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The Piano Lesson (names have been changed to protect the innocent)
I had about 25 to 30 miles left in what ended up being a 90 mile ride. I had no desire eat the gel or blocks that were in my pocket, so I stopped at a convenience store to get a banana. As I pull up, I see a rough looking guy, who looks like a skinny version of Jack Nicholson, sitting at the picnic table outside eating out of a styrofoam clam container. I go in and get my banana. When I came out I notice that the rusty, blue GEO Metro that is parked in front of the picnic table has a poorly made sign on the door that says, “Piano Lessons.” Sandwiched in between the words piano and lesson it says “perspective” in a different font. Underneath, it says, “Stan” and has a phone number. I look at the guy who is wearing stained cargo pants, a badly stretched t-shirt, and a chambray shirt over the t-shirt, and ask, “Are you Stan?” In between bites of chicken he says that he is and immediately volunteers that weekday piano lessons are $50/hour and weekend piano lessons are $100/hour. For some reason, he also mentions that he also works on horse farms.
I tell him about my mother’s foolish efforts to turn me into the next Billy Joel that ended when I crashed my bike on the day of the big recital and showed up with the leftside of my face looking like raw hamburger meat. When I went to play my piece, a little girl loudly asked, “What happened to that boy’s face?” This of course leads Stan to tell me about a sledding accident that he got into as a child that ended with his face being mashed into a gravel parking lot. For some reason, he gets up and walks close to me as if to show me the scar. There is no scar. I do notice that for some reason he has allowed the hair on his Adam’s apple to grow to a length of at least six inches. He could use a shave, but otherwise does not have a beard. The End.