What if Patrick had joined the band as drummer as he originally intended? Would things have turned out the same in the end? I'd like to imagine it would - in fact, this is how I imagine it.
Lately, he’s been calling me a lot. Pete’s an insomniac, it’s as if he just can’t switch off his brain. The man literally has no off switch. I do. I like my sleep, I do it well, I’ve had years of practice; seventeen years to be precise.
We have a band. We’re okay, we have a bit of a following, mostly friends, but we’re starting to get more strangers coming along to shows. It’s a slow process, but even by usual standards it’s slow. There’s nothing special about us, nothing different. Well, nothing except the spectacular rows that Pete has with Gary our singer. I think he’s getting a bit disenchanted with the whole thing but Pete takes it all very seriously. One day I’m going to get a call to say one of them has killed the other, I know it. Maybe this is the one? As I reach for the phone, it’s with a certain amount of trepidation.
I can tell he’s surprised. I don’t know why, it’s been every night this week.
“How did you know it was me?” he asks, still somewhat shaken.
“Let’s call it a hunch,” I roll my eyes, glad that he can’t see me.
“Are you rolling your eyes, Stump?”
I don’t know how he knows; it’s quite unnerving, really.
“What do you want, Pete?”
“I want to make some changes in the band and I don’t know if you’re going to like them.”
I have to be honest, I kind of saw this coming, but I agree, I’m probably not going to like it. I hate having to look for new band members; it can be quite political. Loads of potential arguments; especially over singers.
“You had another row?” I asked flatly.
“Yeah,” he sighed. “I don’t think Gary’s coming back to practice.”
“He said so?” I asked. There wasn’t much point in looking for a new member if we didn’t need to.
“No,” Pete replied in a stern tone. “I did.”
So, he sacked him. I wasn’t actually that surprised.
“So you want to look for a new singer?”
Pete was silent for a moment. An awkward moment that left just enough space for me to sense the tension in his breathing.
“A new drummer.”
I sat bolt upright. Up until that point I’d been content to stay in bed, have a lazy lie down and stick with the hope that I wasn’t going to fall back to sleep while he was talking to me. But now? Now I was awake. Now I was wide-eyed, awake and almost shouting into the phone.
“What did I do? You’re not happy with my drumming?”
I’d never been sacked before. Sure I’d left bands, but they were on my own terms. This was different.
“No, Trick, you don’t understand, you’re drumming’s fine! But I’ve seen this guy, Andy Hurley, he plays like he’s trying to kill his drums and he’s…”
“So I’m out? I’m just out? Thanks, Pete! Thanks for waking me up to tell me…”
“I woke you up?”
He sounded surprised again and it threw me off balance.
“Yeah, Pete, it’s three am, normal people sleep!”
“Oh, dude, I’m sorry! I didn’t realise, but, no, you’re not out. I… I, er…”
“What?” I was really confused now.
“I know you really want to drum, but I keep going back to when you auditioned and… your voice, man, it was awesome. I want you to sing.”
“Me?” I was dumbstruck and terrified. “You want me to stand at the front and sing?”
“A short balding guy with glasses as a front man?” I was sure it was a joke.
“Yeah,” he sounded so certain. “I got a good feeling about this. What do you say?”
I thought about it for a moment. Something about the way he said it sounded right. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but I didn’t need any more convincing. That said, there was one thing that was still bothering me.
“Dude? What do you say?” he repeated.
“I’m going to need a hat.”