The band sit waiting on the small, makeshift stage. Behind them, and perched upright against the freshly painted wall, a guitar case is unintentionally lit by spotlight. One carefully placed sticker urges us to ‘Protect the NHS!’
A pink shirt-clad middle-aged white man, well-groomed, well-shod and well-spoken moves up to the microphone, looks around, and purposely clears his throat amidst the excitable chatter and laughter.
“Ladies and Gentlemen! I would like to say, ‘Thank you’ to Mel from Roundhay Rendezvous for making this space available at short notice.”
Clapping and whooping are quickly followed by hush. The announcer continues.
“Who would have thought six months ago that an event like this could be possible? Here we are, but some of us are not. Let us take a moment to remember colleagues who gave their lives to save others.”
Heads drop, eyes are closed, breath is drawn and gently let out. An arm finds its way around a shoulder. Names are whispered. A minute passes.
“They will be forever in our hearts.”
He looks up.
“Right. I trust that your glasses are charged. Let me introduce you to the band. On piano we have Paula from Obs. and Gynae. On guitar we have Gordon from AMU, and our drummer is Nish from Paediatrics. What are you going to play for us this evening, guys?”
The pianist leans forward into her microphone.
“We’re going to start with St. James Infirmary Blues.”
David lives in Bristol and started to write relatively recently. Flash fiction offers him the challenge of packing ideas and nuance into very few words. This pandemic will end. David asks that we never forget those who were on the frontline.