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Chapter 3: What Daisy did

April 3, 2013

They were in a little copse of trees, you’d hardly call it a wood. It was scraped along the side of the main festival field like dog crap scraped off on the kerb.

There was this one massive oak tree in the middle, with fallen logs around it. He wondered if they’d been arranged. It looked like it. So people could sit around the tree like you might sit around a camp fire. Maybe it was a special tree. Who knew? It was big enough to be dead old. Fred lounged against it, breaking a twig into little pieces while he watched his brother in action.

Mark was sitting on a log with careless grace, strumming away to this girl he’d only just met. Like they were soul mates or something.
When you get old, don’t sell your soul, Don’t be like all the rest,” sang Mark. “Carry on loving, carry on giving, Your heart will then be blessed….
Dipshit thought he was a poet. La-ame.

Daisy, her name was. She was beautiful. And she was lapping it up.

That’s how it always was with Mark. People always thought he was something special. Just because he was tall and handsome, and strong, and sensitive, and had a guitar and no spots, and went on and on about saving the planet. The girls all fell for him in like ten seconds flat. If Fred ever got a girl, he was never, never going to let her meet Mark. Not until after the wedding, at least. Maybe not even then.

He thought about leaving them to it. It was the first time he’d been away from home without parents. Mark was supposed to be looking after him. That was a laugh.

He got to his feet, grabbed his backpack.
Mark looked over: “Alright, bro?”
“Yeah, man,” said Fred. “I’m going to the bog.” He couldn’t be arsed with the truth, that he was sick of the sight of girls mooning over Mark. It made him want to puke.

He strolled out of the trees, picking through brambles, and felt a weight lifting off him. Being around Mark was hard work. Worse than hanging out with the grinners.

He decided to check out the stalls. There were all sorts of weirdoes. It was brilliant. Someone with stripy hair – pink one side, purple the other, green down the middle. Someone with piercings all the way up her face. He even saw this naked bloke, didn’t even have any pants on, just hanging out with his mates, having a beer. Weird enough to make Fred feel like Mr Normal, and that was a pretty nice change.

He liked the drum place. The big drums, he was itching to give one a bash.
“You do much drumming?”
He started. There was an old black fella with a tattoo across his naked chest: writhing snakes, colours that made Fred think of Africa.
He shook his head. “Never.”
“Come and have a go, then” said the man. “We might start up a jam in a minute.”
Fred hesitated. But not for long. “Alright.”
“Help yourself to a drum. Any one except that one with the blue carving. That’s mine.”

Fred nodded, and looked at the drums afresh, choosing. He picked a big one, but not the biggest. He didn’t want to be flash. Not his style. Mark would have picked the biggest.

The drumming tent had low benches set up all around. Fred took his drum over and sat down.
There was another bloke already there, messing about with a drum and Fred watched him for a bit to see how it was done.
“Show him a couple of things, will you?” said the African guy.
“Right you are, Mike. Will do.” He turned to Fred. “Alright?”
Fred nodded.
“I’m Jono.”
“Fred.”
“Sound.”

A few minutes later, Fred was playing djembe like he’d been doing it all his life. He felt like a pro. Bass tone, slap. Hell yeah.

The black guy, Mike, came over and joined in, and then a couple of women who’d been drinking chai tea next door, and soon there were a whole bunch of them. They all just kind of turned up and started drumming.

Fred didn’t exactly count them or anything – that wasn’t the point – but he was aware of the group swelling around him. They played rhythms, beats weaving together. He realised he wasn’t a pro at all, he had no idea what he was doing, really. But it was alright.

The guy Jono was the one to watch. He was into it like it was a religious thing, you know? And the beat and the rhythms seemed to be taking on a life of their own, like they were part of him and he was just the guy with the hands. Bloody hell. They were jamming.

Jono started to sing. Not sing. It was more a kind of wail. Like something primal, tribal. The others followed his lead. He sang something and they answered. Fred wasn’t sure if he wanted to join in. But then he realised it was stupid not to. Everyone else was, it would look daft just sitting there. So he wailed and yodelled along with the others, figuring it out as they went along.

He had no idea who any of these people were, but they weren’t strangers any more. They were – it was like being in a team. No. More than a team. Like being in a hive or something, where everyone was tuned in. It felt like he belonged. It felt right. He noticed that one of the women was a man in a dress. Brilliant, he thought. Why the hell not?

Fred could have gone on forever. He didn’t see any reason to stop.
Of course, it did stop. He didn’t know how everyone knew to stop at the same time – he didn’t know how he knew himself – but they did. All on the same beat.
Fred was bloody ecstatic. He sat still, grinning like an idiot.

Were they going to go again? Was that it?
“Bit of a natural, ain’t you?” said Jono.
Fred beamed. “Thanks,” he said. “That was excellent.”
“Come back another time.”
Fred nodded. Try and keep him away.

He got up, bought a coke from the café stand next door. Not proper coke, which was banned for being evil – it was some organic hippy shit, but he didn’t even care.
He stood, can in hand, thinking where to go next.
“Oi, Freddo!”
He turned around and saw Mark. He had his guitar slung over one shoulder, the other arm draped over a girl. It was the same one.

“We’re going to head round to the eco-zone and make rocket stoves. Wanna come?”
“Sure.” He reckoned he could even put up with Mark for a bit if he had to.

They wandered through the healing fields. Reiki, tarot, crystal therapy. All bollocks, of course, but Daisy seemed keen and Mark had his free arm around her waist. The power of the earth healing itself. He had a good line in that sort of thing.

She stopped outside the women’s tent. There was a chalkboard sign outside. They were having a grandmother circle. Some old women chanting. Fred would have said that was bollocks too, except he remembered the drumming and thought maybe it wasn’t.

In half an hour there was going to be a workshop on Finding the Goddess Within. He was about to make a scathing comment but as he looked over he saw Mark turn to Daisy and touch her face.
“I can already see the goddess within you,” he said.
Tosser.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 3, 2013 11:03 pm

    Wordcount – 1277
    Prompt – (1) a hot buff eco-warrier type called Mark that someone falls hopelessly in love with (Mark) and (2) grandmother circle (Squash Blossom Fibres)

    Please suggest prompts for Chapter 4 in the comments!
    (Check the sidebar for a link to more info about this interactive project!)

  2. April 4, 2013 9:18 pm

    a half burnt sage bundle with a purple ribbon found in her bag.

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