Old Saint Louie Old Saint Louie

Old Saint Louie


Vaughn Langley

Louie the clown sat on a large Jack-in-the-box chair in front of an old Wurlitzer pipe organ. With the smile on his face and the party hat on his head, he looked happy, but he was empty on the inside. He was hollow.

His white gloved hands swayed from side to side above the keyboard, never actually touching the keys, but acting the part. The four hundred eighty-six brass and wood pipes made an impressive, full sound, resonating throughout the entire amusement park. Louie and the organ played only 2 songs, using 2 different perforated paper music rolls. A person had to lean in pretty close to tell that the clown and pipe organ were automated.

The owner of the amusement park, Mr. Ottoway, held Louie and the organ dear to his heart. Sure, he had a Ferris Wheel that lit up at night, a wooden roller coaster, bumper cars, and a Wacky Shack dark ride. He even had an original Allan Herschell Company designed carousel. But he loved Louie and the pipe organ the most.

The park, named Joyland, was closing its doors to the public after fifty-nine years of service. Every day the same old thing, the operator, Ed, turned it on, and later, tuned it off. But on the last day of business, something noteworthy happened. Ed walked into Mr. Ottoway's office, poured himself a cup of coffee, turned around, and said, "There's a ladybug on Louie's shoulder this morning."

Mr. Ottoway was sitting at his desk, concentrating hard on writing, so he didn't look up, but said, "Oh really?"

"Well, I hear that that's good luck," Ed said. Then he walked out the door.

"Lucky Louie," Mr. Ottoway chuckled under his breath. "Cockamamie!"

The day Ed saw the ladybug was a Saturday. The day before was the last day of school. A seven-year-old boy and girl had fallen in love that year, and on the last day of school, they held hands. But after school, the boy and his parents moved far away, never to return.

It was Saturday night on the south side of Joyland. A father and mother stood with a video camera recording their daughter getting off the Scrambler. "Honey, I want to get a shot of Louie playing the organ," said the father as they walked toward the exit. They paused at the organ and the father recorded Louie's last song. The mother sang along.

When I was young, I fell in love.
I asked my sweetheart, What lies ahead?
Will we have rainbows, day after day?
Here's what my sweetheart said.
Que será, será.
What ever will be, will be.
The future's not ours to see.
Que será, será.
What will be, will be.

Mr. Ottoway was at the exit shaking everyone's hand. The mother said to him, "I love your clown! He played Que Será, Será for us!"

"You're kidding! He's not programmed to play that! Must be ... a miracle!" said Mr. Ottoway.

Copyright by
Vaughn Langley

Absolute Background Textures Archive

Lyrics were taken from the song, Que Será, Será
By Livingston and Evans

Back to Top

Short Story