Bewildering Stories

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by Roberto Sanhueza

“You going out Jimmy?”

The boy turns around and grins to the old man. “Yeah, Grampa. You’re not telling Mum, are you?”

The old man grins back. “No way lad. What is it? The band again?”

“Sure thing, Grampa. We’re rehearsing for an audition next week.”

“And your Mum doesn’t approve?”

The boy sighs. “It’s not as much me Mum as me Dad. He says you can’t make a decent living playing in a rock ’n roll band.”

“And your band is good, lad?”

“Good as they come, Grampa, and then some!”

“That’s good, lad: faith in yourself.”

“How ’bout you, Gramp? I heard you had a band when you were young.”

“That’s right, but it’s been nearly fifty years since then, Jimmy.”

“And were you guys good?”

“Oh yes, Jimmy, we were good. Best in town, some said.”

“And you got any auditions?”

“In fact we did. We were just back for a gig in Germany then, playing in Hamburg. We even had a manager who booked us for a couple of auditions with the big record labels over in London.”

“And how did it go?”

“Not too well. The first two labels turned us down and the third audition never took place.”

“How come?”

“The producer, the guy who was going to hear us and tape our audition, got in an accident the very day we were booked, so we just packed and went back home.”

“But you kept on playing, I imagine.”

“For a while. Then Johnny, he was our rhythm guitar guy, got his girlfriend pregnant and he had to get married. Soon after, he quit the band to get a steady job and that was that, no more band. We all got jobs.”

“What kind of music did your band play?”

The old man’s eyes seem brighter for a moment. “The best rock and roll ever. You should’ve heard me doing ‘Little Richard’.”

“Only covers, Grampa?”

“Oh no! We wrote our own material too. Johnny and I wrote some really neat songs.”

“You keep any of ’em?”

The old man gets up from his couch with some difficulty. “In fact I do. I have some old vinyl discs with our demos, and I ripped some of them to MP3 with your dad’s computer so you could hear them. Here, take.”

“Gee! Thanks, Gramps! Gotta go now. Mickey’s at the door waiting for me. Bye!”

“Bye, Jimmy. Have fun.”

As the boy walks away the old man speaks again. “Jimmy!”

“Yeah, Gramps?”

“Don’t let’em take your dream away. If you feel you’re good, stick to it. You could be great.”

“Like the Rolling Stones were?”

“Who knows, maybe even bigger”

Jimmy laughs merrily. “I will Gramps, just wait and see! Bye now!”

The two boys walk down the street with their guitar cases in hand.

“What’s that you’re listening to, Jimmy?”

“It’s stuff my Grampa wrote and played when he was our age”

“Gee whiz! That’s old!”

“But it’s good. Here, listen to this song. We might play it some time.”

Mickey puts on the earplugs. “Yeah, it’s nice but we can’t play this, dummy!”

“Why not?”

“Because it’s a ballad. We don’t play ballads. We’re a rock and roll band!”

“Guess you’re right. It’s still nice though, with that acoustic guitar. It could use some strings.”

“What’s the song’s name?”

“Doesn’t say.”

Back at the house the old man looks out the window as the boys walk away. Then he turns back to his couch and sits, as if to better get the afternoon sunlight on his old bones.

He dozes off and dreams. Dreams of a time long ago and far away. Of screaming crowds and loving fans.

He smiles as he dreams.

He dreams of yesterday.

Copyright © 2005 by Roberto Sanhueza

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