Carol Ann Marston (which was not her real name), daughter of Lord Alistair (also not his real name), supreme commander of the space invasion ship Enterprise (surprisingly, the real name) has practiced Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata every day and night since her first night on Earth. She had read many books about alien composers on the long, long space voyage from her own planet (which has a name far too long and unpronounceable to come up with an approximate fake) and had fallen in love with Beethoven not for his music, but for the fact that he, like Carol Ann, was deaf.
Her father had insisted that Carol Ann learn and master a musical instrument, and though the instruments of her home planet were quite suitable for the hard of hearing (by human standards), they would not do for Carol Ann. Hers was a species born to hear the shift in air pressure, to detect the nuance of salinity in the slippery tips of her many appendages hanging from her mouth (we would call them tentacles but apparently that term has negative connotations when spoken in certain circles). It is a synesthetic experience, their rapidly developing brain associating movement, constriction, size and color as distinct tones, chords, harmonies, and other musical terms so advanced that we humans do not have words for them. Carol Ann could never play these instruments, not because she could not learn to mimic the movements and posture, to grasp the stringed whipshap and pound the many cymbaled sspk, but because for a species born inside its own shell, for a species that wakes to the rush that we would identify as ocean, to that species any one that cannot hear at all may as well lay him or herself upon the sand and allow the salt to eat his soul away.
But Beethoven would not bade Carol Ann thus. Or so she believed as her father wheeled the broken down Baldwin upright into his living room and showed his daughter the piano teacher fresh caught from the local music school. The piano teacher fretted that the instrument was dreadfully out of tune, terribly unfit for a lordling’s daughter, impossibly out of good repair and if he could just slip down to the local music store he would find a tuner, a replacement, or a better cushion for the seat. But the Lord was unimpressed with such protestations and set the family skreekagos to look after the tutor’s comfort. Which the tutor appreciated. Very much. A lot even.
Carol Ann progressed quickly, insisting that she begin with the Moonlight Sonata, and end with the Moonlight Sonata. It would be the one piece she would know to play and her human friends–which she would find or make shortly–would all clap and beg for her to play it again. She would be invited to holiday parties at which there would be a piano–she and Billy Joel would play their two songs and leave together as soon as their consecutive duet was over. (It should be noted that Carol Ann does not understand that a duet is meant to be simultaneous and not consecutive, but as she is quite deaf and her tutor is currently playing hide and seek with the skreekagogs, there is no one capable of explaining this to her.)
Whether it can be said that Carol Ann learned to overcome her tremendous disadvantages: deafness, alienness, youngness (she is scarcely five years old after all, barely out of her nautilus) to play Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata so sweetly that the harshest, most intolerable of men would weep (I’m looking at you, Abe Newman) is not for me to say at this time. I do not mean to be coy. Rather, I mean that his mighty great benevolenceness, Lord Alistair, has asked that I report on his daughter’s first recital, this coming Saturday evening at the Holiday Inn Bar right after the Society of the Preservation of Former Nuns Karaoke Championship.
Be there and hear for yourself. I know I will be.