Originals

Witnesses Describe A Dueling Piano Bar Performance That Ended In Bloodshed

Carla, 58

“My husband and I loved dueling pianos every Thursday night but something was off this time. When we arrived, one of the pianists was sitting behind a piano studying sheet music intensely. We wished him good luck and he snapped out of the trance. He said, “I had a dog named Lucky. He bit me, ate all the chocolate out of my hand, and died within the hour.” He kept repeating it to himself under his breath and disappeared backstage. My husband looked at the sheet music. It was blank.”


Hugh, 61, Carla’s husband

“The other side had a crude drawing of Bart Simpson on it.”




Tad, 33

“Before the stage lights lit up, someone was playing an unskilled rendition of “Chopsticks.” I think we all assumed it was a child who snuck onto the stage and we were charmed by it. But when the lights finally lit up and revealed a grown man in a homemade Pinocchio costume, it was disturbing.”


Joel, 24

“I think him playing that song was a reference to the fact that he had taped a chopstick to his nose. I just put that together. Huh.”


Kurt, 35, bar manager

“I feel responsible. I proposed the idea they wear costumes and we spent most of the budget on the whole Liberace getup.”


Greg, 43

“The duel began strangely. The performance is supposed to alternate from one guy to the other playing classic song melodies. Except for some reason this time when the Liberace impersonator played half of “Heart & Soul” the puppet guy just sat there, trembling. So Liberace played “Billie Jean” and then the other guy played the Happy Birthday song on the minor scale with one finger.”


Theo, 48

“As a joke the liver yahtzee guy responded with “Mary Had A Little Lamb” to mock the other guy. It was a turf war. I’ve been through war and I saw combat. The look on that guy’s painted face in the style of a wooden puppet brought me right back to Bosnia.”


Aaron, 25

“The least alarming way I can describe what happened next was that he started playing the opening to “Bennie and The Jets” with the other guy’s face. We clapped along, terrified he would use our body parts next for the jazzy solo. Someone even brought out the trophy hoping he would stop if we acknowledged that he won. It didn’t work.”


Bryce, 29

“I brought out the trophy. I’m a first timer so I thought it was all part of the show. Like WWE but with showtune medleys. I regret cheering them on when things got really out of hand. It’s a shame what he did to those Steinways.”


Aaron, 25

“After the beating, the adult Pinocchio made his opponent change into a cocktail dress and forced him to climb onto his piano. I think it was his way of humiliating him. It worked.”


George, 66

“I was in the bathroom so I missed the whole thing. I figured the ruckus was a waiter dropping some dishes, I don’t know. Food came out a little cold.”


Agnes, 72

“He crawled on top of the piano trying to be sexy while holding back tears. The guy dressed as Pinocchio started singing and playing a made up song called “Piano-cchio Man” by pecking each key with his long nose. It was a clever play on words but a really long way to go for it. I know Elton John dressed up as Donald Duck once but I’m not sure how that even relates. Was he being Elton John as Pinocchio or Billy Joel as Pinocchio? I mean, that’s a reach.”


by Robert Criss

Robert Criss

Robert Criss is a writer from Pittsburgh who writes to save the family farm. You can find his work right above this biography or below depending on where this biography is placed on the page in relation to the work. Follow his instagram @robertcriss