1st May 1989

Upon closer examination

I have made several trips into town, to the big, sleepy car parks, where I can unpack the bones in safety, but more often than not I just sit there and think.

I like to hold the skull in my hands. If you whisper into it, your voice is transformed, hollow. If you rap your knuckles on the crown, it becomes a sort of instrument.

The teeth are very well maintained, straight, with few cavities. Would that suppose a young person died? I don’t rightly know.

Every human skull is an enclosure, filled with darkness. It’s only because of our senses that we have access to anything else.

When I was a boy, Mr Ludendorff went to make a pot of tea. As he did so, he unwittingly left me alone with his grand piano. I went around to the side, and lifted the lid onto its prop. My height allowed me to reach in and feel the wire. It was something I had never done before, not only because it was criminal, but because Mr Ludendorff was a man with two black pearl eyes in the back of his head. It was my first opportunity to truly interact with the monstrosity I had been forced to play.

Upon his return, he set a tray down, and looked me directly in the face.

Before long he asked me, “What’s the matter?”

I said that I was struggling, that I didn’t understand the piano.

“What don’t you understand?” he said. “Think of everything you’ve accomplished.”

What about the piano? I said.

“You sit down and play. You play for the people. The people are selfish. They expect to book you into a show space, and that’s it. They expect you to say, ‘I’m done! I’m so done with the piano that I don’t even think about it.'”

When more isn’t enough, I said.

He laid his disgusting, bony hand on my own. “You can’t be brilliant all of the time.”

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