Piano Stories:
The Emergency

This is a narrative, a way of exploring the requirements of our next generation of digital technology for our pianos. See what you think!


It was late. Or early. Or something. 2am at any rate. And Billy was pissed. Double pissed -- drunk and angry.

Jay, that asshole, he thought dimly. Leave ME at the bar, eh?

He turned and started to cut through the field next to Revolution Hall.  Then he saw it.

"Fuck me!" he observed. "A fucking piano!"

The keyboard cover was locked with a padlock but that was nothing to Billy. An awkward but powerful kick took care of it. The piano shuddered with the force and the screen lit up bright red. One word appeared. "Hey!" it said.

"Hey yourself," Billy muttered. He sat down on the bench. Jay played piano. He was sure that anybody could play if that asshole Jay could fucking play piano. He started to play something loud, atonal, and contrapuntal on the keyboard, although not by choice or training.

"Excuse me," the words on the screen now said, "but folks around here don't want anybody playing after 9pm."

"Fuck them," commented Billy. He put his head down and started banging on the keys with his fists. Then he squinted up at the screen which was now flashing bright blue and red like some police car or something. He hauled off and punched it.

"EEEAAAAaaaOOOOOOaaaEEEE!" screamed the piano, a car alarm horn blaring from somewhere inside it. A strobe was flashing and he was sure people could see it for blocks. He leaped up, the bench flying backward, and took off running.


A block or two away, Carla's phone chimed insistently as several texts arrived one right after the other. She woke up, wondering who was having a meltdown this late.  She put on her glasses. "Help! This is Fanny. Somebody's beating on me!" the messages read. 

"Great," said Carla, regretting the day she volunteered to be the "neighborhood watch" for that silly little piano. 

"Hey, seetie. I'm sorry!" She nudged her partner, who moaned and rolled over. "Come on, I need you to help me with something."

A few minutes later, they cautiously approached the screaming, flashing piano. There was nobody else here, as far as Carla could tell.

"Can you turn that off?" her partner asked.

"Yeah, hold on."

Carla brought up the app and signed in as a volunteer. The piano's page appeared immediately, outlined in red. She touched a few buttons and the alarm and strobe shut off. She quietly started playing the keys from top to bottom. Her partner walked around the piano, checking its condition.

A text message appeared from Megan, who had gotten the same notification and had also seen the alarm turn off. 

“everything ok?" Megan wrote.

"lock broke screen cracked keys ok," Carla wrote back, "she still plays".

"I'll have Al look at it tmrw. Thanks Carla! I owe you!"


Meanwhile, when now-slightly-more-sober Billy finally got back to the apartment, Jay was there. "What the fuck, Jay?" Billy yelled.

Jay, seeing Billy’s face, hurriedly said, "Oh, hey! Did you see how sloppy Amy was? She really needed somebody to get her home before we ALL got embarrassed. When I went back, you were gone. Where were you?"  He paused.  "What happened to your hand?"


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