“So, tell me what happened next?”
“Well,” started off John, “We’d played most of the songs. We were onto the last one and everything was going great.” John truly had been amazed at how well the concert had gone. There had been some rough playing and missed cues. There had been a lot of hostility from the audience at the beginning. No one clapping, pretending the band didn’t exist. They had also pointed and laughed at the drummer. He could hear the comments about it being past her bedtime and the band being desperate. He had hoped Maxine hadn’t heard. He had started to feel quite sorry for her. However, slowly but surely they had won over the audience. Something had happened out there. Noise had pumped his arm and shaken his head and done what he always did – make noise. And John had tried his best to keep everyone on track by making sure things were happening as they should. As he was doing this he had noticed that Dooby and Maxine were really sparking off each other. It had seemed as if he was taunting her each time he faced her on stage. And each time he did this Maxine had bashed all of the drums as hard as she could. The effect had been quite scary. He had even sprayed Maxine with some vile concoction of what he later reassured John was only soft drink. The audience seemed to notice the conflict and were enjoying it. They especially loved it when Dooby sprayed the fire extinguisher over Maxine. Typical Dooby. Totally unrehearsed and spontaneous and a real crowd pleaser. He never asked how Maxine had felt about it.
The policeman stood there in front of John.
“Could you get to the point about how the fire actually started,” he said impatiently.
“Oh yeah. Well, Dooby—.”
“That’s the singer?”
“Yeah. Well part of Dooby’s act is to spray around dry ice from a fire extinguisher. He was swinging it round and it knocked over one of the drummer’s cymbals.”
“The drummer being the twelve-year-old Maxine Harrison?”
“Yeah. So the cymbal fell and smashed some valve in my amp, which appeared to cause a short circuit. Luckily I cut the power to it and used my back up amp and I think it all looked like part of the act.”
“And you never thought to stop playing at this point because this “short circuit” could have put 300 people’s lives at risk?”
Wow! 300 people at our gig! But John kept a straight face to answer:
“Well, no. Well, yes we did stop playing a short while later because the drummer looked like she needed to stop playing.”
“Due to smoke inhalation and exhaustion. Tell me Mr. …er… Godley. Do you think it appropriate to expose a twelve-year-old girl to this sort of thing?”
“Well,” John hesitated. He knew deep down it was inappropriate to use a young girl for their drummer but he didn’t want to land the rest of the band – especially Dooby – in any more trouble. He felt like saying, “We were desperate and we needed a drummer and she was pretty good …” but instead he just said “No, not really.”
“Do her parents know what happened tonight? Did you tell them she and 300 others might nearly have been burnt to death when you took her home straight after the concert? Any particular reason why you raced her home straight away? Guilt perhaps?”
“Sorry, but which question do you want me to answer first?” John couldn’t help smiling to himself at his cheek.
The policeman shook his head in disgust. He called to another policeman.
“Baz. Jack up a meeting with the girl’s parents for tomorrow.”