It Be Truth

Rasgado’s Jazz Club, Baía Farta, Angola | Claudio González Jorge, Google Maps

“What do you call it?”

“Jazz.”

Razi leaned back in his chair, puffing his cigar as the trio of musicians packed their instruments. This was not jazz. He knew jazz. He’d spent his greening years in New Orleans—the very birthplace of jazz. This was no Congo Square swing—all blare and brass. It wasn’t even the rhythmic roots of it, which owed its soul to the brothers and sisters sold from these shores. No, this was something different.

As a boy he’d played a game they called ‘telephone’, where the children sat in a circle. One child would whisper something—sometimes a secret—but usually a lie. Each child would whisper to the next, passing the lie from ear to mouth until it became something else entirely—something bigger and brighter and more fabulous. And sometimes, by the time it made it back, it be truth.

147 words

This has been an edition of What Pegman Saw. To read more stories inspired by the prompt, click here.

 

 

24 Comments

  1. The jazz-styled result of *telephone*, I’m trying to imagine how that would be. Or have I taken it wrong, and it’s the other way round: that New Orleans Jazz is the result, and what Razi heard was the origin.
    Interesting concept.

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    1. I was thinking the DNA was African, it was born in New Orleans, and it came full circle, back to Africa (and changed again). Or at least my POV character thinks that. Here’s what inspired me– https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lyOII526ENQ I meant to post it with my story but I was in a rush. Thanks for reading, Crispina!

      Looking forward to your story on Monday 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I’ve just uploaded it. It draws upon material that was part of my life in the 1980s, so it might feel a bit dated. But it was too rich to ignore.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Maybe that’s how punk rock originated.

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    1. I like your theory–I’ll bet you’re right. Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. i like stories. there should be more of them.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Indeed! Thanks for stopping by and reading mine.

      Like

  4. Superb. This is exactly how improvisation works in jazz. A theme is passed back and forth, sometimes melded with another tune, sometimes changed utterly before being returned to its original form. Of all music, Jazz requires the most of its listener, since the more of you know the greater your enjoyment. Great story.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m so gratified to hear that. I am not a musician but of course I love music. That is the sense I’ve always had of it and it is great that it came across.

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  5. I like the full circle feel of this musical story, Karen. I am sorry to have been absent these last few weeks. My attention has been dragged elsewhere. I like all the comments already made, particularly your husband who seems to really get what you mean which is wonderful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Kelvin,
      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. Hope all is well in your corner of the world and you’re back to your storytelling.

      Like

  6. Love this story, the way that children’s game synchs so beautifully with the idea of jazz music, music in general, and how it evolves organically over time and place. Just wonderfully written

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for your kind comment. You’ve reminded me just how much music has changed over millennia.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. What a wonderful metaphor for how music changes across cultures and generations, and doubly so for jazz, which includes so much improvisation. I long ago made a similar observation about wide variations in pizza — that the one version seemed so different from others that I wondered if the cooks had never tasted “real” (according to my personal bias) pizza but only had it described over a static-filled phone line by someone who didn’t share a native language. And yet the result was absolutely delicious in its own right!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Joy – great pie analogy – um, I mean pizza

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Pizza! Yes there are so many versions of pizza! I love your metaphor about the static filled phone line, how very fitting!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Each country seems to have their own style of jazz… personally, I like the steel drum variety found in the islands. African jazz… it’s an entirely different beast. Good to dance to, though.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh yes, steel drums! There are so many wonderful flavors.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I love the way you had it come back round –
    and the ending line
    “And sometimes, by the time it made it back, it be truth.”
    so much to chew on with that closing note 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much. Although maybe music is always truth. Or maybe just the music one prefers… Thanks for reading!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. This is a lovely story, Karen. I really like the way you have varied the length of your sentences to catch the rhythm of music. I love the way you describe what it’s not, rather than what it is – it conveys a whiff of the ineffability of music.

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    1. How very kind! I’m grateful. Sometimes I think you overestimate me, but I like what you saw in my story.

      Like

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