Friday, December 5, 2008

The Piano


Did you ever have a friend or know a guy who is always into something? Sometimes, something good... sometimes, something not so good? Eddie C. was one such guy. We met when we were both in the ninth grade and I often wondered why he bothered to come to school at all since he was only there long enough to be counted present in homeroom. Then, he was "ghost" as they say. Surprisingly enough, this guy graduated from high school and even did two years of college somewhere... that is an unsolved mystery even the late Robert Stack would be hard pressed to solve.

I think it was my sophomore year of college. I was home for a few weeks before the summer session began. I always did that... I'd come home for about a month and go right back for summer classes. Summer at my college was fun and almost all of the black students took summer classes. There were pool parties and you got to meet a lot of the new freshmen girls who were taking early admit classes. It was great. My mother didn't protest because at least I was off the streets of Philadelphia for the summer. She could rest easy with me away in "cow country", as I jokingly called Central Pennsylvania.

I had four weeks to kill and I ran into Eddie C., who was himself going to Community College of Philadelphia. The first thing he said when he saw me was, "Hey Cool (he called everybody "Cool"), you wanna make some short money? I got a couple of jobs you can help me with... You down?" When Eddie C. said he had jobs, that's exactly what he meant... work. He was good about hooking his friends up with money if he was on to something. You had to love him... and, he always knew somebody that needed something done and was willing to pay to have it done. I only had four weeks to kill and that was not enough time to get a straight job so, what the heck, I was down with Eddie C.

The first job we had was painting a house for this old man... the entire house. We painted the walls and ceilings in every room of this two-story house in Southwest Philly and he paid us $ 500.00. We split it down the middle, $250.00 a piece. At the time, that was a nice sum for two 19 year old boys. The next job we got involved in was moving furniture out of a home in West Philly. The couple was divorcing and they took verbal snipes at each other the entire time we were moving their furniture out of the house. We got about $ 300.00 a piece for the job and it wasn't nearly enough money for what we had to go through with those two arguing constantly.

I was keeping all of my money in a shoebox under my bed because I was going back to college "fat". I thought this would pay for my activity fee, a few books, a refrigerator rental, and some food for the fridge. I needed one more payday and I'd be straight but, I should have quit when I was ahead.

Eddie knew some people in this "church" up in North Philadelphia who needed a piano moved. I was 6'1" and about 150-160 pounds soaking wet. He was about the same height and weighed even less than I did... definitely not the muscular moving type but, I figured Eddie would have at least one other guy on this job to help out. He did. On the day we got in his car to drive to the "church", the other guy didn't show up (he had gotten locked up the night before). So, the two of us went to the "church".

If you're black, you know that we black folks can make a "church" out of anything. This "church" was three stories high and it had what my grandfather called a "wire room" (bar and gambling establishment) on the third floor. That's where the piano was and the "church" wanted it moved to the first floor where they were. I didn't even believe that this place was a "church". I didn't see a sanctuary, no Bibles, nothing that even resembled holiness, and I didn't see preacher once while I was there. This place was closer to a "den of iniquity" than a "church"... but, if that's what they wanted to call it, so be it. Who was I to challenge them? I just wanted my short money.

When we got there, from the door things went wrong. There was this big fat, greasy, twenty-seven sandwich eating guy (as Eddie Murphy would say) sitting there in the foyer, eating a sausage sandwich with a big old nasty perm in his hair and a nasty disposition to boot. You would have thought that he would help us but, it was evident that the only thing he was going to do was to stuff his face with more food. He looked a hot mess and he wasn't too impressed with me and Eddie either.

"Y'all the nuccas they hired to move that piano? She-e-e-t, y'all don't look like y'all could move a fly." he snarled. "Yeah, well you could move your share if you'd close your mouth." I said under my breath. He heard me and he looked right at me and said, "Got somethin' to say, nigga?" I smiled my most angelic smile and said, "Nah man, nothin' at all." "That's whut ah thought." he snapped. "Fat ass!" I said again, under my breath. He heard that too. He stood up like he was going to do something and I backed away a little bit, looking either to run or find something to crack him with but, Eddie C. diffused the situation... "Come on Cool, we got work to do. Let's do it. We ain't got no beef with you. You ain't got nothin' to do with this brother." he said to Fat and Greasy. "Well, do it then." said the fat man. "Who died and made him the boss?" I said, not caring if he heard me this time. "He ain't. Don't mind him. Just come on." said Eddie C.

Eddie C. moved me along and we went up the steps and got the piano. It was heavy... as heavy as fat and greasy downstairs. I was in front, easing it down the steps as Eddie took the back. When we got to the second landing, this really cute girl walked into the hallway. She was fine but, that piano was heavy. Eddie seemingly forgot that most of the weight was on me. He began rapping... "Looka here, looka here. What's happening, slimmy!" he said, smiling like a lit Christmas tree. She was one of those cool North Philly girls I'd heard about... she wasn't havin' it but, he kept talking. The piano was weighing me down and I was starting to slide. Finally, I yelled out... "Eddie, for God's sake, please... come on now! I can't hold this thing by myself. Come on!"

Eddie told me to hold on and swing around and he would switch places with me. I held on to my side and eased over as he attempted to switch over to my side but then, tragedy struck. One of the back legs snapped off! The piano sagged. Yeah, it was an "Oh, (fill in the blank) " moment. The girl cracked up. Eddie smiled at her and said, "Don't worry about it. Move out the way. We can crazy glue it when we get it down, they won't know." I said, "Man, are you crazy? That's the leg to the piano!" He said, "Don't worry about it. Just hold on." But, Eddie in the front was worse than me in the front. He was busy smiling at the girl and trying to ease the piano down the steps while I was trying to hold on (for life) and that piano got away from us. It rolled down the steps, flipped over on the side, the other two legs snapped off, and what was left of it rolled right into the front office with a thud and a crash.

Eddie's eyes and my eyes got as large as saucers. The girl started laughing and said, "You niggas is drawn." What she should have said is, we were doomed. For the first time ever, the supremely confident Eddie C. looked afraid... like he had seen the future. "Oh my God! Oh my God! Ohhhhhh Jesus! Keith, run!" (Why does everyone call Jesus when they get in trouble but, can't call him when things are good? He'd love to hear from you during the good times too.) I had the nerve to say, "Huh?" Eddie wasn't exactly a "church" goin' brother so, if he was calling the Lord's name, there was a good reason... like we might be gettin' ready to meet him. Soon.

Eddie took off up the steps and it didn't take me long to see why. Fat and Greasy came tearing up the steps after us and he didn't look like he wanted to give us a summer bonus. I ran behind Eddie. I didn't know the building or the neighborhood so, I followed him down the hallway and into a room at the end of the hall. This fool jumped out the window. I thought about turning around trying to fight this guy but, thought better of it. He would have killed me so, I followed Eddie out of the window too! Fortunately, it wasn't much of a drop... there was a porch roof right under the window. (Thank God!) We ran to the end and down the black collapsible stairwell into the back alley. Fat and greasy wasn't slow at all... he must've turned and ran back down the steps because he bolted into the back alley, slipped in the mud and garbage, and fell flat on his fat face as we ran past him and out into the street. We ran to Eddie's car, got in, and pulled off just as he got himself up and was coming out of the alley. My last vision of Fat and Greasy was of him standing on the corner with his tongue hanging out, breathing heavy.

When we got back to West Philly, Eddie went in his pockets and handed me $ 200.00. I looked at him and asked, "What is this?" He was still a little out of breath and he said, "That's your cut, they paid me before we did the job." I looked at him and said, "They're gonna want their money back. We destroyed that piano, man!" He laughed and said, "Yeah, I know. I'm gonna stay at my cousin's house in Chester until school starts in September and you're going back upstate (to college) in a week, right? So, they ain't never gonna see either one of us again!" He laughed... I looked at him... and then, I laughed too. We both laughed good and hard... especially about that Fat and Greasy guy with the perm trying to catch us. "He looked like an overweight Little Richard," laughed Eddie C. We laughed so hard, our ribs were hurting.

Eddie C. was a good guy. Today he's married, has two sons, and works for the Board of Education. He's a youth counselor in his spare time. Whenever I see him, he still talks about that summer many years ago when we destroyed that piano. It's even funnier when he tells it. My man, Eddie C. I told you I was gonna write about you on my blog. This one's for you!

25 comments:

Reggie said...

Eddie is going to be happy to see this post!!!

You make very good points!!!

Dope Blog!!!

Angie B. said...

LMAO at you...You are too funny!

Toni said...

Funny Story....You have had quite a
life....

Lisa said...

LMAO....You know you guys had no business trying to move a Piano.
RFLMAO...

Sunflower said...

You're going to have such a wealth of stories about life to tell your grandson.

Vanessa said...

LOLOL- Keith, you a trip and you been a trip your whole life haven't you?-lolololol.

Keith said...

@Vanessa- Yes, pretty much..lololol.

James Perkins said...

Another Great Story brother man...
Hillarious!!!I'm with Lisa, you guys had no business trying to move a Piano by yourselves.

Grover Tha Playboy said...

Why didn't yall get "Fat n Greasy" to help yall? That wouldn't have happened if he had of helped.

Tate 2 said...

Man, this was a hillarious story..
You need to write your autobiography..You got some capers
man..lolololol.

Simon Bastion said...

You've given me a really good peak into what African-American Life in Urban America must have and probably still is like...and you've done it with warmth and humor..Well done.

Halo said...

This was too funny...you guys were
too stupid...and I mean that in a good way...ROFLMAO @ U.

Shorty said...

What an awesome story! Thanks for sharing that. You know it amazes me what boys can get themselves into and out of sometimes. Maybe I'm just a bore, but I don't have any good stories like that from my younger days. Glad you do!

Kin'shar said...

Yeah its so nice to talk about ol friends. Seems like you two had fun together although things went wrong. What the hell...you got paid!!

Thoughts of a Southern gal said...

Once again...a good funny story. You need to write a book.

Keith said...

@Southern Gal-Yeah,everybody keeps telling me that..I think I've got a book or two in me..

The Dreamy One said...

i have a such a hard time getting on your blog. you know that makes me so upset right??? lol

anyway I was cracking up from beginning to end!!

fat greasy,lmao . you are so freaking funny.

and like someone said, you know yall skinny tails didnt have any business trying to move a piano,lol!!!

Kofi Bofah said...

Ha!

Eddie C. sounds like a hustler.

I am surprised that they never bumped into you all again though. Chester isn't too far from Philadelphia.

One of you two will bump into Big Greasy one of these days and have another good laugh.

R. Fitzgerald said...

Great read. I felt like I was watching an episode of Everbody Hates Chris or something.

Man, you need to do a book with all these funny stories you have.

Dione said...

Keith,
I was dying laughing over here! It's so good to read this post after being out of the loop for a while! Thanks for the cominc relief my Kappa bro!

Keith said...

@Dione- Hey Dione...Glad to see you're back!!(smiles)

Regina said...

Classic! You should write a book!

CurvyGurl said...

ROFL! I love your stories!

Steve said...

Nice sharing, very funny story.


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Tips For Cheap Hotels said...

nice blogging.do carry on for such stuff.




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