by Dawyn Henriquez ’19
The carnival rhythms bounced across the ivory keys in disjointed synchrony. “Entry of the Gladiators” was a strange request at Sal’s, where classical bullshit was typically demanded. As soon as Sal started the almost juvenile theme music of circuses, the musings of the pseudo-intellectuals at the bar sprained over one another, tripping into silence. A mask fell over each of them—faux-elitism stretching their features in disgust as they all tried to discern what in the hell was going on. The controversy was as delicious as the scent of sassafras that Sal loved to hang in the air. Awkward glances at the glowing Bösendorfer emitting the hymns of carnies everywhere was really what did it for me. This piano was older than the audience’s collective age. It was expected that its cords would only ever play Bach or Beethoven before it would give way to oxidation. Instead, Sal’s fingers twirled to clownery and the pedestrianly perceived artistry of an era. After all, it’s only known so well because it was once so popular. But, like all great music, it was overplayed, overhashed, and turned into a cliché as common as the trope of a piano bar in literature.
“Hey honey, lemme get another dirty martini.”