The Ghost and the Piano
October 7, 2022
By the time they left Keys Piano Bar at 1:20 am, the temperature had dropped to near freezing. Del pulled up his jacket collar before taking Amahle’s gloved hand.
“Wasn’t that an amazing night, Am?”
The white steam from his breath hung in the still air.
“I enjoyed it very much,” Amahle said. “You are so good. People love you. There’s almost five hundred dollars in tips here.”
She tapped her purse where she placed the envelope containing the tip money.
They walked to the curb and flagged a cab.
As the cab pulled in front of their house, Amahle laid her hand on Del’s knee and kissed him three times on the cheek. He knew this was an invitation and quickly paid the cab driver while his wife smiled at him.
“Keep the change, and thank you,” he said as he got out and made his way around the cab.
He opened the door and took his wife’s hand to help her out. The cab sped away, and the couple turned to walk to their door.
Without warning, Del felt a sharp pain in the back of his head and fell to the ground. The last thing he heard was his wife’s scream and the gunshot.
November 25, 2022
Del has been coming to the Keys and playing every Friday night since turning 18. He has missed only three nights in thirty years. Even during COVID-19, the club owners kept the bar open for private functions. It was Del that everyone always requested.
Now that the world has moved on, and Covid is all but forgotten, it is business as usual. The newest artists take the stage at 8 PM, when the club is only half full, mostly with club hoppers. The 8–10 patrons stop by for a quick drink before they head to the dance clubs further down the street. Every Friday, by 10 PM, the club is full and a line-up has formed outside. These clubgoers are true piano lovers.
Del takes the stage at 11:15, and the bar is at capacity. He looks across the hazy room and smiles. It is not smoke that lingers in the air. After the Clean Indoor Air Act, the owners of Keys began using a steam fogger to create the same effect. Del thinks the…