There was a smell of aftershave in the living room. Sammy looked around. Baz had combed his hair, and was wearing a clean jumper.
Right enough. The audition. Mich had organised it – a woman, no less.
‘Ah hope she’s good lookin’,’ said Baz.
‘No idea,’ said Mich, and tutted. She’d put up an ad at her women’s rights group.
‘She’s no a dyke, though?’ said Baz.
Sammy could tell he was taking the piss.
‘Mind you,’ Baz went on. ‘It’ll be awright if she looks like Suzanne Vega, eh?’
‘Suzanne Vega isn’t a lesbian,’ said Mich.
Baz laughed like a drain.
The practice was for one o’clock, but they gave up waiting at half past. Sammy went to the kitchen to put the kettle on, and heard something scratching at the front door. He opened it. She’d probably been standing there for half an hour, pawing the wood.
‘Hello,’ she whispered. ‘I’m Morag.’
She didn’t look like Suzanne Vega. She looked like that lassie off Scooby Doo, not the ride, the other yin, the wee fat yin with the glasses, the yin that Scooby Doo himself wouldn’t have gone near.
She had an acoustic guitar in a polythene bag.
‘Aye?’ said Sammy. He’d tell her she had the wrong address.
‘I’m here for the...’
He was already closing the door. Mich kicked his ankle.
‘Hi!’ she said. ‘Are you Morag? We’ve been waiting for you!’
She showed her into the living room.
Baz started playing the music off Cartoon Cavalcade. Loud.
Morag stood against one of the walls. An egg tray slid down the back of her leg. ‘Oh...sorry,’ she whispered.
‘Doesn’t matter,’ said Mich.
‘So, eh, whit kind ae music are ye intae?’ asked Sammy. He was dying to hear the answer.
Morag looked at the carpet. ‘I like that ‘Wordy Rappinghood’,’ she said. ‘That’s a good one.’
Twang-ang-ang, went Baz’s guitar.
‘Gary Davies plays it on his Bit In The Middle,’ she explained, then gave them a stammering rendition of the first verse, complete with a jerky little dance, the buckles on her sandals making a clinking sound.
‘Sister,’ said Mich, and touched her on the arm. ‘You don’t need to do this.’
Sammy sighed. This was a complete waste...
‘I’ve written a song!’ she said.
She put her guitar round her neck. It was a rigmarole; she couldn’t get the strap over the hood of her duffel coat. She started tapping out the rhythm on the wood, and Sammy got in behind his drums. You never knew – maybe she’d been winding them up. He kept it soft, hi-hat and rim shots. It sounded okay. It would never do for the band, but well done, Morag, you’ve had a go at writing a song, it’s quite good, now it’s time for you to fuck off.
Baz came in with some chords; a wee bit of chorus. He started improvising.
Mich picked up her bass.
Very soon, it became clear that Baz was picking out the theme tune to Scooby Doo. He looked at Morag, and winked. ‘We’re really jammin’ now,’ he mouthed.
Morag stopped. She looked at Sammy. ‘It’s supposed to be a waltz,’ she said.
Sammy bit his lip, and nodded. ‘A waltz is jist 6:8 slowed doon,’ he informed her.
She blushed. ‘Can we try it without the drums?’ she said, and looked at the other two. ‘Just till you hear what it goes li...’
Sammy walked out. He didn’t throw his sticks into the corner. He didn’t have the energy.