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Wanderer's Story - Afterword
I was shooting darts with Copernicus. Well, actually, I was beating Copernicus at darts, his biocular vision is great for looking in two directions at once, but it wreaks havoc with steroscopic vision. We were both trying to check out a new lady in the bar - Lady Deeth I think I heard her call herself, but I could be wrong.
Coops was doing a swell job of keeping one eye on Lady D and the other on the board. Unfortunately, he couldn't do both and darts were flying everywhere.
Jack, as usual for this time of night, had moved to the piano. He started off with a little ragtime ditty, but soon moved to some more serious work. When he hits his stride and really gets in flow with the music, his basic ani-morphic ability manifests iself in a most unusual way.
There he is, playing a Chopin sonata - eyes closed - the picture of concentration. It's at this point, he manifests a most peculiar trait. As he moves with passion into his music, slowly his ears begin to grow. It's a spectacular sight to watch.
The more Jack submerges himself within the music, the longer his ears grow. By crescendo, they have morphed into a lovely set of soft grey donkey ears. But that's not the strangest part. It's the way that they lack back and rest upon on his shoulders. The first time Kim saw it happen he called Jack a "regular Lenaord Barn-stein."
Jack's finished his piece to the appreciative applause of the bar. Donnie signals his approval with a traditional tall cold mug of what the equines (and the mule!!!) call fermented feed.
There are calls for songs, and Jack obliges with several popular and movie tunes. One or two people get up to sing, but I've already stopped paying attention.
By this by Coops and I had manuvered ourselves to the empty stools on either side of Lady D and went into our witty banter and repartee. She spoke back to us with a perfunctory air. It's obvious she's listening, only it's not to us.
That's when I noticed that someone else was singing - a guy - a guy whose voice I can't place at first.
.... Did you think ... our time together ... was all done?
Close your eyes and rest your weary mind. I promise I will stay right here beside you. Today our lives were joined became entwined I wish you could know how much I love you."
With his back to me, I can't place him at first ... then slowly I realize that I'm looking at one of the Lupine Boys, but which one? My eyes glance over to their table, but I can't figure out who's missing.
By now, the entire bar is caught up in the song, which is being delivered with so much raw emotional feeling that it's as much about a man who can't comprehend the magnitude of his loss as it is about the love of a man for a woman.
Lady, My, sweet lady. I'm as close as I can be. And I swear to you, our time ... Has just begun ..."
I look at Lady D and she's just sitting there looking down, weeping silently. Even stoic old Lizard Lips Copernicus is affected, which is hard to imagine, since a lizard's anatomy doesn't lend itself to facial expressions.
I look over and see Jack place his hand on the back of the singer and say something softly to him. As he crosses back to his seat I finally get a glimpse of the singer .... Wanderer.
Jack plays a bunch of other songs - many of them peppy and upbeat - but the mood of the bar is already set and there's no changing it. Without even thinking, we're all of us thinking about love ... and loves lost. For me, there's Ellen, forever mine, but forever lost.
Others are thinking that way, too.
I notice a little later that Lady D and Wanderer have moved off to a table by themselves and are talking. I smile and shrug to myself as I return to my usual perch.
I know Donnie's been affected, he's been cleaning the same glass for 20 minutes. He's thinking of Adele, his ex-wife.
Later that even, I was heading for my car when Coops passed me on his way to the bus stop. We just stood together silently for a few moments - each of us looking up and down the street like we expected to see something coming our way.
"Well, G'night, Coops," I said.
"Yeah, right," he answered.
Long pause ................
"You know, he REALLY must have love her."
"Yah, Coops, I think he did," I reply softly.
Tonight, I'll enter Wanderer's story in my notebook and that will be the end of it for me ... just another chapter in a book I'll probably never write. But what about the lonely guy that sang a song tonight at a silly bar called the Blind Pig. Will his house or apartment seem even more empty now that he's reopened a door perhaps best left closed.
You have to wonder.
At least, I do.
Wanderer's Story - Afterword copyright 1997 by Mark van Sciver.
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