The stricken passenger jet circled the city in an unending loop.
It was said that the piano on board had caused some malfunction and now the plane could not land.
Pianos on planes had only recently come into vogue; skeptics abounded, the naysayers were legion, but ultimately the piano lobby had won out.
A call went out for piano teachers and piano tuners to come forward with solutions.
There was no time to quibble about qualifications, so the first teacher and tuner to come forward were chosen.
The teacher was confident a solution could be found. The tuner watched the passenger jet in the sky, circling like a kite caught in a draft intent on imitating itself into infinity.
“How will you get us onto the plane?” the tuner asked the ground engineer. “I don’t like flying and I’ve never jumped out of a plane before.”
“That won’t be necessary,” said the piano teacher. From her leather valise she produced a large tuning fork. “Do you have radio communication with the plane?”
“Of course,” said the ground engineer who couldn’t help feeling embarrassed such a question had to be asked.
“Can a pair of headphones be placed inside the plane’s piano, near the strings?” asked the piano teacher.
The piano teacher handed the tuning fork to the tuner as they were led to the radio. “Can you produce a natural F major third as a diminished fourth?”
“Yes, I believe so,” said the tuner.
Contact was made with the circling plane.
The first steward on the circling plane made contact with the piano on board, placing a set of headphones exactly where the piano teacher suggested.
The tuner struck the tuning fork against the edge of the ground engineer’s desk and held the base of its stem against his forehead, while making an “O” with his mouth. A natural F major third as a diminished fourth was emitted and transmitted to the discomfited piano, which soon unclenched its teeth.
The circling plane was released from its loop and allowed to land.
The piano teacher and the piano tuner were honored by the Mayor before an admiring crowd the following day in the city square.
“Can you do anything about the traffic gridlock in the city by the method you employed to free the plane?” asked the City Council president.
“Not unless a piano is installed on every corner in question,” said the piano teacher.
Matthew St. Amand is the author of nine books, numerous film scripts, plays, poems, blog posts and letters to the editor. He is a part-time ordained minister, amateur ghost-hunter and husband with a slowly improving track record. Details can be found at www.matthewstamand.com. This poem originally appeared in the Spring 2011 print issue of Phoebe.