John had always had a thing about knocking on strangers’ doors. He just didn’t like it. He had promised his mates that he would go and check out who lived in the house where they had heard the drumming. He hoped it would be someone reasonable looking who played the drums. Not some dorky straight type. He hated “straights”. And this looked like a real straight house. The cars were average looking late model white station wagons. The house was freshly painted. The garden was tidy. But he did think all the native trees that had been planted were pretty cool. Better than flowers – not that he had anything against flowers. They were cool. Except in gardens, where they were just so … straight!
The door opened. Standing in front of him was young girl. She could have been anywhere between 8 and 14.
Hey, cool looking kid, he thought. She reminded him of his little 11-year-old sister, who he hadn’t seen since he had left home a couple of years back. He thought he had better not stare at her in case she thought he was weird. You had to be so careful these days. Anyway, lucky she was a kid. He felt more comfortable talking to kids. He hated dealing with serious looking people. At times he felt he was struggling to deal with the adult world. You were always expected to justify yourself. But he still felt like a kid himself. He asked her if he could speak to the drummer of the house. He thought about the drumming he and his mates had heard every night since they had moved into the flat a couple of doors up the road. It had been pretty reasonable drumming. Nothing too flash, but the timing was good and it was loud enough. Whoever was beating those skins had good strength in his arms. But at the moment they were desperate. They were part of a band. They called themselves Munga! They had just moved into the area and on top of that they had just lost their drummer. The drummer had been involved in an “incident” in the centre of town late one night a short while back. This incident had left him with concussion and limited use of both his arms. Of course he had also been drinking. Now they needed someone to fill in until Keith healed. And they were booked to play at the local high school in a few weeks. If they could give an awesome concert they’d be able to build up a following and make some money.
The little girl said something to him. He refocused his attention to her.
“No, I want to speak to the guy who plays the drums every night here.”
“Yeah, it’s me,” repeated Maxine emphatically. “I play the drums.”
“Who is it?” demanded a grown man’s voice from deep within the house.
“I dunno. Some guy.” She shouted to the male voice within the house. But when she turned her attention back to the door John had already run halfway out the gate.