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Moving a baby grand piano outside of Berkeley
I worked for a time in Berkeley, California, helping a fellow do various jobs that he'd worked up in some scrappy business deals.

One time we delivered a baby grand piano to a house outside of Berkeley — myself, Charlie, and Matt, a young English bloke who was Charlie's lover.

We loaded the piano into a U-Haul truck. The tuner, an intelligent fellow of geeky social graces, rode in the front with Charlie. Matt and I sat in the back, in the dark, with the piano.

Matt brought out his pipe and loaded it with some of the fine weed that comes from that part of the world, and we smoked it.

The delivery site was a large rich one-story house of natural wood and panes of glass, in the dense forest atop a mild hill. We unloaded the piano, and the technician set about tuning it. We had a bit of time, and Charlie never did seem to miss a chance to talk — especially if he thought he could whangle some kind of a deal.

I remember Charlie standing there in the finely-appointed front room, his shirt open almost halfway down, noticing a small, low table. He mentioned it, that it was nice. He said that he had another one just like it.

He asked the client if he wanted to buy the other one.

No; but it had been worth a try.