John was not what you would call religious by any stretch of the imagination but he did always have an internal dialogue going that, to some, may have sounded like a prayer. If any one of the Gods had been listening they would have heard something like this:
“It’s just not fair. We come this far and we are just about to almost sort of make the semi big time by playing a paying gig and now we can’t do it. We find an awesome drummer who just happens to be a small girl. I ask you where is the justice in this? Now I’m going to have to tell Dooby it’s all off and he’ll just slide into his infamous depression. That’ll then make Chaz happy and she’ll then be able to prise Dooby away from the band. Noise’ll find someone else to play with – he’s capable of that. And I’ll be left with the prospect of nothing. Life in a boring job somewhere. What’ll I do? God, if there is a God, give me a sign…”
John took his time wandering home. Everything just seemed too painful to contemplate. If he was expecting some supernatural entity to appear before him and show him the light he was sadly disappointed. His only options were to tell the truth or lie. Unfortunately John was a bad liar. He had never quite mastered that art. And Dooby knew him too well. He would be able to smell a rat a mile off. Hell, it’s only a lie. I can tell a lie, he thought.
“What’s the story?” Noise asked, waiting like a puppy dog about to be taken for a walk as John came into the living room.
“Oh, Mr Har…. I mean Bill said he wanted to think about it and check the place out first. Then he’ll give us a decision about Max being able to play.” John tried to sound breezy and confident.
“Oh stink! That means he don’t wanna play ball. It’s off!” said Noise with finality.
“Nah! Real deal. He’s genuine. Just wants to check it out.”
All the time during this exchange John was watching for Dooby’s reaction. Nothing. He just sat there, in the biggest armchair they had, eyes fixed forward, head just showing above the arm rests, back curved right around so his bum was almost off the seat and feet flat on the floor. Chaz was sitting on one of the armrests.
“Ya didn’t sell it, mate.” Noise was continuing to mutter on and it was getting on John’s nerves. He knew Dooby would be taking all the negative aspects in.
“No worries. Just think positive.” John was trying his best to sound positive.
Suddenly there was movement from the armchair. With what appeared to John to be an amazing feat of gymnastics, Dooby was on his feet and heading for the door. As he left the room he spoke.
“Yeah, just think positive.” There was no conviction in his voice. “I’m outta here.”
Chaz followed with what John thought was a self-satisfied look on her face. She turned to him as she left.
“John, you are dreaming if you think they’ll let their daughter play in a pub. It’s just not right. Get a grip.”
“Yeah, right!” And with that she closed the door.
“John, mate, Spadasco are in the market for a guitarist and probably a bass player. Whaddya reckon?”
“Who the hell are Spadasco?”
“Phil’s new band.”
“No way. They’re crap. And this is no way over here. We can go all the way with this.”
“John, mate, she’s twelve years old. Do you not understand that? She is not our drummer. She’s good for her age, I’ll give her that, but she just won’t fit in here.”
“I’m not giving up on this. Plus Dooby’s too good to let go.”
“John, you’re a dork.” Noise got up, took a final swig from the can in his hand, burped and ambled out of the room.
John had to admit that things looked bleak. They were a nothing band with one gig to their name. They had the opportunity of hitting the central city area in a paying gig. In reality this would mean they would be playing to a hostile audience who would rather be drinking beer and shouting at each other than listening to them. And they would probably earn just enough to buy themselves a cheap greasy unhealthy takeaway meal that they would regret eating once they had finished it. On top of that their real drummer was all messed up and their fill-in drummer, who was actually better, was only 12 years old. They had about as much chance of making it as an ant had of becoming the president of the universe.
But deeper down John had another feeling. A faint flicker of optimism still burned and he just couldn’t let go – not yet anyway.