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by Valerie Kravette

Melody Flatt, mediocre lounge singer, stood so close to Dr. F that her feather boa tickled him.

“The creature is nearly ready,” he said.

“Can it play ‘Feelings’? In my key?”

“He has all your sheet music uploaded into his brain.”

“Does he have rhythm?”

“More than twenty built-in rhythms, including hip-hop, samba and bossa nova. And you won’t have to pay him union scale.”

“At last!” Melody cried, “After years of losing piano players to death, marriage and other singers, I will have the perfect accompanist!”

“Turn on the amps, Igor!”

The hunchback flicked the switches, and they hummed with slight feedback.

The creature stirred.

The mad doctor raised his arms. “I give you…FRANKEN-STEINWAY!”

The monster lurched upright. He sported rusted kazoos for fingers, the moldy skin of old kettledrums, and wheezed with busted pipes from an old theatre organ. But in white tux and neck-bolts, he looked almost dapper. He lowered his manicured hands onto the electronic keyboard implanted in his hips and perfectly executed the intro to “Melancholy Baby.”

“He’s divine!”

“But you must remember what I told you --” Dr. F warned.

“I’m a professional.” Melody laughed. “Bring him to the Vacation Inn for rehearsal. We open in a week!”


In a cheap chain-hotel lounge, Melody staged her comeback. When the monster came out in his own spotlight, the audience recoiled. But then he smiled and started to play. Beautifully, lyrically, never upstaging her. The audience was enthralled.

Melody launched into her Andrew Lloyd Webber medley, and then her Bette Midler tribute. All was going well until the margarita mixer in the bar caused a power surge and the amplification died. Suddenly Melody couldn’t hear herself, and she committed the fatal error.

She went off-key and rushed the tempo.

The monster, enraged, lurched to his feet. He picked up the amplifier and smashed it over Melody’s head.

The hysterical crowd screamed and stampeded out. All except Sid Finkelstien, off-off-Broadway producer. “Wow, what an act. Explosive finish. You, big guy, can I buy out your contract?”

His nerdy assistant looked at the pile of bloody boa feathers. “What about her?”

“Eh, bad lounge singers are a dime a dozen. There’s a lot more where she came from. In fact, arrange auditions. We need a half-dozen singers, ready to go. With this guy, we’ll make millions!”