“Hello mister mark?”
The voice at the end of the line was scratchy, but familiar.
“This is your Arizona offices. We’ve been receiving some complaints that there’s been no complaints. Can you ruffle some feathers and start shaking things up a bit? It’s too boring. We need some action.”
He was right, of course. He usually is. Things had gotten surprisingly unsurprising lately. Real middle of the road stuff. I needed to rock the boat. Drive into the ditch. Shoot myself in the foot. Get hungry. He was the only person aware enough to realise this, even though he was on the opposite end of the world. But he always did have a habit of seeing things with his seventh eye.
Before too long he was playing the piano. Maybe to cheer me up. Or to cheer himself up. Either way, it was good vibrations on the earlobes. Like medicine. Who needed to go out to gigs when the gigs came to you via phone? One man show to a one man audience. Nobody else would bear witness to hear these notes. Improvised before my very ears. Sometimes he would explain what he was trying out… “what happens if I play a C chord with my left hand and a B chord with my right?” Somehow he made it sound majestic. This went on for the rest of the night. Way past bedtime. Long musical interludes interspersed with the odd rambling. I forgot where I was for a moment and applauded, stomping my feet for an encore. Then I realised I wasn’t at a gig at all but was actually at home at midnight with a sleeping baby in the other room. Luckily she was in deep slumber and didn’t hear me yelling for one more tune.
I was treated to one final ragtime waltz before we both realised the time. We bid farewell. He went to prepare breakfast while I retired for the night to the pit. I lay there for a while in the darkness, with the phone call still echoing in my brain. I could still hear those piano notes rattling as I slowly drifted off..