The next big gig

by Jenny

Darren pulled the record from its paper sleeve, lowered the needle and let the music wash over him. How had he not listened to this record for so long?

He stood on tiptoes on the stool and peered into the darkness at the top of the wardrobe. His fingers fumbled about in the dust.There! He carefully eased it out, past the boxes of old CDs and other junk he hadn’t had the heart to chuck out yet.

The trunk was heavier than he expected and he slipped slightly as he stepped down from the stool, sending it crashing across the bedroom floorboards. But Darren didn’t care about that now; he was holding everything that had ever mattered to him in the world. He sat down on the floor, carefully lifted the dusty lid and began to rummage inside it.

Everything was here, exactly as he remembered it. He was so intent on his task that he didn’t hear the footsteps on the stairs, or look up when Lisa opened the door and peered worriedly at him.

“Everything alright, love?”


“I heard a crash…?”

“Oh, yeah, I’m fine. Listen, I’m thinking of having the lads round one night next week.”

“The lads?”

“You know, James and Scott and them. From the old band.”

“James the bank manager and Scott the father of three? Those ‘lads’?”

“I was thinking we could maybe have a bit of a jam sesh, you know, like we used to.”

Darren looked up from the trunk. He had found his old drum sticks and a few faded flyers and ‘Artist’ wristbands in a sea of colourful detritus from years back.

“I was thinking we’d try for some gigs again soon, maybe.”

Lisa came to sit beside Darren on the floor. She picked up one of the flyers and smiled.

“This is the gig where we met - do you remember? I thought I was so cool getting off with one of The Band. Even if you were only the drummer.”

“And I thought you were the most beautiful girl in the room.”

It was a well loved routine and they both grinned as they spoke their lines.

“This ‘getting the band back together’ stuff, it’s not to do with our News is it? You haven’t mentioned playing again for such a long time and now...” Lisa cradled the gentle swell of her belly. Darren looked down at the floor.

“What if it means I have to stop playing?”

“When was the last time you actually played? Properly played, even for fun?”

“I know it’s been a while, but there was always the chance I’d…”

“And besides, it’s not like you’re stopping - you’ll need to teach this one to play one day. Maybe he or she will be the one to get you back into it properly - you can play together.”

“You mean we could be like the Carpenters?”

“Or the Von Trapps.”

Darren smiled and slid the lid of the trunk closed again. But this time he kept his drumsticks out.