Tickling the Ivories

8 Dec


Fran always wanted to learn how to play the piano. Like most people, he convinced himself that people who knew how to play an instrument were “musical”, or possessed some innate talent that he did not posses. Also, like most, he did not know that people who played an instrument, though sometimes possessing some innate musical abilities, simply practiced and practiced and practiced until they became proficient at their craft.

Fran always looked for the easy way in everything he did. He took pills to lose weight, lost thousands of dollars in get rich quick courses and only hooked up with women that came to him. These are just some examples of his mediocre way of doing things. Because there was no apparent easy way to learn the piano he just put off trying and admired those who could from afar.

One day Fran saw an advertisement in the back of his favorite gossip magazine that read: “Learn the secret of musical masters! No need for useless practice. Play your favorite songs in days! No prior skill required.” And there was a P.O. Box to request more information. He found it odd there was no e-mail address or phone number. He was also a little irritated by this as well. Physically sending a letter would be a lot more effort than he was use to expending for any cause. But this was special. This letter could make his dream come true.

A few months past and Fran had forgot that he had sent that life changing letter. He was reminded one day when he came home to a manila envelope addressed to him from the All Star Music Academy. He got very excited. He ripped it open and inside there was a business card with an address, a time and date that was a few days from today and a key, nothing more. The address was in a pretty bad part of town.

Although Fran did have a few reservations he decided that it would be worth any risk to realize his lifelong dream of playing the piano. It did not even cross his mind that such a risk could have been averted and his dream would have been realized by now by simply practicing a paltry twenty minutes a day over the past couple decades.

Fran arrived at the address. The house was not as bad as the ones to the side of it. He approached the door and there was a small hand written sign that read “Enter and take a seat at the piano in the living room”. Fran´s palms started to sweat out of nerves but “here goes nothing” he thought.

On the piano was another hand written note “Take the blue pill in the ashtray and stroke the C key 100 times” Panic struck Fran. Which one was the C key? He looked down. On a tiny bright pink post-it note taped to a key read “C”. Relief passed over him. He gathered enough saliva in his mouth to help the pill go down, inserted it into his mouth and swallowed.

He took a seat at the bench, extended his index finger and pressed down on the yellowed key marked “C”. “Pling” the piano sang. He repeated the process as the note instructed. When he got to 50 he started to feel giddy. The sound of the C note became hilarious. He looked to his finger. It looked to be 100 miles away. He took it off the key for a moment and put it close to his eye but instead of appearing closer, it appeared even further. His gaze turned to the piano, all of a sudden the keys were larger than cars! “What was happening?” he thought. Thoughts started to appear in his head that were clearly not his own but they were in his internal voice.

piano 3

This insanity went on for hours until he fell fast asleep. A few hours later he woke up feeling fine and with a renewed sense of confidence. For some reason he felt great to be alive. He had an energy that he had never felt before. There was another note on the piano. “Go forth and practice” it read.

piano 2

The next day, Fran bought a piano and a book of scales. He practiced the scales incessantly. Every waking moment that he could. When he was not tickling the ivories he did not feel full. In about one year he had mastered all the scales in the book. He played them so beautifully that they almost sounded like songs. He picked up a few more books, one about how to read music and some books of classical sheet music. In another year he was playing Bach, Beethoven, Wagner, and his favorite, the Brazilian composer Vila Lobos.

As he got better at the piano, he got better at all things he did. He became more organized. He stopped reading gossip magazines and instead opted for books. He exercised. He starting eating well. He was in great shape and feeling great.

On a lark he went to a local studio and recorded a few of his favorite songs. He would proudly give copies to his friends and family. One day he got a call. It was an advertising company. They offered him a job as a composer for commercials and to occasionally play in the office during big events. It was triple what he was currently earning in a job he loathed. He accepted the job and accepted his new way of life and succeeded at both.

13 Responses to “Tickling the Ivories”

  1. Bruce Goodman December 8, 2014 at 7:38 pm #

    I want a blue pill… That kept me reading to the end, and I was waiting for the slash of a machete or a hand in the wallet… But it ended like every good story should!

    • Ryan December 8, 2014 at 7:52 pm #

      And what blue pill are you referring to sir??? ;p I really felt myself go dark but veered away and went towards the light. I am glad I did as I am pleased with the outcome. As always, thanks for taking the time brother!

      • Bruce Goodman December 9, 2014 at 4:05 am #

        The blue pill in the ashtray….

      • Ryan December 9, 2014 at 11:19 am #

        Ohhhhh, ok!

  2. Soul and Petal December 8, 2014 at 7:56 pm #

    Nice! It’s kinda funny, this story sort of reflects the way psychadelics effects our lives. Like how we’re going kind of in the wrong direction and it opens us up to what is real and authentic. Fun read, very well written… Thanks for sharing!

    • Ryan December 9, 2014 at 11:17 am #

      Wow, very high praise. I thank you for that. I also thank you for taking the time to read it. I have only had one psychedelic experience, an ayahuasca journey here in Brazil. I will tell you, it effected me much like the character in the story, though not as extreme! 🙂 I try not to evangelize because I don´t feel they are for everyone but I like to simply “put the word out there” and if anybody would like further information, I try to help out. Thanks again for your extremely kind message!

      • Soul and Petal December 9, 2014 at 11:18 pm #

        Wow! That’s really cool! That’s a big step, like the mother of all psychedelics. I’ve been reading a lot about ayahuasca lately, it’s making it’s way into the public eye and I find the stories fascinating. I would definitely read about that you if ever put it out. Anyway keep writing, I’ll keep following…
        take care!

  3. 3rdeyevision December 9, 2014 at 2:08 pm #

    I really enjoyed this! I’m a musician too and I’ve always encouraged my friends to start playing an instrument, I love how you describe what happens to Fran after he takes the blue pill. “As he got better at the piano, he got better at all things he did.” Brilliant! Great job 🙂

    • Ryan December 9, 2014 at 6:16 pm #

      Oh wow. That was nice to hear. Thanks for the kind words and for taking the time to read it. I “stole” that idea from Miyamoto Musashi who wrote The Book of Five Rings. Loosely paraphrasing, he said that if you find greatness in one activity you will “see the way to greatness” in all activities. All though I do play an instrument, I have found that the better I get at Jiu Jitsu, the better I become in life. But anyhow, again, thanks so much for stopping by. I am glad you liked my little story. 🙂 Happy journeys!

      • 3rdeyevision December 10, 2014 at 11:39 pm #

        Thanks for your reply! That is really interesting and makes a lot of sense. I’m going through a similar process with Yoga 🙂 I will stay tuned to your blog, right now I’m reading Pot Apocalypse. Awesome! You are a true creator.

      • Ryan December 11, 2014 at 11:38 am #

        Thank you very much. You are too nice!!!

  4. jasbirchatterjee December 30, 2014 at 12:06 pm #

    Nice story…When one’s innermost desires are fulfilled, we find ourselves doing well in all other fields…

    • Ryan January 5, 2015 at 6:24 pm #

      Thank you for taking the time to read the story and comment. I agree with you 100%. And the opposite is also true. Have a great day!

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