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Chapter 12: Take up your drums

April 14, 2013

Fred wasn’t quite sure how he had been swept up in that whole Goddess thing. He was glad Mark hadn’t been there to see it.

He’d spent the previous hour or so in the Yurt of Man after getting roped in to the men’s spirit drumming with this Ian guy.

It was all a bit weird, actually. He was getting more and more convinced that Ian thought he had some sort of thing going on with Daisy. Trouble was, he hadn’t actually come out and said anything that Fred could contradict.

In real life, away from the festival, Fred was – well – he didn’t like to say “nerd” exactly. But the average Saturday afternoon, he was more likely to be at a mate’s house beating people up on the Xbox than out on the town cruising for girls. Even talking to a girl, to be completely honest. The thought that anyone – even if it was only Mr Ian – thought he was in Daisy’s league was, he had to admit, an interesting one.

Anyway, what was he supposed to do?

“I think that you think that there’s something going on between me and your daughter, but there isn’t, and actually it’s my tall, charming, handsome older brother you need to be watching out for.”

Clearly he wasn’t going to say that. God. The whole thing was just too embarrassing. So he’d kept quiet, and made up his mind to have a go at the drumming and then to get away and do his own thing as quickly as possible afterwards.

The other drummers were your average festival types – in that they were all different shapes and sizes. Some were tattooed or pierced, some were dressed up in outlandish clothes – one in a kilt, another in a green leather jerkin like some kind of hobbit, or maybe he was one of Snow White’s dwarves. And some of them looked almost normal, just regular blokes. One had a massive orange beard.

The session leader, Tim, was all got up in a tweed suit, like Dr Watson or something, with a fat brown moustache to match. He kept banging on about the spiritual essence of the drum. A load of stuff about kinship of living things, about respecting the tree that gave its wood and the goat that gave its skin.

Fred didn’t reckon anyone had actually asked the tree or the goat whether they minded. Or, if they had, he didn’t reckon they’d necessarily listened to the answer.

Still, he’d kept his mouth shut, because he had been looking forward to the drumming.

It had been different from the jamming that first day. More structured. It didn’t get him right in the guts like that did. It was less primitive, less primal. But it was good in a different way. Each of them had a part to play, and the parts fitted together to make something that sounded amazing. Real music.

Tim started talking about the love of a man for the female spirit in his drum. Ian had winked, nudged Fred in the side. Bloody hell.

“Respect the spirit of the drum, men!” Tim had instructed them. “The drum is filled with the Goddess, and you are her partner!”

Then there was some stuff about the Divine Male and the Divine Female. Some crap along those lines. You could practically hear the capital letters. As Tim was talking, the moustache looked like a giant slug, squirming around on his upper lip.

“Let the Goddess vibrate! Bring her to a rhythmic bliss!”

Fred had concentrated on keeping to the part he’d been given, not looking up unless he could help it. And, be fair, it was all really coming together, it was sounding good.

Then they’d heard a lot of noise and singing from outside. Tim had leapt up:
“Come, men!” he’d said.”Take up your drums, bring the spirit outside!”

And they had. And outside there had been all these people, banging their own little drums or shaking maracas and tambourines and things. Singing. Mostly they were women, but there were a few other men too, and some kids.

Falling into the circle, they had somehow got involved in this bizarre ritual. It was kind of like being in church, the way they called out to this Goddess person and there was all the chanting and repeat-after-me. Must have been right up old Tim’s street.

But the mood was exuberant and he’d got caught up in it, not wanting to piss on anyone’s bonfire.
Afterwards, he’d got no idea what they all thought they’d achieved, but everyone seemed happy enough.
Ian even high-fived him. Okaaay. That was weird.

Then a guy in a fluorescent jacket coming over. Security, it said. Fred wondered for an instant whether they’d been breaking some sort of rule, but the man was just looking for a lost kid.

“Hey folks, has anyone seen a little boy by himself? He’s nine, name of Falcon? Or has anyone seen a bloke called Ian?”

Fred looked at Ian, alarmed. There couldn’t be two kids with that name, surely?
Ian went over to the security guy.

“My name’s Ian,” he said. “And there’s a boy called Falcon in the tent next to mine. Curly hair, about so high? We took him for breakfast this morning.”
“Right,” said the man. “He’s disappeared. Do you know where he is now?”
“I took him back to his parents’ tent straight after breakfast. I’ve not seen him since.”
“What time was it you took him back?”
“About half past ten, I think.” Ian looked over to Fred. “Half past ten?”
Fred nodded. “His mum and dad weren’t up though,” he said. “He just said bye and then went into their tent, and we left them to it.”

“Stay there a second,”  said the security guy. He walked a few metres off, speaking into a walkie-talkie.
“I’ve just found this Mr Ian,” he said. The walkie-talkie crackled.
“Says he took him back to the parents’ tent about half past ten.”
Crackle-crackle.
“Yeah. There’s another lad here who’s confirmed it.”
Crackle-crackle.
“OK, let’s just keep looking.”

The man came back over. He asked for their full names. For phone numbers.
Ian reached into his pocket. The man had business cards. He handed one over.

“Is there anything we can do to help?” asked Fred.
“Just keep an eye out will you? If you see him, bring him over to the lost kids point.”
“Where’s that?”
The guy pointed. “Over in the kids zone. Blue and yellow stripy tent, you can’t miss it.”
Ian nodded. “Anything else we can do?”
“Oh, I expect he’ll turn up,” said the guy. “They usually do. Probably just wandered off somewhere without telling his Mum. If he doesn’t turn up in an hour or so we’ll start giving the shout out for a search party. No panic yet.”

Fred tried to remember something useful about the kid, wondering where he might have gone. He was just a kid though. Like any other kid. When Fred was little, he’d got lost once, at a fair. He wasn’t lost really, he’d gone to the bouncy castle, but his mum and dad had panicked, even got the police looking for him.

The kid was bound to show up sooner or later.
Probably wouldn’t even realise anyone had been worried.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. April 14, 2013 11:11 pm

    Wordcount – 1228
    Prompt – (1) game console (Judy) and (2) lost, and discovered (well, the “lost” part anyway) (Cath)

    Please leave a comment with a prompt suggestion for Chapter 13
    (Check the sidebar for a link to more info about this interactive project!)

  2. April 15, 2013 9:39 pm

    prompt – wet

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