Walt can’t get enough of Bert, but a fellow has to try to keep his head and be practical—after all, times are tough and they don’t have the money for an apartment or the stuff to fill it. Walt is working full time at the Tannery and playing drums six nights a week with a 9-piece outfit and man can these guys swing. They can also read music, so they purchase stock arrangements for all the current dance numbers—and now The Melody Monarchs are in business. The band includes, among others, Blind Howard, Bud, Shorty, Mousy, Toots, and Old Pete. Each musician has his own music stand with a light, and they wear coordinating dark suits. The pay? Three dollars a night, per person.
The band takes some of these earnings and pitches together to buy a used Model T Ford for $5. It runs but it’s not much to look at, so Walt decides to customize the exterior. He paints the hood checkerboard purple and white, the body green with orange fenders, and the wheels red. They hang a birdcage from the rear window and christen the car The China Closet—and in quick order it becomes the attraction of the roadway.
But Walt is also squirreling away his money for a different plan. Unbeknownst to her, a plan that includes his girlfriend Bert.