A Close Encounter of the Gershwin Kind, but just in time for tea.
He was sitting on the end of their bed, the top of his head brushing the ceiling, and Callahan could just see the creature’s vaguely human eyes in his bedroom’s dim light. They moved suspiciously from Deborah to Callahan and back again, and all the while Callahan could feel his mind being probed.
‘How did you see your way to us?’ the creature seemed to want to know. ‘We did not know any of your kind possess such abilities.’
Callahan didn’t know how to respond, but that didn’t matter in the least.
‘Show me this thing. This piano,’ the creature said, seeing Callahan’s thoughts quite clearly…
…and not knowing what else to do, Callahan got off the bed and walked to the living room.
And this was quite impossible for the immensely tall creature, and even kneeling down his shoulders were too broad to slip sideways through the door — so he did the next best thing. He thought himself there, there by Callahan’s piano in the room over the rocks.
And the creature stared at this thing, this thing called a piano, as if he was examining something he found mildly disgusting, as a thing he might disdain — if only he knew what it was.
‘What does this thing do?’ the creature asked.
“It plays audibly structured harmonic frequencies, and more often than not these structures are designed to elucidate an emotional response.”
‘How can this be so?’
“I’m not sure I can explain the how or why, yet this is true.”
‘Then show me.’
Callahan turned to his Bösendorfer and he thought for a moment. “Do you hear in the same range as we do?” he asked.
‘For the most part, yes.’
Callahan nodded and addressed the keyboard, still thinking about the best piece to play, then he shook his head and slowly began the Clair de Lune.
The creature’s face seemed to freeze in time, lost inside the confusion of confronting emotions he had never experienced before. Callahan’s rendition was achingly slow, emotionally evocative in the extreme, and less than a minute into the piece the creature began to weep…
‘Stop. Stop this, please.’
But Callahan could not stop, because somehow the creature was willing him to continue, and Callahan could feel the creature’s desire to know merging with his own desire to share. He played to the end and slid right into Gershwin’s Second Prelude and the creature sat bolt upright with his arms extended and as if his hands were floating on all the harmonic currents flooding the room. Soon his body was swaying in one direction, his head contrapuntally in the opposite, his face upturned as if communing with the stars…
As the Prelude came to an end Callahan couldn’t help himself; he transitioned into a rousingly forceful Rhapsody in Blue and the creature seemed to vibrate for a moment, then it’s body began to glow. Soft amber tones filled the living room as the creature began to levitate off the floor, laying back and stretching out as flooding emotive structures buffeted his body.
By the time Callahan finished, both he and the creature were completely spent, and both were speechless. Callahan’s head bowed, but then he felt giant fingers on his shoulder.
‘Thank you,’ the creature said. ‘I have been here many times but never knew this side of you.’
But feeling the creature’s hand on his shoulder sparked sudden curiosity, and Callahan played the closing notes of his mother’s Fourth and he thought of the trail in the high desert –
And in an instant they were there, the two of them, on the same trail where they had met – only an hour ago.
‘You did this?’ the creature asked, clearly shocked.
‘We did not know you were capable of this yet.’
‘Are you the first?’
“I don’t know. Maybe. But more are learning.”
‘You have a name?’
“Callahan. Harry Callahan. What about you?”
‘Perhaps you should call me Jim.’
“Well Jim, that was fun.”
“Yeah, fun. Anytime you want to drop by, just let me know.”
‘May I bring others?’
The creature turned and started to walk up the trail but he stopped and turned back to face Callahan. ‘It was nice to meet you, Harry Callahan.’
“Nice to meet you too, Jim. See you tomorrow night.”
The creature nodded thoughtfully then turned and walked off into the night.
© 2016-22 adrian leverkühn | abw | and as always, thanks for stopping by for a look around the memory warehouse…