Tim is originally from Hawaii; his parents emigrated there from Tonga. But his family kicked him out of Hawaii, he said, and then he came here and got kicked out of every piano bar and hotel he entered. Including, he said, Lefty O'Douls. He scrapes by these days by playing the occasional gathering at the Kensington, more as a favor to the owner who has been so kind to him.
His whole story sounded a bit like a myth, but it was the beginning of the night and the sound of his keys was ringing in my head. I believed him.
Only moments before, upstairs in the Elks club, where I met up with Jamin, I had witnessed the historic end of the World Series. A cashier from the Lusty Lady had just turned in his application to the loyal brotherhood while a row of old San Francisco Elks looked up approvingly from their drinks. I had no idea that my night would take me from here, to Tonga, to Scotland, and back, or that a hammered Fred Mertz and a sad pianist named Tim would somehow be dancing in my head as I drove home.