Max bounced around the bedroom, strumming his guitar along with the CD playing on his computer. Kyle was lazing on Max’s bed, nodding along a bit but not contributing a great deal. At the end of the song, Max whirled around in a crude sort of guitar-wielding pirouette and jumped into a rock star pose, and Kyle did a slow nod.
‘Yeah! We should start a band man.’ Max grinned and said
‘Yeah! What are you gonna do in the band?’ Kyle sort of shrugged.
‘I’ll be the singer! And I can play bass; that’s easy.’ Max gave him a sceptical look.
‘I dunno man, maybe just the singing.’ Kyle picked up a shoe and made a ‘Yeowlllll!’ Noise into it as though he was a metal singer armed with a microphone. Max made a sort of ‘not bad’ face. He plonked himself down on the bed and comics and school worksheets went flying.
‘Hey! You know who we should get to be in the band – Ryan. He can beatbox, and in music he played on the drum kit and it was way cool.’ Kyle looked unsure.
‘Isn’t Ryan too cool to be in a band with us?’ Max went ‘pffft’, and then said
‘Bands are cool man, doesn’t matter who’s in them. Let’s call him on Skype and ask now!’ Max threw a bunch of textbooks and food wrappers onto the floor and grabbed his laptop, standing his guitar between his knees and leaning the laptop up against it. He opened Skype. It said ‘no connection’.
‘Oh no. My wifi has been off all night! There’s gonna be way too many notifications! Maybe we better just message him on my phone.’ Max grabbed his phone off his desk and unlocked the screen. Four new notifications popped up. Max opened the Facebook ones. ‘What the heck? Leah’s put up that we’re in a relationship!’ Kyle laughed loudly.
‘Told you not to sit with her at lunch.’ Max blew out some air and went onto Ryan’s profile.
‘Oh see look! He’s started drum lessons now ‘cause he went so well in music!’ He clicked on the messenger button and read out what he was typing.
‘Hey Ryan, Kyle and I were thinking we might start a band – I have awesome guitar skills and Kyle can sing, so I was wondering if you wanted to be our drummer.’ He looked at Kyle. ‘Alright?’ Kyle shrugged again, so Max hit send. Ryan’s tiny face popped up next to the message. ‘He’s seen it already.’ They both looked at the phone. The ‘Ryan is typing’ symbol came up. And stayed up. ‘What’s he doing?’ Kyle shrugged some more.
‘Can we go get chips?’
At the fish and chip shop Max was lurking by the drinks fridge when the reply message popped up. Kyle was in a big queue so Max didn’t say anything until the chips had been duly obtained.
‘Ryan replied.’ He told Kyle, when he approached with the chips.
‘What did he say?’ Kyle replied, undoing the neat parcel the girl at the counter had made for the chips already.
‘He said, “K, when are we gonna try playing together?”’ Kyle did an absurd face.
‘He took all that time to say that?’ Max did a blank look.
‘He was probably really excited and had to edit what he said lots.’ Kyle stuffed a chip in his mouth and then made gasping noises and held his mouth open because it was too hot. When the chip had sufficiently stopped burning his mouth, he said,
‘Yeah. That’s probably it. So, when should we meet him?’ Max looked in his phone calendar.
‘After school Friday?’
‘I have soccer.’
‘We need a school drum kit.’
‘Oh yeah.’ Max scratched his head. ‘I have my guitar lesson Monday night, and on Tuesdays I have work. So Wednesday or Thursday after school?’ Kyle got out his own phone.
‘Yeah. Yeah I can do then.’ Max nodded and clicked back on the message from Ryan, grabbing a chip with his free hand and typing with his thumb.
‘We have Wednesday and Thursday nights free. Can you stay after school one of those?’ They both watched the phone again. Ryan was typing. A notification from Leah popped up behind the messenger window. ‘Oh no. I’m not going to look.’ Max kept messenger open. ‘Ugh. He’s taking forever to type again. Let’s walk back.’
Back at Max’s house, the friends dumped the chips on the coffee table in the lounge and Max got some extra vinegar and sauce. His phone buzzed.
‘Finally! Ryan says he has his drum lesson on Wednesday but he can do Thursday.’
‘Cool! Thursday it is. I’ll practice singing in the shower and annoy my sister.’
On Wednesday night Max dumped his schoolbag on the bed and picked up his guitar. His phone buzzed. It was Kyle.
‘Have gastro. Can’t come to school tomorrow, hopefully practice next Thursday.’ Max sighed and messaged Ryan to see if he wanted to practice anyway. Ryan was typing for ages. Then he said
‘I have it too. Have fun in maths on your own with Leah.’ Max made an exasperated snort and flopped back on the bed, guitar still on his lap, and fell asleep.
Max’s mother poked him awake for dinner and smiled with amusement at the guitar sitting flat across her sleeping son’s stomach.
‘Guitar working out well then?’ Max shrugged.
‘It’s alright. I guess I might keeping learning next term.’
The cat balanced along the wall, pausing to sniff bits of moss and fine grass which had grown up between the stones. Its tail waved above it like a long flag, peeking over the top of the hedge that ran along the opposite side of the garden. Mrs Knott could see the tail from her garden on the other side of the hedge, but she could not see the rest of the cat. She pottered closer to the hedge and stood on tiptoe to look over and watch. The cat was a grey short haired tabby with a little white bib on its chest and a white splash running down its nose. It had not been there a few weeks ago, when the weather was still cold. Mrs Knott guessed that it must have been kept inside over the Winter. Now it was strutting back and forth along the stone wall, sitting for a while in one place, then moving on to a spot that looked sunnier, or perhaps provided a better vantage point, and sitting a while longer, clearly enjoying the sunshine and the view. The sun was catching the tips of each bit of fur so that the cat had a glowing blurry outline around its edges. Mrs Knott stayed by her hedge and kept watching, relaxing with the cat and enjoying the Spring day in the same way it seemed to be.
Then, suddenly the cat looked around sharply towards something behind the house, which Mrs Knott could not see. She leaned sideways, trying to see around the house, but she was too far behind the cat from her position in her yard. The cat pushed off lightly from the wall and disappeared out of sight, presumably moving in the direction of whatever had caught its eye. Mrs Knott had to know what it had seen. She hurried out her gate and around the front of the cat’s yard, to the side with the stone wall. She rounded the corner and expected to see the cat somewhere ahead of her. But there was no cat to be seen anywhere, just an empty street. Disgruntled, Mrs Knott turned and wandered slowly back to her own garden, muttering as she went
‘I’ll find out where you go one day.’
Wopper and the Yarn Basket 23/04/16
Heather was in a craft mood today, so she and Wopper had been left sitting on a large patchwork rug on the lounge room floor, with the giant basket of yarn and ribbon and a box with glue and beads. Wopper was busy chewing on a toilet roll which had been left for him to play with, making strange sounds of eating that resembled both tearing paper and munching. Heather was threading some of the beads onto a piece of yarn to make a necklace. It was already almost as long as she was, and could have been more usefully utilised as a skipping rope.
Heather pushed herself up on her knees and leaned her head over to look into the depths of the yarn basket.
‘Look, Wopper, there’s a shining fairy in the bottom!’ She stood up and bent at the waist, reaching inside. Over went the yarn basket, colourful threads rolling out across the floor, and Heather, unperturbed, immediately went forward on hands and knees to stick her torso inside the basket. Wopper lolloped over to see what all the fuss was about, and discovered a magnificent, airy tunnel, filled with exciting scents. He squeezed his way under Heather’s chest and joined her inside. A shining fairy there was, and a terrible cave-in of yarn, threatening to bury Heather. Wopper leapt bravely forward, tackling the shining fairy aside before more yarn toppled down, and set to work excavating the yarn-fall.
In no time at all, Heather and Wopper re-emerged, bits of colourful thread adorning their coats, shining fairy safe in Heather’s hand, and the offending cave-in dug aside. The lounge room door opened and in came Heather’s mother, dusting something off her hands. She stopped on the threshold and looked at her daughter.
‘What on earth have you two done to my yarn basket?’ She rushed over and picked up the now empty receptacle. What few items were left inside dropped out at her feet, falling through Wopper’s newly-chewed emergency escape holes. Wopper and Heather looked up at her like sprinkle-covered sweets, bits of yarn of all colours and lengths covering their proud faces as they reflected on their heroic deeds.