© 2019 by Hugh Levick

MAYBE THE STORY OF 'I'

for speaking solo pianist

When it happened I was doing my best to play the role of myself. I knew a self was demanded. But when they asked me to identify myself, I said, ‘I was planning on still being here even though I had left.”. They didn’t like this. 

Yet for me everything that is reflects everything that isn’t. I mean, I look at a chair and I see everything that isn’t a chair.

 The sirens were getting closer. Why couldn’t I just say ‘yes’ to their languages and their logic? Why couldn’t I just identify myself and live with the lie?

I can’t remember when it began to change. Perhaps it was 1977 the year 794 Japanese school children committed suicide. Suddenly, greed was good. We were being shredded and crushed. So what! We played video games. Our bodies grew hostle. Our minds settled into dark rooms. The soul was like walking through a puddle. Disheartened at this point in my life, I stopped. I gave up. I began working for GMLT.

My spiel went like this: I am here tonight to urge you all to take the leap of faith. Become a cyborg! Crossing the threshold of a fear is always liberating. As we say at GMLT, It’s still you, but the ‘you’ you never dreamed you could be. But GMLT wasn’t me. On top of that I was fired and my job was given to a cyborg! 

So I took up playing the piano attracted by the fact that when I play a note it always disappears. 

They didn’t like that. And things got worse. In the interest of survival, I considered suicide. 

But then inspired by doubt, I wrote a manifesto which I shall play for you now. 

I stood there at peace for a few moments, looking out at a vast horizon. Where the sea met the sky did not look any further away than the brim of the hat I was not wearing. From the nature of the light I could not tell if the sun was rising or setting. 

Then there was knocking at the door. I hear knocking at the door. Thunderous knocking. They say, ‘Police!’ I hid the piano. 

They said they were the identity cops. I said: ‘I was planning on still being here even though I had left. You are here, they said, and you are being arrested on the charge of being nobody. I am not nobody, I protested. I am playing the role of nothing! I am assuming a lack of identity. You can’t arrest me for assuming a lack of identity. It’s my constitutional right. Assuming a lack of identity is my pursuit of happiness. It’s still you, but the ‘you’ you never dreamed you could be! 

They said: Nothing can be used against you! I said: What! Nothing can be used against me? But what is my crime? 

They said: You don’t get it do you?  So let’s make it crystal clear. 

If you don’t believe in your identity, you don’t believe in OUR identity. . If you don’t believe in our identity, you don’t believe in our right to control you. If you don’t believe in our right to control you, you don’t accept the world as it is. The world as we say. If you don’t accept the world as it is, you believe the world should be different. You believe the world should be different. 

(Long roar.)

Then the piano fell out from where it had been hiding under my shirt.  

They said: A piano! The proof is in the pedal:  NO SUSTAIN! We thought this was a case of willful identity absence, but now we can bring charges of subversion, terrorism and treason! You’ll rot in prison like a Uruguayan pineapple. 

I  fell to my knees, hands behind my back, I was faced away from the keyboard but I continued to play. I collapsed onto the floor, reached up and played. 

All became silent. There was a sensation of eons passing as if a god were taking the time to give all of the last and lowliest dust motes a name.

I collapsed. Then I rose. Then I was on my knees. I said, Excuse me. Are you saying? 

I stood up. 

I said: Excuse me. Are you saying that I must play the role or that I will be eligible for parole? 

They nod. I point at the piano. They say, A swan song. And laugh. I sat down and played what I expected to be the last song I would ever play. 

When I finished playing, a miracle occurred: 

The Identity cops no longer recognized me. I literally breezed out of custody, and a free man, left unidentified and made it here just in time for the concert.

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