He was working in his favorite day-drinking bar. It had that almost-blue-collar appeal, the sort of place tourists go to escape the tourists. There are a lot of tourists in Budapest. At night the bar was quite popular, but in the early afternoon it was almost empty. Then 15 young men in rugby jerseys arrived. Well, 5 arrived, then a few more… The last few came almost an hour later but at the high point there were 15. It was good that they arrived on a rolling basis because they drank beer quickly, and this gradual approach matched the capacity of the bar’s one beer tap. There are cheap-flight tourists wandering Budapest’s 7th district who don’t have rooms for the night. Instead they drink all night, every night, until their return trip. These boys looked like they had a bed last night, but it was also clear they had been drinking for some time already today.
There was a piano and one of the rugby players could play, though not well. His lack of talent didn’t seem to bother him or his friends as he wandered around the tune of Elton John’s “Get back, honky cat.” He then made a convincing effort at the first part of Journey’s “Don’t stop believing”. Then he got a beer. As they waited for beer the young men hugged each other like they would on the field had one of them just gotten up from an injury. It was clear from the banter that some had taken up together as lovers, but that others were regretting their couplings with women of questionable appeal from the night before.
The meager pianist gathered all his powers and did a genuinely adequate job of Adele’s “Someone like you”. It was a big hit with all 15 boys. They sang, without restraint: “...SOMEONE LIKE YOUOOOO, I WISH NOTHING BUT THE BEST FOR YOUOOO-OOOOOOO.” They were able to follow most of the song’s notes where they needed to go and the walls almost shook with their enthusiasm.
He thought back to the previous afternoon, when he was enjoying the early afternoon peace at the same table and the same bartender was working too. The bartender had played a recording of Eric Himy’s piano transcriptions (Mozart, Liszt, Chopin, etc). When he had asked about the music the bartender went on about the album for a while, even writing Eric Himy’s name on a napkin for him.
He thought this as the bartender went over to the group of young men and said: “"No more piano. No more singing".”