Location: Sausalito, CA
Published in: Stirring V2:E1
(A candle lit, empty church. The pews are decorated with flowers for a funeral that has taken place. Programs and rose petals litter the aisle. USL is a piano. A thin man in his twenties sits at it with his back turned to the audience, playing. He is in a wrinkled suit. His tie has been loosened. He appears crazy.)
GABRIEL : (Turning to face the audience) They say I have good hands. Good fingers. You see?
(He holds his fingers out)
Long. Good hands. I like the way the keys feel under my fingers. Smooth. Calm. When I play, it's divine. Divine. They said it themselves: "Gabriel Frazier has fingers that have been touched by an angel. Gabriel Frazier has a divine gift." They said it themselves. They said the same things about Beethoven. Mozart. Rachmananov. Chopin. They had good hands. Matisse had good hands. Da Vinci had good hands. Geniuses. Precious hands. Wrapped them in soft gloves. You can't hold a genius' hand. It's worth too much. I have my hands insured...You're laughing at me, but you couldn't possibly understand. I was chosen...The day I first sat in front of a piano, I could hardly breathe. Father told me I could press the keys if I wanted to. I could feel him standing close behind as I sat on the bench, my feet barely reaching the floor...and I knew that he was loosening his collar. I could hear it. It was always the same. I knew he had his hand inside his pocket. And so I started to play, just making my fingers go, inventing it while I fluttered up and down the white ivory. Couldn't let the ball drop. Kept it in the air. Had to keep my fingers moving. And the more I played, the more the grasshoppers in my gut seemed to quiet down, and the further away he seemed to get. He got impatient. Put his hand on my shoulder, but I dared to shrug it off. That was the last time he laid a hand on me. After an hour, I just left his chamber... He never spoke to me again after that. My devotions were to my piano lessons. My scripture was the notes on the page. My prayers were in sharps and flats. But the thoughts kept carrying in, like dust on a beam...May he rest in dis-ease. I just wanted to say to him now: they chose me, Father. Me. I am famous. They know my name the world over. My name. They revere my music. They hear it like a sermon, and they kneel down before me, Father. They pray to me... I want him to know... I could smell him back then, like an animal on the hunt in the hot air. I knew when he had the taste of sex in his mouth before even he did. I could see it in his hands, restless and jittery in his pockets. Every day then, I trudged to the shower, standing with my forehead pressed against the steamy glass, under the spray, washing down my face, because I thought that was the only place God couldn't tell you were crying... Music drowned him out. Music. Clear, rhythmic, rows of notes. And I am the master. Maestro. My fingers command them, and the notes obey. The piano is my rosary, and I am redeemed. Redeemed through me... Nobody can judge me. You can't judge. It doesn't matter where these hands have been when they are moving on these keys, above board, in plain sight. These are good hands. These hands are moving. These hands make music. These hands aren't hidden. They are here! These are good hands. These hands are blessed! You said it yourselves. You said it. You can see them. All the world can see where my hands are. They are on the keys! They are on display. They are divine. They are divine! They are the hands of a genius. You said it yourselves. You said it...You cannot judge me. You want to shake my hands? You presume to know me, to judge me, to sit next to me, with your tedious, Philistine interviews? "Mr. Frazier, do you think your talent has passed from the hand of God?" The hand of GOD? Ha! The hand of GOD! My talent comes from the hands of me! I know God, and I'll tell you a thing or two, you silly brainless sheep. God is a coward, like the lot of you. God started a fire, and he's up there pansying around, pretending he doesn't see it. God looks the other way, people, as little boys gag on holy cocks. God ... is a bumbling idiot who has dropped the ball. In my world, as far as I'm concerned, I AM God.
(He looks up.)
Father is in for a big surprise up there. Huh? Aren't you father? Forgive you, Father, but you have sinned. And they exalted you! They exalted you here, but through every note I play, through every concert I give, you are exposed, Father. Through me, you are exposed. So when they asked me, the famed pianist, Gabriel Frazier, an ex-member of your devoted flock, to play for your service, blessed Father, I just had to say yes. It was my last chance to spit in your face. Just remember this, old man. You got it all wrong. You're in for a big surprise, because judgment is passed down through the hands of me. My hands. And I have good hands. They said so themselves.
("Mozart's Requiem: Lacrimosa" begins to play. Gabriel translates from the Latin)
This day full of tears, when from the ashes arises guilty man, to be judged: Lord have mercy upon him.