That story, The Piano that Ate a Man, a Shirt and a Lion is really strange. It has the same dark surreal strangeness about it that many of the early stories (Hard without Music, Cacoethes Scribendi) have. Wonder, what he was thinking about while writing this stuff.
"...the trouble with the word “nigger” is that it is very poetic. negro is soft and round and says nothing. It is as it looks. I had the same trouble with the poem “On a Night You Don’t Sleep” (see Flower, Fist and Bestial Wail if you have the beast around) and I had to go with nigger because that is what he was when I saw him through the doorway with the salt water in my eyes and this Barbara Fry walking along mumbling nonsense by my side. I thought, if I put “negro” then I am a coward, I am doing something because I am told to do something and not because I want to, and that’s about where we stand on the racial question now. The racial question is too large for me."
- Living on Luck, letter to John William Corrington, January 12, 1962