Everyone knows the piano is haunted. So we don’t play it. It sits as decoration in our living room, where no one gathers.
“Maybe it’s time to sell it,” my husband suggests.
“It’s a family heirloom.”
“Didn’t it drive your dad insane?”
That’s what everyone says. A hunt for the devil, they called it. Truth is they never found him. They let my dad die believing he would grow horns and a tail with a spade-shaped end. But there wasn’t an evil bone in his body. True, he was a heckler, he teased my mom and me, until finally she got the last laugh. But deep down, my dad was a coward. And the devil…
I open the music book and thumb through the pages.
“What are you doing?”
“If we’re going to sell it, maybe one final play?”
“But what about it being haunted?” He shifts his weight from one foot to the other.
“Nervous?” I insert a new roll of sheet music into the piano. As the chords of Mozart’s “Confutatis” play, I watch my husband’s neck roll, his ears narrow to a point, and his face flush red.
From “A Piano in the House” to a devil in the house. Be careful who you invite in. Warnings from the Twilight Zone!
And so we begin the final countdown, the last five hours of 2021, and we are not bringing the devil with us into the New Year.