As Madonna sat at the baby grand piano and pounded out Flight of the Bumblebee, Lance drank in the harbour and mountain view. “It’s spectacular,” said the boy. “Hope we have some time to get around and see more.”

Madonna kept playing, but slowed the pace, and throttled down on the thunder. “Vancouver is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, but it’s kinda like a dumb, blond, awkward teenage girl, with a nasty drug habit that gives her a cold, hard, skanky jailbait mystique. Lots of potential, but still tawdry, lacking soul.” She quit Korsakov, and started banging a sloppy, mess of disconnected notes. “The rhythm, if you can call it that, the energy, is bad staccato; two drunk virgins fucking in a snowbank.”

Walking over to the piano, Lance wondered how much of Madonna’s description could have been applied to her, once upon a time, but knew better than to ask. “That’s awesome!”

“You think?”

“Your description, I mean, not the reality, if that is the reality of this place.”

Madonna thought for a while, then replied, “Beauty is a very powerful thing, and I fell in love with the setting, when I first came here. I considered buying a place, but before doing so I spent some time, to see past the beauty. I was not exactly overwhelmed when I scratched the surface. I may reconsider, in a hundred years, when Vancouver has figured out what it is. Or maybe not.”

Lance couldn’t help but laugh, but kept it to a slight chuckle, before saying, “A hundred years? You’ve found what Ponce De Leon could not?”

“Who knows what the Hell else is in that tunnel? There may well be some sort of fountain of youth in there. Or other tunnels, tributaries, that can go forward and backward in time.”

“You’re rigt,” Lance agreed. Who knows?” Wanting to move the conversation in a direction that would allow him to get to something he had running around in his mind, he said, “I didn’t even know you play piano.”

Returning her fingers to the ivories and plunking out a few notes, Madge said, “Most people don’t. But I have been applying myself. I can’t be dancing like a twenty year old much longer, but music still burns in me, and I have a surprise planned for the world.”

“Do you?” Lance said with a grin. “Care to share?”

“I wouldn’t have mentioned it, otherwise. It’s just coming together in my head. Without telling anyone about what it is I am going to do, I announce a performance. I come out on stage, and take a seat at a grand piano. People will be wondering, ‘What the fuck? Madonna playing piano?’”

“Love it, so far.”

Madge started playing Chopsticks, “And I do this. And laugh! Maybe fumble it a bit, for a few seconds, like this. But then I get it rigt,” she said, getting it rigt. “Then I speed it up, like this, and then faster, and faster, and faster, like this!”

“Oh, they’re gonna love this!”

“I think so, too, and they’re gonna love it even more, when I hit them with this.” Madonna proceeded to roll through minute long clips from Franz Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody Number 2, Scott Joplin’s The Entertainer, Jerry Lee Lewis’s Great Balls of Fire, and ending with Edgar Winters’ Frankenstein. “But Frankenstein has to be done on a synthesizer, of course.”

Nodding his head and bowing in appreciation, Lance Lear said, with total sincerity, “Wow!”

“You like that?”

“What’s not to love. Who’s not gonna love it. The element of surprise is what makes it that much better. No one will be surprised by it again. The people in the audience will be the only ones who ever experience that sensation. An absolute mule kick in the head!”

They were both laughing, as Madonna kept blistering the keyboard. “How long can you make that show go on?”

Shrugging, Madonna answered, “I don’t know. The idea is still forming. But I know how it will end.”


“Someone else, not sure who, maybe Elton, maybe Rick Wakeman, or Stevie Wonder, comes out on stage, and we play Dueling Banjoes, but on keyboards, obviously. I’m dressed like an inbred hillbilly, straight outta Arkansas. We kill it, over and over, and it all ends with whoever’s up there with me saying, ‘You sure got a real purdy mouth. Squeal like a pig!’ And I squeal like a pig, and run like Hell, off the stage, with whoever it is  chasing me.”

Hysterical, Lance paused his laughing long enough to point out the obvious, “That leaves Stevie out of it.”

“No, not necessarily. I’m pretty sure he can run in a straight line, and it would just add to the comedy of it, so we will see. But, for now, it’s all just a bunch of Silly Willy and the Philly Band, could be, ooo wee, running around in my head.”

Taking her hands off the piano, Madge pointed at Lance’s bag, “Come on, we need to go check in.”




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