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Little Night Fantasy about a Piano, a Bar and Jazz

May 21, 2012 by · 5 comments

by Stefan Bonev

translated by Jasmina Tacheva

edited by Lauren Sophie Kearney

Stefan Bonev
Photo: AMagill

The quiet sounds of the piano were floating across the empty bar like a fresh sea breeze. The light jazz was raining down on the tables, pouring over the polished glasses hanging above the bar, and would finally hide on the leather sofas in the shadow of the boxes to have a rest.

Then the rested music would once again sweep high up around the muted lamps and swirl in a thousand colors every time it rotated around the globe with the mirrors hanging over the empty dance floor. Finally the sounds would return to the piano like prodigal sons. Each of them would find the key and the string that have given birth to it in a moment of inspiration. It would replenish itself with harmonies from them and rush along its familiar path.

The piano bar has been closed for a little over an hour now. The last drunk customers were still zigzagging down the streets nearby, trying to find their way by the stars. All were long gone and the chairs were turned upside down on the tables. The floor was mopped and fresh wet streaks left by the cleaner’s mop could still be seen. The large lamps and colorful floodlights on the dance floor were long turned off. Only the emergency lights were still on in the bar.

The absentminded and intoxicated – by an unknown number of whiskeys – pianist had left the piano lid open before he left. The music soon took advantage of this to get into its stride freely around the bar. The sounds made another couple of rounds, hit the final chords on the keys and flocked around the dim lamps of the emergency lights like a swarm of colorful butterflies.

They blinked sprucely several times, the way a young girl would blink, and then started shining brighter. In the language of emergency lights, that probably meant that the performance had been wonderful and that they would like to hear some more.

The sounds flickered for another few moments, flattered by the appraisal and jumped back on the keys. This time they were even more elegant than before; they wandered about the empty bar with a gentle dance, filled up the empty glasses and made them tinkle with the happiness of the shared moment.

Then they got into the shaker left on the counter by the bartender, and blended amazing cocktails of musical tones which rushed upward, and spun the disco ball with the mirrors before they scattered in all directions like fireworks.

The emergency lights also struck the right note and started flashing in time with the music, but each of them was doing it in their own, different from the others’, way. The keys and pedals of the piano pressed themselves and then bounced back up. The strings under the open lid were slipped into voluptuous thrills and then abated in exhaustion. But just a moment later started vibrating in an infinite bliss again.

The whole bar was playing, dancing, ringing, vibrating … a perpetual and gentle whiff was causing the tablecloths on the tables to fly, and the fringes of the curtains on the small stage of the floor were playing in zigzag as though they were alive. The napkins had long ago left their holders and were waving their wings in the currents of the musical breezes, resembling paper swallows.

The artificial stars on the ceiling also began dancing, forgetting that they are still immovably glued to it. They started shining as if they were real and flickering with the rhythm of the music. Even the big serious moon among them smiled, and then started whistling with its comically painted lips.

The piano continued playing … the light jazz came to the door and began playing in the ear of the stern lock. The handle of the latch started moving up and down in time with the music. The lock clicked several times and finally unlocked itself. That was all the hinges had been waiting for. They opened the door wide, squeaked something not quite in tune with the light sounds of the piano and faded away low-spiritedly.

The jazz drifted in droves outside the bar. The sounds felt wanton and free in the cool summer night. They went into the park, sat down on the empty benches, whizzed around the street lamps that couldn’t resist and started flickering intact with them. Even the fountain in the center of the park came under the control of the music. Its spurts rose and went down to the sounds of the jazz.

The carts in the amusement park, too, followed the music. They turned on their headlights and started dancing endlessly. The Ferris wheel spun by itself and blinked with its colorful lights. Then it came out of its stance and rolled freely and unexpectedly gracefully along the main street, dragging along the sounds. The carts drove after him and surrounded him as an honorary escort. The sleeping buildings were brought to life on their way, and started singing, dancing, playing …

The wheel and its escort reached the river, crossed the bridge, spraying sounds into the river. The water began dancing and playing, and drifted down, playing with the light of the stars and the moon glows.

Then the wheel made a smooth turn and went back, followed by the carts. When they returned to the park and all took their places, the first rays of the sun elbowed their way between the trees.

The weary sounds trailed away and carried back to the bar where they had come from. They entered it and returned with gapes to the keys and strings of the piano. They fell asleep happily. The napkins came back to their holders. Everything took its usual place. The entrance door closed, squeaking with the hinges under its breath, after which the lock clicked and locked it. Everything was quiet.

But outside, the jazz had not stopped ringing. The sun was humming it, already having born the new day of the city, peeping from behind the roofs and chimneys.

Categories: Frontpage · Prose


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