The Magic Piano

13 min readSep 15, 2021

I wrote this waaaay back in 1988. I’m putting it out there as-is — a yardstick so that I can always compare this work to my current writing. I like the story, but I sure hope I’ve improved since then!

by Brad Foster, 1988 ©

“Hey, buddy, where do you want this stuff?” asked one of the workmen with a wrinkled plaid shirt half-hanging over a dirty pair of jeans. He jiggled a large box overflowing with musty clothes to assert his point.

“Just send it to one of the charities. I don’t care.” answered a lean, tall man facing a window, his back on his inquisitor.

He stared out beyond the frost-trimmed panes at the tiny white schoolhouse, almost invisible amid a thick blanket of snow. A fresh fall of flakes began to drift, often times gripped and twisted around by a passing winter wind, further obscuring the view.

The workman arched his eyebrows and shrugged, thinking that no one would take the ancient clothes in the box — but then again, this was just his job and not his place to argue. He shuffled out, passing a few of his colleagues entering the small house with empty packing crates.

The man reached over into one of the boxes nearby and pulled out a musty old photograph, covered with a pile of gray dust half an inch thick. He blew the dust off, revealing the framed portrait of a middle-aged woman.

“When peoples’ dreams die, son, it does something to them. It’s like a part of them is killed along with those dreams.”




This is what I do: I drink and I write things.