Rosey and I went round to Jack’s the other night. I can’t remember if I’ve told you about Jack, but he’s a friend of Rosey from her school days. She lost touch with him when he went to university. He was always something of a musician and a fairly serious one. Whilst we were all trying to emulate Meatloaf he’d be studying the finer points of Mozart. He came out of uni with a creditable first in what Rosey calls ‘musicing’. As you know Rosey is a teaching assistant at the school she attended as a kid, and when they last did an end of term concert Jack, a fellow ex-pupil, turned up to help bring together the blowing, banging, strumming and squeaking of the school orchestra.
As I said we popped round to Jack’s pad the other day; Rosey wanted me to be there to lend moral support as she felt a little inferior in the company of the maestro. His apartment couldn’t be more different from Roseys. Everything is neat and tidy. On his wall, he proudly displays his degree certificate alongside a photo of himself in mortar board and gown. The centrepiece of the room is a magnificent glossy black Steinway baby grand piano. After a glass or two of very fine wine and some very expensive nibbles (we were not exactly sure what they were but we made all the ooh and ahh sounds to show our appreciation) we felt we ought to ask him to play us something suitable for the occasion. Actually, Rosey asked him to ‘bash out a tune on the ‘ole Joanna’, her turn of phrase causing Jack to wince just a little. Anyway, he put up no argument, and a few seconds later we were being entertained by his rousing rendition of someone-or-others’ piano concerto. Apparently, it was in A minor, but Rosey whispered to me that it sounded B flat.
Once over, we applauded and as Jack got up from the stool Rosey shot across the room and plonked herself down at the piano. Jack muttered something about being gentle with his beloved instrument, but Rosey was already poised to open part two of the evening’s entertainment. You’ll remember no doubt that Rosey only plays one tune, Chopsticks. I say ’play’, but that is something of an exaggeration. She is as good at playing Chopsticks as she is at eating with them. Only the other night she managed to poke one right up her nose whilst doing battle with a plate of chop suey in the Poo Ping Chinese eatery.
I must say that Jack was very generous with vino, and before we knew it we’d passed the witching hour and beginning to wonder how we were going to get home. Driving was clearly not advisable given the state of minor inebriation we found ourselves in, and the last bus was tucked up safe and sound in its garage for the night. Jack to the rescue. He said one of us could have the spare room for the night and the other could get their head down on the sofa. A coin was duly tossed to establish who would get the bed. I said to Rosey ‘heads I win tails you lose’ which she accepted and I duly got the spare room. As I said goodnight to her I could see that something about the way the decision was made was worrying her.
It was about 4.30 in the morning when we heard Rosey scream. Jack and I stumbled down the stairs and into the lounge where we saw Rosey in half-light sitting up on the sofa a giggling. Apparently, she was having a dream, at least she thought she was, and suddenly she saw this monster in a dark corner of the room with its enormous mouth open, baring an alarming set of gappy teeth. A second or two later she realised it was no more than Jack’s piano.
When morning properly arrived Jack asked us if we’d like to join him for a cup of Nicaraguan Maragogype elephant bean coffee with scrambled free range eggs and McGilvray smoked salmon, followed by one of his specially imported handcrafted pain au chocolat from his ‘little man’ in the Bohemian quarter of Paris. We declined his invitation and headed off to Greg’s Greasy Spoon for a full English breakfast washed down with a mug of his famous stewed tea! And guess what was playing on the radio in the background – yep, Piano Man!