'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Friday 17 April 2015

KBR Short Story: That's Not Music!

by Nat Petrohelos

Jazz loved to play the beat.

She played the beat with chopsticks, on cans of beans and lentils.

‘That’s not music!’ said Mum, who was trying to cook.

She played the beat on saucepans, with a fork and a silver spoon.

‘That’s not music!’ said Jazz’s brother, who was trying to read.Grandpa just winked and turned his hearing aids down.

On the bus, Jazz played the beat with her hands and knees.

‘Cool rhythm,’ said Percy, who played the bass.

What Jazz wanted the most was her own drum-set. Mum wasn’t sure because Jazz had just given up on karate and before that, it was hip-hop dancing and before that, it was ribbon-twirling. Jazz crossed her fingers and hoped Mum would say maybe, which usually meant yes.

‘I’ll think about it,’ said Mum, which usually meant no.

Jazz asked the music teacher, Mr B, if she could join the school band.

‘Well, the band has been preparing for the school Presentation Day, said Mr B. ‘but there’s only one drummer. You could be our back-up drummer if you’re prepared to practise. You might not get to play on the day, though.’

Jazz ran to the music room at every chance. At first, she practised with the door closed,but as days went by, she started to leave it open. Sometimes Mr B would come in and give her some tips. Sometimes he’d stand in the doorway. Sometimes her friends came to listen. No-one yelled, ‘That’s not music!’

On the school Presentation Day, Jazz sat in the audience and watched the band set up. Then she got a tap on the shoulder: the drummer had gone home early and they needed Jazz to play.

Jazz held the drumsticks high and waited for Mr B’s signal. She created thunder for the school play, kept the rhythm for the school song and did all drum rolls for the awards. Jazz loved drum rolls the best.

‘And the student of the year is...’ drum roll.

‘The best sportsperson award goes to...’ drum roll.

‘The leadership award goes to…’ drum roll.

‘Um, just a minute everyone, we have a late award. The most improved musician is….’ drum roll….
drum roll…drum roll...

Perhaps the winner was away, thought Jazz, this drum roll was going on forever and her arms were getting tired. Jazz spotted her mum smiling at her in the audience. Suddenly Jazz felt another tap on her shoulder. It was Percy, who played the bass.

‘Percy, can’t you see I’m in the middle of a drum roll?’ she whispered.

‘But Jazz, you’ve won!’ he said.

Jazz couldn’t believe it!

‘Now that was music,’ said Mum afterwards, pointing the camera. ‘Smile Jazz.’

‘So can I get a drum-set? For my birthday?’ Jazz asked hopefully.

‘Maybe,’ said Mum.

And Jazz smiled.

Nat Petrohelos finds herself tapping the beat when she's dreaming up stories for children to enjoy. She lives in Newcastle and has a pet whale, a magic moongarden and an over-active imagination. Read more on her website.

KBR Short Stories are a way to get your work ‘out there’—and to delight our KBR readers. Stories are set to a monthly theme and entries are due in the 25th of each month. Find out more here.