The family piano had an strange habit of sneaking around the house when no one was watching. It couldn’t just sit still the way a proper piano should. Not that it was a bad piano. It was upright and usually stayed in tune. Most guests found its music pleasant. By all the usual pianistic standards no one would have any complaints. But you wouldn’t usually think to ask whether a piano remained stationary.
The girls were the first to notice. Daddy asked, “Who put your shoes in the middle of the floor? That’s not where they go.” “I don’t know. Maybe it was the piano.” Kids have a way of figuring these things out that grownups tend to miss.
They noticed other oddities. Things in the house that would “wander”. Toys thrown into the middle of the floor. Socks and dresses pulled from their drawers and dressers. It was quite a mess. They didn’t wander by themselves of course. That would be ridiculous. It was the piano that moved them. And it seemed to follow the girls around the most.
Being a piano, it was musical in its mischief. For stealthy accompaniment it might play Henry Mancini’s “Pink Panther”. Or Arnold Schoenberg’s “Pierrot lunaire”, plunked out in slow staccato. It would pause or trill on long fermatas as it peaked around the corner to make sure no one was there. And as soon as anyone returned it slunk right back to its spot.
Mom and Dad found it kind of irritating that the piano left its messes for everyone else to pick up. But also mildly entertaining that it was the piano that had done it. It was unique at least. No one else had a moving piano. They tried to get the girls to do most of the clean up, since it was their stuff that was thrown around. But mom and dad helped out a little. After all, the kids weren’t the ones who’d made the messes. It was the piano.