THE MAN

Reads: 76  | Likes: 2  | Shelves: 1  | Comments: 0

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Status: Finished  |  Genre: Humor  |  House: Booksie Classic

Joey scores a new pair of gold Swedish Knits at Three Guys - the baddest pants on the planet - and listens enraptured as The Professor schools him on 'The Man.'

 

As I stand on the platform in front of the full-length mirror while he’s measuring my pants to be hemmed, the guy who had been playing the horn before, ambles over. Bakir asks me my name and introduces me to “The Professor”. They called him Professor, because as Bakir explains, “he has much knowledge. About jazz, about music, philosophy, religion, fashion, and especially-women”. The Professor chuckles, and lets out a slight laugh. He’s older, with some grey speckled in his beard, and wears this small - what I guess is an African hat. Kind of like a pillbox. He sports a long, white sort of Indian shirt, and exhibits gentle eyes, with an easy smile. He looks almost Chinese to me. Like a black Chinese guy. I had never met black guys who dressed, talked, or acted like this before. They seemed so different. Exotic in some kind of mystical way - I am thoroughly intrigued.

I feel easy with these guys, I’m curious, and instinctively, feel like I could talk to them. I hesitate, but then ask them about the music. I tell them it’s different from anything I’ve ever heard. I don’t know anything about it, but I’m digging it, man. Bakir’s eyes light up. He is totally and immediately impassioned, as he speaks about jazz.

“My brother, jazz is life. It is like the heartbeat of the soul; you can just feel it.”

He excuses himself for a minute as he finishes the measurements, and brings the pants in the back room for the tailor to hem them. When he returns, he carries with him a large book. The History of Jazz.

“My brother, Joe, let me lay some knowledge on you about the music of my people.”

He opens up the book, and starts explaining to me the roots of jazz, as he turns the pages crammed with pictures of some of the legends of the art. Joe ‘King’ Oliver, Louie Armstrong, Jellyroll Morton, Billie Holiday, Dizzy Gillespie, John Coltrane…the list goes on and on. After about ten minutes, The Professor comes over, and in his calm and even tone, further “schools me” about the artists and their music, as Bakir defers to him. He eloquently speaks of their struggles and hardships, of being black musicians in the white man’s world in the earlier part of this century. It is fascinating. The colorful characters and slang just totally floors me. It goes on for about half an hour or so, until my pants are ready. I had no idea what black people had done in the history of this country. There were black heroes that we had never heard or read about in history books, except for maybe Crispus Attucks, or George Washington Carver, who had done something or other with peanuts. I ask The Professor why none of these people were ever mentioned in our history books. He just shakes his head sadly and laments.

“They don’t want you to know, youngblood. TheMan wants to keep that knowledge from you.”

I nod my head knowingly, even though now I’m not exactly sure who ‘The Man’ is. I had always thought that ‘The Man,’ was only the cops. But, as the conversation rolls on, it becomes quite apparent that he’s more. Much more. Perhaps even an evil conglomerate. A powerful organization, even more treacherous than the Mafia. One thing’s also for sure, without them coming right out and saying it, it’s obvious that ‘The Man,’ is always white. I’m absorbing this information like a Bounty paper towel, actually becoming dismayed when the tailor finishes up with my pants. I want this seminar to go on forever.


Submitted: July 19, 2021

© Copyright 2021 Joe Montaperto. All rights reserved.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Reddit
  • Pinterest
  • Invite

Add Your Comments:


Facebook Comments

Other Content by Joe Montaperto

Short Story / Humor

Short Story / Humor