Saturday, 7 March 2015

The Four Stars Chapter Forty

Previous chapter: Smothered in Perfume.

Chapter Forty: Guildhall Wannabe.

One afternoon, when Attie and Francesca were away at work, Hera was bored. She was tired of guns and science fiction, so she wanted to do something musical.

"Isabel, since we have nothing better to do, I'd like to tune up your piano playing," Hera said to the elder Lion. Isabel was drying her hair after washing it.

"Wait till I get my hair dried, Hera," the Lion said. So Hera went downstairs and waited. It was fifteen minutes until Isabel sauntered down to the music corner where the grand piano was.

Hera tapped her foot impatiently. Isabel sat with a plop on the piano chair and her hands crashed onto the piano keys. Hera winced. "That's not how you treat the piano!" she exclaimed.

"When were piano keys made out of fine china, I'd like to know?" Isabel said, a bit sharply. She shifted on the seat.

"No, I just don't like it when people slam on their instruments and call the resulting mess music."

"Ah, you still have a strong dislike of metal and Goth-punk music then."

Hera gritted her teeth. "Shall we start with the very basics?" she asked. "Refreshing your memory and all."

Isabel obliged and placed her hands gently on the keys this time. "Start at C," Hera said.

"Do re mi fa so la ti do, do ti la so fa mi re do," Hera whistled as Isabel played the scales. "Again," the blue-eyed woman said. "Go as fast as you can without missing the keys."


 Isabel played again, until she found the right balance between speed and fluency. Hera nodded in approval.
"Let's play something simple besides Mary had a little lamb," Hera said and put the notes to Korobeiniki in front of Isabel. The Lion took a few moments to read the notes, then started playing. Hera made Isabel play the song five times before she was satisfied. Isabel took a break to stretch her fingers.

After that, Hera put the notes to El Condor Pasa in front of Isabel. "I'd rather be a sparrow than a snail, yes I would, if I cooould, I surely wooould," Hera whistled again when Isabel got into the music. The tall black woman tapped her foot to keep time for Isabel's playing.

"A man gets tied up to the ground, he gains the world, in saddest sound. In saddest sound... La la la la... In saddest sound..."

"Hera, the music's up," Isabel said. "How did I do?"

Hera snapped out of her musical trance. "I think you did okay," she said with a shrug. "Not as off key as I expected."

"Did you know that I played piano back in elementary school?" Isabel asked. "I think you were in a different school at the time, so you didn't see me in action."

"No, but that explains why you weren't stumped by the notes."

"Have you thought of teaching music to people? You can make good money doing that."

"Well, teaching wasn't what I meant to do," Hera said. "I certainly can't teach them to sing!"

Isabel thought it over. "True, you wouldn't be suited to singing lessons," she said. "Unlike Fran, she can sing better than you."

"She sings out of tune," Hera said. "Nasty brassy undertone to her voice."

"That brassy undertone is popular among pop-goth singers nowadays," Isabel replied. Hera turned away in a huff. "I didn't mean to upset you," the Lion continued.

"I'll be fine," Hera said. "Leave me alone for a bit, please. The obsession with the macabre annoys me."

"I'll be downstairs if you need me," Isabel said. Hera snorted in reply and went upstairs to the Twins' room.

Next chapter: Broadway on The Brain.

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