|Telly Savalas as Kojak|
|The Famous Guitar|
|Not a suspect|
|Checking Casablanca departures|
|Telly Savalas as Kojak|
|The Famous Guitar|
|Not a suspect|
|Checking Casablanca departures|
Our Tales are Published and Written with the Help And Creativity of our dear friend Jeffrey Siger in his Blog:
For a reference to his Books
( Murder in Mykonos, Assassins of Athens and Prey on Patmos )
visit his Web-Site:
Our thanks to Jeffrey for giving life to our thoughts. He brings a coherence and a warm humor to our fuzzy memories of late.
Buy his books, he has grandchildren to spoil now!
|San Juan Bautista, Joan de Joanes (cir.1560)|
Jeffrey, this story is entirely appropriate for the season as it begins on Easter and ends around Pentecost.
I couldn’t bring myself to cook that thing, and didn’t even know how or where to begin getting a head ready for the oven. I did the only thing I could think of. I stuck it in the freezer. A non frost-free one I might add.
A couple of months later, in June around the time of Pentecost, I thawed the freezer and came across a parcel wrapped in newspaper. I’d forgotten all about it. Inside I found what looked to be the frosted, frozen head of John the Baptist.And it was my fault it had ended up here rather than in its rightful place on the Easter table. I had to find some way to redeem myself. It was still early in the morning for Mykonos—around noon—and the performers crashing at our place from the night before were still asleep. Phyllis Pastore, our headline singer and an institution on the island, was just starting to wake up. I went to her bedroom and stood in the doorway, balancing the lamb’s head on my left shoulder. She was ignoring me and so I started softly humming a tune.
I waited until she’d opened her eyes but had not yet grasped the meaning of my visit. At that instant I stepped forward into her bedroom and in my best Paul Anka impression blared out the lyric I’d been humming, “Put your head on my shoulder…”
Phyllis had another view of things. She leaped out of bed with a scream that nearly brought the poor lamb back to life.
Phyllis drew a deep breath to compose herself, and in a perfectly blasé Ethel Merman sort of way said, “Jody, if I were you, I’d keep the new one.”
[Ed. note: I always liked Phyllis’ style.]
Time for a drink, I think. Here’s what we at the Piano Bar call the Flirtini. It’s a lovely champagne cocktail, light in taste and perfect for warm summer evenings.
Remember, that tail is not shaken so if your tastes run to tales that are I suggest SHAKEN: Stories for Japan.
A Twisted Tale:
Thank you for that thoughtful introduction. Okay, I admit that this story involves my devilish mind at work but one of our waiters from back around the turn of the century put me up to it. The Piano Bar and Malcolm were a match made in show tune heaven. We featured Broadway and West End tunes and Malcolm loved the shows.
Tale Four: The Camel and the Movie Star.
The recent passing of the great Miss T reminded me of this story, and with her legendary sense of humor, I think she’d have laughed too.
In the early days of The Piano Bar we actually served as a library of sorts—emphasis on the “sorts.” Two friends of ours were the on-island representatives for what I’ll call Happy Time Tours and if any of the company’s vacationing clients wanted to swap one book for another, the Piano Bar was the place to do it. We were also the venue for the company’s nightly “duty hour,” when at least one of our friends had to be there to assist clients and listen to their complaints. Our friends euphemistically called it “the bitching hour.”
It was around my third or fourth season of eavesdropping on the bitching when I noticed the girls had become a bit bored by it all. They’d been fielding the same questions and complaints for almost as long as I’d been telling the same jokes. So, I decided to take it upon myself to lighten things up for them.) had just hosted a mega 70th birthday party for himself at his palatial residence in Tangier. He’d chartered a Boeing 747 to fly his guests to Morocco and enlisted the aid of his great friend, Elizabeth Taylor, as hostess for the party. The event was all over the news.
But we needed the right person to get it rolling. Brenda wasn’t the sort to do this and no one would believe the story if it came from me. [Ed. You don’t say.] A little while later Brenda’s co-worker, let’s call her Susie, came in to cover duty hour.
Susie: No, do tell!
Me: Elizabeth Taylor is on the island.
Susie: You’re joking!
Susie: Well, I’ll have to see this for myself.
Susie: Jody, I went to Psarou today and Liz Taylor was not on the beach, and neither was her camel!
The next day Brenda and Susie were with clients at the airport when an Irish fellow who considered himself the omniscient one when it came to what was happening on the island [Ed. There are many such sorts] literally ran over shouting, “Susie, do you know who’s on the island?”
“Elizabeth Taylor, and she’s got a camel with her,” said Susie.
He gave an all-knowing smile. “Yes, I know, and what’s more, I know which hotel she’s staying at! She’s at the Rochari in room 202!”
And yes, when Susie stopped in later we told her the truth. She wasn’t happy at being made the stooge—though I did buy her a drink, make that several—and she definitely saw the humor in our little test. But, to be honest, to this day I don’t think she believes a word I tell her. [Ed. And I’m sure you wonder why.]
In a mixing glass, add two or three drops of Blue Curacao. Add two ounces of vodka, a healthy handful of ice cubes, and give it all a couple of stirs. Next, holding the glass at eye level, carefully add and stir in a bit of cranberry juice. The amount should be small, and you can gradually add more as necessary. This is the crucial point, for you want to add just enough to give the drink a pale violet color to match the color of Liz’s eyes. Mix well to chill, and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a twist of lemon and offer up a toast in tribute to the magnificent Miss T!
The Piano Bar is the creation of Nikos Hristodulakis and Jody Duncan, and they’re behind the bar every night, but this story comes straight off the piano stool. David Dyer, pianist extraordinaire of Aspen and Mykonos fame, is truly a caring guy though you might not think so from this story. Nor may it put you in the mood for a cocktail, but as a new “tail” is promised with every Piano Bar old tale, in honor of St. Patrick’s day there is a suitably green Grasshopper chaser for the story.
Speaking of green…as seems to be more and more the case with Piano Bar tales a word of caution is in order. If you’re of the squeamish sort, not given to thoughts of the purpose for that little bag in the pocket of the airplane seat in front of you, then perhaps you should skip the story and go straight to the booze. Then again this story is all about booze. And music. Play on, David.
|Piano Man David Dyer|
But then there are those nights when everything goes so uncontrollably haywire you simply don’t know what’s going to happen next.
|Kathy “Babe” Robinson|
I smiled and said, “Everyone’s a critic.”
Kathy laughs at the pop of a cork, so it was a miracle she held it to a giggle as she struggled to finish her song, now a duet of sorts with a bent over and retching lady. Frankly, I was surprised the entire room didn’t lose it to laughter. It was one of those helpless, beyond schadenfreude moments where no matter how sympathetic you may be to the sufferer (albeit self-induced), you just can’t keep it together.At the end of Kathy’s ballad she leaned over to me and said, “Let’s do ‘Somewhere That’s Green’ from Little Shop of Horrors.”
Now, I take great pride in my warped sense of humor, but this was beyond the pale/pail. I said, “’Green,’ as in puke? Are you nuts? That’s just too tacky and obvious. We can’t do that.”
And since I wouldn’t go along with her, she had to sing a different number. Or rather Kathy and the still retching lady sang another.
I looked around the room. Everyone, including the waiters, was fighting not to laugh, except for Jody and Nikos who had given in completely and were rolling on the floor out of sight behind the bar. The only ones in the place not showing the slightest bit of giddiness were the retching lady and her friends. They kept handing her napkins as if nothing were wrong. The scene was so surreal I could hardly concentrate on the keys.
A word about the audience: the Piano Bar is where Broadway and West End performers hang out on the island with others into show tunes. So, when I started to play the lead-in to “Somewhere That’s Green,” there was a sudden hush followed by a fit of laughter from those who knew what was coming.
Call it coincidence, but at that precise moment the woman’s friends decided the time had come to leave the bar. Two men helped her up. I’d only seen her bowed over at the table and when she stood, or rather was lifted, she was not as I had imagined. She was in her late sixties, elegantly dressed, and sophisticated in appearance—except for the wobbliest pair of legs I’d ever seen. The men desperately tried to keep her from falling as they steered her toward the door.
I lost it, Kathy lost it, the whole place lost it. But that was not the woman’s exit line. That moment came at the front door where she’d paused again, waiting for Kathy to laugh her way into the big finish, final lyric, “A picture out of Better Homes and Gardens magazine far from Skid Row…”
At that instant the “far from skid row” lady punctuated her farewell with a broad wave to a now utterly hysterical crowd and disappeared into the night. Dead drunk or not, the lady hadn’t lost her timing. As for who she was…
|Montparnasse Piano Bar, Mykonos, Greece|
|Little Venice at sunset|
|Steve Allen and Jane Meadows|
|Nikos and Jody, Proprietors|
|Mykonos’ Grand Diva, Phyllis Pastore|
|The scene of the crime|
|“Curses, foiled again!”|
|Good conquers evil|
|Ancient archival photograph|
|Mykonos’ Little Venice|
|George, Shawn, and Sneaky|
|Scene of the assignation|
|A star is born|