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Player Piano

Chapter 2

Roger yawned and sat up in bed. The clock showed 12:04. It's not like Dorothy to let me sleep even one minute late. He pulled on his robe and kicked into his slippers, walking toward the common room. No Dorothy. He continued downstairs to the kitchen, where Norman was cutting lard into flour in a bowl.

"Hello, Norman. Where's Dorothy?"

"Good afternoon, Master Roger," replied the butler. "Miss Dorothy is still at rehearsal, I presume. I'll have your coffee and eggs ready in ten minutes, as soon as I put this dough in the refrigerator."

"Fine," Roger yawned again. He returned upstairs to change.

Roger was eating his scrambled eggs, when Dorothy came into the room carrying a folder and a cup of tea. "Hello, Roger," she said, sitting in her usual seat at the other end of the table. She looked considerably more animated than usual.

"Did you have a good practice?" he asked.

"Yes, Instro and I will be playing the Concerto for Two Pianos, by Mozart." She sipped the tea and carefully did not look at the folder. She did not fidget, of course - an android never fidgets, she'd told him that herself - but he saw that she did not try to eat, even to be sociable. She seemed to be counting the number of bites on his plate, calculating how long it would take for him to finish....

"Dorothy, you don't need to keep me company if you have something else to do," Roger said.

Dorothy started. "Thank you, Roger." She stood slowly, gathered the folder, turned, and sedately left the dining room. He grinned as he heard her feet race upstairs to the piano.

Norman cleared his throat. Roger looked up at the butler. "Is there something else?"

"Well, sir," Norman hesitated. "I wanted to ask about Miss Dorothy's evening gown for the concert."

"I'll leave it your capable hands." The butler bowed slightly and turned away. "Oh, and one more thing, Norman," Roger added. "Don't forget you'll need your dress suit as well."

Norman smiled. "Certainly, sir."

Roger carried his coffee cup down to his office. Time to get to work.

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