The Failure Of Evolution

Below you will find the results of my having challenged myself for a number of days to write a short story with a beginning and middle and an end inside of 30 minutes. Here is what I came up with. I hope you like it.

Jacob was born with six fingers on his left hand. A second pinkie. It wasn’t an inflexible stump, vestigial. It was limber and strong. Independent.

His parents, both surgeons, took notice of his early interest in playing the piano. While infant Jacob pushed gruel around his plate, they speculated in their playful yet clinical way about his potential as a concert pianist. His parents had wonderful senses of humor, which they displayed at gatherings to their intellectual equals.

Jacob could plinkaplunk on the piano all day. When he was about five years old, they noticed he could distinguish melodies – Mozart, Laurie Anderson – and mimic them on the keys. His mother began to investigate the music program at Oberlin.

By the time he was ten, Jacob had become a tall, oddly shaped boy with unusually large feet. He had developed affection for a red plastic belt, which he insisted on wearing with white slacks. He evoked a giant bowling pin that could talk.

The swollen ego he had developed after being declared both a biological wonder and a musical genius at such an early age had created a difficult and knotty personality.

His parents didn’t have the heart to tell him that he had no rhythm.

They had noticed it after Jacob’s second piano teacher had pointed it out. Jacob possessed a preternatural sense of pitch, but he couldn’t count to four without getting lost between the two and three.

Teachers encouraged Jacob to tap his foot along with the music, a suggestion he found demeaning. He exaggeratedly stomped on the wooden floor while attempting Brahm’s Piano Concert #2 and the cleaning lady thought he was doing a Victor Borge impersonation.

In his teens, Jacob gave up playing the piano. He rolled the instrument down the stairs of his parents’ Brooklyn brownstone, and nearly got them arrested.

Now, he makes artisan cornpone in Red Hook.

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