Xylophonist's Tune

Competition Seven Highly Commended: The Xylophonist’s Tune by

She waits for her cue.

 

Mallets raised. Hands poised. Ready to roll out some orchestral riff that zig-zags over two rows of burgundy bars.

 

 

 

But—

 

 

 

the xylophonist struggles to read sheet music.

 

Bumbles black holes—or is it wholes? Stumbles over treble clefs and half-rests.

 

Fumbles her way through the stemmed and flagged notes that rise and fall along the page.

 

Remains determined to decipher the code these gangs of linked symbols, crowded into bars, crammed between spaces, hold.

 

 

 

She—

 

 

 

ignores the page. Listens to the flutes. Almost! plays their part by ear.

 

Uses soft mallets, gentle taps. Wonders if anyone else hears her heart pitter-pat to Luke’s snare-drum rat-a-tat.

 

 

 

Dreams—

 

 

 

she is musical. Masters the unruly ciphers on the page. Plays correct notes in rhythmic time while wielding multiple mallets. That Luke looks over and smiles. Compliments her style. Asks her to show him her roll technique. And that as she places her hands over his, they lean in over the xylophone bars to xxx tender and slow.

 

 

 

She—

 

 

 

crashes back to reality. Xylophones cannot be taken seriously. Certainly not by Luke playing precise paradiddles with majestic military flair. He double-strokes a mere three seats away, as unreachable as achieving polyrhythmic technique. She falls into a trance watching his beautiful hands. She can play the Looney Toons theme tune perfectly. Maybe if she started a serious discussion about percussion…

 

 

 

Succeeds—

 

 

 

in falling hard off her chair. Cymbal crashes to the floor. Blinks as his hand offers help.

 

It’s out of her mouth before she can think, A concussion of percussionists.

 

Smiles in the hope he’ll like her joke.

 

He’s blank, grave-faced.

 

She sighs. Drummers keep their own beat.

 

 

 

Then a smile flits across Luke’s face. A concussion of percussionists, he repeats.

 

Smiles again. Wide.

 

 


 

 

Originally from Missouri, Sherry Morris writes prize-winning flash fiction and short stories from a farm in the Scottish Highlands where she pets cows and watches clouds. She participated in the BBC Scottish Voices development programme and is supposed to be finishing her radio script. She is a Northwords Now Board Member and reads for the wonderfully wacky Taco Bell Quarterly.

@Uksherka

Read her published work on www.uksherka.com

 

 

Photo Credit

 

 

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