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Thread: "Tico,Tico"

  1. #1
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    "Tico,Tico"

    This next number, which yours fooly cranked out sometime in 2014, is based on a real-life incident I witnessed decades ago when shopping centers and malls were first coming into the economy. I thought that I'd already dropped it on the NitLet, but it might have been for one of the anonymous short story contests. Needless to say, it didn't win, and maybe we can see why. Even so, I don't know why I feel an urge to post this (again?) or what. In any event, tell me what you think.


    “Tico, Tico”

    by Aunt Shecky

    All Rights Reserved

    Many of Dennerline‘s previous workplaces had been worse than the current one, but he couldn’t think of any at the moment. At Hayward’s Pianos and Organs, business was energy-sapping, fatigue-inducing, and mind-numbingly slow. Make that dead. The deadliest of all was the silence.

    He killed a couple of minutes by dusting the satiny finish of a console for the sixth time. Or maybe it was the seventh. The topic of boredom as an occupational hazard hadn’t popped up during the interview. The franchisee –-Hayward himself -- seemed to ignore the red flags around Dennerline’s employment history, the nearly compulsive job-hopping, glossed over as “extensive inside sales experience” on the resume.

    A week and a half later, Dennerline hadn’t rung up a single transaction, not counting the occasional ancillary item, like keyboard polish or a “fake book” of easy-to-learn tunes. Although he blamed the sales drought on everybody’s favorite scapegoat, “the sluggish economy,” it never occurred to Dennerline that he was not particularly smart.

    He knew little about “big ticket” consumer items, and when it came to musical instruments like organs, he was completely clueless. His so-called “career” was an open-ended exchange of one far-flung stopping point for another without gaining much expertise about the particular commodity he’d been selling. He knew nothing about the refrigerators in the Snow Belt over in Chili, zip about the “energy-saving” thermal windows down in Johnson City, nada about four-wheel-drive vehicles at Chick’s Auto Sales and Service in frozen Peru just off U.S. 9 near the Canadian border. Likewise cell phones, all-weather tires, wholesale restaurant supplies, aluminum siding, and a myriad of durable goods and services during his short stints in outposts across the Great Northeast.

    What he did know was how to sell. Or so he’d like to think. Over the years he had developed a mental template, a basic spiel easily adaptable to the specific consumer product he happened to be promoting at the time. Dennerline believed he possessed a peculiar skill -– he liked to refer to it as a “gift” -- of sizing up customers, an uncanny ability to distinguish the “just lookers” from the receptive “live ones,” ready to be reeled in.

    Among these receptive customers were distinct subgroups for whom Dennerline had a pre-set repertoire of various persuasive techniques. A retiree with a healthy pension and a desire to fill in the empty hours with a new hobby, or a nouveau riche single person with an outrageous amount of disposable income burning a hole in the pocket of his designer jeans, or a new homeowner who’d not only survived the housing bust of the past decade but even managed to upgrade into a bigger McMansion which immediately required pieces of handsome furniture and entertainment devices to fill up its cavernous spaces: upon all of these, Dennerline could cast a specialized spell of magic words.

    Attempting to transform the just-lookers into live ones –- that was hard. Trying to convince them to buy a luxury item absent from their priority list was harder, but to Dennerline’s mind, doable. Sitting on the edge of a piano bench, he mentally conjured up a Typical Family Man -- curious but cautious, tight with a buck. With self-generated confidence Dennerline rehearsed his patter. “You’ve got some great-looking kids there. Every time I see a guy like you, I think, gee, maybe it’s time to settle down, get a family of my own. . .I imagine it’s tough at times, with them all running off here and there, for soccer practice, dance class and what-not, and even when they’re home, they’re really not, am I right? I mean with them holed up in their room with the text messages and the Twitter. Back in the day parents didn’t have this problem. Everybody gathered in the living room, maybe playing cards or board games, making music and singing along, just doing things together. As a family. Wouldn’t it be just great if we could go back to that? That’s why you might want to consider purchasing a state-of-the art ________( electronic game system, billiard table, home organ.) Don’t think of it as an expense –- think of it as an investment. Family togetherness –- you just can’t put a price tag on that.” Sure-fire, Dennerline believed. You wear down the resistence with flattery, follow up with psychological arm-twisting, then move in for the kill. But all of it was moot until they stepped inside the store.

    A sharp noise snapped Dennerline out of his reverie. He’d been so accustomed to the dead silence that it took him a moment to realize it was the store phone. He bit his lip and prayed. Oh, please don’t let it be somebody with a technical question about tone wheels or the Leslie speaker. “Hayward’s Pianos and Organs. . .Uh, that’s okay. Their number is just one digit different from ours. No, I don’t know their delivery hours.”

    While he was fielding the call, Dennerline sensed a swish of movement behind him, a change in the air. Turning around, he saw a pudgy youth park himself in front of
    a high-end organ. Dennerline could hear Hayward’s warning in his head. “Don’t let any of those mall rats in. They’re loud, they crack dirty jokes, and they scare the legit customers away.” What customers? None in the immediate vicinity, not counting the kid.

    Before Dennerline could ask “May I help you?” the intruder had triggered the start button. Instantly the instrument exploded into song, which only took a few notes to identify -- “Brazil.” The kid’s chubby fingers skittered along the keys while his feet simultaneously pumped the pedals with flawless coordination. The boy’s slightly-matted black curls bounced; a stained line down the back of his bulky jacket jiggled.

    A conscientious employee would have stopped the kid, but Dennerline wasn’t quite sure how. Nor was he conscious of the exact point when his own shoulders had begun to sway. The smooth melody was romantic, the Latin rhythm contagious.

    Somewhere in the evolution of shoppers, they had acquired a collective immunity to the ambience of the average mall. They tended to ignore -- if not totally tune out-- the ubiquitous canned music. But that night they felt something different, something powerful enough to be actually heard. Something live. The sound compelled them to follow it, like a Pied Piper or the Lorelei, except that they weren’t being led to their doom but to a free concert.

    One by one the curious drifted in, gradually gathering into a crowd, and before Dennerline knew it, the place was packed. “He’s fabulous!” a lady gushed. “But from the looks of him you’d never know it. Where’d he learn to play like that ?”

    “Oh, you’d be surprised, Ma’am. Anybody can learn to play,” Dennerline announced with authority, though he’d find it a challenge to plunk out “Chopsticks” on the keyboard – make that “manual.” In order to be heard above the rollicking music, he had to shout, as if he were ordering a drink in a noisy bar. “You might be interested in our package deal. Ten free lessons with the purchase of any new console or spinet. . .”

    Meanwhile the kid had segued into another number. The tune sounded familiar, but Dennerline couldn’t remember what it was called. Something like “Tick-Tock.”

    “Bizarre, isn’t it?” A guy standing next to Dennerline shook his head. “He’s probably a nuisance like my kids, but this mystery boy is fascinating. Like finding a sparrow in the cornmeal, you know?”


    “I’m sorry, what?” Dennerline gave him the once-over, sized him up, took a shot. “I”m sure you’ve got a wonderful family. But I imagine it’s difficult these days, with all the activities. Bet you wish you could spend more quality time with them, am I right? You know, you just can’t put a price tag on family togetherness. . .”

    A final arpeggio and the kid was done. He flipped the toggle switch off, pushed the bench back with his butt, and just as unceremoniously made his exit, despite the applause, a smattering of disappointed groans, a couple of yells of “Encore,” though there was no longer a need to shout.

    Two or three nights later, a man with a puzzled expression entered the store. “I’m sorry to bother you, but –-“

    “No bother at all. As you can see I’m not exactly swamped with customers. . .”

    “Well, I’m just curious. I was here the other night and there was a kid playing the organ. I was wondering if he was coming back.”

    The sales clerk shook his head. “Haven’t seen him.”

    “I guess I’m not surprised. You know how these kids are today. Flighty. Short attention spans.”

    “Right,” Dennerline said. By now he’s probably miles away.”

    “ ‘With still a million things to say.’ ”

    “I’m sorry, what?”

    The man gently ran his hand across the shining top of a console. He seemed momentarily lost in thought; then he shook his head. “Well, I just thought I’d ask. Thanks anyway.” He started to head out the door but suddenly stopped. “Maybe if he shows up, you ought to hire him as a demonstrator or something.”

    “I’ll mention it to Mr. Hayward,” Dennerline lied. He had no intention of telling his soon-to-be-former boss any more than was necessary. Nor would he breathe a word about the fantastic opportunity that had just opened at a Suzuki dealership in Sharon, Connecticut.

  2. #2
    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    I couldn´t help providing the soundtrack. Take your pick people:

    Organ:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HBj8omC_T4U

    Guitar:https://www.google.com.br/search?q=t...HoqpwAS3k6HoAg

    And performed by irreverent Carmen Miranda:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oFw9HWUdYF4

    The other song could be Aquarela do Brasil (Brazil painted in watercolor):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GRNtGvCtff4
    Last edited by Danik 2016; 01-14-2017 at 07:26 PM.
    #Stay home as much as you can and stay well

  3. #3
    Maybe YesNo's Avatar
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    As it turns out, I didn't know Tico Tico was a song any more than Dennerline, but the melody was familiar.

  4. #4
    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    I only know it because it´s very familiar here. It seems it was one of Carmen Miranda´s great hits in US.
    Thanks for the nostalgic session Aunt Schecky!
    Last edited by Danik 2016; 01-14-2017 at 09:17 PM.
    #Stay home as much as you can and stay well

  5. #5
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    We had this record at home when I was a child. On the other side was another, called "Lero, Lero". Must have been a hit, way, way back!

  6. #6
    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    The problem is there are several Brazilian hits called "Lero-lero".
    Here is one of them:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TaMNiLP-chA
    #Stay home as much as you can and stay well

  7. #7
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    Well that one wasn't the Lero, Lero I remember. Nothing like it. It sort of matched the Tico, Tico, on the other side of the record. 45 inches, I think the small plastic records were. Can the titles be translated into English?

  8. #8
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    Dosen't sound anything like I remember it. What do Tic and Lero mean in English?

  9. #9
    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    Tico tico is the name of a native bird. I put it up in the "Canada goose" thread.

    Lero lero means empty talk (Ex:"Don´t start with your lero lero").
    It must be that one, a carnaval song from 1941, DW.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUP0P0YITb8
    Last edited by Danik 2016; 01-15-2017 at 07:14 AM.
    #Stay home as much as you can and stay well

  10. #10
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    Well, now after all these years, a whole lifetime away, I know. Funny how these things work...

  11. #11
    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    Some early memories sit very deep sometimes. Some times ago DJ put a guitar piece in the forum that sounded very familiar. Yet I couldn´t remember where I heard it.
    I´m glad I found the right "Lero lero"
    #Stay home as much as you can and stay well

  12. #12
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    Well, Danik, these things from early childhood have a habit of cropping up unexpectedly.

  13. #13
    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    Yes, and I´m always astonished how a certain kind of Brazilian music found its way into another countries long before globalization.

    The other day DJ came up with this melody, and only then I remembered that I had heard it before:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_rQh...OglFos&index=1

    Maybe you know it too.
    #Stay home as much as you can and stay well

  14. #14
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    No I don't know it, I'm afraid. Brazilian music must have been popular in Europe before the Second World War.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Danik 2016 View Post
    I have heard the melody before and even the name "Maria Elena", but I do not remember the name Los Indios Tabajaras": https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Los_Indios_Tabajaras Since it was popular in 1963 in the US, I assume that is when I heard it.

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