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009 and the Nudie Piano Player

I am living in a hotel with Granny somewhere around the British Museum in London. Our room 009 is very narrow with a large window and a porch that nobody ever uses because it’s too cold and rainy. Our beds are decked with candy-pink bedspreads that I try to hide in the corners of the room. We run around the city studying the ballet and theater, eating lunch in museums and dinner at the neighborhood Indian cafe. I never get used to pub food. We see the marching band from Michigan that flew with me on the plane in the New Year’s Day parade. Granny meets her old hard-drinking friend Gerry at a pub and makes me take Gerry’s son Martin to see Buddy. Martin is a piano player and a rather strange one at that, though Granny says all the girls love him. With his wide-brimmed hat he looks exactly like Mel Gibson. Without it, he looks nothing like Mel Gibson.

We go to Buddy. We sit next to Nikki who wants to know the run down and I mutter a thing or two because I really don’t like being forced to talk to strangers. She says something like that’s how people met in the old days. At intermission Martin offers me a dixie-cup ice cream from the in-theater vendors, as is the custom. I decline so we go outside and Martin rolls a cigarette for a homeless man.

I forget this entire story until Peggers mentions that Martin and his girlfriend stayed at their house in the States. Martin drank Jim’s entire Guinness stash (about 36 beers) in a day and a half and was found naked, cooking an omelet in their kitchen at 7:00 a.m. Jim freaked out. Martin’s girlfriend remarked that it was a bit like the time that Martin was arrested for driving naked in Australia.


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