Saturday afternoon was slow at the café. Most people were out working in their yards or shopping. The few people there were at the round table known affectionately as the “Liar’s Table.”
As I walked in the door I was greeted by the faithful locals at the table.
“Hey, Preacher, what’s that following you?”
The man asking the question was my 300 pound friend, Jelly. Alfred Whitmore was his real name but at 300 pounds you can figure out why they called him Jelly. Plus, he didn’t like the name, Alfred.
I turned around just in time to see Leonard coming in the door behind me.
“Well, Jelly,” I said, “This is my bodyguard. He does all my heavy fighting for me.”
“You’re so right, Preacher,” Leonard said, picking up on the joke. “And a better bodyguard you couldn’t have. “
He held up his hands before the group and in a grave and serious voice said, “Yes, sir, a fellow can get whatever he’s looking for. This left one I call Music and this right one I call Mayhem. Music or mayhem, harmony or horror, anything a body wants.”
About that time, Edith our waitress showed up. She looked Leonard up and down and said, “Well, Leonard, in my left hand is a pot, I call it coffee. In my right one is a pitcher, I call it tea. Hot or cold what’ll it be? And make up your mind I’m in a hurry.”
Leonard grinned sheepishly and pointed with Mayhem. “I reckon I’ll have tea, if that’s alright?”
Edith poured the tea and left the table with a “humph.”
“Preacher, I was hoping you was in here,” he said as he poured a good quarter of a cup of sugar in his tea.
Jelly shook his head and grinned, “Leonard, that tea is already sweet.”
“Not enough for me. Listen, Preacher, can me and you go to another table? I need to talk to you.”
“Gonna git married again, Leonard?” one of the other men at the table asked.
“Naw, but I don’t care to have my business spread all over town. And this table is worse than a beauty shop for doing that.”
“Sure, Leonard,” I said, “let’s go to the back of the café where we can have some privacy.”
We took our drinks to the back table and sat down.
I waited until Leonard was comfortable and then asked him, “Ok, what can I do for you?”
“Well, Preacher,” he said as he pulled a piece of paper from his shirt pocket, “I wanta write a song. You’re a songwriter and I need your help.”
“What kind of song are you writing, Leonard?”
“A protest song, Preacher, a protest song!”
I have to say of all the things I was expecting that would have been the last on the list. I was surprised he even knew I tried to write songs. I ‘m not exactly on BMI’s A list.
(To be continued)