Ms. Dos and the Eunuchs

by Mike Moxcey

This is the true story of how Ms. Dos and the Eunuchs first began working together. There are other stories, some about the terrible feud between the two, some involving lawyers or academics, some about the different requirements of their piano teaching methods, but all are untrue. There was never a feud between the two. The so-called war existed only between some of their students and this story should set the record straight once and for all.

Ms. Dos was an old spinster piano teacher who had taught almost everybody in town. No one knew her first name or much about her history but they all knew she lived at 640 K Street in a tiny bungalow which was just large enough for her and her two pianos: a pearl white baby grand for her and an old Ludwig upright for the student. It was a mark of accomplishment to finally satisfy Ms. Dos enough to be allowed to play her grand piano. It took years of practice, of studying her esoteric instructions, of reading poorly written handouts, and though most of her students claimed to have played on the grand, very few actually had.

Many of the townspeople who had never mastered the intricacies of piano playing said it was her fault. She was difficult to understand or would pounce on mistakes too quickly and make you feel like an idiot. They argued with others claiming she was the best teacher in town by saying she was the only one and that was the only reason the other pianists liked her. "Not true," said the learned pianists. "Why just down the street lives her nephew Petey Dos and his Mexican step-brother Amigo Dos who both give piano lessons and at the end of town in the new Macintosh apple orchard is some young kid who gives lessons using pictures."

This didn't dissuade the others from bad-mouthing poor old Ms. Dos though, so every day down at the local barber-stylist shop the argument raged. "Just wait until a real piano teacher shows up," said those who despised Ms. Dos.

Then one day, a new piano teacher moved to town. It wasn't just one teacher, it was a whole team. They called themselves the Eunuchs and said they were there to create a harem of pianists who would all work together simultaneously in perfect harmony. They said they'd created their method while working in an exotic bell tower on the coast, and had perfected it while teaching at various universities.

"Great," said the Ms. Dos despisers.

"Terrible," said the others, "I wouldn't send my kid to learn from a crew of sexless foreigners."

"Well Ms. Dos is no sex goddess herself."

The argument ranged from there. With this new development, the specifics changed but no person switched sides. Most of the old folks who'd learned from Ms. Dos continued to see her and bring their kids, but the children would complain saying they wanted to work with the Eunuchs. And the Eunuchs were able to convince several of the dissatisfied parents to begin lessons again because their lesson plan was faster. They had split up piano teaching into multiple tasks and a person could work on several different aspects of the piano at one time instead of the old-fashioned single-minded approach used by Ms. Dos.

Ms. Dos started having fewer and fewer new students. She didn't notice for a while since most of her old students stayed with her, but eventually they'd master the grand piano and quit taking lessons. Her business began to slowly fall off since no new kids were beginning with her.

Now she didn't really mind. She was getting old and thinking of retiring down south somewhere, but her loyal students wouldn't hear of it.

Some of her best students had become excellent composers. They'd written several thousand pieces of music expressly in her style and didn't want to have to rewrite it to the silly style the Eunuchs used where everything had to be in the key of C. They'd tried enlisting her on their side but couldn't so one day, taking matters into their own hands, a mob of pianists trained by Ms. Dos descended on the Eunuchs' teaching studio.

Intending to burn the building down and chase the Eunuchs out of town, the mob was stopped by the sound of the beautiful music emanating from the studio. Astounded, they put out their torches and listened; for no matter how angry a pianist gets, he or she can always recognize another pianist's genius. After a short time, they knocked on the door and were allowed in. The Eunuchs' method of piano teaching had produced some exquisite music and despite the fact that there were five students each playing something different, the sound still flowed smoothly.

"See how well our system works?" said one of the Eunuchs.

The mob nodded as one, subdued but not yet cowed. Someone said, "We agree it works well, but why are you chasing Ms. Dos out of town?"

"Who is Ms. Dos?" asked the Eunuch.

The mob murmured among itself. "Of course, they'd never come down to the barber-styling shop--just look at their long, unkempt hair--so maybe they'd never heard of Ms. Dos." One of the crowd acted as spokeswoman and explained all about Ms. Dos.

The other Eunuchs had wandered over to hear the disclosure and once the spokeswoman finished, they shook their heads. "We never meant to harm anyone, especially an old lady." They decided to go over and talk with Ms. Dos. The mob dispersed, although a few mistrustful souls followed the Eunuchs over to Ms. Dos' bungalow.

After introducing themselves, the two parties sat down to talk. While munching on some of her homemade cookies which all her students had sampled at one time or another, they discovered they had more in common with each other as experienced teachers than they had with any of their students, even the most accomplished. The teachers had a long, involved discussion that ended up with the Eunuchs letting Ms. Dos move into one of their spare rooms.

She agreed saying she'd never really wanted to leave but there weren't any old folks homes in town and she needed someone to help her with the daily chores. The Eunuchs didn't mind assisting the old woman because she still had a clear mind and many excellent tips on piano teaching (and her cookie-baking skills helped, too).

They even offered to remodel the room for her and her pianos, make it brighter by adding a few windows and bigger by knocking out a wall, but she declined. Said she didn't need any more room because it was big enough already and the extra light might destroy the pearl-white luster of the grand piano.

So that is the true story of how Ms. Dos and the Eunuchs began working together and why today in the piano studio, there are several windows for the Eunuchs but only one for Ms. Dos.

The End