Meeting Mr. Porter
“Dick Hyman…’S who that is…ticklin’ the ivories”
Mr. Porter had nodded me toward an old steel lawn chair that I noted was mud-shaded much like Cerberus and Mr. Porter himself. It had been years since I had even seen one of those old dinosaurs. This particular specimen had been painted with enough coats it could have wintered over in Antarctica. Upon situating it in a manner that fit my comfort zone, I was instantly reminded why these chairs have fallen into unpopularity with the general public reposing in unshaded garden areas. The back was shaped in the form of a giant seashell, it weighed around 100 pounds and had soaked up so many sun beams that the seat and back rest area was hot enough to sizzle bacon…which it nearly did…mine. Raking up a couple handfuls of pine needles I prepared a perch that was almost cool enough to sit on one bun with minimal displeasure. I’d pointed myself in a direction that I might take in the whole of the scene before me. Mister Porter was washing up and continuing to move me forward in my musical education. All the while I sat under the steady gaze of Cer, who if possessed another expression than the one I’d first observed hadn’t shown an inclination to display it.
The music emanated from an ancient cassette playing ghetto blaster that, earlier in its existence, had probably never been played at such a low volume; fact is, I had to squint my ears to hear the piano piece. Mr. Porter said, “...Noticed your ear was perked to the box…that piece is called ‘Finger Breaker’…Jelly Roll Morton song I b’lieve…think that’s right. I tell ya that man…Dick Hyman, I mean, can sure beat them black and whites…great pi’nist but not a lot of folks know what a superior organist he is…just as good.” Mr. Porter squeezed some lemon juice over several filets and dropped them into a greased iron skillet that sat balanced on a flat stone at the edge of the campfire. My nose said thanks and my stomach growled with anticipation. Cerberus stared at my face.
“Do you think Cer likes me?’ I queried....’because it’s hard for me to tell.”
Mr. Porter grinned and said, “I don’t pretend to read his mind, but I think he doesn’t like or hate anyone or thing in particular. I just believe he looks at everything as being edible or inedible…may think of you as the aforementioned…what you may be like slathered in gravy…ready for some fish?” I allowed that I really ought to get on over to Swallow Hole and wet a line before it got too dark.
“Well, suit yourself…take a couple of these Road Runners with you…that’s what the whites are hittin’…the red ones…reel ‘em just fast enough to turn the spinner…you’ll clean up…make that belly of yours quit makin’ noise.’ By the way, do you know your pants are unzipped?”
I stood up, said “Scuse me, Cer” stepped around the side of his good eye. I bade a good day to Mr. Porter who insisted I come again when I got the chance. I imagine I’ll visit him again soon. As I closed the gate behind me I zipped my pants and vainly tried to whistle the melody of ‘Finger Breaker’.