It starts every friday night. It emerges from the dusty side streets, rising and fading, dancing between the waves of night tide particles, prefect music from a concealed faraway deep within the villages side streets and alley ways, basements and storerooms. Every friday the village stops to listen the perfect music, its location forever undisclosed.
Every friday night the same figure appears on the same street. Dressed in rags and feathers, wearing an African mask, no one has ever seen its face. Or its body for that matter. The mass of rags and feathers sits on the corner, crosses its legs and from a knapsack removes an instrument. The instrument changes from week to week. The rag covered hands run through tuning exercises and then the ragged aspect begins to play.
What follows is perfect music. Fluttering from the instrument like a million tiny rainbow moths spectrally fading into the night air, the music dipping and rolling through the side streets and thoroughfares. The city halts just to hear the empyrean sounds. The roads clog, work stops and people freeze in the street. And as the music stops the city awakens from what seemed to be a beautiful day-dream.
Using the delay that is the cities reanimation the mysterious being makes its way back home. Many have tried to follow it, tried in vain to glimpse its true form. But its knowledge of the back streets is unsurpassed and it disappears amongst the labyrinth of alleyways and cobble stone, fading away from the boulevards and main streets, a wraith in a sea of reality.
Home and safe, removing its rags and mask, placing its instrument with the others the skeleton falls to the ground, a pile of bones waiting for the next friday.
Unbound by hearing, the skeleton creates perfect music.
Most of his week is spent in laboratories and class rooms. Analysis and research takes up the majority of his time. Much in demand, he shuttles from lecture hall to lecture hall, constantly on his feet. He even sleeps at the institute ensuring that he is always on time and ready for a new days work. This routine is maintained for six days a week.
On the night of friday he waits for everyone else to leave the premises. Once the lights go down he makes his way down from the class rooms and wanders the empty halls, his footfalls echoing hauntingly through the corridors. Arriving at the lost and found section he picks out the same grey over coat, the same fedora, the same shoes and the same scarf. The over coat and the hat give him the appearance of a noir detective while the scarf covers his face. The shoes are for comfort.
His attire complete he descends to the basement, pops open a window and meanders around the city. Spending the rest of the week indoors these wanders fill him with joy. The sound of his heels clicking on the pavement. The motion and rhythm of night-time traffic. Blending in with the hustle and bustle of the streets, being incognito as opposed to always being the focus. But most of all he likes the lights. Just the way they shine in the night. Street lights illuminating pathways. Lanterns whose incandescence brightens parks and gardens. Candles that burn brightly in houses and hotel rooms. The lights carry a sense of wonderment, revealing things he could not see before. In his youth the city lighting was less developed.
As dawn approaches he makes his way back to the institute and re-enters through the basement window. He places the clothes back into the lost and found and re-assumes his place in the class room.
Monday morning comes around and the professor demonstrates how the body works using the skeleton who is wearing a fedora. He assumes this is a practical joke.
For the first section of this post I had intended to include this line:
“In the maze of cobbles and gutters, the skeleton tunes the instrument and unbound by hearing, creates perfect music”
But I liked the piece without it and developed a second piece dedicated to that idea. The third piece came about as I was thinking about the skeleton’s location in the second piece. As always feedback is welcomed.