… but this scene popped into my head fully-formed as I was taking the boys to school this morning. It would appear that I’ve started on the third book before the second one’s finished. I imagine this is a good thing, but I’m not certain. Anyway, this is what ‘A Little Bird Told Me’ looks like right now:
“So, would I have heard of you?”
I stare at her. I still know nothing about her aside from her name. She’s, what? Mid-thirties? Maybe older, I don’t know. I’ve never been good at ages. I shrug.
“I doubt it. We made three albums, back when that was still a thing, and we had one ‘hit’” – I actually do the thing with the waving fingers – “in the UK in 1983. So, no – probably not.”
“In the Ukraine?”
“UK. Britain. England.”
“Yeah, nobody calls it that. I think we know where England is, but UK? Nope.”
“It’s not England, but – you know what? Fine.”
I drain the cup. Fourth, fifth of the day? Jetlag and coffee; always such an interesting mix. I’m ready to close up, but she isn’t.
“Tell me more. What were you called? How famous are you really? Are we going to have groupies tracking you down?”
I want to laugh, but isn’t this the whole point? No-one knows where I am.
“No groupies. There never were many; we weren’t that kind of band.”
“What kind of band were you, then?”
“The kind which doesn’t attract groupies. Or women, much. The spotty teenage boy market, as far as I could see. Lengthy, technical songs with earnest lyrics about making the world a better place. Just at the point when everyone was making short, simple songs about cars and girls. We even wrote songs about that.”
“Could I look you up online? What would I find?”
She actually has her phone out now. I frown. Didn’t we have the conversation about how bad the internet access is out here?
“I just text my nephew and he does it. Come on, what were you called?”
I hate this part.
“We’re not there. There’s almost nothing, no Wikipedia, no online discography, nothing. We sold a few thousand albums and no-one remembers us, and that’s fine by me.”
She’s literally drumming her fingers on the countertop now.
“Fine. We were called The Undercrawlers.”
I know. I always knew. We were called The Undercrawlers because none of us liked the name. Mark wanted to be Viking, or at a push, The Vikings. Fin wanted to be Tom Bombadil or something. I thought Us would work, but the other two laughed. We sat in Fin’s back room – he was the only one from a family well-to-do enough to have a second room on the ground floor for entertaining guests, and it was where the piano was – and argued for days, it seemed. I don’t remember who suggested it, but we all agreed it was horrible. So, of course, that was the name we chose.
We weren’t very bright, really.
After a flurry of typing, she’s back.
“You’re right. He says there are only a couple of mentions – a song called” – she peers at the screen, squinting slightly, and I mentally revise her age upwards a touch – “‘Nobody Loves You’ – no wonder nobody bought your records – and something about a lawsuit.”
That sounds about right. If anyone now knows anything about The Undercrawlers, it’s that we were the band who were sued out of existence by our own record company. It’s a long story.
“It’s a long story. And really not very interesting. Isn’t it time to close up yet? I’m a little tired.”
“You go; I’ll finish up. I can show you how tomorrow. Have a good sleep, Mr. Rock Star.
I grunt. I never was a Rock Star. I definitely thought I wanted to be once upon a time though.
I spend most of that night staring at the ceiling thinking of what happened to Fin, and why it might have been my fault.