becuase of the Blues and because of our enviroment, we became closer than ever and offically became brothers."
He looked up "We both stayed by each others sides through thick and thin, even if we were angry with each toher. Because thats what brothers need to do. As Maria had said, I wish I had the opportunity to officially tell him how much he meant to me a a brother and band member."
Elwood faced the open casket "I love you, man. We're brothers 'till the end of time..."
Sister Mary and Curtis smiled sadly as tears rolled down and they saw Elwood sit down next to his girlfriend. One by one, the band members and people from the orphanage went up and paid their respects to jake with their own impromtu eulogies. The band memebrs mainly talked about how he contributed to Blues music and how much fun he was, while the nuns and Curtis talked about his life at the orphanage and how sucessful he turned out to be, despite the hardships. After the rosary was over, Elwood took a deep breath and dreaded the next thing he needed to do.
I was born by the river in a little tent and just like that river I've been running ever since
It's been a long time coming but I know a change is gonna come, oh yes it will
The music of Sam Cooke was playing from a PA system Matt broguth from his house as the hearse arrived at the cemetary. All the male band members got a hold of the coffin's handles and slowly made thier way towards jake's burial plot as maria and Rita watched them from a nearby tree, crying and carrying large bouquets of flowers. As he carried the casket, Elwood's mind ran on about how he never thought he would live to see the day he had to bury his brother so early in his life and how he lost him so suddenly...It felt like his heart was being wringed out like a wet cloth, knowing that this would be the last time he would ever see Jake
It's been too hard living, but I'm afraid to die
cause I don't know what's out there beyond the sky
The casket was finally put down and was about to be lowered when Maria and Rita broguht their flowers and laid them gently on top of it, and spread them all along the top.
It's been a long, a long time coming but I know a change is gonna come, oh yes it will
The band members all dug into their pockets took out something to place on top of the casket to be buried with jake. Willie brought his drumsticks, Matt and Duck laid thier picks along the flowers, Tom, Mr Fablous and Blue Lou all brought some handwrtten lyrics that jake had written down while listening to some favorite songs of his, and Murph didnt know what to bring, so he brought another Fedora hat that he knew Jake wouldve liked. The band members all backed away from the casket and laid thier heads down in silent mourning. After many long minutes, the band memebrs began to leave. One by one, each other them left with only Elwood, maria and Rita there. Elwood, after a few vigil moments, reached into his pockets and approached the casket
Then I go to my brother
With shaking hands, Elwood took out his favorite harmonica and placed it right in the middle.
and I say "Brother, help me please"
The pain was too much for him. His legs began to get shaky again, and Maria notcied it, alarmingly. She quickly went to his side and he cried on her shoulder as he did a few nights ago. She cradled him as she too cried.
But he winds up knockin' me back down on my knees...
"We'll go through this together" maria whispered
"We all will" Rita added
There have been times when I thought I couldn't last for long
"We all loved him too, Elwood" Rita said to him as she faced him with her red, teary eyes
"It sucks that, people are drawn closer together after someone dies" Maria added "but it happens. Remember that time when you were at this cemetary with me a few years ago?"
Elwood nodded as he remembered seeing maria cry in front of her parents grave and how bad he felt for her...
"Yeah. I remember"
"You told me that God had plans for them and they could be my guardian angels. So maybe God wants Jake to be yours"
Elwood smiled at her, liking that reason "The lord does work in mysterious ways"
She smiled back at him "That little comfort helped me alot when you told it to me so maybe it will help you."
But now I think I'm able to carry on
He sighed and looked up at the casket, which was finally being lowered
"I know it's gonna take some time to heal" Maria comforted "So take as long as you need..."
She kissed him and gave him a warm embrace. She faced Rita and hugged her too. They all looked down at the lowered cakset and threw one last final flower down there.
"Bye Jake" Rita whispered "I love you"
"We all love you" Maria added
"I hope we all see you again" Elwood said "Say hello to your dad up there"
They all turned from the casket and made their way back to their vehicles. As Elwood and Maria stepped in the Bluesmobile and drove silently away, they knew that their future was certainly gonna change without Jake in their lives.
It's been a long, a long time coming but I know a change gone come, oh yes it will
It was gonna be heartbreaking for a while, living life without him, but they both will carry on because Jake will always be there for them...
Especially for his little brother.
AN: I was supposed to be done with this by arch 5th to commemorate John Belushi's 30th anniversary of his death, but I had serious writers block and alot of school crap to worry about so that prevented me from doing this. Plus, the part where Elwood finds out Jake died was hard for me to type out because of the emotoinality of it. It was heavy for me to write all of this, but only because I wanted jake to have a proper burial and not one that Elwood missed out on in Blues Brothers 2000 because they were in prison. I wanted Jake to die knowing that he was loved by his brother, Maria and all the other band members.
But I mainly wanted to pay my personal respect to John Belushi because his comedy and..well...everything about him just makes me so happy and it saddens me that that Cathy Smith bitch had to take him away from us when he wasn't ready to go yet...It hurt his fans, his friends, his family and especially Dan. Seeing a picture of Dan standing right beside John's casket really broke my heart, because I knew that I wouldve gone insane if I had lost my best friend. Dan was so strong in coping with his friends death and it made me love him and respect him even more...
So not only was this a tribute to john, but also one to Dan and John's widow Judy. She was a strong woman and I respect her so much for that because she's still strong 30 years later after her awesome husband had died.
So I tip my hat to Dan and Judy
And RIP John...